Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Glenn Grothman: unmarried people cause child abuse?

One of the primary indicators of intelligence, at the neurological level, is the ability to distinguish between correlation and causation.

A lot of things happen at the same time that either aren't related or may both be caused by other factors -- think about an increased number of storks nesting on rooftops in Northern Europe and the increased number of births during August.  That's correlation.  Some things that happen together are, in fact, cause and effect -- think about smoking cigarettes and getting lung cancer.  That's causation.

Not everyone can tell correlation and causation apart.  That's Glenn Grothman.

To wit:  Senate Bill 507
An Act to amend 48.982 (2) (g) 2., 48.982 (2) (g) 4. and 48.982 (2) (gm) of the statutes; relating to: requiring the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Walker using out of state group to challenge recall...

I get dizzy some days keeping track of the hypocrisy in the Governor's mansion. Here's some more of it.

Walker Using Out-of-State Tea Party Group to Indirectly Challenge Recall | Center for Media and Democracy

One issue is that Walker has long claimed the recall effort against him was led by "out-of-state special interests" (despite the governor relying on out-of-state donors for most of his fundraising ). Relying on out-of-state groups and individuals to do the legwork for his campaign may not play well, especially when upwards of 20,000 in-state-residents braved the cold and snow to gather recall signatures in the first place.

Another issue is that "True the Vote" is a 501(c)(3) "charitable" organization prohibited from intervening in political campaigns, and getting officially involved in the Walker campaign might threaten the group's (c)(3) status. In recent months, a number of other 501(c)(3) groups have gotten involved in defending Walker against recall, including the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Illinois-based Heartland Institute. Last week, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint alleging the Americans for Prosperity Foundation violated its charitable status by running ads supporting Walker's reelection. "True the Vote" and its parent group, the King Street Patriots, have previously been accused of violating their nonprofit status and state election laws (and for their defense attorney they hired James Bopp Jr. , the anti-campaign finance crusader behind the infamous Citizens United case).

Finally, Walker might want to distance himself from "True the Vote" and King Street Patriots based on their alleged history of voter suppression.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Glenn Grothman: rolls back women's rights to 1850.

I'm trying to decide how much more Wisconsinites are willing to take -- or rather, have taken from them -- before they say something.

Could it be they believe they don't deserve responsible government?  Or that government is only responsible when it works against their interests?  

I guess we'll find out.

Wis. Republicans Belittle Women | The Progressive
On Tuesday night, the Assembly passed SB 202, a law that repeals the Equal Pay Act signed into law in 2009 that allowed people to sue employers who illegally discriminate against them based on protected class status. This ALEC-style "tort reform" bill was authored by ALEC members Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Rep. Michelle Litjens (R-Oshkosh).
In a 2010 report, “Wisconsin Women, Wages and the Recession,”the Center on Wisconsin Strategy reported that “Wisconsin women earned, on average, only 81 cents for every dollar earned by men. Moreover, women continue to be concentrated in occupations that are low-wage and low-quality.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Walkergate: still not ready for primetime.

Some reflections on Mr. Walker's press management.

Walker not playing the best defense - JSOnline

Gov. Scott Walker has spin issues.

Almost certain to face a contentious recall election this summer, Walker must figure out the best way to respond to an unprecedented investigation into the workings of Milwaukee County government when he oversaw it.

The investigation has already led to a conviction of one aide and charges against three others - with more on the way.

So what does the media-savvy governor do?

Specifically, does he talk publicly about the investigation? Does he or someone close to him launch an attack on the Democratic prosecutor? Does the governor cooperate with the probe? Does he throw his former aides under the bus?

No Quarter asked four public relations officials - two Democrats and two Republicans - to discuss Walker's handling of the secret criminal investigation.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Divide and conquer. GOP sets working people against each other.

Because if they didn't, they could never succeed.

Plain Talk: Sad email underscores how GOP divides us

Scott Walker’s demonization of public workers won’t result in help for family farmers. Instead, he’s leading the charge to destroy the only health care reform the nation has seen since it adopted Medicare. What Walker derisively calls ObamaCare would offer family farmers affordable insurance without a $10,000 deductible, but the governor and his enablers in the Legislature are making it next to impossible for Wisconsin to participate.

