October 31, 2011

Recall elections were a failure, WISGOP told us

Oh really.

Republicans could have passed that bill if not for losing two Senate seats.

Earlier: Congratulations, Wisconsin Governor Dale Schultz

Mark Block disputes Prosser attorney Troupis's fees

Interesting tale from Daniel Bice in the Journal-Sentinel this morning.

Wisconsin Prosperity Network is one of the right-wing outfits that's suing the Government Accountability Board over a financial disclosure rule the wingers claim abridges their freedom of speech. The case is notable for at least two other reasons as well, in that alleged conservative Supreme Court justices David Prosser and Mike Gableman literally rewrote the Wisconsin constitution to prevent the GAB from implementing the rule and then a year later, Prosser disqualified himself from the case after certain parties raised a ruckus over the fact that Prosser had hired Wisconsin Prosperity Network's counsel, the ubiquitous James Troupis, to help him keep his seat on the court after the challenger in the April election, JoAnne Kloppenburg, exercised her right to a recount of votes.

Anyway, one of Bice's attached documents is a rough balance sheet showing $87,339.50 worth of Troupis in accounts payable/committed costs with the notation, "per Mark [Block] should have been $50,000."

That's rather a wide discrepancy.

Another entry reads "Troupis owed by [Americans For Prosperity] 5,000" followed by "probably won't receive." Troupis's co-counsel in the Supreme Court action — Wisconsin Prosperity Network v. Myse — is into the outfit for another $20,658.07. Nothing for the other co-counsel, however.

Also, Wisconsin Prosperity Network "hired" local wing-nut blargher K. Maichle on a $500/mo. retainer, amusing if only for the fact that it was Wisconsin Prosperity Network which put the scare quotes around "hired."

Wonder what that's supposed to mean.

October 29, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans find another law to break

"Whether or not it's legal, it's certainly cheating."

Classic bit of chicanery from the Most Honorable Party in Power.

So now Wisconsin Republicans, who initially wanted their ludicrously partisan electoral redistricting plan first implemented with the general election on November 6, 2012,* not only want to revise the date of implementation to immediately, they just want to revise that date for the Senate, and not the Assembly. But according to the Wisconsin statutes, "This state is divided into 33 senate districts, each composed of 3 assembly districts." In other words, you can't have a Senate district without the three Assembly districts. These people are out of control.

Quashing their lust after power is exactly what recall elections are for.

This is the committee that is meeting at 1 p.m. on Hallowe'en to discuss these issues. I think Sen. Erpenbach has a real opportunity to shine here.

And then a good shot at beating Walker.

* The Legislature enacted legislation reapportioning the legislative districts and members, 2011 Wisconsin Act 43, as required by the state constitution. Wis. Const. art. IV, § 3. The legislation was signed by the Governor and published on August 23, 2011. Unless specified in the legislation, every act is effective on the day following publication. WIS. STAT. § 991.11. However, 2011 Wisconsin Act 43 specifically provided for the initial applicability of the act for certain purposes. The Act "first applies, with respect to regular elections, to offices filled at the 2012 general election." 2011 Wis. Act 43, § 10 (1). In addition, the Act "first applies, with respect to special or recall elections, to offices filled or contested concurrently with the 2012 general election." 2011 Wis. Act § 10 (2). — GAB Subject: legislative redistricting, Effective date of.

PolitiFactWisc v. Bloggers

Chris Liebenthal explains.

This quibbling over semantics is where PolitiFact occasionally puts its foot in it. The fact is that both Walker and his lieutenant accepted the pay raises associated with their offices and since that acceptance have been raging against their colleagues in the public employ, most recently freezing all the other public employees' compensation for two years.

One thing nobody mentioned, however, is that J.B. Van Hollen, one of the constitutional officers who succeeded to the same office he held before the pay increase, did literally get a raise. And J.B. Van Hollen is the only one who's staged an industrial action known as work-to-rule.

Here's a video of Van Hollen shouting at a Tea Party.

eta: One of Liebenthal's periodic tormentors calls it "Governor Walker's pay raise," or exactly what the tormentor is supposedly arguing it isn't.


October 28, 2011

Wisconsin strict constructionists in the news

Legislation proposed by Wisconsin State Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, imposes the unprecedented requirement that petitions with recall signatures be officially notarized. — Capital Times
Hang on a minute:
[N]o law shall be enacted to hamper, restrict or impair the right of recall. — Wisconsin constitution, Article XIII, Section 12(7)
That should be a fun hearing on Monday. There isn't any reason for WISGOP Sen. Lazich's proposal other than to hamper, restrict or impair.

It's one thing to offer legislation on completion of a recall election, to remedy some flaw in or redress some abuse of the process, quite another to do it two weeks after the incumbent is put on notice and two weeks before the signature gathering — which is confined to a 60-day period — is set to begin. Lazich's initiative is pure mischief making.

