Walker Supports Eliminating Handgun Waiting Period

Good.

MADISON —Gov. Scott Walker has thrown his support to a bill that would eliminate Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.

Walker said he wants the state to be a leader on the issue. Walker’s remarks came in an interview last week with the National Rifle Association’s news network, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday.

A bill before legislators would eliminate Wisconsin’s 40-year-old law that requires the wait between the time a background check is submitted to the Department of Justice and a handgun is acquired.

The waiting period is a hassle, but not that big of a deal. But in the age of almost instant background checks, it is also wholly unnecessary. It makes sense to scrap it.

Netanyahu’s Urgent Plea

He didn’t mince any words.

“We have been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal. It is a very bad deal. We are better off without it,” Netanyahu said, building a case that Iran was not just bent on developing nuclear weapons but was determined to “gobble” up defenseless countries in a wider play for dominance in the Middle East.

“We are being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That is just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal,” Netanyahu said to deafening cheers in the House of Representatives chamber, while issuing a firm warning that Israel would stand alone if necessary to defend the existence of the Jewish people.

I was able to listen to the entire speech live. It was remarkable on several fronts. First, the content of the speech was downright scary and put the issue squarely in front of the listener. Iran’s actions supporting terrorists, support of violent jihad, and history of lying and violating previous agreements are well documented. The Iranian leaders are not to be trusted and Netanyahu clearly explained why the deal terms being proposed are potentially disastrous to the safety of the world. This could not be more true:

“…the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.”

The second aspect of the speech that was truly stunning was the pure moral clarity it conveyed. We all heard something that has been missing from our American politicians for quite some time. There was only one leader of the free world in Washington D.C. today, and he wasn’t in the White House.

Obama Schedules Conference During Netanyahu’s Speech

President Obama is a small, petty man.

President Obama has added to his schedule an 11:30 am ET video conference with America’s top allies to discuss the situation in Ukraine, ensuring that neither he nor them will watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plea before Congress and the world to reconsider the Iran nuclear deal.

Netanyahu is scheduled to appear at 11:00 am. He likely won’t get going until several minutes later and will probably not even be at the halfway point by 11:30. And presumably, the Western leaders will be preparing for the meeting when he starts.

The video conference, which was scheduled just this morning, will include British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and European Commission President Donald Tusk. Obama will participate from the White House Situation Room.

Hillary Broke Law With Private Email Address

C’mon… that’s just basic accountability.

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton did not have a State Department email account while she served as America’s top diplomat, a senior state department official said Monday, and instead used a personal email account during her four years on the job.

Using personal email as a sole method of communication appears to break rules outlined by the National Archives and Records Administration. The government agency stipulates that personal email can only be used in “emergency situations,” and when used, the emails “are captured and managed in accordance with agency record-keeping practices.”

There’s only one reason that Clinton would have used a private email account instead of a government one… she intended to obscure her activities from scrutiny. Why would she want to keep her activities secret? Logic would dictate (an homage to Spock) that she intended to engage in unethical and/or illegal behavior.

What is more telling is that nobody said anything. Government officials, cabinet members, possibly foreign dignitaries, and even possibly the president himself were receiving emails from Clinton from a gmail account or something and never raised a stink about it. It makes you wonder how many other Obama officials are hiding their correspondence.

Keep Parental Choice Program expansion simple

My column for the Daily News is online. Check it out.

The Wisconsin Legislature will soon begin in earnest to craft the next biennial budget that will guide state government through the next two years. It has been a month since Gov. Scott Walker issued his budget proposal, and the Legislature will spend the next three months taking his proposals, vetting them through the fire of the legislative process, injecting many of their own proposals, and at the end they will send a budget to Walker’s desk.

One of the major proposals in Walker’s budget that is likely to be subject to a great deal of debate and revision is a dramatic expansion in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.

The WPCP was launched in 2013 as a limited expansion of school choice throughout Wisconsin, excluding Milwaukee and Racine which have school choice programs. The WPCP is limited to providing vouchers for 1,000 kids (1,000 for next school year) from lowincome families to attend the private school of their choice. In the current school year, 25 schools participated and the 1,000 vouchers were issued using a somewhat convoluted lottery system.

