Monday, May 30, 2011

Wisconsin's Own Michele Bachmann

Did you think that Minnesota had cornered the Midwestern market for crazy with Michele Bachmann? Well, Gentle Reader, before you put your money down on that, get a hold of Kim Simac in this clip courtesy of Zach at Blogging Blue:

I don't know exactly what rights the Constitution gives God, or why He would need a man-made rights to begin with, but our own Michele Bachmann apparently doesn't live in our reality either.

And if you thought that was bad, you should see the full clip, when Simac and the host, Dorothy Spaulding, try to out-crazy each other throughout the whole thing.

It also makes me wonder how desperate the GOP must be if this is the type of candidate they are putting up in these races.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Do More Than Remember This Memorial Day

It struck me this morning that this Memorial Day weekend has a new and significant meaning for me and many of my fellow Wisconsinites.

Sure there will be the picnics and the cookouts.  There still will be the parades and the flag waving.  There will be still politicians make big speeches honoring those that have given their all for us.

But this year, Memorial Day is much more than any of that.

Ask any American what Memorial Day means and you will hear the same pat answers about how it's to honor the men and women in the armed forces who died to protect our country and our freedom.  This is all true, of course.  But it is no longer enough.

We must do more than remember why these brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

In this day and age, when Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald Boyzzzz and the rest of WISGOP are trying to systematically strip us of our civil rights and even our constitutionally protected rights, such as free speech, waving a flag or eating a brat is no longer enough.

We must fight to keep and protect what they had sacrificed their lives for.  We must stop this wholesale assault on our right to our rights, our livelihoods, and everything we as Wisconsinites and Americans believe in and stand for.  This is a fight that should never have happened in our state or our country.  It is unbelievable that it was even allowed to start.  But this fight is now upon us and it is a fight we must win if we want to remain the free and just and proud people we think we are.

You, gentle reader, and I, are now as much needed as the soldier that died on some foreign land to protect our freedoms.  We will not need to make that sacrifice, thank God, but we will need to give our time, our energy, and our money to help remove those that are trying to take our freedoms.  So find some time this weekend to help out in an area near you, whether it is to help keep someone who respects us in office, or to replace someone who would rather sell our rights to the highest bidder.

If you can't go canvassing, then do a phone bank.  If you don't like calling and talking to strangers, there are still other ways you can help, from stuffing envelopes to data entry.  Just find your nearest union hall, or contact your local party office, or even the politician's campaign office and just ask how you can help.

And don't do it just this weekend, but with whatever time you can spare, even if it's only a couple of hours, until this assault on our rights and freedoms is repelled once and for all.

If we don't do this, they will win and we all will lose.  And we will dishonor the sacrifice of those brave men and women by proving they died in vain.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Cost of Bad Faith Bargaining.

Scott Walker and Supervisors Pat Jursik, Johnny Thomas and Paul Cesarz have put the Milwaukee tax payers on the hook for a big bill.

See the details at Milwaukee County First.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scott Walker: (Sinking) Like A Rock!

Public Policy Polling came out with a new poll earlier today taking a look at how the citizenry of Wisconsin is taking to having their constitutional rights stripped away, public safety becoming a thing of the past and having their tax money being taken away from worthwhile projects so that road builders and out-of-state insurance companies can make ridiculously high profits.

Turns out, the people just aren't too keen on any of that:
Scott Walker's popularity has continued to decline over the last three months and Wisconsin voters now say they would vote to recall him if there was an election today. They also say they would pick either Russ Feingold or Tom Barrett over Walker in a head to head match up.

43% of voters now approve of the job Walker is doing to 54% who disapprove. When PPP polled the state in late February it was 46% of voters approving to 52% disapproval. Walker's numbers now are virtually identical to where they were before with Democrats and Republicans but with independents he's seen his popularity continue to decline from a 45/53 approval spread to a 40/56 one.

Voters split evenly in February at 48% on the question of recalling Walker but now the needle has moved towards bare majority support for removing him early from office. 50% say they would support a recall to 47% who are opposed. That Walker's disapproval is 54% but the support for recall is only 50% shows there are still some voters who dislike him but wouldn't go so far as to support removing him from office, but there aren't many.
Things aren't looking so good for Republican senators either:
And the implications of this finding are probably limited for the upcoming State Senate recall elections but by a 50-42 margin voters in the state would rather have the Democrats in control of that body than the Republicans.
You can see the full results of the PPP survey here.

Meanwhile, I hope all good Wisconsinites will join me in saving up boxes so that we can help first the Republican senators and then Walker to pack up and move out to make room for people who still love this state.

The Moment You've Been Waiting For!

You've seen the teaser for it...

You've read the reports about it...

And now, the moment you were waiting for...

The video of the social media panel of which I had taken part of:

Wisconsin Elections: By Hook Or By Crook

The Republicans in Wisconsin know that they are on a losing path with their hostile, anti-Wisconsin agenda.

Their knowledge, and fear, of the people is being shown in the callous way they are treating entire segments of the population and their attempts to suppress any opposing voice.  And nothing illustrates this as well as the hypocritical way these "freedom fighters" are treating one of the most sacred rights in this country, the right to pick our own representation.

First we see their leaders lying to their constituents, ignore what the people actually want and vote to keep entire swaths of the citizenry from being able to exercise their constitutional rights of voting.  They do so at the harm of the tax payers, even as they proclaim themselves to be the friend of the tax payers.

Now, the Republicans have decided that public financing is just wrong for elections. The timing is interesting seeing that the very wealthy Senator Herb Kohl had just recently announced that he will be retiring at the end of this term.  Apparently, they Koch-financed Republicans are that afraid of the voters that they feel that even an average citizen who might receive a pittance of public financing would be an insurmountable obstacle for them.

What the Republicans continuously fail to understand is that this is Wisconsin.  While money is nice to have, it's not nearly as valued by most Wisconsinites as the basics of freedom, independence and justice. All they know is that they're no longer completely in control and they are starting to panic. But instead of doing things that might save their political rears, they are only pouring gas on an already blazing fire.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Who's The Alpha Fox In The Hen House?

Most people readily admit that having the Republicans in charge of both the governor's office and both houses of the legislature is the proverbial putting the foxes in charges of the hen house.

In just four short months, they have ravaged our economy, our environment, the working class, voter rights, workers rights, gay rights, our tradition of having an open and ethical congress, the system of checks and balances...oh, the list could go on for a long time. It will take years to correct all the wrongs they have committed in just these few short months.

It makes anyone who loves Wisconsin want to break down in tears every time they think about the damage done.

Last night, over at Milwaukee County First, I wrote about how the WISGOP's anti-transit agenda and budget would be especially harmful to the small businesses in Milwaukee County.

As I did the research for the peace, I learned something rather interesting.

I, along with the majority of Wisconsinites, presumed that Scott Walker was the head of the WISGOP and was calling the shots as one horrible bill after another came down the pike and was ramrodded through, even if it required questionable means at best, illegal procedures at worst.

However, this might not be an accurate perception after all.

An example of why it might not be are the RTAs.

As most people are aware, RTA stands for Regional Transit Authority and is supposed to be a method of consolidating a region's mass transit options and make it less costly and more efficient.  Walker recognizes the necessity of the RTAs and the necessity of having to raise taxes to meet the needs of transit systems even as he slashed their budgets.  He just doesn't want to take responsibility for the taxes going up.

This is evidenced by the fact that he did not eliminate them from his proposed budget.  He instead proposed that the RTAs be required to hold a referendum before being able to raise taxes to fund their respective systems.

The Joint Finance Committee, led by Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Robin Vos, and steered by Senator Scott Fitzgerald, chose instead to just obliterate the RTAs altogether.

Sources have reported that this maneuver has caused great concern in Walker's administration and in the Department of Transportation.  They are fully aware that the communities affected, including Milwaukee County, have no other way to make up for the revenue they are losing through Walker's budget cuts.  They are also fully aware of what this will do to regional employment rates and regional economies, not to mention the effects this will have on the state as a whole.

Yet, despite this, Walker has given no public indication that he will oppose this action much less veto it.

