Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Know They Don't Like It When People Say They're Stupid

But, what are you going to do in the face of this? GOP Rep who is on the Foreign Relations Committe, "After Libya will Obama commit troops in Africa?" Gohmert says that Obama is depleting the Army so he can call up his private army of doctors. Florida GOP adds eighth banned word to the list. Gets skittish about saying, "Uterus." It's as if Superman's Bizarro World had come to life.

Know Nothings: Raising the "Yellow Peril" Flag Since 1882

Just cringe.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Outside Agitators Inside the Gates

Okay, kids. I'm not going to spoon feed this to you. You may have to actually follow some of the links to flesh out the story as I ramble on and on like the damn desert, but it's well worth the effort. Professor Wm J Cronon of the UW wrote an article showing that the curious timing of a national flurry of fundamentally similar bills could be traced back to a group calling itself American Legislative Exchange Council. (ALEC) ALEC issued a non-denial denial of involvement to a specific question.
Raegan A. Weber, an ALEC spokeswoman, replied via e-mail that ALEC had not worked with "Gov. Scott Walker or any of our members on any of the governor’s proposed legislation."
A snot-storm ensued which soon spread. But, "Why does this even matter?" you ask. How could such inside baseball affect me? Do you turn on the lights when you get home? Does your computer use electricity?
ALEC's sample legislation advances the interests of low wage employers, energy companies, prescription drug companies against drug importation, private insurers threatened by health reform, various and sundry polluters, the private prison industry, and anyone who doesn't want too many Democrats voting. Its bills oppose unions and favor privatization of public assets.
Does any of that sound familiar? "What's disgusting?!" Well, pretty much that whole litany of conservative boodle, now that you asked. Using tax dollars to fund for-profit schools. Maciver=Scott Jensen=ALEC Closing the Capitol to the people and issuing outrageous edicts. Mike Huebsch=ALEC Prisons for profit. Jeff Fitzgerald = ALEC Health care reform. Scott Fitzgerald+Leah Vukmir= ALEC
Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) currently serves as an ALEC state chair. Wisconsin State Rep. Leah Vukmir (R) is the "public chair" of the ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force, the "private chair" is Marianne Eterno of Guarantee Trust Life Insurance. Vukmir has a history of opposing mental health parity laws that would require insurance companies to cover psychiatric illnesses on par with other conditions.
Which brings me back to my point about electricity. We have a new PSC Chair for the next 6 years. He will "oversee and regulate" the energy policies that fulminate in the Walker administration.
"Phil will help protect ratepayers and ensure our state has a sustainable and economical network of power production facilities,” Walker said in a statement.
Everyone who believes that should sit down and rest a moment. But who is Phil Montgomery and why should we worry about a former legie joining the current administration? Well, in the first place Walker's budget cuts 10% of the headcount for the PSC making any oversight that much harder no matter who is in charge. And then you have that pesky Montgomery=ALEC=Privatizing Energy Generation equation. Scores of communities across Wisconsin are able to keep rates low and rate-payers happy because they own the generating plants. That's something Walker and the Fitz' can't stand and will seek to change. Write this prediction down. In the name of Economic Development the state will subsidize electricity for large end users but only if it's produced by an investor owned utility. Further, restrictions will be lowered to allow users to cross into the service areas of public utilities to cherry pick these subsidized rates. Public utilities will see large revenue losses leading to higher rates for residential users and calls to sell the generating capacity to investor-owned utilities. In the same way Walker will use municipalities to do to the Police and Firefighters that which he would not do, he'll use his new pet Dept of Economic Development to gut public utilities. I know you're tired of hearing about the Koch Brothers and AFP but the connections are here. I know you're weary of being beaten down by Wal-Mart stories but Wal-Mart is beating you down. And I know how cranky some folks get when you point out the definition of fascism in the dictionary. But giving in doesn't make your life better. The John Birch Society of the 50s and 60s were little more than a collegial bunch of goofs who believed Eisenhower was a Commie and got together now and again for a good book burning or two. This iteration is more tenacious and more ferocious and our ballots are the first line of defense against them. Never waste one again.

It's Hard In The House For A "Rising Star"

Sean Duffy is having trouble make ends meet in Congress. Duffy told an audience in Polk County...
I drive a used minivan. If you think I'm living high on the hog, I've got one paycheck. So I struggle to meet my bills right now.
Duffy makes $174,000 per year as a first term Representative. The average HOUSEHOLD income in Polk County is $50,520. Maybe they can vote him home for a reality check in 2012. It's time to take the pressure off this poor child.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And, Violet Eyes To Die For.

RIP, Elizabeth Taylor

The Bully's Defense

She made me do it. I'm not that kind of a person.
"I'll destroy you, bitch."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Hard To Be A Wingnut #12

You know that somebody is soft on the concept when they name their entire movement after The Boston Tea Party and then whine that boycotts are mean.

I linked to a sixth grade level article on the Tea Party in case Michelle Bachmann is reading.

More Value For Your Government Dollar

On Wednesday, Isthmus posted a story to its website saying that under the
settlement Walker did not acknowledge any fault but agreed to produce the
records and pay attorney's fees and costs of around $7,000.
Do you remember back when Scott Walker promised transparency and openness in Madison? Yeah, that's not what Scott Walker is known for. Back in 2005 he got a letter from the DOJ referring to the way Milwaukee County dealt with open records requests.

