A fresh start for 2013

Dear readers,

I have really enjoyed blogging here at Blogging Blue over the past year, and being part of a creative, talented, and diverse team. Zach has been extremely supportive of my writing and I appreciate that. I also appreciate the time that you have taken to read my posts and the comments you have made. I have learned a lot from you all. But with the new year comes an opportunity for a fresh start, and I am going to seize it.

Beginning in 2013, I will re-build my Waukesha Wonk website (this time with enough security to deter spammers!) and begin a new blogging chapter. The posts will be similar to those I have shared here at Blogging Blue, and I won’t hesitate to address controversial subjects. Comments and discussion will be welcomed, of course, but I will not tolerate incivility. My belief is that readers can disagree with me and with others without name-calling, and without making it personal.

So please check me out at WaukeshaWonk.com. And you can continue to reach me on Facebook at facebook.com/waukeshawonkblog and on twitter @muxywithmoxie.

Thanks again, everybody, and Happy New Year!

Lisa Mux

Overpass Light Brigade photo exhibit kicks off January 4th in Milwaukee

The Overpass Light Brigade is much more than a group of locals holding lighted messages above freeways; it’s a positive, creative, and powerful tool for social and political change. What began as an outlet for the frustrations of a few concerned citizens during the Wisconsin Uprising has morphed into a nation-wide progressive phenomenon. And now, an Overpass Light Brigade photo exhibit is coming to Milwaukee beginning January 4, 2013.

From Occupy Riverwest:

In the last year many have enjoyed the photos and stories of the Overpass Light Brigade one post at a time on Facebook. Beginning January 4th, much of the work done by the photographers of the OLB will be showcased at the Art Bar (722 E. Burleigh Street) in Riverwest.

The opening Friday night kickoff for “The People’s Bandwidth” photo installation will include many of the photographers and their OLB work as well as music from local Milwaukee “holders of the light” and musicians Denny Rauen and Robert Hansen. The installation will also feature a “People’s Wall” in which anyone can add their own photos to a community OLB collage.

The Overpass Light Brigade photo installation will be on display from January 4, 2013- February 7, 2013. It’s a must-see.

Go, Overpass Light Brigade, go!

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Image from Occupy RiverWest
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Image via Overpass Light Brigade FB fan page

Hot women can be fired just for being hot, rules Iowa Supreme Court

Attention women of Iowa: no matter how great you are at your job, if you’re hot, your boss can apparently now legally fire you just for being hot. According to the Associated Press, the Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled that a boss can legally fire an employee he’s physically attracted to because he and his wife see her as a threat to the sanctity of their marriage.

From CNN.com:

Can a boss fire an employee he finds attractive because he and his wife, fairly or not, see her as a threat to their marriage?

Yes, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

“The question we must answer is … whether an employee who has not engaged in flirtatious conduct may be lawfully terminated simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction,” Justice Edward M. Mansfield wrote for the all-male high court.

The all-male Iowa Supreme Court court sided with a lower court in this case against an apparently super-hot dental hygienist named Melissa Nelson.

Such firings may not be fair, but they do not constitute unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the decision read, siding with a lower court.

Some think this Iowa Supreme Court ruling is a huge victory for “family values.”

An attorney for Fort Dodge dentist James Knight said the decision, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a victory for “family values” because Knight fired Melissa Nelson in the interest of saving his marriage, not because she was a woman.

The dentist (the boss) was the real victim here, his attorney argued.

Nelson, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her a stellar worker. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.

He also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, “that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.”

See, the hygienist and the dentist began texting toward the end of her employment, and that worried the dentist (and his wife).

Knight and Nelson – both married with children – started exchanging text messages, mostly about personal matters, such as their families. Knight’s wife, who also worked in the dental office, found out about the messages and demanded Nelson be fired. The Knights consulted with their pastor, who agreed that terminating Nelson was appropriate.

Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month’s severance. He later told Nelson’s husband that he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her.

But the hygienist said she never planned to have an affair with her employer; she just wasn’t that into him. And he was her boss.

