Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Always Thought It Was Rabies That Caused Foaming At The Mouth...

But apparently it's distemper:
"I have followed with increasing dismay and now alarm the campaign of Justice David Prosser, whom I endorsed at the outset of his campaign and in whose campaign I serve as the honorary co-chairman," Lucey said in the statement. "I can no longer in good conscience lend my name and support to Justice Prosser's candidacy. Too much has come to light that Justice Prosser has lost that most crucial of characteristics for a Supreme Court Justice -- as for any judge -- even-handed impartiality. Along with that failing has come a disturbing distemper and lack of civility that does not bode well for the High Court in the face of demands that are sure to be placed on it in these times of great political and legal volatility."

At the same time, Lucey said he has continued to be impressed by Kloppenburg, saying she has shown the proper judicial temperament.

"(Kloppenburg) has adhered throughout the campaign to even-handedness and non-partisanship and has exhibited both promising judicial temperament and good grace, even in the heat of a fierce campaign," Lucey said.

Lucey said he has resigned as the honorary co-chairman of Prosser's campaign, and he is endorsing Kloppenburg for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
I wonder what the odds are that Prosser, upon hearing the news, forgot that Lucey is the former governor's last name, and called him a b*tch.

And They Shall Be Known By The Company They Keep

I don't know if it is born from their arrogance, thinking they are invulnerable, or if it is from their desperation, realizing for the first time in months that they aren't invulnerable, but the major Republican contenders in next weeks elections are making some really poor choices about whom they associate with.

David Prosser, who I heard described as the "gift that keeps on giving to Kloppenberg," is either filled with unbelievable hubris or desperation or just doesn't understand what the people of Wisconsin are thinking.

After he proves himself to be a belligerent old cuss, who likes to use the classic wife-beater defense of "she made me do it," Prosser decides to double down on the dumb.  Now he is campaigning with his good friend and colleague, Mike "Loophole" Gableman, the lying, racist justice, who is still tied up in his ethics violations case.

An interesting factoid is that the Prosser/Gableman tour appears to be only hitting Republican strongholds.  I will leave it to the gentle reader to figure out if this means that their base is the only ones that will accept them or if it means that they are in so much trouble that they need to shore up their base voters.

In the Milwaukee area, Jeff Stone isn't doing himself any big favors with whom he chooses to partner up with either.

First we learned that Stone has benefited from the muckraking of Republican operative Tim Russell, who is himself in the midst of an ongoing John Doe investigation into whether he was illegally campaigning for Scott Walker.

As if that wasn't a big enough blunder, we also learn that Stone has also hired on LaMonte Harris, and ex-con who has the stigma of having worked for the likes of Michael McGee and Gary George. The kicker of that story is Mr. Harris told them that they should check out his background, being straight up about his checkered past, and Team Stone never did even the basics regarding that.  It does put Stone's judgment into deep question.

Even though these examples show that these candidates have some questionable tastes in associates, they are probably not even the most damning.  What will ultimately prove to be the load stone around their necks that drags them down is that both of these men, Prosser and Stone alike, have chosen to sidle up to Scott Walker, whose popularity is in free fall as he continues to arbitrarily deny people their rights.

I am starting to think that we should be holding the First (and Only) Scott Walker Appreciation Dinner as a way of saying thanks for bringing the people together as never before and for giving us the inspiration for all the recall efforts and all the protests, and most of all, for giving us the motivation to go out and take our state back from him and his special interest buddies..

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Just a quick note regarding two additions to the Royal Wedge of the Cheddarsphere.

One is blue cheddar, a real spitfire from the other side of the state.

The other one is an old friend to me, and I hope a new friend to you: [redacted] at Perfect Impertinence.

Go give them a look see, won't you?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Republican Recall Irony Abounds

Thanks to their bullying tactics and their great overreach, the Republicans have gotten themselves in one heck of a political jam.  They woke the sleeping giant and have set off a chain of events that they have no control over, no matter how hard they try.

Instead of doing what they had promised, which was creating jobs, they have spent the last three months launching one offensive against the people of Wisconsin after another.  They are trying to take away the rights of workers.  They are trying to take away the right to vote from the poor, minorities and college kids.  They are trying to sell off all of our assets to their equally greedy campaign contributors and special interest buddies.  They are trying to take away the help that our most vulnerable citizens need just to survive.

In response, the people became quite understandably angry, and showed up in the hundreds of thousands at the Capitol Building, day in and day out, for over six weeks and counting, to let the political leaders know that they were going down the wrong path.  Instead of listening to the people, much less reaching out and working with them, the Republicans decided to try to take away our constitutional rights of free speech and the right to assemble.

The people decided that if the elected officials weren't going to listen to them, it was time to find politicians that would. And thus, the eight eligible Republican senators found themselves suddenly facing recall attempts.  The Republicans tried to play tit for tat, and started on their own, but by all reports, don't seem to be doing so well.

The spill over is going all over the state's politics as well.  Representative Jeff Stone, who had thought he'd just stroll into the position of Milwaukee County Executive on Scott Walker's coat tails, made the politically fatal decision of supporting Walker.  Now he is doing so bad that even Charlie Sykes gave up on him.  Likewise, Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is facing the very real possibility of being unseated next week.

Facing this sudden groundswell of grass roots opposition, the Republicans have resorted to their favorite maneuver.  They've circled the wagons and have launched an all out campaign of fear and smear, with a liberal dose of hypocrisy.

Case in point is an email from WISGOP, in which they announce a new website. This one is ironically called the "The Recall Integrity Center," and is to serve people "unfairly targeted by the far left."  As you can plainly see, they're setting the stage to scare the bejeebus out of their own people, and get them seeing problems where none exist.

But the letter itself is just as ridiculous.  Here is the letter, with my interjections added:
Dear Fellow Conservative,

Our Republican Senators have had to endure harassment at their homes, vandalism to their property and even death threats. The union bosses want to see them punished for standing up for us – Wisconsin taxpayers.
Wait! They try to take our away our rights and feedoms, but they're the victims? How does that work?
Democrat aggression has now turned on private Republican citizens. Liberal special interests from around the country are pouring money and manpower into our state. Their operatives will do anythingto see Republicans recalled, and to protect the Democrats from recall who ran away from their jobs.
Yeah, this is coming from the group that used money from the Koch brothers to brink in a group of professional recallers from Utah.
These operatives are out in our communities right now, working to intimidate us and get us to back down from supporting Governor Walker.  The bullying has to stop. It’s time to hold these people accountable.
I wonder if they are referring to the guy in River Falls who grabbed a clipboard full of petitions from a person working on the Sheila Harsdorf campaign and then threw them into a puddle of water.  To top it off, this fool then resisted arrest and screamed police brutality until his wife told him to knock it off.
We’ve created The Recall Integrity Center to do just that. The online center,, will serve as a clearinghouse for citizen complaints, documenting abuse and holding abusers responsible.  The site allows citizens to submit written testimonies and video of abuse directed at them because of their conservative values or because they participate in recall efforts against Democrat Senators. Incident reports will be posted on the site, so that we can expose the corrupt behavior coming from the left.

The Recall Integrity Center is your resource to report threats to the integrity of our recall efforts and expose those responsible. We can protect our fellow conservatives, our communities, and the Democratic process. Visit the Recall Integrity Center today.
I just happen to have someone I could report to this center. It's a person who is as corrupt as they come and has personally suggested in tampering with our right to recall maleficent and abusive politicians.  It's Senator Scott Fitzgerald who has suggested tampering with the recall laws to make it more difficult.  As an added dose of irony, it was also Fitzgerald who said this:
"Yeah, I mean, I've always been a believer that recall probably would be more appropriate if a legislator was involved in some type of, you know, either criminal activity, or something that could be deemed, you know, unethical," said Fitzgerald. "Not related to simply taking a stance on a tough vote. And you know, I think there's other legislators that feel that way as well."
Oh, really?