Do you live in fear, Jeff Fitzgerald?

In this video clip, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald explains why allowing handguns inside the State Capitol is an awesome plan:
I would rather have law abiding citizens that go through a course be able to protect themselves than just have somebody up in the gallery that would be able to do currently what they are. We've heard from the other side of the aisle they want this building to be open and for the public to be there so if that's the case we also want people to be able to come in and protect themselves.
Protect themselves from what, he won't say. And what the people in the gallery are doing currently is holding small signs bearing text from the Constitution. So CCW is for people to protect themselves against that, apparently. Therefore does the Second Amendment guarantee you may wander around the Capitol building carrying a concealed, loaded handgun but not one whose barrel is inscribed with the First Amendment.

Jeff Fitzgerald's illogic is emblematic of conservative Republicans' attempt to accurately characterize the people of Madison: the WISGOP can't decide whether their adversaries are pot smoking hippies or violent psychopaths. It depends what day it is, and which is more convenient.

Jeff Fitzgerald is currently running for the United States Senate where, it's true, he would make the complementary bookend to Ron Johnson.

h/t @Progress2day

Oh, and according to Department of Administration Secretary and sometime Royal Estimator of Damages Mike Huebsch, handguns are not allowed in State mental health facilities, so you can't carry where there are actual psychopaths, but only where there are GOP-fantasized ones.

Moreover, Mike Huebsch justifies the new weapons policy by pointing at Wisconsin's "strong hunting culture and sporting heritage." I suspect most places share those traditions, but what they have to do with concealed, loaded handguns in public galleries at the State Capitol is anyone's guess.

While I admit to not fully comprehending the gun culture, I fail to see how armed citizens — complete with spare clips of ammo, as I read Secretary Huebsch's official directive — monitoring the deliberations of elected officials are a flattering reflection on responsible shooters.

October 27, 2011

Reporting live from the Special Jobs! Session

Jobs, guns, whatever.

The Funding Trail Leads to the Bradley Foundation

More on that spurious right-wing "news" outfit, the Wisconsin Reporter.

(Forgot to mention the BF's president was Walker's campaign chairman.)

On teh web: Wisconsin Reporter's sense of entitlement

"I bet debunking Climategate is going to be huger."

A total of 24 seconds of cable news coverageThe Daily Show

Locally, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran near-daily the hysterics of its then-calumnist wing-nut, Patrick McIlheran. These days, nary a word.

McIlheran, coincidentally, got hired by warming denializer Ron Johnson.

Federal court reminds WISGOP who's in charge

"It's just plain confusing," says lawmaker of law he made.
Excerpted from last Friday's federal court order in Baldus v. Brennan,* a challenge to the constitutionality of Wisconsin Republicans' proposed electoral redistricting plan, a nakedly partisan scheme to cement Republican majorities in the State legislature for decades hence:
The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution makes the laws of the United States superior to the laws of the individual states. U.S. CONST. ART. VI, cl. 2. As a result, Wisconsin simply cannot strip litigants of their ability to seek redress under federal statutes, in federal courts, for violations of the federal Constitution. To do so would hold the laws of the state as superior to the laws of the United States.
Now the WISGOP wants to rejigger its redistricting bill because its concluding sentence, "This act first applies ... with the 2012 general election," has proven an inconvenience to the WISGOP's ability to defend its functionaries against impending recall elections, which would most likely take place before the 2012 general election next November.

But by attempting to make the act's application immediate, the WISGOP runs afoul of the federal court's admonition, and the WISGOP's success in doing so would have the effect of interfering with the litigants' ability to seek the aforementioned redress. Or that's what the petition for federal injunction should argue, if the WISGOP makes its contemplated move.

* Brennan et al are members of the State Government Accountability Board, but its case is being represented by the Department of Justice.

(And don't miss the warning footnote at the bottom of page 7.)

October 25, 2011

What's the WISGOP up to tonight?

No good, as usual.

Via Rep. Cory Mason (potential Scott Walker recall opponent).

Video at 2:00.

Keeping Scott Walker on his heels

Gov. Walker defends website touting recordJSOnline

I don't believe the WisDems' complaint has merit (the website is not "electioneering"), but generating headlines like that is a win in itself.

When the governor is forced to defend himself simply for publicizing his alleged accomplishments, that's a good thing for Walker opponents.

It's also a massive failure for Scott Walker's PR department.

Charlie Sykes, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author

"A new reports says that state have a combined debt of $4 trillion."
— Charlie Sykes

Scott Walker not charged with sexual assault either

What is this I don't even

October 24, 2011

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is a hypocrite

Somebody's ghostwritten an item in the Washington Post on behalf of Wisconsin's Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, complaining — that's pretty much all he ever does is complain — about a change to the Senate rules doing away with a requirement for supermajority votes. Because, you see, Democrats control the Senate, but only by a narrow margin, and abandoning the supermajority requirement would restrict Johnson and his colleagues' ability to obstruct the majority party's initiatives.

