August 31, 2010

Ron Johnson: What a concept, huh?

Item: Ron Johnson company saved a cool million in state bond deals

RON JOHNSON: Now of course liberals will try and shut these people [in wing-talk radio] up. They'll do everything in their power to shut these people up. So it will be our job to make sure the liberals don't succeed. Y'know [applause] ... the one really big difference between liberals and conservatives? Is we conservatives actually believe in free speech [applause]. What a concept, huh? Liberals only talk about free speech to gain power. Because they hunger for power over people. We conservatives, we simply want to be left alone [Yeah! applause]. — 04/15/10*

"United States Senate candidate Ron Johnson regularly criticizes government subsidies to businesses, saying the financial help interferes with the free market." — Associated Press, 08/26/10

* Americans For [State Subsidies In Aid Of] Prosperity Rally, Madison.

August 30, 2010

Ron Johnson — Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Feat. the hits:
Uh-oh, Bice Comes To Town
(All My Decisions Are) Tentative Decisions
Don't Worry About The Government Grants And Subsidies
Who Is It, Ron Galt?
The Book I Read Is
Atlas Shrugged

Ron Johnson: That '70s Showed

File under: #blamesunspots

What on Earth is Ron Johnson up to now, wonders Daniel Bice.
Perhaps the company history is in for yet another revision.
I was trying to keep track of revisions but I ran out of toes.

Westlake: Johnson "plain dangerous for Wisconsin"

Where ya been, Dave.

Ron Johnson's latest flip: Teaching creationism

'Oh, I thought he was asking about job creationism.'

[Ron Johnson] said he has never encouraged teaching creationism in schools ...
Is that so:
Rock River Patriot: Do you think that if the community decides that in their school system or district they want to allow creationism as well as evolution to be taught that they should be allowed to do that.

Ron Johnson: Yes! That's what local control [is] ...
Sure sounded an awful lot like encouragement to me.

YouTube, question at 2:59. Yet another one Ron Johnson didn't hear?

Continues Johnson:
I do not, I absolutely do not believe the federal government should be dictating curriculum.
That's all well and good. But the problem arises when the local curricula run afoul of the First Amendment's Religion Clauses.

You might persuade Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, but I wouldn't bet money — not even a $75K federal grant — on the others.

If I was Ron Johnson, I'd be more careful with the "absolutely's." Or stick to your guns and make the argument, otherwise pretty soon you're sounding much like the "career politicians" you're constantly inveighing against. And that can't play well with the undecideds.

Just trying to help.

By the way, does hand out awards? Because I'd like to nominate the Rock River Patriots for this treasury trove of pure gold.

Priebus: Please stop talking about Ron Johnson

For real, stop it youse guys!

After all, Ron Johnson (R-Qaqortoq) is only the WISGOP's presumptive Establishment Choice as candidate for U.S. Senate.*
WISGOP CHAIRMAN REINCE PRIEBUS: People in Wisconsin are sick and tired of ... career politicians like [indentured Republicans Scott Walker and F. James Sensenbrenner and Mitch McConnell and ...] ...
Watch the whole thing, it's kind of sad. The WISGOP owns Ron Johnson now, so Reince Priebus and the rest of its teevee spokesmodels had better come to grips with his parade of inanities.

Indeed, things are getting so bad lately for the WISGOP's fair-haired boy that even WISGOP Chairman Reince Priebus has taken to campaigning for Democratic Senator Russ Feingold:
WISGOP CHAIRMAN REINCE PRIEBUS: [Democrats] know that the real issue is we don't want to axe thousands of jobs chasing after carbon and cap'n tax and chase jobs out of Wisconsin over a theory that is unproven [sic].
Huh. Via WisBusiness dot com, 09/08/09:
"I'm not signing onto any [cap and trade] bill that rips off Wisconsin," Senator Feingold declared, arguing the bill's mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions could put the coal-dependent Badger State at an economic disadvantage compared to other regions and nations.
WISGOP teevee spokesmodels FTW.

* Dick Morris, concurring.

The Waterworld of white self-pity

What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.
Occasionally wondered those things meself.

Patrick McIlheran: Greenland "was much nicer"

Here's an excerpt from one of the links the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's resident professor of advanced solar physics Patrick McIlheran doesn't require you to pay 100 bucks just to read:
Greenland is warming twice as fast as most of the world.* Satellite measurements show that its vast ice sheet, which holds nearly 7 percent of the world's fresh water, is shrinking by about 50 cubic miles each year. The melting ice accelerates the warming — newly exposed ocean and land absorb sunlight that the ice used to reflect into space. If all of Greenland's ice melts in the centuries ahead, sea level will rise by 24 feet, inundating coastlines around the planet.
And if you didn't know any better, you'd swear that was The Great Goreacle Himself speaking. The foregoing is actually presented in defense of Fox News/Republican candidate Ron Johnson's climate change denialism. Only McIlheran could screw up partisan hack-work.

NatGeo: Erik's bold-faced marketing worked (as was noted already).

* How does that fact fit in with the sunspots theory: Is the invisible hand of the market lobb[y]ing its solar flares directly at Qaqortoq?

RoJo: Set the controls for the heart of the sun

Stuart Carlson @ Milwaukee News Buzz.

August 29, 2010

McIlheran now charging $97 to read his blogs

Get a load of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel funnyman Patrick McIlheran, dissembling frantically here. He says he's proven something or other (Greenland "was much nicer"?), all you have to do is go and read these links. Except the first two cost $31.50 a pop, the other $34.00. And don't just bring your cash, you better bring your advanced degree in solar physics, also.

Seriously, Patrick McIlheran expects anyone to believe he's actually read these articles? And never mind the physics, McIlheran can barely get past the arithmetic. McIlheran offers the 2003 Senate testimony of Tea Party activist Willie Soon,* a singular man who becomes "Harvard astrophysicists" in McIlheran's dark matter uniperverse.

It's hard to tell him from The Onion sometimes.

* Note the photo caption. McIlheran answered the call.

