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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, September 30, 2011

FriTunes: End of the Reporting Period Blues

by folkbum

It's about that time, so fire up the contribution pages of your favorite candidates and show them some love.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Join me in the things I enjoy doing

UPDATE: NOTE THE TIME CHANGE!

by folkbum

There was a time when I actually enjoyed blogging, I will admit. At this point, the idea of trying to explain to stupid people how stupid they are has lost its allure, if you can believe that.

Instead, I make jokes. And they're not bad!

So come out this Sunday (10/2) to see my Comedy Sportz team, We Fly Coach, in our fall rec league season debut. Update: To accommodate those who want to watch the Packers or the Brewers, the matches are starting at noon. My team plays at 1 pm.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Also Saturday

by folkbum

This is (partially) my meeting, so if you live in Bay View or near Bay View, I'd love to see you there.

FriTunes

by folkbum

Again this Saturday, there's an embarrassment of great music in driving distance of Milwaukee. I'll be at the Jeffrey Foucault show:



If you want to stay in town, go see Pamela Means:



And mark your calendars for October 21, my annual fall acoustic music show with Chris Head of Chris Head and the Honchos.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Milwaukee parents choosing public schools, still

by folkbum

Third Friday, the big student-count day, just passed in Wisconsin. The state's Republicans, led by Governor Scott Walker and legislators like Alberta Darling, did everything they could to make the Milwaukee Public Schools a less-attractive choice: blowing out the enrollment cap and income requirements for the voucher program, expanding charter school options, gutting the MPS budget and pitting its teachers against its community. The prediction was MPS would lose between four and five thousand kids, or a 5% drop.

Reality? According to Board member Meagan Holman--I haven't seen this in the news yet--the total drop in enrollment was a mere 1%, about 800 students, which is actually low by recent trends.

Remarkably, Milwaukee's parents have seen the attacks on public education directed at us from Madison and AM radio and decided to stay. Good for them--and good for the schools, which find themselves in a better financial position than expected.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quote of the month

by folkbum
Either you believe in government or you don't.

The current field of Republican contenders for president are hard at work to prove they don't. The best government, they insist, will leave you alone to repair your own ruptured kidney while your neighbors bring you casseroles and cigarettes. In recent weeks, leading Republicans have made plain they don't believe in government-run health care (lo, even unto death). They don't believe in inoculating children again HPV (lo, even unto death). They don't believe in government-run disaster relief (ditto, re death), the minimum wage, Social Security, or the Federal Reserve. There is nothing, it seems—from protecting civil rights to safeguarding the environment—that big government bureaucracies can't foul up.

But there is one exception: killing people. These same Republicans who are dubious of government's ability to do anything right have an apparently bottomless faith in the capital-justice system. Everything is broken in America, they claim—except the machinery of death.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

FriTunes: Saturday edition

by folkbum

Here's a preview of tonight's entertainment. I'll be at this show:



Which means I'll sadly have to miss this show:



You can't go wrong either way.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Veterans with ID Cards Not Good Enough to Vote, Says GOP

Not good enough, says GOP
As civil rights challenges to Republican-authored photo ID-voter suppression laws continue, the exclusion of veterans who have only a U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Veterans Identification Card (VIC) from voting is drawing increasing criticism.

In Wisconsin a VIC, used by veterans to obtain health care at VA medical facilities, is not sufficient to vote, notwithstanding veterans' service to our country. Wisconsin's restricting many veterans from voting is identical to numerous other GOP-passed laws such as Texas.

"The [Texas] law also prohibits veterans from using their ID card from the Department of Veterans Affairs to vote, even though it is a government-issued photo ID. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) urged the state legislature to pass the law as an 'emergency item' and submitted the law to the U.S. Justice Department for 'pre-clearance' last month," writes Tanya Somanader.

Emergency. Voter suppression. Republicans are playing the same tune in states across the nation.

I think our veterans deserve better.

"Photo IDs issued by the Department of Veteran Affairs ... are not acceptable photo ID for voting purposes," reads the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board informational site on the new photo ID requirements that are operative in next year's presidential primary election.