Nelson was stunned because she viewed the 53-year-old Knight as a father figure and had never been interested in starting a relationship, Fiedler said.

The hygienist didn’t think it was fair that she lose her job simply by causing, um, bulges in her employer’s pants.

An attorney for Melissa Nelson, the fired employee, said the decision was wrong.

“We are appalled by the court’s ruling and its failure to understand the nature of gender bias,” said Paige Fiedler, the attorney. “For the seven men on the Iowa Supreme Court not to ‘get it’ is shocking and disheartening. It underscores the need for judges on the bench to be diverse in terms of their gender, race and life experiences.”

So now, because of the ruling in this case, it seems that women in Iowa can legally be fired for being “irresistible” to their bosses.

But what, really, is the litmus test for irresistibility?

For example, do all gentleman prefer blondes? What about those websites devoted to redheads? Is going brunette the key to job security? What if the boss likes blondes, but his wife prefers brunettes? Would growing a uni-brow prevent a boss bulge from growing? What if the boss has a uni-brow fetish?

The possibilities are endless, as beauty and bulges are in the pants of the beholder. Or something like that.

It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s almost 2013 and that a woman’s job should not be in peril because her boss finds her attractive and doesn’t think he can keep it in his pants.

Read the Iowa Supreme Court decision here.

Truce

A few days ago I wrote a post about Dick’s and guns, and some readers seemed to lose their ever-loving minds over it, on both sides. I tried to run interference and ask commenters to be civil, with some level of success. But it pissed me off, because there is absolutely no excuse for Wisconsinites and Americans to treat each other like crap just because we disagree politically. It’s bullshit, and we ALL need to knock it the fuck off. NOW.

Have I got your attention? GOOD. I rarely swear,  use all caps, or fail to speak politely because that is not who I am as a blogger. So when I do, you know I mean business. (You have no idea how hard it was not to add “please” after “now” in the first paragraph, seriously.)

Look, I’m the “nice” blogger, the one who tries to be fair, the one who doesn’t like to fight just for the sake of fighting. The one who doesn’t need to be right. The one who over-uses smiley-face emoticons.

But it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to sit back and watch us eat each other alive. There is simply NO reason for it.

We’re not animals.

We’re all adults.

I don’t give a rat’s ass that politicians on both sides of the aisle benefit from us being divided and that they encourage it. We have a CHOICE of whether or not to treat each other with respect. We have free will. We are NOT victims.

WE CAN DISAGREE WITHOUT TREATING EACH OTHER LIKE SHIT.

So I’d like to call a truce. Blogging Blue bloggers and readers of all political stripes: Can we at least try to disagree AND treat each other respectfully, like we did back in the olden days, like , say, the 90’s?

What do you say, guys? You in?

(Okay, I have to go take a nap now. The usage of all caps, swearing, and not a single “please” has done me in.)

Five Republicans, one Democrat vie for open Assembly District 98 seat

As of today, five Republicans have declared their candidacies for Wisconsin’s Assembly District 98, which covers parts of Waukesha, Pewaukee, Sussex, and Brookfield. They’re all hoping to fill the seat vacated by Paul Farrow (R), who won the (uncontested) December 4th election for Senate District 33. The GOP candidates will face off in the Republican primary on February 19, 2013, with the winner taking on Democrat Eric Prudent on April 2, 2013. I think Eric Prudent has a decent shot at winning.

This morning Waukesha Patch reported that Pewaukee’s retiring police chief Edward Baumann (R) has thrown his hat into the ring for AD 98. He joins fellow Republicans Adam Neylon (who has worked for Bill Kramer and Jim Sensenbrenner), Jeanne Tarantino (Rebecca Kleefisch’s former chief of staff), Todd Greenwald, and Matt Morzy (ardent supporter of Governor Walker).

