Archive for December, 2009


December 31, 2009

Have a good, safe New Year’s Eve everybody! Please do not drink and drive and be careful of the many drunken drivers who will certainly be on the roads tonight. Last but not least, don’t feel bad if you have nothing to do tonight. There are plenty of worthier times to celebrate than the new year –– it is an arbitrary date that means very little to the vast majority of us.

WPRI: When nutjobs try to write

December 30, 2009

Our friends over at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (a far right think tank) have quite the theory. Apparently, a conservative “backlash” of epic proportions “is underway” at UW-Fox Valley. That’s right, at UW Fox-Valley the environmental movement is no more. On what grounds, you might ask these purveyors of intellectual nuance, can such a conclusion be drawn?

Well, the school’s Dean proposed  allotting certain desired parking spots for students driving fuel efficient cars (a weak idea at best), and some students spoke out against it (a reasonable thing for anyone to do).

Thats it, thats why there is a “backlash underway.” There isn’t anything else.

But, not only are these reasonable objections being raised by Fox Valley students the embodiment of  the Reagan Revolution part II, they are also clear indicators of the naivete of environmentalism as a whole, a fact now undoubtedly dawning on every student at UW-Fox Valley.

The lesson, as always, is that environmentalism is wonderful when discussed in the abstract.  It’s great for picking up girls in bars.  But it means an entirely different thing when it means having to walk your butt an extra half mile in the freezing Wisconsin cold.

First of all, who picks up girls at bars by talking about environmentalism? If such a person exists, please, teach me! Second, do the people at WPRI actually take themselves seriously?

Is the football team paying for my tuition?

December 30, 2009

The UW football team did more than just get a bowl win last night, they got a huge check.  It popped up yesterday (and was included in the Brunch Links) that the UW football team brought in around $17 mil last year for the University, a good portion of which likely came from the payout the team received for their bowl game. The check the team got for last nights bowl was surely bigger than last years.

I often hear the claim that these left over profits  go directly towards funding academics. I guess we will never know exactly how accurate such an idea is. But, as the NYT notes, profits from football programs go towards football scholarships as well as funding nonrevenue sports before they are seen by anyone else.

In all likelihood, that means that no one else actually does see this money. So, we can probably answer the question of whether the football or basketball team pays for an average student’s tuition (assuming they aren’t an athlete) with an emphatic, “no.”

Brunch Links

December 30, 2009

The Badgers football team ended their two-game bowl losing streak with an upset win over widely favored Miami U last night. It looks like the Big Ten can actually compete with teams in the more athletic conferences. Eat your words ESPN analysts.

In lieu of a picture embedded in the post, I highly advise you to check out this sick slide show of the best pictures taken on and around campus from this year.

Surprise, surprise… An internal review reveals that U.S. intelligence agencies had enough pieces of intelligence scattered between them which, if they had been shared quickly, should have prevented the recent would-be bomber from boarding a plane bound for the States. Failed coordination between intelligence agencies was also credited for the failure of the U.S. to suspect the 9/11 attacks. No reforms have made any progress in addressing this problem since then, I highly doubt any will surface in the future.

Another bomb threat shut down the capitol yesterday, and apparently State Journal reporters had to guard a different “mysterious package” in a nearby Starbucks? Does that make any sense at all?

More high rise apartment buildings around campus? Its a trend that a madison developer apparently wants to continue. Bryon Eagon sounds interested. Sounds good to me.

Feingold outlines the benefits Wisconsin would receive from passage of the national health care bill.

Doyle outlines his priorities for his last year in office: Jobs, education, alternative energy. If there is such a thing as a lame duck Governor, Doyle has to be one.

SAFEride faces cutbacks

December 29, 2009

According to the State Journal, starting next semester students are only going to be allowed to get free late-night cab rides through the SAFEride program six times a semester, rather than the previous allotment of 16.

The program, which is funded through student fees, ran over its budget by almost 50 percent last year, said Michael Romenesko, a member of a student-led transportation committee.

He said people are abusing the program, using it as their own personal cab service rather than as a backup in emergency situations, the purpose for which it was designed.

I know that is the only reason I ever used it. It always took an hour or more to actually get picked up by a cab through SAFEride, making it hardly a go-to move for a student in an emergency situation late at night, but certainly a go-to when you have a party to get home from that was a little off campus.

Go after Feingold on healthcare…say progressives

December 29, 2009

The latest in the health care debate:

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold has come under fire from the liberal activist group Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which this week launched a $20,000 television ad campaign that takes the Middleton Democrat to task on health care reform.

In a 30-second spot set to air on broadcast television in the Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee markets, PCCC urges Feingold to vote against any final health care bill that does not include a public insurance option. Feingold last week voted for a Senate bill that does not include a public insurance option despite the fact that he is a strong proponent of the proposal.

I’m guessing that most people on this committee have health care, unlike the tens of millions of people the current legislation will (hopefully) extend it to.

Brunch Links

December 29, 2009

I guess this post should be more like “lunch links.” Badger football team plays in the Champs Sports Bowl against ‘da U tonight at 7 on ESPN.