August 28, 2010

Numbers alone shown to have clear liberal bias

Beck Sermon Maxes Out At 87,000 Souls, Say CBS Crowd Experts

Beck's Fox News colleague Bernie Goldberg criticized his former employer for using Arabic numerals so close to hallowed ground.
"I have just gotten word from the media that there is over a thousand people here today," Beck japed. Beck later said he had heard the crowd was between 300,000 and 500,000, "and if that's coming from the media, God only knows."
Then why not just ask Him.

Get your Ron Johnson Team Freedom Tees

h/t Team Freedom Tees.™

Earlier — Ron Johnson: How green was my Arctic island
Related — Ron Johnson challenges professor of economics

Jesus Christ is in it to win it on Rhode Island

The Chris Young Video Collection:
'A nightmarish chamber of discomfort'

Whaddya know, a wing-nut Democrat.

Seeking to restore your faith in humanity?

Then be sure not to look here.

There ought to be penalty enhancers for tastelessness.

DC transit whisks anti-federalists to demagoguery

Notes James Rowen.

Sources said Glenn Beck's top American history adviser David Barton failed to alert Beck to the date or location's significance because he couldn't find either in his Lubbock County middle school text book. The Fox News celebrity eventually came up with "divine providence" to explain the amazing coincidence after consulting personally with the Creator and Lord of the Universe, Beck told his disciples.

However, the Creator and Lord of the Universe disputed Beck's account, saying, "I'll tell you one thing, he did get the title of his book, Arguing With Idiots, from Me. That pretty much sums up every conversation I've ever had with him and his David Barton fraud."

Ron Johnson challenges professor of economics*

"They're out to destroy me."Ron Johnson

Item: "A Republican senatorial candidate said the government should stop distributing the funds and return the money to the treasury."

Him first.
"The $75,000 rail spur happened before I was even on the scene, and industrial revenue bonds are not government subsidies," Johnson told the group of about 50 people who gathered in the lower level of Four Star Family Restaurant.
No informed person said the bond itself was a subsidy. The subsidy inheres from obtaining the favorable interest rate:
"Tax-free bonds allow a borrower to borrow at a lower rate," said Andrew Reschovsky,** a professor of applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "That's a subsidy from normal borrowing."
And there's no way that rail spur was built within two months of its being "secured." But that isn't the point. The point is that Johnson was for a mixed economy before he was against it. Johnson is preaching Randian dog-eat-dog ("creative destruction") capitalism yet his own business prospered through government largesse.

It's no surprise Johnson is having a hard time admitting it.
"Certainly, the negativity is not on my part," he said, noting he only counters what he called misleading reports from Democrats and news media. "They're out to destroy me."
Oh stop it. All they're doing is actually listening to what Ron Johnson has been saying and then comparing it with the observable reality.

Those results are often strongly discordant.

* I was kind of hoping he'd get in touch with Martin Sharp.

** "[Prof. Reschovsky's] research focuses on tax policy and intergovernmental fiscal relations."

I think he would know what constitutes a subsidy in this context.

August 27, 2010

AFP bests liberals who didn't read health care bill

Said Americans For Prosperity president Tim Phillips: "While we have not even seen a copy of the complaint, we are confident that it is without merit."

Bill Lueders gets up on right side of bed

Why in the world is Bill Lueders complaining about Russ Feingold's reaction to Fox News/Republican/Tea candidate Ron Johnson's wanting to treat firearms "like we license cars and stuff"?

More importantly, how about Ron Johnson acknowledging that his retooled stance — following on the heels and toes of podiatric extraction — as practically a Second Amendment absolutist wouldn't even be possible without the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in McDonald v. Chicago, a result that Senator Feingold had urged, in a writing submitted to and considered affirmatively by that very Court.

Feingold has a record on those questions and of course he's going to — and should — reflect it off of Johnson's ill-conceived meanderings.

"I believe it's an essential American freedom," says Ron Johnson, suddenly. "Fundamental right" is the constitutional term of art impressed upon the Court by Feingold and which the Court accepted.

Senator Feingold and his fellow amici argued that the right to keep and bear arms predates the drafting of the Second Amendment itself, which should tickle even the devoutest natural law aficionados.

"The people of Wisconsin can trust me not to play politics with their Constitutional Rights while protecting our right to keep and bear arms," Johnson announces, now. But Wisconsinites were unable even to assert capital-C Constitutional rights until McDonald v. Chicago.

The irony is strong with this one and Russ Feingold needs to make much more of it. If only for Ron Johnson's edification, as the latter's provided every indication that it went sailing right over his head.

Bill Lueders's "morons" are free to make of that what they will, but the majority non-morons should give it some serious consideration.

The Constitution is worth it. Ask any of the real Tea folks.

Stop Making Delicious Food I Can't Stop Eating

And Go Back To Mexico.

Hilarious, and ingenious.

La Pistola y El Corazón — Los Lobos

Bonus live bootleg:
Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio (Don Santiago Jimenez)

Ron Johnson alleges "dubious premises"

Here's Fox News/Republican/Tea candidate Ron Johnson's latest Fisk-begging statement to the press:
This [federal] grant was secured in March of 1979 by Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies ...
WKOW's report mentioned that, so it's not dubious, it's affirmed.
... in exchange for a substantial business investment for the City of Oshkosh.
"For" the City of Oshkosh. Clever.

But that's generally the way these things work, isn't it? The federal grant to build a spur from the (Canadian-owned) Soo Line is on the larger view an investment in the local economy, based on a presumption that the grantee will prosper and her prosperity will in turn attract more business to the community. Econ 101, I reckon.

And Ron Johnson is coming dangerously close to suggesting the rail spur was somehow a burden on his business, an act of purest civic martyrdom, a sacrifice he endured "for" the City of Oshkosh. Absurd.

A rail siding is a great benefit to a shipper especially. You can fit more stuff on a rail car, and it's cheaper than trucking.* Plus you don't have to warehouse the finished product, you just stick it on the rail car and keep filling it up the next shift. There's nothing like a rail siding run right into your building, particularly a free gummint one.

