Big news for Drinking Liberally Waukesha!

Phil Scarr and I are shocked, saddened, and thrilled to announce that Drinking Liberally Waukesha will be moving to a new venue after our February 6th meeting. We’re shocked that we have too many Waukesha County liberals  to fit into our current space, saddened to leave Sprizzo Gallery Caffe, whose staff made us feel at home deep in the heart of Waukesha, and thrilled that Tammy Baldwin will join us for an Extraordinarily Special Session of Drinking Liberally Waukesha on February 20th at our new location!

Starting with our Extraordinarily Special Session on February 20thwe’ll meet at Bullwinkles/Panos, 20290 W. Bluemound Rd. Yes, technically that’s in Brookfield, but the place meets all of our needs: easy access, giant parking lot, an extensive bar including a wide variety of beer on tap, a large food menu, and, most importantly, a room that can hold up to 200 people. We’ll be able to drink, eat, listen to speakers, and mingle all in one space. And we won’t have to worry about possibly breaking fire code on March 5th, when Mahlon Mitchell comes to speak to us.

Phil and I want to thank Karla, Jeff, and the entire staff at Sprizzo for their generosity and for making us feel so welcome. If it weren’t for the lack of space, Drinking Liberally Waukesha would happily remain at Sprizzo indefinitely. I know I’ll be back to visit often-for the atmosphere, the artichoke dip, and the chocolate cake. And, of course, to grab a drink.

Mark Neumann mails hit piece on Tammy Baldwin

If this mailer from extreme right Republican U.S. Senate candidate (and failed Senate & gubernatorial candidate) Mark Neumann is any indicator, the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl is going to be particularly negative and downright nasty.

For more on the extremism and negativity of Mark Neumann, see “[the gay agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today,” courtesy of Neumann’s ideological “pea in a pod” Tom Coburn, not to mention Neumann’s statement, “If I were elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn’t be permitted.”

As for Neumann’s statement in his mailer about his “good character,” there’s a whole bunch of conservative bloggers in Wisconsin who think Neumann lacks character:

it is our responsibility to bring Mark Neumann’s lack of character to your attention. While we do not question Neumann’s past contributions to conservatism while he was a Congressman, his actions during last year’s campaign are completely unbecoming of a conservative candidate.

With friends like those, who needs enemies?

Wiggy Wrong Again

James ” Wiggy” Wigderson, aka Sqwiggy, is over at his blog telling us all, ( or those few of us who occasionally read it) that over 25% of the signatures gathered in Ohio to repeal Senate Bill 5 were fraudulent. He goes on to speculate that up to 33% of the signatures gathered to recall Walker might be rejected, but then concedes that even a one in three rejection rate would still trigger a recall election. But here’s what Wiggy didn’t tell us.

The vast majority of the roughly 350,000 signatures rejected by the Ohio Secretary of State were not found to be fraudulent, but rather, invalid, which is a very important distinction. Why were those signatures deemed invalid? Because Ohio election law requires registered voters to sign petitions in their county of residence. It seems likely that in their enthusiasm to repeal Governor Kasich’ union busting bill some folks were not entirely clear on the specifics of Ohio election law, and so many people who were not registered voters may have signed the petitions, and many may have signed at rallies otuside of their home county. 

Why does this matter? Because Wisconsin has no statute requiring eligible electors( anyone eligible to vote in Wisconsin) to sign petitions in their county of residence, so there’s absolutely no reason to believe that anywhere remotely close  to 33% of the signatures we gathered are invalid, or duplicate, and certainly not  fraudulent. No reason to believe it unless, of course, you’re a smear-mongering kook.

So, Wiggy, here’s a little homework assignment for you. Call the Ohio Secretary of State and find out how many signatures were rejected because they were actually fraudulent, and then get back to us. The telephone number is 614-466-2655.

Go ahead, give’m a call. I’m sure they can help you clear your head.

Then again, maybe not.


Why It’s Good to be the King: Part I

The kerfluffle swirling around Mitt’s income tax returns reached a fevered pitch this week.  The quintessential “Born with a Silver Foot in his Mouth” candidate, Mitt objects to telling America what he’s worth.  But he was kind enough to share his effective tax rate with the peasants: 15%.  The reason his rate is so insanely low compared to the average American is twofold.  First, nearly all his income comes from unearned income; income from investments rather than “the sweat of his brow” like the rest of us schmoes.  Paul Krugman teaches us the history.