Walker’s proposal is to remove the 1,000-voucher limit on the WCPC and allow for an unlimited number of vouchers. At the same time, Walker is proposing a way to fund the vouchers by reallocating state funds that would have been sent to the child’s corresponding public school. Finally, Walker’s proposal seeks to limit the availability of vouchers to only kids who were not already attending a private school.

Let us start with the good part of Walker’s proposal. The cap on school choice should be lifted. Period.

The whole reason for school choice is to provide the opportunity for families to send their kids to the school of their choice. Families who have the means already have this choice. The WPCP and other school choice programs seek to allow families of any financial status to choose the best school for their kids. If we ascribe to this ethos, then an arbitrary cap on the number of families who can participate is nonsensical.

The remainder of Walker’s ideas regarding funding and placing restrictions on the WPCP requires some work from the Legislature. The idea to limit vouchers to only those kids who have not already attended a private school is, like the cap, nonsensical.

The purpose of this restriction is to keep a budgetary restraint on the expansion of school choice. The reality is that there are many families who are of sufficiently low income to qualify for school vouchers, but sacrifice to send their kids to a private school. This restriction would forbid those families from receiving a voucher to prevent the taxpayers from picking up a bill that they are not currently paying. While the attempt at fiscal control is laudable, this is not the place to do it. Again, if we ascribe to the principle that school choice exists to provide all families — regardless of income — the opportunity to choose the right school for their kids, then we cheapen that principle when we seek to carve out exemptions and exclusions.

While the WPCP began as an extremely limited program with only 1,000 vouchers available for more than 750,000 school kids in the entire state, it is clear that it is going to be substantially expanded in the next budget.

This likely expansion is opening up opportunities all over the state, including here in Washington County. Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School has become the first private high school in the county to enter the WPCP. As the father of a past, present and future student of KML, I have paid close attention to the risks and rewards of the school entering the program. It is a great school and the prospect of more kids able to attend it is nothing but upside for the kids and their parents.

Much like with the debate over right-to-work, the Legislature should focus on keeping the expansion of WPCP simple. They should eschew attempts to complicate it with exclusions, complicated funding formulas, limits, caps, and other complexities that dilute the program.

School choice is a simple idea based on a simple principle. All kids should have access to the best education for them irrespective of their families’ financial means. A clean expansion of the WPCP advances that principle.

(Owen Robinson is a West Bend resident.)

Saudi Columnist Supports Israeli PM

Perhaps I’ve misjudged Obama’s foreign policy. He has fostered agreement between this decidedly pro-Saudi Muslim columnist and the Jewish Prime Minister of Israel.

“I will conclude by saying the following: Since Obama is the godfather of the prefabricated revolutions in the Arab world, and since he is the ally of political Islam, [which is] the caring mother of [all] the terrorist organizations, and since he is working to sign an agreement with Iran that will come at the expense of the U.S.’s longtime allies in the Gulf, I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration’s anger and fury. I believe that Netanyahu’s conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents. Do you agree with me?”

Billionaire Michael Jordan

Good for him.

Many former athletes run into financial issues after their careers, be it due to lavish spending habits or a difficulty adjusting to their post-sports lives. That has certainly not been the case for Michael Jordan, however, who is currently one of the richest people on the planet, according to Forbes‘ latest listof the world’s richest billionaires.

 

Sex Offender Placed a Block From West Bend High Schools

Hmmm

A convicted sex offender will live just one block from the West Bend High School complex. Police announced the state is placing 29-year-old Justin Rathke starting Monday in his father’s apartment at 763 S. River Road, which is just several hundred feet from the schools.

Rathke was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child in 2008.

“It’s unsettling to realize that,” neighbor Cher Birno said Friday. “I know they need a place to stay, but find somewhere else.”

But people in West Bend don’t have much of a choice. The state leaves sex offender residency restrictions up to each municipality and, as it turns out, West Bend doesn’t have any.

“Maybe we can tighten that up a little bit,” district four alderman Randy Koehler said.

Koehler lives about a half-mile from Rathke’s new home. The alderman is glad police and detectives will have Rathke on constant surveillance, including GPS monitoring and 42 requirements like no unsupervised contact with minors. He also cannot set foot on school property or leave his house before 8 a.m. or after 1:45 p.m.

