Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for April 2011

Just reviewed Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts” for SBR

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Just reviewed Erik Larson’s IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS: LOVE, TERROR, AND AN AMERICAN FAMILY IN HITLER’S BERLIN at Shiny Book Review.  Great book — another history that reads like fiction, except this all happened.  Go grab it now (or at least go read my review).

Here’s the link, folks:

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Book reviews

Kate and Prince William’s Nuptials: Who Cares?

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Today is a recount-free zone here at my blog, mostly because I actually observed the statewide Wisconsin mandatory judicial recount for myself and am exhausted from doing so.  This is why I decided to look at the other huge worldwide issue — that of Prince William of England’s upcoming wedding to Kate Middleton — and have come to a decision regarding my feelings on the matter.

To wit: who cares?

Honestly, I don’t get the hype here that has provoked story after story after story on network news, cable news, and on the Internet.  It’s not like this is a sudden thing — after all, Kate and Prince William have dated for seven years, right?   So while I’ll give Kate and the Prince some real props for their persistence, and some more for getting to know each other very well before committing to a marriage, I still do not understand the build-up to the royal wedding.

Yes, Prince William is the likely successor to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, as it’s rumored that his father, Prince Charles, will be bypassed in William’s favor.  Yes, Prince William, like his brother Prince Harry, looks very much like his deceased mother, Princess Diana; yes, his mother would assuredly be very proud of her son getting married regardless of his station.  (There’s more press when you’re royal, true.  But any mother is likely to feel much the same, royalty or no, when her son is about to walk down the aisle and make a lifelong commitment.)

Still.  I did understand some of the hype behind the Prince Charles and the then-Lady Diana Spencer because she was quite young (twenty, I think), appeared quite innocent, and she was leaving her entire way of life behind at such a young age.  She was young, fresh-faced, entrancing in her perceived innocence and someone everyone in the world could root for because of all of these qualities.

This marriage — well, it’s not the same.  Both Prince William and Kate Middleton are in their late twenties, and are not seen as young, innocent, immature, naïve, entrancing in their innocence — no, none of that.  And while that’s actually helpful to their long-term hopes for a marriage (the better you know each other, the better chance you have for a successful marriage), it doesn’t exactly make for a riveting story-line.

Part of the reason the Prince Charles-Lady Diana wedding was so interesting to watch was the contrast between the then-kindergarten teacher/assistant Diana and her betrothed, Prince Charles — an international bon vivant, painter, polo player, sometime diplomat and much, much more.  And Charles was considerably older than Diana when he married her; she was only 20, and he was 32. 

So what we had in the Charles-Diana wedding was a handfasting of opposites, and that was compelling theatre that interested many.  While what we have now in the William-Kate nuptials is more the meeting of the minds, two people who know each other well and seem much better-prepared to marry, and while that’s all well and good for both their personal and dynastic hopes, a compelling drama it does not make.

So I reiterate: Why should I care about this wedding, again?

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm

My Review for “Nocturnal Origins” is Appreciated

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Folks, Amanda S. Green, who wrote NOCTURNAL ORIGINS for Naked Reader Press, has thanked me for my review, which has to be a first.  (Or is it a second?  Whatever it is, it happens very infrequently, so I’m celebrating it.)

Here’s her blog:

And her quote:

 Nocturnal Origins is doing pretty good so far as an e-book.  Actually, I’m thrilled with the preliminary numbers I’m seeing, but would, of course, love them to be better.  What author doesn’t?  And I’m absolutely ecstatic about the reviews it’s gotten so far.  I have to give a special shout out to Barb Caffrey at Shiny Book Review and say thanks for her review.

Green also mentioned that a trade paperback version of NOCTURNAL ORIGINS is now available and can be ordered from here (note that I lifted this link verbatim from her Web site; I still don’t know how to embed links).

I think Amanda Green is a writer to keep your eye on, as I’ve said before; NOCTURNAL ORIGINS is a suspenseful urban fantasy with shape-shifters and is also a good, solid police procedural.   I loved her main character, Detective Mackenzie “Mac” Santos (who goes from Sergeant to Lieutenant in the novel), as she’s strong but not invulnerable, and has obvious flaws.  (I do love me some flawed characters; they’re easier to empathize with.)  Best yet, it’s intended to be the first book in a series, which means we’ll have a great deal more to read and discuss in the months and years to come.

