Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scorched Earth Politics by Far Right Wing responsible for We Are Wisconsin PAC building fire?

What a coincidence? Although the investigation so far has not been able to determine what caused the blaze, there’s nothing like losing a regional headquarters to throw up a major distraction in the recall elections.
HudsonPatch: Fire officials in La Crosse are continuing to investigate a Saturday blaze that destroyed the regional offices of We Are Wisconsin, a union political action committee (PAC) that has pumped millions of dollars into supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming recall elections. The La Crosse Tribune reports that the cause of the fire, which started at about 9:30 a.m., remains unknown.

We Are Wisconsin used the building to oversee its efforts in the 32nd Senate District recall election … Incumbent Republican state Sen. Dan Kapanke is being challenged by Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling in that district … the group has spent about $400,000 to get Shilling elected, the La Crosse Tribune reported.

The group is also active in the 8th Senate District recall race between incumbent Republican Alberta Darling and Democratic challenger Sandy Pasch. In that Milwaukee-area race, We Are Wisconsin has spent at least $570,000 on pro-Pasch ads.
Thank god a local business nearby offered the firefighters a little help:

The Firehouse: The local headquarters for We Are Wisconsin is a total loss, said group spokesman Kelly Steele. Staff was inside when the fire broke out and escaped safely, he said.

Over at Fifth and Jay, three waitresses from Hooters -- Ericka Dibelius, Ana Miller and Nicole Johnson -- were dropping off barbecued wings for any firefighter who might have time to eat.

"They're working hard, so this is to show our appreciation," Dibelius said.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pasch vs Darling Signage: Reveals Neighbors who are Willing to Throw the Middle Class to the Corporate Wolves.

Before the "No Guns" signs start dotting the neighborhoods, the more temporary signs of "Pasch" and "Darling" are dressing up the summer green. Here's a look at the madness and war between neighbors in this hotly contested recall race. Fox6:

Jsonline: The Darling-Pasch election is Aug. 9. More that $2 million has already been spent on TV advertising in the 8th District, which includes Milwaukee County's North Shore suburbs, a little bit of the city of Milwaukee and parts of Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties. Each candidate has collected more money than any other member of her party involved in a recall, with Darling's nearly $1 million more than double the sum Pasch has raised.

Even more significant, Darling, as the co-chair of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, is the one Republican senator up for election now who's most responsible for the budget approved last month by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Her defeat could be seen as a repudiation of the budget; her victory could be read as a justification.

The Tea Party Ideologue: Rep. Joe Walsh, Dead Beat Dad

Can I pick them or what? I'm talking about Rep. Joe Walsh.

To me, he was the most articulate tea party representative of them all, with a perfectly logical down-the-rabbit-hole answer for everything. Who knew his reckless cockiness wasn't all just political bluster, but a characteristic that made him into such an unforgiving deadbeat dad.

He apparently wanted to save his kids from America's debt so they could deal with the debt he left them, in the form of owed child support payments. I put together my tribute to this loser, and typical tea party draconian, from a number of MSNBC sources:

The Simple, Bottom Line Answer as to why a Balanced Budget Amendment is a Bad Idea.

Like TABOR, the balanced budget amendment is a really dumb idea. California's economy has crashed and burned under 2/3rds majority rule. But beside previous blogs on the subject, where I dug deeper into why such an amendment would collapse the country, the following simple reason is irrefutable.

It changes our country from a majority rules system to a minority rules government.  California Rep. John Garamendi:

The 14th Amendment Question, Answered!!

I found this to be one of the most balanced interpretations of the 14th Amendments yet, by UCLA Law Prof. Jonathan Zasloff. Lawrence O'Donnell reports:

The Tea Party Blackmailers: How to Kill the U.S. Economy.

Both sides? Really? That's the news media focus now, where even the voice of reason's Eugene Robinson is spouting this insanity every chance he gets. Yet the facts are clear: it's the far right tea party members of the House and Senate. Proof?

Michael Smerconish found out there's no reasoning with the sick tea party mindlessness of their agenda. Highlight: Smerconish poses that he, like many families, typically holds down lots of debt (mortgages, credit cards and car loan) so why can't the government.
Rep. Jeff Landry: "Well if you use that logic, then you would say you got to that point, and you just refused to balance your budget, I guess you go into bankruptcy."

Yeah, but that's not what Smerconish said. According to Landry, everyone with a mortgage, car loan and credit card debt are flirting with bankruptcy, but only if they refuse to balance their budgets. Who does that, except for tea party Rep. Joe Walsh...god my head is hurting now.

Here, MSNBC's Kristal Ball explains to Dylan Ratigan how a small tea party minority are holding things up. Again, both sides aren't doing it.


This is Sen. John McCain's great Hobbit speech, again, nailing the tea party wackos causing this crisis:

And finally, the kicker: Luke Russert offers up what fellow Republicans are saying about these tea party kamikaze's:

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Energy Tower; it just runs and could power 200,000 homes.

I didn't know about this incredible energy source....
“The project has been started by an Australian company called EnviroMission, which says it hopes, by the time it is finished construction in early 2015, to provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of 200,000 homes. It would burn no fuel. Nothing quite like it has ever been tried in America before.”
Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

The tower works by combining solar power and wind turbines. The company’s director tellsGizmag the solar tower relies on one main principle -- hot air rises.

“Around the base of the tower, at about 80 meters out from the tower base itself, are situated 32 massive turbines. The sun beats down on the roof, warms the air, the air runs toward the center, through the turbines, and up and out of the tower. … Once this plant is built, it just runs. It costs nothing to run...”

Oh, sweet Karma!!! Big Business doing End Run to Congress, to avoid paying state taxes that add to local revenues!!