But health care is just a small piece of the cynical game that has cleverly driven a wedge between people who ought to be fighting with, not against, each other.

Neither Brenda nor other family farmers will benefit if somehow public workers are reduced to having unaffordable health insurance with $10,000 deductibles while their pension plans are pilloried.

If Americans stuck together, the country might actually get true, single-payer universal health care that would not only cover the Brendas of rural America, but could save the health care system billions in unnecessary overhead costs.

First, though, the people need to stop believing the lies.

Read more:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

An intervention in Wisconsin GOP's Koch Addiction.

The Democratic party files a complaint against the 501(c)3 status of American's for Prosperity (sic).

Wisconsin Dems Go After Koch Bros. In Recall Election | Care2 Causes

Wisconsin Democrats have had enough with the overwhelming flow of dark money coming into their state to prop up Gov. Scott Walker (R) and are taking their fight direct to the source: David Koch.

On a conference call with reporters yesterday, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate announced the party was filing a compliant with the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, and forwarding a copy of the compliant to the Internal Revenue Service attacking the nonprofit status of Americans For Prosperity after recent comments Koch made in a Florida paper.

“These organizations are a farce,” said Tate, referring to AFP’s 501(c)(3) status, as well as that of a state level conservative organization the MacIver Institute. “This designation allows an organization to accept tax-deductible contributions and further provides that they are not required to disclose their donors, nor are they required to report their spending until after an election has taken place.”

He added: “But to maintain this status, a 501(c)(3) is prohibited from engaging in ‘activities which constitute participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate.’”

Read more:


I'm imagining the childhood that produced this, aren't you?

Sly In The Morning: Glenn Grothman: STOP THE ATTACK ON MEN IN WISCONSIN

Glenn Grothman helps GOP remove equal pay protection for women. Stupid women.

I'm not sure I editorialized that much in the headline.

WASHINGTON -- In 2009, the Wisconsin legislature made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court. That law is now on the verge of repeal.
The Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating by giving workers more avenues to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.
   In November, the state Senate approved (SB 202) rolling back this provision. On Wednesday, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes. The legislation is now in the hands of Gov. Scott Walker (R). His office did not return a request for comment on whether the governor would sign it.
   "It really takes away the teeth and the enforcement aspect of equal pay in Wisconsin," said Sara Finger, director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health (WAWH).
   Women earn 77 cents for every dollar that men make. In Wisconsin, it's 75 cents, according to WAWH, which also estimates that families in the state "lose more than $4,000 per year due to unequal pay."
   State Sen. Dave Hansen (D) was one of the authors of the 2009 law, and said he had no doubt that Walker would sign the repeal of his legislation.
   "The whole [Republican] agenda in this state is about attacks on workers," he said. "It's an ongoing assault on workers' rights. But now it's also taking the assault to workers in the private sector. It's not just an assault on women. Older workers can be taken advantage of, and they're hurting in this bad economy. It didn't hurt business at all."
   State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R), who sponsored SB 202, also did not return a request for an interview.

Washington County Dems stand up to be heard on Main Street.

From our friend Waring Fincke's WB Daily News column on the opening of the Washington County Democratic Party HQ on Main Street in West Bend.