The Naked Reader is putting out high-quality fiction, and I urge you to check them out.   Whether you’re a reader, a writer, or just a bibliophile, you’ll appreciate what NRP (the short-form version of Naked Reader Press) is doing.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Mandatory Recount Starts Tomorrow — and Kathy Nickolaus Recuses Herself in Waukesha County

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Folks, the biggest thing to hit Wisconsin politics in twenty-two years starts tomorrow — the mandatory recount for the race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court between challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg and incumbent Justice David Prosser.  Prosser, as you might recall from my previous blog posts, is a former Republican Speaker of the Assembly, and though judges are officially non-partisan, JoAnne Kloppenburg was seen as an independent or perhaps as a left-leaning potential jurist (though truly none of us know what she’ll do, she seems honest and fair-minded, and potentially a very good judge).

Though I should have more to say on this tomorrow, right now I have one piece of news to report and it’s unexpected — it’s that Kathy Nickolaus, the under-fire County Clerk of Waukesha County, has recused herself from the upcoming proceedings.  Nickolaus gained national fame (or infamy, take your pick) when she realized, a day and a half late, that she hadn’t properly counted Brookfield’s 14,000 votes, throwing the race to Prosser by 7,000 votes due to the pattern of votes in Brookfield.  Nickolaus claimed she’d “not hit the save button” and blamed her failure to count Brookfield on “human error,” yet there have been multitudinous errors in Waukesha County for years (please see previous blogs on the subject, especially this one: and Nickolaus has always blamed “human error.”

Here’s the story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

And a quote:

Nickolaus took herself out of the recount process, Nowak said, to avoid the appearance of conflict or to give the candidates the ability to raise objections about her performance.

Nickolaus sent out communications to local clerks who had to provide additional materials for the recount, which starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Nickolaus will still be present for the recount as the county clerk, Nowak said. She will not serve on the Canvass Board, which includes Democrat Ramona Kitzinger and Republican Pat Karcher.

As a result of Nickolaus’ election-night reporting error, the Government Accountability Board investigated her canvass and her business practices. Last week, the board said that despite some anomalies, the canvass was consistent with results reported by local municipal clerks.

Note that instead of Nickolaus, two others will be observing the mandatory recount in Waukesha county, these being retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley and a retired state elections official, Barb Hansen from the Town of Delafield, who should be able to assist Mawdsley during the recount proceedings.

I am glad the recount is proceeding and look forward to more updates as the week progresses.

Oh, and one other update — the Committee to Recall sitting Republican state Senator Robert Cowles (from Green Bay) has announced they have enough signatures to force a recall election, but will turn in their signatures to the Government Accountability Board on Thursday (I’m assuming this is due to the mandatory recount for the judicial race) in Madison.  Here’s a link:

So the recall efforts continue to progress as well.

Meditations on Easter

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Today is Easter Sunday for most of the Western World, and I thought as it is both a secular holiday and a very holy day (where the word “holiday” came from), I’d talk about what Easter has come to mean for me.

To me, Easter means, above all else, forgiveness.  Now, this may seem odd, as Easter is the day which commemorates Jesus Christ rising from the dead after being entombed three days before; you might wonder how I’m getting forgiveness from this, rather than persistence (which also applies), or hope (which certainly applies), or even faith itself (which definitely applies).

Simply put: Jesus was crucified on the cross, which was a common punishment of that day and time.  Jesus was a very spiritual, holy man who believed in love, and truth, and light and faith — among many, many other good things — yet if he hadn’t forgiven the Romans who placed him on that cross, nor if he hadn’t forgiven Judas Iscariot (one of his Twelve Apostles) for placing him in a horrible position in the first place, nor if he hadn’t forgiven Peter (another of his apostles) for betraying him to the Romans . . . well, if Jesus hadn’t forgiven any of them, why would he have risen from the dead in the first place, much less done anything else after that?