Uncertainty...over taxed...discouraging the job creators...blah, blah, blah. Those same bizarre arguments are now being made to Congressional Republicans against state taxes paid by corporations.

After corporations conquered the states with their ideologically pliant Republican governors and legislatures, those same interests are pushing tax cuts on a federal level, undercutting state revenues and their bottom lines.
Sweet justice! This is an amazing story. Need proof the corporate takeover of America is aided by the Great Recession and “disaster capitalism.” Take a look at the line forming in front of the door of at your nearest corporate welfare office.

Governing: Bills that would restrict the way state and local governments tax businesses now have more momentum than they've enjoyed in the past … State and local leaders say that could compound their fiscal straits … Washington policies that tie their hands could jeopardize that balance.

Cellular providers are pushing for a law that could prevent state and local governments from increasing taxes on their service for five years … Another bill would force localities to stop taxing rental cars at a rate higher than any other type of rental product … Satellite television providers argue that they’re being unfairly taxed at the same rate as cable providers, backing bipartisan legislation to reduce their state and local tax burden. 

Small businesses, take note of this slimy secret fact:

State leaders tell Governing that since they’ve already made deep cuts … Most likely to take the hit would be small, in-state businesses that lack the resources to fight for special tax status.
Wow, Republicans sure love those small businesses.

The strategy represents a departure from another industry tactic: pushing business-friendly legislation through state legislatures. Now, with states trying desperately to protect their revenue streams, industry associations are making an end-run to Congress, which wouldn’t have to deal with the fallout of the tax restrictions and is happy to enjoy the political benefit of lowering taxes.

State leaders say that Republican legislators -- who typically portray themselves as the protectors of state sovereignty -- are ironically undermining the states by intruding into their authority.

The Republican talking points are now being used against…Republicans!!!
An aid with the House Judiciary Committee says the bills … are designed to prevent a state from “discriminatorily taxing employees and businesses that have little connection to the state.” 

Again, I’m am really enjoying this in an unhealthy way. Here are more familiar conservative talking points, now being used against state Republicans.

Backers of the bills also argue that businesses are reluctant to expand and invest because of the uncertainly of their future tax burdens. Simplifying those tax systems, they argue, would help those businesses gain the confidence to expand and create jobs. 
The biggest threat to states and localities is the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act … The bill prevents a state from imposing various taxes on a business that lacks a physical presence within its borders. But states vehemently oppose the proposal. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that a 2006 version of the bill would cost states and localities $3 billion annually, since businesses would intentionally restructure their operations to avoid taxation (state collected about $642 billion in general fund revenue in FY 2011).

Finally, here’s an example:

Under BATSA, many activities corporations already conduct would no longer be taxable, according to the influential Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. For example, an out-of-state restaurant franchisor like Pizza Hut wouldn't be taxable in a state, regardless of how many franchisees it had, nor would an out-of-state bank, even if it hired independent contractors to process loans. Opponents argue that the bill provides a roadmap to companies seeking to avoid paying state business activity taxes altogether and would be a net-loss to the states. 

Sen. Alberta Darling's office site of Medicare and Medicaid Funeral Procession.

Like a scene out of a David Lynch movie, Citizen Action of Wisconsin put together this funeral for Medicare and Medicaid outside Sen. Albert Darlings office:
In observance of the 46th Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare this week, supporters staged a funeral procession, complete with a hearse and coffins, at State Senator Alberta Darlings office in Glendale, Wisconsin.  Medicaid and Medicare as we have known them for five decades are now deeply threatened by Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which Senator Darling supports.  The national debt limit crisis has intensified the threat to these vital and widely popular public commitments.  In addition, as Co-Chair of the Legislature’s budget writing committee, Alberta Darling pushed through Scott Walker’s state budget which slashed $500 million from Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs,including BadgerCare and Family Care.

Shelly Moore Kicks Harsdorf's Ass in second Face Off.

HudsonPatch: “Moore and Harsdorf Face Off in Chamber Debate at UWRF Student Center.”

I’ve pulled out a few great moments from the debate to show how Shelly Moore completely dominated the debate with her heart and mind, in contrast to Sheila Harsdorf’s ideologically drenched talking point agenda and personal attacks.

This first clip shows Moore describing how one of her students inadvertently convinced her to challenge Harsdorf. Moore’s very emotional story is followed by a brutally cold attack by Horsdorf over the completely false allegation that Moore used her public email account to campaign-before she was a candidate. (Harsdorf is referring to Moore’s mails in early March and April 2, long before Moore even thought of running. Moore announced her candidacy in early May.)  I’ve included the details below. You'll notice the audience reacting to Harsdorf's attack, with one person calling out "shame on you.": 

By the way, what's with all the writing by Harsdorf? And this back hand to Moore's union support:

Harsdorf said her opponent is very active in the union, at both the state and national level. “When the protests started in Madison, Shelly Moore was a featured speaker,” Harsdorf said. “My backers are not misrepresenting Shelly Moore when she said ‘we breathe union,’ or that ‘this is war.’”

This is a loony tunes moment from Harsdorf as she touts her incredible ability to compromise...but not this time....

One of the great moments, where Harsdorf stumbles all over herself trying to avoid admitting how Wisconsin relies more on income and property taxes then corporate taxes. Moore kills on this one:

Here Moore exposes the one billion dollar tax increase in the state, while Harsdorf again stumbles all over herself defending...LOOPHOLES? Since when are "loopholes" defensible? 

On Moore's use of her schools email to "campaign." 
jsonline: State Republican Party leaders are asking election officials to investigate whether Democratic candidate Shelly Moore intentionally used her public school email account to organize and work on her recall campaign. But a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party today dismissed any suggestion that Moore was using state resources to campaign.

