Sunday, March 31, 2013

Walker's Wisconsin! Part I

The faithful readers are aware that I have been doing an ongoing series with the title of "Walker's Agenda Is Still Working!"  In this series, I have been trying to keep up with the epic failure which is Scott Walker's austerity agenda.  It has led us down a path of economic ruin in which the state's economy hasn't been any better than 48th and an ever increasing gap in job creation when compared to the rest of the nation and the Midwest.

Sadly, the economy isn't the only thing that Walker and his Republican allies have
been ruining.  They are bringing our once great state to new lows on the social scale, where McCarthyism and other forms of bullying is becoming all too common occurrence.  Whether it's Walker's storm
troopers at the Capitol or the Knot-headed trolls, society is going into the same nosedive that the economy is in.

So, as I call out the damage Walker's agenda is causing us economically, I will also start calling out the degradation of our society due to their hate and fear.

With that in mind, we look to Rice Lake, Wisconsin, where homophobia reigns:
A gay employee of Applebee’s in Rice Lake was brutally bashed by the husband of a co-worker, then told by the restaurant’s manager he could not return to work due to publicity surrounding the incident, he said.

Timothy Phares subsequently did return to his job as a server after Greg Flynn, CEO of Apple American Group franchise, intervened on his behalf.

According to Phares and his sister Krista katherine, they were getting out of his car in the parking lot of a Perkins restaurant on March 17 when Rien Hendricks and his wife Shannon Hendricks pulled up behind them in an SUV.

“(Hendricks) was getting out of his vehicle, and he said, ‘Fucking faggot, I’m going to kill you,’” Phares said.

At that point Phares said Hendricks struck him in the head with great force using a 2 x 4 piece of lumber. In a written statement, Krista katherine said she heard her brother’s head smack the pavement, but Tim Phares lost consciousness and doesn’t remember anything else before waking up in the hospital.

Phares suffered head and facial abrasions as well as multiple facial fractures that will ultimately require surgery to implant metal plates, he said.
The article goes on to report how the assailant isn't going to be charged with a hate crime, even though he used homophobic slurs as he tried to kill Phares.

The article also reports how the restaurant manager has been jerking Phares around as well, basically blaming him for being attacked and for the bigotry in that town.

Sad to say, this isn't the only deplorable bit of news that has come out of the burg.

This is also the home of Roger Rivard, the dumb ass that mad the infamous comment of "Some girls rape so easy."

The Barron County GOP isn't any better, which isn't a surprise, since Rivard's wife, Bernie, is their secretary.  This group of knuckle-draggers blamed the federal government for the shooting at Sandy Hook.  They also were so desperate to show their gun love, that they were willing to falsely attribute statements to George Washington, statements which he never made.

And how could we forget that these are the people that elected (twice!) Sean "Pretty Boy" Duffy, the reality star turned soft porn star, who can't make it on $174,000 a year, but thinks that someone making a a quarter of that is making too much money.

Yup, Rice Lake is a proud representation of Walker's Wisconsin.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they invite Westboro Baptist Church to establish a branch there.

Walkergate: Crime Does Pay...And Pay And Pay

When Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm balked at taking Walkergate to the next level, Scott Walker said he was going to close his legal defense fund.

It took Walker all month to do that.  The length of time was because he had to find enough campaign donors that would agree to allow their donation to be transferred to the legal defense fund to pay off another quarter of a million dollars, per an article by Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Records show his defense fund dispensed $432,754 to the Chicago and Milwaukee firms for which his two criminal defense lawyers worked. A boutique Madison law firm and APCO Worldwide, a Chicago-based PR firm, received another $15,000 from Walker’s defense account.

In addition, Walker’s campaign paid about $200,000 directly to Michael Best & Friedrich for so-called “compliance issues” related to the investigation. The campaign retained former U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic, a former Michael Best lawyer who has since left the firm, when prosecutors subpoenaed campaign records the day before the 2010 general election.


Records say the defense fund on Friday paid $247,554 to Sidley Austin, a large Chicago law firm for which defense attorney John Gallo is a partner. Gallo’s firm had previously been paid $130,000.

On Friday, the Madison law firm of Lind Weininger also received a payment of $3,560 from Walker's fund, bringing its total take to $4,860. Kate Lind, who works at the firm, was the custodian of records for the defense fund.

The governor was also represented by Milwaukee defense lawyer Michael Steinle, whose firm had previously received $54,200 from the governor’s fund.
Bice concludes that Walker spent $650,000 on his legal defense fund. That's not completely accurate.

We know that even before Walker started his legal defense fund, he had already spent a considerable amount of money out of his own pocket:
We learned that today when Dan Bice broke the story that Walker has racked up somewhere between $55,000 and $99,999 in legal bills:
But the first-term Republican governor must have retained the pair long before he made it public.

As of Dec. 31, Walker owed more than $50,000 to Sidley Austin, a large Chicago-based firm that employs Gallo. Walker also disclosed that he owed between $5,000 and $50,000 to Terschan, Steinle & Ness, the Milwaukee firm where Steinle is a partner.

The state requires public officials and political candidates to disclose in the annual statement any creditor to which they owe more than $5,000. Wisconsin officials and candidates then must say whether the debt is greater than or up to $50,000.
So now we're up to the area of $700,000 to $750,000.

But as the gentle reader already knows, when it comes to all things Walker, there's more. There's always more.

This time the more is the fact that Walker and WISGOP had hired Kelly Rindfleisch even though they knew she was facing charges for her part in Walker's caucus-style illegal campaigning. There is no way of knowing exactly how much they paid Rindfleisch, but it had to be enough for her to pay her legal bills and to live off of.

And who know who else they have financially supported during the investigation.  We do know that Walker gave Cindy Archer a very cushy job with no real responsibilities abut a greatly bolstered salary.  Was there further considerations given?  And what of Tom Nardelli, who had to sell his home?

