Tuesday, January 22, 2008

You've Got Mail

Note: The following is a compilation of various contributors in an effort to translate McBride's most recent column in GMToday. Our translation and observations are in italics.

Dear District Attorney Brad Schimel,

My husband won’t be thrilled that I wrote this column. It deals with his old office, so it’s awkward. He thinks you’re a good guy. I do, too. (That will make him feel etter.) Please don’t assume my opinions reflect his. My opinions are my own only. (Too easy to start a firestorm hear-think Eugene Kane and female robots.)

I once saw you at a cop’s retirement party. You seemed comfortable there. You were the law enforcement candidate in the district attorney’s race, not the glib politician. I like that about you. I think you’ve got the potential to be an excellent DA because you’ve got a lot of integrity. (She is amazing. She picked all that up from one retirement party. I wonder what she could have learned if she had paid attention during the 16 years he worked in the DA's office.)

However, it’s my job to write about the goings-on in Waukesha County. So, I
must ask: What’s going on? (If it's her job to write what's going on, why is she asking him?)

I recognize that the media will praise you for not doing things conservatives like. I also recognize it’s not your job to do things conservatives like. (Does this mean conservatives are against upholiding the law?)

However, I was hoping you wouldn’t go easy on illegal immigrant criminals, drug offenders and sneaky Jim Doyle campaign attorneys, while suddenly getting all bothered by Scott Jensen. I didn’t expect pro-marijuana Web sites would heap praise on you during your first year in office.

I know you’re bound by the law, not politics. Even so, some of your decisions baffle me. (Is she inferring that Paul would put politics before the law?)

You were quoted in the newspaper recently pushing for Jensen’s criminal case to remain in Dane County (he’s filed a court motion seeking to change the venue to Waukesha County.) The Capital Times subsequently praised you. You stated you were working with the attorney general’s office to keep the trial in Dane. Shouldn’t you guys be working together to make sure Jensen gets a fair trial, which - news flash - is not going to happen in Dane? You might as well advocate that Ahab rosecute Moby Dick. (Is she insisting that all the judges in Dane County are corrupt, or that upholding the law is unfair?)

You told the Madison reporters that you knew little about the case except what was in the newspaper, so why weigh in now? Please read the investigative documents that came out during Jensen’s first trial (Don’t go by what you read in most ewspapers. They barely covered them). After plowing through the actual reports (and having Paul explain them), I came to believe that the Jensen prosecution was selective and unfair (Republicans are above the law, dammit!). The Democratic DA’s own investigative reports show he had the goods on numerous Democrats, yet he didn’t charge them. And that’s just for starters. (Tell that to all the legislators that have done time for their convictions.)

If you don’t like political prosecutions - and you haven’t been a very political DA so far - then you shouldn’t be OK with what happened to Jensen because it was the personification of a political prosecution. I’m not asking that you, ironically, make a political decision here yourself. I just wish that, if given the chance, you’d embrace the opportunity to review this case with a fresh eye and, if you see evidence of unfairness, you’d correct it. This is a case crying out for another prosecutor’s eye.

You also withdrew Waukesha County’s request to get federal immigration enforcement authority, even though your support for the request remains on your campaign Web site. The program would have made Waukesha County a nationwide model for dealing with illegal immigrants who commit crimes. (Yeah, by spending county dollars to do a federal job.)(And what is up with her obsession with illegal immigrants. She is fixated with them as much as she is with iT.)

I acknowledge the sheriff and police chief pulled their support first, and federal immigration officials promised to move faster to detain illegal immigrants suspected of committing crimes. The problem is that no one - including the feds - is systematically tracking which criminal defendants in our county are illegal immigrants. (And if Paul and I think it is important, you'd better do it!)

There was no reason to rescind this - pleasing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board doesn’t count (pleasing me does count) - and every reason to do it. The head of the top Latino social service agency in town even supported the plan (a fact the media largely ignored). The authority would have been narrowly tailored to empower local cops to detain and identify illegal immigrants WHO COMMIT CRIMES. (Uh oh, now she's channeling her inner John.)