Just remember this stuff when you're out campaigning.  The vast majority people will be OK and some will be nice to you, but you will occasionally run into one of these crackpots.

Walker's Popularity In Free Fall

As Scott Walker continues to trample on the Constitution, as well as people's rights, and ignores court orders, it is not surprising at all that his approval rating is falling fast:

The gentle reader will note that Walker is also losing the important independent group, which he and his Republican allies were so very dependent on.

And that's not even the most telling.  James Rowen finds another poll which highlights an even more telling story:
"An astonishing 95% of the survey respondents described themselves as paying close attention to the issue, 71% saying “very” closely. Respondents strongly identified with one or the other side of the budget conflict, and this identification fell along ideological lines. Independents now largely lock arms with the union and protestors. 
"As a result, Gov. Walker is now viewed unfavorably by a 53% majority, and with vehemence: only 3% say “somewhat” unfavorable while 50% say “very.” In contrast, the “Gang of 14,” the 14 Democratic state senators who fled to Illinois, were viewed favorably by a majority of respondents, 51% to 47%, even though a majority thought it was wrong of them to run away. The real winner? Government employee unions in Wisconsin, scoring 55% favorable and only 40% unfavorable."
In other words, not only do people not like Walker, they reeeeealllllllly don't like Walker.

The saddest part of it all is that Walker is such an ideologue and is so beholden to the Koch brother and other special interest groups that it won't even occur to him that he is on the wrong path and will proceed on, no matter what the people have to say.

Is it April 5 yet? And is it November yet?

The Intemperate Prosser

From One Wisconsin Now:

Prosser is simply not fit for the bench.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Madison's No Free Speech Zone

On Sunday, March 27th, the Sargent family went to the Capitol Building in Madison to show their support for the working people of Wisconsin.  The two oldest boys had painted a homemade sign which read "Solidarity Forever" and wanted to display it to show their support.

However, an unfortunate chain of events occurred in what otherwise a routine exercise of free speech as shown in two videos. The first one shows two Capitol Police officers speaking to the boys:

After the minute the officer gave the boys to think about their course of action, the police came back and confiscated the sign:

The police then led the family to the station and gave the boys' mother a citation worth $205.50 for having the banner out.

As I mentioned, the family's last name is Sargent. The father is Justin, who is an aide for Senator Chris Larson. The mother is Melissa, who is a small business owner and a Dane County Supervisor. They have four sons, ages 13, 11, 5 and 1.

One or the other of these videos have been going around the Internet already.  I've also seen a third one that includes the trip to the police station.  The comments, as one might suspect, have been running the gamut.  Many are supportive of the family, especially the boys, praising them for their courage.  Others are more snarky, accusing the parents of using their children as pawns.

I will admit I had torn feelings regarding this.  On one hand, it warmed my old heart to know that the youth of this state were recognizing that their futures were in peril and wanted to stand up for themselves.  On the other, I questioned whether the children were there on their own and if not, if the parents had put them up to it.

I've heard similar stories on Twitter, Facebook and the blogs to know that people were getting citations for peacefully exercising their free speech rights. I was also aware that there are many who contend that Scott Walker and his Department of Administration were violating not only a court order regarding access to the Capitol and how they may demonstrate, but even the state and federal Constitutions.

Given these events, I made effort to get in contact with the Sargents. After some emails, I was fortunate enough to speak with Melissa Sargent on the phone.

She told me that her two oldest boys, the ones holding the signs, are studying social sciences in school.  She also said that the boys have been to the Capitol several times in the past six weeks to watch as these historical events unfold. Having seen these events, the boys made their own sign and wanted to go to show their support.  She said that they went to allow the boys this opportunity, as well as to make sure they understood how to do it peacefully and respectfully.

Melissa shared that her business had been hit by taggers who had spray painted "Recall Walker" on the side of her building, and knows how expensive it is to have it cleaned up before getting cited for it, and wanted to make sure her sons knew the right way from the wrong way of protesting.

Melissa told me that she felt that her sons were targeted only because their sign was of a larger size and because they were hanging it over the side of the railing.  She noted that many people were walking around all parts of the Capitol Building with smaller signs and weren't even spoken to by the police, much less cited for anything.

As we discussed how the events unfolded, she shared that the police officer that was speaking during the video was the exemplary of professionalism and has no hard feelings for him.  She added that she has a lot of respect for the officers and recognizes that they are between a rock and a hard place during these times.  She said that she understands that none of this is their fault.  She said that they were simply following orders and doing what they had to do to keep their jobs.  She added that she was also aware that the Department of Administration was to blame and that they were the ones violating the court order and the Constitution.

Melissa credited the police for their professionalism and their understanding of people's feelings for being one of the main contributing factors that these six weeks of protests have been so peaceful and why there has been so few arrests.

Melissa did add that she felt the other officer in the video (the one who took the sign from the boys) was less than professional.  She said he made a condescending remark, accusing her and her husband of "using their kids."  She said that she had to ask him to not speak to her anymore because he was so rude.

I asked her pointedly if she was using her children to make a point. She said that she was not.  She pointed out that her children were following some amazing people throughout American history who stood up to exercise their rights.  Then she said something that I thought summed it up nicely:
"Even though they're not old enough to vote, they still have their voices and they have the right to use their voices in positive ways."
I am fully aware that people on both sides of the aisle will be unfortunately using her boys for their own political purposes.  There will be some on the left that will put the image up there and say how evil Walker and his minions are for wanting to give the boys tickets.  There will be some on the right that will disparage the Sargents for "exploiting" their children.

I think both sides are wrong for doing that.

I also think that this shouldn't even be about the boys in the sense that they are children. Instead, it should be about the boys in the sense that they were the ones caught on tape of yet just another example of how Scott Walker and his administration is willing to go to any extreme they fell necessary to suppress the rights of the people and to further his ideological agenda.

Whether it is trying to strip workers of their rights, trampling our constitutional rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Assemble, denying the right to know what our government is doing and that they are following the law themselves, or any of the other wrongful acts being done by Walker and his Republican allies, it needs to stop.

It has become fully apparent to any but the most devout Walkerites that these actions have absolutely nothing to do with fixing budgets or creating jobs.  It is solely to grab as much power as they can to ride roughshod over the people in order to benefit their special interest friends.

It is also just another example of why the elections on April 5, as well as the recall efforts, are so very important.  It will take a long, long time to clean up the mess that Walker has created in less than three months.  It will only take longer, or even make it impossible, if we don't show Walker and his ilk that the Constitution is still valid and why the phrase "we the people" has as much significance, if not more, as the day it was written.

AFTERWORD: Melissa Sargent said that she is to appear in court on April 8.  When asked, she said that she does not know what they will do that day.  She said that she would need to speak to a lawyer, or even several, before making that decision.  But she added that at the moment we were speaking with each other, her inclination was to fight it.  She said that she does not believe that Mike Huebsch , the Department of Administration and Administrative Code has the authority to override the State or U.S. Constitution.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This Walker's Been Made For Bootin'

This video, a parody of "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'" has been making it's way around teh Intertubes for a while now:

Once you get past the poor camera work, the bug-eyed glasses, the monitor being off to the left, and the wooden dancing, it's not bad.

