Saturday, November 30, 2013

Congratulations To Meg and Matthew!

Our own Meg Moen, now Meg Gorski, was wed to Matthew Gorski last week.

Jeff and I and the whole Cog Dis family wishes them years of joy and prosperity.

The Real War on Christmas!


By Jeff Simpson

Recently fake journalist, and WPRI republican hack Christian Schneider wrote a column on the wonders of offshoring(in a defense of Mary Burke).   Apparently you have to be an adult to understand what a great thing it is:

But while the outsourcing issue is a Sheboygan-sized target on Burke's campaign, Republicans should avoid simply hammering her for the act of outsourcing itself. It is an easy tactic — and in the end, winning is all that matters, after all — but campaigns should be careful how they foment anger among voters. Especially if it means confusing the public about a nuanced issue that deserves an adult conversation.

First, a point of clarification: While Burke's detractors refer to "outsourcing," they really mean "offshoring." Companies "outsource" their operations to other businesses when it isn't cost-effective to do the work themselves. It's not as if Grimace and Mayor McCheese are at the McDonald's headquarters milking cows to produce the company's dairy creamers; they outsource that task to an actual dairy company.

"Offshoring," on the other hand, means moving jobs overseas, where products can be produced cheaper due to lower labor costs. For the workers whose jobs are moved to India, China or Mexico, offshoring — to use a technical economic term — "sucks."
 We at CogDis pointed out that Schneider is economic illiterate, which was of a surprise to no one.   What I failed to do though was point out the "real world"consequences of offshoring that no one seems to want to have an adult conversation about(hint: don't look to Schneider for adult conversations).  
1.  What is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the world?  Bangladesh garment worker makes the list.    Who knew making your cheap T-shirt was so dangerous?  

In Bangladesh, there are 4 million garment workers — they’re getting starved to death too with pitiful wages, and they’re brutally overworked. And there are no health and safety standards. We saw the result of that in the Tazreen Factory fire on Nov. 24, 2012, which killed at least 117 workers. Less than a month later another factory, Smart Fashion, went up in flames.
 When we were in Bangladesh, a boy named Korshed —15 years of age — was working a night shift, all night long from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. during the monsoon season. It was July 17, 2012, when in the middle of the night at 3:00 a.m. a gigantic metal slab fell and crushed this young kid. Killed, dead on the spot. There’s no health and safety records whatsoever, the workers are just sitting ducks.
 2.  A lady in Oregon bought cheap crap Halloween decorations from China and found a letter:

"People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month)."
Ten yuan is equivalent to $1.61.
"People who work here, suffer punishment 1-3 years averagely, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment). Many of them are Falun Gong practitioners, who are totally innocent people only because they have different believe to CCPG. They often suffer more punishment than others."

Schneider did get that right....$1.61/month is definitely cheaper labor.  See what happens when you get rid of the unions, companies are free to prosper!  Time for ACT11 to cut teacher pay again.  

 As a child, Aruna dreamed of going to college. But by the time she was 15, when her government-subsidized schooling ended, she understood that she was too poor. Then, a stranger promised to change her life. He offered her a job at a textile factory that has supplied companies including, until recently, UK-based maternity wear maker Mothercare. Her pay would be about $105 a month—enough for food for her family, her further education, and most importantly, the chance to build a dowry.

When Aruna arrived at the factory, about 40 miles from her home, she found a vast facility where close to 1,000 girls, many in their teens, lived 10 or 15 to a room. From 8 a.m. till 10 p.m. every day, including weekends, she fed and monitored rusty machines that spun raw cotton into yarn. Her bosses often woke her in the middle of the night because, she recalls, there was "always some sort of work, 24 hours a day." Aruna made just a quarter of the $105 a month she was promised, about $0.84 a day.

