Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grim Satisfaction

Nearly three years ago, Rory Kuenzi, his brother and a buddy of theirs thought it be grand sport to steal a snowmobile and ride down a small herd of deer.  The abuse and torture these assholes put those animals through is indescribable in its depravity.

Word just came out that after a lot of legal wrangling in an effort by Kuenzi to weasel his way out of the charges, he entered a plea of no contest to three counts of animal cruelty and two counts of possessing a dear carcass out of season.  Subsequently, he was given 11 years in jail, which is a lot more than I expected.

But even then, it's still a little anti-climatic since he will be serving this sentence concurrently with a sentence he received for killing a young man while driving drunk.

Right Wing's Complaints Highlight Right Wing's Maleficence

On Tuesday morning, the Koch Brother-funded MacIver Institute and Propaganda Machine issued a press release claiming that there was a "problem" with the recall.  Their problem was actually two complaints:
  • People were being told that they could sign a petition more than once, and
  • The Government Accountability Board (GAB) wasn't going to do a detailed analysis of the petitions for duplicate or otherwise ineligible signatures.
Charlie Sykes, mouthpiece for the GOP, took this bit of propaganda and conflated it to having people encouraged to sign multiple times and implying that the GAB was complicit with committing voter fraud.

The usual suspects mindlessly parroted this, obviously without even giving it moment's analysis.  

Now, whenever one deals with this lot of miscreants and reprobates, one must consider if they have a point of if it is just another one of their fallacious smear attacks.  If you bet on the latter, you're guaranteed to become rich in short order. 

With that in mind, let's see if their complaints have any merit.

First, for the allegation that one can and even should sign a petition more than once.

One Wisconsin Now did indeed post a list of rules and rights regarding collecting recall signatures.  And sure enough, it does indeed include the statement that one may sign more than one petition.  The did, however, include the caveat that only one signature would count.

Hardly what an honest person would call encouraging someone to sign more than once.

To also take the winds out of the sails of these fools, Kevin Kennedy, director of the GAB was interviewed by yet another ersatz journalist, John Mercure, who shills for the GOP in the afternoons on WTMJ 620 AM.  Mr. Kennedy told Mercure that it is the state law that allows more than one signature.

Mr. Kennedy went on to make another valid point that I'm ashamed that I didn't think of it on my own.

Mr. Kennedy pointed out that some people just may want to sign more than once to make sure that their signature is counted once.  

Indeed, there is a group being investigated for threatening to pose as recall volunteers and collect signatures, only to later burn them.  Then there was the student who did rip up a petition and then idiotically tweeted his man love for Walker by boasting how he did it for him.  A 53 year old man in River Falls also shredded a petition.  Another man in Madison is going to face charges for ripping up a recall page that had three signatures on it.

Perhaps before they complain about the ability of people to legally sign more than one petition, the right would do better by policing themselves from giving the people the incentive to sign more than one recall.  But I won't hold my breath for this to happen.  It was their attempts to silence and control the people that led them to the untenable position which they find themselves in now.

Now on to their complaint about the GAB.

When I saw them complaining that the GAB not certifying every signature, I'll admit that I was puzzled.  I remembered writing last year how Maistelman and Associates got Paris Procopis, who was challenging Senator David Cullen, off the ballot by eliminating invalid signatures.  At the same time, the law firm also successfully defended Todd Kolosso from James Sensenbrenner's attempt to have him thrown off that ballot.

I called Attorney Michael Maistelman, one of the state's leading election attorneys, to confirm my suspicion that this was another bogus complaint.  Attorney Maistelman confirmed that it has always been the responsibility of the candidate and his or her campaign to challenge the signatures of their opponent, whether it is for a recall or even just for nomination papers to get on the ballot.  He also told me that he has bumped a number of Republicans off of ballots by having invalid signatures stricken leaving his client's opponent with not enough to get on the ballot.  He said that the Republicans have done that to a number of Democrats as well.

Maistelman also confirmed that it was always the campaign that paid for that legal work to be done. He added that Scott Walker's campaign would have much more funding than what would be needed to review and challenge the signatures of the recall.  

In other words, the propagandist at the MacIver Institute (who didn't even have the courage to put their name to this hit piece), Charlie Sykes, Patrick Dorwin, Fred Dooley and Owen Robinson are complaining about is the fact that the GAB won't spend tax payer dollars to do Walker's campaign's political work.

Think what that really means for a minute.

They are so used to Walker using tax dollars to do his campaigning that they are now actually complaining when that corruption doesn't happen.  They must have completely forgotten about Walkergate or how its already come full cycle.  Now they want it to go for another lap.

Sadly, this does not surprise me.  Not any more that it doesn't surprise me that every three and a half seconds another person who values the tradition of what Wisconsin is really all about stands up and adds their name to the hundreds of thousands of others who have said that they want to take Wisconsin back.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Scott Walker Is Such A Bad Governor...

Let's make this an interactive post:

I say, "Scott Walker is such a bad governor..."

You, gentle reader, say, "How bad is he?"

And then I say, "He's so bad, he won't even attend his own support rally!"

Then we all laugh at him.

H/T Illy-T

Are Governor Ensures His Aides Our Kept Busy

The other day, I pointed out one of Scott Walker's latest examples of his abysmal spelling and rotten grammar.

The next day, despite it being already all over the Internet, Walker's aides deleted it.

It's bad enough that Walker made that faux pas in the first place.  But in reality, it was a trivial point suitable only for snark.  But by making it disappear, they actually make things worse by showing just how insecure they are feeling about things right now.

They're making this almost too easy.

Nostradamus Walker

While gathering the needed articles for the previous post, I came across a most interesting comment from Scott Walker. In trying to do some damage control after getting caught in a series of lies, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted Walker as saying the following, which is eerily prescient of today's events:
In a brief interview after the hearing, Walker was asked if he thinks the dust will settle on this fight, lifting his popularity:

"Well, yes, because I think what people want more than anything is results. . . . When I first came in as (Milwaukee) County executive, people said, 'He'll be gone in two years, it's over.' Instead I went from 54% to 57% of the vote. People said the same thing after my first full term, and we went up to 59% of the vote. That's in a county that is overwhelmingly blue. . . . Now the onus is on us in the state government - we have to produce results. If we fail to produce, well, then you're going to have a different outcome."
Indeed, the people of Wisconsin woke up a lot earlier that Walker expected and he is getting a much different outcome. And a well deserved on at that.

Are Right Wing Bloggers Accusing Walker Of Lying Or Are They Just Moving Goalposts?

One of the main contentions during the first "special jobs session" and in the recall of Scott Walker is whether he campaigned on busting the unions and taking away workers' rights. General consensus is that he did not.

That doesn't mean that the fanatic right wingers won't keep trying to say otherwise.

Fred Dooley at the fallaciously named "Read Debate Wisconsin" blog has a post in which he reproduces a table (without attribution so who knows where it came from) with a blurb about Walker saying he "supports a bill that would take away the rights of unions to negotiate health care benefits.

Likewise, Cindy Kilkenny, proprietor of the equally misnamed "Fairly Conservative," leaves a comment on her blog linking to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article in which they report the same thing.

Wow! They really showed us dirty hippie, freedom-loving, rotten union thugs, didn't they?

Not really.

First of all, a blurb does not a campaign make. And despite their attempts to move the goalposts, which appears to be the only defense strategy the Republicans have left, whether Walker mentioned attacking the unions is not at question. It is whether he campaigned on it.