Welcome To My World, Professor Cronon

Professor William Cronon is a history professor at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  He also recently became a blogger.  His inaugural post was an amazing piece showing the influence of a Koch Brothers-funded group, ALEC, on the Republicans' war on America as they systematically try to destroy unions, disenfranchise voters and destroy public services in several states around the country.

Within a couple of days of posting that highly popular article, the Wisconsin GOP got into action and filed a open records request against Professor Cronon's email.  Cronon correctly explains the McCarthyite reason behind this request:
Cronon theorizes, based on the keyword requests, that Wisconsin Republicans are trying to catch him in violation of state university rules by using a state email account to engage in “lobbying and electioneering to try to unseat these Republican legislators.” In other words, he says, Wisconsin Republicans want to damage him professionally in response to his criticism of them.

“That’s what they’re hoping to find,” Cronon says. “They’re trying to intimidate me. What they’re saying is that if an academic raises these kinds of questions, we’re going to make his life really uncomfortable. Intimidating people from asking legitimate questions is a McCarthyite tactic.”

Cronon says the Wisconsin GOP will not find evidence of what they’re looking for. “It’s not there,” he says.
When questioned about their intimidation tactics, WISGOP not only willfully admitted it, they tried to turn the facts upside down and accuse Cronon of trying to intimidate them. As Greg Sargent writes:
That is quite remarkable. Wisconsin Republicans are not only unabashedly doubling down on the request, but they’re also accusing Cronon of intimidation, because he is objecting to their demand for access to his private emails. Also note that the party offers no explanation for why they think there are any questions over whether Cronon behaved in an “ethical manner.” That alone should raise suspicions that the Wisconsin GOP’s use of the open records law — one that’s ironically meant to foster good and clean government — is really about retaliation against Cronon for his criticism of elected officials. 
It’s worth noting that at a time when the national media had largely moved on from this story, this will only renew media scrutiny on Wisconsin Republicans and could add more energy to the drive to recall them.
Republicans can be so desperate to discredit an opponent, that I could see them going as far as making up things. Sadly, I also wouldn't be surprised if Cronon has received threats against him and/or his family.

And yes, I say these things with an unfortunate certainty, because these things have already happened to me.

The day after we launched Milwaukee County First, we were assaulted on the radio by Charlie Sykes (who also went after me personally), Mark Belling, and Vicki McKenna.  Judging by their vile squawks, one would have thought we were the Visigoths setting out to sack Rome.  Shortly thereafter, I had a number of open record requests filed against my emails and my time sheets.  One of these "investigators" was none other than Orville Seymour, half of the misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government.  (Orville spends more time filing open record requests than he does working on the apartment building he owns, which explains why people refer to him at the same time they talk about Lee Holloway.)

When these searches turned up empty, as did their fears that we were going to be just like CRG and try to bully people, things quieted down for a year.

Then came along Darlene Wink.

Wink was the co-vice chair of the Milwaukee Republicans and also one of Walker's aides when he was county executive.  Wink was also leaving remarks on JSOnline during county hours.

About a month after this story broke, those fine folks at CRG decided to try to take the heat of off Scott Walker by filing a criminal complaint against me, alleging that I was blogging on county time and on county equipment.  To support their false allegations, they submitted "proof" which ended up meaning that they were complaining that I blogged on my furlough days, vacation days, and even on holidays, like Labor Day and Memorial Day, on which the entire county was closed. On one of my posts that they submitted, they went as far as redacting the entire top portion which specifically mentioned that I was on furlough that day!

All I can say is "Thank God, that I am so lucky to have so many dear, deardear, dear, dear, dear friends.

The charges were never pursued since they were unsubstantiated.  Further forensic reports also specified that I indeed never blogged from work.

And no, CRG, nor Charlie Sykes, who gave them air time, ever bothered to apologize for their libel.

Since that time, I have also received an untold number of threats to my career and even to my life.  I have also had an actor or actors going around trying to impersonate me, leaving vulgar and inappropriate comments using my name and avatar.  Fortunately, I have been around long enough that most people, even those that disagree with me, recognize these trolls for what they are.

So you see, the unfortunate events that Professor Cronon is experiencing is not new, but are very typical of Walker's brand of politics.

One thing that I can take slight pleasure in all of this is that it looks like CRG is losing their stranglehold on local government.  They have been behind a number of failed recall attempts over the past several years.  And it was WISGOP themselves who are going after Professor Cronon, when normally they would have sent a front group like CRG after him.  And when the Republicans played their usual tit-for-tat game and started attempts of recalling Democratic Senators, they went to Utah to bring in a gang of professional political hit men to do the job, instead of working with CRG.

But it is this kind of thuggish behavior exhibited by Walker and the GOP, either directly or indirectly through front groups will not silence the people. Rather, it will only serve to keep the flames of anger burning bright as we see one right after another being trampled on, all for the sake of their own greed.

As I have said on more than just one occasion, their downfall will be their failure that there are somethings more important than money.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prosser's Problem Identified

On Friday, there was a debate between David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg, the two candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Prosser attacked his opponent by trying to label her with vague titles and offering no reasoning for his name-calling (emphasis mine):
Justice David Prosser went on the attack in a debate Friday, calling his campaign opponent an ideologue trying to mask her true sentiments. 
Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg said Prosser was mischaracterizing her and she had never allowed personal views to color her approach to cases in two decades at the Department of Justice. 
Prosser said Kloppenburg held "extreme political and social views" but did not specify what they were. 
"She's trying to camouflage her views and not level with the people of Wisconsin," Prosser said. 
"She is an unbending ideologue. And I wouldn't say that if I hadn't heard that multiple times."
Now, let's first see if his accusations are accurate.  Here is Kloppenburg's campaign commercial:

Doesn't seem so extreme to me. If anything, she could be described as rather centrist.

So why would make these wild and baseless accusations? Besides the fact that he is probably not polling very well right now, thanks to his close association with Scott Walker, that is.

Prosser gives us the answer in the part cited above.  It's obvious he listens to too much talk radio and is no longer able to be objective or honest.  Not a good thing for a Supreme Court Justice candidate to have problems with.

That alone should show why Kloppenburg is the much better choice.

Cross posted at Whallah!

Republican Panic Button Is Taking More Hits Than Charlie Sheen

The way that Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald boys are totally screwing up their own schemes would be hilarious if the consequences weren't so severe.

After the Dane County District Attorney successfully pursued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the publication of the Union Busting Bill, the Republicans decided to pursue it to a higher court in order to have it overturned.

This decision caused a bit of disconcertion among the right, who, like Cindy Kilkenny, were left to speculate why the Republicans just didn't concede the court fight and take a second vote on the bill. I answered Cindy's puzzlement by pointing out that if they voted a second time, it might not pass, but she didn't believe me.

Well, if she won't believe me, maybe she'll believe Senator Scott Fitzgerald, who said pretty much the same thing.

So, if taking a vote was too risky, their only other option appeared to be in court.  But this wasn't going swimmingly for them either.

This resorted to what Republicans do best: Turning an end around run into running into their own rounded rear ends.

In a bit of classic Walkeresque overreach, Scott Fitzgerald pushed the Legislative Reference Bureau into "publishing" the law that they had illegally passed.  He and Walker claimed the law published and said that they would be putting it into effect tomorrow.  Their rationale was because it was on the legislative web site, so that made it law.

Needless to say, many right wingers broke open the proverbial bubbly in what turned out to be premature acclamation.