Gillian Morris, press secretary for the Democratic Party's recall drive, said Moore didn't declare as a candidate until early May, some time after the emails in dispute. "Shelly was absolutely not using taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes - no campaign even existed when these emails were sent," Morris said.

Tea Party Express Adds Chaos, Lunacy to Recall Elections.

The hard core far right wing extremist Tea Party Express is headed to a recall town near you. Will we show them a fine Wisconsin welcome...?

According to the Express, those poor picked on Senators should not be blamed for pushing through in 5 months, Walker's austerity agenda. You know, that union busting plan of attack both the senate and assembly passed on a straight, and very supportive, party line vote. They're innocent I tell you!!!

HudsonPatch: Levi Russell, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express, told Patch that his organization thought it was important to support the GOP senators.

"We’re headed to the state to rally and help get out the vote in support of the state senators who we feel have been unfairly targeted by the left as a means to punish Gov. (Scott) Walker," Russell said in an e-mail.
As the famous Jon Lovitz "Liar" character used to say, "Yea, that's the ticket."

The Tea Party Express will be rolling through Wisconsin starting next week to support the six Republican state senators targeted in the upcoming recall elections ... The group will hold rallies

Noon – 1:30pm : Rally in Hudson, WI
5:30pm – 7:00pm : Rally in La Crosse, WI

2:30pm – 4:00pm : Rally in Kenosha, WI
5:30pm – 7:00pm : Rally in Milwaukee, WI

11:00am – 12:30pm : Rally in Fond du Lac, WI
2:30pm – 4:00pm : Rally in New London, WI
6:00pm – 7:30pm : Rally in Merrill, WI

Noon – 1:30pm : Rally in Rhinelander, WI
5:00pm – 6:30pm : Rally in Allouez, WI

Since the Packers are City and County Owned, Guns Might not be Banned in Stadium!!

This amazing consequence of the new gun law threatens a families safe and secure Packers game outing and tailgate. 
Cap Times: Green Bay police are wondering if there's anything they can do to keep guns out of the already heady mix of high emotions and alcohol that hold sway at Packers games.

The National Football League forbids guns in any pro football stadiums, but attorneys are busy dissecting the law to see if it preempts the NFL rule. The issue is that the NFL doesn't own Lambeau Field, the city of Green Bay and the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District do.

That's not the case in Ohio, where despite a law passed this year allowing concealed weapons in stadiums the Cincinnati Bengals plan to ban them.

Here's a take on the controversy by Yahoo sports writer Joshua Huffman.

And here's a story by the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dumb as a Board Ron Johnson introduces Moratorium on all Regulation until Jobs come Back. What is Wrong with this guy?

As time marches on, and new products and services are developed and introduced all the time, it would only make sense to protect the public with oversight and regulation as needed. Naw!

When times are tough, how much worse can it be buying unsafe food, kids toys or a new get rich quick investment vehicle? Such Is the logic of the dumbest guy in the U.S. Senate, Ayn Rand character actor Ron Johnson.

Press release: Today Senator Ron Johnson (WI) introduced S. 1438, the Regulation Moratorium and Job Preservation Act. The bill calls for a moratorium on burdensome federal regulations until the national unemployment rate falls to 7.7 percent – below where it was when President Obama was sworn into office.

“With unemployment at 9.2 percent, and employers nationwide fearful about the Obama agenda, regulators should take a pause.

It was thinking like this that crashed the economy.

Oh, but wait, size matters too. Johnson is one of those “It’s too long, has too many pages, too many rules” Republicans. The books are too big, too heavy, could be stacked to the moon…you get the idea. Ron is fed up with size. “The Code of Federal Regulations, 55% longer than it was only 30 years ago, apparently isn't long enough, so the Federal Register last year included 24,914 pages of new rules. Federal regulators issued 3,573 new rules in 2010 … each year the government averages 84 "economically-significant" new regulations.

See, if we just had a moratorium on regulation, regardless of the health effects on people or the environment, we can achieve what Naomi Klein describes as “disaster capitalism.” How certain is that?

Regulators intend to act in the public interest. But the first part of the public interest is a robust economy. Most Americans have a simpler way of saying "robust economy." They call it, "having a job."
And isn’t that all that matters, especially when everything is gone or taken away from you?

Really, how dumb can one “married into wealth” tea partier like Ron Johnson be? I shudder to think. 

With No Proof and only one Anonymous Source, Sen. Olsen only has to Deny Babysitter Baby Story.

Don't jump to any conclusions yet, but be aware.

This interesting bit of a shocker about Sen. Luther Olsen is starting to percolate, so if this story is true, Olsen may be in for a deserved rough recall ride. But again, there is no indication that the following story is anything but a rumor. Here’s a quick look:

Politiscoop: On its face, we were skeptical of the information we received saying that Senator Luther Olsen had impregnated a teenage babysitter. Immediately we attempted to contact some people in Berlin Wisconsin that knew Olsen in order to get more information on the this situation, since Olsen seems to dodge the press other then in debates. As we made these contacts we received responses such as "Oh you are talking about the babysitter thing". When that second flag went up, we knew we had to make some more phone calls to see who might know about the babysitter "thing". The next response we got was "Oh you mean the babysitter baby?” I must say when those words were uttered I was flabbergasted and appalled.

We were then directed to someone who knew a bit more about the situation. Politiscoop was told that at some point in time, Senator Olsen, had intercourse and impregnated his teenage babysitter and that the father was apparently paid off in order to keep it quiet, Politiscoop is more than willing to give Senator Olsen and opportunity to respond to this story and willing to post that response to this story. I hope he is willing to answer the following questions.