Secondly, even their joint blurb only specifies health care benefits, and only in order for the schools and municipalities could join the state's health care system.

(As a side note, if they think that the recall is solely about collective bargaining, they are more intellectually dishonest than I had even given them credit for.)

But, for this instance, for the sake of argument, let's give them this bone. Let them say that this one blurb equals campaigning. That leaves them with an even bigger problem.

Because if we cede that point, that means that they have just proven Walker lied to the United States Congress.

On April 14, 2011, Walker appeared before a Congressional committee in which he discussed his union busting bill. Ironically, that date was also the anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Walker fared about as well as that fateful ship.

One of the Congressmen grilling Walker that day was Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia), who asked him specifically if he campaigned about it. After much hemming and hawing and many evasive answers, Walker admitted he did not:

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post caught that too:
Asked if he had really campaigned on a plan to roll back collective bargaining rights, Walker repeatedly danced around the question, insisting he had campaigned on a “range” of promises to impose fiscal discipline. But Connolly kept pressing the point, and finally asked him point blank: Did you “explicitly” campaign on this proposal?

“No,” Walker conceded. He then went on to repeat his claim that he campaigned on a range of issues, and insistted that Wisconsinites should not have been surprised by his plan because his views on collective bargaining had long been known.
Sargent goes on to point out that Walker stated he did campaign on it before he said he didn't. (He went back to the false claim that he did once he was away from Washington, D.C.)

So, basically, it comes down to one of two choices for the right. They can say he was lying to the voters when he claimed he ran on union-busting or he lied to congress when he said he didn't. Either way, he is a liar and is undeserving of anyone's trust.

And between the fact that he is a proven liar - whether it is about union-busting or creating jobs - and all of the other malfeasance he has committed in less than a year in office, there is more than enough impetus to explain why every 3.5 seconds, someone has just signed his recall petition.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Every 3.5 Seconds

United Wisconsin and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin released their amazing news tonight - that we've collected over 300,000 signatures in just the first twelve days of the recall.

My good friend and mentor, Jay Bullock, who had the foresight to unleash me on the world, started to do the cyphering of what it means.

Let's take it a little further.  The number that I've heard is actually 301,000, but we'll go with the 300,000 for the sake of simplicity.

300,000 signatures in the first 12 days comes to:
  • 25,000 signatures per day
  • 1,042 signatures per hour
  • 17 signatures per minute
That comes to a signature about every 3.5 seconds.

There is no way an honest person could describe that as anything but remarkable.

And while there is little doubt that the majority of signatures came from Milwaukee and Dane Counties, signatures have been collected in each of the 72 counties. United Wisconsin provides some examples:

  • 10,033 residents from Columbia County signed recall petitions
  • 4,713 Pierce County residents have signed so far
  • 3,698 residents in Oneida County have signed
  • 16,845 Eau Claire County and Chippewa County residents have signed
  • 8,540 residents from Portage County have signed
I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed by Portage County.  With Stevens Point there, I thought they'd have a better showing.  I guess I'll have to go over there to help when I'm up to the castle next weekend.

WISGOP could only muster up a statement that shows that even in the face of the whirlwind they have reaped, they are in complete disconnect with the people of Wisconsin, and would rather listen to the out of state big money donors, like the Koch Brothers.  Most right wing pundits are choosing to stick their heads in the sand.  The ones that keep their heads up seem to have them exploding.

But I touched on the right's fanaticism towards Walker and his maleficent ways, so this should really surprise no one.

And in a way, I can't blame them for their ineffective coping skills.

I can hardly believe it myself.  Just think about it.

Every three and a half seconds, someone is stepping forward and saying, "Enough! I want my Wisconsin back!"

Corporate Control Is Now Complete

It would be funnier if it weren't so close to what the right wants:

Only In Fitzwalkerstan...

Nothing like adding one more thing to help make Wisconsin the laughing stock of the country:
The law firm bringing a suit against the state's elections agency advised the Legislature on how to write the very law it is suing over.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grothman's Gamboling Goalposts

With the Scott Walker recall movement less than two weeks old, it is on a pace that could surpass the amazing work done in Ohio when they pushed to have a referendum on their anti-worker bill.  When his bill was soundly defeated, Ohio Governor John Kasich admitted defeat and vowed to move on.

Unfortunately, facing equally, if not more, fierce opposition here in Wisconsin, Walker and his GOP allies in the state legislature do not have even that much dignity left. They and their supporters, in an effort to turn the tsunami headed their way, have told lies that are laughable in their transparency. Failing that, they have resorted to almost every reprehensible stunt in order to preserve their fragile control of the state. They have tried everything from voter suppression to intimidation to flagrant violations of the election laws.

Now, in a move spearheaded by State Senator Glenn Grothman, they want to violate the state constitution itself:
Grothman's bill, which is the second go-around for the measure, would require petition gatherers' statement of authenticity to be in the form of an affidavit, acknowledged by an officer authorized to administer oaths, affirm the circulator's identity and state that the circulator appeared before the officer and executed the statement in the officer's presence.

"This will simply add an objective element to the current system of self-certification in which a circulator approves the honesty of his or her own efforts, and will ensure the integrity of signature collection efforts via third party accountability," read the statement that accompanied the email sent to legislators.

Grothman said he has always felt the process needs more scrutiny and doesn't feel asking for notarized signatures is going too far. But one can't help but notice that he didn't move to change the law until the recent wave of recall drives targeting four Republican senators and Gov. Scott Walker.
But as the incomparable Tom Foley points out, Article XIII, Section 12, Paragraph 7 explicitly forbids the creation of any law that would "hinder, restrict or impair the right of recall."
Talk about moving the goalposts!

About the only thing that they've yet to do is throw out the constitution altogether and declare Walker Governor for Life.

But it's not solely the stunts that they'll pull or the extents to which they'll reach in their desperation that amazes me. Having lived under Walker's regime for nine years, I've seen almost every stunt imaginable, the least of which is the ever-expanding Walkergate.

What fascinates me, in a morbid way, is their fanaticism regarding all this.  I don't know if they are motivated by greed, by a lust for power, some sort of irrational fear/hatred or a combination of any or all of these things.  Whatever their motivation(s) may be, it is frightening to consider the extremes they are willing to go.

They genuinely think that they've done nothing wrong in being nothing more than puppets for malevolent forces.  They genuinely think that taking money out of our wallets, food off our plates and roofs from over our heads is doing us a favor.  They think nothing of cutting off aid to the elderly, the disabled and children, as long as it forwards their agenda and their ideology.  They will use the weakest of rationales to justify trampling on our rights and our freedoms, and then act surprised when we get so upset that we would protest and take every legal action we can to not only stop them, but to prevent them from doing even worse.

Their level of zeal has crossed from ideological adherence to an almost religious extremism.  This is evidenced that they are apparently ready to destroy everything, even the things that they do value, in order to maintain power and continue down the path they've been mindlessly following.  Even though they recognize the anger that people are feeling and the trouble they are in, they cannot bring themselves to budge even an inch from their dogmatic positions.

It is as if they have collectively either lost all social mores and/or have suffered some sort of mass psychosis.

Regardless of the cause of their zealotry, the fact that they would even consider some of these things without even a pang of remorse only goes to show why we must be ever vigilant, both now as we move to oust them and afterwards to make sure that this never happens again, regardless of which party is in control.

Another Moment Of Brilliance From Walker

The man is simply an embarrassment:

Earlier: He has the same sediment as Lincoln.