As it turns out, and I need to point out that Illy-T led the way locally on this, the "publication" that Fitzgerald ordered was actually more of a printing of the law.  In other words, Hissy Fits Fitz drove the LRB to the local Kinko's and had them print the law.  Word is that Fitzgerald even had them attach a shiny gold ribbon to it so he could show it off.

But according to the Legislative Review Board itself, the law isn't a law until the Secretary of State actually publishes the bill.  And, of course, Secretary Doug La Follette is under the Temporary Restraining Order which is preventing him from publishing it.  Ergo, the job destruction that Walker and the Fitzgerald boys want to do will have to wait for another time,  Of course, I would hope that they aware of the fact that if it ever does get successfully passed, then it will only be immediately stalled again as lawsuit after lawsuit is filed against it.

But one thing that hasn't been talked about a lot is the fact that the LRB is traditionally a strictly non-partisan entity which is highly respected by both Republicans and Democrats.  Fitzgerald expended a lot of political capital in pushing this non-partisan board into printing a very partisan law.  The ramifications from that could be rather interesting to watch.  And Fitzgerald didn't even get a T-shirt for his troubles.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Indiana: Home of the Outside Agitator

One of the stories of the day is about the Indiana deputy prosecutor and Republican activist who resigned from his job after being caught emailing some rather questionable advise to Scott Walker:
Carlos F. Lam submitted his resignation shortly before the Center published a story quoting his Feb. 19 email, which praised Walker for standing up to unions but went on to say that the chaos in Wisconsin presented "a good opportunity for what's called a 'false flag' operation." 
"If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions," the email said. 
"Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam."
Those comment immediately bring to mind the admission by Scott Walker, in a phone conversation with whom he thought was David Koch, that his administration had actually considered using planted operatives to pose as union-friendly protesters.  Said operatives would then cause some sort of mayhem in an effort to discredit the protesters.  It also brings to mind the unexplained ammo that was mysteriously "found" around the Capitol Building on one day.

It also appears that Mr. Lam might have another issue besides a lack of political savvy.  In a grand find by The Political Carnival, it appears Mr. Lam might have some racist issues to resolve as well.

However, it should further be noted that Mr. Lam does not score any points for uniqueness or even for being first.  Jeff Cox, a former deputy attorney general for the State of Indiana, had already been fired for making a most egregious tweet of how the authorities should use live ammo on the Madison protesters.

The most disturbing part for me is not the inappropriate comments.  After all, there is a troll that has regularly been threatening me and fellow lefty bloggers for some time now.  What is more disturbing that the level that the Republicans will stoop to is the fact that these two were actually prosecuting attorneys and should really be above this sort of thing.  After all, isn't their job to uphold the law?

Prosser Enabled Sexual Predator, Possibly Violated State Law Himself

The Greater Wisconsin Committee has started running a commercial which points out a shortcoming of David Prosser when he was District Attorney for Outagamie County in the sense that he willfully failed to prosecute a priest accused of sexually assaulting children:

The reasons that Prosser had given for his negligence would be laughable if they weren't so sad and if the results weren't so grave.  One of the reasons that Prosser had given was that the accused priest was related to a star of the Lawrence Welk show:
Prosser even told the victims and their mother that he didn't want to prosecute the case because the priest's brother was a "celebrity" because he appeared on the Lawrence Welk TV show.

Given that Feeney’s brother, Joe Feeney, was a well-known tenor featured on the Lawrence Welk show, Prosser said a prosecution would attract a lot of media attention. “He said it would be very embarrassing,” said Troy Merryfield.~ Capital Times, 2/4/2008
In reality, Prosser just wanted the problem to go away, rather than deal with the horrid reality of what was happening. Or just as likely if not more so, he did not want to alienate his conservative base or take a chance of derailing his own political ambitions by going after a member of the clergy.

The truly horrific part of this sad saga is that because of Prosser's decision to do worse than nothing, but actually enable the priest, an untold number of other children were sexually assaulted by this monster.  By his willful failure to act in a responsible manner, Prosser is as guilty as the priest.

While Prosser might not be criminally subject to any charges of failure to protect, there is a possibility that Prosser did violate the law.  Wisconsin State Statute 48.981(2)(c) deals with mandated reporters and reads:
Any person not otherwise specified in par. (a) (b), or (bm), including an attorney, who has reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or who has reason to believe that a child has been threatened with abuse or neglect and that abuse or neglect of the child will occur may report as provided in sub. (3)
Obviously, Prosser suspected that a child had been abused.  This is evidenced by the fact that he chose not to prosecute but instead contacted the Bishop and said that the priest should be moved to another parish to avoid prosecution:
David Prosser was more concerned about moving Feeney to another community than prosecuting him. 
It is clear from both Prosser’s statements about the case, and the letter from Bishop Wycislo, that both Prosser and Wycislo thought that the best course of action was for Feeney to be removed to a different parish rather than attempting to prosecute him for the sexual assaults.
D.A. Prosser said when his he raised concerns about Feeney’s conduct, [Bishop] Wycislo said he would "take care of it." "I assumed that when the Bishop said he would take care of it that he would remove this guy from the parish," Prosser said. ~Associated Press 5/18/2008 
In 2008 Prosser said: “It was my demand that the priest would be removed from the parish, and if it wasn’t, if that didn't happen, I would be forced to prosecute.” ~WBAY-TV, 5/16/2008
Even though Prosser had obviously suspected that something had happened, but he never reported the abuse to the police or to the child welfare system.

In the sake of fairness and honesty, I do not know if this law was written in exactly this way at the time that Prosser chose to put his politics before the welfare of all those children, but I have to believe that some form of it did exist at the time.

But even if Prosser is technically not guilty of violating the letter of the law at the time, these actions alone violate everything a person responsible for upholding the law should do and are at best unethical.

By actively trying to help sweep these sexual assaults under the rug, Prosser enable the priest to go on for another 26 years and molest at least another dozen children, probably more. This willful failure to protect innocent children alone should bar him from holding a law license, much less having a seat on the highest court in the state.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Point To Ponder

If Jeff Stone is willing to hire Tim Russell, who is one of the subjects of a John Doe investigation, for his campaign, would he also be willing to hire him back as a county employee if he were to win the county executive seat?

Malfeasance Of The Highest Order

Shortly after the Wisconsin 14 took off for Illinois, Scott Walker inappropriately sent state troopers after them. A government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (not to be confused with the corrupt group of local thugs that use a similar name), filed complaints with the Government Accountability Board stating that state troopers cannot take part in a dispute between employer and employee when it was about wages, working conditions, and whatnot.

To me, it was a much more disturbing sign. What literally happened was that Walker sent armed officers of the state to go after political opponents who were openly defying him.  If that doesn't smack any honest person as a sign of a dictatorship, I don't know what would.

But as egregious as Walker's behavior might have been, he could always use the defense of plausible stupidity.

The same can't be said for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.  CREW did an open records request on the  emails of the Republican senators in regards to anything to deal with the decision to send the troopers out after the Democrats.  What they found was a treasure trove of skulduggery.

Among the myriad of emails was an ongoing discussion on how to coerce the Democrats to come back and capitulate to the Republicans' collective plan.  There was discussion of several different things they could try, but most of them were illegal and/or would end up in a lengthy and costly court case.*

Included among the illegalities that were discussed and identified as an illegal maneuver was sending troopers out against their political opponents.  So what did Fitzgerald get his Republican colleagues do? Well take a vote and send the troopers out, of course!  (And I thought Walker was bad...)