Informative campus rundown by Todd Finkelmeyer over at the Cap Times. Includes an in-depth look at the most important actions taken by the administration and faculty researchers throughout the year.

Interesting juxtaposition of stories. MJS: Anyone can get explosives on a plane. Cap Times: Where are the airport scanners that can see through peoples clothes?

Paul Soglin articulates what every Madisonian is thinking: snow removal policies in Madison blow.

Walt Ferguson argues in the MJS that to address Wisconsin’s failing economy, we need to elect a governor based solely on whether they are intelligent and business-savvy. Sounds great, and also incredibly unrealistic.

Steve Prestegard provides the obvious response to Ferguson’s column.

Bill Leuders at the Daily Page gives Mayor Dave the “Blogger Dude of the Year Award.”

UW football team turned a profit of $17 mil last year, and is worth around $48 mil, according to Forbes.

The Wheeler Report shows signs of human life

December 29, 2009

The Wheeler Report, a must-read for any Sconnie political junkie, would make a computer science geek from 1992 proud. Its garish fluorescent colors and its utter lack of humanity have been a staple of Wisconsin politics for…does anybody know? That’s why I was surprised to see this evidence of emotion on the site today:

Happy Holidays!

From: Dick Wheeler and Gwyn Guenther

Biggest stories of ’09 (an attempt)

December 28, 2009

I’m a sucker for wrap-ups of the most interesting events of the past year. So here goes an attempt at a list of the biggest stories ON CAMPUS from the Sconz’s perspective. There may be future installments dealing with other city and state issues as well, depending on whether I can rope Jack into this.

1. The ALRC saga: booze + boycotts = story the most students on campus probably heard about

2. Herald breaks story of alleged rape at Sigma Chi: Former-editor of the Herald opinion section Sam Clegg is fond of saying that the opinion page is really only relevant during select times. This was certainly one of them. Overall, this story, like the ALRC saga, was one of the most visible and talked about around campus.

3. Chancellor Martin passes Undergraduate Initiative: Not the sexiest story, but certainly one with the most important implications. I always thought Martin’s plan was well thought out and necessary. It was interesting to me that no real opposition ever surfaced to it.

4. Bryon Eagon wins 8th aldermanic district in rout, Bridget Maniaci upsets Brenda Konkel in district 2: Eagon was impressive, and Maniaci’s win was interesting. Elections always garner a lot of attention, these were no different.

5. Edgewater Renovation fails to pass: What started this summer as a good idea fell to city politics earlier this month.

6. Diversity Wars engulf campus: I am, of course, joking about this engulfing campus. But, it did dominate the pages of the opinion sections of both campus papers for a couple weeks as well as , according to Herald editor Sean Kittridge, precipitate an inordinate amount of letters to the editor.

7. Mifflin Block Party survives assassination attempt from MPD, gets sponsor: This was a big story in the spring. I don’t remember all of the specifics, but certainly relevant on campus.

8. FACES slate fails to gain control of ASM in spring elections: This was spun as an embodiment of the growing distaste for the campus left (along with Konkel’s defeat in city elections). My view is that the jury is still out on that conclusion.

9. SLAC has a productive fall (meeting with the Chancellor, generally gaining attention from the campus press): The success of SLAC turned ’09 from a failed year for the campus left to a year with mixed results.

I only included 9 because I am sure I have left out some obvious story that I am hoping one of our commentors will remind me to add.

Is city government accessible?

December 28, 2009

There’s been some talk recently about inaccessibility in local government. The State Journal ran an editorial (which I can’t find now!) criticizing the city council for having meetings so late in the night, when most people in their right mind aren’t going to attend or even watch on TV. The vote on the Edgewater finally took place a little after 5 a.m. Minutes before Ald. Judy Cnare had a yoga class (one of these days I’m going to try the early bird thing).

Meanwhile, Brenda Konkel, comprehensive as ever, grades all the alders on their use of the internets. Although she takes alders to task, she makes clear that they’re not the only ones to blame:

They get no support whatsoever. It’s pretty sad for a city our size. The primary council office staff are too busy gossiping and playing solitaire to be bothered with being helpful to the alders.


She gives Bryon Eagon, Steve King, Mark Clear and Chris Schmidt F’s for their use of the city webpage. The explanation for Clear’s F is a bit sketchy, and hints at an alternative motive Brenda might have had in failing him.

Granted, some of those members, including Eagon, could easily say that there communication with constituents is better served by a blog, which is easier to manage and a little bit sexier (have you seen Bryon’s blog!) than the city website. On this issue though, the Council still fails. So few of the alders update their blogs enough to maintain any traffic or dialogue, and as a result, they probably don’t come up in search results easily and people stop referring to them. The most bizarre example I found was Larry Palm, who for some reason has a private blog that readers must be invited to. Why?

So what we seem to have is a lot of alders who aren’t using traditional or new methods of outreach, and many constituents who are out of touch with the happenings of city government.

Nevertheless, many of these naughty bloggers found their way on to Brenda’s blogroll, while certain scrappy, citizen reporters were (ahem) mysteriously bumped off it months ago. Let it be known: the Sconz is not vengeful nor impatient. Just a little puzzled.