And there is still even more.

There is all the money that the Bradley Foundation, the Koch Brothers and the other corporate special interests spent on indirect support.  By this, I mean all the hit pieces the slimemongers at Media Trackkkers did on Chisholm and his staff, the rally they held to teach the sheeples how to interfere with the investigation, and the countless hours that the squawkers like Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling spent polluting the airwaves with their propaganda and smears.

There are also the incidental costs, such as all the flights that Walker took, crisscrossing the country to hit up the millionaires and billionaires for the money that eventually made it to his legal defense fund.  Another cost would be all the work hours put in contacting the donors and getting them to sign off on allowing their campaign contributions be used to keep him out of prison.

When you add all these costs up, it would not be surprising if the total came to be over one million dollars.  That is one helluva lot of money for an "innocent" man to spend.

Then again, we know he's not innocent:
And as we have well established, with all things Walkergate, there is more.  There is always more.  And still even more.  

But as usual, Walker gives himself away in his response to the closure of Walkergate and the fact that he is now to talk about his supposed innocence and release the documents, including the emails that would indeed vindicated him if he was innocent:
The governor disagreed, saying Chisholm didn't need to release more records from the investigation. 
"No, he looked into what we asked him to look through, he took action, he saw that actions were taken and the investigation completed, and now it's time to move forward," Walker said.
Not exactly what you would expect to hear from a person who is innocent. Why would Walker be so vehemently resistant to the release of the records if he has nothing to hide?

Most significant of all is the fact that Walker has never produced a letter from the DA stating that he was not the target of the Walkergate investigation, nor was he granted immunity.
In other words, to say that Walker is innocent, much less vindicated of his role in Walkergate, is like saying he is a job creator.

And as if we needed even further proof, Bice provides it at the end of his report:

It is not unusual for politicians to release negative or unflattering news on Fridays or holidays to avoid as much attention as possible. 
Asked if Walker was releasing the defense-fund information on Good Friday for that reason, Tieman said, “I have no comment.”

If Walker thinks that he has the slightest chance that he is going to be president, he'd better start coming up with better answers than that.

And he better hope like hell those emails and other documents never get released to the public.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Walker Agenda Is Still Working! Part CLXXIV

We have already seen that Scott Walker's agenda of austerity and Act 10 is the cause of Wisconsin's poor job numbers and stagnant economy.

Here's another graph that clearly shows it's not uncertainty, political upheaval or any other insipid thing that Walker wants to try to blame his failure on:

The gentle reader will notice that the one month in which the gap lessened was May 2012, the month that led up to the recall election.   This proves that if anything, the recall was the only thing that has helped Wisconsin's job numbers since Walker took office.


By Jeff Simpson

For those of you still hanging on to the legend of  Breitbart/O' Keefe. 

Read this story

It's long, its disgusting, and its unfortunately not surprising!

Solidarity Fish Fry, Week 25: The Scales of Justice

As advertised, this was Week 25 of the Solidarity Fish Fry.  And, oh, what a week it was.

When we arrived at Serb Hall, the first thing that I noticed was that the crowd was
nowhere near the size of what it used to be.  Serb Hall used to be the go to place, especially on Good Friday.  The TV stations would always send a camera crew out to take pictures of the crowd and interview the manager who would talk about how many tons of fish, how many gallons of tartar sauce, how many tons of fries they would go through in just one day.

But those days are long gone.

I surmised that it was probably the effect of two things.

One is the fact that years ago, Serb Hall started going through a series of changes at the management level, which in turn had a rather negative effect on the quality of the food and the services.  They have never been able to draw back the crowds they used to have.

The other reason is that people simply don't have the expendable money they used to have to go out to eat, see a movie or do other sorts of things, thanks to Scott Walker's maleficent agenda which has sent the state's economy down the tubes.  Without that little bit of extra cash, there's not many places that have door-busting crowds anymore.

Despite the smaller crowd, it was still a glorious evening.

First of all, I was able to join my stalwart and good-humored co-host of the event, Randy Bryce, for dinner.

But the highlight of the event for me was the fact that we had the privilege and honor of being joined by Ed Fallone,  candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, and his son Andrew:

Ed had a rare moment away from the campaign trail and was spending some quality time with his son.  Part of their itinerary included joining us for dinner before going out to catch a movie.

It was a pleasure to see Ed again and listen to his stories from both the campaign trail and from his teachings.  While the conversation mostly stayed light, I was again impressed by his gravitas and his intellectualism.  But even though he has these qualities, he was, as Randy put it, "genuine."  There were no pretensions, no arrogance and no snobbery.  He exuded a calm confidence without any airs of superiority or condescension.

And even though his dinner was being repeatedly interrupted by well-wishers and admirers, he treated each person with the same grace and civility that he would bring to the Supreme Court, qualities which are sorely missing from it right now.  He even was gracious enough to have his picture taken with us:

I must also say that his son, Andrew, was also most impressive.  The young man obviously has his father's intelligence and interest in the world around him, but was nothing but polite and charming throughout the evening.

Also at Serb Hall on this spring evening was Janet Protasiewicz, who is running for Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 45.

Janet was following the time-honored tradition of going to Serb Hall to meet with the people and introduce herself.  She told me that outside of one or two tables, everyone was very gracious to her and were willing to listen to her and share their thoughts and concerns with her.

I took note that she had befriended an older gentleman named Eugene.  Even though Eugene was from Brookfield and could not vote for her, she took extra time to visit with this 91 year old man dining by himself and made a point of taking him to meet Ed.

I took note of this because to me, it was pure Janet.  She did not do this because it would have benefited her politically in any way (because it wouldn't), but because she is a genuinely compassionate person.   It is that compassion and attention to details that others would overlook that would make her a wonderful judge.