I don’t like running with something like this without more proof, so we’ll have to wait and see how Olsen, and his campaign reacts to what is for now hearsay. See more of the story at Politiscoop.

Protesters Welcome Walker Appearance at Opportunities Inc., in Fort Atkinson.

Protesters again turned out to greet our popular, and infamous Governor Scott Walker. He decided to encourage the expansion of a company that provides, what has been described, as sweat shop labor. This is a tough story to cover, because Opportunities Inc. is providing training and jobs to those normally not treated well or hired by employers. But the rules and treatment of the individuals seeking help is another thing. Maybe with a little pressure from the protesting public, a few rules and benefits might change:

Cap Times- Mike Ivey: Gov. Scott Walker (spoke) at the 45th anniversary of a fast-growing Wisconsin company with a long history of helping the disabled … Fort Atkinson-based Opportunities Inc. … a whistleblower's claims the company runs an "American version of a Chinese sweatshop" where workers make $7.50 an hour with no benefits, no vacation and little hope of a raise … Robert Heussner, a three-year employee, says he's disappointed the firm has "embraced the type of work environment that Gov. Walker is bringing to Wisconsin."
Citizen Action revealed this jaw dropping information:

WKOW 27 News:

Surreal Walker Red Balloon Attacker Arrested!

The Red balloon attacker has been arrested!! Oh, I just said that....not much else to add.

WSJ: Police have arrested a state worker who allegedly popped a protester's balloon at the state Capitol.

The state Department of Administration, which runs the Capitol and oversees the Capitol Police, issued a statement saying the worker was arrested on suspicion of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon on Thursday.

DOA has placed the worker on paid leave until the agency concludes an internal investigation.

Bruce Bartlett: "Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards...afraid of the tea party people."

Former Reagan policy advisor and Bush I deputy assistant Treasury secretary Bruce Bartlett was rather specific about the mindless zombie mob known as the tea party.

Bartlett: "The Republicans keep saying that the tax cuts are the key to prosperity. Well the 2000's is evidence that that's not true." 

Bartlett: "I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards, who are desperately afraid of the tea party people, and rightly so."

I don't know, but it's kinda hard to tell what Bartlett was really thinking. And to think, he's a conservative...oh, I'm sorry, a RHINO.

Bartlett: "And don't forget that Ronald Reagan raised the capital gains tax rate to 28 percent in 1986."

Matthews: "I feel like sanity just walked in the door here."

Motley Cow also chimed in on this wonderful, and powerful statement by Bartlett.

Two thirds of the economy is driven by Consumers!! The Middle Class are the Job Creators.

I've been saying all along that consumers are the job creators, here, and here. The ridiculous talking point that million/billionaires are job creators, our supposed "royalty elite ," bestowing employment on a cowering American public begging for a paycheck, is completely wrong.

This is from the Ed Schultz' radio show, heard locally on 92.1 the Mic, of Dennis from Kansas City:

Damn, It's Time for Us to Sell our Expensive Auto's and Country Club Memberships.

Rep. Paul Broun can read us like a book. How else can you explain these insightful suggestions on ways we all can make ends meet, and finally live within our means.

Republicans/Tea Party to Up Chaos Ante: Will Cause Chaos and Impeach Obama over Non-Payment of Defaulted Loans.

As demonstrated by the audio comment below, House Speaker John Boehner exposed, unintentionally to Laura Ingraham, the tea party plan to create political and economic chaos, just to fulfill their ideological ends against the majority will of the people.

I love the line from Laura Ingraham, "overriding public sentiment." Just a bit authoritarian, ya think? There’s no better way to rev up the base than to talk about impeaching Obama.
NewsMax: Rep. Steve King said President Barack Obama would be impeached if the United States falls into default on its debt.

Writing on Twitter, the Iowa Republican declared: “Obama would be impeached if he blocked debt payments. C C & B!” King was referring to the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan.

Rep. Tim Scott said he would seek to impeach Obama if he bypasses Congress and raises the debt limit by citing the 14th Amendment, which states that “the validity of the U.S. public debt shall not be questioned.”“The president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us,” Scott told a gathering earlier this month. “My position is that is an impeachable act from my perspective.”

Indianapolis Gun Shop Robbed

Police last week seized 485 guns and $107,000 in cash from Williams' home.

Investigators also found gun accessories in two storage units Williams used. Prosecutors say he had $200,000 stashed in several bank accounts.

Hilton estimated that Williams took more than $300,000 in guns and gun accessories and $1 million or more in cash.
Should the owner of the gun store be responsible for any of that? Yes, indeed.

How else can we expect gun shop owners to be properly careful about whom they hire? Some of them obviously are not sufficiently motivated by the potential losses, they need to be constrained by law to be more diligent.

It's the same with the home owner who leaves unsecured weapons around the house and then shrugs his shoulders when they're stolen, saying "It wasn't my fault."

(cross posted at Mikeb302000)

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thom Hartmann's interview with Madtowngirl2, Nicole, who posted the DMV voter ID video!!

Madtowngirl2, Nicole, who posted the now famous DMV video, speaks out.

I caught most of the audio interview with her from Thom Hartmann's radio program today on 92.1 the Mic.

Recall Walker Signs in Wauwatosa determined to be Legal.

"Liberal losers?"

That's what one anonymous post card mailer wrote to a Walker recall proponent who has proudly posted her signs all over her lawn. Citizen protesters in Scott Walker's community want to send a strong message to the governor, and spread the word.

As of now, the city is allowing the signs to be posted, since they're not governed by the cities election sign ordinance yet and the recall is still only wishful thinking.

Sen. Luther Olsen; "What is right, isn't always popular, but what is popular isn't always right." Thanks for doing what was not popular??!!