Defenders of low taxes on the rich mainly make two arguments: that low taxes on capital gains are a time-honored principle, and that they are needed to promote economic growth and job creation. Both claims are false.

Low capital gains taxes date only from 1997, when Mr. Clinton struck a deal with Republicans in Congress in which he cut taxes on the rich in return for creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And today’s ultralow rates — the lowest since the days of Herbert Hoover — date only from 2003, when former President George W. Bush rammed both a tax cut on capital gains and a tax cut on dividends through Congress, something he achieved by exploiting the illusion of triumph in Iraq.

And the economic record certainly doesn’t support the notion that superlow taxes on the superrich are the key to prosperity. During that first Clinton term, when the very rich paid much higher taxes than they do now, the economy added 11.5 million jobs, dwarfing anything achieved even during the good years of the Bush administration.

Once again, the lies we tell ourselves are just that… lies.  Lower taxes do not equal prosperity for America.  They never have and they never will.  Low taxes cause inequality and economic stagnation.

Rich people aren’t “job creators,” they’re greedy bastards who have arranged the world through influence and bribery so they no longer have to pay their fair share.


Wanted: One Documentary Filmmaker

Lisa and I were at the Waukesha Democratic Party’s monthly meeting at the Labor Temple last night.  I usually go for the coffee and treats and the occasional tidbit I can pick up about what’s happening with the state or even national party.  The people are nice and the coffee is hot.  But last night I heard about something that, in hindsight, needs to be captured for posterity.

Several people in the audience shared their experiences gathering signatures.  They talked about the hate and occasional violence they endured in Waukesha county.  These stories, many funny, some occasionally harrowing, deserve to be preserved for future generations.  The Recall is history in the making and the way people behaved should not be forgotten.

I’d like to propose a model for this effort: The Shoah Project.

In 1994, one year after Schindler’s List won the Academy Award for best picture, Stephen Spielberg founded the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.  The goal of the project was to capture stories of the Holocaust in as much detail as possible from the people who survived.

The Foundation conducted nearly 52,000 interviews between 1994 and 1999. Interviewees included Jewish survivors, homosexual survivors, Jehovah’s Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) survivors, survivors of Eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants.

The work of the Shoah project is to record the truth of the history of the holocaust*.  I think it would be valuable to apply the same principles to the recall signature effort in Wisconsin.

Whipped up to a frenzy of crazy by hate-talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling, the Republicans / Tea Party swarmed the recall petition teams around the county (and the state).  Some of the stories I heard just last nigh were (paraphrased):

  • A woman stopped her car to give me the finger.  I wagged my index finger back, scolding her and then pointed to her kids in the back seat silently reminding her of the impression she was making on her own children.  She rolled up the window and drove quickly away.
  • The owner of Albanese’s Roadhouse (next to Menards in Waukesha) threatened to push me into the traffic for collecting signatures.  He later lied to the police about the incident.
  • A guy offered to fight me, I told him he was acting like a school yard bully and he shut up
  • One day I counted over 100 people who gave me the finger
  • People would yell at me as they drove by.  It was funny because I couldn’t understand them at all.
  • When I started to film someone who was verbally abusive, she hit me.
  • At WATC WCTC, an agitated student who objected to our presence said, “You can’t collect signatures on my public property!”

Now I know that Waukesha breeds a peculiarly virulent strain of loopy wingnut, but I’ve heard stories very much like this from across the state.

I’d like to find a documentary filmmaker who’d be willing to capture these terrific stories from the people who braved not just the winter weather, but the vitriol and violence of crazy rightwing nutjobs who, like lice, plague Wisconsin’s body politic.  It will take the sunshine of exposure to eradicate this ugly and brutal infestation.


*No, I am not suggesting that giving someone the finger is the same as the Holocaust.  No, I’m not comparing the Republic Party to Nazis.  No, I’m not calling Scott Walker “Hitler.” I did not say that and it’s clearly not what I intend.  What I’m suggesting that the methodology Spielberg developed for capturing an oral history of the holocaust can serve as a model for capturing the oral history of the signature gathering effort, perhaps as a larger documentary exercise on the whole of the Recall Walker effort.