If we had an honest Attorney General in Wisconsin instead of the political hack we have now, Fitzgerald would already be under investigation.  Then again, if we had a halfway decent AG, we wouldn't have a fraction of the problems that we have encountered in the past ten weeks.

The more things like this come out, the angrier the people become.  And yet the Republicans still show bafflement on why people are upset with their unilateral attempt to take away our rights and our democracy.  It's only becoming the simple question of which will come first: recall, impeachment or indictments?

*The only action the Republicans never considered was actually acting like adults and working with the Democrats.  Now they're surprised that they are reaping what they sowed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jeff Stone: Walker Clone?

Chris Abele's campaign has been running an effective ad theme of comparing his opponent, Jeff Stone, to Scott Walker. This is effective because the majority of Milwaukeeans understand that Walker damn near destroyed Milwaukee County while he was county executive, as evidenced by the way Walker lost Milwaukee County in the gubernatorial election in a 68-32 drubbing.

Stemming from these ads has come the meme, "Jeff Stone: Walker Clone."  But is it entirely accurate?

After the first commercial, Stone had a hissy fit, stating that the comparison to Walker was "demonizing" him.  But apparently stone found himself comfortable with horns, pointy tail and a pitchfork once someone waved some money at him.  It would be safe to call this a flip flop, which is a trademark of Walker's.

And as Bruce Murphy points out in this week's column, Stone has been voting in 100% compliance with Walker's proposals and has expressed full support of Walker's budget, which is one of the most devastating that Milwaukee will have ever seen. However, during the few times that this has been brought up, just like Walker, Stone will talk in circles and try to act like devastation is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Yesterday, Dan Bice broke the story that Stone has another similarity with Walker, in that they both like to use Tim Russell as an political operative.  (Has anyone heard from Darlene Wink lately?)  This should really raise questions about Stone's judgment, since Russell is one of the key subjects of a John Doe investigation into his role of politicking for Walker with county equipment and/or while on county time.  Then again, as Cory Liebmann points out, Stone has a long history of using "campaign volunteers" that were not quite reputable or were performing unsavory acts on his behalf.

But there is one significant difference between Stone and Walker.  On all of his campaign literature and on his web site, Stone boasts of being a small business man.  Walker, as we all know, is just another career politician.  We'll believe that about Stone, even though no one seems to be able to find his license anywhere.  (This could be explained if Stone chose to go with the sole proprietor option.)

What Stone doesn't mention is that his father-in-law, just like Ron Johnson's, was the money behind his "successful business."  Word is that his father-in-law is the one that plopped down the cash for their first home.  Probably bought their first Xerox copier too.  Another thing that Stone doesn't mention is that he got into a little legal problem due to his running a business in a residential zone.

So does all of this make Stone Walker's clone?   Well, a clone is supposed to be a duplicate of the original. But whether it's a photocopy or genetic clone or a political clone, the duplicate rarely, if ever, is an exact match.

I reckon that would make calling Stone a Walker clone a pretty accurate description, including being bad news and a bad leader for Milwaukee County.

Now the clincher would be if someone could find a picture of Stone with a mullet...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

State Republicans Against Policy, Earmarks In Budget Bill

State Senator Randy Randy Hopper (R-Parts Unknown):
“Budgets should not be used to conceal controversial policy that has little chance of passing as separate legislation,” Hopper said.  “None of the non-fiscal policy will help solve our budget deficit and much of it will harm working families all over Wisconsin.”
“If we’re going to talk the talk on earmarks and policy, we have to walk the walk,” Hopper said.  “Even though some of the earmarks and non-fiscal policy items benefit my district, it is clear that our 1,800 page budget is the wrong place for these items.”
State Senator Dan Kapanke also stated similar sentiments.

Too bad that they said it two years ago and obviously didn't mean a word of it.

What If They Threw A Tea Party And No One Came?

From Think Progress:
With Fox News host Glenn Beck’s ratings down and the biggest tea party rally eclipsed by a recent pro-labor rally in Wisconsin, could the tea party be losing steam? One new sign: a big tea party convention in Tampa, FL this weekend — headlined by such conservative favorites as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano, and former GOP Congressman Tom Tancredo — attracted only about 300 people. The Save America Convention’s website lists 25 guest speakers, meaning there was one speaker for every 12 attendees. If one includes the 13 musicians and other performers listed as entertainment, that ratio drops to one for every 7 and a half.
It only makes sense. Negative emotions are hard to maintain for long periods of time. In fact, I'm a little surprised they kept their hate up this long.

Monday, March 21, 2011

All Must Give Some -- Unless You're Scott Fitzgerald

The Republicans like to tell us how broke the state supposedly is and how all of us must do our part to bring it back to what they laughingly call fiscal stability.  (I guess the whole job thing went out the window a while back and it is questionable if it will ever return.)  They use this make believe fiscal crisis as an excuse to attack the working men and women of this state and have taken actions that could cost the state tens of thousands of jobs.

But apparently not everyone has to take their fair share of the pain coming down on us.  Scott Fitzgerald doesn't have to, that's for sure.

Fitzgerald, with his wife, own 73.5 acres of land, with 63.5 acres of it classified as agricultural, just because he owns a horse:

Is it any wonder that the Republicans were in such a hot hurry to extend the agriculture tax credits that are set to expire?  When will Fitz feel the pain that he wants to inflict on the rest of us?

H/T Defending Wisconsin PAC

Kapanke's Really, Really, Really Bad Day

Everyone knows that recall fever has hit Wisconsin.  The people of Wisconsin have had enough and have decided to go after the eight Republican Senators that are eligible for recall.  Likewise, the Republicans hired a professional recall group from Utah in order to go after the Democrats for their audacity of giving the people the time to see what kind of garbage they were trying to pull..

Those not actively participating have been spending their time speculating on the odds of the various recall attempts.  All reports that I've seen show that the pro-working forces are presenting with a much higher level of energy in getting this done.

One would expect that given the facts of his infidelity and not living in his district, and all else being equal, that State Senator Randy "Bed" Hopper (R-Parts Unknown) would be the most vulnerable of all members of the senate.  

Not so. According to this article, the most vulnerable is Dan Kapanke

Now, I know that Kapanke has had a history of legal troubles, including getting busted not just once, but twice, for using charitable funds for his campaign expenses, but I would never have guessed that he was the most vulnerable.

Well, if it's any consolation to Kapanke, Hopper isn't done trying to gain that title from him.


Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz,
But I wonder,
what all that white stuff is.

Prosser: Walker's Rubber Stamp On The Supreme Court

As if Prosser's own personal irresponsible and injudicious behavior wasn't enough to not vote for him, there is another consideration.  Will he uphold the Constitution and the law, or will he just rubber stamp anything that comes from his buddy, Scott Walker:

Prosser: A Good Writer And An Even Temperament?

Before the primary in February, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel endorsed incumbent David Prosser for re-election.  Among their questionable reasons for doing so, they included this blurb (emphasis mine):
Though Prosser, 68, shares responsibility for the court's divisiveness, we don't believe he is the problem. Prosser has been a capable justice who has shown the ability to work with his ideological opposites when the situation demands. He is a good writer, has an even temperament and is a hard worker. We disagree with him on disciplining of lawyers - he doesn't see major problems with the lax system the state now employs; we do. But this is not enough to disqualify him.
I wonder how they will try to spin that with the news that came out one Sunday about Prosser's utter lack of judiciousness in regards to the way he treated Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson:
The Feb. 10, 2010, incident occurred as the court privately discussed a request to remove Justice Michael Gableman from a criminal case.

