Thursday, August 29, 2019

Jeff's Last Post

Before he died, Jeff Simpson with the help of his wife, wrote one last blogpost.  But instead of posting it anywhere, they gave it to their pastor to read at his celebration of life last week.  When the pastor read it aloud to us, I knew I had to ask for it, not only because of what Jeff said, but also because it was pure Jeff.  With the help and full permission of his wife, I present to you Jeff's last post, edited only to fit the format:
In my nine plus years of battling cancer, I learned a few lessons that I feel the need to share. The first is, as the late Coach Jim Valvano famously said, “Don’t Give Up….Don’t Ever Give Up.” In my time fighting this dreaded disease, there were some very dark times and yet with so much to fight for, I never considered giving up.

The Second lesson is Build Your Army. No one accomplishes anything alone in this world. You have to build your army and be willing to accept help. MY army was incredible, it consisted of my amazing family, my incredible medical team at UW Hospital, the Cottage Grove and Monona Grove community, My Gilda’s club support group, my Messiah Lutheran family and of course Jesus. With that strong of an army, who can stand against me?

Third is Be Active in your community. It is important that we all do our best to make our world a better place and the best way to do that is right out your front door. Run for local office, attend local meetings, volunteer locally, shop locally when you can. Help your neighbor with tasks if you are able. The best way to change the world is acts of service and kindness with your neighbors, let the goodness trickle up.

Fourth and final – Be Nice. As the Bible states “and the Greatest is Love" We have become so polarized as a nation and state and there is too much anger and hatred in the world. I know in my time, I was in the middle of many of these battles, but I truly tried to engage civilly and with all people. We need to stop treating each other as enemies and instead look upon them as the human being that they are and find common ground.

Also a couple more requests – Lets cure Cancer, we have brilliant minds in this world, this disease is horrible and we need to stop it.. Let’s get money out of politics also, so the good of the people will be the main policy driver not the profits of the corporation. Support your Public Schools. They are staffed with people who really care about all kids, so support them the way they support the community. Finally, live your life with passion and every day will have blue skies!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Vos, WISGOP, Still Complete Jerks Towards Paralyzed Democrat

Wisconsin Republicans, led by Speaker Robin Vos, are still befouling themselves in their treatment and attitude towards State Representative Jimmy Anderson, a Democrat who was paralyzed from the chest down when a drunk driver smashed into the car that Anderson was riding in.

It started when Anderson made a simple request to appear via telephone at some Assembly committee meetings when his physical disabilities and health concerns won't allow it. Vos denied him this right guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and accused Anderson of "grandstanding" in his request.

Bad enough, right? But as with all things Republican, there's more. There's always more.

Anderson circulated a letter to each and every fellow state representative to ask Vos to allow Anderson his request for this accommodation. All 36 of Anderson's fellow Democrats signed the letter willingly. However, not one Republican would sign the letter. This includes Republican State Representative Barbara Dittrich, who prides herself as being a long time advocate for those with disabilities.

But Vos still wasn't done. Apparently concerned that there might still be some lingering doubt, Vos wanted to make sure that the world knows that he is a complete and utter shithead.

Vos did this by trying to play the victim card. Yes, you read that correctly. Vos tried to portray himself as the victim, stating that Anderson was only making the request to make him look bad:
Vos told WISN's Jay Weber he believes the timing of Anderson's public appeal, which included speaking to a Journal Sentinel reporter, was meant to undermine the announcement of Vos taking over as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
But Vos didn't say it even that tactfully. What Vos actually said was way worse and about as callous and petty as I have ever seen:
"(This) does not seem like an accident to me," Vos told a conservative radio show host Thursday. "Everything they do is political and trying to make the other side look bad."
So in Vos' deranged mind, Anderson purposely went out and got hit by a drunk driver, an accident which took the lives of both his parents and his brother and leaving him paralyzed, just in order to make Vos look bad years later. And that doesn't mention all the physical and emotional suffering that Anderson apparently went through willfully, just for the chance to embarrass Vos at some future time.

Belatedly realizing that his bluster, bullying and pettiness were hurting his aspirations to be governor, later tried to backtrack, saying that "some accommodations" were likely but refusing to specify exactly what those accommodations would be.

The smart money is on that there will be only minimal, if any, changes made and that Vos only said that in a lame effort at damage control.