I also noticed that her opponent, Rebecca Bradley, was not to be seen.  Apparently, Bradley feels confident enough that the corporate special interests, like Wisconsin Club for Growth, are going to be able to buy the election for her that she didn't need to meet with the people she expects to vote for her.

No less important, I was also able to see and briefly visit with Rick and Linda Rumpel of Watertown, who have been frequent supporters of the Solidarity Fish Fry.  They had a busy day of it themselves, having started out in Madison for the Solidarity Singalong before coming to Milwaukee to protest the unjust decision not to issue charges in relation to the death of Derek Williams.  They ended their day by joining us in solidarity with the union workers at Serb Hall.

Overall, it was a most pleasant evening.

It makes me look forward to next week, when we will be celebrating not only Ed's and Janet's victories, but also Week 26 - a full six months - of Solidarity Fish Fry.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Quote of the Day:

By Jeff Simpson

Jim Carrey Edition:

“Since I released my “Cold Dead Hand” video on Funny or Die this week, I have watched Fux News rant, rave, bare its fangs and viciously slander me because of my stand against large magazines and assault rifles. I would take them to task legally if I felt they were worth my time or that anyone with a brain in their head could actually fall for such irresponsible buffoonery. That would gain them far too much attention which is all they really care about.
I’ll just say this: in my opinion Fux News is a last resort for kinda-sorta-almost-journalists whose options have been severely limited by their extreme and intolerant views; a media colostomy bag that has begun to burst at the seams and should be emptied before it becomes a public health issue.
I sincerely believe that in time, good people will lose patience with the petty and poisonous behavior of these bullies and Fux News will be remembered as nothing more than a giant culture fart that no amount of Garlique could cure.
I wish them all the luck that accompanies such malevolence.”

Quick Question

By Jeff Simpson

If the Wisconsin Legislature gets to set their own rules on workplace conduct, dress codes, etc... Why do they think its ok to shut out public workers from having a voice in their own workplace?  

Both groups of employees are paid for by the taxpayers. 

Michele Bachmann

By Jeff Simpson

You might say how is Michele Bachmann relevant, she is just a congresswoman from MN, who was soundly beaten when she ran for President.   Yet Bachmann is in the top 5 of money raised in all of Congress! People from all over the country are taking their hard earned dollars and deciding that Michele Bachmann represents their values better than anyone else and sending it to her. 

What a sad commentary on America.  Can't we do better than that?   Are we doomed to keep rewarding ignorance and fear based campaigns? 

The Walker Agenda Is Imploding, Er, Still Working! Parts CLXXI, CLXXII And CLXXIII

Earlier in the week, Scott Walker sent his lackeys in front of the Joint Finance Committee to put a heavy spin on just how bad the job numbers really are.

Basically, what they did was use the same math that Teapublicans use to count people at their rallies to show that Walker's agenda is creating a lot of jobs.  If five people show up at a Tea Party Rally, they claim it was 20,000 people.  Likewise, Walker's people said that if the state created three part-time minimum wage jobs, they'll claim they created 100,000 jobs, all bringing in six figure salaries.

As if the desperate spin put on things by Walker and his henchmen was enough of an omen that things were going to be bad, the sheer hysteria exhibited by the usual apologists and propagandists was enough to make anyone afraid.

Sadly for Walker, a bit of reality hit the same day that he was trying to convince people things were on the upswing.  It was found that Wisconsin was not only 44th in private job creation, but was 48th in economic activity:

Believe it or not, this was Walker's good day too.

On Thursday, the bottom dropped out from under Walker's agenda of austerity.

Not only was it confirmed that Wisconsin did indeed drop to 44th in private job creation, but it was hammered home that this is down from being 11th during Jim Doyle's final year and from 42nd after Walker's first year.

Even more significant and more depressing is that wages also sunk like a rock:
But wages in Wisconsin fell faster and harder than most of the nation. When ranked by the percentage change in all private-sector employment, Wisconsin average wages had the 45th-worst ranking out of 50 states.

In the manufacturing economy, where Wisconsin has a disproportionate share of its employment, Wisconsin's wages also dropped more than national wages did, ranking 46th in terms of the change from September 2011 to September 2012.
But it was also reported that something did go up in Wisconsin thanks to Walker's agenda - the unemployment rate, to the tune of a full half a percent in the past two months:
Wisconsin's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 7.2 percent in February from 7.0 percent in January, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates released today by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD).
As to why Wisconsin's economic and job numbers are failing as much as they are, Walker of course had an excuse:
Asked Thursday about new numbers showing Wisconsin lagging in job growth, Gov. Scott Walker pointed to the uncertainty he said business owners felt because of the political tumult that rocked Wisconsin early in his term.

Meanwhile, his critics said the governor's policies had created a drag on growth.

"The first year we had a lot of protests in the state," Walker said, during an appearance in Milwaukee to promote business growth in the city. "We had two years', almost, worth of recalls. A lot of employers here I think can relate to the fact (that) uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges for employers big or small or anywhere in between. There was a lot of uncertainty. The good news is that's passed."

Shortly after he took office in 2011, Walker and the Legislature essentially ended collective bargaining for most public employees. That sparked heated reaction inside and outside the Capitol and led to an unsuccessful recall election challenge by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in June 2012.
Gee, the protests ended two years ago and the last recall election was ten months ago. That's plenty long enough for any effect that they might have had to have disappeared. Besides, Walker himself had said that the jobs would show a "dramatic turnaround" after the elections:
Walker blamed the state’s employment woes on the recalls, saying
employers are hesitant to add jobs during times of political uncertainty but that there would be a “dramatic turnaround” after June 5.

“There is a tremendous enthusiasm built up for additional jobs,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a tremendous takeoff.”
So what was the real cause of the steep nosedive for Wisconsin's economy and jobs?