You know what this rail siding is? Stimulus, which Ron Johnson rails against, and is currently spending much of his life attacking Russ Feingold for supporting similar initiatives all over the country and especially in Wisconsin. So how come it's good for Ron Johnson but it's an assault on Ron Johnson's Freedoms when it's for anybody else?
Ron Johnson moved to Wisconsin in June of 1979 and started Pacur, which has become a true Wisconsin success story.
Nobody, I expect, disputes the latter, although it is less of a premise than a conclusion with at least one missing premise. Dubious.


Yet first Ron Johnson affirms he signed on only a couple of months after the grant was "secured" — it's not clear which moment in the procedure that refers to; it might be any one of several — whereas WKOW had simply said "months." Where's the "dubious premise" there; I don't see it. One could easily have read it as October.

You can take a look at the rail spur on teh Google maps. If it was "secured" in March, it sure wasn't completed by June. They had 12 months to build it and if Ron Johnson is so adamantly opposed to these sort of government handouts, then he should have stopped it, as he was in control of his company since "day one" In June, 1979.

But of course he didn't stop it. It's a pretty sweet deal. And there seems little question the rail siding benefited Johnson's company financially. That's likely even quantifiable, but we can leave that exercise to Ron Johnson, as he's the one with the accounting degree.
Nonetheless, these allegations from WKOW are based entirely on dubious premises.
All premissary dubiousness is to Johnson's account. He is the one yelling at Tea Parties — 'Leave us conservatives alone!' — and elsewhere about the evil gummint and now here he is running a business with a free rail siding, courtesy the federal government.

And $4M in state-facilitated loans at up to 2-1/2 points below market interest rates. Why shouldn't somebody else accrue such benefits similarly? That's the question Ron Johnson needs to answer now.


If your own premises are that government grants and subsidies to business are unwanted and unneeded and indeed, a malicious affront to the hallowed Randian dystopia, then you render those premises dubious when you lobby for and accept so much of them.

How is that not outright hypocrisy, or outright lying,** given Ron Johnson's prior claims about subsidies and stimulus packages?
We have highways, railroads, post offices, water and electrical services among other public services that businesses rely on each day.
Now he sounds like a liberal defending Feingold's vote on the stimulus package. Who knows what Ron Johnson will come up with tomorrow.

It's not any "dubious premises" Ron Johnson objects to, it's the fact that he got himself rather amusingly busted by inquisitive reporters.


In the meantime, where is Dave Westlake? Westlake has economic principles too, but he doesn't appear to have betrayed any of them. Republican primary voters, who go to the polls here in about two weeks, should take another look at him, as I understand they're in the market for someone who can actually beat Feingold in November.

* More so when you've got your own rail siding.

** Not to worry. It's most likely protected political speech in Wisconsin (pending a successful motion for summary judgment).

eta: More observations from the always astute Chief of Oshkosh.
[Welcome WisOpinion readers. They won't link to him but I will.]

August 26, 2010

Ron Johnson secures another gummint loan

Four million cash money now, up from 2.5 millionAP
"Tax-free bonds allow a borrower to borrow at a lower rate," said Andrew Reschovsky, a professor of applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "That's a subsidy from normal borrowing."
Hell, even I coulda told ya that.

Where's Dave Westlake? He should be gorging himself on this stuff.

Xoff always has the best graphics

Is this guy beyond embarrassment?

WHEREAS, the prospective Senator from Wisconsin finds,
Uh, first of all I didn’t hear his speech, I heard a little, I heard a little bit of a report on it on talk radio ...
THEREFORE, be it resolved, Lord help us.

Musical interlude

Antonio Vivaldi (1685-1987)
from Le Cinque Stagione
Mvmt. V: Menuetto é Silly

Ron Johnson sets Ayn Rand rotating in her crypt

Who is Ron Galt? — Johnson Shrugged, Preface by G.F. Will

Federal grant monies laid RoJo's choo choo track — WKOW 27

I'm afraid there's no denying that that is a state subsidy.

Q. Is Ron Johnson's latest press secretary entitled to danger pay?

Charlie Sykes finally finds a use for himself

Somebody's got to sit and refresh BarrettForWisconsin all day.


Terrence Wall needs Jesus

Then maybe he could find it in his heart to forgive Ron Johnson.

(Mr. T. Wall also must repent for asserting the age of the Earth.)


After all he's been through ... [NSFW]

"We conservatives, we simply want to be left alone."
Ron Johnson harangues a Tea Party, 04/15/10

Except, of course, when it comes to securing a $2.5M business loan through the state at an interest rate a couple points below market.*


See also TERMS:

* You know, the free one. Photo: RoJo giving it the invisible finger.

Extremist more circumspect than Ron Johnson

The science supporting manmade climate change is inconclusive.
— AK candidate Joe Miller

The science supporting manmade climate change is "crazy" "lunacy."
— WI candidate Ron Johnson

How I get painted as an extremist is beyond me.

Ron Johnson: It's not a subsidy

Or: Johnson Shrugged is my foundational book

UPDATE: RoJo's federal grant-in-choo choo FOB D.C.

Item: Johnson's company got government loan — WKOW 27

"An industrial revenue bond is neither special treatment nor a government payment or subsidy," shrugged Johnson's campaign.

"Typically, interest rates on [industrial revenue bonds] may be from 1.5 to 2.5 percentage points below corporate bonds," said the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

That interest differential is neither special treatment nor a subsidy? It's clearly a cost savings, generously facilitated by the state, and it stays in its fortunate beneficiary's pants pocket.

"Today Johnson rails against government subsidies, saying they go against the free-enterprise system. 'I'm in business,' Johnson shrugged. 'I have never lobbied for some special treatment or for a government payment.'"
The business can initiate the process by discussing its project with a Department of Commerce Area Development Manager and completing a Prospect Data Sheet. The business should retain the services of bond counsel and its lender to determine the project's feasibility. The business should also meet with representatives of the municipality where the project is to be located.
That's not lobbying? Complete with "bond counsel"?
Federal law defines eligible projects.
There's at least one gummint regulation Ron Johnson has enjoyed.

Good for Ron Johnson. But it's kind of unseemly for a beneficiary of state largesse to be crying about the many evils of state largesse.

After all, what would Ayn Rand say?

August 25, 2010

Poster found that Ron Johnson didn't tear down

"Hey Walker, your flyer's still up on my refrigerator."