"In sum, this episode evinces a case of how government officials ought
not to do business...

"Whether they violated the public records law is a question largely
mooted by the later production of the waivers and the nearly inconceivable
notion that a repeat of this inglorious set of circumstances might be
forestalled by a judicial pronouncement on the matter.
"Nobody honored
to serve in public office ought to manipulate public records in this fashion --
that is the opinion of this office."

Interestingly, the news that Scotty had pissed away more than $7000 in a losing battle to keep from embarrassing himself the Dane County District Attorney filed and Open Meetings Law Violation complaint against the conference committee meeting last week which saw the non-fiscal parts of the Budget Repair Bill (Let's chew on that for a moment. Non-fiscal ad budget repair. All together right there, screaming at one another as if they didn't belong in a single sentence.)

This week also saw an open hearing that wasn't really open that included funding to repair the power plants the Governor intends to offer for no-bid contracts to his campaign contributors. He's going to sell them without open bidding because they'll cost too much to repair and there's not demand enough for open bidding, he says. But he's allocating money to repair them so they'll be ready for whoever buys them and uses them to generate electricty they'll sell to the state at a profit. Somehow, that wasn't important enough to warrant a meeting room large enough to hold a real hearing.

What was it Scotty said back when he was gutting the Department of Commerce in favor of a new system for funnelling tax dollars to contributors? "
We want to make sure that both from an ethics and open government standpoint
and overall in terms of accountability that we have full disclosure and
accountability, ..."
Yeah, see? Walker's not good at any of that. His track record in Milwaukee County is one of obfuscation and deception, of bending the rules he can't ignore and of doing everything in his power to block legitimate requests for information. Some people wanted to believe Walker without any reason or cause and it's costing all of us today.

Why bring all of this up? Why the downer? Because it's Sunshine Week, the week when we lobby for openness and transparency in government the same way we hope to build awareness for this disease or that condition in hope of finding a cure. It's Sunshine Week and our brand new Governor stepped on his pud three times at once. His case of deception may be beyond any glimmer of hope for a cure.

It can't be tough to do better than this. We've simply elected a man who has no idea how to follow through on his words.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

When Faced With A Tough Choice...

...the GOPbaggers decide to make deep cuts to Special Olympics.
The House GOP's budget, which passed last month, takes a hatchet to programs
for disabled kids and Special Olympics athletes. The proposed cuts could force
the closure of at least one Special Olympics program, which is funded through
the Department of Education. Dubbed
Project UNIFY, the program serves more
than 750,000 students in 43 states and draws from techniques used in Special
Olympics training for activities in public schools.
It's a shameful time to live in America.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

When, "Obviously aware," means, "Didn't have a clue."


The flip side of that argument is, that if you think the NPR/O'Keefe kerfuffle means something dire, then you should be supporting charges against Scott Walker for the BuffaloBeast call.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Remember When It Was All About "One Vote For One Voter and Every Vote Counted?"

Now it's all about stopping college kids from voting.

It's Hard To Be A Wingnut #9

It's hard to reconcile a desire for making it easier to get a gun into the Capitol with seting up metal detectors at the entrances to keep pocket change and nail clippers out of the building.


In tense appearance yesterday Governor Walker accused Senator Mark Miller of obstructing Walker's plans to gut Wisconsin. Walker stood at the lectern, rolling a pair of ball bearings in his left hand and...
suggested - with no apparent irony - that perhaps Miller has been having
secret phone calls with special interest backers in organized labor.
You'll recall that it was Walker himself who got caught with his official hands in that particular cookie jar not so very long ago.

Before leaving for a prior engagement at Room 126 of The Country Springs Motel with Charlie Sykes, Walker was heard to blame Miller and Senator Jon Erpenbach for taking some strawberries out of the Capitol mess lockers.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Spin Away, Boys!

It was a surprise that the Rasmussen Poll showed such low approval for Governor Walker's overreach but to have WPRI's numbers show 2-1 against the scheme to strip collective bargaining rights it counts as shocking.

I would like to take a moment to disagree with the MJS characterization though. If Walker's 4 point win was a mandate then these numbers don't show division as much as they show solidarity of public thought against Walker and the Fitz'.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Meanwhile, In Other News

Scott Fitzgerald vows to hold his breath until Jon Erpenbach comes back to Madison. Really. He means it.

And he's not going to eat his vegetables, either.

For A Change, I'm Glad Walker Is A Hypocrite

Remember how Scott Walker says that all government spending is bad and that we have to cut, cut, cut? Yeah, not so much.
Walker Asks FEMA For Federal Aid For Blizzard Costs
I'm glad he's asking. Sharing the risk is one of the things that government spending does well. There is a long, long list of things that we can do as a government that we could never do as individuals.

I just hope that someone points out the irony of this request at this time to The Incurious Governor.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A Laser-Like Focus On Jobs

You'd expect this from The Onion but, no, it's from The Badger Herald
Although representatives deny any connection to the recent prank call on the
governor, two legislators began circulating a bill Monday that would ban making
trick calls masking the caller’s true identity.
Calls from running refrigerators and Prince Albert have, apparently, upset the imminemtly upsettable Mary Lazich and equally offendable Mark Honadel as they have now proposed adding one more task to the lists already dumped on underfunded DA's in Wisconsin.