The Rep. Fred Clark, Sen. Luther Olsen debate said a lot about the governing style of each of the respective parties. For Olsen, the domineering father figure works for him, doling out disciplinary cuts that aren't popular, but they're "the right decision."

Sen. Luther Olsen: "We are here because we made the tough decisions. But they were the right decisions ... What is right, isn't always popular, but what is popular isn't always right. And I believe we stood up and made the right decision. And I would do it again." 

As for Fred Clark, moderation was the message.

Clark: "Quite honestly Sen. Olsen, you were among the senators who many hoped would be that moderate compromising influence, that could have found a path forward out of a historic conflict."

Renting the American Dream

I found this curious graph showing the rental vacancy rates over the past few of years, that comes at time of higher unemployment and foreclosures. You'll notice vacancies are dramatically down.

Is this a harbinger of the "new" American dream; your own apartment?

We’re Destroying Public Schools for “no clear academic benefit for voucher users!!!”

It appears that instead of improving the quality of public schools, we’re determined to complicate education with the creation of parallel school systems that need just as much oversight, with no actual benefit.
jsonline: A review of major studies on school voucher programs concludes that vouchers have not strongly affected student achievement and that the rhetoric used to support vouchers has shifted over the past 10 years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center for Education Progress.

"The major finding across all the studies was that there was no clear academic benefit for voucher users," said Alexandra Usher, a research assistant for the nonprofit and independent center in Washington, D.C. The national review examines 27 major studies on voucher programs since 2000 from a variety of cities, including Milwaukee. Usher said a finding supported by fewer studies was that the high school graduation rates were higher for voucher users. In Milwaukee, she said, that rate lost some significance when controlled for family background, such as two-parent households.

But the party of “creative destruction,” personified by the Walker administration, is plowing ahead anyway.

Its release comes amid a major expansion of Milwaukee's voucher program to more families and schools in more geographic areas in Wisconsin, and movement on vouchers in other states.

The argument for the expansion of the voucher program has shifted, including the idea it’s cheaper than public schools, parents know better and …

Usher said another finding was the change in rhetoric … vouchers were promoted as a way to give disadvantaged children in failing public school systems a chance at a better education … "Now it's been more of a shift to choice for choice's sake," or because parents reported that they were satisfied, she said.

Parents were satisfied, yes (despite no grade improvement), but I recall also that the kids surveyed weren’t happy at all with their voucher school. Oh, and one more thing to keep in mind as the public and choice groups become bigger players in forming public opinion.  

The Center for Education Progress' review also notes that more of the newer voucher research has been conducted by entities with a pro-voucher position.

Walker Denies Tying Wisconsin Job Numbers to National Job Number! "Though, it is an interesting parallel."

Oops, did we say that?

It looks like another case of Scott Walker getting as much mileage out of a complete lie, and then denying he and his fellow Republicans ever meant to deceive anyone. For example:

Wausau Daily Herald: On Tuesday, Walker said it was never his intention to draw a direct line between the Wisconsin total and the national total.

"We made it very clear at our announcement that (our number) was not half of all the jobs out there, though it is an interesting parallel," he said.

Huh? Gee, what an "interesting (but completely unintentional) parallel," eh Scott Walker? While adding jobs is great news, the fact that many can be attributed to the efforts of the previous administration and some are low wage seasonal employees, that still doesn't take away from the message reported in every daily newspaper and praised by every conservative talk show host in the state:

Cap Times: Gov. Scott Walker in touting the new numbers said, "To have 9,500 net new jobs in the state at a time when the country saw just 18,000 net new jobs all across the country is incredibly good news."

Assembly Majority Leader Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, also weighed in, saying "Accounting for more than half of the nationwide gain in June employment is a remarkable feat." 
Hey, I wonder how anybody got the wrong idea about the job numbers?

UPDATE: Politifact listed these additional "mentions."

The state Republican Party issued a news release with this statement: "Today, we learned that over 50 percent of U.S. job growth in June came from our state."

Three days later, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said: "The labor (department) report that came out last week had 18,000 jobs created in the country. But half of them were in Wisconsin, so we must be doing something right."

Variations of the statement were made by others, including the conservative MacIver InstituteSen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), and state Reps. Michelle Litjens (R-Vinland), Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) and Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan).

Walker’s Wisconsin; Celebrates company expansion of dead end, low pay, no benefits temp work. Hey, you gotta start somewhere!

There’s a reason why some international companies are starting to manufacture in the U.S. again; work is cheap. 

While China’s middle class is demanding and getting higher wages, the Chinese government is requiring fuel efficient cars, high speed rail, developing and manufacturing emerging wind and solar energy, while providing health care for every citizen; the U.S. is headed in the opposite direction on all counts. It’s the austerity tea party agenda.

You don’t have to look any further than south central Wisconsin for an example of our growing low wage work force:

Cap Times-Mike Ivey: On Thursday, Gov. Scott Walker is scheduled to speak at the 45th anniversary of a fast-growing Wisconsin company with a long history of helping the disabled … Fort Atkinson-based Opportunities Inc. … a whistleblower's claims the company runs an "American version of a Chinese sweatshop" where workers make $7.50 an hour with no benefits, no vacation and little hope of a raise … Robert Heussner, a three-year employee, says he's disappointed the firm has "embraced the type of work environment that Gov. Walker is bringing to Wisconsin."

Opportunities Inc. was founded in 1966 to provide job training for developmentally disabled individuals. It has expanded that vision to include people with "other life barriers" according to spokeswoman Robin Kennedy … she says the company employs those with a history of poverty, alcohol/drug problems or other issues.

But Heussner maintains that most workers aren't disabled: just poor, uneducated and desperate for work. He recounts packing cat food in a 90-degree building with little air circulation. "We have people coming from Janesville and Beloit each day for these minimum-wage jobs," he writes. "I don't know how they do it. On several occasions, when work was slower, I've seen people drive that far to come to work, only to be sent home."