But that's not the remarkable bit. It's Johnson's fatuous claim that "our Constitution was established to protect the rights of a single individual — the ultimate minority." Obviously it's not a fatuous claim on its face; what makes it fatuous is that it's Ron Johnson who's making it. Because there's nothing in the U.S. Constitution about individual rights. Those references appear in the Amendments to the Constitution and most of them are to the individual rights of criminal suspects and defendants, like it or not (and most people don't like it, when they figure it out).

What specifically makes Ron Johnson's claim fatuous is the fact that Johnson is blocking one of the President's judicial nominees who has a record of protecting and enforcing the very rights that Johnson is suddenly celebrating. And it was that record that Ron Johnson's pals and allies among Wisconsin Republicans used as a weapon to falsely portray Louis Butler as overwhelmingly sympathetic to criminal defendants.

(Indeed, Butler's challenger in the 2008 State Supreme Court election, Mike Gableman, depicted the sitting justice as an accessory to rape.)

Johnson's fellow travelers at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, for example, ran thousands (literally) of broadcast ads attacking Louis Butler for his lone dissent in a case called State v. Mark Jensen, wherein Butler objected to the admission as evidence of certain statements made by the deceased, an alleged spousal homicide victim. The Sixth Amendment guarantees that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him."

Subsequent to Butler's opinion, a similar case arose in California which made it to the United States Supreme Court. In a decision authored by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by the other conservative members of the Court, Butler's legal and historical reasoning in his Jensen opinion was almost identically reproduced. To my knowledge, conservative special interest groups in Wisconsin never once acknowledged this fact.

And why would they? It would be an admission of their dishonesty.

So to now hear Johnson crying out for the constitutional "rights of a single individual" while blocking the nomination of a judge with precisely the record that Johnson's Wisconsin Republican buddies had previously criticized is both comical and pathetic. And it's especially hypocritical.

Speaking of Scalia, Ron Johnson claimed during his campaign that he was an admirer of "strict constructionists" like the celebrated Justice. Except Scalia is not a "strict constructionist" and moreover would surely scoff at Johnson's reliance on what Johnson himself admits is a "legend" in Johnson's attempt to determine the original intent for the Senate, an anecdote attributed to Washington and Jefferson about a tea saucer.*

And of course there was Ron Johnson's ridiculous insistence — which was supported by a bevy of conservative Milwaukee attorneys — that he, as a Senator, retains the power to nominate judges to the federal courts, a power which the Constitution clearly confers on the President. During his campaign Johnson admitted to only having read the Constitution a couple of times. Nothing has changed since then except that Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson has become an even bigger hypocrite.

* By way of the late former Klansman, West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd.

October 23, 2011

Gonna need to double down on the torts reform

Wisconsin will fall far short of adding the 250,000 new private-sector jobs by 2015 that Scott Walker promised as a key part of his successful election campaign. — by the Associated Press
"Pledged," not just promised, I believe it was:*
Mike Gousha: Is this [pledge to create 250,000 jobs] a campaign promise, something you wanna be held to?

Scott Walker: Absolutely. ... To me, 250,000 jobs is a minimum.
Hold him to it.

* "Scott Walker Discusses His Pledge to Create 250,000 Jobs."

Can't get enough WPRI? Try the Journal-Sentinel.

Today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has not one but two columns by Wisconsin Policy Research Institute "senior fellows," neither of which identify WPRI for the right-wing Bradley Foundation-funded Republican Party/Scott Walker shill that it is. In fact the president of the Bradley Foundation, Michael Grebe, was Scott Walker's campaign chairman.

WPRI also has a magazine of its own, which is edited by right-wing radio shouter Charlie Sykes. Charlie Sykes is also an employee of Journal Communications, Inc., which owns the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

And the Journal-Sentinel endorsed Scott Walker for governor of Wisconsin, despite the paper's occasional quarter-hearted editorial page objections to Walker and his henchpeople's policies. Just so you know.

Your Wisconsin politics laugh of the morning

Darrin Schmitz called the charges "false and misleading."
Darrin Schmitz was Mike Gableman's campaign manager.

Schmitz once calculated that then-Burnett County circuit judge Gableman's rate of reversal on appeal was very low because Gableman had "presided over" 9,000 uncontested traffic tickets. Seriously.

These people take you for utter fools. Why do you put up with it?

October 22, 2011

SCOTUS PPACA one-stop shopping

Handy dandy (none of those petitions is accepted ... yet).

Shorter Eastern District of Wisconsin panel

You asked us to dismiss this lawsuit

"[F]ails ... fails ... no merit ... incorrectly critic[al] ... DENIED."

Wherefore may the federal court challenge to the Wisconsin Republican Party's ludicrously partisan electoral redistricting proposal proceed.