Can we just call this KY thing right now?

Introducing Jack Conway, the next U.S. Senator from Kentucky.

(This blog bats 1.000 in electoral prognostication.)

What is wrong with the Milwaukee daily paper?

Science reporting or legal reporting, I don't know which is worse. Here's the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's latest dismal effort:
[Ron] Johnson's recent comments about sunspots playing a role in global warming, as well as Johnson's more recent comment that Greenland was actually green at one time ...
Emphases added. Why is the J-S downplaying Johnson's own claims?

Now, if what Ron Johnson had said is that sunspots "played a role" in global climate, nobody would have batted an eyelash. Obviously solar activity contributes to changes in the Earth's climate over time.

It's the Earth's primary source of energy.

But that isn't what Ron Johnson said at all. What he said was — after dismissing "absolutely" the science of anthropogenic global warming in its entirety, something he'd earlier termed "crazy" and "lunacy" — "it's far more likely that it's just sun spot activity or something just in the geologic æons of time where we have changes in the climate."

That's from Johnson's own website.

As noted here previously on more than one occasion, those are unequivocal declarations. Recall: Johnson dismissed "absolutely" any scientific evidence in support of anthropogenic global warming. "Absolutely": that was his word. There's no mistaking its meaning.

Thus, according to Ron Johnson, it's all the result of otherwise natural processes. Not anthropogenic. So, advises Ron Johnson to mankind, just keep doing what you're doing, burning carbon in unprecedented quantities to your hearts' content. It's all good.

Anyway, the alleged direct causal correlation between solar activity and more recent rising global temperatures is debunked. So it's not even "far more likely," as the Fox News Senate candidate put it.

Secondly, if Ron Johnson had said merely that 'some southern areas of what we now know as Greenland and that are now covered in kilometer-thick ice actually were green at one time,' then nobody would have batted an eye either. Again, as pointed out at this space earlier, scientists have discovered in a southern Greenland ice core (Dye 3) the genetic remains of creatures that dwell in forested areas.

Ergo, there must have been "a northern boreal forest ecosystem" in order for those particular creatures to thrive. That is an inference drawn from the genetic evidence, and it relates only to a specifically defined area in the southern portion of the island.

But that isn't what Ron Johnson said. This is: "There's a reason Greenland was called Greenland. It was actually green at one point in time. And it's been, since, it's a whole lot whiter now."

Except Greenland was only called "Greenland" about 1100 years ago, whereas the DNA recovered from the Dye 3 ice core (third from the west) by Eske Willerslev* et al is approaching one million years old.

Erik the Red, it may be safely assumed, was unfamiliar with Dye 3.

Is it really that difficult for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel to perceive those crucial distinctions? Willerslev et al's 2007 paper is online. For free (so the J-S does not have to cut into Patrick McIlheran's salary for pricey subscriptions to scientific journals).

Furthermore several contemporary press accounts of Willerslev's paper completely misrepresent its relatively cautious conclusions.

Never — ever — trust the popular press to report reliably on scientific research papers. It exaggerates, and sensationalizes. That's where Ron Johnson and his denialist friends get their information, and it's why they apparently have barely a clue what they're talking about.

This is dreadful news reporting by the Journal-Sentinel, and moreover containing an exoneration of Ron Johnson's ill-informed views of the science that he most certainly does not deserve.

* Prof. Willerslev is an evolutionary biologist, by the way, whose work is unlikely to appear in the local creationist curricula candidate Ron Johnson enthusiastically approved to the Rock River Patriots.

August 24, 2010

Ron Johnson supporter doesn't take kindly to facts

So I came home from a meeting today to a message on my answering machine from a courageous 'private caller'; right, no personal identification. After defending the sunspot theory rather incoherently, he called me a 'retard' and President Obama a 'n#!#!r.'
After she wrote a letter to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

President Obama: Renounce your Atheist seed

In his book, Obama claims that by then his father was no longer Muslim, instead portraying him as something much more popular with Americans: an Atheist. — Countdown
Earlier: Franklin Graham Is Too Christian for Barack Obama's Army

King for Wisconsin Secretary of Jesus

Via Milwaukee News Buzz:
[Milwaukee pastor "Apostle" David King*] also wants to use [the Wisconsin secretary of state's office] as a platform for community outreach. The outreach, however, would be done by expanding God Squad. King denied that such a plan would constitute an intrusion of religion into government.
Hang on just a second:
Milwaukee God Squad Mission Statement: Milwaukee God Squad is organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, and educational purposes. Our goal shall be met by its taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
So the Milwaukee God Squad's mission is exclusively religious, and its goal is met when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is brought to the world.

Nope, no First Amendment difficulties whatsoever.**

* Apostle King is also among those parties who recently obtained a writ of injunction against the State Government Accountability Board, despite the issuing court having yet to find jurisdiction over the case, a constructively miraculous happenstance in and of itself.

** If your name is Clarence Thomas (who I admit may have a point).

Ron Johnson "attempts" to humanize self

"There's an effort at humor here."

Any of it successful?

It can't be as comical as sunspots and Greenland. Or the trees "sucking down" all the excess carbon dioxide. Or inveighing against "career politicians" while his palm is extended to Mitch McConnell.

Or trashing the First Amendment. Again.

Do you think about things you do think about?

Asked if he was surprised by the timing of the probe, Walker said: "I can't be surprised by something I don't know about."
h/t Grumps.

Earlier: Scott Walker aides "at least stupid and insensitive"

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Who cares?

Wonders the WPRI.
[It's] clear that fewer and fewer Wisconsinites like or trust — or even bother with — them.
How come the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute* never emphasizes that almost all of the concerns previously enumerated by its correspondent came to the fore since Mike Gableman got aboard?

It's equally "clear" that that was the watershed event. It's also clear that he couldn't care less what Wisconsinites think of the court.

* Home to the conservative fans of Mike Gableman. They got what they wanted, so there's little point in their complaining about it now.

Charlie Sykes has no photo of Tim Russell in pants

Odd, when our friend capper's work computer was "seized" a couple of months ago, the local medium-wave hominid Charlie Sykes immediately soiled himself, his tiny cadre of wing-nut bloggers drooled their approval, and even the righteous professor of law Richard Esenberg composed a sternly cautionary admonishment.

