Shrill Labarre Supports Mimes!

Shrill Labarrel, failed tea party candidate and fringe right winger, today filed papers to recall Senator Bob Jauch. In her filing she let it be known that Senator Jauch was being recalled, because he voted against MIMES!

H/T Politiscoop:

As if the “tea party” hasn’t done enough damage, they now want to flood the state with MIMES. While I would think that improving the Hayward Public schools, that let her down, would be a priority with Ms. Labarre, everyone has their issues.

I personally stand with Senator Jauch on this one. I hate Mimes!

The Plight of Women in 2012 America

Much has been waged on the war on women recently and I wanted to highlight some more of it and try and bring it full circle. The first story, and as a father of a daughter is the hardest to read, comes from comes from the great NY Time Columnist Nicholas Kristof. Kristof writes of one specific aspect of the American sex trade/human trafficing that is such a problem in America. That of companies that enable this to happen specifically backpage.com.

“You can’t buy a child at Wal-Mart, can you?” she asked me. “No, but you can go to Backpage and buy me on Backpage.”

Backpage accounts for about 70 percent of prostitution advertising among five Web sites that carry such ads in the United States, earning more than $22 million annually from prostitution ads, according to AIM Group, a media research and consulting company. It is now the premier Web site for human trafficking in the United States, according to the National Association of Attorneys General. And it’s not a fly-by-night operation. Backpage is owned by Village Voice Media, which also owns the estimable Village Voice newspaper.

Attorneys general from 48 states have written a joint letter to Village Voice Media, pleading with it to get out of the flesh trade. An online petition at Change.org has gathered 94,000 signatures asking Village Voice Media to stop taking prostitution advertising. Instead, the company has used The Village Voice to mock its critics

In 2012 America profits trump people especially when the profits are $22,000,000 and the people are faceless women. Kristoff writes and I agree, that this is a major problem that goes beyond the websites but everything helps in this fight.

There are no simple solutions to end sex trafficking, but it would help to have public pressure on Village Voice Media to stop carrying prostitution advertising. The Film Forum has already announced that it will stop buying ads in The Village Voice. About 100 advertisers have dropped Rush Limbaugh’s radio show because of his demeaning remarks about women. Isn’t it infinitely more insulting to provide a forum for the sale of women and girls?

Let’s be honest: Backpage’s exit from prostitution advertising wouldn’t solve the problem, for smaller Web sites would take on some of the ads. But it would be a setback for pimps to lose a major online marketplace. When Craigslist stopped taking such ads in 2010, many did not migrate to new sites: online prostitution advertising plummeted by more than 50 percent, according to AIM Group.

This is a problem that everyone needs to take seriously and address. In 2012 America we should make being a successful pimp next to impossible. Maybe the NYPD could focus their energy on this the way that they have worked on keeping OWS out of Zucotti park. While this story was based in New York, it is a problem for all of America. More information here. Now we can head down to Texas(again in a problem that effects everyone). Let’s go back to Nickolas Kristof, where he talks about the recent law passed in Texas(and attempted elsewhere).

HERE’S what a woman in Texas now faces if she seeks an abortion.

Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen.

She must listen to a doctor explain the body parts and internal organs of the fetus as they’re shown on the monitor. She signs a document saying that she understands all this, and it is placed in her medical files. Finally, she goes home and must wait 24 hours before returning to get the abortion.

The Texas Governor who desperately tried to be president but was deemed to crazy and unintelligent by the republican base is now interfering in the lives of women! Again while all of these stories effect women everywhere, lets bring up our final one that is uniquely Wisconsin.

This latest from West Bend's own Glenn Grothman. The big government unmarried, childless republican senator has actually proposed legislation that would require Wisconsin’s Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board “to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

Grothman thinks that parents(he does not distinguish between mother/father(although its implied) who are divorced, widowed, together but not married, couples where one spouse is serving a long deployment, travels for business, etc… all these people (do you happen to know anyone that fits that description?) are contributing factors to child abuse and neglect. Fortunately, they are losing the messaging race big time. Unfortunately they are well funded.

Well funded enough for the Bradley/Koch machine to send two of their lapdogs out to defend the Senator. The first comes from the discredited law professor Sh & Sh: to tell us how right Glenn Grothman is (here is he telling us of the war on the white male in today's society).