Democrat Eric Prudent, of whom I’m a fan, has gotten a huge head start with his campaign since he already ran for AD 98 against Paul Farrow  (Farrow ran for AD 98 and SD 33 simultaneously). Eric has spoken with many people of all political stripes across the district and has some degree of name recognition, increasing his chances for a win. He’s got allies and a dedicated group of action-oriented volunteers. And since he’s not facing a primary, Prudent will be able to save his resources for the general election.

It will be an uphill battle, to be sure, as AD 98 leans Republican. But, as I have said before, if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s Eric Prudent.

Go, Eric Prudent, go!

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Eric Prudent speaks at Drinking Liberally Waukesha

Dick’s Sporting Goods pulls machine guns from shelves

Friends of mine were shopping at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Kenosha yesterday when they noticed employees removing guns from the shelves. Certain guns are coming down from the shelves in other Wisconsin locations, too. Staff at a Dick’s Sporting Goods Store in Madison confirmed they will no longer sell Mrs machine rifles, but will continue to sell rifles and ammo for hunting.

CNN.com reports:

Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world, says it has removed all guns from its store nearest to Newtown, Connecticut, and is suspending the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its chains nationwide.

The move was made out of respect for the victims and families of last week’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting “during this time of national mourning,” the store said in a statement Tuesday morning.

“We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by this terrible tragedy,” the statement said.

It’s unclear how long this suspension of machine gun sales will last.

The move comes after reports that investigators were trying to determine whether the gunman in the Newtown shooting, Adam Lanza, tried to buy a gun from a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the city of Danbury, about 12 miles away.

“At this time, reports that the suspect visited one of our stores last week have not been confirmed by law enforcement,” the sporting goods store said in a statement. “Based on our records, we can confirm that no firearms were sold to the suspect identified in this case.”

Either way, it’s good to see that Dick’s is taking action. Actions speak louder than words.

Wisconsin Democrats call Governor Walker out on his failed promises

Remember when gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker drove around in a 1998 Saturn, eating ham and cheese sandwiches and promising to create 250,000 jobs? It’s hard to forget, because his thrifty lifestyle and “250,000 jobs” claim probably got him elected. And remember when Governor Walker said he’d focus “like a laser” to create those 250,000 jobs he’d promised? That’s hard to forget, too, because his job promises may be why he survived the recall. But after viewing the latest reports, Wisconsin Democrats are demanding to know, “Where are the jobs?!”

Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and Representative Peter Barca (D) called a press conference on Thursday morning to call Governor Walker out on what they consider to be his failed promises, one day after a Forbes report listed Wisconsin as “one of the worst states for business.”

From The Business Journal:

The state of Wisconsin is one of the worst states for business with state production heading in the wrong direction, according to Forbes magazine.

Forbes’ latest rankings of The Best States for Business placed America’s Dairyland 42nd in the nation, dropping from 40th in 2011. The rankings are derived from a series of criteria: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

Wisconsin’s outlook for job growth — a cornerstone of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2010 campaign — weighed down the picture. The magazine said job growth is projected to be second worst in the country through 2016.

Mike Tate referenced the above article during this morning’s press conference. “We are here today to respond to some of the disturbing news about Scott Walker’s complete and total failure with respect to jobs, as well as his open flirtation with Right-to-Work-for-less legislation of the kind that recently was passed in Michigan and signed into law by his close friend and admirer, Rick Snyder.

We’re here to ask a really simple question of Scott Walker, which is, ‘Where are the jobs?’ Scott Walker promised us 250,000 jobs. According to federal figures, he has only created 25,000, which may be the reason he is running away like Jay Cutler facing Clay Matthews from his main campaign pledge.”

Continued Tate, “Scott Walker has been criss-crossing the state telling anybody who will listen that he has a plan on jobs, even as he winks and nods at an extremist tea party agenda being crafted in the darkest corners of the Republican Tea Party. He’s held dog and pony shows in all corners of the state with hand-picked audiences, and held these events at the businesses of wealthy contributors.”

Representative Peter Barca agreed with Tate’s assessment and added that constituents have called him to ask why Governor Walker’s listening sessions are held at private companies open only to company owners and employees, and not at public forums such as libraries. “It’s time we open this whole process up,” said Barca.