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that condemning an innocent man to death merely because you’re afraid of him (the Romans), or you need money more than you need his friendship (apparently Judas’s problem), or you’re unable to resist the pressure (though this is human and completely forgivable, while the other two actions are hard for modern readers to understand whatsoever) has got to be the worst thing you can possibly do to him.  It is a grave sin in the worst of senses — you’ve ended a very good man’s life, a holy man’s life, someone who had done many wonderful things (including miraculous healings, feeding a huge multitude from very little, and much more) — for little or no reason, all because too many people were afraid of Jesus because Jesus refused to stop spreading his Word.

Yet Jesus forgave these people who sinned against him, some grievously (the Romans, those within his own Temple, Judas Iscariot) and those who sinned because they could not help themselves (Peter).  And in the process, he brought hope, and light, and joy, and the belief that the spirit is eternal — or at least that it can be — and that all who wish it may learn about his Father (the Deity, otherwise known as God) and become better, wiser, kinder people who will partake of eternal life.

Now, the various denominations of Christianity differ on what, exactly, eternal life may be.  Some think it is literally a restoration of our human faculties, but for eternity and without pain, aging, health problems or death.  While some others believe that it means our souls are eternal — that our bodies ultimately don’t matter, but our souls do, which is why we must behave the best way we can, knowing all the while that we will sin and we will err, but that we must learn to forgive — not just our enemies, but ourselves.

Christians believe Jesus was the only son of God, while other faiths differ — some believe Jesus was a prophet, a holy man, or merely a good man who meant well.  Yet somehow, the happiness of Easter tends to wind through every life, no matter how far away your belief system or spirituality is from the Christian belief system, because the message of forgiveness, along with the twin meanings of hope out of absolute despair (Jesus’s death was widely mourned) and the belief that anyone can be redeemed.  Even a Roman who put Jesus on the cross to be crucified; even Judas Iscariot, who sold out his good friend Jesus; even Peter, who was weak during his hour of testing and had to learn to forgive himself for it after Jesus rose from the dead.

I believe in forgiveness, and most importantly, I believe in the eternal nature of the soul.  As such, Easter may be the most important holiday we still have because it celebrates the worth of an important man, a very good man who did many, many wonderful things in his lifetime — a man the world can’t stop talking about.  A man the Christians revere as Divine, yes — but Divinity alone isn’t why we remember Jesus, is it?

The last thing Easter means to me is that to believe in miracles still means something.  All of Jesus’s family, friends, most of his colleagues, his followers, they all prayed for a miracle.  Every single last one of them prayed — and they got their miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and came among them once more to spread the word and to remind them to “love one another” as he had loved them.

I believe in redemption, yes, but even more, I believe in the power of miracles.  We need more of them in our lives, to remind us of how special life can be — at this time of misery in the United States, with extremely high unemployment numbers and stories about people getting killed for the few dollars in their pockets, it seems to me that whether the story of Jesus was true or not, we need his story like never before.

But I, for one, really hope the story of Jesus, all he did, and all he was, is true.  Because it’s wonderful to think of a Deity who’d love us so much that despite all of our failings, our shortcomings, our problems and our pain — much less our wailings to him of woe (something the Christian God is said to welcome) — that he’d send his son to help us, guide us, and then to redeem us.


Note that Horus among the Egyptian Gods has a very similar life-path and story to that of Jesus Christ.  And there probably are other Gods and Goddesses throughout recorded history who share some of the same characteristics; as a Unitarian-Universalist who’s studied a great deal of comparative religion, I believe that the message — that the soul is eternal, and that we can have joy if we want it, no matter how flawed we are and no matter how many mistakes we make in the process — is the same, but that the messengers used may not have been.  (Or maybe that’s just how our human minds can perceive it.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 24, 2011 at 2:03 am

Updates: More pending recalls (Dems and Rs), etc.

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Before we get to the latest folks being recalled, the first update has to do with the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.   The two sides (Prosser and Kloppenburg) have come to an agreement about the recount, and it will start next Monday.  Please see this story for further details, which gives details about how this particular state-wide recount (the first in twenty-two years) will take place:

Now, as for the newest pending recalls — the drive to recall the Republican 8 continues, as the committee to recall Republican Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) turned in 30,000 signatures — significantly more than the 20,043 signatures required by law (1/4 of the last election) — to see her recalled.