Aruna shows me a scar on her hand, more than an inch long, where a machine cut her. She often saw girls faint from standing for too long. One had her hair ripped out when it got caught in a machine. Others were molested by their supervisors. "They said we would get less work if we slept with them," Aruna says. Sometimes girls would disappear, and everyone would speculate whether they'd died or escaped. Still, she needed the money, so she worked there for two years.
 Last April's building collapse in Bangladesh's Rana Plaza, which killed more than 1,000, briefly drew attention to the plight of garment workers. India is an even larger global player than Bangladesh: It's the third-largest textile and garment exporter in the world (after China and the European Union), with about $29 billion in 2012 sales. Between June 2012 and June 2013, the United States imported about $2.2 billion worth of cotton clothing from India, and that number is expected to grow as India ramps up its textile industry.

 4.  In Jordan a factory that produces products for WalMart, sexual abuse is a way of life:

In June, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights released a report alleging that workers producing clothing for Walmart, Target, Macy's, Kohl's and Hanes at a factory in Jordan have been routinely beaten, underpaid and forced to work hours in excess of what the local law allows. The report added that workers have been forced to live in bed bug-infested dormitories that lack heat and hot water, despite the snow and ice that are a feature of local winters.
The report also alleged a pattern of widespread sexual abuse of female employees at the Classic Brands factory complex. The factory employs some 4,800 people, mostly guest workers from South Asia. One manager repeatedly raped female Sri Lankan workers, prompting a strike late last year, according to the report. Workers wanted the manager fired. Instead, the factory's owner sent the manager on a recruiting mission to South Asia as a means of temporarily removing him from the complex. The owner did not publicly discipline the manager or remove the man from his employment, said Charles Kernaghan, the institute's director, and the lead author of the study.

Whats a few rapes of 13 year old girls, they aren't in school anyway.    When your working a 17 hour shift, 7 days a week,  its the only way they get a break.  

5.  There there was this clown that people actually thought could be President of the United States. 

 And the one thing that gets you mad is someone saying "Happy Holidays"?    

The Walker-Grinch That Stole Christmas

First I thought it was bad when Walmart thought it would be a good idea to hold a food drive for their own employees instead of just paying them a living wage.

Then McDonald's comes along and tells their employees to sell off their Christmas gifts so that they can pay their bills.  They also told their workers to cut up their food into little bits to make it last longer.  They, like Walmart, will do anything to help their employees as long as it doesn't require paying them a living wage or giving them benefits.

But these two can't hold a candle to Scott Walker.

Walker's campaign sent out a fundraising email on Friday that really takes the cake (emphasis mine):

Instead of venturing into the cold this Black Friday, stay in and give your children a gift that will keep on giving.

This year, we are celebrating the Holiday Season with a Black Friday special that is better than any deal found in stores. Donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker get reelected and save your children from a future of double-digit tax increases and billion dollar budget deficits.

Instead of electronics or toys that will undoubtedly be outdated, broken, or lost by the next Holiday Season, help give your children the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of. Governor Walker is helping Wisconsin move forward to a future where your children and grandchildren can experience:
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Improved Schools
  • Freedom From Government Dependence
The Governor wants his sons to grow up in a Wisconsin as great as the one he grew up in. When asked why he never stopped fighting for Wisconsin during the Recall, Governor Walker says he has two reasons, his sons Matt and Alex.

With your help, Governor Walker is enacting reforms that are securing a strong state for the future of Wisconsin’s children. This Black Friday, donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker win reelection so he can continue to help Wisconsin move forward.

A strong Wisconsin is the best gift you can give.


Taylor Palmisano
Friends of Scott Walker
Yes, you read that correctly.

Walker is telling people to not bother buying their children any Christmas presents. Instead, they should give the money that they would have spent on their children and give it to Walker's campaign.

And what would Walker do with that money? Besides using it to jet around the country schmoozing the big money campaign contributors who would help him buy another election and pay for his legal cooperation fund, not much.

And if he were to be reelected again, you can count on him making life even worse for our children. He would finish privatizing education, he would kick more kids off of Badger Care and he would loosen child labor laws.

Nothing shows the Christmas spirit like denying your kids their gifts so that you can give the money to someone who would only screw them over again.