Vos is as sick and deranged as they come.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Celebration Of The Life Of Jeff Simpson

As most people know, my friend and blog partner, Jeff Simpson, passed away last weekend.

On the behalf of his family, and with their full permission, I am reproducing Jeff's obituary here:

Obituary for Jeffrey William Simpson

COTTAGE GROVE - Jeffrey William Simpson, age 53, of Cottage Grove, beloved husband, father, brother, son, caring friend to all, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. As he wished, in his final days and hours, he was surrounded by his loving family and close friends. Jeff was born on June 19, 1966, in Beloit, Wis, son of Richard and Sandra (Fornecker) Simpson. In June 1969, his mother married his step-father, John Ryan, when they moved onto John’s family farm in Newark, Wis. Some of his favorite childhood memories were of days at the Rock County 4-H Fair, where he would show his precious pigs and cows, like Esmeralda. Jeff graduated from Parkview High School in Orfordville in 1984. He continued his studies at Beloit College, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a certification in Secondary Education. While attending Beloit College, Jeff played baseball and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, maintaining life-long bonds with his fraternity brothers.

Jeff married his best friend and the love of his life, Deb Farrar, on Sept. 25, 1999. He readily shared with everyone that he could not believe how fortunate he was to have found Deb, and that such a beautiful and amazing woman agreed to become his wife. Jeff and Deb were blessed with two caring children, Luka (16) and Kennedy (13).

Following college, Jeff worked in sales, with 15 years of his career being spent with New Balance, the athletic shoe company, where he became forever friends with many of his co-workers, as they got together regularly for their annual sales meetings. Jeff aspired for his life to have purpose and meaning, and to leave this world a better place, so in 2012, he decided to serve his community by joining the Monona Grove School Board.

Jeff loved being a father and was always very involved. When Luka and Kennedy were young, he coached their soccer and basketball teams. During their school years, he attended all of Luka’s plays and Kennedy’s dance recitals, showing so much pride while watching them come alive on stage! Throughout his life, Jeff identified with and fought tenaciously for the underdog. His passionate interests included politics, specifically related to education, equity, and labor rights. Jeff was an active political blogger, most recently for Cognitive Dissidence. Through his blogging, and his time on the Monona Grove School board, Jeff was known to be a fighter for truth, for what was right, for educators, and for EVERY student, all based on his foundational belief in the innate goodness of our youth. He was a true champion of humanitarian values, activist for justice, and a strong voice for positive political change. Since his cancer diagnosis in 2010, Jeff has publicly shared his fight against the disease on both Facebook and CaringBridge, always with great honesty and humility, as well as humor.

Kind, witty, courageous, optimistic, strong, and smart, Jeff was most known, and admired, for his deep and loyal relationships and connections with friends, family, and his larger community. His love for his family, big heart, and willingness to help others was absolute and served as the foundation of his identity. Jeff took great joy in traveling with his family, staying at many Bed and Breakfasts with Deb, and being an avid sports fan for the Brewers, Bears, and Badgers, always with Luka by his side. He also loved country music, such as Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, but would thoroughly enjoy a KISS or ACDC concert as well.

Jeff is survived by his wife, Deb Farrar-Simpson; children, Luka Simpson, Kennedy Simpson, and Zach (Janna) Schultzhaus; God Child, Jacquita Wilder; two sisters, Shannon (Rick Brockwell) Ryan and Johna (Dan Moore) Ryan; brother, Larry (Martha) Ryan; parents-in-law, Daniel and Kathleen Farrar; sister-in-law, Kristine (James) Mazzuca and her step-children Brandon and Brooklyn; and Rosie, the devoted family dog. Jeff is also survived by several aunts and uncles, and an abundance of friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard S. Simpson; step-father, John C. Ryan; and on July 31, 2019, by his mother, Sandra M. Ryan.

Jeff’s family would like to thank his healthcare team at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and the compassionate and supportive friends they found through Gilda’s Club and Camp Kesem. They also want to express their gratitude to the multitude of friends who have provided much-needed support throughout Jeff’s cancer journey. Their many acts of kindness and care have been a true blessing.