Yet when aide to Scott Walker Tim Russell's Milwaukee County work computer is likewise seized — crickets. Perhaps they're waiting for all of the facts to come out, as is their traditionally practiced wont.

Yes. That must be it.

August 23, 2010

Scott Walker scandal is imminent

Notes Jay Bullock, inter alia. That should be entertaining.
Chris "capper" Liebenthal wasn't blogging. Anyone who says he was is committing a pretty serious libel. Given that Mike Maistelman is still Chris's attorney, I'd be careful what you say.
I don't know about that. In Wisconsin, we have a Supreme Court justice who reportedly got away with lying under cover of "political speech," so conservatives probably don't have all that much to fear.

"Political speech" needn't be true. That's the Supreme Court rule.

Truth is for chumps.

eta: Authorities seize computer of Walker aide — Daniel Bice
Whatever it might be, Walker said he can't be considered out of touch for not knowing that one of his aides had his computer seized as part of a criminal probe.
Bice doesn't say whether Scott Walker's denial was in response to a question, or if it was just something that Scott Walker volunteered.

And there it is again: "extensive political blogging."

As in, reading Dan Bice's column? One day we may find out.

Paper can't survive barely literate readership*

Moonie Times close to deathHuffPo

* Theory does not account for Patrick McIlheran.

Frozen embryos hire an attorney

Plaintiffs Drs. James L. Sherley and Theresa Deisher, Nightlight Christian Adoptions ("Nightlight"), Embryos, Shayne and Tina Nelson, William and Patricia Flynn, and Christian Medical Association ("CMA") ...
"[The Embryos] did not contest this Court’s finding that they lacked standing ... " Is it any wonder. I expect the Embryos lacked feet.

Sherley v. Sebelius — USDC for DC Order (.pdf; 15 pgs.).

illusory tenant, others welcome Sconz to the club

P. McIlheran's entire column was misleading — Madison's The Sconz

That's what passes for journalism in Milwaukee's daily paper.

Daniel Bice gobsmacks 33.3 million Canadians

In America, health insurance benefits are an employment perk

Ron Johnson disciple: "He is not a fool."

"Sunspot" Willie can't come Soon enough

Via, possibly the lamest apologetic ever:
Claim: Johnson believes sunspots are the cause of global warming.

Truth: Johnson’s quote was used in the broader context of his argument against passing legislation such as cap and trade that would raises taxes and put tens of thousands out of work in Wisconsin. Several reports however focused only on a single remark rather than the true intent of the answer.

* Johnson’s full quote read: "I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate change is proven. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it's far more likely that it's just sun spot activity or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate."
So what if Ron Johnson was speaking in "the broader context"?

Ron Johnson's "I think it's far more likely that it's just sun spot activity or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate" is clearly a stand-alone proposition. Moreover, when the speaker "absolutely" dismisses the science, then the alleged qualifier "far more likely" becomes superfluous verbiage.

The fact of the matter is, Fox News candidate Ron Johnson does not think about what it is that he is saying. That much is quite evident.

And everybody is always speaking in some "broader context."

See also: Ron Johnson, he is not a crazy, either.
Earlier: How green was Ron Johnson's Arctic island.
And: Ron Johnson's exhalations sucked down by trees.

"Wisconsin, don't let me down. You really want to replace one of the most principled, distinguished Senators, Senator Feingold, with this yahoo? Seriously? All of his answers are straight out of the failed politics of the Bush era — you really want to go back to that?"

"[Nevada's Sharron] Angle is a truly unique talent at creating problems for herself merely by revealing what she really thinks."

Less unique now, given Wisconsin's own Ron Johnson. Backward!

Conservatives upset with RINO Ron Johnson

'The Senate is not an entry-level job.' ― Erick Erickson
Via RedState (that would be Erick Erickson's website):
I have to wonder what the Republican Party of Wisconsin was thinking when they endorsed a candidate [Ron Johnson] who they didn't know, who didn't know where he stood on the issues, and who is clearly not as intelligent as one would expect from a U.S. Senator who is supposed to make decisions on our behalf. (Anyone see his comment on Greenland ... being named Greenland because it used to be "green"?)
Replies a Ron Johnson supporter:
On guns, permits are a State issue.
Not since McDonald v. City of Chicago they aren't.

Apparently Fox News/Republican Ron Johnson's followers are as constitutionally out-to-lunch as is their preferred candidate.

Ron Johnson's religious funspots

'How I get painted as an extremist is beyond me.' — Ron Johnson
It would be "incredibly unfortunate," if a mosque was built in New York City blocks away from Ground Zero, the U.S. senate candidate Ron Johnson said Friday when asked at a Racine [WI] Journal Times Editorial Board meeting.

"Those folks [the Islamics] are trying to poke a stick in our eye,"* Johnson said. "I just hope the zoning officials and the city, the state revisit that, rezone that piece of property."
State rezoning with the express purpose of prohibiting the free exercise of religion? Yes, that oughta work. This guy is dangerous.

See also: 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc (a.k.a. RLUIPA).

* Palin much?

August 22, 2010

Ron Johnson's blue chip customer

Reports show that in 2009, $9.5 million [seventy-one per cent] of the total $13.4 million in revenue for Ron Johnson's company came from contracts with Bemis Corporation.
Mighty handy, that. Was it the other 29% that came from China?

"In aid of" a jurisdiction yet to be found

The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction over all courts and may hear original actions and proceedings. The supreme court may issue all writs necessary in aid of its jurisdiction.
— Wis. Const. art. VII, § 3.
Item: On August 20, the Wisconsin Supreme Court granted the State Government Accountability Board a week's extension in filing its response to the complaint lodged in this action. The GAB's response is now due on August 27. On August 13, the court had ordered an injunction against the GAB preventing it from enforcing an election law rule even though the court has not yet taken jurisdiction of the case, nor will the court decide to do so until at least September 13.

Of some further interest to an arcane but important topic:
[C]ongressional enactment of sections 13 and 14 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, as well as early Supreme Court interpretation of these provisions, strongly suggests that Congress intended the power to issue writs to be "derivative" of jurisdiction previously established.[fn]157. . . .