I wouldn't be surprised if Walker comes out with another book soon - a spin off of A Christmas Carol.  Except in Walker's version, Bob Cratchett sells Tiny Tim's crutch and gives the money to Scrooge.

ADDENDUM: There are some people that are questioning the veracity of the email cited in this post.  To belay those concerns, here is a screen capture of the email.  Note at the bottom where it cites that it is being paid for by the Friends of Scott Walker:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Badgers Are From Wisconsin, Walker Is From Fitzwalkerstan

In his weekly newsletter, Scott Walker gives a Thanksgiving greeting, which reads:
It’s that time of year again, when we gather together and share turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and of course – Wisconsin’s own cranberries. More importantly, we reflect on the many blessings in our lives. As I look around our beautiful state, I realize just how much we have to be thankful for in Wisconsin.

Whether it’s the support of family and friends, good health, a great Packer or Badger win, or a new job or promotion, it is truly remarkable to live in a state providing so many opportunities and offering such a bright future.

Finally, to our service men and women in Wisconsin and abroad, we are truly grateful for the sacrifices you make and those made by your families. You allow us to enjoy the blessings here in Wisconsin. 
From our family to yours, Tonette and I would like to wish each and every one of you a safe and a wonderful Thanksgiving.
He also included this video saying pretty much the same thing.

Now, this email came out on Friday, the day after the Packers were thoroughly embarrassed on national TV.  It goes to show just how little he cares about being accurate.

But that is far from the most egregious thing.

He talks about a new job or promotion, yet under his agenda, the state is performing the worst in the Midwest and worse than most in the entire nation when it comes to job creation.  And that's not to mention the decrease in income levels.

And to pretend to honor veterans when they are going to suffer severely when he kicks them off of Badger Care when he installs Walker (Couldn't) Care (Less) is simply revolting.

I understand that politicians will try to put a spin on things, but the casual way Walker throws lies around shows just how depraved and sociopathic he really is.

Common Clowns With No Standards!

By Jeff Simpson

For those of you who have and have not been following the state of education in the country and in our state, one of the debates right now is a set of Common Core State Standards, that every state is trying to adopt so kids graduate high school with a basic understanding of how the world works.  Whether you grow up in Janesville, WI, Detroit Michigan, Rockland County, New York, or South Alamo, Texas there are basic math, reading writing skills that everyone will have.

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

The theory is that we as a country have too much invested in our youth that when someone graduates West Bend high school and thinks that dinosaurs lived with man only a few thousand years ago that kind of ignorance harms us all.   

It seems as though anti-intellectualism has become standard practice in politics today.   Some of it can be attributed to the education vampire profiteers like former convicted felon Scott Jensen who prefers public education money in his pocket instead of your kids classroom.  We can also contribute it to the failed state of our politics when we have serious candidates for president say things like this:

A little refresher course on Common Core, it originated as a republican idea: 

 On the face of it, Republicans should love the Common Core State Standards. Eisenhower called for higher education standards in response to Sputnik. Reagan decried that U.S. standards were too low. Conservatives have railed against lax standards, zero accountability and bloated education budgets for decades. We want measurable results, bottom-line solutions, and we don’t want them come from Washington.
Common Core does that. Developed by teachers, created by the states, it provides the kind of education that big business and colleges are demanding.
 The initiative started in 1989 when President Bush (the elder) hosted a summit of governors to develop higher standards for public education. The idea came to fruition in 2007 when the National Governors Association (led by Sonny Perdue) created standards for English and math.
The goal? To create graduates with the necessary skills to be employable by businesses or go to college. Funded by big business, with 10,000 different inputs by ordinary parents and teachers, developed by teachers, benchmarked against competitive foreign countries, the group created a yardstick that could measure every student across the nation.
 Up until that point, Republicans who knew about Common Core were unified behind the zero-budget, state-led initiative to an education system we’ve been trying to fix for generations. We welcomed these standards because they’d finally make all schools across the nation equally accountable – not to the meddlesome feds – but to 46 of our fellow states.
Then something devastating to Common Core happened.  President Obama endorsed it!  As "tea party" republican school board member Dan Belton from Rural Georgia says:

Then Obama endorsed the initiative, and conservatives turned against it.
 I wish they’d look closer. I’d be annoyed if Obama announced he was suddenly a Braves fan. But that wouldn’t make me cheer for the Mets. That is the kind of backwards logic that some are now employing.
 Obama did not develop Common Core. It is not a federal program. Not one federal official was on any of the teams that created these standards.
 “But, wait!” you say. “The feds are controlling Common Core by using Race to the Top money!” Yes, that is one way federal money can be earned, but it is not the only way. Virginia, for example, won that money while rejecting Common Core.
 “But the curriculum tells teacher what to teach!” Actually, Common Core isn’t even a curriculum. It is a set of standards that each child needs to know. One teacher put it this way, "It's not about how to teach; it's about where students need to be by the time that teaching is done."
 It’s the end zone - home plate - the goalie’s net. It’s a yardstick that nearly every state agreed upon; a goal that is much harder than before.
 Now let's bring it back to WI where a group of "tea party" laggards are foaming at the mouth upset that we would even think about implementing anything the current President of the United States would endorse.  They pressured the extremist elements of the current republican party(which is most of them) and they forced statewide hearings on common core.

Unfortunately, for the children of Wisconsin, these hearings turned out to be as big of a sham as everything the republicans have done in the last three years.   It was so bad that Rep. Christine Sinicki quit the common core committee because nothing was being accomplished but a bunch of paid goons from out of state were the only ones being allowed to talk!

The John Birch Society, a conservative political advocacy group, paid experts to testify against the controversial Common Core academic standards in public hearings last week, which Sinicki called “immoral” in her resignation letter to committee chairs Sen. Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee, and Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac.
“It has become painfully clear that this committee and its activities are occurring at the behest of interested parties outside of this Legislature, and even this state,” Sinicki said in her letter.
Sinicki said in her letter she would not sit on a committee that involves itself with “extreme” interest groups during legislative hearings but does not pay attention to the teachers and administrators affected by the standards.
(Edit Note: In case you don't know the history of John Birch Society - it is not pretty)

After the right wing extremist were able to force the republican party to hold sham hearings, that was not enough.  Now somewhere around 60 of these extremist groups and their laggard heads all signed a letter asking Governor Walker to display his "unintimidated" principles and not implement it!  

Nor could they better embody the principles that must guide you, Wisconsin’s chief
executive, in boldly rejecting Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in this state
Governor Walker, we ask that you match your bold words with decisive leadership and action on the most important issue that will ever be before you in your current office: the future of the children of Wisconsin

Yes a sane person would think they were talking about the devastating effects of his voucher school program on Wisconsin Students. but they are talking about Common Core.  

As HuffPo points out:

The Common Core State Standards have been adopted in more than 40 states and are being taught to the same benchmarks. While the standards are typically seen as more rigorous than what most states previously used, in Wisconsin, some critics are arguing the standards are too mild and represent an example of federal overreach.
On Tuesday, the groups sent Walker a letter asking him to encourage the legislature to pass a bill rejecting the Common Core Standards, even though the state adopted the voluntary benchmarks in 2010.
 Schools in Wisconsin have already spent about $25 million on the standards’ implementation process, the AP notes.

Whats $25 million in Wisconsin taxpayer money to the "tea party" anyway?  they have proven that no amount of money matters when it comes to their agenda.

Their hilarious, yet scary letter can be found here.    

A couple quick thoughts on their letter:

* The people that loved No Child Left Behind now are upset with testing in schools?  Huh?

*  Don't tell us about Wisconsinites are against it when you have a letter signed with "expert witnesses" from Utah.

*   Anytime the cowardly Orville Seymour's name is attached then you know its a joke. 

*   The Southern Poverty Law center, who tracks domestic terrorist groups, tells us that one telling sign of an American dangerous hate group is the word "patriot" in their title.