And, I would presume, the current districts will remain in place throughout any recall elections that occur prior to November, 2012.

October 21, 2011

Wisconsin's right-wing fake journalists

Of relevance to a recent and ongoing topic.

See, e.g., Wisconsin Reporter's sense of entitlement

More here.

True conservatives™ must reject Wisconsin photo ID

Reports the Wisconsin State Journal:
The lawsuit relies on an unusual legal argument that the legislature can only enact laws that are enumerated in the State constitution, said Barry Burden, a UW-Madison political science professor and expert on elections. If the case goes to trial, Burden said, supporters would argue the photo ID law is necessary to identify those whom the constitution precludes from voting.
First of all, the constitution doesn't preclude them from voting; the constitution says that the legislature may preclude them from voting.

Their being precluded from voting is not a constitutional requirement.

But I hope photo ID "supporters" do make that argument, because it's nonsensical. Photo ID neither identifies a person as a felon nor as an incompetent. Obviously election officials would have to make separate inquiries beyond the photo ID in order to determine whether a person was a felon or incompetent. And then further inquiries beyond those in order to determine whether the felon had had her civil rights restored and whether the incompetency — which is a judicial determination made by a presumably competent magistrate — included an exemption for voting or whether the determination of incompetency was reversed.

Which is the way challenges to the eligibility of electors work at the moment. Photo ID can't tell you any of those things. It's just a picture.

Finally, I don't know what's so unusual about the plaintiffs' legal argument. It's actually very clever and seems to me designed to appeal to our self-proclaimed conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.*

They purport to construe narrowly the admonitions of legal documents, and the constitution allows the legislature to preclude from voting only those two classes of persons: felons and incompetents. Assumedly the plaintiffs chose this route because the current federal law is stacked very much to their disadvantage, as Prof. Fallone so adeptly described.

Either that or, if the case gets that far and the court decides to uphold the American Legislative Exchange Council's photo ID requirement, demonstrating that the so-called conservatives are not conservatives at all, which happens to be an occasionally recurring theme at this space.

* One of whom believes voting is a First Amendment right.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lies about photo ID

"We require [photo ID] to get a library card," Scott Walker said.
No we don't. We require a birth certificate or a social security card and a recent utility bill to get a library card. That is, one piece of ID with your name, and one piece of ID with your name and address. No photo ID necessary. Scott Walker is so out of touch with regular Wisconsinites he doesn't even know how to get a library card. Recall him next month.

Here is Scott Walker's photo ID: the Desperado.

October 20, 2011

Why Walker never should have fired Lester Pines

Photo ID complaint: League of Women Voters v. Walker (.pdf; 10 pgs.)

Flashback: Michael Gableman announces his paranoias to the LWV.

Wisconsin Reporter's sense of entitlement

Graeme Zielinski, who is the communications director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, is engaged in a rather entertaining feud with Wisconsin Reporter, an allegedly nonpartisan "news" outfit.

Wisconsin Reporter is a project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which in turn receives funding from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, whose president, Michael Grebe, was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign chairman.

Small world, aina?

On Tuesday night, a Wisconsin Reporter reporter conducted a little escapade and managed to gain entry to a Democratic Party training session for volunteers seeking to donate their time to the Dem Party efforts to recall Walker, efforts that are guaranteed by the Wisconsin State constitution and protected by the Wisconsin State statutes.

During the event, the reporter apparently absconded with training materials intended for bonafide volunteers (the reporter had signed up for the event using the Dem Party's online invitation to recall volunteers, among whom the Wisconsin Reporter reporter quite clearly was not).

This morning Graeme Zielinski solicited the views of M.D. Kittle, another Wisconsin Reporter staffer. Inquires Zielinski of Kittle:
So, it's the practices of your fake news organization to try to gain entry to closed press events and then take material to which you are not entitled?
To which Kittle replies:
You are wrong about that, but you are entitled to be wrong.
In other words, Wisconsin Reporter is claiming it was "entitled" to the training packets, which were produced for bonafide volunteers, and to which the Wisconsin Reporter was made aware that there were not enough of these materials to go around even for bonafide volunteers — indeed, it was the Wisconsin Reporter that reported that detail.

Now, I can understand where Wisconsin Reporter might justify its pilfering of limited-availability training materials on the public's right-to-know grounds (and even that would be a stretch) but to suggest Wisconsin Reporter was "entitled" to them is extravagantly fatuous.

And yesterday Kittle ran to Vicki McKenna, easily the most odious of the State's medium wave right-wing bellowers, to defend WR's allegedly "nonpartisan" shenanigans. Which is a good thing, because Wisconsin Reporter should be on the defensive for its ethically suspect behavior.

And kept on the defensive, or precisely where it deserves to be.