However, we now have three Democrats — Jim Holperin (D-Conover), Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) and Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) — who have had recall petitions filed against them.   The signatures needed for Holperin was 15,960, with over 23,000 turned in; the signatures needed for Wirch was 13,537, with over 18,000 turned in, and the signatures for Hansen was 13,852 with nearly 19,000 turned in.

See this link for further details:

The main difference between the Dems and the Rs at this point is that two of these three Dems appear to be in “safe,” heavily Democratic districts — Hansen and Wirch both have districts that went for Kloppenburg in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election, while Holperin’s district is the only one I’d really tend to be worried about — while all five of the Rs with recalls pending could easily lose and lose big.

Here’s a quote from the rally to recall Alberta Darling held on Thursday, April 21, 2011, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article of the same date (link posted above):

Kristopher Rowe of Shorewood, a Darling recall leader who created the Facebook page that sparked the campaign, told several hundred people at the Kletzsch Park rally that they weren’t done until Darling was voted out of office.

“We’re going to finish, and we’re going to finish strong,” he said.

Now, you might be wondering why, in particular, recall groups have focused on getting rid of Alberta Darling.  It’s because she was co-chair of the committee that allowed Gov. Scott Walker (R)’s “budget-repair bill” into the whole Senate; she had all the power in the world to stop that bill from ever coming to light unless/until some of the worst problems with it were fixed, yet she refused to use it.

Further from the Journal-Sentinel article:

Darling is the fifth Republican state senator against whom petitions have been filed.

Darling, a co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, is a central figure in the budget battles that spawned recall efforts against eight Republican and eight Democratic senators. Her opponents clearly will try to hang the budget on her, as did one rally speaker, who referred to the proposed budget as “both immoral and bad economics.”

As I’ve said before, the other four Republicans with recalls pending are:  Luther Olson (R-Ripon), Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse), Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) and Sheila Harsdorf (R-Hudson/River Falls).

And finally, it is confirmed that both Sheldon Wasserman (former Rep., who nearly beat Darling in 2008, losing by about 1000 votes) and Sandy Pasch (the current Rep., D-Whitefish Bay) are seriously thinking about challenging Darling in the pending recall election.  (Note that the Journal-Sentinel had a PolitiFact article today saying it’s wrong to say any of these Senators have been recalled; all we can say is “recalls pending,” as I’ve been saying, or that the “recall petitions have been filed.”)  Both are strong candidates, and the Journal-Sentinel rates this race as “the most competitive race . . .  in the Milwaukee area” (there are five Senators, both R and Dem., who will have to run in recall elections providing the signatures hold up).

Because of the pending recount in the Kloppenburg-Prosser judicial race, it’s possible the recall petitions will take longer to “‘vet” than usual; the Government Accountability Board has been quite busy this year, with no signs of letting up, and it’s the GAB that must oversee both things.

Finally, in personal news, I have one good thing to report.  I wrote 2000 words into part 47 of AN ELFY ABROAD last night, breaking a log-jam that had lasted three weeks after first talking with a friend about the story, then hearing from a different one why I should just give it up already.  (Obviously I disagreed with my second friend.)

Otherwise, I just hit the six year and seven month observance in my personal “grief journey” . . . I tried hard to distract myself and even succeeded for a while, but then I wondered, “What the Hell am I doing?”

Update: Vinny Rottino

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Folks, I am truly pleased to give this update on Vinny Rottino — while he’s still not hitting, it appears that last year, the reason he was sent to AA ball (after succeeding several times at the AAA level) was at his own request.

Peter Jackel at the Racine Journal-Times broke this story, and here’s some relevant quotes from his story dated April 19, 2011, “Rottino Still Chasing A Big Dream,” available at :

For a sense of just how serious Rottino is, consider this story:

Just after being signed by the Marlins prior to the 2010 season, Rottino was sent to Class AAA New Orleans and told younger prospects would receive the preference in playing time.

After a few games, Rottino approached the Marlins’ brass and asked to be sent down to Class AA Jacksonville, where he would be able to play every day. That meant willingly forfeiting half the $12,000 monthly salary he would have received by playing at Class AAA to have a greater chance to showcase his skills. In other words, Rottino conceded about $36,000 in salary last year.