How many illegal immigrants are in the criminal justice system right now? If you can answer that question, call me. I’ll run the number next week. (Didn't her students do a study of this? Couldn't they figure it out?)

If you can’t, please reconsider. This is about public safety. For those who think illegal immigration is only a national issue, I have three words: Frame Park rapist. (See! There's one name! It's an epidemic. Just like voter fraud.)

You also took a pass at making a case against Michael Maistelman, the governor’s campaign attorney who was shamelessly firing off e-mails to the state Elections Board before it destroyed Mark Green’s campaign. (Again, there you go Brad, putting the law before politics. Now knock it off!)

Aggressive prosecutors can go down in flames occasionally (Georgia Thompson) (Georgia Thompson was a prosecutor? I thought she was the one that got railroaded.), but they also uphold an important societal line by taking tough cases. Give me the principled, aggressive prosecutor (like my hunky hubby) any day over the too-cautious one (McCann).

You next advocated for decriminalizing marijuana. This got you praised on the Madison Web site of a group advocating against "marijuana prohibition." You were quoted as saying lots of people have tried marijuana and "times have changed."

That’s why we shouldn’t decriminalize the drug. (Change is not good. It's too much like progression. And that's too much like progressive. And that's too much like liberal. And that's too much like change. And that's not good.)

Soon after, it was reported that authorities seized more marijuana in Waukesha County than the previous eight years combined, a record.

DA Schimel, I want you to succeed. This is constructive criticism, not a personal attack. (Just a warning.)

But I feel like Cher in "Moonstruck" right now: "Snap out of it"!


Jessica McBride

Here are two other observations that have been mailed to me about this column (with slight editing for grammar and/or appropriateness):

What's the subliminal message here? “Call Paul before you do something stupid Brad. He'll point you in the right direction and then you can make it up to him when he needs a favor”? Maybe he already does and that's why he's getting in trouble? Or maybe he wants to be something other than a DA someday and realizes he needs a better role model than Paul "Not One Day As A Judge" Bucher?

Stay tuned for next week for Jessica’s thrilling column, “Dear diary, this one is so secret, even I don’t know I’m writing it.”


  1. Jess does not "infer" that Paulie the Trial Lawyer would put politics before the law. She "implies" it.

    I always think it best that when Frau Bucher expresses her bafflement I take her at her word.

  2. She surely did not write this? One would think if she did, there would have been some mention of her brilliance on some web site before this.

  3. Jensen is the victim of selective prosectuion and Mcbride doesn't like it?

    So would it be selective non-prosecution or selective unprosecution if soemone were not prosecuted because of their political connections or on some similar basis?

    If they hired, either as an employee, consultant or legal counsel someone that was politically well connected either by way of their financial contributions, previous employment or family relationships and used those connections to deftly avoid prosecution in the face of overwhelming evidence, would that be selective non-prosecution or just good business?

    Wouls Jessica object to that? Apparently she does as far as illegal immigrants are concerned.

    Is there some inconsistency here or is the consistency that the McBuhers simply want to prosecute whomever they want for whatever they like and keep an ample supply of get out of jail free cards on hand for those they like?

  4. There's nothing quite like having your predecessor in public office critique your performance -- unless it's having your predecessor's wife do it.

  5. Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! What a profoundly unhappy woman.

  6. In McBride's defense she is her own person and she can't help that her husband was the D.A. Disagree with her opinion but being Bucher's wife shouldn't matter. I really don't know too much about McBride other than occasionally reading her blog and she seems nice enough.

    I really don't get the last anon comment. Why do you think she is a profoundly unhappy woman? It is her job to write commentary...right? I think some of these comments are way to personal and not about any particular issue other than she is married to Bucher.

    I can't help but notice the double standard here. When you criticize Sykes (or other males) you don't include who he is married to and how that relates to his commentary.