It makes me wonder just who's the alpha fox in Wisconsin's hen house.  Is Walker really leading the faithful to our mutual doom? Or is he just a figurehead trying to appear like he's in charge while someone else, like Scott Fitzgerald, is really the one pulling his strings?

And is there someone else beyond all of this, like the Koch Brothers, who are pulling all their strings?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fun With Trolls

Had this little exchange on Twitter pointed out to me earlier tonight. It is betweent @Battiestgrrl (the woman of the manifesto fame) and a troll named @votegun
@Battiestgrrl:  Dihydrogen Monoxide WILL help the Dems #flipthesenate.  Make sure to smuggle some to campaign offices for canvassers. #wiunion #wirecall 
@votegun:   (At)Battiestgrrl DHMO is a terrorist threat and you should be reported to homeland security your[sic] sick.
For information on Dihydrogen Monoxide, please visit

Rich The Tax Payer Funded Propagandist

Last night, via Illusory Tenant, we learned that Michael Brickman, aka Rich in Retail, aka the Brady Street Moleman, and former Scott Walker campaign worker, now had a cushy tax payer funded job in Walker's administration.

Tonight, we learn that Brickman's job apparently is in the Department of Propaganda and Untruths.  How do we learn this?  Well, via his twitter feed, that's how:

Wher the real #shame comes in is the fact that Brickman is simply lying.  To prove that Brickman is being paid with our tax dollars to sit there and lie his butt off, let's roll the tape and see what his own freakin' boss, Scott Walker, has to say about collective bargaining, under oath even:
“Your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members. Can you please explain to me and members of this committee how much money this provision saves for your state budget?” question Kucinich.

After an unresponsive answer by Governor Walker, Kucinich pressed, “Did you answer the questions? How much money does it save, Governor?”

“It doesn’t save any,” admitted Governor Walker.

Kucinich then requested permission to enter into the record a letter from the State of Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau (page 3 specifically), a nonpartisan state budget agency that confirmed Governor Walker’s efforts had no effect on the state’s budget.

“The Bureau was asked to identify provisions in the Governor’s bill that are non-fiscal; non-fiscal policy items that have no state fiscal effect. This letter confirms the obvious; that Governor Walker’s effort to repeal the rights of state workers is a non-fiscal policy item. No effect on the state budget shortfall,” said Kucinich.
So even Walker admits that his attempts to strip workers of their rights is not, I repeat, NOT, a fiscal issue. Furthermore, this is backed up by the nonpartisan and widely esteemed Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

There are two things that we can take away from this.

One, it's nice to we can Brickman to be as useful to the Walker administration as he was to the Walker campaign.

Two, it finally gives us a real, clear cut reason to finally use Walker's waste and fraud hotline, which we are also paying for with our tax dollars.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walker Now Starting To Alienate Supporters

Apparently, Scott Walker has alienated all the liberals and independent voters in the state in just a few months and is now taking aim at ticking off his own supporters.  The first of these is the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, which, to put it mildly, was not to impressed with him:
And, likewise, the WCC's Goat Locker is their convention, the only time and place all delegates gather annually. When taking the podium, past governors extended honors like recognizing the WCC chairman, and sometimes both vice chairmen, by name.

They then unfolded a speech about issues before the WCC. They often challenged the delegates, specifying where they needed help, better effort or deeper thoughts. They concluded by fielding questions, trusting delegates not to ask which conibear traps are best for beaver sets.

In other words, governors don't just wing it for 10 minutes with a disjointed impromptu speech and leave without taking questions from the floor. Yet that's what Gov. Walker did at the WCC's 77th annual gathering in Wausau.
At Walker's pace of not influencing people and losing friends, I have a feeling that if they can't start collecting signatures until November 3, they won't hit quota until at least November 5.

Thoughts For The People Of Joplin

They got clobbered with a massive tornado that took out a hospital:

Saw a tweet where a nurse saw a man sucked out of one of the windows. There are some things people shouldn't have to witness.

TOMMY!!! Not Koch Approved

Leading up to this year's Republicanfest, Tommy Thompson, the Brett Favre of Wisconsin politics, was making noise about running for Senator Herb Kohl's seat.

It quickly became apparent that the Koch brothers did not approve of this development as both Koch Brother funded Scott Walker and the Koch Brother funded Club for Growth of Koch Brothers' Profit Margins started to launch preemptive attacks against their former ally.

All that money that the Koch brothers poured into this little hatefest appears to have done what they wanted, since a straw pole at the convention gave the unofficial nod to state Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Who?) and his "Are you worthy of me?" website.

I am surprised that people with that much money would waste so much of it on a waffler like Tommy. Maybe it's a sign that they're finally starting to realize all their money doesn't mean a thing when the people are fighting for their freedoms.  And this realization is making them very nervous.

Good. They should be.

Here A Crony, There A Crony, Everywhere A Crony

Scott Walker's affinity for practicing cronyism is well documented, both in mainstream media and new media, such as this here blog.  From the drunk-driving college drop out sons of wealthy lobbyists to political allies to campaign workers, Walker has given them all some of those cushy, big-salary, high cost benefited government jobs that he, with their support, had campaigned as being against.

Illusory Tenant has found the latest example of still more cronyism. This time, the beneficiary of Walker's pay to play hiring system is none other than the Brady Street Moleman and Train Rider, Michael Brickman.

Nice, eh?

Illy-T, at the end of his post, asks Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to look into this.

But while we are speaking of former campaign workers and asking for Dan Bice to do some follow up investigative reporting, maybe he could look into Tim Russell, who since getting terminated from Milwaukee County, has abruptly moved to Sun Prairie:

Inquiring minds want to know.

(Not So) Great Scotts! Walker, Fitzgerald Feed the #wiunion Fire

This weekend, the state Republicans are holding their convention in the Wisconsin Dells. As one might imagine, two of the main speakers were Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald.  (Ron Johnson would have been one, but he is apparently still lost due to sunspot interference.)

Both Walker and Fitzgerald, each in his own way, did a lot to refuel the flames which has brought out hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the state and from all walks of life to first protest the ill-spirited misdeeds by the current regime, then taking action to remove these sociopaths from office.

Walker did his part by encouraging the people by letting people see him sweat and admitting he is afraid of the recalls (emphasis mine):
Six Republicans and three Democrats are targeted for recalls starting as early as July 12. Democrats need to pick up three seats to take control of the Senate from Republicans. If that happened, the Republican agenda would come to a grinding halt in the Statehouse, where Democrats currently are unable to stop Walker's proposals from passing.

Walker, speaking to about 1,000 Republicans at a Wisconsin Dells resort, said the only thing that could stop the GOP's momentum in the state are the recall elections.

"For the next two months, you shouldn't think about any United States Senate seat, you should think about protecting six brave senators and picking up three others," Walker said.
I don't know about you, gentle reader, but I would think a true leader of the people, who is willing to acknowledge this kind of fear would want to reconsider the path that he taking people down.  Instead of doing the right thing, the intelligent thing, he doubles down on stupidity and evil by trying to pursue his wrong-minded goals.

And if Walker's flop sweat wasn't enough to keep the people going, Fitzgerald does his part by pouring gas on the fire and doing his best Glenn Grothman imitation (again, emphasis mine):
The protesters, as well as the fleeing Democrats, were frequent targets of derision at the convention.

"It's been a long time since I've been around this many people who weren't chanting and yelling, sometimes at me," Fitzgerald said. "And I also got to tell you, you all smell a lot better too."
I wonder how the six Republican senators who are going to face the angry voters in just a few weeks are feeling about their supposed party leaders leading them like sacrificial lambs to slaughter.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Coming Soon To Wisconsin, Thanks To WISGOP

Just another "responsible citizens," I'm sure:
WATERVILLE — A state representative from Garland was arrested this morning for allegedly pointing a handgun at a man at point-blank range in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot.

Republican Frederick Ladd Wintle, 58, faces charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and carrying a concealed weapon for pulling a gun on Morning Sentinel photographer Michael Seamans of Sidney, police said.