“It was the right decision,” Rottino said. “When I came to spring training this year, one of the guys in the front office pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to you last year, but I just wanted to let you know I’ve never seen that before – a guy wanting to take half the pay to play in Double A. I just wanted you to know how impressed I am.’ “

Note the reason for being impressed likely was not just the fact that Rottino has persisted (he’s now 31, a full adult, who knows exactly what he wants and is doing his best to get it), but that Rottino had an outstanding year last year in Jacksonville, batting .307 with 22 steals (and only 2 “caught stealing,” an excellent percentage), 69 RBI, 8 HR and a stellar .385 on-base percentage (OBP). 

Rottino did exactly the right thing for himself; he went to AA ball, played every position (he’s an IF-OF-C), hit well, stole many bases, took walks, and proved he’s still “got it.”  And with his excellent season, he was named the best utility player in the Southern League at the end of the 2010 season — the first major award Rottino had won in over two and a half years for his play.

Rottino, as I’ve said before, is an outstanding defensive outfielder and a very good defensive infielder; he’s fast, positions himself well, has a good arm and does everything right — he has outstanding “baseball fundamentals,” in short, from every statistic I’ve ever seen (and from the very few times I’ve actually managed to see Rottino play).  He can pinch hit, though he’s better if he plays every day, and is a contact hitter rather than someone who hits for power — with his speed, his ideal position in a lineup would probably be either second or seventh.

At any rate, I know I was frustrated when Rottino started on a tear at AAA ball last year, hitting two triples in one game for New Orleans, then was sent down.  But now that I know that Rottino requested it in order to get more playing time, and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I agree that Rottino made exactly the right decision for himself.

But for the rest of us, there’s a lesson to be learned here.  Persistence is important.  Look how hard Vinny Rottino has tried, knowing his full worth — he deserves a chance to play major league ball.  And I believe he will get that chance if he just keeps trying; it doesn’t matter about his age, it only matters about his ability and his determination and his drive.  Rottino has a winning attitude and I applaud him for refusing to give up on himself or his talents.

Here’s hoping that Rottino will find his hitting stroke and have a great season in AAA ball.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Update: Wisconsin state Senator (R) recalls

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So far in Wisconsin, we have four Republican Senators who will, apparently, face recall elections.  These Senators all have had recall petitions filed in Madison with the Government Accountability Board (GAB).  The newest “victims” are Luther Olsen of Ripon and Sheila Harsdorf of Hudson/River Falls, joining earlier Senators Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) and Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac).    Note this link isn’t perfect but it should take you to the story about Olson:

24,000 signatures were turned in to recall Luther Olsen, which is quite a bit more than the 14,733 signatures needed.  This article also points out that the previous Republican state Senators being recalled, Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper, are challenging the signatures and procedures.

As for Sheila Harsdorf, the petitions to recall her were filed today also.

This story, from the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press, states that the Harsdorf recall committee turned in over 23,000 signatures when they needed only 15,744.  This follows suit with the other recalls to date; basically, every Republican state Senator where the petitions have already been turned in has had at least 5,000 additional signatures to guard against any signatures being stricken due to ineligibility.

Here’s a really good article from the Hudson Star-Observer, available at  A relevant quote from this article:

(New Richland High School teacher Rich) Herron was one of four speakers at Monday evening’s rally.

He began by relating how he got involved in the petition drive.

Four months earlier, he said, he had been telling a co-worker how truly happy we was with his career and the work he was doing with at-risk students.

Then Gov. Scott Walker unveiled the budget repair bill that would strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights and reduce spending on education and programs to assist the disadvantaged, Herron said.

“And I had the naïve hope that sanity and cooler heads were going to prevail,” he said. “…I kept waiting. Then I watched hundreds of thousands of people descend on Madison, my family among them, thinking they would have to listen to us. We pleaded and we begged, and yeah, sometimes we yelled. But somewhere in there I realized they never intended to listen to us. They never intended to concede anything.”

This is why people like Herron got involved.

Going on:

Herron described picking up petition sheets at a Hudson coffee shop in early March. He said that after going door-to-door in Hudson for two hours and collecting 10 signatures, he knew he needed a better plan.

“So my family and I, you know, the well-funded union machine that we are – outside agitators from New Richmond – spent $83 on some signs and a canopy,” Herron related.