A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held at MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH, 5202 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, August 23, 2019, with Rev. Jeff Vanden Heuvel presiding. A reception will immediately follow at the church with an opportunity to visit with the family. If you are not able to attend Jeff’s service, yet want to participate, please access the live feed option thru Messiah Lutheran Church’s website

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Gilda’s Club of Madison and Camp Kesem UW-Madison.

Jeff will remain in our hearts forever, until we meet again!

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420
A celebration of Jeff's life will be held on Friday, August 23, at 2 pm.  The celebration will be held at Messiah Lutheran Church, which is at 5202 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, WI. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Rest In Strength, Jeff Simpson

It is with a broken heart and heavy sorrow that I must report the passing of Jeff Simpson, who passed away Friday night after a long and courageous battle with a rare form of cancer

As the gentle reader already knows, Jeff was a proficient writer her at Cog Dis and a very good friend of mine.  Jeff had many attributes and qualities that I and many others appreciated.  Even though I disagreed with him on the rare occasion, I could not help but to admire his passion and sincerity in everything.

He has a fierce determination and unsinkable spirit.  Whether it was beating up internet trolls, calling out politicians who did wrong or fighting the cancer, Jeff never faltered.  A few weeks ago, when I saw that he was declining rapidly, I reached out to him to see how he was doing and if they needed anything.  Jeff replied that the cancer had won a round or two but that he was going to get better and kick its ass again.

But there was so much more to Jeff than just his passion for politics, which actually played a relatively small part of his life. 

His greatest strength of all was his love for his family.  He adored and loved his wife, Deb, to no end and was constantly expressing his appreciation and love for her.  And he lived for his children, Luca and Kennedy.  One would just need to glance through his Facebook page to the pride and love for them that overflowed from him.  After he was diagnosed with the recurrence of the cancer, he put all his time into them. He attended most, if not all, of their athletic events, plays and recitals.  He and his family went on many vacations so that he could give them the greatest gift of all, the memories and knowledge that he loved them more than words could ever describe.

Besides his family, Jeff leaves behind many friends, some of whom he had known since high school.  The fact that he had so many friends is testament to the kind of man Jeff was.

Jeff, my brother, not only will I miss you and never forget you, but hundreds of others will as well.  Godspeed and may you rest in peace and strength, my friend.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Vos Finds Self In Hole, Keeps Digging

Image from Jimmy Anderson for Assembly

Wise people know that if you find yourself deep in a hole, they should stop digging. Wisconsin Republican Speaker of the Assembly is not a wise person at all. In fact, he's rather fricking stupid.

On Thursday, I reported that Vos was refusing to make a small accommodation for Democratic Representative Jimmy Anderson, who is paralyzed from the chest down. Anderson wanted to be able to appear telephonically for committee meetings for when he is unable to be there due to his health concerns or not having a personal care worker available to help him for very early or very late meetings.

That same day, Vos sent a very nasty letter to Anderson, accusing him of grandstanding:
"This is an unfortunate way to communicate," Vos wrote. "It calls into question your seriousness. Instead of resorting to political grandstanding, you could have called my personal cellphone at any time to discuss the matter."
But Vos wasn't done there.

Vos then went on to say that Anderson never told anyone about his need or his request for accommodation. Vos also insinuated that Anderson was a liar because in 2017, Anderson voted against having any sort of telecommunications for meetings.

In reality, in 2017, Anderson wasn't but a month into being in office and didn't know what his needs were going to be at that time. Anderson also pointed out that he had raised the issue in the early part of 2019 when the state assembly was again addressing the rules for that legislative body but that Vos ignored him.

I would also point out that when a person has a serious disability and health related complications, their needs can change, sometimes very rapidly.

But wait! There's more! There's always more.

Image from PRWatch
Vos dug that hole even deeper by offering Anderson a non-compromise. He said that they could videotape the meeting and then let Anderson vote by a paper ballot after the fact. But as Anderson points out, this would not allow him to offer input or ask questions, thereby not allowing him to properly represent the voters of his district.

Quite understandably, Anderson is even more upset and angry than he was before:
In an interview, Anderson said Vos' proposal fell short and he thought he would have to sue the state to get the accommodations he says he needs.

"This doesn't allow me to participate in the legislative process," Anderson said of Vos' proposal.

