Archive for October, 2009

Democrats Got Fight?

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

No Way!


Or at least so they claim:

There is a growing sense that we need to lead on this issue and not wait for it to be offered on the Senate floor,” a senior Democratic aide said. “The idea is that it’s better to show some fight.”

Fight? FIGHT? From a Democrat?! I thought that word had been expunged from the Democrats’ vocabulary?!

Nonetheless, it is excruciatingly painful watching them screw up the courage to just do the right thing (a half measure though it may be), for fear of offending some rightwing curmudgeon under some rock somewhere….

Yuppies Abandon Cars in Droves

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

It’s happening. It first became apparent to me that going car-less was becoming socially acceptable around here circa 2004-5. I think Ölkrieg II in Iraq got a lot of people rethinking their lifestyle choices. (Yes, the sudden, belated realization that our personal consumption habits cause wars; specifically of the Middle East  ‘blood for oil’ variety….) Then things  really ramped up along with the gas price spikes of aught 7 & 8. I think I last counted 12 friends & acquaintances who are now car-less by choice (i.e., they could easily afford one, but choose not to). Suddenly, Pam & I weren’t so alone & odd in our car(e)-free lifestyle. (We’re going on year 20 sans le voiture de mort.)

And now these observations have been given the imprimatur of none other than the Voice of God itself!

My favorite writing-on-the-wall warning to the auto industry was this quote in the article:

If public opinion swings too far away from cars, some environmentalists warn that the car industry could find itself in the same circumstances as cigarette manufacturers, who have hung on to their most fervent users even as public policy, health concerns and public opinion have cast a shadow over their products.

Yes! Death to the Deathmobile! & Only losers will be left driving deathmobiles!

Now if we can just get politicians like Ald Satya Rhodes-Conway to realize that, by redlining bicyclists out of her district, she is actually a) depriving her neighborhood of the creative minds we should be trying to attract here for problem solving and economic success, and b) dimming her own political prospects by filling her district with car curmudgeons instead of progressive-oriented, bright minds.

Transit Operator Confronts Supply, Demand

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Oh my! NYC transit officials are actually — gasp! — acknowledging supply & demand, off-peak demand pricing and yield management!!!!! They have finally arrived! (That is, arrived at state of the art economics circa 1840.)

Ladies, Gentlemen, we have the technology. We can rebuild transit.

The question is, how long will it take Madison’s transit managers to figure out this simple technique to keep the buses full at hours other than rush?

The Most Disappointing Alder in Madison’s History

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

This is so disappointing. This stalwart of Progressive Dane, the member who was always pushing the party to be more progressive, more environmentally friendly, more alt-transportation friendly, now in elected office (under the power of progressivism) has slouched right back into mediocrity; stuck in the muddy middle right along with Mayor Pave and the rest of his pliant, car-crazed council.

Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway is probably, technically (SATs, ACTs, GREs, etc.) the smartest person on the council– possibly the smartest in its history. In her day job she burnishes her progressive credentials with extensive research on–as they say in smart people-speak — ‘high road’ public policy strategies. Now that she is in a position to actually make it happen, she cowers before the auto-obsessed rightists in her district. Sure constituents are important when one is an elected official, but the particular constituents she cowers before have never — and never will — vote for her anyway.

But cowering before bellowing blowhards seems to be all the rage among good liberals. Indeed, the trickle down theory seems to be at work here, as The Current Occupant (of the Oval Office) is cowering before the generals, insurance executives and coal barons even as we speak…..

Looks like I’ll be adding Ald. Rhodes-Conway to my ever-lengthening list of zombie politicians.

Job Opening @ 1000 Friends of Wisconsin

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

It looks like my buddy Barb Irvin is moving on to the Wisconsin Natural History & Geological Survey, (congrats, Barb!) which means that there is a big opening coming up at 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.

Here’s what she has to say about the position:

Hi –

I have accepted a position as the Administrative Manager at the Wisconsin Geologic and Natural History Survey. I’m sad to leave 1000 Friends but am excited by the new opportunity (though I do wish they had a shorter name!).

So, 1000 Friends is in need of a part-time office administrator. It’s a great place to work – I can’t believe that I’ve been there almost 6 years. The posting is attached. Please distribute widely – I want to leave Steve and Deb in capable hands.


Barb Irvin

Finance Director

1000 Friends of Wisconsin

16 N Carroll St, Ste 810

Madison, WI 53703

608.259.1000 x101



Job Opening: Office Manager

1000 Friends of Wisconsin, a statewide non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, is seeking a part-time Office Manager. 1000 Friends advocates and promotes good land use policy making the connection between land use and transportation decisions and our state’s economic and environmental health. We have a small, energetic staff, supportive board, and dedicated membership. Founded in 1996, 1000 Friends is the only statewide organization focused exclusively on Smart Growth comprehensive planning and implementation.

For further information on 1000 Friends, check our website:

Salaried position at 20 hours/week in a flexible, fun and fast-paced office environment.


  • Manage overall day-to-day operations of the office.
  • Manage organizational bookkeeping using QuickBooks software; process invoices; manage accounts payable; make deposits; maintain system for cost allocation; generate financial reports for board meetings, funding applications, and funding reports; monitor cash flow; and oversee annual audit of organization finances.
  • Handle check and credit card processing.
  • Coordinate payroll and employee benefits program, including retirement plan and flexible spending accounts.
  • Maintain member database; produce renewal requests; analyze membership trends.
  • Assist the Development Director.
  • Provide clerical and administrative support to Executive Director and for other staff as appropriate.
  • Order/maintain office supplies, equipment and computer systems. Contact vendors for repairs and maintenance.
  • Assist with event and program planning.
  • Respond to routine phone calls and route other calls as appropriate.
  • Edit newsletter articles, correspondence and reports.