"Yes, the legislature did not include veterans' IDs as acceptable photo IDs for voting purposes," confirms Reid Magney, a spokesperson for the GAB, in a phone conversation this afternoon.

Magney didn't say it but it is the Republicans alone in the legislature who unanimously voted for the suppression disallowing veterans' VICs as sufficient to vote, with the unanimous Democratic bloc of legislators voting against the suppression bill.

Magney said the GAB will work with communities of interest in outreach efforts to work with veterans, such as homeless veterans who comprise "between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night—representing between one fourth and one-fifth of all homeless people," according the National Coalition for the Homeless.

But as a veterans' advocate and as someone who worked last year as a census enumerator of the homeless, I can tell you that homeless veterans are a tough demographic to reach out to and inform about the free IDs they might be able to get at their local Dept of Motor Vehicle centers, if they ask.

"I got my VA [VIC] card and that's it," said a homeless man to me on West Washington Street near the capitol in the Spring of 2010. "I don't want the government to know where I am."

The man later explained he was Vietnam War veteran and didn't trust "anybody" associated with the "government," and didn't want to tell me his name. He was waiting near a church for a free dinner.

Regardless of whether this particular veteran would vote [I doubt he would], excluding disaffected veterans from voting by law is contemptible.

I would ask if the Republicans have no shame, but the answer is obvious.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

They ruin everything

by folkbum

Seriously, if there's going to be a GOP debate every other day between now and January, I will never be able to read twitter again.

After watching this summary, I feel relatively secure in knowing that while I watched last night's "Eureka" about wormholing an android with a crush on a sentient robot house onto Saturn's moon Titan, I was watching a program far more grounded in reality than any one of these yahoos.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Day

by folkbum

Please observe in a way that makes sense to you. It's what I'm doing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tea Party, Progressives Launch Allied Strike Against Net Troll Righthaven

Image - Leon
Americans came together and kicked Righthaven LLC, attorney Shawn Mangano and Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson’s [aka slime and the only attorneys left from Righthaven's sinking ship] collective ass back into the gutters of Las Vegas

By Michael Leon
 
Veterans like Wayne Hoehn and Denise Nichols, the Democratic Underground, Tea Party members like Dana Eisner, Law Med blog, writers, bloggers, progressives, libertarians, websites, bloggers and message board posters, journalists like Steve Green, Colleen at Righthaven Victims, Reporters Without Borders, Ken Bingman, and I, really Americans of all stripes have come together to blast these disreputable, unethical, sleazebags—Shawn Mangano and Steve Gibson of Righthaven LLC, back into their low-life world, and hopefully in prison without their law licences.
 
Righthaven is a Las Vegas outfit that lies in claiming it owns copyrights in 100s of federal law suits and then sues for $1,000,000 in its get-rich scheme.

"The no-warning litigation campaign, unprecedented for the newspaper industry, hit a brick wall this summer when four Nevada judges ruled Righthaven lacked standing to sue over [newspaper] material in seven cases. Righthaven — which has also been hit with three fair use defeats — last filed a lawsuit on July 13.” [Steve Green]
 
Here is a partial list of white-knight attorneys who deserve praise:

Partial list of attorneys fighting against Righthaven LLC

I must have left some folks out of the list, but you get the point.

Now, Righthaven is begging the Court to allow it to not pay Vietnam combat veteran Wayne Hoehn‏ because Hoehn and his law firm, Randazza Legal Group, obliterated the trolls in federal court. As Steve Green reports this week:
Despite its backing by the billionaire Warren Stephens family, Las Vegas copyright lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC warned today it may have to file for bankruptcy because of a series of setbacks in its litigation campaign.

The warning came in an emergency request by Righthaven to a federal judge in Las Vegas that he stay his order that Righthaven pay $34,045 in legal fees to attorneys who successfully defended Kentucky message board poster Wayne Hoehn against a Righthaven lawsuit.
But it's not just the criminal [in nature] entity, Righthaven LLC, that is at risk. It's its scum-sucking attorneys.

One defendant, Law Med blog, is calling out Righthaven on its lies and near-constant deceitful psosture against defendants and federal judges.