Finally why do we need Common Core? Back to Ben Belton:

 Why is this necessary? Nationwide, only 75 percent of ninth graders graduate from high school. Only 19 percent of our graduates are ready for college, only 44 percent enter college and only 21 percent earn a degree. Shockingly, 35 percent aren’t educated enough to enter the military. The United States is 25th among developed countries in math and 21st for science.
Over 600,000 jobs remained vacant last year because no one was educated enough to fill them. If you think those stats are good enough, then, yeah…Common Core is a horrible idea.
 Common Core gets rid of No Child Left Behind. The dirty little secret is that although the feds administered that very unpopular reform program, they let the each state decide what their individual standards were.
The result? Some states made their standards hard and others quite easy, making it impossible to compare one state to another.
 Common Core isn’t mandatory. State leaders, accountable to their constituents, can withdraw at any time. Which states opted out? Texas, Alaska, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Virginia -- evenly matched between Red and Blue.
Common Core only involves English and math. It does not include social studies or science and probably never will.

 In a nation like France, where people rarely move much from place to place, having national standards isn’t a big deal. In America, where children commonly move thousands of miles from state to state, it’s absolutely essential. Our tiny, rural system has dozens of children moving from out of state every month. Finding that your child is one or two years behind another state is extremely common. 
 I’ve talked to a lot of teachers about Common Core. Their biggest concern? That we’ll scrap it and start over (yet again) with something else. Georgia DOE is famous for rolling out plan after plan without sticking to anything more than a year or two. Teachers have been using these standards over a year. It would be a crime to derail them yet again.
 Some parents complain it’s too hard or too confusing. Welcome to the 21st century! Our students will either rise to the challenge of the ever-competitive global marketplace or America will fail. Staying the course towards pale mediocrity is not a plan.
 Measuring performance is the cornerstone of accountability. Imagine if the Crimson Tide refused to play anyone outside the state of Alabama! How could they possibly say they were the best team in the nation? States must be able to compete and measure themselves against other states. Every Republican knows that.

Sorry Ben, the republican party of your youth is no longer around. The logical conservative elephant is as extinct as the Zanzibar leopard!  

If Scott Walker listens to this surly group of half wits, anti intellectuals, radicals, subversives and antagonists then it will prove that Scott Walker is not only out of touch with what Wisconsinites truly feel, but that he is completely unfit for duty!


PS:  To our friends on the right who signed the letter:  Keep Writing them!  PLEASE!

The Push Back Against Corporate Greed Spreads

As reported by Doug Cunningham of Workers Independent News, workers at Whole Foods in Chicago are standing up for their rights, just like the workers at Walmart:
Some Whole Foods workers in Chicago are staging a one-day strike today to demand a fair system of scheduling that will allow them to enjoy Thanksgiving like millions of other Americans. They’re being joined by the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, OUR Wal-Mart and other community allies. Whole Foods worker Matthew Camp says retail workers are facing what he says is a disturbing trend of having to work through Thanksgiving and other holidays that used to be sacred time off to spend with family. Camp says this is why Whole Foods workers in Chicago are striking today.

[Matthew Camp]: “The day before Thanksgiving – which of course is an incredibly busy day for a grocery store – essentially to make these two points. One, that this tendency among large retailers is very disturbing. We feel everyone is entitled to this holiday. And secondly we include ourselves in that fist proposal. That we also, having worked so hard for the holiday, are entitled to time to travel, to see our friends, our family.”
Cunningham goes on to note that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the workers are seeking better working conditions, attendance policy and wages.

It warms my heart to see an increasing number of people starting to stand up and say, "Enough!" The abuse and exploitation of workers will last only as long as we let it, and in my humble opinion, we have already let it go on for way too long.

The Walker Agenda Is Still Working! Part CCIII

The Salvation Army is reporting a major drop in donations this year compared to the same date last year:
The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County is down $42,694 in its Red Kettles compared with this date last year.