Barca also said that, in addition to the frustration about lack of job growth and the GOP’s habit of doing business behind closed doors, he’s frustrated that Governor Walker seems to have broken his promise of bi-partisanship.

“You’re not hearing specific ideas about creating jobs, you’re not hearing about how we can close the skills gap….we (Democrats) have specific ideas, we put forward a whole package on closing the skills gap which I think has the best promise of putting people back to work.

Well over a year ago, we practically pleaded with the governor to have a special session. We’ve been out of session now for eight months, and we’re going in in January and there doesn’t appear to be much hope that we’re going to be moving forward an agenda anytime soon, and it just seems like there’s not the kind of bi-partisan ideas that we hoped for and that we know can make a difference.”

Barca said that while he’s happy to hear that Governor Walker has decided to drop the fight to eliminate same day voter registration, and it doesn’t appear that he will pursue Right-to-Work legislation here in Wisconsin, it’s really hard to know for sure. Barca wishes that, instead of hemming and hawing, the governor would just come right out and say, “We don’t feel that this (extremist) agenda is ever right for Wisconsin.”

Personally, I don’t hold out much hope that Governor Walker will change his methodology, and I can’t imagine him going back to his Saturn driving, sandwich eating ways. I also don’t hold out much hope for those jobs, based on evidence we’ve seen so far (Forbes and The Business Journal are not shady liberal rags; they’re trustworthy sources of factual information).

But I am happy to hear that Governor Walker has dropped his recent half-a-million dollar proposal to upgrade the kitchen at the Governor’s mansion. That doesn’t sound very cost-conscious to me. Even if Walker has moved on from ham and cheese sandwiches and is now eating grilled paninis, it just seems wasteful to spend taxpayer dollars that way…

“Fiscal Showdown Event” energizes, empowers Waukesha County participants

About 20 people participated in the “Fiscal Showdown Event” at Rep. Sensenbrenner’s (R) office on Monday evening, according to event organizer, Dave Heaster. That’s a pretty good crowd considering the temperature (32 degrees and dropping) and the location (ultra-conservative Brookfield, Wisconsin). Though they were unable to speak directly with Rep. Sensenbrenner about their concerns, attendees left feeling “energized” and “empowered.”

As Heaster had explained in his event invite, “Fiscal showdown talks are heating up, and some Democrats are saying publicly that they’re willing to trade cuts to Medicare benefits to get the GOP to raise taxes on the rich. We need to expose Big Jim and all House Republicans for holding up middle class tax cuts in order to protect giveaways for the top 2%.”

But by the time the group had assembled at Bishops Woods Office Park, Rep. Sensenbrenner and his staff had left for the day.

“We did not let that deter us,” said Heaster. “We agreed to send emails and voice mails to Jim’s office this week – stating that we were hoping to talk with him in person, but here are our concerns… ”

Then the cold-nosed, sign-carrying participants took the opportunity to share their own personal stories about how a tax increase would hurt their families.

Said Heaster,”Our stories helped energize one another and reminded us that we can make a difference and, at the very least, raise our spirits and our soul with the simple act of standing up and doing something about it.”

Amen to that.

A few of the participants. Credit-Thomas

 

Waukesha Dems to host holiday potluck; DPW Chair Mike Tate to attend

Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, will join the Waukesha County Democrats for the Annual Holiday Potluck on December 20th at the Waukesha Labor Temple. In between bites, I plan to grill Tate for info about next year’s State Convention. Word on the street is that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will host its 2013 State Convention right here in Waukesha County. Yes, Waukesha County.

Details on the Annual Holiday Potluck:

Date: Thursday, December 20th

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm (the potluck will be part of the December meeting; party officers will be elected)

Location: Waukesha Labor Temple, 1726 South West Avenue

For questions or to sign up to bring a dish to pass, leave a message at (262) 970-7104 or send an email to: chairman@waukeshadems.org.

Dick Pas, Current Chair of the Waukesha Dems