Wisconsin Reporter swiped a training packet

Pursuant to Wisconsin Reporter's chicanery, a reader asks:
Did [the reporter] take one of those packets for volunteers, when there were too few for volunteers? Did she offer to compensate the organization for the cost, in line with the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics re freebies?
Evidently the reporter did the former:
Organizer Nick Niles announced that they had run out of training packets and asked people to share.
The embedded link to the Democratic Party's training packet is hosted at Statehousemedia.com, which is Wisconsin Reporter's proprietor. So even though Niles announced there were not enough packets for all of the volunteers, the reporter, who was not a volunteer, took one anyway.


Albeit marginally, this reporter was interfering with the recall effort.

And, according to the reporter's own account, knowingly.

October 19, 2011

Wisconsin Special Jobs Legislative Session!

But 17-year-old Ani Djaferian, a senior at Wausau East High School, told the panel students will ignore abstinence instruction.
Ani's clearly the wisest person in the room.

And what exactly is "clergy" doing advising public schools on sex ed?

Recall Walker training session filled to over capacity

According even to the Bradley Foundation front group Wisconsin Reporter. As a matter of fact enthusiasm for the movement to recall Governor Scott Walker is so great it even attracted at least one suspicious interloper from the Bradley Foundation front group Wisconsin Reporter. While her tale is certainly amusing and Dem Party spokesman Zielinski is correct the outfit is generally up to no good, this was a training session for volunteers, not for the press, as evidenced by the two Democratic Party documents that Wisconsin Reporter provides.

One is a schedule of upcoming training events for volunteers, and the other is the WisDems' sign-up form for volunteers. Members of the legitimate press understand the distinction between public meetings and closed training sessions and they would do more in advance of their desire to attend than fill out the online form, which is for volunteers.

Either the Wisconsin Reporter is aware of that protocol and was being cute by trying to gain admission as a volunteer or else the Wisconsin Reporter is not aware of that protocol, in which case they come off as pretty amateurish in this latest stunt to antagonize Graeme Zielinski.

Because that's what this "story" is all about. Apparently the reporter sat and listened to remarks delivered by Kathleen Falk, the former Dane County Executive who is among the leading contenders to challenge Walker in the event of a recall election next year, but didn't see fit to report one single thing Falk said, preferring to gin up a fake controversy brought about by the alleged reporter's own questionable tactics.

If the training session was so well attended that organizers even ran out of printed packets for actual volunteers, it's no surprise that the reporter managed to essentially sneak by, given that the organizers' attention would have been necessarily focused on, well, organizing.

All in all, an entertaining diversion for the usual wing-nuts but apart from the fact that the Recall Walker volunteer enthusiasm exceeded even the organizers' expectation, there's not a lot to see here except as more evidence Wisconsin Reporter is less interested in reporting than trying to make a bigger deal out of its ongoing feud with Zielinski.

Most importantly, any legitimate news outfit that insists on using Wisconsin Reporter — or the MacGyvers or the so-called Media Trackers — as a source needs to be aware that Wisconsin Reporter may be muckracking but without any commensurate commitment to objectivity.

October 18, 2011

Those bloody lawyers, always with the law

Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Sacred Institution) said he thought his bill would sail through the hearing, until he realized there were three attorneys on the committee. Two maintained that his bill would make it easier, not more difficult, to victimize a spouse.

Put a teevee reporter in charge of lawmaking, this is what you get.

Rep. Joel Kleefisch's own spouse, incidentally, is currently Wisconsin's lieutenant-governor, who famously likened same-sex couples to dogs.

It's good to know the deep thinkers are running the show over there.

The left in Wisconsin

"The left in Wisconsin has a lot in common with [William] Ayers and others who practice terrorism." — MacGyver "News Service."
Which is idiotic enough on its face but much worse when you consider these MacGyver* clowns are often used as a source by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and 620 WTMJ NewsRadio. Next time you see them cited in the local press, remember, this is where they're coming from.

* It's MacIver but I like my spelling better.

October 15, 2011

WISGOP: Our lifeblood is small grassroots donors

For example that one couple who handed the Senate Republican co-chairperson of the legislature's Joint Finance Committee $31,500.

(Nice committee by the way, 12 Republicans and four Democrats.)

Not sure what this is supposed to mean exactly

Though Marquette University's College Republicans issued a press release criticizing the demonstration, there was no violence.
But there you have it.

Here's some good pics.

Wisconsin Republicans get set to sue themselves

I'd overlooked this little tidbit from Thursday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel until a commenter pointed it out this morning:
New legislative [district] maps that favor Republicans have been drawn for the regular fall 2012 elections. When Republicans drew those maps, they wrote State law to say recall elections conducted before then would be run under the current maps.

But Republicans on Thursday pointed to a 1982 opinion by then-Attorney General Bronson La Follette that said recall elections would be conducted under new legislative maps. They said that opinion and others trumped the recent language in State law that says the new maps don't take effect for elections until fall 2012.