[fn]157 It also has been argued by Professor Akhil Reed Amar, based on the language of the Judiciary Act of 1789, that section 14 was not intended to be a source of original jurisdiction. Professor Amar points out that sections 14, 15, and 17 of the First Judiciary Act reveal a distinction between the word "power" and "jurisdiction." Thus, in section 14, federal courts have the "power" to issue writs which may be necessary for the exercise of their respective "jurisdictions." Parsing the Act’s text in this manner, Professor Amar concludes "it is clear from context that the Act is investing courts with certain authority if and when they have independently founded jurisdiction. . . . 'Jurisdiction' must be established first, and independently; 'power' then follows, derivatively."
— Lonny Sheinkopf Hoffman, Removal Jurisdiction and the All Writs Act, 148 U. Penn. L. Rev. 401, 436-37 (citations omitted).

Much as I was suggesting.

Federal removal jurisdiction — whereby federal courts might assume jurisdiction over cases initiated in State courts — is a separate matter again, obviously, but I have always understood conservative judges to claim as a central component of their adjudicative methods the tracing of constitutional language to "original intent" and common law origins. At least, that's their election campaign promise.

Justice Prosser (together with Gableman) undertook to explain that a majority of the court had found a type of jurisdiction not enumerated in the Wisconsin constitution — subject matter jurisdiction — but they didn't argue the point very convincingly. I wonder whether the Government Accountability Board will raise the issue. It should.

Patrick McIlheran, investigative Republican

Via Xoff:
In the distant past, when Paddy first started to write his daily right-wing drivel, I complained to Ricardo Pimentel, the editorial page editor, who assured me that there would soon be some balance, and I would be pleasantly surprised by the announcement — which never came.
What a joke.

Not to put too fine a point on it

Apparently, as long as there are enough Republicans with their heads up their [rectums] about a given subject, it doesn’t matter if you have your head up your [rectum], too.*
Writes Mike Plaisted, who could not have said it any better.

* There's no "solar activity" there, at least.

Ron Johnson's swivel-eyed maniac

Q. What do you think the CO2 does up there? Does it have an effect?
Ron Johnson: I think it's sucked down by trees and helps trees grow.
Narrator: Plants use CO2. Therefore, more CO2 is good. It's one of the hardy perennials of climate denialism. Like most generalizations, sooner or later it runs afoul of the real world.
Video: The CO2 is Plant Food Crock.

Feat. "The Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley."

Bonus denialist Crock of the Week: Sunspots.

'How I get painted as an extremist is beyond me.' — Ron Johnson

August 21, 2010

Tea blinded me with science

Obviously, Mr. Johnson has not read many refereed journal articles about solar activity and climate. The climate models take solar input into account.* The sun has been very quiet of late, presumably not affecting warming according to Mr. Johnson's wishes, but Earth is still warming.

The first six months of 2010 were each the warmest in the instrumented record. It seems from my observations and the article that Republicans again think that pure thought can make Earth act as they wish (I'm referring to the notorious Rove quote: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality"). Nature does not respect people's hopes, even if they are Republicans. It behaves as nature will, responding to all inputs as nature dictates, not as Mr. Johnson and his apparently ignorant ilk wish it to. They should indeed be "worried about the weather."
— laconic JSOnline.commenter physicsguy

* It's incredible that this even needs to be pointed out to people.

Sunspots to blame in Palin speech venue switch

"An Evening of Hope With Sarah Palin," originally to be held at Jacksonville's 2,936-seat Moran Theater, has been moved to the 609-seat Terry Theater. — Miami Herald, 08/19/10
That's like moving from the Riverside Theater to Mad Planet.

Four cool facts about Dick Morris

  Warned of terrorist command center in TriBeCa
  Espoused curative effect of homeopathic podiatry
  Appeared as "The Clenis" on Fox sitcom Bill-Oh!
  Inspired Ron Johnson to run for U.S. Senate

Ron Johnson "not alone in sunspot belief"

Breaking news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Republican Senate candidates Marco Rubio of Florida and Ken Buck of Colorado both have made similar comments.
Seriously, that's a front-page story this morning.
Republican candidate Ron Johnson told the Journal Sentinel this week that sunspot activity and natural cycles of the Earth can explain a warming in the Earth's atmosphere.
Forgot a word there, folks: "that sunspot activity and natural cycles of the Earth alone can explain a warming in the Earth's atmosphere."

It's kind of an important distinction. Try telling a quasi-Johnson conservative Republican that natural selection and genetic drift alone are sufficient to explain biodiversity and watch his wig-hat vibrate.
"It's simply reached the point," UW political scientist Charles Franklin said, "where a claim of science* meets with blithe rejections from conservative Republicans now."
And that's not news either. See, e.g., Antonin Scalia.
Franklin doubted whether Johnson's comments will hurt him in a race now considered close against Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold.
What makes Prof. Franklin think some people haven't made up their minds yet, or that others might change theirs by 2 November?

Obviously his comments won't hurt him among the committed zanies.

* It's unclear whether those include claims of political science.

August 20, 2010

Ron Johnson: How green was my Arctic island

Or: "Sunspots" Ron Johnson meets Martin "The Glacier" Sharp

Watch the video:
"There's a reason Greenland was called Greenland," Republican candidate Ron Johnson said. "It was actually green at one point in time. And it's been, since, it's a whole lot whiter now."
Aren't we all. But actually, no, "Grønland" has always been white, it's just that Erik the Red was an early tourism board marketing flack.

However in 2007, a multi-disciplinary team of scientists inferred from genetic evidence recovered in ice cores drilled in the southern portion of the big island that the area's summer temperatures were a few degrees warmer than had been previously estimated. Except the DNA recovered was several hundreds of thousands of years old.

Which is to say, it wasn't swabbed from Leif Ericson's cheek.*

The popular press being what it is, those findings birthed tales of "lush forests" on what has much, much more recently been called Greenland. Who knows, there was probably an Amazonian jungle with full Club Med by the time word reached Steve Doocy and Dick Morris.