In what police termed a “bizarre” series of events, Wintle allegedly started talking to Seamans about the infant that died this week at Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter on Ticonic Street and said he was looking for the mother’s drug dealer.

News reports made no mention of drugs involved in the infant's death and did not reveal the identity of the family.

He then pulled a .22-caliber handgun out of his pants’ waistband and pointed it at Seamans in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, located on Kennedy Memorial Drive, according to police.

Seamans was “an innocent bystander,” said Sgt. Alan Main with the Waterville Police Department. “He certainly did nothing wrong and certainly did his best to try to defuse the potential harm to himself.”
Perhaps we should start a pool to see which Wisconsin legislator will be the first to pull a stunt like this after they ram the unpopular and unwanted concealed carry law (without even any training!) down our throats along with all of their other asocial and amoral agenda bills.

Grothmann? Kapanke? Vos? Maybe even Walker himself?

I just hope that whoever it is, the victim is as lucky as Mr. Seamans who is at least alive to tell his story.\

H/T Think Progress

Teahadists Behaving, Well, Like Teahadists

Or in other words, pretty f'ing disgusting.

Amy Myers, a 16 year old girl, spoke up for herself and for women in general and criticized Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann (R-Arkham Asylum).  Amy even challenged Bachmann to a constitutional debate.

So how did Bachmann's faithful teahadists respond? Not like the people they claim to be:
The reaction to Myers’ letter has been nothing short of terrifying.

“A lot of them are calling me a whore,” Myers said of anonymous. Amy and her father said the comments from conservative websites alarmed them most. Some commenters threatened to publish her home address. Others threatened violence. Some threatened rape.

Because she criticized the Tea Party goddess.

“They’re targeting me just because I’m challenging Bachmann,” Amy said.

It doesn’t matter that Bachmann won’t debate her. Nor are the facts pointed to by Myers important. It doesn’t matter that Bachmann, the Tea Party’s alleged constitutional expert is wrong about the constitution and that a 16-year-old high school student is right. What matters is that you can’t criticize the Tea Party.
The garbage that I and my fellow lefty bloggers have been catching from the teahadist types (read CRG) has been absolutely intolerable and shows how disgusting some of these people really can be. But at least we're adults. To act this way to a teenage girl should never have happened and those doing it need to be prosecuted to the full letter of the law, both criminally and civilly.

Do You Suppose There's A Secret Door?

The Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper juxtaposition of the year award goes to:

Taken in, I believe, Oshkosh. Pure Pleasure II is an adult store that has a history of patrons getting in trouble for indecent exposure, BTW.

H/T Joanne Staudacher

Walker Denies A Voice To 56,000 Dane County Citizens

The question is why hasn't Scott Walker and his administration of cronies taken even the first step in calling for a special election to fill former Representative Joe Parisi's seat in the 48th Assembly District.

As Representative Pocan points out, with all these important things being discussed, it's only adding insult to injury to deny these people any representation in state government as he works to strip them of all their other rights.

So You Want To Go Canvassing?

But you don't know where to go?

Well, gentle reader turned canvasser, you'r in luck!

All the info you're looking for is right here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Canvass Kickoff This Weekend!

After the months of rallies, protests and petition gathering, we finally have a chance to make a real impact in the state senate!

Come out this weekend to help defeat Alberta Darling and take back Wisconsin!

Door to Door Canvass
Saturday, May 21, 10 am to 1 pm
Sweet and Associates, 2510 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood

If we can take a net of just three seats, we have flipped the state senate and send a powerful message to Scott Walker and set up a line of defense against his radical anti-worker, anti-Wisconsin agenda!

Additional events include:

Monday, May 23
Sen. Darling Fundraiser Silent Protest
Wisconsin Country Club, 6200 W. Good Hope Rd.
Contact Torre Edwards,, 414-581-6112

Thursday, May 26, 7-9 pm
People's Listening Session
MATC, Mequon Auditorium (5555 W. Highland)
"Where's Darling?" Not in her district to answer her constituents' questions. Come out for a People's Listening Session to hear about how the affect the 8th Senate District

My Manifesto, Or Why I Fight For Workers Rights In Wisconsin

Joanne Staudacher
Courtesy of
One of my #wiunion friends, Joanne Staudacher (@battiestgrrl to the twitterati), wrote the following "manifesto" (her word, not mine), which she had put on a sign which spent many a day in Madison with her. She also read it at a public hearing in front of soon to be ousted State Senator Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper.

With my deepest and most heartfelt thanks, Joanne was kind enough to let me reproduce it here, from her Facebook page:

Dear Walker & Hopper:


Conceived, born, raised,
educated, employed + unemployed,
living still, and hope to die.

My father is a forester, methodist, veteran.

My mother is a seamstress, CCD teacher, devout Catholic.

Both sides farmed. I come from
hardworking, determined, long-lived stock.

I am unemployed. I am pro-union.

I have worked for pay in homes, yards,
restaurants, offices, computer labs, warehouses,
thrift stores, and college classrooms.

I have a Ph.D.

I have been a literacy tutor, humane society
volunteer--I’ve donated money, food, blood,
and time.

I am a daughter, wife, sister, aunt, niece,
cousin, friend, mentor. I will be a mother.

I will not see my children’s future spoiled.

I sewed my own wedding dress + changed my alternator.
I am a deer hunter who bakes vegan cookies.
I’m equal parts June Cleaver + meat cleaver.

I am educated, creative, passionate. Complex.

I have been Chippewa Falls, Holcombe, Eau Claire,
Prairie du Chien, Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Green Bay.
I am Oshkosh.

I stand before you in my science
camp T-shirt + thrift store skirt.

I am not a slob. If I were
lazy, I wouldn’t be here.

You may not remember folks
like me, but I WILL RECALL

I am Wisconsin, and I am
NOT alone!

The following are Joanne's words regarding the manifesto:
This is the text of the sign I wore on my back when I marched at the capitol last. It is my manifesto, my statement of purpose, and every word is truth. My manifesto was limited to the size of what I could carry on my back, could have used some better planning, had to have an amendment over my two-poster limit and I had to tie it around my throat like a cape to keep it all visible. I broke the lines in the same way that my medium and handwriting dictated. 
I fight for the people I love, the people I have loved, the people I will love. I fight for the land beneath my feet. I fight for people who don't agree with me, because I still want them to have a beautiful future. Yes, some of you tagged will not agree with me. I still offer you my story, my motivation, my intent, and the better future I hope we will share. 
This is why I fight. This is why I will not give up. I have made this note visible to "Everyone"--feel free to share it, to comment on it, to think about it--whatever makes you happy. This is why I fight, for better I hope, not worse. The war isn't over. In true badger fashion, we dig in and hold fast.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Protest Against Walker In Racine On Tuesday!

Governor walker will be present in Racine to talk about job creation. However if you take a look at his budget it does very little to create jobs in the state. In fact it does more to dismantle healthcare programs, collective bargaining rights and our educational system. Join us to protest Scott Walker and his extreme agenda.

Protest Governor Walker's Budget

Where: Marriott - 7111 Washington Avenue (Hwy 20) Racine, WI 53406
When: Tuesday, May 24th – 4:00pm-7:00pm

Park at Case High School

Vital Error In Voter Suppression Bill

Apparently the fascists* in temporary control of our state, made a vital error in their voter suppression bill.

They targeted the wrong group. They should have been suppressing themselves:
A Republican legislative aide is under investigation for possible vote fraud after she cast her ballot in the November election in Onalaska although she lives in Madison.

La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said he has forwarded the report from the Onalaska Police Department to Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to see if criminal charges are warranted against Marcie Malszycki, 30, an aide to state Rep. Warren Petryk, R-Eleva.

Records from the Government Accountability Board show Malszycki voted in Onalaska on Nov. 2, 2010, and Nov. 4, 2008, at the same time she had a home in Madison and worked at the state Capitol. Messages left with Malszycki by email, phone and Facebook weren't returned.
Of course, the Republicans and RWNJs will only use this as an excuse to show the "need" for their voter suppression bill. The obvious flaw to their argument is that she was caught without the bill in place, which proves the system works just fine as is.