The crowd laughed at the reference to Sen. Harsdorf’s claims that outside union officials are behind the effort to oust her.

Herron said he and other volunteers “sat out in the wind and snow in New Richmond,” and in a few days had 500 signatures. Eventually, 1,600 New Richmond-area residents signed the petition, he said.

Herron said the people he remembers best are the Republicans who signed.

One off-duty police officer said he had driven past him for four days, and each time wrestled over whether he should sign.

“The reason I am, is because wrong is wrong,” the officer reportedly told Herron.

And that, exactly, is why so many people of all parties in Wisconsin are astonished and disgusted at Republican Governor Scott Walker and his eighteen Republican state Senators.

This is a state-wide movement that’s not about Democrats, not about Republicans, not about Independents — it’s about simple fairness.  Period.

We didn’t get it, and we deserve it.  Which is why all of these Republican Senators eligible for recall right now will be recalled.

Once again, I say that persistence is absolutely important.  Look at these folks who put together the recalls.  They started on March 3, 2011, were told they had no chance to get enough signatures (1/4 of the total of the voters in the last election was what was needed, which is a high number) and shouldn’t even bother because “recalls rarely work.”  Yet now, four Republican state Senators will face recall elections until/unless signatures are stricken or the entire process is invalidated (that latter tactic is what Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, is trying.  I doubt he will succeed, but if he does, the Recall Kapanke folks believe they can gather enough signatures again very easily), and it’s all due to their vote on Governor Scott Walker’s “budget-repair bill,” which caused massive protests throughout the state (not just in Madison; that was just where it was the most widely-reported). 

Eighteen Republican Senators voted “yes” on that bill, with all fourteen Democratic Senators still out of the state in Illinois protesting at that time who would’ve voted no.  One Republican Senator, Dale Schultz of Richland Center, had the courage to vote “no.”  Schultz now is the only Republican Senator who is likely to hold his seat without facing a recall election.

So now, we in Wisconsin can be pleased — four Senators, at the same time, will face recall elections, the first time in American history it’s ever happened.  But the Republicans should not believe this will be the end, because I can assure you, it won’t be.

First, we have four more Republican state Senators — Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) — who are eligible for recall right now.  Signatures are still being gathered there and I am confident that several more of these Republicans will be recalled due to their vote on the controversial “budget-repair” bill.

Next, while the other ten Republican state Senators who voted for that bill are ineligible for recall now, that does not mean they will not be recalled later

I, for one, plan to help recall Van Wanggaard, my sitting Republican Senator who, as I’ve said before, is a retired policeman and a former member of the policeman’s union, yet voted against collective bargaining when he cast a vote for that “budget-repair bill.”  I find that highly hypocritical at best, shameful at worst, and believe that Wanggaard must go.

And I’ve heard from other friends in other parts of the state, who will recall their Republican Senator at first opportunity (this November, we can start to gather signatures) — this isn’t over.  (Oh, no.  This definitely isn’t over.)  And it won’t be until Governor Scott Walker, himself, is recalled.

Recount necessary — for one, Waukesha County Voting Irregularities go back to 2004

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We’ve been having interesting times this year in Wisconsin, with protests against Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin state Senate Republicans for passing Walker’s “budget repair bill” that stripped public employee union members of their collective bargaining rights, then a hotly-contested state Supreme Court election that looked to be won by the challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg by about 200 votes over incumbent Justice David Prosser.

Realize that right now, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court (with David Prosser as a sitting Justice) has a 4-3 conservative-liberal/centrist edge; then realize that Walker’s “budget-repair bill” is likely headed to the Supreme Court.  Then realize that David Prosser is a former Republican Speaker of the Assembly (Wisconsin’s lower house, equivalent to the federal House of Representatives) . . . that’s why the race for state Supreme Court justice was so vitally important.

But then came Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus — County Clerk of the “reddest” Republican district in the entire state —  who said she’d “forgotten to save” the accurate count for the Town of Brookfield two days after the election was over; when those votes were added in, all of a sudden Prosser led Kloppenburg by over 7,000 votes. 