Heussner's letter was quickly pounced on by Walker critics, who say companies like Opportunities Inc. represent the governor's economic vision for the state …  Heussner also alleges that while Walker and top company officials participate in the event, other workers will be getting the day off -- without pay. "I've been so torn up about writing this," he writes. "In good conscience, though, I couldn't ‘not' do this. I just want all the smiling people behind the ribbon in the picture in the paper to know that there are many people looking back at you ... with no smiles."
By Walker decree, Thursday will be deemed Opportunities Inc. Day across the land. He'll give the proclamation at Opportunities Inc. in Ft. Atkinson. While on the surface, Opportunities Inc. seems like a good company that helps the disable enter the workforce, there is a very dark side. AFSCME's Ed Sadlowski Jr. joins me to give some troubling news about Opportunity Inc.'s temporary workforce. We need Walker Stalkers at Opportunities Inc. this Thursday to protest the Governor. 
Opportunities Inc.
200 E Cramer St, Fort Atkinson, WI

The DMV Voter ID Scam Nothing New for Republicans.

The Walker administration has gamed our system again, by pulling an old Republican trick that worked wonders against veterans, and will no do well scamming those seeking voter ID cards.

The Bush administration advised the Veterans Administration to stop telling returning soldiers about all the benefits they were promised as a way to save money. My father, a WW2 vet, called me one day to complain about his own experience with the VA and the benefits he never knew he had. He wasn't about to use any of the freebies, that's just the way he is, but felt cheated never-the-less.

The same ploy is being used for voter ID. There are no posters, signs or counter top notices promoting free ID's for voting.  Just ask? Instead, the state stands to make a profit and put in place a de facto poll tax for those who haven't thought through every possible angle of the new voter ID requirement. The state wouldn't do that, right?

Below is the consumer video making the rounds showing just how out of touch the DMV employees are with the new rules, and how big government Republicans can use their power to lawfully cheat people.

The sudden need to close 10 DMV's; Voter Suppression?

It's official, the sh** is hitting the national media fan. What started as a head scratcher is now a full blown conspiracy to suppress voters in Wisconsin. What prompted the sudden plan to close 10 DMV's? And what about those longer DMV hours in majority Republican districts? What made Republicans think a 20 hour work week served the greater interest of state voters and drivers? Weren't lines long enough at the motor vehicle department?

Here's MSNBC and 92.1 the Mic's Ed Schultz, with State Sen. Lena Taylor and NAACP's Ben Jealous:

And here's Melissa Harris-Perry getting Mordecai Lee's perspective on the closings and the impact on voting:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sensenbrenner Town Hall Met with Protests, from Both Sides.

My conservative friend gave me a call the other day and said he was part of the loud angry crowd in the story below, at a recent town hall meeting in Whitefish Bay. Here’s what happened, TMJ4 and the Patch report:

The Patch:

Voters in Southeastern Wisconsin have expressed anxiousness about the debt crisis … That spilled over into a town hall meeting with Menomonee Falls Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner in Whitefish Bay.

Inside the packed hall, people were worried about proposed changes to Medicare …"How about the Club for Growth that's not from Wisconsin?" … "How about the AFL-CIO?" … "You're not answering the question." … "What about the AFL-CIO?"

That was part of the give and take between people before Sensenbrenner walked into the meeting. Some suggested tax increases - instead of tax cuts - were needed to reduce the deficit, but Sensenbrenner fired back.

"I'll disagree with you," said Sensenbrenner. "The labor report that came out last week had an anemic 18,000 created in this country, but half of them came here in Wisconsin.  Something we are doing here must be working." Cheers came from supporters after that statement.

Cheers over a complete lie. Willing conservatives obviously never heard about the jobs fallacy or about the manipulation of numbers on their source for news, talk radio. Weren’t they just a little curious over such an odd claim? Here's even more from Patch reporter Aj Randall:

Guns; God given right?

Lawful gun owners are great people who would never think of shooting anyone. Even bad guys need  a gun or two. God wills it:

States united: An Ellettsville, Indiana gun shop has been shut down and the owner, Donald Mullendore, charged with selling firearms to a convicted felon and unlawfully selling a machine gun. Mullendore also failed to do background checks and paperwork.

 "I destroyed all my paper and I just don't care," he said. "I'm going to give people the guns they need. This is God's shop and what God wants to do with it is going to happen." He also added, "God always gives us the guns to sell and people who need them." 

Ours is the greatest health care system in the world? Car Washes, Bake Sales and Basketball Game fund Raisers.

The recent passing of a 12 year old boy from aggressive central nervous system tumors is a horrific and tragic story. As a father of a 12 year old boy, who just recently had a bout with pneumonia and a fractured arm (thank you Badgercare), there is nothing worse than seeing your own child suffer. So I’m writing this not for any hyperbolic reason, but to make a point about “the greatest healthcare system in the world.” This was a line in the story…
A basketball tournament fundraiser to help ***** family with medical expenses has been planned for Aug. 7.

This is our health care system, where each bill is a heartbreaking reminder of our personal loss? I hope someday we will never have to read about another fundraiser again.  

Repealing the Successful Early Release Program will Cost Wisconsin Taxpayers Money, Thanks to Scaredy-cat Republicans.

Awhile back I remember reading how successful the early release program was, repealed by our fear mongering Walker administration, and how so few "criminals" were reoffenders. Low and behold, someone else beat me to the punch by doing the needed homework. 