For that, we can just go to the numbers like Michael Rosen did:
Wisconsin’s economy continues to be among the nation’s worst performing. A new report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that between 2011 and 2012 the state ranked 41st in nation in personal income growth.
The single largest contributor to this dismal performance was the dramatic decline in state and local government income, the direct result of Governor Walker’s austerity economic policies (See table 3).

Wisconsin’s state and local government employees’ incomes shrank by $529 million dollars, a 2.55% decline. Only Louisiana under the leadership of Tea Party favorite, Governor Booby Jindal, experienced as steep a decline according to the analysis.
Jack Norman put it even more succinctly:
"The only question is, 'Why are we doing so poorly?' " said Jack Norman, former research director of the left-leaning Institute for Wisconsin's Future. "The plunge in job growth, compared with other states, coincides exactly with Scott Walker's time in office. This is no mere coincidence. . . . Act 10 led to large cuts in public workers' take-home pay, which was a blow to the state's economy."
Gosh, now who'd have thunk that? Oh, wait, that's what we've been saying all along.  You take millions of dollars out of circulation and ensconce it in the bank accounts of a few already very rich people, and this is what is going to happen.

Sadly, the Democrats have continued to turn their back on Labor and not one response thus far has even mentioned Act 10, much less pointed out how that law has led to our economic woes and will have to be permanently revoked before the economy can be kick started again.

 Talk about blown opportunities.

Until they recognize the facts before their face and realize the importance of raising up the working class instead of just offering more corporate welfare, they will not be able to win and they will not be able to change the economy around.

More Breitbart.

By Jeff Simpson

 As we have reported before, Andy Breitbart left us a legacy, unfortunately it was a disgusting one! The problem now though, is people are using his disgusting legacy to try and trump it and get the same levl of notoriety.  They continue to massively fail.  

This time might be THE worst yet: writer Matt Boyle reported on the specific location where President Obama's teenage daughters are vacationing for spring break, ignoring the decades-old journalistic tradition that media outlets should not report on a president's minor children when they are not attending "official or semi-official events" for privacy and security reasons.
Yes Matt Boyle, decided that teenage daughters of the President were fair game, security be dammed!

As if that wasn't enough,  Iowa Republican Steve King also decided the young girls were fair game,  who cares if their security and lives were threatened, King had political points to make!

CALLER: When I see the First Lady and the beautiful girls going off to the Bahamas waving goodbye to us, it’s really hard to stomach. When we’re tightening our belts, either all of us should do it or none of us should do it. This, I am pretty tolerant, I always have been, I usually shut my mouth. This is not acceptable.
KING: Carla, you’re on point and on the mark all the way through. […] You’re right on the president. He needs to show some austerity himself. Instead he wanted to tell America how bad it was going to be. […] We’ve got the president doing these things. He sent the daughters to spring break in Mexico a year ago. That was at our expense, too. And now to the Bahamas at one of the most expensive places there. That is the wrong image to be coming out of the White House.

Apparently king felt that attacking the young African American girls was his best chance to score points for his upcoming Senate run.   I hope Iowa sends him a message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable!

The hate on the right towards the President and his family is really a black mark on our society

Gun Nuts

By Jeff Simpson

If someone ever asks you what "Gun nuts" look like.  Here are two examples!

1.  The Obama Victory in November(2008), so enraged a "responsible" gun owner, they he had his son pose for pictures with his rifle.  Then the fun began:

"While we were waiting, Julie(shawns wife) stood and spoke to us stating, Shawn has not been the same person since President Obama was elected. She stated he is obsessed with gun control, owning weapons and his right to bear arms," an officer wrote in the police report, obtained Tuesday by the Daily News. "Julie seemed embarrassed at her husband's behavior, however, she did not seem surprised."
Moore made national headlines last week after it was reported that someone saw a picture on Facebook of his son holding the military-looking .22-caliber rifle he received for his 11th birthday and called both police and New Jersey's Division of Children and Families. Moore wrote about the incident on an online firearms forum afterward, and the story went national after Glenn Beck's conservative news site, The Blaze, picked it up.
The police report said the anonymous caller had expressed other concerns as well, claiming that Julie Moore instructed her son to shoot "anyone who breaks in to their home" and that Shawn Moore had "issues with alcohol" and multiple DUI offenses.
When Moore got home, police said he smelled of alcohol and he definitely had an issue with officers and DCF workers being there. Moore had spoken with noted firearms attorney Evan Nappen on the phone before he arrived and immediately asked the officers and DCF workers to leave.

Who knew that Glenn beck would lead someone astray?  

2.  In Indianapolis, IN, a local peaceful chapter of Moms Demand Action(in favor of limiting theaccess to military assault rifles and requiring background checks) had a rally.  Guess who showed up(hint rhymes with fun buts):

Several men with assault rifles and hand guns crashed a Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns National Day to Demand Action event in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday and stood silently as the state chapter of Moms Demand Action held a rally in favor of limiting the availability of military style weapons and universal background checks.
At least two or three men showed up at the rally site before the event began and engaged in a discussion about gun regulations with the group, two participants in the action told ThinkProgress. The armed men — who were later joined by another man carrying a hand gun and a woman who runs Indiana Moms Against Gun Control — insisted that they had a right to carry the loaded weapons:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Republicans Behaving Badly!

By Jeff Simpson

I have been collecting these stories the last few days and didnt have time to write them up separately but wanted to share! 