That language was tucked into the bills that established the new maps, and it remains unclear why Republicans wrote them that way. They paid Michael Best & Friedrich and the Troupis Law Office $400,000 in taxpayer money to write those bills.
Good luck arguing an advisory opinion supersedes State law, I guess.

This might be another job for supervisory/original jurisdiction.

October 14, 2011

Another merit badge for the Eagle Scout

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who forced public workers to pay more for their pensions as part of a push to curb union rights, broke his campaign promise to pay the full cost of his own State pension immediately after taking office in January.
AP: Lt. Gov. Kleefisch made same pledge, also didn't pay as promised

What else is new.

October 13, 2011

Ron Johnson's arrestees were all Wisconsinites

Contrary to rumors the usual wing-nuts bought hook, line, and sinker.

Ron Johnson: 19 political opponents imprisoned.

The Perry Walker Way

This teevee ad is running in Wisconsin. Quite the pair.

Perry is the guy who's nosediving even among conservative Republicans.

WISGOP leaders slightly off message this morning

Funny, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was on the Twitter earlier, condemning "angry protests & recalls" and then the next thing you know, there's his other Scott, Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald, "consider[ing] seeking to recall nearly all of the [Senate] Democrats who are eligible."

Said Senator Scott Fitzgerald: "It's about making people spend money where they don't have to. That's what this game has boiled down to."

Good to know all this "job creating" nonsense is just a game to him.

Paul Simon is 70

So how about some Steve Howe and Bill Bruford.*

* Who is in town October 22.

October 12, 2011

Ron Johnson: 19 political opponents imprisoned

The State director for U.S. millionaire Senator Ron Johnson refused to allow the group access to the building. A mounted police officer and more than a dozen other officers armed with billyclubs and carrying plastic handcuffs arrived shortly afterward.
Ironic Ron Johnson enjoys protections of an Article III courthouse
Unfortunately, those who came to my Milwaukee office were more interested in scoring political points than discussing issues. They chose not to meet with my staff, but instead to be disorderly, which unfortunately resulted in their arrest by law enforcement. — Statement of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson
If "citizen legislator" RoJo is going to be making laws, then he should at least understand what the law means before accusing other folks of breaking it. Nobody was being "disorderly." Their alleged transgression was trespassing and they haven't even been charged with that.

They were arrested simply for Ron Johnson's convenience.

Flashback: Team Johnson in action abridging rivals' political speech

October 11, 2011

Scott Walker: Anti-labor champion

That's a nice reputation to have these days.

Fitzgerald touts record of lawbreaking in Senate bid

Exciting news, Jeff Fitzgerald is running for the U.S. Senate:
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) says his experience shepherding controversial collective bargaining reforms through the legislature has left him battletested [sic] and ready to take the fight for true reform to Washington.
Which is funny because not only were the reforms "shepherded" in violation of Wisconsin law, but according to trial court testimony, it was Fitzgerald personally who held up providing the minimum notice for the fateful joint committee meeting of March 9, 2011. Rachel Veum, the Wisconsin Senate's Records and Forms Management Specialist, testified April 1 that she had to "run" around the Capitol in search of Fitzgerald.

And Fitzgerald, by not being in his office at the crucial moment, was the reason why the elapsed time between notice and meeting was one hour and 57-ish minutes, a fact admitted in court by Fitzgerald's own counsel.

Thus was Fitzgerald himself responsible for the subsequent constitutional crisis, which was only settled after a bare majority of the State Supreme Court discovered a novel form of judicial authority that, as we learned somewhat after the fact, it was so eager to announce in order to save WISGOP legislators the trouble of convening a lawful meeting that the four marched into the dissenters' chambers, a struggle ensued, and one justice admitted to having placed his hands around the neck of another.

And of course it was Assemblyman Jeff Fitzgerald who led the demand for the arrest, custody, and secure police conveyance of his political adversaries. Fitzgerald's brother Scott, the Senate Majority Leader, paid $27,000 for a legal memorandum purportedly authorizing the pair to have the entire Wisconsin Senate Democratic caucus — including State Senator Julie Lassa, who at the time was seven months pregnant — "carried ... feet first" across a threshold inside the Capitol building.

It's a record, alright. It's just not an especially enviable one.

Photo ID legal challenge unlikely to succeed

Concludes Marquette law professor Edward Fallone.

Shorter version: The law authorizes Republicans to make it more difficult for Democrats to vote but does not require Republicans to present any evidence of what it is they claim they're seeking to prevent.* And for that you can thank — of all people — Justice Stevens.

That authorization is closer to what's known as the Original Intent of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution, who did not want anybody to vote.

* Which is fortuitous for them because no such evidence exists.