Cap Times-PAUL FANLUND: Former Gov. Jim Doyle and his fellow soft-hearted, liberal Democrats had passed a law that let dangerous criminals out of prison early to threaten and terrorize us. So the GOP, the self-proclaimed party of common sense and decade-long champion of so-called "truth-in-sentencing" laws, stepped in to make it right.

Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, a sponsor who was on hand for the Eau Claire event: "Early release has allowed hundreds of high-risk inmates to get out of jail before serving their time, and Wisconsin will undoubtedly be a safer place to live, work and raise a family now that dangerous criminals will be kept behind bars where they belong. Hundreds of dangerous criminals have been given a ‘get out of jail free card' -- including repeat drunk drivers, drug dealers and even a convicted murderer."

The event seemed to succeed, judging by statewide media coverage that largely left the GOP version of things unchallenged. The entire GOP framing, as with so many things in recent months, is somewhere on the continuum between a gross distortion and, well, an outright lie … the facts directly contradict the breathless GOP condemnation of the earned-release program.

Numbers from the Department of Corrections … 608 prisoners released early under the program … About two-thirds were already in minimum-security, often on work release …. Exactly four individuals who were released under the program eventually were sentenced to prison for new crimes. That's right. Four.

Their crimes? Two were for driving while intoxicated, one on a drug possession and one for theft. Yeah, about that murderer … it appears a woman who had been convicted of second-degree reckless homicide was released 16 months ago for medical reasons … (a) process for elderly and terminally ill prisoners already existed in Wisconsin.

Rick Raemisch, who was secretary of the Department of Corrections says the program resulted in a reduction of 65,948 "bed days," or more than 180 years worth. The strategies were adopted (from) Texas, says Raemisch, and Doyle actually dialed back some aspects of the release strategy he found overly ambitious.

 Raemisch says "We should go to the Capitol and turn Miss Forward around."  

G.E. Healthcare's 115 year old X-Ray Business Headquarters Moves to China, where the business climate is better than in Fitzwalkerstan.

As I've told friends and conservative debaters alike, if the wealthy think moving to a leaner low wage workforce isn't going to effect them personally, like in the pocketbook, they're not to smart. 
No one wants to see jobs offshored to China, but if it had to happen someplace, let it be Waukesha. 
Patch: GE Healthcare’s x-ray headquarters is moving from its Waukesha office to the other side of the world. The top executives will be located in China, according to various news reports on the transition.

Bloomberg is reporting that there will not be any job cuts as several executives or “top managers” will be relocated to Asia. Business Insider further clarifies that there are no expected job losses in Waukesha. is reporting that GE Healthcare is investing $2 billion in business growth in China. 
According to Bloomberg News:

 (It's part of) a broader parent-company plan to invest about $2 billion across China, including opening six “customer innovation” and development centers.

Tea Party Exposed as Authoritarian "my way or the highway" Lunatic Fringe.

Say what you will about Chris Matthews, but when he's taking on the new crop of tea party Republicans, he exposes them for the extremist we all knew they were. The only group that didn't get that message was the media, who gave them credibility and prominence in the political tragedy playing out before our eyes.

Matthews exposes Rep. Mike Lee for trying to have it both ways, as usual. Lee speed talks contradictions left and right, but doesn't get away with anything. Lee claimed the House plan was bipartisan (wrong), and that he was willing to compromise (but not really). Lee actually believes we're on our way to insolvency if we don't blow the government up first. It's sad when these suckers start believing their own lies.

Rep. Mo Brooks is next, who is a big supporter of a balanced budget debacle. Such an amendment would lock in personal and corporate tax cuts. The biggest myth award goes to the idea that wealthy people are the "job creators." An absolute lie. Talk to any small business owner trying to get off the ground. Mo gets shredded by Al Sharpton:

New GOP Budget: "Could Produce the Greatest Increase in Poverty and any law in U.S. history."

Why hasn't anyone else mentioned this amazing analysis of the new House Republican plan to raise the debt ceiling?

In the video below, you'd have to ask what Rep. Eric Cantor is smiling, or smirking, about when he describes the current Republican scheme. If he isn't a sociopath, I don't know what is. Here's the rest of the story from Lawrence O'Donnell:

The Red Balloon Story, Part 2, by Leslie Peterson.

Here's a story I didn't think much of at first, but has since blown completely up in the face of the Walker administration. So we saw "union thuggery" during the winter protests at the Capitol? Pure projection from the conservative critics, that think winning elections give them a free pass to do anything they want, like push people around with a small knife.  

Here's a slightly shortened version of WTDY's Sly in the Morning's interview of Leslie Peterson, the woman accosted by a Walker thug at the Capitol for carrying a red balloon.

The Progressive: Outside the doors of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Leslie Peterson was reaching down into her shopping bag to remove a heart-shaped balloon so that her friend could take a photo of her with it. As soon as she pulled it out, someone came up behind her and repeatedly stabbed the balloon with a blade. “I’m sick of fishing these off the ceiling,” said the man with the round glasses and handlebar moustache as he walked away.

Shaken up by the sneak attack on her property, Leslie asked the man for hisname and identification. He did not respond to her so she asked him again, saying that she was going to file an incident report with the Capitol Police. At that point, he allegedly grabbed her and slammed her up against the door of a women’s bathroom. “I saw blood all over him and me. I didn’t know if he still had the knife, or whether or not I had been stabbed,” said Leslie.

WSJ: Protesters began bringing red heart balloons to the Capitol early this year, and one from February had hovered atop the dome for months. The heart balloon became a symbol of sorts, complete with its own "Capitol Balloon" Facebook page and "The Heart Balloon" Twitter account.

