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Monday, July 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Paper


Flame-throwing for the hell of it
Ah, the joy of dashing off some poison-print commentary

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Recently someone I told off on a listserv rebuked me, saying this is a "flame" and considered bad form. Who knew the Internet was such a model of civility and decorum?

I stand corrected and won't do it again. But gosh, what fun it was! Thank heavens we still have print newspapers, where a fellow can work out on deserving targets without offending tender sensibilities. To wit:

Dear state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Racine): You told the State Journal that Gov. Jim Doyle's plan to modestly raise income taxes on the wealthiest 1% of the state's residents constitutes "resorting to class warfare" and will undermine investment in the economy.

Wrong, ditto-head! First of all, we already have full- blown class warfare. It's called capitalism. But the side that routinely sustains the greatest casualties rarely fights back.

You want jobs? Investment in the economy? The dumbest thing you can possibly do is let the wealthy keep more of the loot, no strings attached. In fact, giving anyone money with no strings attached does nothing except ensure that they have more money. Which brings us to:

Dear President Obama: You're giving the average citizen a $400 annual tax break, which comes to $7.69 a week. Do you really think Joe and Sally Lunchbox are going to say, "Let's do our part and use this week's $15 to buy stuff, to help the nation get over this hump"?

These dismal, uninspired tax cuts will add $115 billion to the national debt. They're just as idiotic as tax cuts for the rich. No wonder people are saying your new slogan is "Change you can forget about." (And by people, I mean me; I came up with that line and want credit.)

If you want to stimulate the economy, give me a Menards card! That would work. I'm serious! Why can't the government tie this money to new spending, if that's the goal? We put a man on the moon; surely we can master the concept of multi-vendor gift certificates.

Dear Wisconsin State Journal: I compliment your push for judicial merit selection ("Best Crusade," Cheap Shots, 12/25/08), and what do you do? You concoct the world's lamest campaign, running lists and photos of state lawmakers who refuse to be intimidated by you into rejecting a modest pay hike.

Yes, the state needs every cent it can get; that's why you should support tax increases on corporations and the rich. Admit it: You're picking on legislators solely because they're an easy target.

Why not go after doctors whose massive salaries make health care unaffordable? Or corporate execs like Mary Junck of Lee Enterprises, whose $850,000 annual pay could go a long way toward saving jobs at your paper. Yes, those are rhetorical questions.

Dear Gov. Doyle: Your budget bill would purge from the state's online court records the names of people evicted from their rental properties due to foreclosures. What, aren't bankers already giving you enough dough?

First of all, what is this doing in a budget bill? Shouldn't the merits or demerits of this thoroughly nonfiscal idea be separately debated? Or is that only a problem when Republican governors do it?

Second, why not just make it clear on the website that these people have been evicted through no fault of their own? Better still: Why not stop banks from evicting blameless tenants, possibly after helping themselves to heaping mounds of federal bailout money, instead of making it harder for the public to know this is happening?

Dear "Alternative Voice": I have no idea who you are, because you're one of these miserable cowards who post comments on websites using a silly pseudonym. (I guess maybe there are occasional breakdowns in online etiquette.) But I see you like to attack me on the Forum, saying things like "That guy is the biggest fake in the business. All he does is go to Republican Party events and then completely make up quotes and stories...."

Um, excuse me? What stories and quotes are made up? Do you mean my report on the GOP party last November, where I quoted overheard conversations and did on-the-record interviews with named subjects? It all happened, just as I said.

So back up your assertions or shut your pie-hole. And next time, have the guts to use your name.

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