1.  The former head of the South Carolina Republican Party:

The former head of the South Carolina Republican Party on Sunday lashed out at an Iraq war veteran who now opposes the war, saying that he should have “come home in a body bag.”
In a series of tweets, former South Carolina GOP executive director Todd Kincannon blasted Iraq war veteran Michael Prysner over tweets last week defending former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and the assertion that an American police officer was a “coward and a sociopath.”
“What do you get when you combine asshattery and jizzwhistlery with a side of epic douchebaggery? Why, you get @MikePrysner!” Kincannon wrote.
 2. Former Florida Republican Party Head

Jim Greer resigned just before he was indicted in 2010 for money laundering and stealing party funds.
Greer, 50, pleaded guilty last month to five charges, averting a trial that threatened to reveal potentially embarrassing details about the state party organization.
As part of his plea deal, an organized fraud charge against him was dropped.
Greer made restitution to the Florida Republican Party on Monday via a $65,000 wire transfer, party spokesman Steven Dobson confirmed to Circuit Judge Marc Lubet before the sentence was imposed.
While serving as the party’s paid chairman, Greer concealed his partial ownership of a company hired by the party to handle fundraising duties in exchange for 10 percent of all major contributions.
 3.   An Alabama Republican state official famous for flaunting his rifle in campaign ads promising to be tough on crime:

Dale Peterson, an Alabama Republican state official famous for flaunting his rifle in campaign ads promising to be tough on crime, was arrested Wednesday and charged with shoplifting a can of cashews. The arrest, first reported by, marked the second time in six months that Peterson has been accused of stealing.
His new arrest occurred at a Sam's Club, where police said employees watched Peterson eat a can of cashews in the store, then place the empty can back on a shelf. Store security guards confronted Peterson on his way out. He was released from custody after posting $1,000 bond.
Peterson was charged in October with stealing paper towels and beer from a Walmart. Employees said he pushed his way through the checkout line without paying for the items in his cart, according to police. Peterson later said the incident was "a mistake."

4.  Karl Rove

Karl Rove jokes that black Democratic strategist ‘owes me some fried chicken’

Boy are those republicans witty.   Here I thought Wisconsin's own William Mauer was bad,....O wait even in comparison he still is!  


The Walker Agenda Is Still Working! Part CLXX

Remember how Scott Walker and his ilk told us that the mining bill would create shovel ready jobs, not just for the good people in Northern Wisconsin, but for people in Milwaukee, like the workers at the Caterpillar plant?

Yeah, neither do they:
Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc. is planning to lay off 250 to 300 employees in South Milwaukee by June.

“Short-term layoffs and other actions will be taking place,” Caterpillar spokesman Rusty Dunn told BizTimes. “We are not getting into specific numbers, as we continue to evaluate the situation given the fluctuating economic and business environment. Various Caterpillar facilities and business units are taking action to bring our production in line with demand, including our operations in South Milwaukee. This includes some short-term temporary layoffs and other actions. These actions vary from location to location and impact both production and support and management employees. We know this is difficult for our employees, but we are taking steps to better align with the current economic circumstances, while at the same time remain focused on positioning the company for long-term success."

Ross Winklbauer, United Steelworkers union sub-district director of District 4, received word of the layoffs from union president Kevin Jaskie, who was present for the company announcement.

The union is unsure if layoffs will affect only union staff or both union members and management staff.

The union also remains uncertain about whether the layoffs will be temporary cuts or permanent dismissals, Winklbauer said.
But there is a lot that is suspect about this news.

The company failed to notify the state, as is required by law.

The company failed to notify South Milwaukee about this.

The company is claiming that it is due to low sales, but never mentioned this to the union or anyone else. Maybe not so coincidentally, the company is supposed to enter into formal negotiations with the union next week for a new contract. Also maybe not so coincidentally, the company has also been trying to get scabs trained at MATC - y'know, in case there is a strike or something.

Yeah, I smell a scabby rat here.  Or should I say, a scabby cat?


By Jeff Simpson

Capper has done an excellent job letting us know who Ed Fallone is, and why he is the absolute right choice to be our next Supreme Court Justice in Wisconsin.

I want to cover a slightly different aspect.  The Walker agenda.  I received this email today from our friends at Americans for Prosperity Poverty:

Dear Jeffrey,
Act 10 is working for Wisconsin but the courts still hold this important reform in their hands. The last challenge to this law is on the doorstep of the State Supreme Court and could be decided this spring.

Ed Fallone has made it very clear that he would overturn Act 10 and turn back the clock to record deficits, out of control spending and rising property taxes.

He called the current challenge to Act 10 "Serious" and has written about his opposition to the first time the Supreme Court upheld the law. He has also gotten support for his positions from the very public employee unions that are working to overturn the law.

Act 10 has saved taxpayers $2 billion, turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a surplus and lowered property taxes for the first time in 12 years. Pure and simple, Act 10 is working.

Call Ed Fallone at (920) 540-5875 to tell him that Act 10 is working for Wisconsin families.

Yours in Liberty,

Luke Hilgemann
State Director
AFP- Wisconsin

Lets take a look at this quickly.

1.  Act 10 is absolutely, unequivocally NOT working for Wisconsin.

2.  Ed Fallone has absolutely NOT made it clear he would overturn ACT 10.  Ed Fallone, in his duties as a Constitutional law professor at Marquette, has written that Judge Colas' ruling overturning parts of ACT 10 is a well written, thought out decision and that Judge Colas was correct in taking the lawsuit seriously.  

When Hilgemann writes that Fallon "has made it clear" Hilgemann is lying

3.  Public unions have endorsed him.  At least public unions are run and funded by public employees from WI.   AFP-WI has endorsed Roggensack, who funds your operation Mr. Hilgemann?

4.  Act 10 has "saved taxpayers" $2 billion?  We know that is also not true, in a recession what ACT 10 has done is taken $2 billion worth of demand out of our economy.  

5.  While some people's taxes have gone down slightly(mine have risen), in their actual bill(I could explain to you how everyone's taxes have skyrocketed under walker but thats another post), are we supposed to elect Supreme Court Justices because they will "lower our taxes"  or because we trust them to follow the law? 

Is Hilgemann being deceitful here or is he just ignorant as to what a Supreme Court Justice's responsibilities really are?  

Call Luke Hilgemann at 608-204-5915 and tell him to stop using out of state billionaires money to advance right wing lies to the people of WI.