Wisconsin loses jobs for sixth consecutive month…I blame Scott Walker!

I blame Scott Walker…

According to data released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Development, the state lost an estimated 3,900 jobs in the private sector in December from November. In the same month, the United States gained an estimated 212,000 jobs

In past months of job losses in Wisconsin, Gov. Walker and his administration have blamed the losses on the national economy, but given that the national economy gained over 200,000 jobs last month, it seems blame for Wisconsin’s job losses should fall squarely on the shoulders of Scott Walker and Republicans in the legislature, who despite their “focus” on job creation have managed create six months of job losses in Wisconsin.

Yet another reason to recall Scott Walker, because Wisconsin can’t afford to keep shedding jobs under his watch.

Why I Love The Republican Party!

Because you just can not make these stories up!

1. As many of you know, BloggingBlue went dark yesterday to protest SOPA. Well it turns out that one of the authors of this insane bill, Rep. Lamar Smith (R- Texas), was caught violating his own bill.

Isn’t it funny when a Republican calls for a law against something only for them to get caught doing what the new law punishes? The latest Republican to commit this kind of hypocrisy is Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who happens to be the author of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of did some digging to find out if Lamar Smith has been honest when it comes to copyrights. It turns out, he may be guilty of violating one. According to Taete, Smith violated a copyright by using a photograph on his website without crediting the photographer.

2. A Rick Santorum staffer says "It is against God's Will for Women to be president":

Rival presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s Iowa coalitions director, Jamie Johnson, sent out an email saying that children’s lives would be harmed if the nation had a female president. […]

“The question then comes, ‘Is it God’s highest desire, that is, his biblically expressed will, … to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state?’ ” Johnson’s email said.

3. In Virginia, Republican Bob Marshall had this to say:

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” said Marshall, a Republican.

“In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”

4. The four times married Rush Limbaugh defends the three time married Newt Gingrich and says Newt is the victim!

LIMBAUGH: I got a great note from a friend of mine. “So Newt wanted an open marriage. BFD. At least he asked his wife for permission instead of cheating on her. That’s a mark of character, in my book. Newt’s a victim. We all are. Ours is the horniest generation.” […] That’s from a good friend of mine, “Newt’s slogan ought to, ‘Hell, yes, I wanted it.’”

(ED Note: Newt was already cheating with Calista when he wanted the open marriage.)

5. Finally, closer to home: Wiggy is amazed that they are prosecuting Brian Pierick since he asked if the underage boy he was trolling for was 18. He is also amazed that Bruce Murphy(amongst a myriad of others) disagrees with him:

Conservative blogger James Wigderson takes issue with the complaint of child enticement, saying it “appears that Pierick had no way of knowing the boy was 17, not 18 or 19 as the boy claimed.” I read it differently, as the boy’s text messages make it clear he was worried about his mother and had to sneak out of his house, among other clues. It’s clear, by the way, that Pierick shared all the details of the back and forth texts with Russell.(Murphy’s words)

It’s also clear that Pierick discovered that the boy did live with his parents and was still in high school. However, Pierick did ask the boy repeatedly if he was over 18, making it clear to the boy that they were not interested in someone younger than 18. The district attorney’s office practically conceded that point when the complaint stated that ignorance of the boy’s actual age was not an excuse.(Wiggys desperate attempt at an excuse)

Wiggy does not stop there he lives by the old saying “when in a hole keep digging” So he does:

I’m certainly not condoning the behavior but I still find it hard to believe that the district attorney is prosecuting this case

Dr. Phil always says, “BUT” means, let me tell you what I really mean. So let me tell you what Wiggy really means. Wiggy is actually “condoning the behavior” , hell they did ask if he was 18 and he said almost 19. Thats good enough if, like Newt’s example above, your horny. Besides these guys are very close to Governor Walker so they can do no wrong! By the way have you heard someone threw a beer on Robin Vos’ head?

How much water are you carrying for the local party when you start defending that? is there a big bonus in it for him? Does that ever wash off?