"It seems like Speaker Vos is going to take every opportunity to denigrate me and act as if I'm acting inappropriately when I'm simply asking for accommodations related to my disability. And so at this point I can't trust him to do the right thing and that's really frustrating. It really feels like we're moving toward having to file a lawsuit."
Just in case Vos hasn't quite proved himself to be the scum of the earth and a miserable excuse for a human being, there is one more thing that needs to be pointed out.

While Vos won't make one simple, common sense accommodation for a fellow lawmaker who has a disability, he had not problem whatsoever delaying actions and votes for Republican fundraisers and special interest funded junkets around country and the world:
Legislative Republicans are delaying the start of their state budget deliberations until at least May 9, according to the office of Republican Joint Committee on Finance co-chair Alberta Darling, as reported by the state news service WisPolitics. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher noted the delay gives top Republicans, including Senate and Assembly leaders Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos and the co-chairs of the powerful Joint Committee on Finance, the chance to shake down special interests at a fundraiser hosted for them at the offices of a Washington D.C. lobbying firm on May 1.

“It’s a pretty clear sign of the Republicans’ budget priorities when they’re delaying the start of their budget deliberation until after they’ve had a chance to shake down special interests for campaign cash,” said Eicher.

Wisconsin Republicans’ hosts at the Washington D.C. firm the BGR Group were reported to have made over $27 million in income in 2018 from lobbying on behalf of special interest clients including big pharmaceutical, tobacco, oil, energy and insurance companies.

Individual event attendees will need to donate at least $1,000 per person for the general reception. A special “host” reception is available for donors willing to pony up a minimum of $5,000, payable to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Ironically, the May 1 fundraising event is being held on the same day the Republican-controlled legislature began voting on the state budget in the Joint Committee on Finance in 2017.
It's obvious to anyone who is not a corrupt Republican or Republican apologist that Vos needs to profusely apologize to Anderson and the people of Wisconsin. Then he needs to step down from the speakership, since it is equally obvious he is not fit for the job.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Pettiness of Robin Vos Reaches New Lows

Jimmy Anderson is a Democratic Wisconsin State Representative from Fitchburg. Jimmy was paralyzed from the chest down when a drunk driver slammed into the car that Anderson was riding in. This tragedy also killed his parents and his brother.

Along with being paralyzed, Anderson also has a number of serious health problems. Appearing in committee meetings is not always easy for Anderson due to these health concerns and the difficulty in finding an available personal care worker, especially if the meetings start early or run late.

Due to these concerns, Anderson has respectfully requested to sometimes appear at these meetings via phone, pointing out that he otherwise would not be able to do his job to his best ability.

The Republican Speaker of the Assembly, Robin Vos, in a display of breathtaking pettiness and callousness has denied this simple request, despite strong federal laws mandating that accommodations are made for people with disabilities. Vos' reasoning for this cruelty is that he felt Anderson would be "disrespectful" if he did so:
Vos, of Rochester, noted lawmakers have accommodated his needs in other ways, such as by providing him with a computer that has voice recognition software. But Vos said he was unwilling to change the rule that requires representatives to show up at committee meetings in person.

"It just comes down to the fact that I think it’s disrespectful for someone to be asking questions over a microphone or a speakerphone when individuals are actually taking the time out of their day to come and testify in person," Vos said.
This is beyond absurd and outrageous. Even Wisconsin courts will allow people to appear telephonically for mitigating circumstances less serious than this.

Anderson is pissed, and rightfully so:
"I think it is absolutely ridiculous to say that an accommodation needed for a disability would somehow be disrespectful to people," Anderson said. "I think it's disrespectful to exclude a duly elected member of the Legislature to be able to fully participate when the need for an accommodation arises."


Anderson said he prefers to participate in meetings in person but can’t always do so. It’s difficult to find personal-care workers who can assist him if meetings start early or go late and it’s not healthy for him to be in his chair for extended periods, he said.

“There are some very personal and private things that are related to my health and disability that no other representative is expected to talk about with Vos,” he said. “It’s crazy that I would have to have discussions with Vos about those issues just to get simple accommodations.”
Anderson is currently looking into whether he can sue under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). He has also has the Dane County District Attorney to whether or not Vos' denial violates the state's open meetings laws. The DA has passed it on to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Vos, blinded by his pettiness, spite, and hunger for power, is willing to gamble even more of taxpayers money that he is somehow above the law.

And to think, Vos has aspirations to gain even more power by being governor some day. Good luck with that.