“I have the utmost faith in [the West Bend Police],” Koehler said. “But, it’s the one-hour span where he may not be supervised that I’m worried about.”

I am not one who thinks that residency laws regarding sex offenders do any good. There are a number of studies out there that support my thoughts. While it gives everybody the heebee jeebees to be near a sex offender, the reality is that it is as easy for him to drive 2 miles to find a target as it is for him to walk across the street. And while we know who this guys is, what he looks like, and where he lives, we don’t know anything about the other people in the area. At least we know the risk if we see this guy. We don’t know the risk for the other guy on the street who might be a murderer, sex offender, thief, drug dealer, or anything else.

The same rules apply. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation, and, if you are capable, arm yourself.

Head Transplants

If he can get this to work, I can think of soooo many useful applications.

Surgeon Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, thinks he’s developed a new technique for head transplants that will avoid some of the problems caused by earlier attempts at such surgeries involving dogs and monkeys.

“In a paper published in Surgical Neurology International, he has outlined his technique: first, both the transplant head and the donor body would need to be cooled in order to slow cell death,” CNETexplains. “Then, the neck of both would be cut and the major blood vessels linked with tubes. Finally, the spinal cords would be severed, with as clean a cut as possible.”

Divers Find Lost Thermonuclear Bomb

What a vacation story! Thankfully they found it before the Iranians did.

Savannah| A couple of tourists from Canada made a surprising discovery while scuba diving  in Wassaw Sound, a small bay  located on the shores of Georgia. Jason Sutter and Christina Murray were admiring the marine life of the area when they stumbled upon a Mark 15 thermonuclear bomb that had been lost by the United States Air Force more than 50 years ago.

UPDATE: This story is just that… a story. It’s false according to Snopes.

This is What the Internet Was Invented For

Without the internet, I might have lived my entire life without having witnessed this.

Another American Killed in the Name of Islam

Such a shame that so many Muslims promote and condone such violence against people speaking their minds.

(CNN)In his writings, author Avijit Roy yearned for reason and humanism guided by science.

He had no place for religious dogma, including from Islam, the main religion of his native Bangladesh.

Extremists resented him for openly and regularly criticizing religion in his blog. They threatened to kill him if he came home from the United States to visit.

On Thursday, someone did.

As usual, Roy defied the threats and departed his home in suburban Atlanta for Dhaka, where he appeared at a speaking engagement about his latest books — one of them titled “The Virus of Faith.” He has written seven books in all.

As he walked back from the book fair, assailants plunged machetes and knives into Roy and his wife, killing him and leaving her bloodied and missing a finger.

Afterward, an Islamist group “Ansar Bangla-7″ reportedly tweeted, “Target Down here in Bangladesh.”

Gogebic Taconite Pulls Out of Wisconsin

Ugh.

Faced with an uncertain regulatory future and a global glut of iron ore, Gogebic Taconite officials on Friday said they are closing their Wisconsin office indefinitely.

The fledgling company that had wanted to become Wisconsin’s first taconite iron ore mining operation said their Hurley office will close effective Sunday.

It’s not clear if or when Gogebic, a subsidiary of a Florida company, might reconsider the Wisconsin project.

“We will continue to investigate the possibility of pursuing a permit to mine the Upson site but cannot justify maintaining an office in Hurley without a prospect of immediate action,” Bill Williams, president of Gogebic Taconite LLC, said in a statement late Friday afternoon.

And so it ends… it is worth noting that after all of the heat and fire from the lefties about how adjusting Wisconsin’s laws to be a bit easier on mining operations would “gut the environment” and we would all be drinking sewage or something… those laws were still sufficiently onerous to prevent the mine from opening despite billions in provable reserves at this site. So Wisconsin won’t get the new mining jobs and economic activity after all. And perhaps it is for the best if the environmental concerns could not be sufficiently mitigated.

Top Putin Opponent Gunned Down

Can there be any doubt that Russia has returned to its totalitarian roots?

MOSCOW (AP) — Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin, just a day before a planned protest against the government.

The death of Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former deputy prime minister, ignited a fury among opposition figures who assailed the Kremlin for creating an atmosphere of intolerance of any dissent and called the killing an assassination. Putin quickly offered his condolences and called the murder a provocation.