Word on the street is he's already brushing up his resume for a new job of leadership: President of Densa.

Quote Of The Day

This comment, lifted from Illy-T's blog, really hit home in light of a couple of pieces from Rick Esenberg which I  had to correct:
The trend seems to be for an "expert" to make public statements about the content of the law that are inaccurate. The purpose of the statement is not accuracy, however, but rather to influence public opinion.

Most news readers tend to react to new information and arrive at an opinion about that information rather quickly. These first impressions in the minds of readers are "sticky," and readers will rarely revise their initial opinion even if later legal proceedings (or the lack thereof) demonstrate that the original source of the information was wrong. The latest political science research on the way that our minds form opinions demonstrates that it is first impressions that counts.

It is not surprising that those who wish to influence public opinion might adopt these "quick hit" tactics. What is surprising is that a major media corporation is apparently either ignorant of these tactics or else views itself as under no obligation to push back.

Perhaps one response (admittedly imperfect) might be if the State Bar were to discipline or rebuke any lawyers who make obviously reckless mistatements about what is or isn't fraud, or about what the law is generally. In paragraph 6, the preamble to Chapter SCR 20 states that all lawyers "should further the public's understanding of and confidence in the rule of law." Playing games designed to influence public opinion would seem to be inconsistent with the obligation of furthering the public's understanding of the law.

Apparently the prospect of shame or ridicule is not sufficient to deter some people.
'Nuff said.

Walker Lied? So What Else Is Old?

You know Scott Walker is having problems when even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel can't find a way to help him out of a lie:
Walker referred to school survey results, saying "the overwhelming number of districts saw that staffing was the same or greater."

But he cherry-picked figures in his favor, leaving out a key factor -- retirements -- that formed the basis of the survey’s conclusions on overall staffing reductions. When they are included, the survey actually shows the opposite of what he said.

We rate his statement False.
Of course, the gentle reader already knew that Walker's education plan of slashing school funding wasn't working.

Oddly, despite the growing evidence, often reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that Walker is simply on of the worst governors of all time in all the states, the paper still can't bring itself to stop supporting him.

Halfway Home

If this source is to be believed, Scott Walker must be to the stage where he is starting to wear epends lest he continuously soils himself (emphasis mine):
On Saturday, Recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) projections to collect petition signatures have surpassed all expectations to get more than the minimum required signatures per day needed by organizers to meet the amount of 540,000 mark by January 17. After the Black Friday signature petition drive throughout the state, recall organizers projected that most likely they have surpassed the halfway mark of the 270,000 signatures needed or will reach the halfway target total within days to force an election recall against Governor Walker.
Maybe if I time this correctly, I can be the coup d'├ętat signature.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Shameless Sheep Herder

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers served up a whooping on Penn State. Badger fans around the state rejoiced at the win, but also did well by showing that even though the ruling regime is a dark stain on the history of Wisconsin, the people of this state are good folk.

You see, Penn State is in turmoil by the recently revealed scandal involving an assistant coach allegedly committing the most horrific crime possible - the sexual assault of children.  But according to all accounts that I've seen, Badger fans did well by themselves by not using this against Penn State players or fans.

In another act showing the goodness of most Wisconsinites, State Senator Julie Lassa and State Representative Sandy Pasch have announced that they are going to again attempt to pass "The Child Victims Act."

Currently, state law forbids a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from suing their alleged abuser once they reach 35 years of age.  This is ludicrous and only serves to re-victimize the survivor of abuse.

The need for this bill is so obvious and so overdue that the ultraconservative corporate stooges that make up the editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel were forced to see it worth and endorse it, citing these reasons:
[Pasch] also pointed out some chilling facts: 70% of reported sexual assaults in Wisconsin were perpetrated against children; nationally, one in five children fall victim to abuse; estimates place the number of reported cases at only 10% of the actual total; several leading mental health experts say that most children who have been abused are so traumatized that they can't speak about the attack until well into adulthood, if ever.
In the same issue, the paper provides column space to Rick Esenberg, proprietor of the blogsite "Shark and Shepherd*," and head of a Bradley Foundation-sponsored group, to offer a rebuttal** on why the survivors of childhood sexual assault should have their day in court to seek redress for the crime committed against them.

Esenberg comes down to basically two points.

His first point is pure hyperbole (emphasis mine):
Statutes of limitations exist because it becomes progressively more difficult to establish the facts as time passes. It is hard to either corroborate or contradict conflicting testimony. Witnesses are gone. Memories have faded. Records have disappeared. When facts are scarce and the allegations are incendiary, there is an increased risk of results based not on evidence, but emotion.

The sponsors of this act argue that it will somehow result in the exposure of more offenders. But this is true only if we believe that it is likely that no victim of an abuser would come forward before the age of 35.
Not only is this argument hyperbolic, but it is arrogant and insensitive.

When a person experiences any kind of traumatic event, whether it is a soldier dealing with the horrors of war, a witness of a serious crime like murder or the victim of childhood sexual abuse, it is not uncommon for them to compartmentalize their memories of the event and to repress those memories for an indefinite length of time.

Sometimes it can take a lot more than the twenty years that Esenberg feels is sufficient. In my professional career, especially when I worked in various psychiatric hospitals, I worked with many people who were the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Some of them were able to come to grips with what happened to them while they were teenagers. Others were only having their first conscious memories bubble up when they were in their 50s. Some people were victimized as children may never have those memories brought up to the conscious level.

There is no predicting when the memories, often referred to as flashbacks, may reemerge or what might trigger them. It could be a sight, a sound or a smell. It could be the result of therapy. Or it could be an internal trigger where the person subconsciously feels ready to cope with the pain caused by the trauma.

For anyone to arbitrarily dictate how fast a survivor of sexual abuse should become strong enough to deal with not only the pain of the trauma, but to also have the strength to relive it in court shows that they either don't understand what is happening to the survivor, or they just don't care.

Esenberg's second point is much more telling and, I believe, the real gist that he and others who have offered the same opposition to similar laws:
Nor is it only the interest of accused sex offenders with which the procedural protections offered by statutes of limitation are concerned. Although they may be joined as defendants, civil actions alleging sexual abuse of a minor rarely are targeted at the perpetrator. Offenders seldom have money to pay civil damages.

Rather, the real target is some institution - a church or a school - that is alleged to have failed to prevent the abuse. It is even more difficult for such institutions to respond to allegations about what someone else is alleged to have done.
In other words, it's all about the money.

To a certain extent, this is understandable. As long as two years ago, Wisconsin prosecutors have filed charges against the nineteenth clergy member accused of sexually assaulting children. This is indicative of the long history that institutions like the Catholic Church have had of trying to cover up such atrocities, thereby enabling more abuse to occur. The consequences of such irresponsible behavior carries a heavy price tag, which is why the Milwaukee Diocese has filed for bankruptcy.

Similarly, school districts have had to pay high amounts of money for failing to protect children who were placed in their care.

I have heard some opponents of this law cite the money issue, claiming that it is unfair to the parishioners or the tax payers who will have to foot the bills for these lawsuits. I agree. However, the distinction that they do not make is that the parishioners and taxpayers are also the victims of the institutions, not of the survivors or the lawsuits. Not only did they fail to protect the children, but then their cover up led to these other people being trespassed against.

But even then, that argument holds no water. The loss of some money, even though through no fault of their own, pales in comparison to what was taken from the children who were assaulted and abused.