Reince Priebus' Rebranded GOP - Now With More Bigotry

We already knew that Reince Priebus was fashioning the GOP in his own image - that of a disgusting racist.

But after doing a post mortem on his party, he has figured out what was wrong and even more bigotry:
is doing his best to rebrand his party which apparently means
The Detroit Free Press reports, “Agema’s posting Wednesday, during U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments regarding the legality of same-sex marriage, was based on an online article titled, “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals,” which appeared under the byline Frank Joseph, M.D.

The post depicts gays as sexually promiscuous, rife with sexually transmitted diseases and responsible for “half the murders in large cities.” (my bold)

A group of state Republicans are now calling for Agema’s resignation over his offensive post.

Dennis Lennox, a Grand Traverse County Republican precinct delegate and former county drain commissioner, issued a statement Wednesday joined with signatures by 20 other Republicans condemning Agema’s “deplorable actions”

The statement reads, “This isn’t about what we believe either politically or as women and men of faith. This is about common decency and realizing that you cannot win an election by insulting a wide swath of the electorate, whose votes our Republican Party needs to once again form a national majority.”

But, what’s troubling is that Republicans are more concerned with gaining votes than simply doing the right thing. Still yet, I’m glad he was called out.

In a statement e-mailed to the Free Press this morning, Agema said he posted something someone else had written and “some publications and even a few liberal Republicans have chosen to take the words of someone else and cast them as my own.

Agema said, “I think it was a piece worth sharing given the debate over gay marriage that is happening in the Supreme Court.”

“I strongly maintain my position in support of marriage between a man and a woman and I will not back down from my core beliefs in support of strengthening the family.”
Even as more and more Americans are open to same sex marriages, leave it to the Republicans to continue to drag their feet and their knuckles.

Coming To A Fitzwalkerstan Corner Near You

Kenosha Unified School District

By Jeff Simpson

The Kenosha Unified School District has an important election coming up for School Board.   There is a candidate running, named William Mauer III that might be the single worst candidate in WI(at least since David Vanderleest) . 

As Dan Bice reports:
Every election brings a new crop of questionable political wannabes.
But William Mauer III appears to be single-handedly lowering the bar for school board candidates across the state.
Just look at his rap sheet: 
Records show Mauer, one of four candidates vying for two seats on the Kenosha School Board, has three disorderly conduct convictions since 2002, two drunken-driving offenses and a citation for possessing marijuana. 
Beyond that, police reports from the past 20 years lay out a disturbing range of alleged behavior by Mauer. He has been accused of wielding a gun during a tiff over a lawnmower, grabbing an 18-year-old female roommate by the throat during a spat over marijuana and calling a hospital security guard a "faggot."
Good thing there's no zero-tolerance policy for school board candidates. The election is Tuesday.

As Capper likes to say - "there is more, there is always more"....

If you have a couple hours, you can peruse his rap sheet:  There is so much more to this story than just a crazy school board candidate.   In reality this story shows us exactly how the republicans feel about education in our state and how they will do anything to win!

1.   What exactly are Mr. Mauer's credentials and motivation in running for school board?
 Mauer -- a critic of the teachers union and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker (why do so many people who have mugshots also have private shots with Scott Walker?  Why is the Governor so comfortable around people with such ethics deficits?)  


2.  Despite his extensive rap sheet, numerous OWI's and disorderly conducts amongst many other things, it doesn't matter to the local republican and tea party!  Support Scott Walker and your golden! He has the FULL backing of the Kenosha Republican party

3. Sadly, despite Bice's excellent report, he feels some sad pull to "balance his reporting" and compares Mauers opponent's 2009 bankruptcy(hardly unique in America) to the shameful behavior of Mauer.   This did not belong in the story!

4.  Once again, another republican victim.  It wasn't his fault.
"You are being used in an attempt by the KEA to retake control of the (Kenosha United School District)," Mauer wrote. "I’m running because I know I can help the kids and because I can make sure that the resources provided by the taxpayers are being used in the best interest of their education."
 I do however, have to give him some credit, he knows how to get his tax dollars out of the Kenosha Police Department!

5. Finally, why do so many republican men in Wisconsin, "inadvertently" choke women?
 In 2005, Mauer said he was cited for disorderly conduct and fined $5 after he was initially accused of domestic violence. 
Mauer told police he had taken items that he owned from his 18-year-old roommate's room, prompting her to try to "get his weed" from his closet. While seeking his marijuana, she reported that Mauer grabbed her by the neck. He claimed he may have inadvertently done this while trying to take the woman by her shoulders.
Mauer said this week that the incident was overblown.
"Even the police knew there was no threat, but they were following Wisconsin law by arresting me," he said. "I represented myself and I put (her) on the stand. She told the judge all the things I had done for her and how I had been the only positive influence in her life."
I hope this disgraceful debacle has you rethinking republican backed candidates and lets you see exactly, how little, what our friends on the right, think about public education!

If you are in Kenosha, PLEASE vote for Rebecca Stevens and Kyle Flood!

Your children are counting on you!

PS:  The WI Knot-sies are so cowardly and immature that they have stolen Mr. Floods pictures and tried to create a fake profile for the young and upcoming candidate.   Please punish this childish behavior by voting Mr. Flood into office!

PS:  Mr. Mauer speaks volumes to what the republicans have done in our state via their CCW law:

 Mauer, 55, noted that he has cleared three background checks in the past six months, one each in Wisconsin and Utah so he could carry a concealed weapon in the two states and the other to buy  a subcompact 9 mm pistol. 

If that doesn't help you sleep better at night, nothing will!  

More On Walker's "Book"

The other day, I wrote about how Scott Walker was having his memoirs published.

A few developments have happened since then.

One, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin have added seven more chapters to the book.