"In a fit of temper, you were screaming at the chief; calling her a 'bitch,' threatening her with '. . . I will destroy you'; and describing the means of destruction as a war against her 'and it won't be a ground war,' " [Justice Ann Walsh} Bradley wrote in a Feb. 18, 2010, e-mail to Prosser and others.
I wonder if they would qualify that as a good writer or as an even temperament?

Even more alarming than this utter lack of professionalism and decorum is his response to what happened:
He said the outburst came after Abrahamson took steps to undermine him politically and to embarrass him and other court conservatives.

"In the context of this, I said, 'You are a total bitch,' " Prosser said.

"I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted. . . . They (Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing."
For crying out loud! The man is 68 years old, has been sitting on the highest bench in the state's judicial system for thirteen years, and still cannot or will not take responsibility for his own behaviors?!  Instead he blames others for "goading:" him?

Even if Abrahamson and Bradley were pushing his buttons, which seems unlikely, his buttons appear to be rather easily pushed.  But whether the "goading" was real or only perceived, that does not mean he is not responsible for his own behaviors.

This lack of personal accountability, which appears to be running theme among the conservative justices, including Annette Ziegler who was actually reprimanded by the court for conflict of interests in her career on a  lower bench and Michael Gableman who is still trying to tell us that the proven slander and lie in his campaign commercial wasn't really slander or a lie.

Prosser is showing the  same lack of personable accountability that the others have shown, and does not deserve to be on the Supreme Court one minute longer.  If he won't hold himself accountable for his own behaviors, how can anyone realistically expect that he'll do the same of anyone else, especially if it is someone that he is politically aligned with?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Is This What They Really Want?

As Scott Walker's numbers are dropping faster than a rock, the Koch Brothers are kicking in more money to support their favorite marionette.

In the latest assault on our intelligence, one of the myriad of Koch-funded front groups, this time the Club for Dolts Growth, has a misleading radio ad which points to the sacrifices of the union members who work at places like Harley Davidson and Mercury Marine.

But is this really the examples they want to cite?

While Harley workers gave up so much, their CEO was walking around with a whopping $6.5 million, and that was just in one year!

And the story of Mercury Marine is even worse.  Not only did the workers get the short end of the stick from Mercury, but the tax payers also took a bath in supporting just this one company.  And as with Harley, it was the executives and board members that walked away, laughing all the way to the bank.

So is this what the right wingers really pushing, that we deny ourselves a decent wage, safe work conditions, and our self-respect, just to become corporate serfs?  No wonder they have to lie, cheat and steal to get anywhere with this unethical maneuvering from the Republicans.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walker's Proposal Dishonors Veterans

With Scott Walker, there are no sacred cows except for the Koch brothers, road builders and other big campaign donors.

Milwaukee News Buzz reports on how Walker wants to diminish care for our veterans, at a higher cost, by privatizing the care providers in at least one home.

He has no respect for the veterans or the tax payers.

The Times They Are A-Changin' - Wisconsin Version - Now In Audio

Last week, I posted a song penned by a personal friend, based on Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'"

Conrad Plymouth took on the task of recording the song.  You can hear his version by visiting his site.

Blogging News And Notes

Just a few items that need to be tied up before I go. Yup, that's right, I'm taking full advantage of some vacation time (while I still have some) and doing my part by taking some furlough days and heading up to the castle for a couple, three days.

I have a couple three short things posted to keep you entertained over the weekend.  And even more exciting is that I have finally thrown down the draw bridge to this here castle and invited some new authors to share their unique form of cognitive dissidence. Don't know when they'll blog, so make sure you keep checking.

Also, if you weren't already aware, Zach Wisniewski broke his corner of the Intertubes with his breaking news of Senator "Randy" Randy "Bed" Hopper.  While the blue blogging elves try to patch things up there, you can find Zach in his temporary home at Blogging Blue, the Blogger Version.

In more exciting news, the long lost prodigal blogger, Other Side, has started to shows signs of life and has gotten The Other Side Of My Mouth up and running, although it appears he is still a little rusty at getting them up as often as we would like.

Enjoy your St. Paddy's Day, and remember, if you choose to drink, don't drive.

The Real Reason There Are No Layoffs - Yet.

Scott Walker tried to make claim that the ramming through of the unethical "Budget Disrepair Bill" saved 1500 people from being laid off.


The real reason is because at least three times that number has already retired in the last few months.

Mr. Cellophane Strikes Again: Walker Again Plays Games With Transparency

A couple of weeks ago, I noted that Scott Walker was still having a major problem with transparency.  Even though he was able to dupe some of the media into thinking he was going to be open and honest with the public. Walker had Mark Pitsch thinking that he was going to be a regular Mr. Cellophane with his transparency, but in the end ended up being sued by the AP and the Isthmus for violating the Freedom of Information Act.

They ended up filing the lawsuit because he wouldn't release all of those overwhelming emails he supposedly received regarding his Budget Disrepair Bill.

The news came out today, ironically during Sunshine Week, that Walker's administration has reached a settlement with the news agencies, but with terms that raise some red flags for me:
The settlement calls for the defendants, Gov. Scott Walker and his office, to produce a disc containing these emails next Tuesday, March 22, at or after 4 p.m. It is agreed that the governor will produce emails "in the folders in which they are stored at the time of production." 
In exchange for this access, the media requesters have agreed not to use the names of individuals who have sent emails to the governor in cases where there is reason for withholding them, as when they contain personal medical or financial information or raise a concern about retribution. The requesters also agreed not to use, publish or disclose any home addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers or Social Security numbers that may be contained in these emails. 
Attorney Christa Westerberg represented Isthmus;and the AP in this action; the governor and his office were represented by Assistant Attorney Generals Clayton Kawski and Mary Burke. The governor's chief legal counsel, Brian Hagedorn, also took part in the case. 
As part of the settlement, the governor's office agreed to pay just over $7,000 in plantiffs' attorney fees and costs. But the settlement says this payment "is not nor is it to be construed as any admission of liability or of a violation of the public records law by Defendants, their agents, their officers or their employees."
The first one involves the fact that Walker needs until the end of the day on Tuesday to comply with this request, which was filed weeks ago.

It reminds me more than just a little of when Walker ran for his first re-election bid as Milwaukee County Executive against David Riermer.  Riemer wanted to know if Walker had kept his promise of having his top people sign a waiver for the pension enhancers.  It turns out that Walker had not done so, and used a delay so that he could have enough time to scramble to get them signed.  Then he gave Riemer a list of only who had signed, but not when they had signed the waivers.

The full truth of this debacle was not found out until June of that year, a full three months after the election.

Bill Christofferson, who was involved in the matter from Riemer's side, reports that the Department of Justice looked into this.  Here is what Christofferson reported and what the DOJ had to say:
The State Dept. of Justice, in a letter to Walker and Riemer, doesn't reach a conclusion over whether Walker broke the law or not. It says that's arguable, but it says this is such a unique case there is no point in taking the matter to court to try to establish a precedent. 

DOJ has some harsh words for Walker and his minions, however:
"In sum, this episode evinces a case of how government officials ought not to do business... 
"Whether they violated the public records law is a question largely mooted by the later production of the waivers and the nearly inconceivable notion that a repeat of this inglorious set of circumstances might be forestalled by a judicial pronouncement on the matter. 
"Nobody honored to serve in public office ought to manipulate public records in this fashion -- that is the opinion of this office."
What DOJ concluded is that it was uncertain whether a court would find that Walker violated the law, even though the investigation found "a troubling course of conduct by county employees." 
It also concluded that the likelihood of a similar case ever arising again was "nearly inconceivable," so a court decision wouldn't set any valuable precedent.
Oh, how little did they know back then!

I would dare say the same thing happened again just last year when Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan filed an Open Records Request against the Walker administration and their use of county computers.  Weishan's request stemmed from the relevations that one of Walker's aides, Darlene Wink, had been using county resources to do some politicking, namely leaving pro-Walker comments on JSOnline during the gubernatorial campaign.

I would not be surprised to find out that at this very minute, either as I write this or that you, gentle reader, are reading this, that Walker's staff is scrambling around writing bogus emails with made up people to sing the praises of Walker. Why else would it take them a week to burn the emails to a couple of CDs?

My suspicion is only confirmed with the odd concern about Social Security numbers and email addresses.  on the surface, it is, of course, a reasonable expectation and should go without saying, but how often would someone put their Social Security number in an email?  And wouldn't the email addresses be necessary to confirm that these were indeed genuine notes of support and not just made up statements from his staffers?

I certainly hope that when the news agencies finally do get the long awaited emails, that they do a very thorough vetting of them to make sure that they are indeed genuine.

Likewise, I would certainly hope that someone would investigate the appropriateness of charging $7000 for what should cost only a few hundred dollars, if that much.  Making this information so difficult for the average citizen to get is also contrary to the meaning of transparency and an affront tot he people of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hero Has No Hero Worship For Walker

Does anyone respectable stand with Scott Walker since his assault on the working people of Wisconsin?

Definitely no heroes do, and not Jeff Skiles:
Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot in the famous "Miracle on the Hudson";landing in January 2009, has been involved in the budget protests that engulfed Madison in recent weeks. 
On Tuesday, he took another big step, choosing to withdraw what he said was hundreds of thousands of  dollars of his own money from M&I Bank to protest the actions of bank executives there who backed Gov. Scott Walker. 
Skiles said Wednesday that he put the money in other financial institutions, and did not technically close his M&I accounts. 
"They have supported Gov. Walker and I wanted to send a message to them," Skiles said.
It's one thing to stand up for principles.  It's wholly another to be so adamant that one won't listen to the people any more (not that he ever did).

Jeff Stone Fails His Health Care Check Up

JSOnline reports on how each of the candidates for Milwaukee County Executive would approach the skyrocketing health care costs for the county.

Of course, the real solution is in the governor's hand, which would be to undo the deregulation passed by Tommy Thompson.  But Scott Walker isn't about to do anything that will actually help the tax payers, especially if it could harm his relationship to one of his big campaign donors.

Chris Abele touts a plan that would pool Milwaukee County's health care coverage with the states, in order to provide a larger pool and thus the ability to demand a better price from the insurance companies.  Abele also suggests that the state offer increased aid to local governments that also join this pool, thereby increasing the purchase power even more.

This is interesting plan, but I would be leery just because of who is in control of the state, for at least this very moment.  Walker has consistently shown he cannot effectively govern in an honest manner, and thus would probably refuse to do anything good with it.  If anything, I could see Walker raiding this fund to pay off one of his campaign donors, like selling the power plants to the Koch brothers for a song.

What is funny is the give and take between Stone and Abele as Stone tries to attack the plan:
The health care consolidation idea for public employees advanced by Abele also could backfire on others, Stone warned. By forcing insurers to compete on price for the business of covering public workers, the insurers would likely shift costs to private companies, Stone said. 
Abele said Stone was "more worried about insurance company profit margins than taxpayer savings."
Yeah, I can't imagine too many people would be crying if the fat cats in Big Insurance didn't make that $10 million bonus mark for a year or two and had to settle for only nine million.

Stone, on the other hand, has his own plan to address this issue.  His plan consists of two main points.

One point is taking advantage of the unethical and unconstitutional plan that he help ram down the collective throats of all Wisconsinites, despite the overwhelming outrage of the people and increasing unpopularity of their thuggish and dictatorial attitude.

The other part of his plan would consist of a wellness program.  A wellness program is a program in which employees are encouraged to choose healthy lifestyles including quitting smoking, eating properly and getting exercise.  The employees are often given monetary incentives to join.  The thought behind these programs is that by making the employees healthier, they won't need to put in as many claims and thus save money through the lower claims.

Any thinking, morally upright person is opposed to Stone's first point.  It is simply wrong to take away someone's rights just to pander to some well-moneyed special interests.  And to be honest, it is that bill that will probably cost Stone this race.  During the gubernatorial election, Walker lost in Milwaukee County by a landslide.  This bill has made Walker, and subsequently Stone, all the more unpopular.

That said, Stone's second point makes perfectly good sense.

How can I say that?

Well, because Milwaukee County has had a wellness program for the past five years.  As I have mentioned several times, in 2006, after Walker was forced out of his first gubernatorial run, his former political opponent, David Riemer came in and negotiated a contract with the unions.  This contract, at the insistence of the unions, included a wellness program that offered participants $100 each, and another $100 for a spouse, that participated in the program.

Stone, in an effort to shore up his case, cited Quad/Graphics, which also offered a three tier system which charged more for the more expensive kinds of health care coverage.  Likewise, Milwaukee County offered a two tier system, a HMO and a PPO plan, with the more flexible and more expensive PPO plan costing employees more in premiums and deductions if they chose this plan.

Ironically, the unethical bill that Stone just helped ram through the legislative system could wipe out the option of a tiered system, since the contributions could be the same, regardless of the plan..

You know, for someone who thinks he should be county executive, one would think that he would have done his homework a little bit better than this.  This is just another example of how out of touch Stone is with what is really going on in the world around him.

But there is a bright side for Stone, despite this bungling of a basic issue.  Stone is livid about how he is being coupled with Walker, even though he's marched in lockstep with him during the past several years.  Stone feels that pointing this fact out "demonizes" him..

As I pointed out earlier, the union pushed for this and Walker opposed it.  So now Stone can claim to be siding with the unions and against the governor.  I wonder how that will play with his base.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fitz' Snit Fits

Last week, I wrote about Senator Scott Fitzgerald's credibility problem.  In a nut shell, he was lying so bad that even the Faux News reporter couldn't go along with it.  And to top it off, ol' Fitz then goes and stabs his buddy Scott Walker in the back by letting the cat out of the cellophane bag.

To be honest, I thought this was just another example of typical right wing hypocrisy and flat out lying.  I'm starting to have second thoughts about that conclusion.  It's starting to appear that this is something a bit more than the usual run of the mill Republican behavior.

It appears that this was just the beginning of a series of emotional meltdowns as the Fitzwalkerstan cabal started to realize that we Wisconsinites weren't the sheep they thought we were.

A day or three after his faux pas and Faux News, he was back on the pseudo-news channel, saying this (emphasis mine):
F&F: The democrats have returned home after three weeks across state lines and described as a hero's welcome. 100,000 People turning out, cheering them, thank you, thank you. Does that surprise you? 
Sen Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI): It didn't surprise me that the protesters that have trashed the capital over the last month or you know,basically ruined everything in and around the building, put law enforcement in harm's way, tore the senate rule book in half and basically broke every personal relationship in the building. It doesn't surprise me that they offered them a hero's rally. It's disappointing.
The only problem with Fitz's faux concern about the Capitol is that he still can't tell the truth.  We know that Fritz is again lying for a myriad of reasons.

We already know that throughout the four weeks of protests, the Madison Police Department has commended the protesters for their peacefulness. In fact, this past Saturday, which saw one of, if not the, largest protest in state history, there was not one single arrest.