*And no, I do not choose the word "fascist" lightly. But when you have a minority who controls the majority of power and uses said power to deny others basic and Constitutional rights, they are by every meaning, fascists.

Who's Dogging Whom?

So, State Senator Dan Kapanke (R-Corruption) had a fund raiser this afternoon. In the invitations he sent out, the guest star that was supposed to bring in the big money was US Representative Paul Ryan.

Problems was Ryan was a no show. Kapanke tried to play it off as some sort of clerical error, but it does give one enough doubt to pause and wonder.

Did Ryan dog out Kapanke because he didn't want to be dragged down by showing support for a soon to be recalled, corrupt little toad?

Or did Kapanke realize that Ryan's rising star is now falling and didn't want to be associated with someone who wants to kill off the elderly and disabled?

Darling Lies To Voters Even As She Steals Their Rights

Even as the state senate is poised in taking the next step of passing the voter suppression bill, we learn that Senator Alberta Darling (R-Nearest Golf Course) is lying to her constituents about the bill she, along with her WISGOP colleagues, are ramming down our collective throats.

The following was forwarded to me, and is Darling's response to constituents expressing their concern about the voter suppression bill:
Dear [name redacted]: 
Thank you for contacting me with regards to Voter ID. I always appreciate hearing from constituents in the 8th Senate District. 
As you may know, 1,200 ballots in Milwaukee were cast from invalid addresses in the November 2004 election.  Also, almost 10,000 more ballots were cast than people who were counted as voting.  These statistics, despite being 6 years old, raise serious questions that undermine the validity of the entire statewide elections results. 
I would not support requiring individuals to show an identification to vote if it would disenfranchise the poor, the elderly or the disabled.  I believe most Wisconsin citizens support our election reform initiatives because it serves to secure their vote from being fraudulently cast by another. 
While it's clear we have differing opinions on this issue, I am sure there are many that we do agree on. Thank you again for contacting me and if you have any further comments or questions, do not hesitate to contact me. 
Alberta Darling
State Senator
8th Senate District
Let's first take a look at those numbers.

The 1,200 number that Darling banters about is explained by the Brennan Center for Justice:
The allegations of 1,242 votes from addresses flagged as invalid were based on a computer match of voter rolls against U.S. Postal Service and City of Milwaukee property lists, with spot checks of 40 specific addresses. In further review of 300 of the sample names, about 20% of the invalid addresses were attributed to data entry errors (e.g., “3130 S. 15th Place” became “3130 S. 15th St.,” and “S. 68th St.” became “S. 63rd St.”). At least two other addresses ostensibly deemed business locations were found to be valid residences after an individual spot-check. Furthermore, 75% of these votes were from election-day registrants, who were required to show proof of residence at the polls.Oops. Looks like it was more of an issue with poll workers dropping the ball than with fraudulent voting.
Now for the 10,000 number that Darling was flinging around, again from the Brennan Center:
The allegation that 10,921 cards could not be processed was apparently an error; 1,305 election-day registration cards from Milwaukee actually could not be processed. 548 of these listed no address, and 48 cards listed no name, but voters had to show both proof of name and proof of residence to register on election day. 236 cards had missing or incomplete dates of birth, 28 had no signature, 141 listed addresses outside of the city limits, and 23 were deemed illegible. 155 cards were not processed because they had not been given a voter number by the city. It is unclear why the remaining 126 cards could not be processed.
Also keep in mind that then US Attorney Steve Biskupic had done a thorough investigation and came up with nothing.

And now, in regards to Darling's statement that she would never vote for a bill that would disenfranchise the elderly, the disabled and/or the poor, we turn to this map of potential disenfranchised voters, via The Masses:

Click on picture to embiggen

I'm sure that it's just coincidental that the largest number of potential disenfranchised people are in Milwaukee and Dane Counties.  And I'm sure that not one of those souls that are about to lose their right to vote because of WISGOP's fear of the people are elderly, disabled or poor.(Yes, that was sarcasm, Ms. Darling.)

Finally, I would also have to point out that by treating all Wisconsinites as guilty before proven innocent does not create on single job nor does it do one darn thing about the biggest source of potential fraud - the absentee ballot.  Then again, absentee ballot fraud is a heavy handed favorite technique of Republicans, so of course their not going to touch that.

As if the simple fact that she and her Republican colleagues are about to squander millions of our tax dollars so that they can steal our very rights given to us in the Constitution to solve a problem that doesn't exist wasn't bad enough, lying to our very faces about the whole sordid affair makes it beyond tolerable.

Who's joining me in canvassing this weekend for Sandy Pasch?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Picture The Fun: Part Deux

The other day, I noted that Walker's administration came up with their new tourism slogan of "Picture the Fun." (Believe it or not, that cost tax payers more than three million dollars - but remember, the state's broke.)  This is what we got so far to show for our money:

Apparently, the only things to do or see in Wisconsin are within a mile of the lake front in Milwaukee.

But it is somehow quite appropriate to include Henry Winkler and the Bronze Fonz in the ad.

Winkler the person, by all accounts that I've seen, is a really nice person, like a true Wisconsinite.

And the Fonz can represent the Walker administration, as they are both known for jumping the shark.

One Thing You Can Take Away From L'Affaire D'Ahnold

Is that Ahnold Schwarzenagger isn't a RINO, but has earned his chops as a bona fide Republican.

Newt Gingrich and Charlie Sykes cannot wait to welcome him to the club.

Why WISGOP Is Out To Destroy Public Education

As Scott Walker and the Fitz Boyzzz have set about to systematically destroy every positive thing about Wisconsin, among their tip targets has been the public education system.

First, they attack the teachers' civil and workers' rights, as they did with every other public sector employee, with the temporary exemption of police and fire fighters.

They are currently trying to run a bill through which would further hamper teachers and the school systems alike. This bill would basically blame teachers for the societal woes created and/or enhanced by WISGOP's own policies.

Making  the WISGOP attack on the public school sector teachers is even more perplexing when one realizes that  Wisconsin public high schools have had the highest graduation in the nation for two years running. It would seem that something is working.

So why is WISGOP out to push these teachers out the door?  Besides the obvious desire to pay their debt to the private school lobbyists, that is.

Well, simply put, the private schools are not only losing popularity with the parents, but with the teachers, who would rather teach at a public school:
Some religious school leaders worry they could lose young teachers to higher-paying public schools as more positions open due to record setting retirements.

No religious schools have yet reported losing teachers, but the concern is legitimate, said Matt Kussow, executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, which represents 650 hundred schools in the state.

“It has been a problem in the past where private schools are training grounds for the public school system,” Kussow said. “They come to us for a few years, and then they find the salary and benefits in the public sector more attractive.”
That information raises an interesting and a vital question: Just how bad are the private sector schools that they're afraid that their own teachers would run off to a public sector school which has been devastated by the greedy, corrupt and maleficent WISGOP?  And the private schools will have an even tougher go of things if they actually have to start teaching all the children and not just the ones that they cherry pick.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Walker's Job Plan At Work

Rock-Tenn Converting Company and Rock-Tenn Services Inc. today informed the state they intend to permanently close their plant on Milwaukee’s northwest side, eliminating 199 jobs.

The plant to be closed is located at 1900 W. Cornell St.

Rock-Tenn, which is based in Norcross, Ga., said it expects the Milwaukee plant to be closed by July 17.

Some of the employees to be laid off are members of the United Steel, Paper & Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial & Service Workers International Union.
The article goes on to say that the company is using this as a bargaining lever to make the unions make heavy concessions.

This is life under Walker's reign. Give up your rights and a lot of your hard earned money, or give up your jobs and your homes.

Is it November yet?