Nemtsov was working on a report presenting evidence that he believed proved Russia’s direct involvement in the separatist rebellion that erupted in eastern Ukraine last year. Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of backing the rebels with troops and sophisticated weapons. Moscow denies the accusations.

UW Staff Opposes More Autonomy

Well, this is interesting.

A group of professors, staffers and students from University of Wisconsin campuses statewide urged UW System president Ray Cross to withdraw support for sweeping changes to the universities proposed by Gov. Scott Walker, calling for a two-year moratorium.

“We write to insist in the strongest possible terms that you come out immediately and publicly against the governor’s budget plan to transform the University of Wisconsin System to a public authority at this time,” they said in a letter posted to the blog of Richard Grusin, an English professor at UW-Milwaukee.

UW has been pining for more autonomy for years and now when it is offered, a sizable portion of the staff recoils. One might think that they have been using the lack of more autonomy as an excuse for their spendy ways…

Tammy Baldwin Speaks

Yeah… right.

“I am in a very detailed and careful fashion, comprehensive fashion, seeking to understand everything that happened in my office in terms of the handling of a whistleblower case,” the Madison Democrat said. “And I will have lots more to say when we come to the end of that process.”

It was the first time she has answered questions about the issue since USA TODAYreported January 19 that her office got the report in August but didn’t do anything with it, despite repeated emails from a former Tomah employee in November and December asking her to investigate. Baldwin didn’t call for an investigation until last month, when news reports revealed a veteran died from an overdose as an inpatient in the Tomah facility in August.

Baldwin did not indicate when her internal review will be completed, saying only “as soon as we can.”

How long should a review like this take? The facts are pretty simple. Baldwin was contacted about the issues in Tomah and didn’t do anything. Either a staffer or Baldwin herself decided not to look into it. This “investigation” should take about 5 minutes and it’s already been almost a month and a half.

Furthermore, Balwin fired a staffer presumably because of this. In the process, that staffer got a great severance package, which is odd if she was fired for cause. Why was that action taken if an investigation had not already been completed?

This isn’t about investigation. It’s about delay and cover up.

Government Seizing Control of Internet

Without a vote by Congress, of course. That’s not the Obama way.

The Federal Communications Commission is about to usher in the most dramatic government intervention in the Internet in two decades — heralding a liberal shift toward greater oversight of one of the nation’s most important economic engines.

Majority Democrats at the agency are expected to vote Thursday to approve FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality plan, which will regulate broadband like a public utility to ensure all Web traffic is treated equally. They’re also poised to encourage towns and cities to compete with the dominant telecom companies in providing Internet service to consumers.

Taken together, the two moves, which are vehemently opposed by the FCC’s two Republican members, represent a seismic shift in the relationship between the government and the companies that run the Internet — and mark the biggest change to communications policy since the 1996 Telecom Act.

Black Lives Matter?

Good question.

The father of a black teenager murdered by an illegal immigrant asked “do black lives really matter?” in a House hearing to review the Department of Homeland Security’s policies towards “non-citizens unlawfully present in the United States.”

That father, Jamiel Shaw, and Michael Ronnebeck, the uncle of another man murdered earlier this month by an illegal immigrant, testified at Wednesday’s hearing in front of a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Both men asserted that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) lax detainment policies contributed to the death of their family members. ICE came under intense scrutiny last year when it was revealed that in 2013 the agency had released over 36,000 convicted criminal aliens from its custody. Of those, nearly 200 had committed murder.

Wisconsin Senate Passes RTW

After pushing for so long… this is actually happening. Awesome.

The state Senate approved right-to-work legislation Wednesday night 17-15 as GOP Sen. Jerry Petrowski broke ranks to join Dems in opposing the bill.

The legislation next heads to the Assembly, which is expected to have a hearing early next week and likely take up the bill March 5.

Senate Committee Passes Right-to-Work

Excellent.

The Senate Labor Committee this evening approved right-to-work after Chair Steve Nass quickly shut down the public hearing, citing safety concerns.

While protesters shouted, Nass called the roll and declared the motion passed.

Nass said that due to a credible threat in a newspaper report that SEIU and Voces de la Frontera would disrupt the meeting, he closed the meeting and moved into executive session.