To defend the Church by trying to deny survivors of childhood sexual abuse their day in court might make Esenberg, or anyone else taking a similar stance, a good Catholic. But in my opinion, it makes them a lousy Christian and even worse human being.

*The shark is supposed to represent his skills as a lawyer, even though Tom Foley regularly swims circles around him. The shepherd is supposed to involve his alleged Christian values.

**One has to note the irony of a conservative arguing for the rights of the perpetrator as opposed to the victim's rights.

Scott Walker We Should Recall

Swiped from here:

H/T JoyMama

To Defend The Future, You Need To Know The Past

Do you want to know just how bad things can get under Scott Walker's regime?

To know that, look at what he did in eight years to Milwaukee County.

Now go out and gather those signatures.

(Yes, I'm the one that compiled that list.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Walker Continues To Whiffle

Less than two weeks ago, Scott Walker came out whiffing with an ad featuring a Waukesha school board member who didn't even know how many schools were in her district.

Walker, with an endless amount of funding from the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation and WMC, decides to take another swing.  And he whiffed it again.

This time the ad features "Kristi,"* who is identified as a mother and high school teacher.

But just like his first ad, this one is almost too easy to pick apart.

It turns out that Kristi is indeed a teacher.  But she teaches at a privatized school.  And if that wasn't enough, the Dems are reporting that she is also a GOP activist.

It's no wonder that she thinks that Walker's failing budget is a success.

One must feel sorry for her students.  They sure as hell can't be receiving a quality education from her. Not like they would have if they were going to a public school anyway.

Charlie Sykes thinks that this ad could be effective.  I concur.

Once people find out that the only ones supporting Walker are the mercenaries and the special interests who are pillaging their wallets to make the rich richer, they will be driven in droves to recall him.

I anxiously await for Walker to come back for his third strike.

*Am I the only one that thinks she is reading from a teleprompter placed way above the camera?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

More Anti-Gay Rhetoric From Walker's Administration

While running for Lieutenant Governor, Rebecca "I don't like the way that table is looking at me" Kleefisch compared homosexual couples to dogs.  People were rightfully outraged at her mean-spirited, hate-filled comments.

Now comes another one of Scott Walker's cronies, the politically connected Laurie McCallum, wife of former governor Scott McCallum, who takes a stance that homosexual people should be treated worse than dogs:
Laurie McCallum, who was recently appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to a six-year term on the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission, wrote that the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act applies only to sexual harassment. That contention was the basis for her dissenting opinion in a case involving Milwaukeean Chris Bowen, a machine operator who was subjected to years of anti-gay harassment as an employee of Stroh Precision Die Casting.

In a 2-1 decision, commissioners Robert Glaser and Ann L. Crump found that Stroh was responsible for fostering a workplace environment hostile to Bowen because of his sexual orientation. Stroh did not deny that the harassment occurred; nor did the company argue that anti-gay harassment is allowed under state law during the eight years that the case bounced around the court system.

But McCallum, the politically connected wife of former GOP Gov. Scott McCallum, defied nearly 30 years of precedent in state law by asserting that sexual “preference,” as she put it, is not a protected category in workplace discrimination cases.

McCallum’s stance alarmed civil rights advocates as well as her fellow commissioners, who warned that her view could upend legal tradition and “make it permissible to harass an employee based upon race, national origin, religion, age or disability,” as well as sexual orientation.
Scott Walker needs to condemn the vote by his political appointee and state that strongly opposes that decision. If he chooses not to do so, one can only presume that he is in agreement with it.

Then again, by not refuting that hateful stance, he only helps the recall movement. Perhaps he shouldn't say anything after all.

The Wreck of the Brothers Fitzgerald

It's about time someone came up with something like this:

I was telling you about the gales of November. We are the whirlwind.

Gleefully swiped from Phil Scarr

RIP, Tim Cuprisin

Milwaukee lost one of the good guys today with the passing of Tim Cuprisin:
It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Tim Cuprisin,'s media columnist.

Tim died Wednesday morning after a short but valiant fight with melanoma.

Cuprisin joined in 2009 after many years with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His sense of unbiased, journalistic integrity served a model for our team of young and veteran journalists. In our brief time with Tim, he impacted all of us greatly with his professionalism, sense of humor and eagerness to embrace new media. also announced that they are giving a fitting tribute to Tim by naming their editorial office after him. Andy Tarnoff also has a very moving tribute to him.

I lamented the day that I learned that Tim was being pushed out by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and was the first step in what ultimately led me to stop by subscription to the paper. I was not the only one to express concern that day either.

Tim was a great source of information when it came to the follies of our local squawk radio hosts, from the temper tantrums of James Harris to the inane behaviors of Mark Belling to the ultimate demise of Jessica McBride's painful time on the radio.

I held Tim in such esteem that one of my earliest honors as a blogger was learning that Tim read my stuff regularly. That made me try harder and inspired me to try to be half as good as he was.

On top of his skill, he was a genuinely nice man that was more than willing to have a conversation or to unhesitating helping a person out with some information.

So when I heard the news today of his passing, after the initial shock, I felt the pang of losing not only a great and respected columnist, but a friend.

Milwaukee did indeed lose one of the greats today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RIP, Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey, author of the "Dragonriders of Pern" series, has passed away:
Anne McCaffrey, the prolific science fiction and fantasy author who was best known for her “Dragonriders of Pern” novels, has died of a stroke at her home in Ireland. She was 85.

McCaffrey is celebrated for the new worlds she created in her fiction, such as in the “Dragonriders of Pern” — where a whole society is based on dragon-riding, and in “The Ship Who Sang” — in which a starship’s functions are controlled entirely by a severely disabled girl.

McCaffrey also helped transform the way science fiction writers wrote about women, and became the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, as well as a Grand Master of science fiction.
When I was a kid, I devoured her books as they came out. She brought out new worlds for the imagination and opened the door for many people.

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part XLII

If this is a business-friendly state, I'd hate to see what it would be like if we were unfriendly.  Yet another company pulling the plug, affecting almost 150 people directly:
Three years after pulling Famous Footwear's headquarters out of Madison, where the company started, parent Brown Shoe Co. says it will close Famous Footwear's huge distribution center in the Sun Prairie Business Park in early 2012, ending 144 jobs.

Sun Prairie city officials say they had no warning.

"As recently as two months ago, the city visited with the operations manager at the facility, and all indicators seemed to point towards a continuing presence here including a growing role for their operation," Neil Stechschulte, Sun Prairie's economic development director, said in a written statement. "The announcement appears to have been a surprise to employees as well as the city as a whole."

Brown Shoe said late Tuesday it will phase out operations at 1615 Commerce Drive in Sun Prairie over the next six months. Forty-two positions will end in January; the other 102 will continue through April when the distribution center will permanently close, Brown Shoe said in a plant-closing notice to the state Department of Workforce Development.
It's most definitely time to give Scott Walker the boot! Sign a recall petition today!

"...and we did it without raising taxes." - Results may vary

We've all seen them.

Those seemingly endless commercials that keep airing over and over and over on every station.

Yes, I'm talking about those commercial being aired by the Koch Brothers, via their front groups MacGuyver Institute and Americans for the Preposterous, which tout all the success that Scott Walker has not have had in creating jobs, preserving schools, etc.

Hey, they have their investment to protect, right?

Anyway, they finish their commercial with the claim that they did all this "without raising taxes."

Well, that would be impressive...if it were true. But like the other claims in the commercial, it's that much balderdash.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, things are not quite what these scam artists would have you believe.

