September 7, 2005

Senator’s Husband Injured in Crash Delivering Supplies to Katrina Victims

Press Release from Senator Cathy Stepp.

Paul Stepp, State Senator Cathy Stepp’s husband, was injured Tuesday in Mississippi when his semi tractor and trailer full of donated goods tipped over, caught fire and exploded. Mr. Stepp was en route to Covington, Louisiana to deliver food, clothing and other supplies collected at the Racine Best Buy store during the Labor Day weekend to Gulf Coast hurricane victims. Senator Stepp received a call Tuesday night from a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi informing her that Mr. Stepp sustained shoulder injuries and was evaluated for chest trauma and difficulty breathing. He was released from the hospital Tuesday night.

“Paul’s first words to me were to assure me of his physical well-being. His next words were of despair at the destruction of the donated goods. We are so sorry for the loss of the donations made by hundreds of Racine families, Best Buy, and the Willkomm family. Our hearts are broken over this loss far more than the loss we’ll personally endure,” said Senator Stepp.
Heather Povkovich, a sales associate at the Racine Best Buy, organized the donation effort at the store over the weekend. Best Buy agreed to pay for half of the fuel costs for delivering the semi load down to Louisiana. Also, Jerry Willkomm of Highlands Petro in Sturtevant contributed nearly $400 worth of fuel for the trip. The estimated loss of personal property to the Stepps is approximately $20,000.

The accident occurred when Mr. Stepp attempted to pull off the highway to make way for a military convoy. The trailer tipped, causing both the tractor and trailer to roll off an embankment. The tractor immediately caught fire, but Mr. Stepp was able to climb out safely just moments before the fuel tanks exploded and the entire tractor and trailer went up in flames.

Mr. Stepp was not issued any moving violations in the accident. No one else was hurt, nor was there any property damage in addition to what was lost in the trailer fire.
Senator Stepp is currently working on a way to get her husband home, a task made more difficult due to the fact his wallet containing his identification, cash and credit cards was destroyed in the fire. Senator Stepp is hopeful Mr. Stepp will arrive home safely on Thursday.


Our prayers go out to the Stepp family and all the people trying to help; their task is not an easy one.

Blog Break

Mrs RealDebate and I are going to Mexico for a few days. I am leaving my laptop behind so we will be on a blog break until next week.

I'm interested to see the differences in security from O'Hare to Cancun, will report on that when we get back...

If you're interested, this is where we are going.

September 6, 2005

Balance Schmalance.

Stacie at The Dairy State Conspiracy makes the point we should appoint a moderate Justice to replace O'Connor. I've heard this all over the place.

Why does the replacement of O'Connor need to be a moderate?

Funny how liberals only care about the balance of power when they do not control the Executive branch of Government. Look at what Justice replaced what Justice.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg replaced Justice Byron White (A JFK appointee). In his 31 years on the bench, White was known both for his support of civil rights and his opposition to a woman's right to abortion and to criminal suspects' Miranda rights.

Funny how the left was gleeful about Ginsberg who turned the court significantly to the left, but now we must maintain balance. The hypocrisy here is stunning.

The polls are coming in.

Katrina polls are coming in and what do they show? Everything is breaking down by partisan lines, big surprise.

Views of Hurricane Response

Federal government adequately prepared? Yes 31%, no 67%
State/local government adequately prepared? Yes 24, no 75
Blame Bush? Yes44, no 55

Rating the Government's Handling Katrina
Overall Situation, pos 48, neg 51.
Gas prices, pos 20, neg 79.
Looting, pos 26, neg 71.
Evacuation, pos 38, neg 59.
Food, water needs, pos 43, neg 56.
Search and rescue, pos 58, neg 39

Bush's Response to Katrina

All, 46 approve, 47 disapprove.
Democrats, 17% approve, 71 disapprove.
independentss, 44 approve, 48 disapprove.
Republicans, 74% approve, 22% disapprove.

On feelings on hurricane Katrina, 50% of Dems said they are currently hopeful, 80% of Reps. 63% of Dems are angry over the current situation, 27% of Reps said they were angry as well. 17% of Dems said they were proud of efforts so far, 43% of Republicans said they were proud.

It is pride I would like to speak to. There are heroic efforts going on down there. Impuning the over-all relief effort is a direct slap in the face to these people. If you have a specirfic criticism state it, but this thing should not be painted in broad strokes.

Among the things to debate.
  1. Speed of Federal response.
  2. Effectiveness of local plans.
  3. Effectiveness of state plans.
  4. Effectiveness of federal plans.
  5. How you and your community can best help.

These polls pretty much break down as party lines, you could of predicted it.