Two, a friend at work hypothesized that since Walker is such an inept speller, that at any book signings (like Sarah Palin's - shudder) he would have to just have his books rubber stamped.  At least David Prosser would be kept busy.

Three, it turns out that Walker used the Charlie Sykes' literary agent to get the book deal done.  We know how well that worked out for Sykes:

And lastly, it turns out that Walker didn't pick out the name of his book:
"We have different suggestions but…publishers have a good way of telling you what they think the title should be," Walker told reporters. 
Oh, how the mind just reels at the titles Walker might have come up with!

I think I'll just the gentle reader come up with their own possible suggestions...but do try to keep it relatively clean.

A Streetcar Full Of Desire

More than twenty years ago, the federal government had tagged $91.5 million to be used for transit in the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.  But the county and city could not agree on how that money should be used and it sat languishing for some eighteen years.

In 2009, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett got tired of the stalemate and asked for help from Congress and President Obama in resolving this issue.  The result was that they passed a law stating that the City of Milwaukee would get 60% of the money and the County would get the other 40%.

Barrett chose that the city's share would go to beginning a streetcar route with the plan of giving the city a true intermodal system of mass transit.  As you can imagine, given the Republican's irrational hatred of anything to do with rails and job creation, were outraged at this idea and have been fighting it ever since.

The main antagonists are, unsurprisingly, the Bradley Foundation and the Koch Brothers.  In the past number of years, they have sent in their pawns to try to interfere with the progression of the streetcar, trying to derail it at every bend.

First they sent in Brett Healy, the head troll at the propagandist group MacIver Institute, who filed a petition complaining that his power bill could go up because of the work the utilities would have to put in moving some wires around.

When that didn't work, they sent in the ethically challenged Alderman Bob Donovan and the thugs at the ironically-named Citizens for Responsible Government, who thought they would collect so many signatures on anti-streetcar petitions that they would just have to stop it dead in its tracks.  That idea flopped as well.

A couple months later, they teamed up Donovan the Daft with Americans for Poverty to try it again.  But since they couldn't get enough boots on the ground, they decided to go for - brace yourselves - a website where they would collect signatures from all over the area.  And even then, they failed again.

Now the corporate special interests are at it again with yet a new approach.  They simply force the city to their will, much like they are trying to force the county to their will.  State Representative Dale Kooyenga is planning on introducing a bill that will force the cost on the taxpayers.  The corporate special interests figure that this will stop the program.
figure that if they cannot get the public opinion on their side, they figure that they  will

Our young friend on his Soapbox does a damn fine job of laying out all the problems with this maneuver, including the fact that the claim that buses are inherently better than a streetcar is false.  He is especially on the mark when he writes:
This is what scares me about this legislative session... it's not so much what Governor Walker introduces, it's the precedent that can, and slowly is being set by the legislature. I cannot accept the State of Wisconsin dictating to the City of Milwaukee or the County of Milwaukee, or any other municipality, how they should handle their affairs. It is wrong on many, many levels.
There are a couple of things though that I would point out.

One is this line from Kooyenga's press release:

"The streetcar may be used by 1% of the Milwaukee area residents, but will be paid for by 100% of the residents in the Milwaukee area. It is my intent to ensure we are not wasting local, state and federal taxpayer’s money on 19th century infrastructure," said Rep. Kooyenga.
What an odd thing to say for a man who voted consistently to have 100% of Wisconsin taxpayers pony up to further enrich the 1%, whether they were from Wisconsin or not.  It was this type of oligarchy that gave rise to the unions at about the same time that the first street cars were introduced.

Then there is the press release from Donovan, where he's just giddy with the news that the project could be stopped:

If approved, this means city taxpayers and certain downtown businesses alone would shoulder the burden of these as yet unknown costs, which are believed to be approximately $70 million. I simply cannot fathom members of the Common Council allowing the project to move forward under that cost scenario, so Rep. Kooyenga’s legislation would effectively be the final stake in the heart of the streetcar project. 
I want to publicly thank Rep. Kooyenga for his legislation. Not only is he giving me an early birthday present, but he’s also exercising the common sense that I wish more of our local public officials would tap into more often.
So Donovan thinks that not creating jobs and lifting up the local economy is like a birthday present?  I'd hate to see what he wants for Christmas.

What this is really about is that the corporate special interests don't want to see that money go to something that might actually benefit the people.  They would rather see that money go unused until such time that they can figure out a way to manipulate the system so that that money ends up in their coffers - preferably without having to give up anything in return for it.

The Dumbing Down of WI!

By Jeff Simpson

 Glenn Grothman: "I was a little bit appalled when you say education is a wise investment."

We remember recently that Graeme Zielinski, communications director for the Democratic party, had a couple tweets that many didnt like and members of both parties and the media both jumped on the fire graeme bandwagon and the Democratic party obliged(they demoted and suspended him). 

The media flat out ignored things as or more egregious said by many others on the right and were happy to continue to kick Graeme while he was down.   Apparently the only person whose words matter in this state are those that the Democratic party communications director "tweets".  

It happened again last week.   The Wisconsin media went M.I.A!  Glenn Grothman was in full force last week and no one from the mainstream media has even mentioned it!   

Let's take a look.   Joint Finance Committee hearings on the next budget(where Glenn Grothman is actually a member) and Kevin Reilly, the President of the University of Wisconsin System, was testifying.  

H/T Rebecca Kemble for sitting through this debacle and really putting out the best reporting in the state!  

Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, asked Reilly how he could justify potentially raising tuition with what he called a 6 percent increase in state funding, saying he was “stunned” about the possibility despite the state’s “generous” investment.

Grothman also told Reilly to “broaden your reading” of the public’s view of four-year degrees, calling it a “devastating investment.”

“For average kids today, it is not a wise investment except for some select majors,” Grothman said.

This is where the media disappeared.    Let's help draw them out from hiding!