Reading it's Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice for Failure to Serve the Complaint, Willful Deception and Failure to Comply with a Judicial Order, this will likely spell the end of these Righthaven scum, and its attorneys.

Righthaven's Mangano pretended, contra a federal judge order, that he could not the find the address of a defendant against whom he filed a federal law suit. This typical act of stupity by Mangano should spell the end of his less-than-stellar legal career.

I'll be happy when Mangano and Gibson are held to account for all of their lies, decpetions, misrepresenations and violations of professional conduct.

Disbarment and pirson would be a good start.

See Law Med Blog: Righthaven Death Watch Enters Welcomed Stages.

Getting My Goat

By Keith R. Schmitz


Something to be said for a country that doesn't expect their politicians treat them like rubes, so sadly have to head out of Canada this morning, though there is no place like home.

Just shuffled through the line at the Montreal airport and going though the standard irritating security nonsense, which of course if there was a high speed train could be avoided (thanks Scottie and the rest of the libertarian herd for sparing us).

Sure Canada is doing this, but I'd bet they had to fall in line as in most things with what we here in the states instituted following the 9/11 attacks.

Of course sniffing a chance to keep us in the state of anguish that they so love, the right wing in the form of the Bush administration jumped on the chance of making every air trip a visit to a British holiday camp. In fact just read that some people have skipped trips because they are bugged by the security lines.

But it's for our safety.

Excuse me. But isn't this the same crowd that bellows at policies and proposals that help people out when they plunge into poverty, often as a part of a program to enrich our privileged sliver when it comes to job and wage cuts?

Providing the protection of a safety net, no matter how shredded it is in this country, is what they refer to as the "nanny state."

Isn't this the same crowd that every time their pull string is yanked, we hear passioned screaming about "freedom?" Let's go with Ben Franklin here -- "Those who sacrifice a little bit of freedom to get security deserve neither."

Well naaa.

Tell me please what is the difference of helping people ward off the every day threats of hunger and to our collective physical well being by denying access to health care, and of being wary of terrorist threats, which have all the frequency of lightening strikes.

Not saying of course that we have to leave ourselves vulnerable, but it amazes me when there is a political movement that want us to have one form of security but not that other, unless you of course rule out the usual political pandering and desire to keep us looking under our beds.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Not Anti-Crime

By Keith R. Schmitz

Once again Wednesday night, the applause that Hee Haw candidate Rick Perry got when his death penalty orgy was mentioned at the GOP presidential debate proved why these folks have to keep reminding us that they are Christian. Otherwise we'd have no way of knowing.

But what I don't get is the assertion that the death penalty is anti-crime.

It's not for two reasons.

First, the research is rich with proof that it is not a deterrent, except in John MacAdams' world. Compare crime rate in Rick Perry's death penalty paradise and Wisconsin which banned it 162 years ago. You can't.

But the other problem is that often the wrong person goes to glory compliments of the state. So for those who are in the tough on crime crowd, doesn't putting the wrong person to death mean that the real culprit goes free? How is that being tough on crime, especially when in many cases the execution closes the books on the case?

That's not just brutal, that's stupid.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

An Open Letter Concerning the United States Senate

To: Chris Chocola, Club for Growth
The Honorable Jim DeMint, junior Senator from the Great State of South Carolina

It is with great disappointment that we have learned of the efforts of some conservatives on the national level to try to dictate to Wisconsin conservatives their choice for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl. This is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsinites to elect a second conservative senator worthy of being able to self-fund a campaign (at least until the unseemly outside contributions can be tallied and repaid) and one that Wisconsin conservatives will take very, very, very, very seriously. This is not only a choice of ideology and of who looks best in a tri-corn hat while eating a cream puff, but one of character, charisma and compassion, and it is our responsibility to bring Mark Neumann’s lack of those attributes to your attention.