Taxes are going up for anyone who claims the Earned Income Tax Credit or Homestead Tax Credit. You know, the people who could least afford paying even more. Just so that the rich can have more tax breaks on the capital gains and to increase their companies' profits.

And since the Republicans claim that any time a Democrat raises fees, it's the same as a tax hike, the same can be said about when they do it.

Given that argument, Walker really false short.

Walker is raising the fees for nonprofit agencies who need to do background checks on their employees (which is required by the state) 350%. He is also raising fees on microbrewers, anyone buying a car, anyone taking their road test (y'know, those darn kids are part of the 1%), and firefighters and EMTs.

The most egregious "fee hike" stems from the exorbitant tuition hikes on college students, because they're so filthy rich as well. Seriously, business leaders are telling Walker that their biggest problem is finding qualified workers with the right education, so he turns around and makes it even more difficult for people to get the necessary education and training. How in the world does that make sense, much less becomes a talking point for him?

For the actual numbers, we can go back to the Fiscal Bureau's report for the "savings" coming from Walker's budget:
In summary, the changes included in the Joint Finance Committee's budget would decrease net taxes by $23,572,000 ($5,135,000 in 2011-12 and -$28,707,000 in 2012-13) and would increase net fees by $111,340,800 ($37,248,900 in 2011-12 and $74,091,900 in 2012-13).
In other words, he's killing jobs faster than anyone else in the entire nation, sending our economy into a death spiral, victimizing our children and our vulnerable citizens, and we have the opportunity to pay more for this abuse.

Have you signed a recall petition yet? If not, what the heck are you waiting for?

Popcorn Turkey

This Thanksgiving Day will be like no other in the history of Wisconsin.  With the need to collect more than 540,000 signatures in 60 days, people won't really have the time to putz around in the kitchen for an entire day making their Thanksgiving dinner.

In light of that, as a public service announcement, I repeat this recipe for a quick and easy dinner.  As I had originally posted it four years ago, even before I had my own blog, at folkbum's:
An oldie, but a goodie...

Here is a Thanksgiving Turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing - imagine that.

When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.


10-12 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
5 cups uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER 'S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush Turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven.Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and flies across the room, it's done.

Imagine the look on your loved ones' faces as you show off your culinary skills.

Scott Walker's Ad To Recall Himself

Teh Funny:

H/T Blue Cheddar

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Walker Budget Is Already Working! Part XLI

Scott Walker's budget is putting another feather in his cap'o'failures by earning Wisconsin the dubious honor of leading the nation in the most jobs lost in October:
The unemployment rate fell in 36 states in October, but Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state in the nation last month.

Unemployment rates fell in 36 states in October and rose in only five, including Wisconsin, according to the latest monthly report released by the U.S. Department of Labor today. Unemployment rates were unchanged in nine states.

Wisconsin reported the largest October job loss, a drop of 9,700, followed by New York, which lost 8,300 jobs.

Employers added jobs in 39 states, while payrolls declined in 11 states.

Nationally, the unemployment rate ticked down to 9.0 percent in October, from 9.1 percent in the previous month. Employers added 80,000 net jobs in October, and the previous two months were revised to show much stronger gains.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate in October 7.7 percent, down slightly from 7.8 percent in September, but up from 7.4 percent in January.
And if this wasn't quite embarrassing enough, all one has to do is look at Illinois and California, two states that Walker and his supporters have been steadily mocking:
Illinois added 30,000 jobs, the most among states. It was followed by California, which added 25,700.
Walker and his cronies have mocked Illinois for raising taxes, even though their taxes are still lower than Wisconsin's. They've also mocked California for taking the federal funding for that "boondoggle" of high speed rail. Now we can see the truth behind the adage of "He who laughs last, laughs best."

They're laughing all the way to the bank while we're left to cry into our cheese soup.

It's going to take a long time for Walker and company to wipe the egg off their face after this.

But it also should provide even greater impetus to collect those recall signatures, as if that was really needed.

EXCLUSIVE: Privacy Flaw In Campaign Donation System

Miserable Hacks, er, I mean, Media Trackers put a blogpost last week in which they found "a serious flaw" in the recall signature campaign.  The flaw is that anyone could access some of a signer's personal information, such as their name, address and phone number.

What they don't tell you is that this is true anytime you sign a political petition, whether it's for the recall or for nomination papers or to show support for or against any given bill.

But in a Cog Dis exclusive, we found that donating to Scott Walker's recall defense fund has an even greater flaw than the one hyped by Media Trackers.

When a person donates to Walker's defense fund, or his campaign fund at any time, that person exposes not only their name and address, but also their employer's name.  Now any evil-doers would know not only where you live but also where you work! There is no place where you'd be safe.

And as if to aid and abet these could-be trouble makers, the State of Wisconsin makes it so that they can get your information online, from the comforts of their own home!  All one would have to do is access the database at the Governmental Accountability Board.  Heck, the same information is even available at non-governmental sites such as the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Now, the above was written in a satirical frame of mind.  But the following should scare you, whether you've signed a petition or not and whether you've ever made a campaign donation or not.

Even if you're apolitical, your information could be made publicly available.  And not just your name or address, but even confidential information, including social security numbers or personal health issues that you may have received aid for.

And before you blow that off as some sort of partisan hype, I would simply point out that Walker has done it before, as Milwaukee County Executive.  Via Cory Liebmann, we find that Walker had released sensitive data for up to 180,000 cases to his collaborating attack dogs, the misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government.  And he released this very private information, which included things that are protected from even the Open Records laws, without even charging a dime.

Now that Walker's is in charge of all the state's information, who's to say what he's already released and to whom?  I know I'm very uncomfortable with the thought that he could have released my records to people like the Koch Brothers or the Bradley Foundation (or any of their many, many front groups).

Good News From The Front Lines

I received the following email from a friend of Cognitive Dissidence regarding the writer's experience yesterday in gathering signatures for the Scott Walker recall.  The missive appears in the most part, edited judiciously to remove identifying information, grammatical purposes and so that it is formatted to appear on your TV.  The author's name is redacted in order to preserve their privacy and keep them safe from the harassers and the issuers of death threats, which are all too common among the right wing Walker apologists nowadays.
1. Met the two most amazing women/saints on 76th and Layton gathering Walker-recall petitions, more about them later.

2. There was an obvious paid-Walker guy there hassling them and the people who were trying to sign petitions. I hope you can get a good description of his clothes and stuff, because I'm sure they're just directing him to the intersections where signatures are being gathered.


I don't have a printer, so I was walking down to Kinko's to print off a form. When I saw THREE people "manning" a Recall effort, I thought, "this is great!" This is how stupid the Walker people are. Their guy only amplified the impact these courageous women were having. The people driving by have no clue he supports Walker. Sure the signatures are critical, but imho, at this early stage, the "soft value," of drivers seeing "boots on the ground," is far, far greater in the long run than the signatures the get collected. Before I got there Walker-boy increased the perceived presence of the Recall efforts in the minds of drivers by 33%.

The two saints had a table, two chairs, pens, clipboards.... I was very impressed.

I sit down and start to fill it out and Walker-guy asks me if I knew what I was doing.