And that’s where it’s stood ever since; the Government Accountability Board is still investigating Waukesha and its County Clerk, but has certified the results of the Supreme Court election.   Because the vote totals were so close (each candidate had about 750,000 votes), and is within 1/2 of a percentage point (meaning Prosser leads Kloppenburg right now with 50.04% of the vote to Kloppenburg’s 49.96% or something along those lines), the state of Wisconsin must pick up the tab if a recount is requested.

Because a 7,000 vote margin is nearly impossible to make up — especially when that margin is established after the voting is over, because a county clerk “realized (her) error” — the Kloppenburg campaign is still mulling over whether to request this recount.

However, with all the allegations regarding the problems in Waukesha County alone, a recount must be requested — only then will the voters of Wisconsin know that all the votes have been properly tallied.  A hand-recount is absolutely vital, and remains the only way to know for certain who voted for whom and why — right now, the canvass only counted vote totals, and we know totals can be manipulated deliberately (as well as be wrong due to human error).

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Waukesha County’s problems are worse than just this year, folks.  In fact, Waukesha County’s problems are so bad that it’s absolutely, positively stunning.

For example, in Waukesha County in 2006, there were more votes cast than there were voters.

Here’s a link:

And here’s a quote:

NOVEMBER 7, 2006

PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 211).  .  .  .  .       210   99.53
REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL .  .  .  .  .        0
BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL.  .  .  .  .  .  .            156,804

DOYLE/LAWTON (DEM)  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    61,401   34.86
GREEN/HUNDERTMARK (REP).  .  .  .  .   112,242   63.73
EISMAN/TODD (WGR).  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     2,320    1.32
WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .             149     .08

 KATHLEEN FALK (DEM) .  .  .  .  .  .  .    55,608   31.95              
 J.B. VAN HOLLEN (REP)  .  .  .  .  .  .     118,342   67.99              
 WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .            97     .06

SECRETARY OF STATE                                                      
 DOUG LA FOLLETTE (DEM) .  .  .  .  .  .    68,302   40.07              
 SANDY SULLIVAN (REP).  .  .  .  .  .  .     96,199   56.44              
 MICHAEL LAFOREST (WGR) .  .  .  .  .  .   5,886    3.45              
 WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .              53     .03

So, do you see it? In the race for Governor/Lieutenant Governor there were a total of 176,112 votes cast. For Attorney General there were a total of 174,047 votes cast. And for Secretary of State there were a total 170,440 votes cast.

So, look at the 3rd line of the top of that report…Total Ballots Cast: 156,804. So based on those numbers 20,000 extra votes were cast in the election that weren’t actually accounted for in the ballots cast. Again, another sign of election fraud.

(Quote ends.)

Note that the original figures are available here:

And that’s not all — also from this DKos article, did you know that in 2004, apparently a whopping 97.63% — no, that’s not a misprint — of registered voters went out to vote?  And that in 2005, an off-year for elections, 50,000 new voters were registered when in ’04 there was only a 1.3% increase (about 3,000 voters) for a hotly-contested Presidential election?

I’m sorry, folks; this does not pass the “smell test.”  Something’s really off here.

A good friend of mine found all this out from this blog, and posted it to my Facebook page:

As this latter blog from Tech Dirt points out:

To say the least, these numbers are pretty troubling if you believe in the integrity of democratic elections.

Amen to that — and that’s exactly why we need a hand recount of all the ballots cast in the recent Supreme Court election.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Just reviewed Kate Paulk’s “Impaler” for SBR — a must-read, intelligent, superlative novel

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Folks, I’ve rarely read a better novel than Kate Paulk’s IMPALER, which is a historical with some fantasy (and a bit of alternate history) about Vlad III of Wallachia, called “the Impaler Prince” by the Turks he often fought due to his way of dealing with battlefield enemies.   Paulk’s version of Vlad has you rooting for him throughout — he’s sober, reliable, responsible, interesting, a devout Christian (as you’d expect) and a scholar (which I knew I hadn’t expected, but makes sense), and is someone you really want to succeed despite the terrible “curse” he has — that of being a berserker, one with the need to drink blood.

This is one of the best first novels I’ve ever read — now, it’s time for you to read my review, then go to the Naked Reader ( and buy Paulk’s book already!

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Book reviews, Books