October 10, 2011

Recall Walker finds a candidate in Kathleen Falk

Updated: November 15 it is
"Kathleen [Falk] is open to being a candidate for governor if the recall effort against Walker is successful," says Melissa Mulliken, Falk's longtime campaign adviser, when asked if Falk would be interested in a run for governor, reports the Capital Times.*
If I'm not mistaken, Kathleen Falk is the first candidate to announce such an intention since an early favorite, Russ Feingold, declined to.

It doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense to me to launch a recall effort without a replacement candidate in mind. If somebody came pounding on my door asking me to sign a Scott Walker recall petition, the first question I'd ask is, "Who you going to replace him with?"

I doubt I'd take "We don't know yet" as a satisfactory answer. Also, 'I'll consider running if and only if these other people pull enough signatures together' is not among the most inspiring political messages I've heard.

While there's reportedly considerable enthusiasm for recalling Walker there's been zero to little inclination toward actually running against him. And if the proponents for an early recall seize their earliest opportunity — which is less than a month away — then the general election in 2012 would be earlier rather than later as well so somebody sure better get on the stick and start raising money tout de suite.

(The last gubernatorial election cost the candidates $17.85 millions.)

Otherwise the recall petitioners could end up gathering 540,000 signatures two times: once for a spring election that coincides with historically high Republican turnouts and again for a November 2012 contest that is not boding particularly well for Democrats either.

Of course that might be why nobody's interested. On the other hand, Scott Walker is apparently taking it all very seriously. Perhaps Walker knows who's going to run against him. Maybe he can give us a hint.

* But not until the twenty-first paragraph!

Judge less expensive than plumber

Dan Bice's John Doe investigation update:*
The 69-year-old retired jurist Neal Nettesheim is paid the same rate as reserve judges, who earn $445.15 a day.
That's about 55 bucks an hour, or $15 per hour less than a court-appointed defense attorney or $240 per hour less than James Troupis.

Even Scott Walker's harshest critics can't get too excited about that.

* The comments are an hilarious reminder that this is what Walker's top aide in Milwaukee County, Darlene Wink, spent her days contributing to. "Coordinating career politician Scott Walker's constituents," I believe was the formal job description for Darlene Wink's "sock puppet" shenanigans.

Wisconsin Republicans "almost comical"

Some of the desperate Republican attempts to keep college students from voting are almost comical in their transparent partisanship. No college ID card in Wisconsin meets the State's new stringent requirements (as lawmakers knew full well), so the elections board proposed that colleges add stickers to the cards with expiration dates and signatures. Republican lawmakers protested that the stickers would lead to — yes, voter fraud.
NYT: The Myth of Voter Fraud

October 9, 2011

John Nichols pulled from Monday Night Football

You know who else preached to the choir?
"I don't have a taste for comparing Gov. Scott Walker with the Soviet strongman. But when it comes to managing elections, Walker is giving his harshest critics ample encouragement to make the comparison," writes one of Walker's harshest critics.
Wouldn't most people just stop reading right there?

Herman Cain: Ask Mark Block about Jon Wilcox

This morning's Journal-Sentinel celebration of Republican operative Mark Block is notable for its omission of this historical tidbit:
Block was banned from politics for three years and fined $15,000 for his role in an illegal scheme in the campaign of Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox. He was the campaign manager. An "independent" group, the Wisconsin Coalition for Voter Participation (WCVP), raised $200,000 to mail 354,000 postcards and conduct a phone campaign disguised as a non-partisan get-out-the-vote effort. It was illegally coordinated with Wilcox's campaign and helped him defeat challenger Walt Kelly.
Wilcox was another of the court's so-called "conservatives" who, instead of getting banned from politics like his helpers, ascended to the bench.

October 8, 2011

Vote Christian, unless that Christian is Obama

Mormon Mitt Romney is a cult member, says top evangelical pastor

This is that meeting where all the conservative Republicans get together and tell you how much more religious-y they are than the other guy.

By the way this Jeffress character was on CNN with Anderson Cooper a bit later in the day. Cooper asked Jeffress if he thought Catholics were cult members also. Jeffress said no, they're not quite cult members, but they don't follow the New Testament. So, so much for Newt Gingrich.*

* Who reportedly called Jeffress a bigot. Play nice religious Republicans!

On teh web 2007: Jesus, Satan, Huckabee & Hitler

October 7, 2011

The mob is admonished to think critically

Speaking once again of Hank Jr.:
The other thing I dislike about the affair is the inability of the chattering mob to think critically. Williams was not comparing Obama to Hitler. He was just trying to suggest two diametrically opposed figures whose cooperation seemed to him as unlikely as between the President and Speaker of the House. — Prof. Rick
Perhaps, but critical thinkers might examine the entire record:*
When one of the Fox & Friends said he did not understand the analogy, Williams said: "I'm glad you don't, brother, because a lot of people do. They're the enemy: Obama! And Biden!"**
Just in case you were wondering which part of the analogy was who, because apparently it eluded the purview of Prof. Rick's critical thinking.