Qualifications · Experience with management of a small office preferred · Grant management (financial) · Experience with Microsoft Office applications, especially Excel, required · Experience with bookkeeping (especially with QuickBooks) required · IT skills and database experience · Excellent oral and written communication skills · Ability to interact effectively with volunteers, members, staff and the general public  · Ability to work independently on multiple projects · Commitment to mission of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.

Submit a cover letter (no more than two pages) detailing qualifications with salary requirements and a resume to: or mail to:

Deb Nemeth

1000 Friends of Wisconsin

16 North Carroll St., Suite 810

Madison WI 53703

Application deadline: October 28, 2009.

More Democratic Betrayal on the Environment

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Laugh or cry?

Clean coal Senator Kerry? It doesn’t exist.

Still suffering from those nuclear too-cheap-to-meter fantasies, dear Senator? Get over it. It is still the wrong energy source. It always be.

Just pass a modest carbon tax that ratchets up over time and watch a billion good ideas spring forth. We don’t need your top-down, Stalinistic plans. We can get it down to 350 on our own.

Just make sure to reduce the income tax (or increase tax credits) by an amount equal to that brought in by the carbon tax. Structure the tax reductions/credits such that the impact on the poor & middle class will be nil (and thereby shutting up both the whiny liberals as well as your tax-phobic buddies over on the Republican side of the aisle).

In the meantime, maybe you & your party should stop taking so much money from the old, gray power industries of yore. It might clear up your judgment.

Jesus H. Obama and the Continuing Betrayal of Our Shared Ideals

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Nobody captures the JHO’s escalating betrayal better than Greenwald.

It’s time to turn up the heat on the Poseur-in-Chief.

City of Madison Engineering v. Nature

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

It is unbelievable just how unimaginative engineers are. The latest show of ignorance right here in 4 Lakes City regards the health of our streams. Indeed, the level of ignorance about the hydrologic cycle is astounding; from the linked article above:

As for rain gardens, Coleman [a city sanitary and storm water engineer] says, “Residential rain gardens are good things, but they only handle flows during a small rain event. We have to design for large events.”

Um, yeah. She needs to come inspect my four rain gardens during a major stormwater event. Not even the record 3.5″+ rain storm of a couple of weeks ago could overtop my raingardens (which handle the entirety of the water coming off of my roof, and a large part of that which comes off of my yard). Typical of the engineer’s mindset, she ignores the power of the “bio” in the bio-infiltration power of the raingarden. Even during the winter these things work. But raingardens just don’t fit into the “sheet & pipe” ideology of the engineer.

Raingardens probably wouldn’t do much to boost the ever-bloating budget of City of Madison Engineering either.

The city could do its part by installing raingarden swales along each and every curb terrace and median. They could easily form bioswales in public properties throughout the city to significantly a) increase infiltration and b) reduce stormwater surges. They could provide incentives for residents to create their own raingardens.

Instead, we get monster engineering projects like this:


Or this….


Or this….


Or this…..


Or this…..


And apparently the city has plans for more “Godzilla Gulches” just like this one. Check out the efforts of the Hillcrest neighborhood to save their stream from this fate.

Madison Metro’s Numbers Crash

Monday, October 5th, 2009

It is worse than I originally thought. By my number crunching (from the latest Madison Metro Operating Statistics For Periods Ending 8/31/2008 &8/31/2009–opens in PDF) Madison Metro lost more than 4.5% of its ridership in August 2009 compared to the same period in ’08. That’s ugly. It is a lot worse than prior months whose numbers were already abysmally depressed.

And it will only get worse. The same bus fare models bus advocates used to predict the current losses also show a steepening dropoff over time (imagine a downward pointing hockey stick on a graph). Here’s what happens: as the higher fares start to inflict their pain, people start seeking out alternatives: walking, carpooling, biking (the only mode to actually increase during this time period), or just eliminating trips altogether. That often takes a few months to work out, but people will work it out, and they will get themselves out of the jam inflicted upon them by this car loving mayor. That is unfortunate for our beloved bus system, but there you have it.

Financially, the numbers are abysmal. It looks like Metro’s revenues have crashed, missing the budget by $799,815. The bulk of that–$630,631–was the result of depressed ridership, thanks to the fare jacking.

Heckuva job, Mayor Pave!

I’m just truly sorry that the bus system and bus riders end up being collateral damage in his jihad against cleaner modes of transportation.

MSN Mayor Paves His Way to a Higher State of Enlightenment*

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

We are so benighted, yet so lucky to have such an enlightened leader:

While I don’t have a problem with our Capitol view preservation height limit, I generally view height limits and rigid growth boundaries as anti-urban polices that are, in the end, also not in the best interests of our natural environment.

Mansion Hill Neighborhood, he’s talking to you! Just accept that ugly bloatitecture in your midst!

Critics of his bloated paving budgets, just deal with it: more concrete is better; it is a sign of having reached the highest state of enlightenment.

*Alt title: “Mayor Pave’s Ghost in the Growth Machine”