“We are very concerned that we’re down. We need additional red kettle sites, volunteers and more donations to keep critical programs and services operating in Milwaukee County,” said Major Dan Jennings, Salvation Army divisional commander for Wisconsin & Upper Michigan. “The kettles take coins, bills and checks.”
Now some of this might be due to push back to their stringent anti-gay rights stance, but I would suspect that would play a minor role in the drop of donations if it played one at all.

It's much more likely that the drop off in donations is due to the simple fact that people have less expendable cash, thanks directly to Scott Walker's failed agenda.  As I keep pointing out, through Act 10 and other maleficent actions, Walker and his fellow ALEC-owned Teapublicans have taken hundreds of millions of dollars out of the economy and given it to their benefactors.

This forces people to decide between niceties, like donating to charities, or paying the bills, keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads.  It's pretty obvious what people are choosing.

That said, I have to say that I have not seen nearly the same number of bell ringers that I have seen in the past.  If they don't have the bell ringers to help draw people's attention, they obviously aren't going to collect as much money as they used to.

Abele's Courthouse Fire Cost Over $10 Million and Counting

On July 6, 2013, electrical equipment in the basement of the Milwaukee County Courthouse caught on fire.  It is being reported that the cost for the clean up is now over $10 million and the bills are still rolling in:
The $10.2 million billed so far by Universal Restoration Services of Menomonee Falls covers mainly costs of cleanup and extending temporary power to the courthouse complex, which includes the courthouse, the Safety Building and the Criminal Justice Facility.

An itemized list of work done by subcontractors lists carpet cleaning and replacement, duct cleaning, furniture moving, building guard houses near the blocked-off portion of N. 10th St. adjacent to the courthouse, and elevator maintenance.
What is also very interesting is that they are still not officially coming out with a cause for the fire:
Meanwhile, investigations into the cause of the fire have been launched by the state Insurance Commissioner, firms involved in installation or maintenance of the old electrical system, and several insurance companies hoping to limit their losses related to the July 6 blaze.

No one was injured in the fire, which broke out on a Saturday when the building was nearly vacant and was confined to a small basement room.

Arson was ruled out as a cause by the Milwaukee Fire Department within days of the fire. Other causes — including faulty electrical equipment or installation, or shoddy maintenance — are a focus of the investigation, said Don Tyler, director of administrative services for the county.

If such flaws are discovered, insurance companies are likely to seek reimbursement from contractors involved in earlier electrical work, he said.
Don Tyler, Chris Abele's Director of Administration said that "he's confident the state's Local Government Property Insurance Fund will cover all the county's losses. He declined to estimate what the full cost of the fire ultimately will be."

That is very different from what he said just two months ago (emphasis mine):
Under questioning by supervisors, Tyler said it was possible some costs of the fire may not be covered by insurance if it's shown that the courthouse electrical equipment wasn't properly maintained.
Heck, even the Emperor himself admitted that the system was outdated and sorely in need of maintenance:
The fire began at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in a large basement utility room with numerous electrical systems inside. Fire officials estimated the cost of the damage to the building at $368,000, and the property damage inside was estimated at $150,000.
"Some equipment is older than it probably should be," Abele said of the utility room's contents.
I would say so.  Abele had a report in his hands from months before the fire which clearly stated the equipment was not up to snuff and needed replacing, yet Abele did nothing to resolve the issue:

The report by consultant CBRE — issued in February — called for replacing old components and other improvements in the electrical system.

The courthouse power system is 47 years old and "approaching or beyond its life expectancy," according to the report by CBRE, a real estate services firm.

Aging electrical components should be replaced, the report said.

In addition to shortcomings with the courthouse electrical, plumbing and heating systems, the building also has no sprinkler system, the CBRE report says.

It also pointed out that the power substation in the courthouse basement is next to a paint shop and hazardous paint fumes. The report called for ventilation or separation of the two areas.

Saturday's courthouse fire did not engulf the paint shop, said Don Tyler, the county's director of administrative services.

The CBRE report also recommended replacement of branch power panels, which are as old as the building. The courthouse was completed in 1932.