While it's true nobody's going to mistake Hank Williams Jr. for a U.S. foreign policy scholar, the point of his illuminations had nothing to do with comparing Obama to Hitler but rather it was the selection of Hitler and Netanyahu for the purposes of the illustration. It's an article of faith among conservative Republicans — and I mean literally, an article of faith — that in the ceaseless struggles among Israel and its local Semitic adversaries, the Israelis can do no wrong. And among the chief continual right-wing criticisms of Obama are of his alleged sympathies toward the Palestinians, in opposition to the Saviour's Chosen People's security.

Hank Williams Jr. is no opinion leader (it is hoped) but he's obviously an opinion follower and his remarks to Fox & Friends are a reflection of the general wing-nut narrative, pervasive within the network's rotisserie of buffoonish "pundits" and articulated since long before his election, that Obama is a concealed Islamist bent on the subjugation of Israel. That Hank Jr.'s addled ramblings conjured up Hitler is less noteworthy than that Netanyahu — himself an erstwhile Fox News pundit — put in an appearance. In other words, the dog-whistle is piercing with this one.

And of course Prof. Rick, consumer of right-wing media, heard it too.

* Or watch several minutes of cringe-inducing video here.

** "The Three Stooges," continues Hank Jr., leading us to wonder how anybody could make it in music without being able to count to four.***

*** Besides Johann Strauss Jr.

What rock did Neil Boortz crawl out from under

Sean Hannity Fox News: Special GOP Victims Unit

Must be the same crowd that booed the soldier stationed in Iraq and cheered the hypothetical death of the fellow with no health insurance.

October 6, 2011

Hank Jr. was actually Occupying Wall Street

Did you catch that last line of Hank Jr.'s "version of events":
"When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job — it makes a whole lot of us angry," said the country music singer Hank Williams Jr.
ESPN does not have to use tone-deaf politico to sing into kickoffs

Sarah Palin won't run in Democratic primary

Palin ruled out any third-party bid, telling wing-nut shouter Mark Levin she believes it would "guarantee Obama's nomination."

October 5, 2011

MULS blawg shake-up

Prof. Rick Esenberg, there he was, gone from the masthead.

(Along with young Daniel Suhr's risible calumnies, it is hoped.)

The good news is the addition of the estimable Scott C. Idleman.

Wisconsin whistleblower's case gets a little tougher

Via WKOW's Tony Galli:
Chris Larsen was fired last month from his limited term position in the mail room at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services after Larsen used his State email account to direct others on how to obtain a free voter ID and avoid the $28 charge for State identification. Nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers criticized the firing and urged Larsen's reinstatement.

Previously Larsen was reprimanded for obscuring emails by using a non-traditional background, for delivering mail to wrong places, for leaving work early, and for sleeping on the job. His file also shows a supervisor observed Larsen doing school work while on the job and warned him he'd be terminated if it happened again.
Potentially setting up a classic employment law battle: Was he fired for sending the email per se or was he fired for the content of the email?

I don't like his chances but maybe it's worth a shot.

CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin, Monday night on the Colbert Report:
Stephen Colbert: What is the Interstate Commerce Clause?

Jeffrey Toobin: That's the part of the Constitution that says the federal government can regulate anything related to interstate commerce, which the Supreme Court has historically interpreted very broadly.
That isn't what the Constitution says, and that isn't even what the Supreme Court's interpretive caselaw has said. Think about it: If the Constitution really did say that the federal government can regulate "anything related" to interstate commerce,* then why would the U.S. Supreme Court need to interpret the Interstate Commerce Clause at all?

And it gets worse from there. This guy is malpractice-grade frightening.

* "Commerce among the several States," to be precise.

October 3, 2011

Another case for supervisory/original jurisdiction

Petition of Clarke

Milwaukee County sheriff has nowhere to go:
"I have been advised that the matter is closed, and my ability to learn what facts or methodology the Commission used in reaching that decision is confidential. No. Not in my world."
Well, Sheriff Clarke's ability to learn facts isn't confidential, but the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's pre-formal complaint deliberations are:
All proceedings under ss. 757.81 to 757.99 relating to misconduct prior to the filing of a petition or formal complaint by the commission are confidential unless a judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner waives the right to confidentiality in writing to the commission. — § 757.93(1)(a)
That may not conform to the sheriff's personal world but it is the law.

Clearly, a case for supervisory/original jurisdiction.

October 2, 2011

Koch Industries "really kind of baffled I had ethics"

"Beautiful, beautiful." — Fake David Koch to Scott Walker
A Koch Industries joint venture pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to restrain trade and paid a $28.5 million fine.
Wait a cotton pickin' minute, I thought conspiracies to restrain trade were exactly what conservative Republicans, the "Tea Party" wing-nuts, and their Koch Industries benefactors are always complaining about.

Bloomberg Markets: Iranians For Prosperity