But if this latest claim is another of Fox News candidate Ron Johnson's denialist fantasies, it might be useful to note that Martin Sharp, a University of Alberta glaciologist and one of the authors of the 2007 Science paper that somehow got twisted into whatever point Johnson is trying to make, was a "key scientific contributor" to Melting Snow and Ice: A Call For Action, a "report commissioned by" — wait for it now — "Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Al Gore."**

So, few things would be more entertaining than for Ron Johnson to cite Professor Sharp's research in support of his comical utterances.

No wonder Johnson thinks teaching "creationism" is a great idea.

* Or from Erick Erickson's cognitively dissonant brain.

** It's here (12MB).

Now having repented of that ...

The Brew City Brawler reckons professor of law Rick Esenberg should repent for his own local wing-nut buddies in the first instance, before he gets to calling on New York City's Lower Manhattan Muslim community leaders to incorporate a message of repentance ... it's not made clear where. Spelled out in ceramic tile at the bottom of the swimming pool perhaps (the original Cordoban Moors liked to decorate that way). Esenberg begins promisingly, notes the Brawler, but that turns out to be just an extended, boilerplate throat clearing.

Then comes the professor's kind offer to accept Muslim confession.

Said Esenberg and fellow conservative intellectual Patrick McIlheran's favorite amusingly deranged sexagenarian Dad29: "The Islamics will never voluntarily leave a Christian or Jewish state behind them."

Although, "the Islamics" may enter into a lease-purchase option agreement with the New York State Public Service Commission.

All terms and conditions subject to Shari'a dispensations, PBRH.

John Cale — Cordoba

Scott Walker aides "at least stupid and insensitive"

Sez the local organ. More accurately, Scott Walker's aides think their boss is stupid, and all of them including Scott Walker think you are.

Plenty of Michael Horne

Good to have one of the finer local reporters and writers back.

Ron Johnson's exhalations sucked down by trees

File under: #blamesunspots

eta: RoJo got WaPo'd (but he's not a "Tea Party-backed candidate").

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has published a video portion of its celebrated rap session with Fox News/Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Ron Johnson. In it, the candidate declares:
I absolutely do not believe that, y'know, the science of man-caused climate change is, uh, proven. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it's far more likely that it's just sunspot activity or something just in the geologic æons of time where we have changes in the climate.
"Something just in the geologic æons of time" is not a particularly useful alternative explanation to the scientific consensus on climate change, which lays bare Johnson's quip, "it's just sunspot activity."

That seems a fairly unequivocal statement of Ron Johnson's scientific opinion and if the past is any indication, he or his latest press secretary will be along shortly with some "clarifying" non sequitur.

Incidentally, scientific theories are never "proven." They remain always tentative and subject to adjustment according to newly discovered or differently presented evidence. E.g., the mythical Precambrian rabbit that would topple the whole edifice of biology.

As soon as somebody starts complaining that some theory or other is not "proven," run for the hills, because it's an indication that they're unfamiliar with scientific methodology itself. In which case, how can they be relied upon to informedly assess the scientific evidence?

One might just as well go ask Dick Morris.*

* Speaking of Dick Morris ...

Wisconsin's conservative activist justices

Concludes Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser:
[T]he court clearly has jurisdiction to take all actions necessary to consider whether to exercise its original jurisdiction over the substance of the matter. Wis. Const. Art. VII, § 3 (may hear original actions and proceedings) ...
Emphasis added.

What the Wisconsin constitution says is:
The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction over all courts and may hear original actions and proceedings. The supreme court may issue all writs necessary in aid of its jurisdiction.
An original action is one filed directly to the Supreme Court. Original actions are exceptional to the Supreme Court's primary constitutional roles as a court of appeals and as the superintendent of lower courts. If and when the Supreme Court accepts an original action, it has "found" that exceptional original jurisdiction.

In the present case, the Supreme Court has yet to find original jurisdiction. Nevertheless, last Friday the court issued a writ of injunction against the defendants, who comprise an executive branch agency of government, barring them and it from enforcing a rule that has enjoyed at least the tacit approval of the legislative branch.

So, does that writ of injunction fall within the constitutional purview described by "in aid of [the court's] jurisdiction" where the court hasn't even taken jurisdiction of the case?

Justices Prosser and Gableman seem to think so, although they were inspired to rewrite the State constitution — "all writs necessary" becomes "all actions necessary" and, most significantly, "in aid of its jurisdiction" becomes "whether to exercise its jurisdiction" — in order to judicially reach across both separation of powers divides.

Those are quite expansive readings, which judicial conservatives otherwise claim to eschew on judicially conservative principles.

And the two conservative justices argue that because the legislature has authorized the court by statute to order (only) legal briefing and argument before it decides to find original jurisdiction, that such orders are the functional equivalent of ordering a writ of injunction.

But an injunction is a legal remedy that provides relief to a party, a different category from orders the court might issue to the parties to help facilitate the court's understanding of the facts and law at issue in the case, which are all that the statute specifically authorizes.

Is this writ of injunction "in aid of" jurisdiction the court has yet to even exercise? Is the condition of still deciding whether to exercise jurisdiction the same thing as actually exercising jurisdiction?

Justices Prosser and Gableman say yes, but don't — imho — explain why very convincingly.* Justices Roggensack and Ziegler say yes as well, but don't join Justice Prosser's justification, giving none.

It's not an easy question, and the Wisconsin constitutional language "in aid of" jurisdiction doesn't seem to so easily or readily translate to the judicially created language "whether to exercise" jurisdiction.

At least, it doesn't translate so well for the purposes of this particular writ of injunction which, as Justice Bradley in dissent (joined by Chief Justice Abrahamson and Justice Crooks) observes, was ordered "even though the petitioners have not requested it."**

* e.g., Justice Prosser construes a statute designed to grant a civil right to citizens as instead the granting of power to the judiciary. Such a reading is no hallmark of the qualities of judicial modesty and restraint for which conservative judges are often applauded.

Additionally, Justice Prosser cites two prior Wisconsin cases for support: One where an injunction was granted in advance of the court finding jurisdiction, and one where an injunction was denied in advance of the court finding jurisdiction (but that court issued a variety of different orders other than injunctive relief to a party).

