By Doug Hissom Special to Published Oct 12, 2007 at 5:15 AM

One good feature of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's budget is the closing of the Huber facility Downtown.

The place has long been a pit virtually unfit for human habitation. Sewer back-ups, although quite fragrant, are commonplace. It's always overcrowded and it's pretty hard to get a nap in the joint, which, after all, is supposed to be there so the incarcerated can get to their jobs and continue being productive citizens despite the foibles that got them there in the first place.

Electronic monitoring -- suggested as the alternative --would work much better than the punitive move of placing a person in Huber.

News From the Right: Right-wing foundations continue efforts to put their ideology in front of college students. The latest comes at UW-Eau Claire, where The Leadership Institute is funding a new paper called "Riverfront Review."

No matter that the university-funded paper, The Spectator, is pretty much middle-of-the-road milquetoast stuff, The Spectator declares itself an alternative to the "liberal saturation" on the campus.

The Leadership Institute is dedicated to inculcating young adults into conservative ways and, more important, getting the message across in the media. It offers courses throughout the country on topics including publications, public relations, broadcast journalism, public speaking and blogging.

"No other organization can give you so many skills for public policy and personal success," it says about itself. "The Leadership Institute is the premier training ground for tomorrow's conservative leaders. Conservative leaders, organizations and activists rely on the Institute for the preparation they require for success."

The new paper in Eau Claire is perhaps getting more fanfare than any four-page start-up would normally garner, if it weren't for The Leadership Institute's backing. In the mid-1980s, UW-Milwaukee College Republicans, with the backing of similar conservative foundations, started a short-lived newspaper designed to counter The UWM Post.

Mensa Candidates of the Month: In another example that potheads sometimes don't get it: Three Menomonee Falls adults -- including the mother of a 2-year-old -- were charged after giving the toddler puffs of marijuana and then filming it on a cell phone. Cops seized the cell phone and saw the child "in what appears to be a confused and altered state."

Monday's Fair Day: Mark your calendars for Monday. It's Fair Trade Day in Milwaukee. Ald. Tony Zielinski led the effort to make our fair city the first that claims it doesn't officially buy stuff from so-called sweatshops and other unethical business practitioners. Free samples from the good guys will be offered at the City Hall rotunda beginning at noon.

Doug Hissom Special to
Doug Hissom has covered local and state politics for 20 years. Over the course of that time he was publisher, editor, news editor, managing editor and senior writer at the Shepherd Express weekly paper in Milwaukee. He also covered education and environmental issues extensively. He ran the UWM Post in the mid-1980s, winning a Society of Professional Journalists award as best non-daily college newspaper.

An avid outdoors person he regularly takes extended paddling trips in the wilderness, preferring the hinterlands of northern Canada and Alaska. After a bet with a bunch of sailors, he paddled across Lake Michigan in a canoe.

He lives in Bay View.