Washington County Dems stand up to be heard

    Since January, a grass roots progressive movement has emerged from the shadows in Washington County. Fueled by the Grothman and Walker/Kleefisch recall campaigns and reactions to the draconian changes the regressive right wing of the GOP has used to impale Wisconsin public workers, Democrats and Independents are being joined by disaffected moderate Republicans to find a more reasonable path for Wisconsin’s future. A much more robust Democratic Party of Washington County is now alive and well. 
    All these folks will find a comfortable home at the new headquarters of the county Party located at 132 N. Main St. in downtown West Bend. Rather than the “war room,” as labeled in a recent Daily News article, the new office will be a resource center for those who need help and those who want to be part of bringing a more reasoned approach to the problems of our communities. We picked a location downtown on Main Street so there could be no doubt that we are not hiding from anyone. Rest assured that we are completely funded by local donations and plan to keep it that way.  
    We will be working to help elect Democratic candidates in partisan races to be sure, but that will not be our only focus. We will lend support to thoughtful and reasonable people who run in nonpartisan races for County Board, city council, town and village boards and school board seats as well. What we look for are people who want to serve in public office and make decisions based upon facts, science and logic, not ideologies that serve narrow special interests or religious beliefs. 
    In addition to supporting public officials who share these values, we will be working on local, state and federal legislative proposals that advance the common good and meet people’s needs. We plan to organize groups across the county to raise unified positions on issues that negatively impact our schools and communities. These groups will come together to help each other out as local issues arise that need to be addressed.  
    This model worked during the recall campaigns when people from all political stripes came together to help with the effort. They did it in the cold and snow and the heat of the summer. They stood up in the rain and sleet to help others make their voices heard. They did not buckle in response to ridicule or harassment. We felt these folks deserved a home.  
    The demographics are interesting. There are teachers and other public-sector workers concerned with the loss of their collective bargaining rights. There are retirees concerned about the health and maintenance of the Wisconsin Retirement System. There are young parents and business people concerned about the deterioration of the public school systems. There are working people whose middle class aspirations have been dashed as their unemployment benefits run out. There are people who have lost homes to foreclosure and jobs to outsourcing and foreign competition. There are women and men concerned about women’s health care and the need for a comprehensive health-care system that ensures everyone has access to affordable health care. There are people who support strong defense and those who are glad the war in Iraq is over. There are people who support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender or status.  
    Not all share all of these positions, but all recognize it is only through collective action that their individual goals can be achieved. The tent is large. Come in and look around. You’ll find something to do and a place where your voice is heard.  
    I must disclose that I am the new vice-chair of the local Democratic Party and part of the new leadership team that brought these changes to the group. Perhaps those who read my previous columns figured out that I was probably a Democrat. Some readers who wrote in response obviously thought I was much further to the left.  
    We plan to be around past this year’s election cycle to help fight for fairness, justice and compassion. With the help of our friends, we will stay down on Main St. until the task is accomplished. You can find out more at 
    (Waring R. Fincke practices law and politics in the town of Barton.)

So say we all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Complaints Filed Against Brothers Fitzgerald and Four Other Wisconsin Lawmakers

The folks over at Addicting Info found and are now acting on... well, more Walkerstani shenanigans.

-- can't duck the law? Change the law.

Complaints Filed Against Brothers Fitzgerald and Four Other Wisconsin Lawmakers | Addicting Info

The Wisconsin State Legislature has been nothing short of a circus. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on you cannot help but notice the grandstanding on the floor, the ongoing protests, and the mass arrests. But take a step back to basics and often you will find what you are looking for. As many know, and as the mainstream media continues to ignore, I filed five complaints against Republican lawmakers for failing to report contributions over $100. The logic behind these complaints is real simple. Wisconsin State Statutes Chapter 11.06 requires candidates (and PAC’s, Conduits, and anyone else who registers with the GAB) to report place of employment and occupation along with name and address for all contributions totaling over $100 in a year. If they cannot get this info they must make an attempt to request it and notate such. As we found with the five complaints on Monday, some legislators fail to report it and failed to show any attempt to request it. This carries a $500 fine per offense. The GAB has stated they will only investigate campaign finance reports if a complaint is filed meaning it is possible to have years of errors that have yet not been found.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Glenn Grothman turns back clock on discrimination against women in Wisconsin.

It's cocktail time at the Old Boy Tea Party Club in Madison -- where Glenn Grothman has reset the clocks to 1952.

Wisconsin Assembly Officially Ends Employment Discrimination Remedies
This bill was introduced by Senator Glenn Grothman. According to Representative Christine Sinicki, Grothman said a woman’s place is at home cooking, cleaning, and making babies. For this reason he authored a bill making it so that people who are discriminated against by employers cannot sue for punitive or compensatory damages. This bill passed the Senate on partisan lines. Today, February 21, 2012, the bill was in front of the Assembly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wisconsin Democrats tell David Koch: Get out and take Gov. Walker too

When you'd rather spend $100s of millions in voter suppression and negative advertising than pay $1 in taxes, this is what you do.

Wisconsin Democrats tell David Koch: Get out and take Gov. Walker too | The Raw Story

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin blasted oil billionaire David Koch on Monday for supporting Republican Gov. Scott Walker in his fight against public unions.

“I think I speak for most Wisconsinites when I say to David Koch, ‘Get out of Wisconsin and take Scott Walker’s dangerous agenda with you,’” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said.

In a rare interview with the Palm Beach Post, Koch described Walker as “impressive” and “courageous.” He said his conservative group Americans for Prosperity was hard at work in Wisconsin.

“We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin,” Koch said. “We’re going to spend more.”

Feingold calls out the GOP candidates: 'It's A Threat To Our Country' To Elect One Of The GOP Presidential Candidates."

Smack on, as usual.

Russ Feingold: 'It's A Threat To Our Country' To Elect One Of The GOP Presidential Candidates

In an interview about the book, "While America Sleeps," Feingold lamented the GOP presidential candidates' lack of discussion and knowledge of foreign policy.

"To me, the gap between President Obama and these people [the GOP candidates] is so enormous that it's a threat to our country to elect people who take such a silly view of the rest of the world," he told The Huffington Post.

Monday, February 20, 2012

UW profs shed light on ALEC's threat to public education

First the Governor of Minnesota vetoes ALEC based legislation -- because, he argued, the citizens of Minnesota shouldn't have their laws drafted for them by billionaire outside interests -- and now the brains in UW System are exposing the conspiracy.

Campus Connection: UW profs shed light on ALEC's threat to public education

University of Wisconsin-Madison professors Julie Underwood and Julie Mead are expressing concern over the growing corporate influence on public education in an article published Monday.

In particular, they are highly critical of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which connects conservative state legislators with like-minded think tanks, corporations and foundations to develop "model legislation" that can be enacted at the state level.

Underwood is the dean of UW-Madison's School of Education, while Mead chairs the ed school's department of educational leadership and policy analysis. The two make their opinions known in an article they co-authored for the March issue of Phi Delta Kappan magazine, which serves members of the PDK professional organization for educators.

Underwood says much of the information in the article is an outgrowth of research she conducted while helping get the website up and running last summer.

"At that time I was looking at a lot of (ALEC) model legislation that had been leaked and I've continued to look at this kind of legislation since then," she says. "So this (article) is my research."

Underwood and Mead start their piece by noting the range of similar bills proposed in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio early in 2011 that "sought sweeping changes to each state's collective bargaining statutes and various school funding provisions." Each state is headed by Republican governors and has Republican-controlled state legislatures.

"What was going on?" Underwood and Mead write. "How could elected officials in multiple states suddenly introduce essentially the same legislation?"

The answer, they argue, is ALEC. And the UW-Madison professors are no fans of the organization's motives, writing that "ALEC's positions on various education issues make it clear that the organization seeks to undermine public education by systematically defunding and ultimately destroying public education as we know it."

David Koch: I'm helping Scott Walker

And, indirectly, the local Americans for Prosperity crew, Common Sense Citizens of WashCo. They'll spend what they have to gladly. But notice that governments are elected by determined and clear majorities. A clear majority of stakeholders is good for democracy -- that's what the Recall Election will clarify, whether Mr. Walker really has a majority of Wisconsin voters.

Also note that a determined and unambiguous majority of working people can be very good for the economy -- but very bad for the personal profits of CEOs.

David Koch on Wisconsin: I'm helping Scott Walker - JSOnline

The Palm Beach Post has published a remarkable story about billionaire David Koch, who tells the newspaper in a rare interview hat he is working to help Gov. Scott Walker.

Koch and his brother, Charles, have been the main financial backers of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group that has been running television ads in Wisconsin in support of Walker.

In the story, David Koch admits that his group is "hard at work," especially in Wisconsin.

"We're helping him, as we should," Koch says of Walker. "We've gotten pretty good at this over the years. "We've spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We're going to spend more."

The story suggests the group has spent $700,000 in Wisconsin.

A year ago, a blogger prank-called Walker pretending to be David Koch. Koch told the New York Times that he didn't even know Walker's name.

Now, Koch is a Walker supporter.

"What Scott Walker is doing with the public unions in Wisconsin is critically important. He's an impressive guy and he's very courageous," Koch told the Post. "If the unions win the recall, there will be no stopping union power."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pat Strachota justifies bleeding out the UW System.

You know, it would be better for all of us if our local con-in-conservative legislators simple fessed up: they really hate the UW System -- even though both of them graduated from it. Maybe Senator Grothman got blackballed by a fraternity for "being weird" or something. Maybe Rep Strachota had a bad experience with some of her profs. Nothing else really makes any sense -- except for some kind of ideological purity issue.

Instead of just saying "we hate you slobs, and now you're going to pay" all we get are what Nietzsche called pale criminals.

After burdening the UW System with 38% of the original spending cuts -- even though UW makes up only 7% of the state's budget -- these kinds of excuses look more like... well, like really stupid excuses.

The general feeling among colleagues I talk to -- given all of the other, better options, the Governor and Legislature had available -- these cuts, and now these additional $100 million-plus "lapses," feel more like "special attention" following the protests last year.

Here's an example: after the first round of cuts, UW was forced to raise tuition (as small an increase as possible) simply to meet obligations. As soon as the tuition increases went through, the legislature suddenly discovered a "short-fall" in their original guestimates.

From here it looks like another Republican trick to stick middle and working class families with the bill.

This is no different than attempting to make their economic airplane fly faster by cutting off the engines or bleeding the patient to improve their health. Their economics, along with their ideology, is stuck in the 18th century.

State Headlines From Wisconsin Public Radio, February 18 | Ashland Current

Finance Committee Approves $123 Million In Cuts
By Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio

The legislature's finance committee has approved $123-million in budget lapses to state agencies with more than a third hitting the University of Wisconsin System.

The cuts were approved as part of the state budget Gov. Scott Walker signed last summer, but the Walker administration didn't specify which agencies would get hit hardest until later. The UW will bear the brunt of these cuts, taking a $46-million lapse. Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards said it would hurt the UW campus in his city, where they're researching water technology, "The cuts that we're making today will result in $6.2 million in cuts to UW-Milwaukee alone. And this will definitely slow down this effort to generate jobs in these great fields that hold tremendous promise for our region."

But West Bend Republican Pat Strachota said the university lapses were driven by a decision not to further cut spending on other programs like public school aid, tech schools and prisons, "I think the UW System is valued by all of us and we understand the merits that they bring to the state of Wisconsin. And this is not something that any of us wanted to do, but it's just a matter of having to do because we kept those other high priorities."

The lapses come on top of an earlier $250-million cut to the UW. Even with the lapses, Wisconsin's two year budget remains $143-million in the hole.

Best of all, at the end of the day, this is an explicit confession that the "emergency budget repair bill" didn't repair anything. It simply satisfied the demands of GOP sponsors to cut their tax bills -- and thus shift the tax burden on to the shoulders of the bottom 98%.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Alabama: Pay Increases for Teachers are Against ‘Biblical Principle’

I don't want to give Governor Walker any ideas, but here's a better reason for Act 10 than the ones you used.

Alabama State Senator: Pay Increases for Teachers are Against ‘Biblical Principle’

This is a new twist on “biblical economics” that I’ve not heard before. According to Alabama State Sen. Shadrack McGill, a 62% pay increase for the state’s legislators in 2007 was necessary, but large increases in teachers’ pay would violate “a biblical principle.” McGill was speaking on January 30 at a prayer breakfast that he organized in Ft. Payne, Alabama. McGill voiced his objections to separation of church [and state] later that same day at a Jackson County School Board meeting that resembled a revival; participants prayed and sang with their hands raised in the air. (Video below.)

GOP secret gerrymandering plans blown. For now.

Tricky Dick Dirty Tricks? Everything old is new again in Walkerstan.

GOP Secret Memos Shock: Hidden Networks, Dark Intentions

MADISON-Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate following Thursday's revelation, following a federal court's ruling, of new details surrounding the crooked Republican redistricting scheme for Wisconsin.

"The Republican effort to create hidden networks to keep details of their crooked redistricting schemes from citizens shows how low Wisconsin has been dragged under Scott Walker's rule. A three-judge panel called the activities "shameful," and anyone with a sense of good government would agree. Any Republican who participated in these actions and abetted them must explain why they are above the rule of law. The unethical baton held up so well by Scott Jensen has been ably passed to Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald and Wisconsin is worse for it."

You can read the disgusting memo's here.

Contraception, cont. Before current birth-control fight, Republicans backed mandates

A busy morning unpacking the cognitive dissonance in the GOPs current contraception fetish.

Before current birth-control fight, Republicans backed mandates - Los Angeles Times

"In 2000, when Iowa became one of the first states to enact a contraceptive mandate, the Republican Legislature overwhelmingly backed the bill, which has no exemption for religious employers of any kind. Even one of the law's few opponents did not move to exempt religious employers at the time, records show. Republican Rep. Steve King, a leading conservative who was then a state senator, instead proposed to exempt employers who did not cover Viagra. 'We were not fighting the battle over conscience protection then,' King said in an interview this week."

Book review: Contraception’s Con Men in the GOP.

It's nice to have a little historical background.

Contraception’s Con Men by Garry Wills | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
By a revolting combination of con men and fanatics, the current primary race has become a demonstration that the Republican party does not deserve serious consideration for public office. Take the controversy over contraceptives.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What we can now expect from Republicans: Need birth control? "Put an aspirin between the knees"

These comments are not aberrations. These comments are the actual positions.

Santorum backer suggests aspirin as birth control

Foster Friess, the biggest donor to the super PAC supporting Rick Santorum, suggested women used aspirin as a contraceptive.

"Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives," Friess said in an MSNBC interview today. "The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

Friess, a 71-year-old millionaire from Wyoming, is a contributor to the Red, White and Blue Fund, which is backing the former Pennsylvania senator. His comments came as he was defending Santorum's stance on contraception.

Walker unable to duck responsibilities for state health care.

Maybe he should've gotten a note from his doctor.

From Citizen Action of Wisconsin

This afternoon the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Rejected a waiver requested by the Walker Administration that would have allowed insurance companies to dedicate more than 20% of premium dollars to profits and overhead. The request for a waiver from the Medical Loss Ratio requirement under the Affordable Care Act was made in October by the Walker Administration.

Download the official rejection communication.

Federal judges slam GOP lawmakers

Oh, that pesky Constitution is nothing but the tools of distant elites trying to impose their values on our community.

Federal judges slam GOP lawmakers over redistricting secrecy - JSOnline

Madison - A three-judge panel on Thursday told Republican lawmakers to turn over 84 documents to a group of Democrats in a blistering order that said Republicans had engaged in an "all but shameful" effort to keep its efforts hidden from the public.

The court promptly released the documents that showed, among other things, that Republicans who drew new election maps last year largely orchestrated the public testimony given in support of them.

The three federal judges - two of them appointed by Republicans - were unanimous in their decision. It came after a string of orders against the Republicans and just five days before the judges will preside over a trial in Milwaukee to determine whether the maps adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

HQ Opens. Democrats are Main Street in West Bend.

And yet the West Bend Daily News coughs up misleading headlines and ... well, lies:

... I mean, misstatements.

Dave Rank, intrepid WBDN reporter, squeezed into a packed storefront on Main Street in West Bend last night to cover the opening of the new Democratic Party HQ.  Democrats are Main Street.  A scary thought for some Washington County residents, but a relief for the 30% of us who have never been represented in the legislature.

The event which included speeches from Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (DAlma) [a dairy farmer with a PhD elected as a Democrat from a rural, largely Republican district... now that's the kind of Wisconsin I recognize] and Mike Tate [Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party].

Dave's article begins:
Just days after declaring she will challenge Gov. Scott Walker in the upcoming recall election, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (DAlma) offered an enthusiastic stump speech in West Bend Wednesday night as county Democrats opened their local war office.
It's pretty clear that Sen Vinehout was in town "as county Democrats opened their local war office."  But that's not what the headline says. The headline says:
Walker’s challenger opens Dems’ office here
State Sen. Vinehout was in group that fled to Illinois
This is typical West Bend Daily News-Skews; arguably accurate if you bend it around sufficiently.  Someone on the editorial staff used to do this to my columns pretty regularly too -- and they were especially given to hyperbole and distortion during the Library Controversy when boring little meetings about where books should be shelved were unfurled into banners like "Porn in the Library!"

I'm paraphrasing -- but it's close.

Sen Vinehout did not open the office.  She was only one of a handful of speakers who appeared at the office opening.  No difference?  Then why not headline the story with what actually took place?  Why put Sen Vinehout front and center rather than the 90 plus enthusiastic volunteers who refurbished the new office?

Well, because happy Democrats are not a relevant detail to the publisher.

What makes this more ironic is that some of us amused ourselves last night making up probable headlines to Dave's report.  My first choice was "Three Democrats meet for coffee"  but apparently my cynicism meter wasn't calibrated properly.

From there the Daily News report slides into the toilet.  I was struck by the article's conclusion:

The West Bend Daily News asserts of Sen. Vinehout that...
"She ran for governor in 2002 but lost in the primary to Jim Doyle. Vinehout was the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2006 but lost to Republican J.B. Van Hollen."
By a strange coincidence, Scott Bauer's piece at Real Clear Politics, dated Feb 8, is remarkably similar, except for a key detail:
"Falk announced last month that she was getting into the governor's race. She ran for governor in 2002 but lost in the primary to Jim Doyle who went on to serve two terms as governor. And she was the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2006 but lost to Republican J.B. Van Hollen."

Oooh, wait, who?

The Daily News will have to check their conscience for an answer, since their ethics (and fact based reality meters) don't seem to be working.

In the meantime, here's a short, and accurate, version of the Main Street Democrats campaign opening in West Bend: over 90 jubilant and enthusiastic men, women, and children crowded into the new West Bend Democratic Party HQ to hear rousing speeches from Sen.Vinehout and Mike Tate.  Friendships were renewed, plans were made.

General consensus?   Fired up.  Ready to go.

So, if you're politically moderate, tired of the loonies who've hijacked right of center politics in this country, or even a former Democrat tired of feeling alone here in Deepest Darkest Washington County, come on down to Main Street.  It's your street.  You're not alone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Great West Bend Flag Controversy! Commies suspected.

Hi everybody,

A few of our local knee-jerk conservatives brewed up a nice hot mug of self-righteous indignation after the flag at Badger Middle School was seen flying upside down over the weekend.  

School officials replaced the damaged, flapping flag (which had torn loose from its top grommet and appeared to be flying upside down) by the beginning of the school day on Monday -- but that didn't matter.  The timing was too suspect.  Someone assumed it was a demonstration against the Walker administration and alerted the media -- it's what people do here.

Best of all was watching the exchange over at the local bastion of conservative thinktankery -- or really, the local tank of conservative thinkbastionry -- Boots and Sabers. 

Two details stood out in their reportage.  Here's one.

Owen Robinson, the site's operator -- probably the next conservative state senator (or pin headed radio talk show host) from our area -- wrote it up this way:
I’ve heard that the American Flag was being flown at half mast and upside down in front of Badger Middle School in West Bend this morning. Today is the anniversary of the introduction of Act 10. Does anyone have a picture?

UPDATE: Both in the paper today and in an email to me, the Superintendent has said that this was a case of the top grommet on the flag breaking, thus causing the flag to hang upside down and lower because it was only hanging from the bottom grommet. Without any further evidence, I have no reason to doubt that explanation.
First, the school superintendent wrote a BLOGGER a special email?  Ah, but that's indicative of the power Brother Robinson wields here.

I was, however, struck by his use of the phrase "Without any further evidence, I have no reason to doubt that explanation."