That balloon vanished from the dome in late June, but protesters have been releasing others in its absence. More than a dozen balloons were released in the rotunda Friday, but all of those had been removed by Monday morning. Dozens more were released after the incident and were hanging in bunches Monday night at the top of the dome.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It did seem odd that the Walker administration wanted to close and move a few DMV's around, didn't it...Voter ID?

It looks like Gov. Scott Walker is getting national notice again, this time pairing voter ID with DMV closings. Some things are just to obvious. MSNBC's Al Sharpton;

Redistricting is here! Walker needs to go in November 2012.

Silently and behind the scenes....It looks like Walker approved a bill to allow the state to redistrict before local redistricting, plowing the way for the new maps:

Today Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 150 into law as Act 39, which modifies the order of redistricting among units of government.

jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Monday that will allow the Legislature to create new maps of legislative and congressional districts before those of common councils and county boards, but he did not signal whether he would approve the legislative and congressional maps.

Wisconsin Radio Network: The issue is ultimately expected to be decided in the courts, just as in the last three decades. The new maps were first introduced on July 8th, and approved by the full legislature last week.

A Balanced Budget Amendment Proves Once and for All, Republicans don't have an Economic Clue.

I'm so angry about the phony debate about the debt ceiling, that I refuse to talk to my conservative friend about it.  Once the GOP/tea party brought out their horrific "balance budget" gimmick, I went into a deep funk. Even the dumbest ass should get this one. But they refuse too, and went so far as to embraced the idea.  The following is one of many long dissections and analysis clearly stating why such an amendment would take down the country in short order.

Years ago, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declined to institute the "shock doctrine*," because she claimed a democratic system of government, and voters, wouldn't let it happen. Thatcher was wrong....

EPI: A balanced budget amendment would mandate perverse actions in the face of recessions. In economic downturns, tax revenues fall and some outlays, such as unemployment benefits, rise. These so-called built-in stabilizers increase the deficit but limit declines of after-tax income and purchasing power. To keep the budget balanced every year would aggravate recessions. Unlike many state constitutions, which permit borrowing to finance capital expenditures, the federal budget makes no distinction between capital investments and current outlays. Private businesses and households borrow all the time to finance capital spending.

A balanced budget amendment would prevent federal borrowing to finance expenditures for infrastructure, education, research and development, environmental protection, and other investment vital to the nation's future well being.

A balanced budget amendment would invite Congress to enact unfunded mandates, requiring states, localities, and private businesses to do what it cannot finance itself. It also invites dubious accounting maneuvers (such as selling more public lands and other assets and counting the proceeds as deficit-reducing revenues), and other budgetary gimmicks.

Disputes on the meaning of budget balance would likely end up in the courts, resulting in judge-made economic policy. So would disputes about how to balance an unbalanced budget when Congress lacks the votes to inflict painful cuts.

Balanced budget amendment proposals typically contain escape hatches, but in peacetime they require super-majorities of each House to adopt an unbalanced budget or to raise the debt limit. These provisions are recipes for gridlock.

An overall spending cap, which is part of some proposed amendments, would further limit Congress’s ability to fight recessions through either the built-in automatic stabilizers or deliberate changes in fiscal policy. Even during expansions, a binding spending cap could harm economic growth because increases in high-return investments — even those fully paid for with additional revenue — would be deemed unconstitutional if not offset by other spending reductions. A binding spending cap also would mean that emergency spending (for example on natural disasters) would necessitate reductions elsewhere, leading to increased volatility in the funding for non-emergency programs.

A Constitutional amendment is not needed to balance the budget. The budget not only attained balance, but actually recorded surpluses and reduced debt, for four consecutive years after Congress enacted budget plans in the 1990s that reduced spending growth and raised revenues. This was done under the existing Constitution, and it can be done again.

No other major nation hobbles its economy with a balanced-budget mandate. There is no need to put the nation in an economic straitjacket. Let the President and Congress make fiscal policies in response to national needs and priorities as the authors of our Constitution wisely provided.

*That practitioners of the shock doctrine tend to seek a blank slate on which to create their ideal free market economies, which inevitably requires a usually violent destruction of the existing economic order.

The Slippery Slope to the Privatization of Public Schools; Defunding!!

As more and more choice, charter, and private schools take over, the Republican plan to completely defund public schools is just around the corner, starting with maintenance costs.
Traditional public schools in Florida will get no money from the state this year for additions or needed repairs to thousands of aging buildings, but charter schools will score big.

All of the state cash budgeted for school construction and maintenance is going to the independent, tax-financed charters favored by the Republican-dominated Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott.

This is that slippery slope conservative fear more than anything when it comes to government regulation, except when it comes to their sacred cows and tearing apart the state’s public schools.  

The state's 350 charter schools will share $55 million, while the approximately 3,000 traditional schools will go without. Sen. David Simmons, a Maitland Republican, said the reason the traditional schools aren't getting any PECO cash: They don't need it. But Seminole Superintendent Bill Vogel counters that Seminole and other districts still need cash for roofing and air conditioner repairs, painting, plumbing work, carpeting and other maintenance projects.

As irresponsible as Sen. Simmons reason is to ignore standard maintenance at public schools, the case for private school favoritism gets even more outrageous with this amazing double standard:

While the new Choices building would become the property of the Seminole school district should Choices ever close, Deputy Superintendent George Kosmac said he is not sure the district would want it. The state encourages charters to abandon old rules and be "innovative," and one of the innovations is to build facilities to general code rather than the stricter, and more expensive, state codes required for regular public schools. Kosmac and other school district officials around the state are troubled at both the double standard and the Legislature's praise of charters for building cheaper schools.

The ultimate plan? Maintenance funding would have to come from raising property taxes, angering homeowners, who would then argue for the cheaper charter choice. That would result in the end of a great pubic education for the growing number of have not's, who won't be able to afford the rising cost of private schools.