What Do Anwar al-Awlaki and Steve nASS Have In Common?

A definite hatred of satirical cartoonists:

Anwar al-Awlaki

A Seattle cartoonist who drew a satirical cartoon suggesting an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” — an idea she later disavowed — reportedly has been placed on a hit list by a terror leader linked to the failed Times Square car bombing.

Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has put cartoonist Molly Norris among a list of nine other cartoonists, authors and journalists whom al-Awlaki blamed for “blasphemous caricatures” of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, the New York Daily News reported.

Steve nASS:

Mike Mikalsen says he also told Olson that some of the protests against Gov. Walker and the Republicans had gotten out of hand, and if something like that happened at the exhibit, “the consequences of that kind of activity would fall on the extension. They would have to own it.”

“We notified the Capitol Police the Monday after it was released,” said Nass’s chief of staff, Mike Mikalsen. “We wanted to see if there was any type of statute violated. They’ve been investigating ever since.”

Mikalsen said the police investigation included consultation with the Dane County District Attorney who “did find something” described as a “potential felony.” Mikalsen said investigating officer Dave Davis contacted him on Thursday and asked if Nass wanted to go forward with a formal complaint on “misuse of letterhead.” The complaint was filed on the same day.

Even though al-Awlaki is no longer with us, have no fear Mr. nASS, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi also agrees with you!

Steve nASS has such “conservative ideals”, that he aligns nicely with Muslim and Hindu extremists…

UPDATED: Politics makes for strange bedfellows: Progressive Democrat Kelda Roys & arch-conservative Republican Joel Kleefisch team up!

UPDATE: Here’s a statement I received from Rep. Roys’ Congressional campaign explaining her vote in favor of SB 440.

“SB 440 was a bipartisan bill supported by Senator Fred Risser, Senator Jon Erpenbach, and cosponsored in the Assembly by Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts. A vote for SB 440 was a vote to keep high-tech, high-paying jobs in the Madison region, and to ensure they did not move out-of-state.”

In the race to succeed Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the 2nd Congressional district, Democratic State Reps. Mark Pocan and Kelda Roys (pictured, left) seem to be the top two candidates in the race. There’s no doubt both Pocan and Roys have an abundance of progressive credentials, and either would seem to be a worthy successor to Rep. Baldwin as she tries to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

While both Pocan and Roys are truly progressives, I can’t help but question some of the decisions Kelda Roys has made in her race to become the 2nd district’s Representative in Congress, with one of those decisions being her decision to tout the endorsement of her Congressional campaign by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who in my book is no champion for progressive ideals.

However, more interesting than Roys touting her campaign’s endorsement by County Executive Abele may be a vote she cast as a member of the Wisconsin Assembly. For a little context, we need to go back to 2011, when Rep. Roys (along with 11 of her fellow Democrats in the Assembly) voted against AB 3, a bill that would have provided a tax credit for businesses that relocated to Wisconsin (LINK). In an of itself, Rep. Roys’ vote on AB 3 isn’t necessarily controversial, but it is curious in the context of her vote earlier this month in favor of SB 440, which would use a tool in Wisconsin’s tax code intended to help communities develop blighted areas to assist a Madison business to move its headquarters from the city of Madison into neighboring Middleton (LINK). As noted in a press release by Rep. Mark Pocan, the potential effect of SB 440 would be to create blighted areas in Madison to the benefit of Middleton, pitting communities against each other as they vie for tax breaks from municipalities.

What’s notable about Rep. Roys’ vote in favor of SB 440 is that she joined arch-conservative Republican State Rep. Joel Kleefisch in voting in favor of the bill, leaving me to wonder why Rep. Roys voted in favor of pitting two Dane County communities against each other in a competition for businesses in 2012 while voting against a bill that would have provided incentives for businesses moving to Wisconsin from other states.

If Rep. Roys voted with Republicans on a bill that facilitates the moving of a business from one Wisconsin community to the other, then why did she vote against a Republican-proposed bill last year that gave a tax credit to out-of-state businesses that move to Wisconsin? The whole thing doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, and in an interesting twist, the property owner who stood to benefit from SB 440 that Rep. Roys voted in favor of is none other than former 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terrence Wall.

Truly, politics makes for strange bedfellows.

A Wingnut’s Answer to Nearly Everything …

… and it’s not to stay on topic. No, no. That would be too difficult for the trolling wingnut. Instead, they’ve mastered the technique called deflection. Fred Dooley of Real Debate (ask Zach and capper) is especially good at this. Essentially, deflection is an attempt to hijack an argument because the deflector is either losing the argument, or came to play without a ball. Regardless, the deflector cannot argue intelligently. Here is an example from a post titled “Beware of the MacIver Spin Machine”. The very first comment was from Jason. It’s priceless and a perfect example of not being mentally prepared.

Jason: I can’t wait to read your similar expose on Media Matters and Think Progress… oh! the outrageous outrage.

Perfect. The comment had nothing to do with the topic and its intent was twofold: Gum up the argument, and cover up the fact the commenter is a slack-jawed ninny better suited for chasing gophers down their holes.