You are one of the few people in the world who can appreciate how THRILLED I was to sign recall petitions for Scotty and Becky. I was very happy in an animated way to share that with Walker-guy. After I got up, I figured I'd be a gentleman and hold one of the signs for awhile. I got this idea from listening to Sara Schultz on her radio show. She said, give the petition-gatherers a hand, just stand there with them is support. That enabled one of the women a little break and she could focus on helping people feel comfortable, get situated. It was only at this point that I realized that Walker-boy was really getting right up to the line. It finally dawned on (poor listener) me that she was quietly and firmly instructing him NOT to talk to her anymore. She was terrific, very civil, but very firm. She said it was his right to stay, but he was NOT to address her anymore.

He wasn't giving her any space, (I'm sure he was trying to provoke her).

I inserted myself in between him and her in a remarkably civil tone told him not to address her anymore. He was 1/2 my size and older, so it wasn't an act of heroism. I had a great time giving him all my arguments honed for years in the comments of the MJS and at Firedoglake. At the end, as he was leaving, he asked me to tell the woman that he was sorry for bothering her. That just confirmed in my mind that he was paid by Walker's people.

There's a lot going on at these things. The biggest problem (and nothing you can do about it) imho is that sometimes people just stop on Layton, like it's drive-thru petitions. You've got to explain to them that they have to get into the parking lot and out-of-traffic. One woman was disabled and asked if someone could bring the petitions to her car. One of the two saints did.

Both of these women were really good at "connecting" with complete strangers, who came from a wide variety of backgrounds, and then nurturing them through the process. Lot of husband and wife couples. Really good energy.

They were showing them their ID, so these people knew they were genuine.

I stayed about an hour, guessing.

About an equal number of drivers telling us that we were "number-one" versus those showing genuine support.

Be nice, if the effort has the resources, to have someone who could drive a round to the really small groups (two-women), give them a break, coffee, time to hit the jake...... According to the one woman, the other woman was there before her and just started all by herself. That's dedication and guts. IMHO, two is the minimum number, but you can't tell courageous, dedicated people not to collect signatures. Saw what democracy looked like today and it looked damn good.

Thanks for all the consistently great work.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Media Trackers or Miserable Hacks?

Media Trackers is one of the myriad of pseudo-news agencies serving as nothing more than front groups to spread and try to legitimize the propaganda of their sponsors, folks like the Koch Brothers and the Bradley Foundation.  They are, for all practical purposes, identical with McIver Institute, Wisconsin Reporter or WPRI.

Or in other words, they are nothing more than glorified right wing blogs, with all the vitriol, irresponsibility, racism and inaccuracies one could expect from Real Debate Wisconsin, Wigderson's Library & Pub or Boots and Sabers.  Which explains why so many of them end up hiring bloggers to do their dirty work.

The point that these are not legitimate news agencies was brought home in a very strong way on Monday.

Media Trackers ran with a video that showed some young people signing the petitions to recall Scott Walker and Becky Kleefisch. They then insinuated that the young ladies were not of age and were being offered cigarettes to sign the petitions.

However, they never checked the IDs of the young ladies, so they didn't really know how old they were.  Nor did they show any causal relationship of their signing of the petition and one of the young ladies getting a cigarette from some unidentified person.  Maybe they just presumed that fraud was being committed because the young ladies in question were African-American. (See what I did there? I used their own methodology against them!) They sure had nothing substantial to go on.

As one could have easily guessed, they were utterly wrong.

The impeccable Emily Mills, who is a true reporter, and knows enough not to publish based on pure speculation and without verifying her facts, looked into the allegations.  She actually did look at the IDs of the two women and verified that they were adults and thus could sign the petitions.  She also stated that there was no evidence to suggest that the signatures were cajoled from the young ladies with a bribe of a cigarette.

Once busted out in their lies and libels, Media Trackers couldn't even bring themselves to admit that they were in the wrong, but petulantly stated that they were going to keep pushing to try to prove that bribery was going to happen.

So why did they do this?  Why did they risk their already tarnished reputation on something as lame as making a false report and then refusing to admit they were wrong?

They answered that question in an email to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Brian Sikma of Media Trackers said the group brought the issue to light because of concerns of unethical behavior.
Well, in that sense, they were successful.

They sure did expose some seriously unethical behavior...their own. What really needs is for the authorities to investigate these groups for their violations of the tax laws and their misrepresentation of themselves as credible news agencies. They are neither credible nor a news agency.

Sadly, even after all that, they still haven't learned their lesson and are at it again. But instead of attacking two young women, they are now after the homeless.

These people are becoming really sick degenerates in their desperation to support Scott Walker from the recall he so richly deserves. I wonder if they think they're even helping anymore.

Kurt Schuller, Secretary of the Treachery

Oh, look, yet another problem coming from Scott Walker's administration:
Schuller re-tweeted that message with this advice: "This is a violation of election law. All signers must sign in the presence of the circulator."

Schuller told us he wanted to make it clear that the "instructions that the tweeter gave out were wrong."

"If everyone who saw that (tweet) followed those instructions exactly as they put it" the petitions would be invalid, he said. "That would be fraud. … For God’s sake, you’ve got to give them all of the information. If you just send back an individual affidavit, the election’s board won’t allow it."

Kennedy, whose agency enforces election rules, said Schuller has a point. Each recall petition signer must do so in the presence of a circulator. But he’s wrong the key point: You can function as both the signer and the circulator.

"You can certify your own signature," Kennedy said.

It’s done all the time in other state races, including that for treasurer, where candidates must gather signatures on nomination papers, he said.

And it’s not illegal. The elections board took up the matter on Nov. 9, 2011 as it relates to recall petitions. The decision was that if someone prints out a petition and signs it, they must sign it a second time, at the bottom, as a circulator.

So what do we make of the treasurer’s tweets?

Schuller said on Twitter that it’s a "violation of election law" to print out and sign your own recall petition. He said he was responding to a tweet he felt was incomplete. But it’s not a violation of election law. The same person can be both the signer and the circulator.

We have a 10-character response for our rating of Schuller’s tweet: It’s False
Scott Walker and his administration is just like used motor oil: Dirty, greasy, sure to leave a stain and not at all slick.

It's time to get rid of the lot of them.

Plant vs. Person

Accusations of wrongdoing are flying fast and furiously from the Republicans and Walker apologists.

There are accusations of "cigs for signatures," which makes no damn sense since people are still lining up to voluntarily sign petitions and asking where to go.  I can't even count how many people have asked me where the Recall Walker offices are. I keep asking myself if the event really happened, why didn't the cameraman report it to the authorities?

I even saw one wingnut claim to have "found" a Facebook posting of a person openly admitting to forging her parents signatures, only to have the whole account "disappear."

But there's one thing to remember when they come out with these accusations. That thing is a phone call that their hero, Scott Walker, had a few months ago (emphasis mine:
KOCH: Right, right. We’ll back you anyway we can. But uh, what we’re thinking about the crowds was, a, was planting some troublemakers.

WALKER: You know, the well [sighs] the only problem with – because we thought about that. The problem with, my only gut reaction to that would be right now the, the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this, uh the teacher’s union did some polling of some focus groups I think and found out the public turned on them the minute they closed school down for a couple of days. The guys we got left are largely from out of state and I keep dismissing it in all my press conferences and saying uhh, they’re mostly from out of state. My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused, is that that would scare the public into thinking that maybe the governor has got to settle to avoid all these problems. Where as I’ve said, hey, ya know, we can handle this, people can protest, this is Madison, ya know, full of the 60s liberals, let ‘em protest. It’s not going to affect us and as long as we go back to our homes and the majority of people are telling us we’re doing the right thing, theall they want. So, that’s my gut reaction, is I think it’s actually good if they’re constant, they’re noisy, but they’re quiet, nothing happens, cause sooner or later the media stops finding them interesting.
Are the accusations from the right real things or are they plants. Who knows? But I do find them to be a wee bit too convenient.