Grothman may well be right.

I’ve done a of reading on this in connection with the marriage issue. There is an awful lot of support for Grothman’s position. Children raised in single parent and step families are more likely to be the victims of abuse and neglect.This is not to say that all – or, thank God, even most – single or step parents will be abusers. It simply reflects the fact that raising children alone or with someone who is not that child’s biological parent (and, therefore, likely to be less invested in that child) is difficult.

Wow where to begin here.

this is not to say that all – or, thank God, even most – single or step parents will be abusers
well then should we continue on with this ridiculousness now that we have confirmed what Grothman (and you) were saying is bullshit?? If you bozo’s ever did any research whatsoever, you would know that Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, although boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family. Will Grothmans next bill be one that doesnt allow kids to be around anyone they know? The Strangers aren’t danger act?

Next they also sent out unmarried, childless far right blogger Kevin Binversie. who first takes it upon himself to defend Grothmans blatantly racist past(maybe there was a bonus for that):

State Sen. Glenn Grothman loves controversy.

In 2003, the West Bend Republican questioned whether Kwanza was a real holiday. In 2009, he speculated that University of Wisconsin-Madison’s diversity-based admissions policies were evidence of the university’s hatred of white men.

Then went to work defending Grothman:

When pressed by the left-leaning Huffington Post, Grothman made the fairly bland observation that, yes, it would be better if women married the men who father their children.

“Society would be better off with two-parent families,” Grothman told Wisconsin Reporter. “My critics are trying to misrepresent the findings behind this bill.”

Those findings are pretty powerful. Single-parent households, it turns out, are increasingly common in some places. Last month, the New York Times cited 2009 government data showing that 59 percent of mothers under 30 when they gave birth were single.

Yes it is quite obvious that kids children raised in a two parent household are much more stable. Unless of course The father is on the road so much no one knows where he is!

Now we know why Don Pridemore said: women in abusive relationships should not seek divorces. If they did it would be the end of the republican party as we know it!

Remind me again how republicans win elections, please!

Wisconsin’s Public Integrity Scorecard: C-

Wisconsin, you are not living up to your potential... Your mother and I are very disappointed in these grades. Don't you want to get into a good school?

Wisconsin ranks 22nd out of 50 states in terms of public integrity.  If it weren’t for the formation of the GAB, we would have done much worse, according to a report from The State Integrity Investigation.  The investigation revealed that corruption is a huge risk for state governments.  The creation of the GAB

explains in part why Wisconsin, a state of about 5.7 million, did not score worse….  Its overall ranking was 22rd out of 50, with a grade of C- and a numerical score of 70 percent. Its ratings for political financing restrictions, lobbying disclosures, and judicial ethics were higher than the majority of the states, while those for auditing, pensions funds, and redistricting were below most of the states.

Let’s look at Wisconsin’s scores:

Note the “F” in redistricting.  Is anyone really surprised?  When you conduct the redistricting behind closed doors, you get an F in open government.

Let’s compare Wisconsin to a relatively clean state.  Who was number one?  New Jersey!

Chris Christie is running a well-oiled machine.

But we should all be glad we’re not living in Georgia which received an overall faling grade witha score of just 49%!

Bruce Springsteen is shrill

And so is Tom Morello…  But wow…  How awesome is this?  Woody would be so proud!

Special guests: Arcade Fire (Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, and Will Butler), Joe Ely, Tom Morello, Alejandro Escovedo, The Low Anthem, Eric Burdon of The Animals, and more. Live at The Moody Theater, Austin, TX – SXSW 2012 – March 15, 2012.

With Friends like These…

Israel has never acted in America’s best interests.  Ever.  Israel acts in Israel’s interest alone.  Too bad we can’t learn from them because in the case of an action by Israel against Iran, the consequences could be dire for Americans.

WASHINGTON — A classified war simulation exercise held this month to assess the American military’s capabilities to respond to an Israeli attack on Iran forecast that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.

The two-week war game, called “Internal Look,” played out a narrative in which the United States found it was pulled into the conflict after Iranian missiles struck a Navy warship in the Persian Gulf, killing about 200 Americans, according to officials with knowledge of the exercise. The United States then retaliated by launching its own strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The initial Israeli attack was assessed to have set back the Iranian nuclear program by roughly a year, and the subsequent American strikes did not slow the Iranian nuclear program by more than an additional two years. However, other Pentagon planners have said that America’s arsenal of long-range bombers, refueling aircraft and precision missiles could do far more damage to the Iranian nuclear program — if President Obama were to decide on a full-scale retaliation.

In the end, the war game reinforced to military officials the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of a strike by Israel, and a counterstrike by Iran, the officials said.

Remind me again why we support Israel with unquestioning fidelity?  I keep forgetting.

The Invisible Housing Crisis

I have to thank / blame Ezra Klein for getting me back on the blogging horse.  He posted a chart that really brought home the problems facing our state and our country.  Most people who read this blog are, I expect, reasonably well ensconced in the American middle class.  Most folks probably own their homes or, if they don’t own, rent and have no trouble making the rent month to month.  I could be wrong, but I expect that that’s a reasonable assumption for most of the folks here.  But I don’t think any of us realize how lucky we all are.  When I see a chart like this

that shows that even in a state like Wisconsin, a family must work nearly 80 hours / week at minimum wage just to be able to afford a 2 bedroom apartment at the prevailing rate I have to question the objectives of our whole society.  What are we doing that people must work 80 hours per week, 52 weeks per year just to afford a place to live?  Where did we go wrong?

This chart and the associated data come from a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.  The report states

With the number of low income renters on the rise, the argument for sustaining affordable housing assistance is timely.

  • In 2012, a household must earn the equivalent of $37,960 in annual income to afford the national average two-bedroom FMR of $949 per month.
  • Assuming full-time, year-round employment, this translates into a national Housing Wage of $18.25 in 2012.
  • This year the housing wage exceeds the average renter wage, $14.15, by over four dollars and is nearly three times the minimum wage.

Despite the great need for affordable housing units, subsidies for critical affordable housing programs continue to face the threat of cuts, as do many social safety net programs. For FY12, HUD suffered cuts of $3.7 billion dollars, 9% below FY11 funding levels. Although HUD estimates that its public housing capital needs are in excess of $25 billion, the Public Housing Capital Fund received 8% lower funding for FY12.19 The HOME program, key to the production of many new affordable units at the local level, suffered a cut of 38% between FY11 and FY12, a cut that is estimated to result in 31,000 fewer affordable rental homes. Meanwhile, the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), which Congress authorized in 2008, remains unfunded. The NHTF would fund the production and preservation of homes affordable to the lowest income households. Funding the NHTF is NLIHC’s top priority.

As foreclosure pressure mounts on homeowners, former homeowners are driving the cost of renal stock up pushing lower income families into ever more marginal housing.

Imagine the insecurity this must breed in these families who can barely make it.  But what about Wisconsin, you ask?  Wisconsin’s Fair Market Wage, that is the wage needed to afford a 2 bedroom fair market rental is $14.23 or nearly 2x the minimum wage.  In the Milwaukee / Waukesha area, that number is $15.81 or 2.2 full-time minimum wage earners.

In Wisconsin, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $11.05. In order to afford the FMR for a two- bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 52 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.3 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two- bedroom FMR affordable.

The report also contains detailed data, broken down by county for each state.

MacIver Awards

The Koch/Bradley funded right wing MacIver "news" service is running a contest for the “end of session” awards. The thing is, they have announced they will delete any responses posted, you have to email them in. That way they are allowed to censor the ones that would paint their party in a less than favorable light.

Here at Blogging Blue, we do not censor and actually welcome all views. That being said, we will use their categories and feel free to leave your choices in the comments as NONE will be deleted.

Categories:

You can nominate an elected official, agency employee or capitol journalist for any or all of the following categories:

Taxpayer Hero
Taxpayer Villain
Friend of the Free Market
Outstanding Citizen-Legislator
Most Powerful Capitol Player
Least Effective Capitol Player
Jedi Mind Trick Double Speaker
Mr. or Mrs. Sensitivity
Steel Spine
Spine of Jello

If you have other topics/nominees post those also:

The uncensored bi-partisan public forum is now OPEN:

Pure Republican Hypocrisy

The one thing, and there are many, that really bothers me about the current batch of republicans is just the pure unadulterated hypocrisy they show with absolutely no shame. Here is a glaring example. Lets start out with a story from a few months ago.

A John Muir Elementary School teacher was reprimanded after the school district administrator learned the teacher had allowed a group of fourth-graders to sing a politically altered version of a folk song in the Wisconsin State Capitol in September.

However, Portage School District Administrator Charles Poches said that there was no political intent on the part of the teacher and that once chaperones realized the song had been altered to include political statements, the students were ushered out.

The students were on a field trip Sept. 27 and were waiting for tour guides in the Rotunda when a man unaffiliated with the district invited them to sing “This Land is Your Land.”

A class from Portage elementary was in the Capitol during the Solidarity sing and some students joined in. THE HORROR! This was such a big story, That Fox 6 in Milwaukee had an "investigative report" and the racist hate group MediatracKKKers wrote this(emphasis mine):

The shocking story elicited outrage from many, and raised serious questions about the judgement of the teacher involved and the conduct of the superintendent who was uninterested in seeing the video.

Some parents and taxpayers in the Portage Community School District upset with the handling of this situation might be interested to know that Superintendent Charles Poches earned $135,221 in salary with $39,581 in fringe benefits as of 2010.

Yes this was such an important issue it deserved an investigative report AND the right wing hate talkers called for serious punishment for not only the teacher involved but the administration.

Fast forward to this past weekend. H/T WCMCOOP:

The students, parents and supporters of Lutheran High School in Sheboygan, were all in town to participate in the WIAA Boy’s High School Basketball Tournament and arrived at the Capitol for a celebratory rally and to have their photo taken with their legislators. A small group of singers was located on the ground floor of the rotunda for their weekly Thursday afternoon song circle which was quickly drowned out by the thunderous cheers of the LHS group. Shouts of “LHS” and “Stand with Walker” thundered through the rotunda and was met with wide approval from the LHS supporters. One student entered the circle to mock and taunt the singers with dance moves. The extremely loud and boisterous encounter could be heard in the Assembly chambers, where legislative business was still being conducted.

The Wisconsin republicans must have been pissed that they raised so much noise right? After all if they had their way this would be illegal, no matter who does it!

Later on, several visitors from the LHS group were given a standing ovation by some legislators in the Assembly when they were introduced by their legislators.

I wonder if there were any teachers in the crowd? Will they be reprimanded? These thugs do not like free speech? I wonder how many millions of dollars of damage they did to the Capitol with this rowdy display? What exactly was the lesson from the Bible that this school was teaching here? Has Glenn Grothman enrolled his kids in Sheboygan Lutheran yet? Maybe someone should look into their “non political” tax free status.

By the way, they can thank the Solidarity Singers for openly defying the ridiculous order from the DOA, thus allowing them to actually do what they did.

PS: I am fine with what they did, I am all for anyone protesting at the Capitol, anytime they want. Its just the hypocrisy that is so thick that amazes me.

Let’s discuss Bob Donovan’s 1992 citation for disorderly conduct

To say Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan has made a career out of being “tough on crime” would be an understatement. Ald. Donovan has never shied away from attacking Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, but Ald. Donovan is no stranger to criminal behavior, as this citation from 1992 demonstrates:

Click for full size

Here’s a copy of the narrative attached to the citation issued to Donovan, which states in part, “Donovan stated that he had frequented the Mitchell Hall restroom for years for the purpose of either watching men masturbate…”

Click for full size

Now I understand this is just one incident from way back in 1992 and that people make mistakes, but I can’t help but wonder how Bob Donovan has been able to not only keep the incident largely under wraps while also managing to cultivate a “tough on crime” reputation as an elected official.

What’s more, I can’t help but wonder if the folks from the police union that endorsed Ald. Donovan are aware of his arrest record, and if they’re not, why? It would seem logical that the union representing Milwaukee’s police officers should know that an elected official that union endorsed has a record of criminal behavior, especially if that criminal behavior is as jaw-dropping as Bob Donovan’s.