A friend of mine picked this up.  It is exactly what House Speaker Boehner said when asked if he believed President Obama's claim to be a Christian.

 "Without any further evidence, I have no reason to doubt that explanation." 


Owen's assimilation into the Inner Party is apparently proceeding nicely.

I also was struck by the first comment:
Even if you catch a picture…school district may say its honor to Whitney Houston, which may be worse than if it was done for Act 10.
Balancing the state budget, getting control over the out of control union rules and benefits for local units of government is now a tragedy?
If it is, the public school is truly failing to educate, just on this issue alone.
Posted by Kevin Scheunemann on February 13, 2012 at 1640 hrs
Many of you will no doubt recognize our own Official Motley Cow Blog Troll, Kevin.  In fairly typical fashion Kevin, for once not complaining sarcastically about the effects of the Enlightenment, calls out middle school teachers for being the race-baiting unionizing commies they are by associating them with, yes, Whitney Houston.

For those of you who would like to write in your support for Kevin, his address is given as  I'm sure he'd love to hear from you.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Walker lied about Wisconsin being broke... and now...

He was lying then and he's lying now. Alternative? Incompetence.

Will Gov. Scott Walker Ever Come Clean On Wisconsin's Budget Deficit? - Forbes

This latest episode in the “Adventures of Scott In Dairyland” it is the perfect expression of everything we have come to expect from Governor Walker—half-truths designed to mislead, broken campaign promises, and a predilection to sneak through the back door when going in via the front would result in way too much unwanted exposure.

Walkergate cont.: Walker Implicated in Criminal Complaint Against Aides

Watch for even more leaping rats.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Implicated in Criminal Complaint Against Aides | Truthout
A recall from his position as Wisconsin's governor could ultimately be the least of Gov. Scott Walker's worries, if a criminal complaint quietly moving forward in the Badger State court system continues on its current trajectory. At the moment, Walker seems to be at the bottom of a mountain where an avalanche is just beginning to roll.

The latest Anti-Science assault on American Schools.

We know about these crusaders in West Bend, whether they're demanding that the public library burn books, or complaining that frightened gay teenagers are bullying them, or marshaling their troops to fight for the increasingly indictable Scott Walker and against that Islamic Kenyan Terrorist who keeps putting his feet on the desk in the Oval Office, the forces of the New Dark Ages are on the march.

Come on folks, let's hear from you! It's time for the local Christianists to come back out of the closet. You've been away too long. It's time to put up or shut up. If you believe evolution is "just a theory" you need to file suit in Federal Court to have Creationism taught along side scientific world views.

You should stop just taking it from these, so-called, "reasonable and educated" scientists, teachers, and academics who have managed to undermine and corrupt the old American values of ignorance and xenophobia with that whole "Enlightenment/Scientific Revolution/rational and deliberate thought" conspiracy.

Mary, Ginny. Let's dance again, like we did last summer.

The new anti-science assault on US schools | Katherine Stewart | Comment is free |

You might have thought it was all over after the 2005 decision by the US district court of Middle Pennsylvania (pdf), which ruled in the case of the Dover Area schools that teaching intelligent design is unconstitutional. You might have guessed that they wouldn't come back after the 1987 US supreme court decision in Edwards v Aguillard, which deemed the teaching of creationism in Louisiana schools unconstitutional. Or maybe you figured that the opponents of evolution had their Waterloo in the1925 Scopes "monkey" trial in Tennessee.

They are back. There are six bills aimed at undermining the teaching of evolution before state legislatures this year: two each in New Hampshire and Missouri, one each in Indiana and Oklahoma. And it's only February.

For the most part, the authors of these bills are singing a song we've heard before. Jerry Bergevin, the Republican sponsor of one of the New Hampshire bills, says of evolution that "It's a worldview and it's godless." He blames the teaching of evolution for Nazism and Columbine. Josh Brecheen, the sponsor of the Oklahoma bill, wants to stop the teaching of "the religion of evolution." These legislators, and their colleagues in Missouri and Indiana, trot out the hoary line that evolution is "just a theory" and that real science means saying that every point of view is just as good as any other.