But what we do know is that Walker, and his supporter/apologists, have a long history of not exactly paying fair.  After all, Walkergate didn't happen because he sold the most popcorn tin to support his kids' boy scout troop.

Methinks these are the actions of some very desperate people who expected us to lose our will and cave in months ago.  The fact that not only have we not caved, but are actually on the verge of taking our state back for the people, has them literally terrified and willing to anything, and I do mean anything, to stop us.

Oh, Deer! Walker's Assault On Another Wisconsin Tradition

I'd be the first to admit that I am not a big fan of deer hunting.  While it might be a necessity, in my humble opinion, it's at best a necessary evil.  Because of that, I try to avoid going up north during deer hunting season.  Unfortunately, that was not something I could avoid this year.

So when I came home, it was no surprise that the local paper had their annual article romanticizing deer hunting.

What I did find noteworthy was that, in an amazing bit of timing, I also found this press release in my inbox:
As 600,000 Wisconsin deer hunters head to the field for opening day, Representatives Brett Hulsey (D-Madison), Fred Clark (D-Baraboo), Terese Berceau (D-Madison), Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) and Louis Molepske Jr. (D-Stevens Point) called on Governor Walker in a letter today to cancel the contract of James Kroll as the state’s “deer czar”. They pointed to his lack of qualifications, including no Wisconsin experience and no background in scientific management.

“While we should always be open to fresh perspectives, no outside expert has the ability to come in and remake Wisconsin’s deer management program based on a few weeks in the field,” said Clark. “If we are serious about evaluating our deer management practices, we need to bring together in-state talent and resources that will allow us to make the best long-term decision.”

“He’s come from Texas where he worked on private farms, and doesn’t seem to know how
important our deer herd is in Wisconsin,” said Hulsey, a member of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and a lifelong hunter. “This is just another example of the governor hiring an unqualified crony who will further politicize our state government.”

Even prior to issuing his initial evaluation, Kroll has been openly critical of the DNR’s herd management practices, which were described by leading experts in 2006 as “the most comprehensive and transparent deer management program for comparable states that harvest white-tailed deer.”

Given that there is no deer management crisis, Mr. Kroll’s position is a waste of $125,000 in taxpayers’ money and needlessly politicizes wildlife management decisions made by DNR scientists and biologists, the representatives said.

“In these tough times, we need the governor to focus on jobs in our state, not on hiring someone to do the governor’s political bidding in yet another state department. This hire might hurt our deer hunting tradition and even our long term tourism outlook,” said Hulsey.

The representatives also wished good luck and to hunters across the state this weekend and throughout the season.
No one should be surprised that Scott Walker would try to foul up yet another Wisconsin tradition, like he has done with collective bargaining and clean government.

Just like his deer czar, Walker is not from Wisconsin. He does not understand, much less care, about the values that we hold dear and will do anything to preserve. The only thing Walker cares about it pandering to those who bought his office for him and are paying tens of millions of dollars to keep their puppet in the governor's chair.

Maybe that's why I saw more than a few orange clad people signing petitions this weekend. There's not many demographics that Walker has been able to completely alienate already.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do You Want To Talk To The Boss Or The One Who Knows What's Going On?

The gentle reader has probably heard the saying that I've put as the title of this post or have seen it on a sign in some store that sells kitsch.

But there is a grain of truth to it.  The boss of any agency will try to present things so that they appear in the best light possible.  He or she might even believe that their policies and procedures are actually working, even though they're not there to see it.  But it is the people that actually have to do the work that knows what's good and what's bad.

Scott Walker is saying that his budget is working.  He might even believe it despite the fact that the state keeps hemmorhaging jobs every month because of his budget.  He might even really believe his "tools" are working for local school districts in making up for the nearly billion dollars he has slashed from their budgets.

That's what he wants us to believe anyway.

But those that have to deal with the mess he's made actually know the truth.  And they're talking:
This unfair budget has real consequences for our children, as the responses to the survey from around the state reveal:
  • Horicon says, “We have made significant reductions in staff during the past three years and we can no longer compete with area districts. We lose more than 100 students to open enrollment.”
  • Royall has been forced to close one school and has made cut to the foods program, and there are now fewer hours of science and math.
  • Shullsburg, already down to one administrator and one guidance counselor for the entire district, has received significant concessions from staff in an attempt to balance the budget. However, they still anticipate that, “next year we will be making significant staff cuts to attempt to balance the budget again.”
  • The news from Clayton is similarly somber: “No cuts were made in programs for the 2011-12 school year because there isn’t anything left to cut without causing a disruption in educational opportunities.” The district is “very concerned about what the future holds for small community schools.”
  • Other districts are getting by only thanks to President Obama’s federal funding. Germantown notes that, “federal stimulus money is supporting our staff,” while Bowler reports that, “Federal impact aid is a blessing to our school district.”
Even the districts that Scott Walker highlights as examples that his “tools” are working are in deep trouble. Waukesha, for instance, has seen record retirements, larger class sizes, reduced benefits and shorter planning periods for teachers and staff. What’s keeping the wheels from coming off is federal funding: Waukesha received more than $8 million in federal stimulus over the last few years, which offset Walker’s $5 million cut.
I also have not heard Walker or any of his apologists explain what's going to happen next year when his "tools" are all used up and they don't have anywhere else to turn.  You think it might be because they don't want to even think about it themselves, much less have the public know?

Because if this information becomes public knowledge, the recallers won't be able to print off petitions fast enough to keep up with the demand.

Scott Walker: He's Not Working For Us

From WISDems:

Here's the script:
"Scott Walker: He's Not Working For Us"

Scott Walker: Wisconsin's best days are yet to come…

Screen: Progress: ?

Audio: Since Scott Walker has been Wisconsin governor, unemployment has gone up

Screen: Scott Walker: 9,300 Private-Sector Jobs Lost in October (Journal Sentinel, November 17,2011)

Audio: The biggest cuts in public education in the entire country

Screen: Scott Walker: $1.85 Billion Slashed from Education

Audio: Cuts about a half billion from the state medicaid program

Screen: Scott Walker: $554 Million Cut from Health Care (WKOW Madison, September 30, 2011)

Audio: Basically soaked the middle-class and the poor to reward the rich

Screen: Video of working and middle-class people

Audio: Koch Industries was the fourth largest donor during his 2010 campaign

Screen: Images of Charles and David Koch and data showing Koch Industries as a top donor to Scott Walker's campaign

Audio: These billionaires have been buying up the governors to make sure they never have to pay taxes again

Screen: Video of Scott Walker

Audio: And they're doing everything they to crush the bottom

Screen: Scott Walker: Billions in Tax Cuts to the Rich

Scott Walker: You know, Wisconsin's best days have yet to come

Screen: Progress: For Who?

Screen: Scott Walker: He's Not Working For Us

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beauty And The Beasts - The Blogger Version

Congratulations to my dear friend, Lisa Mux, aka Waukesha Wonk, for making it to the big time!

For those that don't know what I'm talking about, let me explain.

James Wigderson, a Koch Brothers' employee and close associate of Mark Block, wrote a post in which he blatantly misrepresents a peaceful recall petition signing rally which was hosted by some of Scott walker's neighbors.  Ignoring the actual facts, as is his wont, he compared a peaceful event to a KKK rally, of all things.