The Tired Lie Of Low Taxes

In a newsletter I received from the Institute for Wisconsin's Future, came an interesting tidbit about state taxes and job growth. Guess what. They're not what the Republicans would have us believe. I reproduce it here in part (emphasis theirs):
The Tax Foundation has named South Dakota the most business friendly state in the nation for 2011.  Runners up are: Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, Florida, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware, Utah and Indiana. 
The most business unfriendly are: North Carolina, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio, Connecticut, New Jersey, California and New York - the worst state to do business.  Someone should notify Donald Trump. 
The fact is - low taxes have very little to do with economic growth.  A recent analysis by IWF of jobs and tax data shows the opposite to be true. The ten highest tax states had better economic growth pattern that the lowest ten tax states.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Picture The Fun

Scott Walker's administration announced their new marketing campaign that is supposed to draw visitors to Wisconsin.  They're calling this tourism drive "Picture the Fun."

Well, let's see here. In the few months of his reign of terror, he's attacked the working men and women, attacked the poor, attacked the children, attacked the teachers, attacked the GLBT community, and has attacked just about every civil right in this state. The one thing he has not done but had promised to do during his campaign is to create jobs.

In light of that, do you reckon that this is the picture  that they should probably be using in their "Picture the Fun" campaign?

Well, if Walker had his way, that would be the most accurate to be sure.  But, there is one thing Walker and the Fitz Boyzzz had counted on, and that is the Wisconsin spirit.  Walker may want the state to look like the above, but #wiunion will make it look more like this picture until things are again put to rights:

PolitiFarce Part IV: Politi-Make-Up-Your-Own-Facts Wisconsin

In this morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, their Politifarce takes on a claim made by the head of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.  Actually, it's not even a claim, but a phrase taken from a larger sentence:
An April 27 Journal Sentinel story about the association’s warning was picked up by other media outlets, including some that took it another step -- saying unions were behind the sticker threat. A day later, Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO responded with a statement that said in part:

"We have no knowledge beyond un-evidenced assertions made to the media by the Wisconsin Grocers Association of any such campaign, but let's be crystal clear -- there are not, nor have there ever been, any boycotts encouraged by our organizations."

The second part of that statement caught our attention.
Well, now we have our first problem when they are admitting they are cherry-picking and taking Neuenfeldt's comments out of context.

They then start going through example after example, examining each one and explaining away that these weren't boycotts, as the definitions provided in their article would have them.

Then they get to the one they were saving up for what they were hoping was their coup de grace, which would justify their giving Neuenfeldt's partial statement a "barely true" rating. This would be when the Wisconsin's chapter of the AFL-CIO pulled their money out of M&I Bank:
What about the actions of the state AFL-CIO itself?
At a May 5 news conference outside an M&I Bank branch on Milwaukee’s west side, the group said it withdrew $105,000 from the bank and closed its account as part of what it called the "Move Your Money" campaign.

The group withdrew its money to protest M&I executives’ contributions to Walker and to underscore the threat to Wisconsin jobs that could come from the upcoming sale of M&I to the Bank of Montreal. M&I is listed among dozens of businesses on the "Boycott Scott Walker Contributors" page on Facebook.

Sounds like the state AFL-CIO wants you to take your business elsewhere. Isn’t that a boycott?
Whoa! Talk about misleading statements!

First of all, they apparently don't understand Facebook works or are being purposefully misleading.  If one goes to the Facebook page in question, one can see it was not set up or administered by the AFL-CIO, but by community activists who are private citizens.

And about the reason why the AFL-CIO took their money out of M&I.  While it is true that the union is not happy with their contributions to Walker or their selling out to another bank, that is again cherry-picking and taking information out of context.

These crack reporters could have simply cracked open their own newspaper to find out the first thing listed was not the support of Walker or the sale, but the fact the M&I took more than $1.7 billion in TARP funding, but has only paid a comparatively puny $25 million back.  They did, however, find some way to give their exiting top executives more than $71 million in golden parachutes.

In fact, their own reporting doesn't indicate that the move had anything to do with their support of Walker.  Nor do they indicate that there was any kind of order or expectation for others to follow suit.  As a matter of fact, I was at the Labor Council meeting the night before this happened. They announced they were going to do this, but did not encourage anyone else to do the same.

Now, I'm sure the bank's support of Walker had something to do with it, but it can in no honest way be construed as being the only, or even the main, reason the AFL-CIO pulled out their money.  It would be more apt to describe it as the proverbial last straw.

Yet they found a way to rate the cherry-picked partial sentence as "barely true." (Is that anything like being a little bit pregnant?)  That is quite the feat in mental logistics to come to that conclusion despite the findings of their own research and of their own paper's previous reporting.

So why did they go through all of the mental contortions and leaps of illogic to come to such a blatantly biased opinion, er, decision?

Well, there are three obvious reasons that I can immediately think of off the top of my head:

  1. The paper itself endorses Walker. They endorsed him during the campaign and have treated him with kid gloves for nine long years now.  They're just continuing to protect their golden boy.
  2. Journal Communications is anti-union.  Their TV station has been having a long term problem with its union.  The paper has been feuding with its unions for years now, laying people off in droves and generally screwing over their employees while Steve Smith, CEO of Journal Communications, keeps getting richer.
  3. M&I is a big advertiser with Journal Communications. You can't listen to WTMJ and make it through an hour without hearing the "M&I Wealth Management" shtick.  Their ads are all over their web page and in their paper.  With the paper hurting in sales, Sykes sinking in the ratings and people moving away from their news shows, they can't afford to tick off or even lose such a huge money ticket like M&I or their successor.
Given that they would go to such extremes to protect their self-interest or the interest of a favored advertiser or politician, instead of, you know, practicing ethical and responsible journalism, is just one more reason for me not to rely on them as a reliable resource, or at least not as responsible as those that are actually reporting what is going on, especially when it comes to anything political.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More On The Social Media Panel

Just another update on the NOI panel in which I had the great fortune to be a part of, along with dignitaries such as Tom Foley, Senator Chris Larson, Melissa Ryan, Emily Mills and Maxwell John Love.

I have heard that the video from this panel will be available later this week, once they do the heavy photoshopping of every scene I was in. I will post it when it's available.

If you can't wait that long, my friend at Blue Cheddar did her own coverage of the event.  WARNING: She included several photos, some of which, unfortunately, contain me in them.

Is There Anyone Or Anything Walker Won't Sell Out On?

Unless you've been living in a cave (or a mansion in Pakistan) or only get your news from talk radio and Faux News, you're probably aware that Scott Walker has been selling out everything and anything he can, from workers' rights to voters' rights to public safety to the environment.

Bruce Murphy, of Milwaukee Magazine, takes note that Walker is selling out the poor and his promise to not raise taxes:
Figures from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau show that 77 percent of those who qualify for the EITC make so little money they pay no state income taxes. But Walker seized on this to argue he was not increasing taxes, merely taking away money that is given to taxpayers by other taxpayers.

One sign of how radical a measure this is comes from the critical response of Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, which routinely praises any move that cuts government spending. “I think it’s good tax policy and good social policy because it rewards work rather than discouraging it,” he said of the EITC. “I would have looked for savings somewhere else. “

Nearly as bad is Walker’s decision to reduce the amount of the Homestead Tax Credit by $8.1 million. This measure, too, was seen as a way to help low-income homeowners and renters, helping buffer the latter from increases in rent by landlords.  To claim the credit last year, filers had to have household income of less than $24,680. Most taxpayers aren’t eligible. Only 247,000 people claimed the credit in 2010; the average credit awarded was $520.
My retired father takes advantage of the Homestead Credit. When he found out about this, who prides himself on being a neocon, said he wants to sign a Walker recall petitions as soon as they come out.

If Walker is so bad, that my dad and I agree on the fact that he is bad for the state and needs to be outed, that speaks volumes in itself.

Walker's Recycling Of Failed Budgeting Schemes Could Cost Tax Payers

As Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker repeatedly kept doing budget-related grandstanding.  These stunts only gave him the appearance of actually standing up for the tax payers, when the truth of it is the tax payers usually ended up paying more for his stunts.

Examples of this would include when he cut staffing in the call center for the Income Maintenance Program to the point that the state had to take over the entire program to avoid a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit.  This in turn led to county tax payers paying several million dollars more for these services than if he had just kept the center staffed like it was supposed to be.