This blog attracts about a hundred people per day, maybe 10% post, so in the grand scope of things whatever is said here is not all that important. Reach out among your sphere of influence, ask your friends, coworkers and neighbors what they have done to help. Hold a rummage and donate the proceeds, raid your piggy bank, look for spare change in the couch cushions and help the people.

I would like to see an end to the partisan bickering over this, but will proclaim my hypocrisy now knowing I will likely not be able to stay out of the fray. Debate if you will, but help because it is the right thing to do.

My Magic Eight Ball is Working Over-Time


So the State Legislature is due to get back to work.

Republicans are squawking about repealing the minimum markup law for gasoline and taking a .15 cents holiday on gasoline tax through the end of the year.

I tender the following prediction. Both measures will pass and Jim "Noid" Doyle will veto them. Furthermore he will veto these measures on a Friday afternoon between the hours of 4 and 7 pm. At the same time The Noid is likely to blame President Bush for not doing enough to lower gasoline prices for the hard working people in the State of Wisconsin.

Furthermore, The Noid's indifference to what HE COULD DO, will pretty much seal his fate in the coming election. Congratulations Governor Walker.

Ok this is my prediction, time will tell if I am all wet or not. Please feel free to tender your own predictions, or more likely be critical of mine!

Mayor Nagin Quote.

I offer the following exchange from a CNN interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin:

S. O'BRIEN: There are people who say your evacuation plan, obviously in hindsight, was disastrous.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: Which one?

S. O'BRIEN: Your evacuation plan before -- when you put people into the Superdome. It wasn't thought out. You got 20,000 people in there. And that you bear the brunt of the blame for some of this, a large chunk of it.

NAGIN: Look, I'll take whatever responsibility that I have to take. But let me ask you this question: When you have a city of 500,000 people, and you have a category 5 storm bearing down on you, and you have the best you've ever done is evacuate 60 percent of the people out of the city, and you have never issued a mandatory evacuation in the city's history, a city that is a couple of hundred years old, I did that. I elevated the level of distress to the citizens. And I don't know what else I could do, other than to tell them that it's a mandatory evacuation. And if they stayed, make sure you have a frigging ax in your home, where you can bust out the roof just in case the water starts flowing. And as a last resort, once this thing is above a category 3, there are no buildings in this city to withstand a category 3, a category 4 or a category 5 storm, other than the Superdome. That's where we sent people as a shelter of last resort. When that filled up, we sent them to the Convention Center. Now, you tell me what else we could have done. S.

O'BRIEN: What has Secretary Chertoff promised you? What has Donald Rumsfeld given you and promised you?

NAGIN: Look, I've gotten promises to -- I can't stand anymore promises. I don't want to hear anymore promises. I want to see stuff done. And that's why I'm so happy that the president came down here, because I think they were feeding him a line of bull also. And they were telling him things weren't as bad as it was. He came down and saw it, and he put a general on the field. His name is General Honore. And when he hit the field, we started to see action. And what the state was doing, I don't frigging know. But I tell you, I am pissed. It wasn't adequate. And then, the president and the governor sat down. We were in Air Force One. I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two have to get in sync. If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die.'

S. O'BRIEN: What date was this? When did you say that? When did you say...

NAGIN: Whenever air Force One was here.

S. O'BRIEN: OK.

NAGIN: And this was after I called him on the telephone two days earlier. And I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two need to get together on the same page, because of the lack of coordination, people are dying in my city.'

I really do not want to make a comment on this article yet, what are your thoughts?

Yellow Submarines


What you are looking at are School buses, hundreds of them. These conveyances are sitting in New Orleans flooded out. Buses that could of been used to evacuate people who supposedly had no mode of transportation out of New Orleans. The current situation is as bad as it is on a human level because Local and State officials did not do everything they could to help get people out.

I'm weary of the we need help send the Fed's in and the crocodile tears.Yes, these people needed and need help.

I wrote my check and took it to the Salvation Army, I encourage each of you to do the same.

There is a pecking order in disaster relief, it kind of goes like this.

  1. Local
  2. County
  3. State
  4. Federal

Whatever local, county or state plans were in place, they all failed. What they needed was a local leader, a Rudi Giuliani , none came to the position.

Why don't we put 100% of our energies into helping people get the goods and services they need and do the analysis of why the disaster plans on a local, state and federal level utterly and completely failed later.

When that news comes out, I think we will all be pointing the finger of blame on the corrupt local and state officials in Louisiana. Think I am making a wild claim here, check in out yourself. A quick web search of Louisiana Corruption yielded 1.6 million hits. Much of the argh Bush Bush Bush is coming from the Bush can do no right crowd. That being said I think Federal assistace should of been on the ground sooner, but it was the locals the escalated this problem.

So save the finger of blame and the shouting and the gnashing of teeth for later, for now just help the folks. If we spent as much energy doing that as we did asking or screaming why there would not be a soul left there.