In the former case, the request for injunctive relief was made as a separate filing from the petitioner's request for original jurisdiction, unlike the present "in the alternative" situation (see ** below).

Nor does that case contain any discussion of the "in aid of" provision in the constitution nor whether the writ of injunction issued was in conformance with the constitutional language. So in effect Justice Prosser's citation stands only for the proposition, 'We did it once before.' Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, for one, would likely never abide with such an unqualified reliance on stare decisis.

** The petitioners did request it, but only "[i]n the alternative" to their primary demands, which are that the Supreme Court find original jurisdiction to accept the case and then pronounce the Government Accountability Board's rule unconstitutional.

Therefore if the Wisconsin Supreme Court does decide to find original jurisdiction sometime next month, the court will have granted both of what were presented as two "alternative" requests.

And my own inner strict constructionist is telling me now that "alternative" means "either one or the other" and it's also reminding me that the logical operator "or" can rarely be mistaken for "and."

August 19, 2010

Always been a Jew

Impressive, and courageous as hell.
Think of the contrast between the way conservatives high-fived each other over the keyboard courage displayed during "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," and their response to Rauf, whose own patriotism and intellectual challenge to those who would do terrible things in the name of Islam was ignored in favor of using his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy to smear him as a terrorist sympathizer. This whole incident has been an absolute disgrace, an indictment of American tribalism, craven political manipulation, and outright bigotry. Rauf's detractors had little actual evidence on which to base their accusations, but they didn't need much, because we let our fearful imaginations fill in the blanks. — Adam Serwer
It's a community center, which contains prayer rooms, where Muslims pray. So really, what it comes down to is certain people* don't want Muslims to pray too close to the World Trade Center. That's insane.

* It's pretty bad when Pat Buchanan gets to play the Godwin's law-yer.

Scott Walker's twits redux

"They had no idea that this was the video." — Scott Walker (2:28)
"YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos." — say the kids at Wikipedia

Seriously, who are they and now Scott Walker himself trying to kid?

Scott Walker's man copied and pasted that YouTube link from out of the HotAir comment box and made his very own "Tweet" out of it.

Which was dutifully reproduced by Walker's communications director.

Yo, Scott Walker, we were born at night, but not last night.

Urgent note to Gavin Schmidt & Friends

Fox News/Republican candidate Ron Johnson has your code.

See also: John Boehner is orange. Blame Sunspots.

This week in Prof. Rick's horn book Earth sciences

File under#blamesunspots

Dadgummit, it's those local bloggers again, and they're chortling!

This week Prof. Rick reminds us that measurements in solar activity are indeed taken into consideration by scientists when formulating calculations, algorithms, and computer modeling related to assessing the effects of heat* trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Even for fallible scientists, that fiery orb is mighty difficult to ignore.

Thanks, Prof. Rick, for the enlightenment. Unfortunately Prof. Rick's blinding glimpses of the obvious and his links to newspaper opinion columns do zero work by way of validating Republican candidate Ron Johnson's assertion that it's "far more likely it's just sunspot activity" that's causing observed increases in global temperatures.

Nor does Prof. Rick venture to undertake a defense of Ron Johnson's much wilder claim that excess carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere "gets sucked down by trees and helps the trees grow."

Given the dramatically inverse relationship between increasing carbon emissions and reducing global forestation, perhaps engaging that sparkling gem of scientific reasoning far exceeded even Prof. Rick's formidable powers of conservative Republican apologetic.

In the meantime it seems unlikely that Ron Johnson places his bonsai tree collection beneath the tailpipe of an idling Escalade overnight.

Nor would he sit in a chamber pumped full of "excess" carbon dioxide.

* Heat, as contrasted with temperature, which makes Prof. Rick's attempted funny at Russ Feingold's expense fall completely flat.

eta: "It's an important point," sez funnyman and dendrochronologist Patrick McIlheran. Yes. Hard to believe nobody thought of it before.

Feingold brings the ruckus

Darrow: What do you think?
Bryan: I do not think about things I don't think about.
Darrow: Do you think about things you do think about?
Bryan: Well, sometimes. [Laughter in the courtyard]
"[Ron Johnson] is a 55-year-old man. He's a person who has been out in the community, according to his own account. The fact that he's never given any serious thought to the Constitution, to the right to bear arms — any 8-year-old in the State has a position on the right to bear arms. The fact that he just flips off irresponsible comments about the science of climate change suggests that it's not that he's a new candidate, it appears he hasn't thought about issues that most people who want to either be in the private sector or public sector feel they have a social responsibility to have some understanding of. He wants to go to the U.S. Senate without having thought about apparently anything." — United States Senator Russ Feingold

That's the spirit. Hit 'em where it hits.

Johnson's latest press secretary's response is to call Russ Feingold a "career politician," in spite of Ron Johnson's cavorting with Mitch McConnell, a quarter-of-a-century-tenured leader in the U.S. Senate.

See also: Career politician endorses other career politician

That "criticism" is pretty much a wash, don't ya think?

Journal-Sentinel endorses Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson has benefit of being "not crazy," sez editorializer
U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson isn’t crazy because he thinks sunspots may be causing climate change.
Don't these guys read their own paper?
"It's far more likely that it's just sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time," [Ron Johnson] said.
"Just" being the operative word. It means: "Only."

Earlier: Ron Johnson — Auto exhaust helps the trees grow.

And what of Sun Spots Henrik Svensmark?

Climate Change: The Role of Flawed Science (.pdf; 3 pgs.)

And Dick Morris is Ron Johnson's political mentor

The Fox News favorite is convulsed in paranoid hysterics:
"So this is really a juridical center that is being established to study and promote and train and recruit Shariah law advocates which will become terrorists. ... We're establishing literally a command center for terrorism right at the 9/11 site."
That's Ron Johnson's BFF speaking.

Also, Sharia law dictates all women shall keep their toes covered.

Ron Johnson calls Wisconsin workers "losers"

John Nichols reports from Ron Johnson's harsh Randian universe.

And the buggy whip business moved to Nebraska.

Earlier: Ron Johnson manages to offend everybody.

"Ron Johnson calls Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged his 'foundational book.'"