Another example would be when he ginned up a fiscal crisis that did not exist, and used that as an excuse to lay off the county security guards so that he could give a sweetheart contract to campaign donor Wackenhut.  When it was found that he did indeed violate county rules and policies, it ended up costing tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and double payments for the same service.  Needless to say, Walker's stunt cost tax payers much more than if he had acted like a fiscally conservative leader and left things put.

Now, as the worst governor in state history, we see Walker's pattern of irresponsible behaviors being recycled as he decided to try to slash the state's required payments to municipalities for their recycling programs.  This has at least the City of Milwaukee seriously considering suing the state:
Barrett says in his April letter the DNR’s transfer from the state recycling fund was “at minimum irresponsible and perhaps even unlawful.”

Stepp responds in an April 22 letter, “I understand the budget challenges that all levels of government face … Virtually all lapsable local assistance funds within the Department of Natural Resources were significantly reduced or totally eliminated to help meet our obligation to help balance the state’s budget shortfall.” She added, “The recycling grants to responsible units were no exception.”

Then, in a May 4 letter from City Attorney Grant Langley, the city’s position hardened. He writes that under state law, the recycling fund is established as a segregated fund that can’t be lapsed back to the general fund.  The statute Langley references reads: “There is established a separate, nonlapsible trust fund designated as the recycling and renewable energy fund.”

Langley calls the cut in recycling grants “illegal” and says the city plans “to explore all options available … to challenge the reduction.”

Barrett spokeswoman Jodie Tabak says the city is awaiting a response from the DNR, adding, “We are seriously considering legal action.”
If Milwaukee chooses to pursue this, they probably have a good chance to win it. And when they are successful, the state will then have to come up with the money to pay all the municipalities across the state. And the money that should have gone to these programs in the first place aren't going to the tax payers in frozen or even reduced taxes, but to the CEOs and the businesses that supported his gubernatorial campaign.

This would mean that Walker will either have to raise taxes, or more probably, cut more services that many of our most vulnerable citizens rely on, like Badger Care.  This, in turn, will lead to even more lawsuits and greater expenses.

We need to get an adult in that office and we need to do so as soon as possible. We can't afford any more of Walker's brand of fiscal conservatism.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Warned You About This

Even back in the days when I was part of folkbum's posse, I have warned of the costs of untreated mental illnesses.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, just the economic cost of untreated mental illness in this country is more than $100 billion each year, and this does not include the human costs.

Now we're seeing this in Wisconsin.

It was recently released that due to Walker's and the Fitz Boyz' narcissism, paranoia and megalomania, it will cost tax payers nearly $8 million. And this doesn't include any fines or court costs that they are charging to us and our future generations as they continuously disregard the law and even the Constitution.

A little bit of Haldol and/or Geodon would have been much, much cheaper.

To add insult to injury, these dangers to society keep insulting our intelligence, apparently thinking we are as crazed as they are.

The gales of November can't come soon enough for me.

In Solidarity With My #wiunion* Brothers And Sisters.

Alternate title: "Just A Slob Like The Rest Of Us"

Yesterday, as advertised, I was part of a panel which discussed the role of social media in the Wisconsin protests, or as they are known by the Twitterati, #wiunion.

The forum was hosted by a group called New Organizing Institute. Apparently, in this case, the "new" is the same as when someone snarkly refers to the new math. It seemed that the entire forum was slapped together in haste and many issues were overlooked, such as simply archiving the video. Hopefully, I'm wrong, but I can't find it anywhere.

But despite the problems that we encountered, I believe we pulled it off with an amazing level of success.  Even with my hampering the whole affair. And true to nature, over the course of the last day, I have thought of dozens of things I wish I had said during the forum.

Tom Foley, aka Illusory Tenant, (@illusory_tenant for the Twitterati), proved to be the perfect moderator. His knowledge of the legal battles occurring in Madison and his dry wit helped keep things moving along apace and kept the audience more than entertained and interested. Note to Charlie Sykes: I know Tom personally and if you want lessons on how to moderate a panel the correct way, I'm sure some lessons could be arranged.

Click on photo to enlarge
From left to right: Melissa Ryan, Sen. Chris Larson,
Tom Foley, Emily Mills, myself, Maxwell John Love
Picture courtesy of @jjinsf
Melissa Ryan (@MelissaRyan) was also very entertaining and (rightfully) generous in her praise of the people of #wiunion.

Senator Chris Larson (@ChrisJLarson), as was predictable, was the rock star of the show and had people hanging on his every word. He made a good point, stating that no matter how useful social media is, it will never be a substitute for face to face contact and good old-fashioned "shoe leather politicking."

Emily Mills (@millbot), the Renaissance personified, is even more awesome and more fascinating in person than she is on teh Intertubes.  She also praised the people for their diligence and their tenacity in standing up for their rights and standing as one, without a leader per se, but just as a people.

Having been caught off guard when Tom introduced me and brought up my royal standing as King of the Hate Left, I then mumbled something about how I have been amazed by their strength and have come to use the people of Twitter and Facebook as my eyes and ears to supplant the corrupt and inept corporate media reporting that would allow people like Patrick McIlheran to use up ink or Charlie Sykes to pollute the airwaves.

Wish I had said it moment number one: I wish I had gone through the categorization of the mess Scott Walker had left us in Milwaukee County to contend with, including a failing transit system, hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance to our parks and buildings, and an almost completely dysfunctional mental health system, to name but a few.

Finally, a young activist and college student at the University of Madison, Maxwell John Love (@MaxwellJohnLove) who is the ultimate geek. He had great insight in how Twitter helped the cause and his role in keeping it going.

After our spiels, there was a question/answer session and it was heartening to see so many people invested in the topic and asking rather intelligent and thoughtful questions.

Now, I will admit, I was as nervous as a person could be going into this thing. Public speaking has never been my strong suit. As I often joke, I have a face made for radio and a voice made for blogging.  To add to my stress, I got a late start and was often frustrated with the traffic due to all the construction between Milwaukee and Madison. Knowing that there would be scores of people in the room as well as people all around the nation watching the livestream broadcast of the panel only made me feel more on edge.

By the time I arrived at the place where the forum was being held, my hands were shaking like a leaf. I felt the panic rise as I tried to find my orientation and figure out where the room in which the forum was being held and where said room was in relation to my current position.

Finding that the room was on the third floor, I stepped off the elevator and the first thing I see was this beautiful woman who was my #wiunion adopted little sister, Sarah (@sjzep). It was our first real life meeting, and I found out that she was also the best damn hugger I've ever met.  We walked in the room together and as I found out where I was to sit, Sarah also found a seat.

The room started to quickly fill to the point of being standing room only.  As I nervously looked up and into the crowd, I noted many people from my Twitterati family, including Matt (@matt_t1), Carol (@bluecheddar1) (Carol is also a wonderful blogger in her own right), Anna (@annaironside), and one of my bestest friends, Heather. (@ari_WISCslob).  Later, I found out that there were others, but having not met them in real life, did not recognize them for who they were.

At first, I was surprised. This was quickly supplanted by a sense of control, when I realized that they had come to support me and my co-panelists.  I was still nervous for a while, but as things progressed, I relaxed more and more, emotionally leaning on my friends by concentrating on only their presence and taking strength from their quiet support.

After the session had ended, many people approached the table we were seated. I was again amazed as not everyone was on their way to see Senator Larson, as I would have suspected, but many came up to shake my hand and thank me for my work.  I felt a level of guilt, as it was these people that deserve my gratitude, all our gratitude, for being there day in and day out, being our eyes and our ears, and suffering the abuses of the corrupt government on a first hand basis. (For example, it's one thing to hear of the atrocities committed by Walker's police state inside the Capitol, but it's wholly another thing to personally experience, as I can attest to.)

We then adjourned downstairs to the bar on the first floor, where I had the pleasant surprise of seeing more friends who were unable to make it to the panel.  These included Jenni (@legaleagle) who is a rock star in her own right, the famous tweeter @edcetera aka @superbranch among several other handles, my dear friend Maverick (@marivic), and @theandingo. I also met some new friends, including Matt (@mwisniewski) and the beautiful Maria (@SeleneMSC).