  7. The reason it's fair play to talk about their relationship is because she injects it into her writing all the time and uses her insider's access, which she achieved even while he was married to another woman, as if though it qualifies her more. For Chrissakes, she was the number one campaign worker for her husband and she quibbled not at all with that fact. It's the same thing, on a much, much more penny-ante scale, as Hillary claiming that Bill is his own man and boy, he's just so spirited. What else BUT her relationship with her husband qualifies her to comment? Before that, she was merely a second-rate cops reporter, bungling the names of shooting victims, not some grizzled and veteran legal or political reporter with any great insight. No, the double standard is being flown on her side of the pitch, my friend.

  8. Here are a few reasons (from HER blog) that people might mention her husband.

    These as you see only go back to November 7th. I assume you can find many moreexamples on her site, if you read such things.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007
    Sheboygan retracts link removal request

    You can listen to my husband, Paul Bucher, discuss the latest in the Sheboygan situation on Nick Reed's radio show in Sheboygan this morning. (The interview starts midway through the audio; my husband is representing the Sheboygan blogger who was told by the city to remove a link to the police website. Audio courtesy of Sheboygan Shenanigans).

    The Sheboygan Press has the story on the retraction.

    Sunday, December 2, 2007
    Sunday Talk with Jessica McBride and Paul Bucher

    My husband Paul Bucher and I are launching a weekly call-in Blog Talk radio show, Sunday Talk. It will broadcast live over the Web. This technology is amazing! Citizen empowerment. Democratization of the media.

    We are doing a 30-45 minute week-in-review show that looks at local and national issues. Our first show pioneered tonight.

    You can listen to the audio below. I didn't promote it because it was sort of a test show. It's a work in progress, and future shows will include more audio, callers, etc. Future shows are also contingent on my convincing Paul to keep doing this. I think he will, but one can never tell.

    Our next show will be Sunday Dec. 9 at 10 p.m.

    To call in, dial 646-378-1039. Be aware it's a New York call. I will post the topics Friday or Saturday. Again, please be aware this is an experiment, and a work in progress.

    Topics covered tonight:

    1. Handicapping the presidential race. We have a slight dust-up over concealed carry and whether Paul's position on it "evolved." Who's going to win the Republican and Democratic nomination?

    2. Should Waukesha County have moved to decriminalize first-offense marijuana possession?

    3. The new police chief comes to town and says the department's "sanctuary city" policy is reasonable. Right or wrong?

    4. The arrest of a comment poster on Boots and Sabers' blog. Did the police go too far?

    Friday, December 7, 2007
    Blog talk radio show, Sunday
    Don't forget to call in to debate the issues on Sunday Talk at 10 p.m. this Sunday.

    To call in, dial
    646-378-1039. Be aware it's a New York call.

    Will Paul join me? That's an open question, haha. Maybe... maybe not....It was tough enough to get him to do it the first time. He's not really into this stuff like I am.

    We will talk about:

    1. Romney's Mormon speech and the Huckabee surge
    2. Virtual schools court decision
    3. DA's decision not to charge the Boots and Sabers comment poster
    4. Iran intelligence estimate

    Possibly a topic TBA

    To listen live, just click on the Blog Talk Radio icon on my blog.

    Sunday, December 9, 2007
    Sunday Talk with Paul Bucher and Jessica McBride

    Well, Paul did join me, and I didn't have to pay him! Maybe this talk radio thing is growing on him.

    Anyway, you can listen to this Sunday's Internet blog talk radio show below. The show opens with Paul accidentally being caught on the air talking to our 2 1/2 year old Annie, and it also opens and closes with an "ode" to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Tim Cuprisin, who dubbed us John and Yoko last week.


    1. Should people not vote for Mitt Romney because he's Mormon? Rating Romney's "Mormon" speech. We also play some audio from JFK's famous speech on Catholicism since many people are comparing it to Romney's speech. And we highlight the big DIFFERENCE between the two speeches.

    2. We weigh in on the Wisconsin appellate court's decision ruling a successful virtual school is in violation of the law and must shut down.

    3. We talk about the tragic death of a pizza delivery man in Milwaukee, and address concealed carry. Paul gives some interesting legal analysis about concealed carry in Wisconsin.