1.  College grads make significantly more money throughout their career than high school grads! 

College Graduate vs. Non-Graduate Earnings

The Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) analyzes employee earnings data biennially, according to education level. Findings indicate that workers with a college degree earn significantly more than those without. Since the mid-1980s, education has played a large part in potential wages, with bachelor's degree holders taking home an average of 38% more than those with only a high school diploma. While college-educated workers' wages have increased over the past two decades, those with only a high school education have seen decreases in annual salaries in the same time period (

The Cost of a Degree vs. the Potential Payoff

Considering the high cost of a college education, potential students may question whether the expected earnings after graduation outweigh the possible debt incurred from student loans. In 2002, the Education Resources Information Center projected lifetime earnings of employees with a bachelor's degree and those without based on U.S. census information. Non-degree holders could expect a lifetime average of $1.2 million, while those with a bachelor's degree could expect to earn $2.1 million, or nearly double (

Types of Degrees vs. Annual Salaries

The NCES Digest of Education Statistics differentiates between median employee income based on level of education. As with the data above, 4-year college graduates took home higher gross salaries than those with a high school education. However, the type of college degree and gender of the degree holder also impacted earnings, as shown in the table below:
Type of DegreeAnnual SalaryGenderNumber Employed
High school diploma $39,010 Men 16,195
High school diploma $28,380 Women 10,851
College with no degree $45,820 Men 9,515
College with no degree $32,630 Women 7,456
Associate degree $50,150 Men 5,020
Associate degree $36,760 Women 4,995
Bachelor's degree $65,800 Men 12,609
Bachelor's degree $47,030 Women 9,856
Master's degree $80,960 Men 4,709
Master's degree $57,510 Women 4,176
Professional degree $100,000 Men 1,388
Professional degree $71,300 Women 753
Doctorate degree $100,000 Men 1,119
Doctorate degree $74,030 Women 550

2.  At UW- Madison alone, brings in over $12.4 Billion dollars a year to our state.  For every $1 of state tax investment to the university, there is $21.05 in economic activity in the state. On top of that, there are 12 other four year state institutions and 13, 2 year colleges throughout WI.   The UW system employes approximately 39,000 faculty and staff statewide and use just $1.1 Billion in state funding.  

3.  While there are a long list of established alumnae from these fine institutions, one thing is certain, success comes from all different majors

4.  Our University system ranks very well nationally!

Lets sum this up:

Here we have a senior Senator from the party that is in COMPLETE control, in a state that is desperate for jobs, and a senior senator from the most powerful committee in our legislature, says that investing in the main cog that creates jobs in Wisconsin, is a "devastating investment" and there is no coverage of this? 

Remember this, the next time that someone allows the Wisconsin republican party to be taken seriously when talking about "job creation", the reporter should lose their job.  

And people really cared that Graeme was not "professional"?  


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Solidarity Fish Fry, Week 25: Any Solidarity Fish Fry Friday Is A Good Friday

This coming Friday is Week 25 of the Solidarity Fish Fry.  It is also Good Friday, the busiest day of the year for Serb Hall.  It is sure to present a challenged, but one I'm sure we are up to dealing with.

From what I understand, they will be using both halls.  One will have the buffet in
it and the other will have the traditional family style all you can eat fish fry.  Unlike other weeks, whatever group you are with will all have to agree on which way to go.

(For what it's worth, we'll be doing the traditional side.)

But on the down side, even as we approach the six month mark, management at Serb Hall is still as dense as a box of rocks and still keep trying to play their little games, as evidenced by this email:
Since Randy told me he was always at the Solidarity Fish Fry Serb Hall -- I tried to go last night -- recently relocated to Milwaukee for a UNION job in education.

FWIW Last weekend, when I told them I was there for the "Solidarity Fish Fry" the man that takes your name at Serb Hall acted like he knew nothing. I was by myself and wasn't sure I would stay for dinner if it wasn't to support labor -- since he would not acknowledge that there was a set of union tables I could ask for, I eventually left.

Last night, I went again and this time, per Capper's blog, specifically requested a union table with the man that takes your name when entering Serb hall. Again, I was alone -- when I was called, they tried to sit me at a non-union table and had I not asked to verify that status, would never have.

Only then I was told the union tables were full and it would be a while -- I waited for a while, but since a church down the street had a fish fry too -- I just decided to go there.

In any case -- Serb Hall has not cooperated with me in terms of coming to the Solidarity Fish Fry and thought you might like to know.

Maybe I will try again, but since I hastily relocated to Milwaukee, don't have a dinner partner in town and it isn't really fun to do this alone -- especially when Serb Hall is stroking you about getting a union table.
So the lesson here is don't trust the frond door guy, Tim Brady, when it comes to the Solidarity Fish Fry. He will act friendly and congenial, but he's still management. Tell the host or hostess that actually seats you that you want a union table, and don't be afraid to make sure that it is one. You are the customer and you have the right to make reasonable requests and expect that they will do their best to meet those requests.

To make sure things are clear, here is what you need to do to participate in the Solidarity Fish Fry:

  1. Go to Serb Hall in Milwaukee anytime between 11:30 am and 9 pm.
  2. Tell the host you want a union table - the servers are usually Michelle, Victoria and Sandra
  3. Enjoy a fish fry or buffet
  4. Leave a good tip and make sure they know it's in support of the union workers
  5. Move along so the other union supporters can get their fish fry on too.

If they give you grief, and you need to leave, make sure you firmly but politely tell them exactly why you are leaving.  If others hear you, that is just as well.

If you need to, print this blog post, cut out those five steps and put them in your wallet.  

However,  if you plan on eating with Randy Bryce, the Tsar of Tartar, you might want to laminate the rules first.  The the tartar sauce will wipe right off.

Vote Justice

Here's a powerful video made by Brian Reid Bliss:

He's right, there is no Supreme Court right now, and that is a crying shame.