I came home in the wee hours of the morning feeling exhausted and exhilarated.  I also felt humbled and honored by, and in awe of, all these wonderful people.

On the next day, as I reflected on the evening before, I had a small epiphany of sorts.

In the regular unions, members often address each other as Brother and Sister.  When signing a letter, or when parting ways, it is not uncommon to say "In Solidarity."  I thought I understood the bonding message behind these acts, but it was not until Thursday night that I truly appreciated its meaning.

These were my brothers and sisters of #wiunion.  Most of them did not know me in real life. The few that did, I only met once or twice.  Yet they took time out of their lives to support me, to stand by me in solidarity, to lend me their strength, and just to meet me.  Even now, just reflecting on it, I feel overwhelmed by a sea of emotions.

I've always had my other two families, the labor unions and the Bloggerati, both of whom I cherish. The best part is that #wiunion encompasses them both. It's like my family has grown exponentially. I am truly a lucky man.

State Senator Glen Grothmann once called the people of #wiunion slobs. Like true Wisconsinites, instead of being insulted, #wiunion embraced it, like we did when people thought calling us cheeseheads was an insult.

And I'm damned proud to say that I'm just another slob, like the rest of my #wiunion family.

*For those not familiar with Twitter, a hash tag as used in the title is a way of identifying and categorizing a tweet.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Limits Of Social Media

As I've been thinking about the panel that I will be a part of, in which we will be talking about social media's role in the Wisconsin protests, I've been paying particularly more attention to the workings of the various types of social media.

This turned my memory to a particular subject, namely the limitations of the social media, especially in the events of recent months or in getting people motivated enough to actually go out and do something, particularly when the weather is less than friendly.

This brought me to a post written by a friend on the very subject, which reflects a write up I did for a training earlier this year. The whole post is interesting and a worthy read, but for my purposes, I would point out this section:
Friendraising and public relations are great, but campaigns are won and lost on the streets. Knocking doors, appearing in town halls, and attending community events are how candidates are able to meet the people and give them the ability to put a face to a name. Candidates that are well-known and have special interest involvement in their campaigns have a distinct advantage in this area, as they can put more "boots on the ground" both in terms of numbers and times of day/week. To match those numbers, the power of social networking must be brought to the table. As with public relations, word-of-mouth through social media platforms gets the need and necessary information out to a large number of individuals in a very short period of time, which allows those people to pass along the word. People who know you (either virtually or in real life) are more apt to brave the weather during spring campaign season (signature gathering in December, campaigning in January and early February) and will stay in contact in between events than those who are motivated by organizational self-interest.

More Outside Agitators - Will Walker Complain About These?

Even as he was traveling the country, hitting up national GOP angels for big donations to defend his corrupt friends from being recalled, Scott Walker would lament that outsiders were throwing money at the people's efforts.

Even has Walker was asking the person he believed to be David Koch for help in getting people to Wisconsin to support his besieged cronies, he mewled about how the unions and even President Obama were supposed to be shipping the hundreds of thousands of protesters to Madison.

And speaking of outside agitators, look at what the local paper finally got around to reporting (which is actually old news to anyone following the #wiunion on teh Twitter):
Democrats who filed challenges last Thursday to recall petitions filed against three Democratic senators broke down the number of signatures collected in each of the campaigns by out-of-state circulators. Such signatures accounted for more than 44% of those collected by the recall campaign against Sen. Dave Hansen (R-Green Bay), Democrats say.

According to a  Republican Party campaign finance statement filed last month, the party spent $92,000 on a Colorado firm, Kennedy Enterprises, to provide staffing for several recall campaigns.On its website, Kennedy Enterprises lists circulating petitions as one of the services it provides.

A Journal Sentinel spot check of Hansen recall signatures found that more than 150 of the 200 pages of signatures checked were circulated by people with out-of-state addresses.
But, wait! There's more!
The Democrats said 44.65% of the signatures against Hansen were collected by out-of-staters, while the out-of-state proportion in the campaign against Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover) was 36.64% and of the campaign against Sen. Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie), 33.12%. 
Democrats say some of the out-of-state circulators misled petition signers about what they were signing, and argued in their challenges to the petitions that anything these circulators collected should be thrown out.
I'm sure that we will soon hear from Walker that this was great news and was somehow going to lower taxes and create jobs.And I'm equally sure that no one with a modicum of honesty and/or common sense will ever believe him.

Watching Paul Ryan

With all of the chaos going on in and around the state these days, it's hard to keep track of things.

Most folks already know that they can come here or to Milwaukee County First for all things Scott Walker.

But I am only one man with limited time.

So what to do when one wants to know what some other schmuck, say Paul Ryan, the congressman with the bad hair, was up to? Do you scour all of the liberal blogs just to ferret out a grain of truth? Do you trust the corporate media to tell you the truth?

Well, you're in luck. You don't have to take any of those actions.

You can just go to The Paul Ryan Watch and see what the GOP's rising falling star has been up to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Walker's Second Grand Irony Of The Month

Last week, Scott Walker committed an amazing feat of irony in which he proclaimed his respect for public sector workers after launching a full front assault on them, attempting to strip them of even the most basic rights.

But just when one thought he had reached the pinnacle of foolishness, he repeats the feat.

This time he declares Women's Health Week in Wisconsin, declaring that "women's health remains a priority for families, communities and government."

Amazingly, he did this with a straight face as well.

I was not the only one flabbergasted by his audacious act of absurdity.

Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood, noticed this as well and issued a press release in response:
“At a time when women throughout Wisconsin are gravely concerned about what will happen to their own health and the health of their families, Governor Walker’s proclamation rings hollow.

“Governor Walker’s budget cuts fall on the backs of Wisconsin women and children. Forty percent of the Governor’s budget cuts are from programs that serve primarily women and children.

“The simple fact is, if women’s health were truly a priority for Governor Walker’s administration, he would not be gutting women’s health by eliminating state funding for the health care programs and community services that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin women rely on everyday.

“Wisconsin women won’t be fooled by this. Governor Walker is saying one thing, but doing another when it comes to women and their health. For weeks women have been speaking out against Walker’s budget at hearings throughout the state and we will continue to work to restore funding for programs that truly protect our health and save our lives.”
The release goes on to list the many insults and assaults Walker has committed to the women of this state, including, but not limited to:

  • Eliminating $3.8 million from the family planning program, which helped pay for breast and cervical cancer screening;
  • Endangers the $11 million in federal aid which is aimed at helping with prenatal care, preventive care, health care for special needs children and lowering infant mortality;
  • Cuts Lab of Hygiene funding by more than a quarter of a million dollars, thereby denying cervical cancer screenings to uninsured women;
  • Cuts more than a half a billion dollars from Badger Care, which provides medical coverage for 686,000 Wisconsinites;
  • Attacks Income Maintenance Programs (something he has a history of having problems with) and;
  • Eliminates Family Planning services for men and all the related health problems.
I'm guessing that in the upcoming weeks, we will see Clean Drinking Water Appreciation Week, Natural Conservation Week, and Voting Integrity Week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Drinking Liberally: Rock Star Edition

This coming Monday, May 16, will be the next rendition of Drinking Liberally, with a cast of thousands, including some real rock stars!

First, there is the host, Zach of Blogging Blue fame, the man who broke teh Internets as he broke the story of Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper.

Then the night will be filled with two rocking guests.

One is the famous Chris Larson, State Senator and member of the Fab 14.

Also on hand that day will be Wendy Strout, Executive Director of Emerge Wisconsin and a rock star in her own right.

Drinking Liberally's new home is Transfer Pizzaria & Cafe, located at 101 W. Mitchell Street.

The festivities start at 7 pm.

Can't say that I'll be there as I don't even know if I'll be in town, but do go and enjoy yourselves.

WISGOP Looks To Tamper With Recall Elections

Apparently not satisfied with their bungling of the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, WISGOP is now looking to tamper with the recall elections which are in just two months by interfering with the voting rights of the elderly, the poor and college students (emphasis mine):
Voters taking part in the upcoming recall elections would need photo identification, if the latest version of the controversial voter ID bill becomes law.