    Again, it's a work in progress. Paul's audio was MUCH better this time. Last week, he was hard to hear. In case you're curious, you don't use microphones in blog talk radio. You just call in on your phone, and it broadcasts you live over the Web (and up to 5 callers at once if desired). This time, Paul called in on another phone, and his audio was very clear (last week he was on a phone extension. In listening to the audio after the show, I discovered I did talk over him a couple times in the beginning, but, trust me, he can handle it.

    Sunday Talk with Paul Bucher and Jessica McBride

    Well, as mentioned, this is a work in progress! We learned something about the technology tonight. When my husband's on a cell phone, and I'm on a land line, AND we're in the same room, it creates a very persistent echo (you don't use microphones with blog talk radio; you just use your telephone).

    The first week that we did the show, Paul was on an extension, and we were in the same room, and you could hardly hear him. On week two, Paul was on his cell, and I was on a land line in a DIFFERENT room, and the clarity was great and there was no echo.

    But clearly we have to be in different rooms if this is going to work because being in the same room with the cell and landline created the echo.

    Too bad, because we had a caller!

    Update! I decided to take down the audio. I listened to it again, and the echo is so annoying half way through that it's pretty much unlistenable.

    Oh well, better luck next time. We're still learning this technology. Although I have to say: I have to admit I'm fascinated by this technology. That you can do this with NO equipment, for free, and take up to 5 callers on a line at a time...

  9. Okay...point well taken. I suppose if she brings him into everything then it is fair for others to link them together too. I wonder why she does that...I really never noticed it before until now. It's almost like she uses him as a crutch or as if she needs him to make her opinion more valid to her readers, which of course she doesn't.

  10. Good question fair play. Maybe she would accept an invitation from you to explein it in a post either here or on her blog. Her reader would probably enjoy hearing from her again.

    I'd suggest asking her on her call in show but the story I heard is that her husband asked her not to do it any more.

    I would even call in since working third shift at the gas station gives me lots of free time to surf and call.

  11. Her column is fascinating, although others may have other adjectives to describe it, on many fronts.

    Query whether District Attorney Schimel and her hubby were aware and maybe even critiqued it before publishing?

    The thought that keeps rattling around in my otherwise empty head is. Other than to fulill her obligation of delivering a column to the Freeman, what was her real purpose in writing that letter?

  12. Oops, I posted this in the wrong thread at first. I hope I won't be charged for the the extra space.

    Dear Columnist Jessica McBride:

    We are wondering if you received a reply to your letter to District Attorney Brad Schimel?

    We would particularly be interested to learn if you received a reply to the following question:

    However, it’s my job to write about the goings-on in Waukesha County. So, I must ask: What’s going on?

    What’s going on in Waukesha County is a question that has baffled many of us for years. Maybe now that you have raised the issue in a major publication, some answers will be forthcoming.

    Maybe if Mr. Schimel doesn’t fully answer your questions, you could consider the following thoughts.

    We’re not sure how many Wisconsin residents, especially in outlying areas, actually read the Freeman because of its limited geographic scope of reporting. Maybe publishing the letter on your blog would raise the level of consciousness in those remote areas.

    Another thought might be asking the Wisconsin State Journal to investigate the question. I’m not exactly what a muckraker is but apparently their reporter Dee Hall is one.

    I’m sure as time progresses the collective wisdom of the blogosphere will come up with some additional suggestions.

  13. Even though the point has been conceded, I couldn't help but post two excerpts from McBride's blog. blog.

    Whenever someone criticizes my husband Paul and it's a person or entity that he doesn't respect - say, the Capital Times, for example - he laughs and says, "Who cares? It's like getting lectured by an inmate in the jail." In fact, he's told me that before when someone of that ilk criticizes me. "Toughen up! Do I get upset when I get criticized by inmates in the jail?"

    P.S.S. Political wives can't win. They're either accused of pushing their husband's views (Spiceblog) or not attacking them (see below). Might it be possible we have our own minds? Hmmm. Let me roll over and ask Paul what his views are before I blog. Oh, wait, that's right. It's after 2 a.m. and he's sleeping.

  14. She inadvertently sounds like a right-wing version of the Jean Teasdale character in The Onion. Hubbie Rick and I are going to go shopping for Left Behind cassettes!