The report also noted that steam piping routed above the courthouse electrical substation should have a drain pan installed to protect the substation.
But even without the report, the fact that they had to have giant fans blowing on the electrical equipment to keep it from overheating should have been a clear sign that things were not as they should have been.

Abele likes to boast about seeking out efficiency wherever he can, saving the taxpayers money and being accountable.  But this alone shows that he does none of those things.  We need to rid ourselves of him as badly as we need to rid ourselves of David Clarke.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

David Clarke's Misplaced Priorities Exposed. Again.

It is no deep, dark secret that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is an incompetent twit whose poor leadership skills are only surpassed by his poor interpersonal skills.

It is also commonly known that Clarke's effectiveness as a law enforcement officer leaves a lot to be desired, as noted by the fact that he helps drunk drivers out of snow banks without even knowing they're drunk.

To help cover up his incompetence, Clarke likes to do a lot of blustery bravado and to raise false alarms about other things to distract the people's from the real problems.  The most recent example is Clarke raising the boogeyman of the "Knockout Game," something that has been around since I was a kid.  Not only is Clarke trying to conflate people's fear, he is also furthering the racism that is all too prevalent in Milwaukee.

Fortunately, we have people like Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen who can see through Clarke's nonsense and have the fortitude to target="_blank">call him out on it:
David Bowen
Supervisor David Bowen is speaking out on a recent warning about the "Knockout Game". This "game" consists of someone, or a group of people, punching an innocent victim while someone else records the act of senseless violence. Sheriff David Clarke issued a warning recently about what he claimed is a growing trend.

"While some like Sheriff Clarke have bought into myths that violent mobs of young people are roaming the streets to ‘knock out’ harmless bystanders,” Supervisor Bowen said, “I am here to remind the public that we have many respectful and law abiding young people who are not on a mission of destruction.

"There have been incidents where older people, not just youth, are resorting to this type of violence, but it is not an increasing trend in our community. Let's not be delusional and push our residents to live in fear. We should be doing the opposite by finding ways to mentor and support young people and organizations that work to develop them.”

Supervisor Bowen says there should be more concern about the increase in gun violence and guns ending up in the hands of people who shouldn't have them. This week Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn showed the media where MPD holds guns seized in crimes. There were 11,000 guns in that room. Chief Flynn called for tighter restrictions in the state's Concealed Carry laws.

"We should be far more worried about the growing culture of gun violence than a 'growing trend' of random attacks. Unfortunately this also applies to situations when young people haven't done anything but live in their own community like Treyvon Martin or Milwaukee's own Darius Simmons. They were killed by guns, not fists.

To that end I encourage our community to use this holiday season to be thankful for our many great young people. We should not treat them as a problem but instead help find solutions; by doing that we can work towards improving the quality of life for our entire community."
Anf for those that might have missed it, Clarke has been using taxpayer money to promote the values of the NRA, one of his greatest benefactors. In other words, Clarke is not part of the solutions to our societal problems, but one of the major contributors to them.

And don't look at the county emperor for help in this area either.  Chris Abele doesn't have a clue to what side he's on regarding the gun issue (or anything else for that matter).  And Abele's only solution to dealing with Clarke is to take it out on the deputies and endanger public safety even more.

We can be thankful for real leaders in the community like Supervisor Bowen.

We can also be thankful for the chance to get rid of Clarke once and for all by electing Chris Moews as sheriff.  That is one thing that is long, long overdue.

Holiday Eve Election Notice Makes Mockery of Certification Vote

The following is a statement by Boyd McCamish, the executive director of AFSCME District Council 48:
On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday that will close their workplaces, the Walker administration abruptly announced late Tuesday that it is starting the clock on union certification elections for support staff in the Milwaukee Public School District.

“Gov. Walker and his Employment Relations Commission are taking a page right out of the playbook of communist China, making a complete mockery of the idea of fair elections,” said Boyd McCamish, executive director of the AFSCME District Council 48, which represents roughly 600 MPS employees.