Another probably for snit-throwing Fritz is the the fact that Walker's administration perjured themselves in saying there was all that damage.  Protesters even offered to clean up whatever mess there might have been. Not exactly thuggish behavior, is it?

Nor could the Republicans convince a judge that the protesters were so awful, since he ruled in the people's favor saying that the People's House stay open.  Unfortunately, Fitz the Snit and Walker feel they are above the law and still aren't following the court's directive.

If anyone was endangering the public safety, it was the Republicans, during their snit, that wouldn't even let fire fighters responding to an emergency call into the Capitol.

Then again, given the past course of events, whatever damage that might have occurred at the Capitol or any where else, or any danger that police might have been, one would have to give serious thought to who might have caused said damage.  Remember, Walker already admitted that the Fitzwalkerstan cabal had considered using outside agitators to cause problems in order to turn the public's opinion of the protesters.  Just because Walker told the fake Koch that they didn't do it, doesn't mean that they really aren't doing it.

Today the news came out with Fitzgerald's latest snit fit.  Still mad that their sinister plan is being foiled by those meddling Democrats, he has said that even though they have returned to the state like he wanted, he won't let them vote on anything in committee.  In other words, because he has his undies in a bundle, he is disenfranchising a couple of million people and denying them representation.  This decision, not coincidentally, came just two days after the WI14 were given the appropriate hero's welcome in Madison.

And don't give me that mewling that the Dems did it by leaving in the first place. They were representing their constituents in the best way they could with the little authority they had.

So why is Fritz having all of these snit fits?

Some have opined that he is sending a not too subtle message to his fellow Republicans that if they step out of line, he can make their lives miserable.  One cynical friend thought he might be having a bout of Napoleon Complex.

I think it is a sign of panic.  The cabal of Walker and the Fitzgerald boys thought they had this thing wrapped up and would be able to ram it through before anyone caught on or, even if they did, before they could do anything about it.

Now he is faced with a growing groundswell of pure grassroots protesters that are mightily outraged and not about to tolerate their unethical power grab.  This is only being bolstered by various parties filing one lawsuit after another and learned attorneys finding their actions to be unconstitutional.

So now stuck in the unenviable position of having unilaterally pushed through an extremely unpopular bill, with no one to blame but themselves, he is stuck.  Unfortunately, being as full of hubris as he is, he simply won't try to work with the Democrats or even the moderate members of his own party.   The only thing that Fitz can think of doing is getting into power struggles which only make him look weaker and more inane than he already does.

It's more than a little sad that when the people of this state elected Fitz, his brother and Walker, no one realized that we had also forgotten to hire a babysitter to deal with their tantrums.  Or that we would have needed to.

Monday, March 14, 2011

They Wanted Those Budget Cuts...

And they got them:

Jeff Stone Thinks You Make Too Much Money

No, really.

Jeff Stone thinks you make too much money, and he wants to put a stop to that anyway he can.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Times They Are A-Changin' - Wisconsin Version***

A personal friend of mine penned these words, based on the original song written by Bob Dylan*:

1.  Come together 'round people
     Wherever you're from
     And let's stand together
     'Cause our time has come
     And accept it that now
     We must stand up and fight
     If your job and your rights
     Are worth savin'
     Then you better join us
     And stand up for what's right
     For the times they are a-changin'

2.  Come Wisconsin people
     And let's all stand tall
     The governor's budget
     Will hurt one and all
     If we all stand together
     Then no one will fall
     But if we don't fight back
     It's our curtain call
     Though we may have lost now
     Later on we will win
     For the times they are a-changin'

3** Come senators, representatives
     Please heed the call
     Don't stand in the doorway
     Don't block up the hall
     For he that gets hurt
     Will be he who stalled
     There's a battle outside and it's ragin'
     It'll soon shake your windows
     And rattle your walls
     For the times they are a-changin'

4   Come brothers and sisters
     Throughout our great state
     Stand up to Scott Walker
     And his agenda of hate
     If we all stand together
     We'll have a much better fate
     Scott Walker your
     Pink slip is comin'
     You'll have to leave Madison
     And we all can't wait
     For the times they are a-changin'

5   The lines have been drawn
     And it's time to fight
     We'll all stand together
     For what we know is right
     And we will prevail
     We'll show them our might
     The order is rapidly fadin'
     The present looks bleak
     But our future is bright
     For the times they are a-changin'

*Supply your own mumbly voice
** Fun fact: This is the same verse as in the original song
***Now to just get Jay to record it....

MJS Editorial Board: Consistently Inconsistent

Sometimes, one must wonder just what in the world goes on inside the offices of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Editorial Board.  Are they doing drugs? Are they not taking their medicine?  Maybe the board had been sacked due to budget cuts and replaced with chimps?  Whatever the cause, they just have not been doing well at all.

A few weeks ago, I pointed out that even though they said that Scott Walker and his cabal were on the right track, they turned around and said it was the wrong thing to do.  They also criticized the Wisconsin 14 who left the state in order to slow down the Budget Disrepair Bill, even though this action allowed people, including the board, the chance to see what a mess it was.

Their inconsistency continued this week.

First they wrote that the state Republicans did all sorts of questionable, if not outright illegal, things when they passed this maleficent bill:

Reason has taken a holiday in Wisconsin politics. Civility along with it.
In their place is a nastiness rarely seen in a state that long has believed in good government as a guiding principle.

Republicans got what they wanted Thursday: a flawed and divisive bill that strips public employees of most of their ability to bargain collectively. Gov. Scott Walker's party may now reap the whirlwind.


Senate Republicans acted rashly Wednesday night when they hustled the bill through that body in a matter of minutes. Senators may have violated the state's open meetings law by their actions. But even if they did not, giving less than two hours' notice for a bill with such broad ramifications is irresponsible governance.


But Republicans should not have stripped unions of their other rights. And they should not have exempted their political friends in public safety unions. They could have broken the bill into parts and considered the most contentious elements separately. Instead, they put their own members at grave political risk, and they have touched off a conflict that will not end with one singularly acrimonious vote in the Assembly chamber. In fact, it is only beginning.
Yet, despite calling the Republicans' behavior as irresponsible and that they should never have stripped people of their rights, they go on to write that people should just live with the injustice, to be good little serfs and not fight for justice or their rights:
People are angry; they have flocked by the thousands to Madison to express their anger. 
They're upset with Democratic senators for leaving Madison or with Republican senators for trying to gut the collective bargaining rights of public employees. They want to throw the bums out at the earliest possible opportunity. The recall efforts target every senator eligible for recall.
We get all that. But none of it warrants a recall. 
Disagreements over policy matters should be decided at regularly scheduled elections, which happen every four years for senators. That's plenty of opportunity to voice your disapproval with an elected official.
Got it? According to the MJSEB, even though the Republicans were irresponsible and shouldn't have done what they did, they shouldn't be held accountable.

On a related note, it's now been four weeks since I cancelled my subscription to their paper.  I've also dropped the paper from up north which is also published by Journal Communications.  I haven't missed either one.

And I'm not alone.  In fact, there is a Facebook group urging people to drop their subscriptions  to the paper which apologetically endorsed Scott Walker even though they had been and still are writing about every reason Walker shouldn't be elected as dog catcher.

And the folks at MJS only have to their editorial board to thank for the drop in circulation.  After all, they've been telling us for months now on how we all need to cut back on our spending.  I, for one, things that by ending our subscriptions is the most appropriate place to start.