We do not question Neumann’s past contributions to conservatism while he was a Congressman. He has been a reliable voice for intemperance, profligacy and sabre-rattling and understands that any notions of good policy making should be flexible depending on the occupancy of the White House. Still his actions during last year’s campaign are completely unbecoming of a conservative candidate. He had the temerity to tell the Badger State the actual truth about his opponent, to expose Scott Walker for a hollow fraud, a charlatan and a corporate shill, the very characteristics that endear him to us all.

We respectfully request the national conservative groups and individuals to take a second look at their endorsement of Neumann and at Tom Coburn’s choice in suits. We ask that, since many of them were so busy at clean-coal seminars, tanning sessions in the Seychelles, Climate Change is Good for Business golf outings and buy-policy-now ALEC fundraisers that, they missed the opportunity to come to Wisconsin during the recent battles over collective bargaining for state employees, the gutting of civil service protections, kowtowing to roadbuilders, polluters and Gadsden Flag sewers and the recall elections, that they buy a freakin’ map and come to Wisconsin now to talk to true Wisconsin conservatives to find out what they think of Neumann before attempting to foist their choice upon Wisconsin. Let our 2012 motto be heard throughout the land, “No foisting without confabulation!”

We do not write this under direction or duress from any candidate, potential candidate, or candidate’s campaign. We write this as a bald-faced attempt to remain relevant in an age of corporate-funded proto-news organizations and under the knowledge that, as the primary for United State Senate commences in earnest, we will likely go our separate ways and support any number of candidates according to fashion, whim, or cosmic message in the entrails of a broken dream. That is our right as Americans, to make sure that the voice of the truly deluded rings free in the hallowed halls of think tanks across the land.

If the past election in Wisconsin has shown national conservatives anything, it is to trust in the faith of Badger State conservative activists. We had the foresight to supply the movement with current leaders and rock stars like Robert Welch, Joe McCarthy, Gordon Roseleip, Jeff Wood, Tom Reynolds, Randy Hopper, David Vanderleest, Hair Model Paul Ryan, Former Reality Star Sean Duffy, Recall Target Scott Walker, U.S. Senate Placeholder Ron Johnson, and even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince “Marginally Better than Michael Steele” Priebus. We assure you, there are plenty more where they came from. There is no shortage of candidates of this quality in Wisconsin. By allowing us to commit character assassination for you prior to the primary, there is no limit to the depth of the field of conservatives we might dredge up.

Don’t limit the choice of candidates too early in the game just based on past successes with Neumann. A Fred Thompson might yet emerge for us to find fault with.

Thank you,
(The Undersigned)

Jay Bullock
folkbum's rambles and rants
Union Thug since 1997

Cory Liebmann
Eye on Wisconsin since 2004
Milwaukee, WI

Jim Brooks
Blogger, The Happy Circumstance, since 1776
Evansville, WI, USA

Bill Christofferson
Uppity Wisconsin
Blogging as Xoff since 2005

Steve Hanson
Uppity Wisconsin
Making Wisconsin safe for moonbats since 2006

Keith Schmitz
On Jay's Team with Folkbum, Five Years
People's Republic of Shorewood

Zach Wisniewski
Blogger, Blogging Blue, since 2007
Cudahy, WI

Chris 'capper' Liebenthal
Cognitive Dissidence
4 years

Michael Leon
5767 Monticello Way
Fitchburg, WI 53719

Gregory Humphrey
Caffeinated Politics

Lukas Diaz
Forward Lookout

Jeff Simpson
Blogger, Blogging Blue since 2010
Cottage Grove, WI

blue cheddar
Since 2010
Madison, Wisconsin

Lisa Mux
Waukesha Wonk
6 months in the trenches of Waukesha

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Last labor Day

by folkbum

This is why EJ Dionne makes the big bucks:
That the language of Lincoln and John Paul is so distant from our experience today is a sign of an enormous cultural shift. In scores of different ways, we paint investors as the heroes and workers as the sideshow. We tax the fruits of labor more vigorously than we tax the gains from capital — resistance to continuing the payroll tax cut is a case in point — and we hide workers away while lavishing attention on those who make their livings by moving money around.

Friday, September 02, 2011

FriTunes: Anyone know where my week went?

by folkbum



This time last week, I was standing in Emily Dickinson's bedroom.