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee passed an amended version of the photo ID bill Monday, removing a provision that required student IDs to carry correct addresses and moving up the date of implementation to immediately after the bill passes.

"We were all wondering why there's such a rush on this bill — now we know," said state Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. "It's about the recall elections. You feel the rules need to be changed right in the middle of the game."
Apparently, the Republicans have figured out that despite their sound bites and the endless squawking points parroted by AM radio stations, they aren't really following the will of the people.

So instead of doing the things they were elected to do, they are following the bidding of the special interests that helped buy their seats (read Koch Brothers et alia).  Sadly, they do so by inventing a problem that doesn't exist in order to match their "solution."

I would expect that a class action lawsuit will be slapped on this thing as soon as it is published, which could still keep it from affecting the recall elections on July 12.  But just in case, since you really can't predict what any given court is going to do, I would suggest that the recall organizers, the unions and other groups do what they do best and figure out a way to boots on the ground to help people meet this illegal poll tax.

I tell you one thing, gentle reader, I can barely wait for the day that we can start getting things squared away and cleaning up this mess that these fools are making.

University of Wis-Koch-Sin?

Among the million and one things wrong with Scott Walker's proposed budget (did the man get anything correct?) was the proposal to cut the University of Wisconsin - Madison and separate it from the rest of the UW system.  This an idea that is already being panned by members of the Board of Regents.

Walker claims that the proposal is to save the state money and to allow UW-Madison to grow via private sector donations.  But as with all things Walker, one has to brush aside whatever nonsense he is spouting and seek out the truth behind the maneuver.

In this case, a post from Facebook leads us to a blogpost which leads us to the news story that explains all we need to know behind Walker's and the WISGOP's motivation for selling off one of the state's greatest assets. That reason is, of course, to appease the Koch Brothers and their big money:
A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare
commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.

A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University's economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting "political economy and free enterprise."

Traditionally, university donors have little official input into choosing the person who fills a chair they've funded. The power of university faculty and officials to choose professors without outside interference is considered a hallmark of academic freedom.

Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it's not happy with the faculty's choice or if the hires don't meet "objectives" set by Koch during annual evaluations.
Read on and later in the article you find that the Koch Boyzzz have had their fingers in a lot of pies, including the federal pie, for many years.

What is really sad is how many people who have been put in a role of responsibility suddenly roll over and become mewling sycophants at the first sight of a few bucks.  And that is exactly why, after we clean up the current mess in Madison, we remain vigilant for any other infections, before they too spread.

NOI And I: Where I Get To Be A Hip Muser

On Thursday, New Organizing Institute (NOI) will be hosting a discussion regarding the events surrounding the Wisconsin protests and what role social media played in the course of events, including #wiunion for the Twitterati.

The panel discussing these issues will be moderated by our own Tom Foley, aka Illusory Tenant, although putting him and any form of the word moderate is surprising to me.

The panel itself will include:

  • State Senator Chris Larson, of the Fab 14, and a rock star in his own right,
  • Melissa Ryan, New Media Director of NOI and organizer extraordinaire,
  • The incomparable Emily Mills, woman of many talents, including blogger, columnist, actress, musician, and all around great person,
  • Max Love, UW student and concerned citizen,
  • Some guy named Chris Liebenthal, aka capper, who will be there for comic relief and doing his best imitation of the Hip Muser.
The event will be ironically held in the "Industry Room" in the Union South building at UW (the one in Madison).

If you are unable to attend, you can watch get a live feed by signing up at this site.

There will be an autograph signing session afterwards.

Monday, May 9, 2011

GOP Paying Koch Bros. Front Group With Your Tax Dollars

If I may, I would remind the gentle reader of a group called ALEC, which stands for American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is one of the heads of the Koch Brothers' hydra. This particular one is the legal think tank which comes up with legislative bills for the Koch-owned politicians to pass, in order to make the Koch Brothers even more filthy rich.

ALEC came to the public's attention when Professor William Cronon revealed their entanglement with Wisconsin Republicans.  For his troubles, Cronon received the same witch hunt tactics that I have been subject of and will be again in a week or three.

ALEC is again in the spotlight. This time, One Wisconsin Now has put their collective head in the proverbial lion's mouth by doing some actual investigating and found that no less than 12 current Republican state senators have paid dues to belong in ALEC.

In itself, no biggie. But it becomes a biggie when the fact is that these Senators are using tax payer dollars to pay for their membership fees.

Or to put it another way - the Republican Senators that said they were going to be responsible with our tax dollars are using those dollars to pay a group funded by the Koch Brothers, who in return, give the GOP Senators bills to pass which would help the Kochs'  cause of literally owning the state.

Imagine the uproar that would come from so-called government watchdogs or from squawk radio if some Democrats would use tax dollars to pay to be members of Milwaukee County First (if we had people pay for their membership, which we don't).  Their pinheads would just explode. But now that it's the GOP Senators doing it, these people are oddly silent.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Even Smoke And Mirrors Can't Hide Darling's Nervousness.

Alberta Darling is scared for her job.

Oh, she won't admit it, not publicly at least. But you can tell that she and the GOP are awfully nervous.

First, she's been running radio ads for several weeks now, even before she knew who her opponent might be or even before they turned in her recall papers. (Oh, yeah. She's really on the tax payer's side, all right. Two words: Child Welfare. No savings there, just higher taxes.)

Darling's latest stunt is to roll out a new drunk driving bill which would make the first time offense a criminal case, but only if the impaired driver was twice the legal limit.But what the hey, who could bad mouth a law toughening drunk driving, right? That'll surely get her a vote or three.

Unfortunately for our soon to be ex senator, the most vocal and passionate anti-drunk driving people, MADD, isn't so keen on Darling's shenanigans:
But Frank Harris, state legislative affairs manager for the national office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said in an email to Darling and Ott that, while their bills are well intentioned, MADD wants laws that make drunken driving a misdemeanor at 0.08 as opposed to 0.15. Additionally, Harris wrote, MADD wants laws that require an ignition interlock for first time offenders who have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater.

"MADD applauds your leadership on keeping the streets safe from drunk drivers in Wisconsin," Harris wrote in the email, which was also sent to the Journal Sentinel. "MADD supports making a third offense a felony but is neutral on the proposal to make a first conviction with a blood-alcohol of .15 or greater a misdemeanor.

"Making a first OWI conviction a misdemeanor at .15 BAC is not a step and this does not represent progress against drunk driving."

Added Harris: "This .15 BAC bill sends a mixed message on what the illegal level of drunk driving is in Wisconsin exactly and will not send any message or deterrence necessary to stop drunk driving or the majority of drunk driving deaths in Wisconsin caused by drunk drivers with no prior convictions. The only benefit to this legislation is that more drunk drivers may refuse and thereby receive an ignition overlock."
Senator to be Sandy Pasch also saw right through this and sent out her own press release regarding Darling's stunt:
8th state Senate District candidate Sandy Pasch issued the following statement today on Senator Alberta Darling's flawed bill that only criminalizes first time drunken-driving offenses for those driving nearly twice the legal limit:

"Every year in Wisconsin, families are torn apart by the tragedy of drunken driving, and Senator Darling's bill fails to seriously address the problem.  Essentially doubling the legal limit before criminal penalties are assessed sets a bad precedent, sends a mixed message, and embodies the kind of nonsense 'solutions' we get from out-of-touch career politicians who have been in Madison for far too long.  Rather than legislating in sound bites, we must take a more thoughtful, community-based approach to addressing the critical issue of drunken driving. Unfortunately, this proposal - coupled with likely cuts to public safety caused by the Walker and Darling budget - falls dramatically short for families and victims of drunk driving in Wisconsin."
At a time when the citizenry is already outraged and highly alert to the political climate, does Darling really think it was a good idea to sign on a meaningless bill? Does she think insulting her constituents' intelligence is really going to win over many people?

Alberta Darling is a person that is in dire need of being forced to retire, enjoy her truly lavish benefits, and spend her golden years touring golf courses.