With time on my hands this evening, here are a few other examples of prime-time wingnuttery.

POST TOPIC: The MacIver Institute is mostly populated by semi-literate baboons, who if they had a couple eons to waste might be able to re-create the June 1969 edition of Mad Magazine.

COMMENT: Well, let’s see your expose on talking chimps.

Here’s a simpler one.

POST TOPIC: The Pack had a down year, only going 15-1.

COMMENT: How about using some of that hate for the Chicago Bears.

Even though the topic was incredibly easy to understand and might have engendered a lively conversation, wingnut responses are not always based on topic but simply because a liberal wrote the post.

POST TOPIC: I had my tonsils removed. It hurt. Then I ate ice cream. and it felt better, for a while.

COMMENT: Why don’t you save some of that anger for the brain surgery I underwent yesterday, you hypocrite.

One more.

POST TOPIC: I’ve heard that goat masturbation is something wingnuts do to relieve tension, right Brian?

COMMENT: I’ll sue.

Janesville Residents Question Paul Ryan’s Commitment… to Janesville


Still, enormous challenges remain as families struggle to climb back into the middle class.

One in 25 school children was homeless at some point last year, and half qualify for free or reduced lunches. Manufacturers are hiring again, but many of the jobs pay $9 per hour, far short of the $20 to $30 hourly wage paid by GM.

Many workers don’t have the communications or math skills that better-paying jobs demand, and federal job training funds are projected to shrink 6 percent to 12 percent in the coming fiscal year. There are 8,000 fewer jobs now than there were a decade ago.

“At one point in time I probably would have said we need to scale back government. Now I see people that are at a loss, they don’t know where to turn,” said Robert Borremans, the head of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, which oversees job-training efforts in Janesville.

People who work closely with the victims of Paul Ryan’s policies are less sanguine.

Community Action officials choose their words carefully when asked about Ryan. He’s willing to listen to their concerns, they say, even as he makes clear that his focus is on federal fiscal issues rather than the immediate needs of his community.

“It’s a question that doesn’t come to the top of his list,” said Lisa Forseth, Community Action’s executive director.

Donna Hays, a nurse practitioner who runs the nonprofit’s women’s health center, is more direct as she puts on her lab coat and stethoscope.

“We sometimes have to ask him if he remembers where he came from,” Hays said.

Judicial Ethics and the Recall

Marquette University Law Professor Ed Fallone argues that the judges who signed the recall petition are well within their constitutional rights to do so and are under no obligation to recuse themselves based on the current statutes, the judicial code of conduct and controlling case law.  The best part? He uses conservative lawyer & blogger and fellow law Professor Rick Esenberg‘s own research to make his point. Professor Fallone knows his stuff:

Therefore, I conclude that the Code’s regulation of extra-judicial political activity should not extend to prohibit the signing of recall petitions.  Interpreting the recusal rules in ways that seek to police the expression of generalized ideology on the part of state court judges is a fool’s game.  We should not mandate the recusal of a judge unless their actions reveal a particular bias in relation to the actual parties, counsel or facts in the case before them.  In a separate context, Rick Esenberg has noted, “[h]aving a view on a legal or political issue is not the type of bias with which the state may concern itself.”  If You Speak Up, Must You Stand Down: Caperton and Its Limits, 45 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1287, 1327 (2010).  If this statement is true as a matter of general principle (and I believe that it is), then the belief that Scott Walker should be subject to a recall election has no relevance to the ability of a judge to be impartial in a case challenging the Voter ID law.

The full paragraph from the Esenberg paper reads:

One thing seems easy. The expression of a position on a legal issue—at least as long as it does not rise to the level of a “promise” or “pledge”—is not only constitutionally protected, but does not, given White, give rise to the type of bias that the state has an interest in preventing. Having a view on a legal or political issue is not the type of bias with which the state may concern itself.  The fact that a judge might feel pressure to rule in a way that is consistent with his earlier stated position or with public opinion does not give rise to due process concerns of sufficient gravity to justify the restriction of speech.

And yet on his own blog he writes that such behavior is suspect.

If a judge signs a recall petition and then sits on a a case challenging a key legislative accomplishment of the targetted [sic] politician in which the politician is a defendant, might a reasonable person question his capacity to act impartially? Is it reasonable to be concerned that the judge, who has publicly stated that he wants that politican [sic] out of office might be tempted – however subtly –  to help that process along by holding that the politician has promoted and signed into law an unconstitutional act?

While he ultimately concludes that the conduct does not rise to the level of recusal, he certainly leads his readers down the primrose path pointing out all the potential ethical violations of these judges.  He then leaves them with the question, “What do you think?”  I think you’re disingenuous in the extreme, Professor Esenberg, not to cite your own work in defense of free speech.

Lori Compas to officially open her campaign offices on 3/31 & 4/1!

From the emailbox:


Lori Compas, challenger for the 13th Senate District Seat, plans to launch her campaign into action with headquarters’ open houses the weekend of Saturday and Sunday March 31st and April 1st. Compas will be stopping by each of the offices to meet and greet supporters as they head out to collect nomination signatures. The offices will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and noon to four on Sunday.

Democratic Party of Jefferson County Headquarters: 320 Wisconsin Dr., Jefferson

Democratic Party of Dodge County Headquarters: 116 Monroe Street, Beaver Dam

Lori Compas stands for a return to Wisconsin’s best traditions of good government, civility, and a bi-partisan commitment to progress. For more information visit www.loricompas.org

Go, Lori Compas, Go!

The Rich are Different [UPDATED]

That’s why they deserve more than you.

In 2010, as the nation continued to recover from the recession, a dizzying 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 — $288 billion — went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households.

Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent.

The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income.

[UPDATE: Fixed the link.  h/t James Booth for pointing it out.]

And now, a word from our sponsor…

100 Years Ago in the Great State of Wisconsin, a battle was engaged between the forces of Progress and the forces of enslavement.  Progress won.  The words written and spoken then ring clearly through the intervening century and we need to heed their call to arms.

Honest wealth needs no guarantee of security in this country.  Property rightfully acquired does not beget fear — it fosters independence, confidence, courage.  Property which is the fruit of plunder feels insecure.  It is timid.  It is quick to cry for help.  It is ever proclaiming the sacredness of vested rights.  The thief can have no vested rights in stolen property.  I resent the assumption that the great wealth of this country is only safe when the millionaires are on guard. Property rights are not the special charge of owners of great fortunes.  The ample power of the constitution is the everlasting bulwark of honest property rights.

Robert Marion “Fighting Bob” La Follette, cited in WISCONSIN: AN EXPERIMENT IN DEMOCRACY (1912) by Frederic C. Howe

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Santorum” What I Said, I didn’t say, even though you heard me say it, it’s B*lls**T”

Come on Man: Crazy Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was asked a question about his speech in WI and Mr. Catholic blew a gasket. It appears as though Rick “do not google me” Santorum is unaware that his speeches are being videotaped.

By the way, Rick Santorum was in Wisconsin hanging out with Glenn Grothman over the weekend and the mass hysteria of the crowds were out of control!!

Thanks to Brian Sikma for this priceless pic!

Pierce campaign files complaint with GAB regarding ballot order switching

Last week Jan Pierce, a candidate for Milwaukee Alderman in District 14, filed a formal complaint with the Wisconsin State Government Accountability Board (GAB). In the complaint, Pierce alleges the City of Milwaukee Election Commission rearranged the names of the candidates on the spring general election ballot in violation of Chapter 5 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Here’s some of Pierce’s complaint:

“Susan M. Edman, Executive Director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission (“the Commission”), rearranged the names of the candidates on the spring general election ballot in violation of Chapter 5 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The result of the rearrangement gives a preference to at least one incumbent candidate and possibly others. Spring elections are plagued by low turnout and tight margins. Ms. Edman’s actions may well result in incumbents winning races where they otherwise would have lost.

According to Chapter 5 of the Wisconsin Statutes, the Commission (under the direction of Susan Edman) is responsible for randomly drawing the names of the candidates to determine the order of their placement on the ballot. Following the random drawing, the Commission produces a sample ballot reflecting the order in which the candidates will be listed on the final ballot.

Here’s more from Pierce’s complaint:

“The order in which candidates are placed on the ballot is important because first-listed candidates enjoy a vote preference and therefore receive more votes than they otherwise would if not listed first on the ballot. Ensuring that this preference is not uniformly granted to incumbents, challengers, or candidates whose last names begin with letters near the beginning of the alphabet is the reason the Legislature enacted the random drawing procedure prescribed by Chapter 5.

When the Commission randomly drew names to determine the order of the candidate listings on the ballot to be distributed in Milwaukee’s 14th District, my name was drawn first for the aldermanic race. In accordance with this drawing and Chapter 5, the Commission produced and shared with me a sample ballot listing my name first on the ballot. I did not object to this sample ballot or the process by which it was created, and I am unaware of my opponent raising any such objection either.”

According to Pierce’s campaign, early voters have reported that despite Pierce’s name having been listed first on the sample ballot after the Election Commission drew the order of the names, his name is no longer listed first on the ballot, having been replaced by incumbent Alderman Tony Zielinski’s name. According to Jan Pierce, he was not notified of a second drawing for name order on the ballot, nor does there appear to be any record indicating a second drawing was conducted.

“My understanding is that the Commission kept no minutes or records of how or when the alteration of the ballots took place. Conflicting stories are emerging as to the motives for the rearrangement. I understand from another candidate listed on a different ballot that Ms. Edman admitted that she changed the order of the ballot to list the incumbent first, despite the random drawing calling for a challenger to be listed first, because she believed the incumbent would be upset by not being listed first on the ballot. I do not know if this is true, but it is worthy of investigation because of the serious implications for the democratic process and transparency of government.”

Pierce’s complaint to the GAB goes on to note that Susan Edman called Pierce on March 22, 2012 (only 12 days before the election and 3 days after early voting began) to inform him of his name had been switched with Ald. Zielinski’s on the ballot, and according to Pierce Edman admitted that the same name order switching occurred in a number of races. According to Pierce’s complaint Susan Edman denied names were switched on the ballot in order to favor the incumbents.