“They are starting the election on a Friday when nobody is at work, essentially taking away the first five or six days in which we could possibly prepare for an election that will be over in a matter of days,” McCamish said.

McCamish said the new law forcing such elections – which has been found unconstitutional in a state circuit – already sets the threshold for success higher than that required of elected officials. Instead of simply winning a majority of those who vote, a union has to win a majority of all eligible voters to earn certification.

“This is a far higher standard than Walker has ever met on his career politician treadmill of constantly running for office. Of course, this governor seems to have no trouble with double standards,” McCamish said.

“By timing the election to start when employees are not even in their workplaces, they’re doing all they can to disrupt the certification process. Every union is going to have to decide on its own how to deal with the unreasonable requirements and moving-target timelines imposed by this administration. But our union is not going to waste our members’ resources participating in this mockery of democracy,” McCamish said.
This is NOT what democracy looks like.  But it does go to show that old Mr. Unintimidated is still scared to death of the unions and for good cause.  Because the only answer to organized greed is organized labor.

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Day Post

And what better way to commemorate the holiday than with the most classic Thanksgiving Day sketch from WKRP in Cincinnati:

Enjoy your day.

Popcorn Turkey

With the holidays approaching, we turn to our traditions that we do every year.

Mine happens to be sharing the recipe for Popcorn Turkey, a Thanksgiving Day favorite. So without further ado:
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.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ten Questions

H/T Forward Progressives

A great post from Forward Progressives:

But when it comes to debating Republicans, I just like to ask them questions.  I’ve realized that unless I’m on Fox News they’ll never believe a word I’m saying.  So instead of trying to make them listen to facts, I just ask them questions to see if they can answer them.  That’s where the real hilarity comes into play.

See, it’s one thing to believe something — it’s quite another to understand why you believe it.

So here are 10 questions (though there are many more) I like to ask Republicans that they often seem unable to answer.
1) If Republicans are so fiscally responsible, why was President Eisenhower (in the 1950′s) the last Republican president to balance the budget? 

2) If President Reagan was such a fiscally conservative hero, why did he quadruple our national debt during his eight years in the White House?

3) If tax breaks are the main driving force behind job creation, how would we create jobs once tax rates were reduced to practically zero? 

4) If socialized health care is so awful, why does every country that leads the world in life expectancy have socialized health care?

5) If you support the freedom of religion (as per our Constitution), and my church recognizes gay marriage, isn’t your support for the banning of same-sex marriage an attack on my religion’s First Amendment rights? 

6) What’s more realistic?  1) That an entire region of the United States that supported slavery in the late-1800′s and support segregation in the 1950′s and 60′s suddenly stopped being racist, or 2) The racist southern Democrats in the south became Republicans during the 50′s and 60′s when the Republican party shifted toward an idea called the “Southern Strategy,” where the GOP appealed to the racism in southern whites who didn’t like African Americans voting for Democrats. 

7) If taxes are at some of their lowest levels in history, and the wealthiest in this country are richer than ever, why hasn’t the growth in the wealth of the middle class matched that of the top 2%? 

8) If our Founding Fathers wanted this nation to be based on Christianity, why don’t the words “Christian” or “Christianity” appear even once in our Constitution? 

9) If a Republican president reduced massive job losses in the midst of the worst recession in nearly a century by more than 50% in his first 4 months in office; presided over 44 consecutive months of private-sector job growth creating nearly 8 million jobs; killed Osama bin Ladin; saw stock markets reach all-time highs; saved the American auto industry; increased domestic oil production to highs not seen since the late-90′s and championed the largest year-to-year deficit reductions since World War II, would your party not be calling him a hero and a legend? 

10)  If Jesus spent his life helping the poor and the needy, how does it make sense that a party which claims to be for “Christian values” continues to cut funding for programs that help the poor and the needy?

Scotty Fudd

Apparently, it was Looney Tunes day at Pints and Politics and Scott Walker went as Elmer Fudd! 

Caption This - Your Turn: