December 27, 2011

WMC chair lays off 450 workers

Via One Wisconsin Now. Sad. You remember WMC, they're the gang of cheap dissemblers that got the unethical judge Mike Gableman elected.

December 22, 2011

December 21, 2011

Wisconsin's 2012 Leaders in the Law

Inter alios, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi.

Hear, hear. Most emphatically. And shame on the conservative Republican authors of the Wisconsin Supreme Court's June 14 unsigned "miscellaneous order" for their shabby treatment of Judge Sumi.

Also, SPD Ellen Berz. That can't hurt.

h/t Capper.

Charlie Sykes writes what he knows

"Charlie himself was — by his own definition — a moocher."

December 20, 2011

Which flavor of Christianity promotes lying?

Because my friend Jay a.k.a. Folkbum is wondering.

(My guess is it's the conservative Republican flavors.)

Sykes is WTMJ's biggest angry white man asset

620 WTMJ Can Run But It Can't Hide — Learned counsel Mike Plaisted

(The "ridiculous J.T. Harris" was on Sykes's teevee clown show Sunday.)
After that, the [620 WTMJ] morning team handed Walker off to — you guessed it — Charlie Sykes, who "interviewed" the governor in the same studio, with the extra enhancements, I would hope, of mood music, scented candles and flavored oil for the romantic encounter to follow.
Haha. That's my pal.

The sleazy saga of Mike Gableman continues

By Bruce Murphy.

More accurately, Gableman was unsuccessful in having the Judicial Commission's complaint against him dismissed. It remains pending.

And the black letter law of admissible evidence is not a "technicality."

Earlier: "I'm aware of a story involving another justice."
Earlier: Who will be the next Wisconsin special prosecutor

Where is that investigation.

Justice David Prosser on Gableman's ethical breaches: "Get over it."

Yeah I don't think so.

Fact checkers fall prey to false equivalence

Steve Benen: PolitiFact ought to be ashamed of itself

December 19, 2011

Wisconsin: Why isn't Gableman being recalled?

"Appearance of impropriety" is a dead, legal fiction 'round here.
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in two cases cast the deciding vote in favor of parties represented by a law firm that gave him tens of thousands of dollars of free legal services, a review of State records shows. — By Patrick Marley.
Tens of thousands of dollars worth. For free.

Thank heavens it wasn't a Speed Queen rib.

Except nothing is for free, is it.
"That's a judgment call," Rick Esenberg said.*
Naturally. Rick Esenberg and his then-research assistant at the Marquette University Law School stumped extensively for Gableman. Esenberg even appeared in a video for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which spent like the bejeezus getting Gableman elected.

Rick Esenberg should have declined to comment. It does not look good on him that he did, considering his status as an enthusiastic Gableman surrogate. This blog has been following Gableman's antics for four years.

Kind of a sordid anniversary ain't it.

I was still an idealist in those days. No more.

* "Thanks for the golden insight, Rick." — Mike Plaisted


Stay classy, you Disciples of Scott Walker

Two arrested for allegedly spitting on recall workers in Iowa County

Volunteers need rabies shots now or what.

Contribute now: $6.20 Walker-TMJ Radio


Earlier: Graeme Zielinski touches a Journal Broadcasting nerve

December 18, 2011

Hey I found the god who blesses Charlie Sykes

APATE was the spirit of deceit, guile, fraud and deception.

Wondered which one it was.

Earlier: "God bless you, Charlie Sykes."

Jake's on a roll

Milwaukee, Madison papers cop out, and other media BS


Everyone realized possibility of recall elections

Is what it says here.

Everyone except for the lawyers who drafted Wisconsin's redistricting.

Whoops. Maybe the people can look into backcharging Michael Best.

Damn straight that's what a "job creator" would do.

Of Michael Best's "horn book" Civil Procedure

Looky here:
Because the Wisconsin Supreme Court tied over the ethics complaint, Gableman couldn't argue to the board that he had won and the State should cover his fees, Michael Best & Friedrich's chief attorney Jonathan Margolies said in the letter.
Well. Isn't that something. I have been saying for years that Mike Gableman failed to win his ethics case, because the three-judge panel below the Supreme Court convened on Gableman's motion for summary judgment, and pursuant to his own motion, Gableman was unsuccessful. And it also happens to be a conclusion in which Justice N. Patrick Crooks, who has been a judge for more than three decades, concurs.

(I reckon Crooks, J. knows a thing or eleventeen about legal procedure.)

Therefore does the ethics complaint against Gableman remain pending.

Mr. Margolies might presumably know better than anybody, as it was one of his colleagues at Michael Best who participated in Gableman's defense.* This space's conclusion was based on an examination of the statutory framework governing the civil procedure with which the State deals with ethics allegations against judges. This space does not make substantive legal claims without having undertaken such examinations.

So it amuses me no end to recall that Richard Esenberg, a professor of the law at Marquette University, would criticize me by asserting that my view of the Gableman case's procedural posture was informed merely by "a reference to horn book Civil Procedure" which "does not cut it here."

A "horn book" is something like a Cliff's Notes that first-year law students use to prepare for exams. Esenberg is billed as a "prominent Milwaukee attorney" by Wisconsin Public Radio but his condescension on occasion most certainly does not comport with that description.

Now perhaps Esenberg can direct his scorn at MB&F's chief attorney.

I am always suspicious of Esenberg's claims, and you should be too. Yet Wisconsin Public Radio and other local media outlets continue to present him as a disinterested academic, whereas he's as partisan as they come.

Esenberg's former research assistant's claims are mighty lame as well.**

Feet of the master and all that, apparently. Laughable.

* At no charge, as it turns out. And a classy defense it was indeed.

** I trust that was the end of atrocious legal analysis from the faculty blog, since Prof. Esenberg is abdicated as one of the website's editors.

Reince Priebus thanks Charlie Sykes for all the lies

"God bless you, Charlie Sykes."

That would be the famous "trickster God" of theology, evidently.

Meet your GOP presidential frontrunner

Newt Gingrich Would Send U.S. Marshals To Arrest 'Activist' Judges*

Gingrich, during last week's Iowa Republican debate, called 9th Circuit Judge Alfred T. Goodwin "radically un-American." Judge Goodwin is a US Army veteran of World War II. Newt Gingrich is what's known as a chickenhawk. I would like to see Newt tell it to Judge Goodwin's face.

* Perhaps Gingrich has retained Jim Troupis.

MacGyver Institute "ignores critical facts"

We asked MacGyver spokesman Brian Fraley* if he had evidence beyond the video to back the group's claim. He said he did not.
What else is new.

* And Bradley Foundation "intellectual."

Journal-Sentinel editorial board is "appall[ed]"

So the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board is "appall[ed]" that Wisconsin Dems spox Graeme Zielinski would point out that the fake drumbeat of recall election fraud emanates loudest from the paper's sister broadcasting and cable teevee companies. But it's the truth.

Meanwhile the paper acts as surrogate for a WISGOP fronting, phony news outfit's sleazy rumors and innuendo, and it's "appall[ed]" at GZ?

Who are they trying to kid.

Where's their editorial on professional responsibility?

eta: Proving Zielinski's point, among the guests on Charlie Sykes's TMJ-4 clown show this morning is Media Trackers sleazemonger Brian Sikma.

You tell 'em, Lori Compas

Contra WISGOP's tediously bogus shouting point:
"It's an offense to all of us who are working so hard to be sure that our efforts reflect the will of the people. To say that we're accepting signatures from Mickey Mouse, it's absolutely not true."
Wisconsin Senate recall efforts on pace

A Brawler Quartet

Four from the Brawler:

Why can't GOP see signatures early? Ask the Schenks
The Bush administration looked for, didn't find voter fraud in Milwaukee
Rick Esenberg: Fraud paranoia for me, but not for thee
Was Wisconsin a welfare magnet?

December 17, 2011

More WTMJ Reward Scott Walker gewgaws

Bisphenol A-Free! Help Save the Planet!
To minimize unwanted tastes and scents, the inside [of the Journal Broadcasting WTMJ Charlie Sykes Reward Scott Walker Sigg Water Bottle] is lined with a water-based, non-toxic epoxy resin that is compliant with FDA anti-leaching requirements.
Because damned federal regulations are throttling our job creators.

lolzJokers is exactly right.

Zielinski touches a Journal Broadcasting nerve

Creating 250,000 jobs ... in Red Communist China

After Wisconsin Dems spokesman Graeme Zielinski went on AM 620 WTMJ yesterday and treated a pair of radio hosts to a blinding glimpse of the obvious — that the station is a continuous shill for conservative Republicans in power — its teevee corollary, Today's TMJ-4, ran this as its lead story. "It got ugly," sez the Journal Communications, Inc. subsidiary, because Zielinski referred to Scott Walker as a "joker." Journal Broadcast Group Vice President Steve Wexler "thought it was odd" that Graeme Zielinski "critique[d] our programming." Hahaha.

Is Steve Wexler a joker too? See that there pic?

Mr. Wexler is literally selling those on dry goods and gewgaws.*

They sure think we're stupid, don't they.

* Note the metric system, favored by socialist regimes worldwide. And, here's an interesting item on Hanesbrands, the manufacturers of WTMJ's Scott Walker swag, shipping American jobs off to China.

So, yeah, "jokers" is a pretty good fit. And a grotesque understatement.

eta 01: "Throw a blazer over later for country club mingling."

That would be your Charlie Sykes/Scott Walker public relations geniuses.

eta 02: [Most Excellent] Post by Jake.

December 16, 2011

Jeremiah Wright's Beethoven Scherzo Challenge

Some time ago erstwhile Barack Obama Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright delivered this nonsensical sermon about European classical music, and in particular its alleged lack of rhythmic imagination. As it's Beethoven's 241st birthday, here is his Op. 18 No. 6 String Quartet in B-flat Major, Third Movement Scherzo. It's in 3/4 time so Jeremiah Wright's Challenge is to count along, clapping on the first beat of each measure. Try it.

Graeme Zielinski v. You guys

Go get 'em tiger.

Screw Journal Broadcast Group.

Both cases need to be laughed out of court

It is utterly unremarkable anymore that the state Republican Party has such disrespect for the law. As if we needed any more reasons to recall them.
I concur.

December 15, 2011

Gableman has easy defense to latest imbroglio

Michael Gableman received free legal service worth [tens of] thousands of dollars from one of Wisconsin's largest law firms [Michael Best & Friedrich] as it defended him against an ethics charge. The state's ethics code says state officials cannot receive anything of value for free because of their position.
As Mike Gableman received that something of value not — strictly speaking — because of his position but because of acting inconsistent with his position he should be free and clear. Good to go. Covered in glory. This firm has some pretty sweet deals with the WISGOP alright.

Gableman is tasked with supervising the ethics of the State's attorneys.

Of course I repeat myself but that is the darkest joke in all Wisconsin.
Gableman ran an ad ... [that] did not mention that Butler was unsuccessful in getting the offender out of prison early ...
Except Butler's objective was not whatsoever to get the offender out of prison early but rather his objective was to have evidence excluded because the black letter law commanded its exclusion and to not have sought its exclusion would have been an ethics violation on Butler's part.

Contra Gableman, Louis Butler is a professional, and a gentleman.

That Gableman purportedly understood all this contributed to his lie. The justices who voted against Gableman's position certainly understood it.

Bloody Hell

In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens.

Amazing fellow, marvelous writer.

DWD: Trust us, we have no idea what we're doing

Scott Walker's Department of Workforce Development claims it's got the most accurate jobs reports, but then immediately admits:
[O]ur state needs an accurate jobs reporting system that allows us to understand the trends without unnecessarily alarming the state’s job seekers and job creators.
So lemme get this straight. If you need an accurate jobs reporting system, then that means you don't have an accurate jobs reporting system, yet we're supposed to rely on the accuracy of your jobs reports that are somehow conjured without an accurate jobs reporting system.

Sounds like they've taken to baffling themselves with their own bullshit.

Them's the only ones left to baffle, once everybody else has caught on.

Not even the Walker-endorsing Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is buying it:
Wisconsin lost private-sector jobs for the fifth consecutive month in November, the same months that the nation has been adding private-sector jobs, according to a report Thursday from the state Department of Workforce Development.
Nor, however, does the MJS mention the DWD's remarkable admission.

That tidbit should be the lead paragraph, accompanied by the fact that the mighty Scott Walker administration has had nearly a year to put together an accurate jobs reporting system and it still doesn't have one.

If this failure occurred in the private sector, heads would surely roll.

The Assembly Committee on Judiciary and Ethics

The Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Judiciary and Ethics is holding a public hearing this morning at 10:30. Among the agenda items is a proposal to make Chief Justice an elected position (currently it's awarded by seniority).* As there are four conservative Republicans on the Supreme Court, which is composed of seven justices, it's obvious what the resolution's sponsors are up to. For some reason Republicans harbor an intense dislike for the present Chief Justice, Shirley Abrahamson, and would like to see her replaced.** Ironically, three of those four Republicans have had their problems pursuant to the conjunction of "judiciary" and "ethics." Justice Annette Ziegler was publicly reprimanded for violating ethics guidelines. Justice David Prosser is now the subject of a Wisconsin Judicial Commission investigation concerning allegations he was involved in a physical altercation with one of his colleagues. And then of course there is Mike Gableman, the poster boy for Wisconsin's code of judicial ethics, which Gableman believes unconstitutionally abridges his First Amendment right to defamation.

Here's hoping someone raises these issues at today's hearing.

The resolution's partisan sponsors are pretty much asking for it.

* Among the resolution's sponsors is Senator Leah Vukmir, who called Justice Sonia Sotomayor and former Justice David Souter "dim bulbs."

Most lawyers can only aspire to be so dim. Funny thing is, Justice Souter wrote a watershed opinion*** a few years ago, which Vukmir has most likely never even heard of, raising the bar for prospective civil plaintiffs. In other words, it acts as a heightened guarantee against the "frivolous suits" that Leah Vukmir et al are otherwise so fond of bellyaching over.

So you tell me who's the dim bulb in this array. It ain't David Souter.

** Probably because she's brilliant, and this necessarily offends them.

*** I understand citations to it broak teh Lexis-Nexis, as the kids say.

Ann Althouse: Recalls are all about MEEEEEEE!

"I am especially concerned about the appropriation of names of people (like me) who did not sign." — Ann Althouse, law professor
Then go apply for one of the temporary jobs with the GAB. The Board is only concerned about "concealed zealots," not openly ridiculous zealots.

Where was all this handwringing about verifying petition signatures when the Republicans were trying to recall Democratic Senators last summer?*

Nowhere to be found, obviously.

* Republican efforts failed on each and every account. Meanwhile Democrats successfully replaced two Republicans in the State Senate, yet it was the latter that was widely characterized as the failure. Seriously.

Ellen Berz for Dane County Circuit Judge

No brainer.

Republicans love to politicize judicial elections* and when April rolls around, being a "Walker appointee" will not be the most enviable thing in the world. As for Mr. Remington, do you think being an assistant attorney general will be a premise for heaping scorn, as it was for Mike Gableman and Charlie Sykes when they criticized JoAnne Kloppenburg?

Me neither.

* "Non-partisan," by law. That's a laugh.

Why can't Scott Walker tell the truth?

It can't be all that difficult, can it?

Eagle Scout, preacher's son, yadda yadda yadda. Biotch please.

December 14, 2011

Part June Cleaver, part meat cleaver

Wisconsin protester Joanne StaudacherTIME's Person of the Year

Speaking of your Bradley Foundation intellectuals

Who could forget this all-times classic:
Although the authors of the WPRI Report argue that "[m]ost of the empirical research done on retail gasoline markets suggests that the primary problem in the market is not predatory pricing, but rather a propensity towards price collusion," there is no evidence in the WPRI Report of any actual collusion in the Wisconsin motor vehicle fuel market. — Seventh Circuit Ct. App.
Price collusion = voter fraud.

Meet your Bradley Foundation intellectuals

The thing about voter fraud is it's just like rape. It happens more than you hear it does because not every victim comes forward to report it.

And that is why Republicans can't report any voter fraud. The end.

December 13, 2011

Scott Walker not concerned about investigation

Arrested realtor moved 130,000 square feet for WISGOP law firm
[Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker has maintained that he is not concerned about the investigation because he has followed the high standards given to him by his parents.
What a hoot.

And a hell of a thing to do to your brand new communications director.

Who killed Bambi?

Walker appointee Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp is who.

Fulfilling? Whatever turns you on I guess.

Edward Tudor-Pole — Who Killed Bambi?

h/t James Rowen.

Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's minimum wage Senator

"Bottom line, when you're a good worker, you don't stay minimum wage for long." — Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson
Bottom line, Ron Johnson does stay minimum wage Senator.

Ruthelle Frank v. Scott Walker

Nice law you got there, WISGOP.
Plaintiff Ruthelle Frank is an 84-year-old Caucasian resident of Brokaw, Wisconsin, where she has served on the Village Board since 1996, and an eligible voter registered to vote in Wisconsin. She has no accepted form of photo ID under the photo ID law and lacks a certified copy of her birth certificate, which she needs to prove citizenship to the Wisconsin [Dept. of Motor Vehicles]. Ms. Frank was born at her home in Brokaw in 1927. Though she has never possessed a birth certificate, upon information and belief, the state Register of Deeds has a record of her birth and could produce a certified copy of her birth certificate at a charge. However, that record bears an incorrect spelling of her maiden name: Wedepohl. The process to amend a birth certificate is lengthy and costly, with some reports suggesting it might require $200 or more. She has voted in every election since 1948 and intends to vote in Wisconsin again next year.
And sixteen others, versus Scott Walker.

Yes, let's make your First Amendment right burdensome and costly.

And why? Because of Jim Ott and those similarly situated's phantasies.

Meet your Scott Walker disciples

Fred Frisby of — where else — Brookfield, Waukesha County.

"Mooching," eh? Sounds familiar.

December 12, 2011

Make minimum wage? You're not a good worker.

"Bottom line, when you're a good worker, you don't stay minimum wage for long." — Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson
Easy for him to say, he married into millions. He's also an enormous hypocrite and thinks the Constitution's Executive Power belongs to him.

And for this jackanapes we replaced Russ Feingold. Pure insanity.

Ron Johnson Communist China Economic Certainty Travel Mug

Charlie Sykes, risible suburban hypocrite

Medium wave spokesmodel Charlie Sykes provides an excerpt from his latest mendacious anthology of wing-nut wisdom, A Nation of Moochers.

How about Charlie Sykes and his corporate paymasters commandeering the public airwaves to shill and literally sell merchandise connecting conservative Republican Governor Scott Walker with the publicly-owned frequency? Somehow the most substantial mooching goes unmentioned.

Come on. How can anyone possibly take this character seriously.

Top conservative blargher writes real good

Right-wing blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson:
The Tea Party has lined up strongly in favor of Senator Ron Johnson in against Establishment- favorite Roy Blunt for in the race Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
That's the first sentence (I didn't read the rest — are you kidding).


h/t WisOpinion.

December 7, 2011

Milwaukee Co. district attorney "sloppy" at best

At best the wording of [ADA Bruce Landgraf's] letter was cumbersome and sloppy. At worst it was written with the purposeful intent to lead the readers of the letter (including journalists and the general public) into believing that [MacGyver dude] consulted and coordinated with [Media Trackers dude] and then provided the DA with the name of Media Trackers’ source.
Via MacGyver.

I'm sure they'll get their "correction" as soon as Chris Liebenthal gets his.

Obama's War on Christmas goes ecumenical

You'd think the furthest wing-nuts would appreciate his War on Islam.

Rick Perry may not be ashamed he's a Christian but Christians must be.

By golly, you can say that again.

And again and again and again and again. And forever.
"Some media need to be a lot more careful about reporting from claims that are stirred up or made up by a discredited right-wing fake media group." — Michael Lauer of Wisconsin Jobs Now
Via Daniel Bice.

Why Wisconsin Right to Life was not charged

Further to yesterday's blargh entry, "Bribes" are a wash.

To recap, here's the operative portion of WRtL's email:
The Wisconsin Right to Life and Family Action coalition is offering rewards for volunteers who make an impact over the weekend by educating and encouraging family and friends to vote by absentee ballot. Here are the rewards: $25 Gift Card for any volunteer who can get at least 15 pro-life/pro-family voters to complete an Absentee Ballot Application dated by Tuesday, July 5th.
This is the assistant district attorney's own condensation of the statute:
(1m) Any person who does any of the following violates this chapter:

(a) Offers [or] gives ... anything of value ... to ... any elector, or to ... any other person, in order to induce any elector to ...[v]ote or refrain from voting.
Offer or give. Give or offer. That is, whether the thing of value is given or offered, each action is equally violative of the statute. It is not more violative to give than to offer, nor is it worse to offer than to give.

Yesterday ADA Landgraf decided that it is worse to give than to offer.

Moreover, he decided that it is worse to request than to offer, even though the statute says absolutely nothing about any requesting. And in the course of deciding so, he characterized the statute as follows: "The 'thing of value' need only induce the elector to vote." Italics are his.

Except that is not at all what the statute says. The inducement — or "encouragement," if you will — obtains from the any other person who is offered the thing of value. Contra the ADA's reading, it is not the "thing of value" that provides the inducement to vote; rather, it's the "any other person" who was offered the thing of value who performs the inducement to vote. The latter action is WRtL's "encouragement."

Any person offers a thing of value to any other person, who in turn "induces" an elector to vote. There are three parties in the statute.

I continue to see no way to deny that and it should probably be fixed.

Notably, part of Mr. Landgraf's analysis involves postulating a set of hypotheticals that are very much unlike the circumstances before him. For example he imagines a rally featuring "a national recording artist who would otherwise perform only for persons paying far in excess of a $1 admission fee." That's entirely unlike WRtL's offer, to coin a phrase.

But on the other hand Landgraf concludes that, "fact patterns that are not entirely unlike those presented here may well violate the Election Bribery statute, even if Absentee Balloting is involved." So why not charge WRtL? Throughout Landgraf's analysis, he denotes both what he perceives as the lack of clear guidance in the language of the statute itself and the fact that "no judicial opinions offer guidance to help answer" the question, "What does it mean to induce an elector to vote?"

So should there be a judicial opinion, or will the ADA's opinion suffice?

I expect there will eventually be a judicial opinion, just not today.

I will note that Black's Law Dictionary, 7th ed., defines inducement as "enticing or persuading another person to take a certain course of action." The word WRtL uses is "encourage." The Pocket OAD, 2nd ed., defines induce as "persuade or influence someone to do something."

Encourage means "give support, confidence, or hope to someone," or "help an activity, belief, etc., to develop." That's not "inducement"?

Additionally, the Milwaukee County district attorney's investigation unearthed a trove of correspondence among WRtL, its partner Wisconsin Family Action, and those groups' "family and friends," detailing the two outfits' objectives. Not only were those outfits' efforts directed at inducing voting, and not only were they directed at inducing voting for sympathetic candidates, they were directed at inducing voting for a specific, named candidate: Republican Senator Alberta Darling.

The longer view takes into consideration the fact that ADA Landgraf had two separate cases on his hands: the one involving WRtL and another involving Wisconsin Jobs Now, which was organizing van rides for prospective voters to City Hall at the starting point to which there was available "refreshments" ("barbeque") if one wanted them. In the latter case Landgraf acknowledged — through testimony provided by, of all people, Media Trackers, which had previously accused Wisconsin Jobs Now of "multiple violations of election law" — there were none of the connections between the three parties contemplated by the statute.

The ADA also makes much of the fact that Wisconsin Jobs Now is aligned with Democratic interests, while Wisconsin Right to Life is aligned with Republican interests (specifically, its interests in incumbent Republican Senator Alberta Darling). Whereas the ADA finds not only no connection between WJN and any specific candidate, he finds no connection between WJN and any specific political party. And whereas WRtL admits its connection to and support of a specific candidate, despite a depiction of its activities as "issue ad[vertising]" which, in another area of election law, is by definition the antithesis of named-candidate advertising.

Landgraf also emphasizes the fact that each of the legal memoranda he solicited from both Wisconsin Right to Life and Wisconsin Jobs Now tended to exonerate from prosecution the activities of the other.

In short the sense conveyed by ADA Landgraf's letter to the circuit court judge is that this escapade, as a whole, is a wash. Offsetting penalties, by the gridiron analogy. Personally I still find the "barbeque" and the "gift cards" circumstances very much distinguishable as applied to the plain terms of the election bribery statute. Mr. Landgraf admits as much but eschews a "common sense" approach in favor of, among other relatively nebulous and extra-textual concepts, his hypothetical situations.

The ADA wasn't wrong — arguably his conclusion not to prosecute isn't unreasonable nor an abuse of his discretion — and it clearly was not an easy decision to arrive at. I reckon that but not for the "barbeque," WRtL would have gotten served a criminal complaint. So thanks to the heroes at Media Trackers — whose own testimony proved that its own accusations were complete bullshit — and the MacGyvers, who seemingly induced the Media Trackers "barbeque" witness* after another Media Trackers principal "refused to cooperate" with the DA's investigation.

In brief: Legal bullet dodged, because politics. They are often difficult to extricate from one another, there remains little question about that.

* Who testified he never even saw, let alone ate, any barbeque. Indeed, Mr. Landgraf's report is worth reading as much for its legal commentary as for its objective portrayal of Media Trackers' pathetic dishonesty.

December 6, 2011

Speaking of legal writing ...

This is quite possibly the best brief I have ever read.

By these folks.

Scott Walker got his political parties all mixed up

Claims Democrats have paid petitioners, except it was Republicans.

I'm pretty much convinced Governor Scott Walker thinks we're idiots.

Kelda Helen Roys et al letter to Mike Huebsch

Dear Sec. Huebsch:
The executive branch may not act as a gatekeeper to determine which speech or speakers are permissible, which should be allowed only with fees, or which may use public space.
Well stated.

Also, beets, the vegetable.

Calling all grammarians: Help wanted

Should the Court, however, determine that it is within this Court's discretion to appoint a three-judge panel, and instruct that panel to accept the redistricting challenges set forth in the (now-withdrawn) Petition or to defer in light of the pending federal action. — Wisconsin Dept. of Justice, Response etc.*
What do you call that, a dangling antecedent?

Maybe I need a grammarian and a logician. Or maybe the DoJ does.

* Another panel, the federal court in question, noted that the same author "skirt[ed] the line of being intemperate and unduly combative."

Which is nevertheless preferable to being incomprehensible, imho.

Reporter: "Now Lena Taylor's mad at me."

Journal Communications, Inc.'s TMJ-4 teevee's latest report.

Don't let these reporters, who lay down with and continue to lie down with Media Trackers, make this story into one all about themselves.

This story is about false accusations of criminality, from which Media Trackers is attempting to beat a hasty retreat to concern trolling, by now claiming it's just relieved Sen. Taylor wasn't taken advantage of.

Milwaukee ADA concludes: "Bribes" are a wash

According to Daniel Bice:
Wisconsin Right to Life had been accused of offering rewards for volunteers who signed up sympathetic voters in the State Senate recall races. The investigation found that no one actually ended up requesting or receiving the gift or gas cards being offered.
Except the law doesn't require "actual" requesting or receiving.

Oh well. That's prosecutorial discretion for ya.
Landgraf: "[T]hey were acting in good faith."
I'll concede WRtL was acting in faith, but sans the qualifier.

eta: ADA Landgraf's review.*

Reportedly some alleged conservatives are celebrating its liberal statutory construction. As is their wont: only when it's convenient.

* The Media Trackers (pp. 4-6) testimony is pretty hilarious. Its "operative," Colin Roth,** managed to help convince Landgraf to hold Wisconsin Jobs Now! — which outfit Media Trackers had previously accused of "flagrant violations of the law" — harmless. Good work.

Yet Media Trackers continues with its false accusations elsewhere.

So while I'm disappointed Landgraf didn't file charges — the case would have been fascinating on appeal — his letter is chock full of MT comedy.

** s/b Collin, apparently.

Media Trackers: "Our attorneys stand prepared."

Where were they before Mr. Sikma started publishing malicious lies?

Less than prepared, evidently.

Here's what Marquette professor of law Rick Esenberg had to say:
Any suggestion that there is either an action for defamation against either [Media Trackers' Brian Sikma or 620 AM WTMJ's Charlie Sykes] or the basis for a criminal charge is wildly off base given the nature of their remarks and applicable law.
Which was in response [sic] to this:
You said: It was not wrong for Media Trackers to raise the issue.

This outfit did much more than simply raise the issue. Media Trackers' "conservative media analyst" — that's the undeservedly hifalutin title conferred by Wisconsin Public Radio, which devoted an utterly pointless half an hour to him the other day — Brian Sikma reportedly told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "[Lena Taylor] was, in fact, an accessory to one felon voting on April 5."

And your good pal Charlie Sykes wrote: "Are [Democrats] all fine with Lena Taylor, a respected member of their party in the legislature, being an accessory to voter fraud?"

According to Freer v. Marshall & Ilsley Corp., 2004 WI App 201, "'imputation of certain crimes' to the plaintiff" raises a cause of action for defamation in Wisconsin. And there is a certain crime in Wisconsin that would fit Sikma's and Sykes's accusation of "accessory to voter fraud," described in Wis. Stat. § 12.13(1)(h).
Prof. Esenberg offered zero support for his dismissive handwaving.

But who knows, maybe he will be one of Brian Sikma's attorneys.*

In the meantime Mr. Sikma appears intent on measuring the homeless shelter's clothesline, to ensure it's up to municipal building code snuff.

I mean, those homeless people must be guilty of something, right?

* And if so, courtesy the Bradley Foundation, completing the circle.

Wisconsin Rep. Jim Ott on "voter fraud"

"Other people believe there's significant [voter] fraud. There's a lot of people that feel that there is." — Rep. Jim Ott, 11.15.11
This character is a powerful Republican committeeman.

And here's what his brand of fact-free idiocy has wrought.

December 5, 2011

Clutch on "voter fraud"

Dear Professor Esenberg,
I'd be particularly interested in evidence of commentators who moreover believe that voter fraud simply can't happen. That would be a pretty remarkable position to take. Arguments against those people would be super-easy to develop. Easier, perhaps, than arguing against people who actually exist.
So, so funny.

John McAdams affirms WRtL broke the law

Reports Today's TMJ-4:
"This is slightly different, in that, it was paying people to cast absentee ballots, but not paying the voters to cast absentee ballots," said Marquette Political Science Professor John McAdams.
What expertise John McAdams brings to a legal question gawd only knows, but he manages to make the argument better than I could.

I mean, assuming "people," like corporations, are persons. Read that one more time: What Wisconsin Right to Life did, says John McAdams, is pay people to cast absentee ballots, but as long as it didn't pay voters to cast absentee ballots, WRtL is free and clear. And remember, this guy is a university professor, widely quoted as an authority in the local press.

Who can't possibly be listening to a word he says, which are gibberish.

May the saints preserve us.
A decision could come as soon as Tuesday morning.
Okay so I was off by 24 hours.

Enjoy some vintage McAdams: I'm huntin' wascawwy wesbians.

Statement of Senator Lena Taylor

For the past two weeks, my family and I have been defamed and accused of crimes by Media Trackers and by members of the mainstream press in Wisconsin. Completely untrue and unexamined allegations were publicized, broadcast, and printed without regard for the truth or discovering the truth. Finally today, some facts have been reported to the public, rather than wild conjecture and assumption. This kind of reporting should have been done before any veracity was ever given to the Media Trackers allegations.

With today’s news, I demand an immediate apology to my mother, Lena J. Taylor, my family, and myself from Media Trackers and any other news source, including Journal Communications, Charlie Sykes, etc., that willingly reported outright false information, made serious allegations about our character, and did little or no research on these allegations. Given the amount of broadcast time and print space given to these false accusations, I would demand equal time and space to restore the harm done to my reputation and credibility and that of my mother and her organization. These past days have forced me to begin examining all available legal options against accusers who willingly slander and libel my family without regard for facts and truth.

Via Facebook.

WISGOP Teactivists fire their attorneys

Or are attempting to, pending the court's permission.

If the court had a sense of humor it would refuse it.

Thought they withdrew their petition on Friday. Now they want to change lawyers on the petition that they withdrew? Well alrighty then.

Musical Interlude

In the meantime the parties who were dragged into this thing before the Republicans attempted to flee from it are going to comply with the court's November 30 order and submit written briefs tomorrow.

Today's TMJ-4 triples down on "voter fraud"

That's a screenshot of a Journal Communications, Inc. teevee news report about an investigation into possible municipal code violations — at a homeless shelter. Here's something everybody should know about the current state of politics in Wisconsin: We go after the Koch Bros. and power-abusing politicians. They go after the homeless.* Literally.
Today's TMJ-4 can reveal that a spokesman for the Society of Jesus at Marquette University said he found it very suspicious a lot of homeless people were trying to find a bed for the night.
And apparently these days you report what you only wish was news.

* Psst. The homeless are mostly black.

Edward Fallone: What Price Protest?

On Scott Walker's new 'Rules For Radicals':
The legitimate state interest in safeguarding public safety is not advanced by charging advance fees for groups of such small size. The state cannot demonstrate that a group of four persons will of necessity require the assignment of any extra security at all.
Prof. Fallone's stuff at the MULS faculty blog has been invaluable.

It does not bode well for those provisions of Governor Scott Walker's administrative rules — which prohibit beets, the vegetable, and helium balloons (which merit three separate mentions) from the Wisconsin State Capitol facilities — that serve no legitimate state interest.

Failure to demonstrate the latter spells death by constitution.

Of Media Trackers' false claims and dishonesty

"Dedicated to quality fact-based journalism."Media Trackers
[Right-wing front group Media Trackers] could have clearly read his sentencing information such as his Judgment of Conviction. They could have called Probation and Parole to find out if/when he was on "paper." They could have also placed a simple call to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's office.
But Media Trackers didn't do any of these things, notes Cory Liebmann.

ACLU "race hustlers" sez MKE Co. sheriff


One of the more entertaining letters you may read today.

(Sheriff David Clarke is [over]reacting to this.)

Media Trackers "scored a PR coup"

DA: "Collins would have been eligible to vote at that time."
"Is it not news that [Wisconsin State Senator] Lena Taylor and her mother are involved in assisting an ineligible felon to vote?" wrote conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes on his blog. "The law was broken when this guy voted. Isn't that a problem?"
You eediots.

So, people, have we learned our Media Trackers lesson yet or what.

"Laughable, painfully amateurish drek." — This space, nine months ago

Things haven't improved any have they.
Media Trackers ["]communications director["] Brian Sikma said he was unaware that the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office would provide information regarding the release dates of inmates.
lolz Jimmy Olsen. And the crack reporters didn't even call to find out.

Then what's maybe worst of all, Media Trackers scammed Journal Communications, Inc. into putting this everywhere. Unbelievable.

December 4, 2011

Scott Walker: 9,500 jobs plus or minus 9,500

Won ten grand at Potawatomi ... plus or minus ten grand.
Scott Walker traveled to Milwaukee in July to announce that the month before, the State had gained a net total of 9,500 jobs ... Tom Krolik, an economist, said the numbers in Wisconsin are subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 9,500 jobs.
Governor was told numbers were "very questionable" and "suspect"

No wonder they call him the Desperado.

Time for Big Jim Bopp to flip his wig-hat again?

Word on the street is that Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Bruce Landgraf will have something to say on this matter tomorrow.

So don't be surprised if charges issue.

Reince Priebus Republican quote of the day

"I'm not going to respond to data." — Reince Priebus

I guess because when he does respond to data, that's horseshit too.

Strict constructionists such as Scalia

Or, Young Earth Creationists such as Darwin
Questioner: What is strict constructionism?
Rick Perry: [Holds copy of Constitution upside down].

Maybe you could stand more than five minutes of Mike Huckabee's circus last night, but I couldn't. Caught that much though. That's enough. Sometimes just witnessing the complete debasement of what is advertised to be political dialogue is debasing even to the witness.

It's practically voyeurism in the clinical, fetishist sense.

Scott Walker's lying is pretty much habitual

But what else is new.
Walker: "Literally, it's been wrong in almost every election."
At some point, don't people get tired of being lied to?

Or do Scott Walker's disciples actually enjoy it?

December 2, 2011

Diana Nyad could easily kick your ass

And she's 62 years old.

Republican Party self-parody nadir achieved

Donald Trump tapped to moderate GOP/Newsmax debate

Well I guess we won't get to jurisdiction after all


Never a dull moment. Wisconsin is indeed Political Science Heaven.

See below.

Journal Communications, Inc.'s broadcast license

Put to good use.

Those are your radio waves, just the same as that's your oxygen.

Odd that you can't patent "violet" but you can sign over the other electromagnetic frequencies to politically partisan shills and liars.

Why Prosser, J., did not participate

Via Patrick Marley.

Not life-threatening, thankfully, but that's a serious matter where you have to take a month off work. Here's wishing for a speedy recovery.

Walker conducts pagan ceremony at Capitol

Preacher's son ignores Old Testament condemnations

Hope the governor's permit papers were in order at least.

Sykes: No juvenile offenders are white, apparently

Inspired by this story, which admittedly is tailormade for Charlie Sykes's race baiting. Sykes's employer and sponsor, Journal Communications, Inc., should be in the business of improving community relations in this city, not exacerbating them. They're in a sorry enough state as it is.*

If Sykes was clever he would have worked in a reference to Othello.

But he isn't clever. He's a scourge. And he doesn't even live in Milwaukee.

* You learn this by about your second public defender assignment.

December 1, 2011

Grothman says new Huebsch policy "makes sense"

Which is your pretty much ironclad affirmation that it doesn't.

I mean, who ever heard of getting backcharged for free speech.

Wisconsin is still in America, isn't it?

Incidentally, Huebsch works for the governor who told Fake Dave Koch he thought about sending hired goons to disrupt peaceful protesters.

"Prosser, J., did not participate."

[Dec. 2]

UPDATE 1: Justice Prosser is ill.
UPDATE 2: The petition is withdrawn.

Unstated whether 2 follows directly from 1, but it was among the "issues raised" in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin's November 30 order. You'd expect the withdrawal to come about on account of the substantive issues raised, but this is primarily about political power for these folks.

And they most likely don't want to roll the dice on a 3-3 split. Which may give some indication as to their confidence in their legal argument. Keep that in mind if and when they get around to re-filing their petition. They still have three in the bag but they don't want to try and persuade Justice Crooks (who may well be the most reasonable one of the bunch).

UPDATE 3: '[Law] specifically precludes this procedural manipulation.'

Ya gotta love this stuff. I mean, it's Republicans making a complete mockery of judicial process, but you have to keep your sense of humor.

UPDATE 4: This from the plaintiffs in the federal redistricting action.

[/Dec. 2]

Wonder how come.*

I get the heebie jeebies when this court starts asking about jurisdiction.

And why even bother asking. They just make it up any/way.

* By the way this is the lawsuit where a group of Republican Teactivists are suing the State Government Accountability Board, on a theory that the GAB actually sat down and read the law drafted by those same lawyers who are representing the Republican Teactivists in the present case, passed by both Republican-controlled legislative houses and signed by Republican Governor Scott Walker. In other words, reading the law and repeating it back to legislative clerks is now a cause of action in the State of Wisconsin. Sounds facetious, but I'm afraid that's accurate.

It's as though the GAB was set up so the suit could be filed because what the WISGOPers are attacking is in fact their own recently enacted law.

In a word, scapegoating.

Because WISGOP v. WISGOP sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yet that's exactly what the Republicans, through their silk stocking attorneys, are up to with this: suing themselves. And they've effectively forced the State Government Accountability Board into the position of "adversary."

I wonder if they can sue themselves for ineffective assistance of counsel, because they shelled out hundreds of thousands in fees for, inter alia, this one gigantic boner they're trying to have rectified by judicial fiat.

The GAB's interpretation is not even a close call. It's plain meaning.

Face it, this gang is terrified at losing the Senate. One or two of these Senate recalls are more important than knocking off the Desperado.

Moreover if the Republican Teactivists' theory is correct, then the recall elections that were held last summer were held in "unconstitutionally malapportioned" districts as well. Although the petitioners have not identified at what point in time the current electoral districts became "unconstitutionally malapportioned," it clearly would have been before last summer, because unconstitutional malapportionment was precisely the evil that legislative Republicans undertook to remedy last winter.

So if Republicans are crowing about Democratic "failure" in contesting those districts — and they are — then what harms are a couple more contests in "unconstitutionally malapportioned" districts going to cause?

That's for the next round of questions, I guess.

Memorandum in Support of Petition (Nov. 21)
Supreme Court Order (Nov. 30)

Terry Moulton get thee behind me!

Fifty-nine percent of signatures collected in 25% of the time.

Earlier: Moulton fails to cast self out of Wisconsin Assembly

Vince Megna prays for Scott Walker

"This is the man who busted the unions, for Christ's sake."

h/t Nick Nice.

Follow the WISGOP rules of evidence logic


Madison wing-nut radio shouter Vicki McKenna says somebody signed her name to a Recall Scott Walker petition. And how does she know this?
While McKenna said she can't verify the report, she said the emailer [who reported it] is a "fairly regular listener," and she’s inclined to believe the listener wouldn’t make up the charge.
Via Wisconsin Reporter, which actually made a "news" story from that.

The Journal-Sentinel should be running with it any moment ...

Lawyer charged with offensive personality

But doesn't that happen every day?

On teh web: Ex-DA Kenneth Kratz.

Charlie Sykes: Poor people have too much stuff

Also, they don't dress nicely and are depressing to be around. Sykes shills for Scott Walker over the publicly owned radio waves, via Journal Communications, Inc., which reportedly has a gummint license to do so.

But apparently that's not "mooching."