MadCity Blogs

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 7:00pm

Hey, Koch brothers, just pour all your million-dollar bills right into this hole, and tamp them down hard

Uppity Wisconsin - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:30pm

Salon.com has a new feature this campaign season: General Election Stupid Ad Watch, which looks at political campaign ads all across the USA to find the dumbest and lamest ones of all.  "We watch the ads so that you don’t have to," Salon intones, adding: "Let’s catch up on the latest phase of the Great American Dumbing Project."

This won't surprise many Wisconsin voters. According to Salon, the biggest dumbth of all the many, many TV campaign ads running across America this week? It's the one where Scott Walker is in a deep hole. Salon's description:

Here is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker going lo-fi and climbing a ladder out of a hole. Dimensionally, it’s much like the hole in which he buried a century’s worth of hard-won labor rights a few years ago. Why is he in a hole? According to Scott Walker, this hole represents the state of Wisconsin’s finances when he took office. It’s taken a term’s worth of hard work, he says, to climb out of that hole. This hard work is represented by him climbing a few rungs of a ladder. Just look at that hand-eye coordination, as he climbs while looking into the camera. His opponent, Mary Burke, probably can’t climb a few rungs of a ladder, because she is a girl Democrat.

Actually, I'm betting Mary Burke could pull herself up a rope faster than Walker could climb all the way up that ladder, figurative or real.

The Walker diss this week only gets worse, thanks to an Associated Press report that panicked, out-of-state conservatives are planning to pour extra millions into his unexpectedly (if you're a Republican) close campaign against Burke. Salon, again:

[T]he National Rifle Association (NRA) and an arm of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) will run in Wisconsin this week no less than $525,000 worth of pro-Walker television ads. The former group reportedly also has a $1 million ad buy booked until midway through October, which they plan to re-up if the race stays competitive.

Overall, the AP reports that GOP-leaning spending on the race has already reached $7 million, and Dem-leaning spending is already more than $5 million.

The RGA, meanwhile, has already spent $3 million this year alone on Walker’s reelection... .

You know, it's fascinating how alleged fiscal conservatives like the uber-rich Kochs are ever so willing to save politicians like Walker by throwing money at the problem. As for appropriating some money to fix some of the problems' of the general populace's problems? Not so much. But what does The Man himself have to say about the reasons behind all this scrambling and fantastically expensive campaigning? Walker, otherwise known in some circles as Gov. Perry Como (R-Somnambulent) offered up the following spin:

“I think it’s a matter of fatigue. People forget but this is, at best, a purple state, probably leans historically blue.”

Fatigue? Whose fatigue?! And who, precisely, s beginning to look very tired and out of step? Best get your cop-out explanations in better shape, Scotty, because even a billion dollars worth of Koch-lear implants won't suffice to fix your tin ear or improve your electoral chances.

Categories: MadCity Blogs

Latest "Gold Standard" Jobs Report Out... And... Drum Roll Please... Wisconsin Still Last

Uppity Wisconsin - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 1:48pm

In May, 2012, when his monthly jobs numbers were lagging, Walker referred to the "Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages" (the QCEW) as the "gold standard of jobs measurement."

Today, the lastest QCEW jobs report is out and, once again, it shows that since Scott Walker took office in 2011, Wisconsin is dead last in the midwest in job growth and 35th out of all states.

Even more disappointing is that during the past year, while neighbor Michigan led the entire country in manufacturing job growth, Wisconsin was ranked a pathetic 35th in that category, as well. 

Categories: MadCity Blogs

"So, the woman perhaps most responsible for putting the phrase 'war on women' into the political bloodstream is also now responsible for taking the rhetoric too far."

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:58am
Writes Nia-Malika Henderson in a WaPo piece titled "How gender mattered in the rise and fall of Debbie Wasserman Schultz."

The "too far" incident is the one we discussed here on September 3rd: "Debbie Wasserman Schultz says: 'Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand' and 'What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.'" And, the next day: "The violent imagery deployed against Scott Walker by Debbie Wasserman Shultz is gendered — it's domestic violence." ("Wasserman Schultz can be accused of subtly purveying a rape metaphor.")

We've also been discussing Wasserman Schultz's problems in this post from last night: "Democrats tire of Debbie Wasserman Schultz — especially her efforts to get them to pay for her clothes," in which I say: "She served their gender-based interests in 2012, and that's not the thing this year, so they launch a gender-based attack on her?"
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"Apple said Wednesday night that it is making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant...."

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:31am
"Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company — or anyone but the device’s owner — from gaining access to the vast troves of user data...."
"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data," Apple said on its Web site. "So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."Apple doesn't know our passcodes? 
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"Public university required students to submit sexual history or face disciplinary action."

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:18am
"Clemson is requiring students and faculty to complete an online course through a third party website that asks invasive questions about sexual history."
“How many times have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?” asks one question.

“With how many different people have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?” asks another....

“I don’t know what they’re doing with the data, but I’ve been told time and time again that the data that they are collecting, they aren't analyzing or using the data for anything, so then I don’t understand why they’re asking the questions either,” the student, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the university, went on to say.Sex and coercion.
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The Gathering Storm: Since May, WI Has Gone From a +12 Dem Advantage to a +3 GOP Advantage

Uppity Wisconsin - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:52am

In the Marquette Law School Poll released yesterday, the big take away wasn't that Mary Burke and Governor Scott Walker are tied among registered voters, it was the shocking revelation that for the first time in the Marquette poll's history, there was a Republican advantage in the sample of registered voters.

What does that mean?  Every poll is weighted in an attempt to accurately reflect the demographics of the total population.  In Mississippi, for example, we know that there are many more Republicans than Democrats and we have a good idea what the proportions should be based on previous elections. A poll in Mississippi, therefore, would be weighted with more Republican participants.  Of course, some voters change their minds, during the course of an election cycle, as to which political persuasion they lean towards.  So the challenge for a pollster is to take the evidence of who showed-up in previous elections and balance that with what the sample of any given poll is telling them and then try to come up with an appropriately weighted sample. 

Last May, the Marquette Law School Poll found that 51% of registered voter respondents said they thought of the themselves as Democrats or leaning towards Democrats, while 39% said Republicans and 8% maintained that were true independents. In the poll released yesterday, when asked the same question, 42% said they think of themselves closer to the GOP, 39% to Democrats and 15% maintained that they were true independents. 

That's an amazing 15 point swing.  Skeptical?  The poll's guru, Charles Franklin, says that you're right to be, but argues that the movement toward the GOP is showing up in all regions of Wisconsin and most demographic groups:

“People should be appropriately skeptical since it is always possible this sample is simply an outlier. However, the shift to more Republicans and fewer Democrats occurred across all regions of the state and most demographic groups, demonstrating that it was not a localized difference in response rates.”

Keep in mind, however, that although there is now a Republican advantage, the actual percentage of GOP voters have remained about the same--  the movement has all come from Democrats who have apparently slipped into the independent column.  

The shift to more self-identified Republicans means that the fact that Burke and Walker are tied is all the more amazing, because she's not swimming upstream-- she's swimming up white water rapids.  

So, how is Burke managing to hang in there?    She's been able to steal more Republicans than Walker is stealing Democrats.  From the last poll to this poll, Walker actually went down 6 points among Republicans, while Burke went up by five with them-- while at the same she has continued to pick up more Democrats.  If Burke had gained as much ground with independents as Walker since the last poll, she'd actually be ahead right now:

 

 

 

Categories: MadCity Blogs

"This dramatic announcement marks a sad and grim turn to the [Toronto Mayor Rob] Ford story, which always mixed tragic elements with heavy doses of the comic and the surreal."

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:26am
"These are the sort of dark reversals of fortune which probably haunt all of us, either about our loved ones or ourselves. I would feel remiss not saying that this latest development somehow continues the surreal nature of this man's public story, larger than life, almost operatic in its improbability and drama, almost difficult to even believe."

Josh Marshall, having had his fun with Ford, seems to feel a need to perform in the Theater of Purple Prose. Me, I've always ignored Ford. I didn't care to amuse myself with him when he was supposedly so amusing. Now, we learn he is one of the millions of human beings with cancer alive in the world today, and there's nothing I would "feel remiss not saying." If there was, I guarantee I wouldn't use that phrase.

ADDED: Getting cancer is not "operatic in its improbability." It may be improbable in the sense that it's more likely than not that you don't have cancer, but the likelihood is enough that there's nothing "operatic" about your number coming up. Maybe Josh Marshall is thinking of opera because of the stereotype that opera singers are fat and Rob Ford is both fat and afflicted with cancer of the fat.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Why the U.S. opposes Scottish independence (though we can't say much about it).

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:57am
CNN's Kevin Liptak explains.
All of Britain's nuclear weapons -- its only contribution to a Western nuclear deterrent -- are housed at the Royal Navy's base on Scotland's West Coast. A "yes" vote would throw into question the future of the Trident nuclear program, which consists of four Vanguard-class submarines armed with ballistic missiles on lease from the United States....

Also in dispute: an independent Scotland's ability -- and willingness -- to contribute to Western military coalitions, which have become ever-more visible as the U.S. rallies support behind its efforts against Russia and ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria....

In rejoining [NATO] Scotland would need to commit to spending 2% of its gross domestic product on defense spending, which given the uncertain economic outcome of an independence vote appears unachievable....

Perhaps the greatest fear for the United States is that a successful independence movement in Scotland could spark further movements in the rest of Europe. Potential breakaway regions in Spain and Belgium are already eyeing the Scottish vote carefully.ADDED: "Is it really imaginable today that if part of the United States genuinely wanted to secede, it would be stopped with the kind of violence we saw in the American Civil War?"
Categories: MadCity Blogs

"Even as a child, I didn't understand why Darren was so against using the magic."

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:44am
Wrote MayBee in the comments to last night's post marking the 50th anniversary of the premiere of "Bewitched." I answered:
It's an allegory of relations between the sexes. Darren wants to provide for his wife and protect her. He can't do that if she has powers, or so he thinks. Instead of working together to find a new way to live in which the woman can use her full powers and the man can still feel empowered, he forbade her to use them and she tried to live like that, but she nevertheless acted out on her frustration from time to time, though only to help make their traditional life together work out.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

"If our parents had not forced us to marry at such a young age, our lives would be so different."

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:32am
"Recently I spoke to a school friend who told me he was going to engineering college. The news left me feeling ashamed and pitiful.... would have liked to have gone to engineering school. If we were allowed to finish our educations, Rajkumari and I would have learned about family planning. Maybe I would have gone to college. Forcing children to marry doesn’t just push them deeper into poverty and threaten their health. It crushes their ambitions—whether they are girls or boys."

From "The Sad Hidden Plight of Child Grooms."
Categories: MadCity Blogs

"Reading insecurity. It is the subjective experience of thinking that you’re not getting as much from reading as you used to."

Althouse - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:16am
"It is deploring your attention span and missing the flow, the trance, of entering a narrative world without bringing the real one along. It is realizing that if Virginia Woolf was correct to call heaven 'one continuous unexhausted reading,' then goodbye, you have been kicked out of paradise."

But you won't read the whole thing. You've just enjoyed this juicy morsel, and who wants Virginia Woolf's heaven anyway? Maybe my next morsel is better than reading that whole thing, that whole thing that's about reading the whole thing. I might satisfy you with something sharper and clearer, like: If Virginia Woolf really thought heaven was sitting around reading continuously, why didn't she stay in her room reading instead of heading out to drown herself?

Enough! That's all I want to say here. I've got another blog post to write. Up there, above this. It's a better place, I'm sure.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Two goodbyes

Fighting Bob - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:00am
Pat Lucey’s memorial service and FightingBob.com’s sign-off remind us that dissent is essential and enemies are not.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Scott Walker and the GOP: Time for some election problems in Wisconsin

Uppity Wisconsin - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 8:44pm

When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office evidently decided to punish certain local government officials for not supporting him politically, the word went out from Christie's staff: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," referring to the crippling and otherwise unnecessary closing of lanes on a critical bridge serving the communities led by those contrary local officials.

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his hegemony-minded Republican colleagues decided to leave nothing to chance and began their push to suppress the votes of anyone who might support their political challengers through the ballot box, Team Walker sent out word of its own. The effective message: "Time for some election problems in Wisconsin."

Christie's gambit has not only caused him serious legal trouble, but also has damaged his plans to run for president. It remains to be seen whether Walker's similar ploy will wreck his own chances to win another term as governor or his ambition to run for president. In a just world, both politicians not only would be punished by voters; they'd also face the prospect of jail time for misconduct in public office.

Thanks to the Walker/GOP vote-suppression campaign, we in Badgerland are watching our election machinery grind to a screeching halt. The chief Republican weapon is the deliberately ill-conceived "Voter ID" law that is working its way through the courts but for now is again on track to limit the number of Wisconsin citizens who can cast a ballot -- and in such a way as to mainly limit voters presumed to oppose Walker and his partisan pals.

But, explain the Walker forces to an approving, conservative, federal judicial panel, we've fixed our Voter ID law to make it easier for people without the limitee forms of acceptable ID to go get such paper. Righhhhhht. If, that is, you have a car, and can find time during extremely limited weekday hours to travel to and stand in line at one of the state's sparsely distributed Divison of Motor Vehicles offices, and if you bring all the required proof of your identity. Then: wait and wait and wait, while the understaffed DMV processes your request, maybe not in time for the next election.

Accommodating the Wisconsin GOP's latest attempt at institutionalizing fear, uncertainty and doubt, the federal court's newest decision allows Voter ID to take hold for an election that is only weeks away, ensuring mass confusion and throwing into question the acceptance of more than 11,000 absentee ballots that were already filed before that ruling. Re-processing those ballots could cost state and local election authorities precious time, and money that has not been budgeted.

Nevertheless, and seemingly without self-awareness, Walker and company also extended their vote-suppression scheme with the strange complaint that the state's most overworked election offices have expended too much time and money helping people vote -- especially in places like Milwaukee, where majorities typically don't vote Republican. Which is why the Walkerites not-so-helpfully limited the period during which people can cast their votes in advance, and also selectively limited the hours and locations that election offices can accept absentee ballots, in a way that discriminates against Democratic urban areas.

Because, apparently in the Walker-flavored GOP mindset, voting by some citizens should not only be hard, it should be next to impossible. Hello, neo-Jim Crow laws that spit on the voting rights of minorities, along with seniors and other disadvantaged and -- oh, yeah -- Democratic voters. Republicans have, in short, taken the federal government's "Help America Vote" Act and tweaked it, creating the "Help America Vote Republican" Act.

When Chris Christie's lieutenants announced to their enforcers that it was time for some traffic problems, they unwittingly fashioned a figurative noose that still strangles the political future of their boss. Let's hope that the GOP's decision that it was time for some election problems in Wisconsin causes Walker and his self-serving party equal grief. In a just and equitable Wisconsin, Walker's willful messing with democracy should result in punishment, not reward.

UPDATE: And now comes the latest election-related effort by Republicans to obfuscate, confuse and (this is often overlooked) motivate. I'm referring to the state GOP lawsuit complaining that the non-partisan Government Accountability Board is redesigning the fall ballot. The GOP is overtly suggesting this wlll help Democratic candidates. Go look at the most recent ballot and the new draft ballot.  Obviously, what really annoys the GOP is that the Democratics are listed first, but that's based on a rule that has in past elections likewise benefitted Republicans. You see, a boon should always go to Republicans but never Democratics. It's a stupid lawsuit, but it gives GOP politicians and their enablers the chance to complain some more about another made-up threat (hint: it's not a conspiracy, even if the GOP implies otherwise). The lawsuit merely gives the GOP a way to throw more red meat at its dwindling base of supporters while possibly throwing the legitimacy of the election up into the air, a la Florida 2000. If you can't win, the GOP says, cry fraud. Before and after the election.

Categories: MadCity Blogs

Democrats tire of Debbie Wasserman Schultz — especially her efforts to get them to pay for her clothes.

Althouse - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 5:53pm
Politico reports.
Wasserman Schultz is a high-profile national figure who helped raise millions of dollars and served as a Democratic messenger to female voters during a presidential election in which Obama needed to exploit the gender gap to win, but November’s already difficult midterms are looming.

One example that sources point to as particularly troubling: Wasserman Schultz repeatedly trying to get the DNC to cover the costs of her wardrobe. In 2012, Wasserman Schultz attempted to get the DNC to pay for her clothing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, multiple sources say, but was blocked by staff in the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters and at President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago.

She asked again around Obama’s inauguration in 2013, pushing so hard that Obama senior adviser — and one-time Wasserman Schultz booster — Valerie Jarrett had to call her directly to get her to stop....  One more time, according to independent sources with direct knowledge of the conversations, she tried again, asking for the DNC to buy clothing for the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.Wasserman Schultz denies it. But what's going on here? Who are these sources that have it in for Debbie? She served their gender-based interests in 2012, and that's not the thing this year, so they launch a gender-based attack on her? It is a gender-based attack, don't you think? Is a woman behind this attack? The only name I see named is Valerie Jarrett. What's up with the Democratic Party? If you make women your stock in trade, you'd better watch out for women against women.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

"A fetching suburban house­witch in the person of Elizabeth Montgomery ar­rived on the television screen last night in a series entitled 'Bewitched.'"

Althouse - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 5:38pm
For "last night," read: 50 years ago tonight.
Both Miss Montgomery and [Dick] York are extremely at­tractive and personable and there is a durable element of fun in watching someone out of this world solve life's mundane problems by making them go away with a snap of the fingers or a twitch of the mouth....

Agnes Moorehead is play­ing Miss Montgomery's moth­er and, with more substan­tial scenes in the installments to come, should be a reward­ing figure as a senior witch given to disdain for human ways. “Bewitched” promises to be a bright niche of popu­lar TV. And so it was, for 8 years. Note that the above-quoted NYT review accurately says "twitch of the mouth." We were tricked, perhaps by witchcraft, into thinking we were looking at a twitch of the nose.



MORE: Thoughts on why Darren didn't accept Samantha's use of witchcraft here.
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Another Great Weekend in Madison

Paul Soglin: Waxing America - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:35pm
There’s never a shortage of things to do in Madison! This past weekend there were so many impressive community events. On Friday night I spoke at the OutReach 40th Anniversary Banquet. OutReach was one of the nation’s first LGBT Community Centers when it was founded in 1973. I was proud to be a part of their event and honor their dedication to fighting for equality in the LGBT community. I also spoke to the great crowd at Fighting Bob Fest....
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Joe Biden emails: "Hold your breath, Ann."

Althouse - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:35pm
Yes, it's just another email from democraticparty@democrats.org. Who knows who decides which Democrat's name to use to heighten the impression that I'm getting personal attention? But these creepy subject lines!  "Hold your breath, Ann." And 2 days ago, I got one "from" Barack Obama with the subject line: "Almost out of time, Ann."

And the thing is: It's meant to be scary. Not scary in the way these words seem most clearly to evoke, like someone is trying to kill me. But scary in the sense that I'm supposed to feel threatened by the possibility that Republicans will win in the fall elections.

And by the way, where's the trigger alert? What if I — like many of the women pandered to by the Democrats' gender politics — was afraid of some stalker ex-boyfriend? Glancing at "Almost out of time, Ann" or "Hold your breath, Ann" in my inbox would horrify me. What the hell is wrong with these people? Where's the empathy?
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