He then went on to compare Ms.Mux to some sort of intimidating mob.  Her sin to deserve such a condemnation? She dared to tweet one of his posts that was related to a charitable event.!  And on top of that, she tweeted again about the irony of a liberal blogger tweeting a conservative blogger's post!  Oh, the humanity!

Most bloggers would take delight in having their work broadcasted to an even larger audience, especially when it is done in a positive manner like this.

But Wigderson would not have any of that!  He stalked her twitter timeline, making sure he got every tweet about him and using it to launch one ad hominem attack after another at Ms. Mux, because she dared to be nice to him.

The really odd thing about that is that when I was writing at Whallah!, Wigderson expressed concern that I was being a misogynist because I dared to write about a conservative radio squawk show host who happened to be female.  He did so even though I wrote rebuttals to her blog posts in which she would iterate the same old Republican talking points.

In other words, if I write a rebuttal to a wrong-minded position expressed by a woman, I am apparently a misogynist.  But Wiggy can stalk a woman's twitter feed and use it to mischaracterize her and make false accusations about her and he is a hero of the people?  Obviously, this is one of those "It's only OK if a Republican does it" situations.

Ms. Mux really made the big time though when Mark Belling, apparently (but understandably) unable to find anything positive to say about Scott Walker, chose to spend a considerable amount of time reading Wiggy's post on air and slandering Ms. Mux as well.

Having a Koch Brothers' employee and a radio squawker attack you is a sure sign that they see you as a threat, ergo, Ms. Mux has hit the big time. (Although she has yet to meet my marks of being attacked by three squawkers in one day or having one the coveted Deep Tunnel award from Charlie Sykes*)

I just hope and pray that Ms. Mux won't receive the same treatment that the right wing nut jobs have given to other female bloggers.

*Charlie, it's been two years.  Where's my plaque already?

What A Croc!

From the talented Stuart Carlson:

It is kind of fitting that Walker would be part of Never-Never Land.  My only question is who would be Smee - Becky Kleefisch or Mikey Huebsch?

The Walker Budget Is Working Already! Part XL

Well, this explains why Scott Walker is trying to focus the people on his lies about the school district and about how much money they're gonna save.  He doesn't want them to know what's going on with the jobs situation:
Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, down slightly from 7.8 percent in September, but the state lost 9,300 private sector jobs in October, the Wisconsin Workforce Department of Workforce Development reported today.

The preliminary estimate of total private sector employment for October was 2,337,300.

The preliminary data indicates declines from September to October in manufacturing, health care, construction, retail trade and other sectors. Leisure and hospitality was one of the sectors with one-month gains.

Government employment was relatively flat.
Walker's (third) DWD Secretary blames it on the national economy. But then those gosh-darned facts got in the way and we learned that the rest of the nation has been gaining jobs while Walker is chasing ours out of the state.

Jake, who does his usual bang up job on these issues, points out that the state has lost 27,600 jobs in the last three months and there is no signs of it getting better in the foreseeable future.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scott Walker Is Unbelievable

As many of my readers and friends already know, I have been dealing with Scott Walker for nearly a decade. Over the course of all those years, I've seen Walker do and say some things that were simply amazing in their audacity, from telling bald-faced lies to openly flaunting ethics rules to the most egregious abuses of office.

I can also tell you that after all these years, if there is one word that describes Walker, it would be this: Hypocrite.

I have repeatedly seen Walker condemn some behavior or some stance, only to assume it himself. Walker's hypocrisy is so frequent that it's actually a lifestyle for him and I don't know if he even knows how to be genuine with people anymore.

Given even my experience and repeated exposure to his hypocrisy, I thought I had become rather immune to it. But tonight, I have found one article that is so thick with hypocrisy, I'm afraid that exposure to it could turn one into a wereweasel.

The article is from and stems from a press conference Walker held in Madison, once he came back from a West Coast tour of his favorite out of state campaign donors.

I will attempt to point out and counter the hypocrisy which is just oozing out of Walker's pores. Come along, if you dare, but wear your silver crucifix and carry a wooden stake, just to be on the safe side.

Walker starts out with a slightly elevated dose of hypocrisy, complaining about "out of state money" pouring in to fund the recall, and then he ups the ante:
"I think there are legitimately people who have strong feelings for and against this," Walker said in a Capitol press conference. "But I don't think anybody should be confused. The money behind this, just like the money we saw behind the recalls earlier this year, is coming from outside Wisconsin."

Walker defended his campaign’s acceptance of out-of-state contributions, arguing that he wouldn't have to spend a dime on the recall effort without the efforts from out-of-state.
Keep in mind that Walker just came back from a jaunt to Arizona and California to raise millions. And then there is always the Koch Brothers who are not only donating to his campaign, but to the Republican Governors Fund and bankroll the various propaganda machines like Wisconsin Reporter, Media Trackers and McIver Institute.

But even before he ran for governor and even before he was county executive, Walker was taking money from out of state special interests that wanted to privatize our schools and our prisons, just to name a few.

But to be completely and utterly honest, he is correct in a fashion of speaking. The people of Wisconsin are receiving help from people that do not live in Wisconsin, including boots on the grounds plus the means to support them. But not for the recall. I'm talking about the FBI assisting in the investigation of Walkergate.

Walker also again complained about the people that held a petition signing rally in his neighborhood, continuing with his tired allegations of out-of-staters doing this (emphasis mine):
Walker alleged that many of the protesters had been bused in from throughout the state, and said out-of-state money and influence "really raises the stakes and the intensity."

"We, as elected officials, we asked for the job, we expect the scrutiny. It's appropriate, that's what great about America," Walker said. "But our families and even our neighbors, they don't ask for any of this."
This line shows not only his hypocrisy, but is quite a shining example of his duplicity.

You see, the thing is not only did his neighbors not feel put upon, but they were the one that hosted the rally, inviting the recallers to their yards to sign their petitions. It's one thing to be out of touch with the electorate, but to be so clueless and classless as to not even know the neighbors aren't happy with him is incredible. What? Didn't he notice all the Recall Walker signs in his neighbors' yards either?

Next, Walker shows he so far in denial, he could be mistaken for a balding King Tut:
Walker rejected assertions that he had brought the opposition on himself, saying his collective bargaining changes were part of the promises he made to voters last fall.
Remember that Walker testified to Congress, under oath, that he did not campaign on busting the unions.  The question is this: Is he lying to us now or did he commit perjury then?

To wrap up this round of hypocrisy-alooza, Walker talks about how much money the poor baby is paying now:
He added his family has also been impacted by the changes to public employee collective bargaining, noting he contributes to his pension at a higher rate than most other public employees.

"My neighbors are still paying a whole lot more for health insurance, in most cases paying a whole lot more for their retirement," Walker said.
See what I mean? It just doesn't stop!

First of all, Walker made the promise to pay the pension at a higher rate. No one made him pay more. He did it all voluntarily.

Secondly, he didn't even keep that promise but waited almost a full six months before he started making the promised contributions.

And for him to rub in the fact that his of the 1% and his neighbors are of the 99% is rather boorish.

To sum this up, well, Scott Walker is simply unbelievable.  It is unbelievable that he thinks people can't see through his lies. It's unbelievable that he thinks people will continue to tolerate his hypocrisy.  It is unbelievable that he still doesn't get it.

Scott Walker is simply unbelievable.  And it is because he can't be believed about anything that the needs to be recalled, for the good of the state.