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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ron Johnson: Global Warming is hogwash, but Plate Tectonics is Real

by folkbum

Of course, he's wrong about that too--the North American plate is moving west, away from Greece.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pathetic Partisanship

By 3rd Way


H/T Owen

Hearing and Vision Problems

By Keith R. Schmitz

Put the GOP in control of Congress and what will America get for their troubles? Hearings.

We are in the depths of the worst economy in over 70 years and the out party sees the solution as witch trials, but that's what you get from a group that is as comfortable with government as they would be in a steel wool sweater. For good measure throw in their chronic problem with acting out and rational perspective.

As usual, the Republicans can't wait to overplay their hand. Meanwhile, if the Democrats could get out of their fetal ball and come up with some visionary and creative ideas, November could be different. However...

We are so screwed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And in other news, the sun will rise tomorrow

by folkbum

It seems the media have finally cracked that exasperating code:

Somebody sure earned her Scooby Snack this week!

Not Much of a Socialist

By Keith R. Schmitz

Despite the doubts, the venerable General Motors got by with a little help from its friends -- in government. What was sad was that so many seemed to just give up on GM. Where was the American can-do attitude?

But don't believe me. Take it from the free market The Economist:
So was the auto bail-out a success? It is hard to be sure. Had the government not stepped in, GM might have restructured under normal bankruptcy procedures, without putting public money at risk. Many observers think this unlikely, however. Given the panic that gripped private purse-strings last year, it is more likely that GM would have been liquidated, sending a cascade of destruction through the supply chain on which its rivals, too, depended.
My point always has been that if GM went down, there was a network of suppliers throughout the Midwest and here in Wisconsin that would have swirled around the drain with it. The impact would have been huge, painful -- and in this case averted.

The critics, who seem more skilled at projection than personality analysis, have accused Obama of wanting to wrap the tentacles of government around vulnerable companies.

Didn't happen. Never happened. And as The Economist put it:
The lesson for American voters is that their president, for all his flaws, has no desire to own the commanding heights of industry. A gambler, yes. An interventionist, yes. A socialist, no.
The point is Obama saw what needed to be done, and he did it. That's leadership.

Monday, August 23, 2010

By the way, capper wasn't blogging

by folkbum

Apparently a second Scott Walker staffer is potentially in hot water for perhaps allegedly doing what he shouldna been doing at work. He is innocent until proven guilty, or within his rights until proven otherwise, or however you want to phrase it. Period. And though his computer was apparently seized, I am opting to believe that he has a right not to be called any names or libeled by anyone on the interntets and beyond by stating as fact that he has done something he hasn't. Cindy K, whose blog the link above sends you to, makes no accusations against the guy, which is the right way to do it.

Too bad the same consideration was not offered to my friend Chris "capper" Liebenthal, who was in a similar pickle a while back. The right howled and, based on a misleading letter released by the DA, have accused him of all kinds of things that are not, in fact, true.

The Republicans, because they so enjoy a good tit-for-tat, targeted Chris because of the first Walker staffer in this predicament. You may recall that earlier this year, Darlene Wink, who worked for Walker as well as holding a position with local Republicans, admitted to commenting on political jsonline stories about her boss from work. She subsequently resigned.

The accusations against capper, as I detailed at the time, were flimsy, and when the DA's letter came out, saying that capper's computer was found to have evidence of "extensive blogging activity," the right was ecstatic that they had found their Darlene Wink. Except two things: One, Chris never admitted to doing what he was accused of, and didn't quit. And two, he wasn't prosecuted and, as far as we know, didn't face any blowback from his employer.

Why? Because the vague phrase "extensive blogging activity" doesn't mean blogging. When pressed by capper's attorney, Michael Maistelman, the DA explained that they found evidence that his computer had visited sites that may have contained political content--not that there was any blogging going on. As Maistelman wrote to a media outlet (one that wrote about the accusations against Chris but not about the name-clearing),
If looking at websites that have political content, such as WisPolitics, Milwaukee Magazine, JSONLINE.COM, etc was a criminal act, most public employees would be in a heap of trouble. Chris was exonerated as expected.
Reading the internet is not prohibited by the county internet acceptable use policy. Indeed, just a short while later, it was reported that a number of Walker staffers did just that--visit Wispolitics--from work and not only did Dan Bice note "No scandal there," but the conservative blogosphere that had been gloating over capper wrote exactly zero words about those Walker staffers.

So let's just get this out of the way right now, so that later this week when Bice, probably, writes about this new thing and the righties go with the predictable "buh-buh-buh-but capper was blogging!" Chris wasn't blogging. Anyone who says he was is committing a pretty serious libel. Given that Maistleman is still capper's attorney, I'd be careful what you say.

UPDATE I: Bice's story is up, and it contains an inaccurate description of capper's activities. Ugh. Also, I am really not a fan of the new jsonline deal where you can read the story, or the reader comments, but not both on the same page.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Frank Rich: Your complaining about the mosque* at** Ground Zero undermines Petraeus

by folkbum

Of course, Rich doesn't offer any stats or an actual quote from Patraeus to show that that's true, but he makes a compelling case that it may well be:
Here’s what’s been lost in all the screaming. The prime movers in the campaign against the “ground zero mosque” just happen to be among the last cheerleaders for America’s nine-year war in Afghanistan. The wrecking ball they’re wielding is not merely pounding Park51, as the project is known, but is demolishing America’s already frail support for that war, which is dedicated to nation-building in a nation whose most conspicuous asset besides opium is actual mosques.

So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right--abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats--that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus’s last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?
Rich goes on to lay out show how the ignorant stupid-head critics of the Park 51 plan are not merely ignorant stupid-heads wrong on the facts, but also ignorant stupid-heads intent on scoring a few electoral points at the expense of nine years and trillions of dollars trying to undermine and eradicate radical Islamists around the globe.

I ask, politely, that my ignorant stupid-head anti-Park51 readers to explain to me how Rich is wrong.

* it's not a mosque
** it's not at Ground Zero

Friday, August 20, 2010

Here's the Log Jam

By Keith R. Schmitz

There are a number of reasons why we are in the financial ditch, but from the Washington Post, this one may be the most frustrating, and ridiculous:
Corporate profits are soaring. Companies are sitting on billions of dollars of cash. And still, they've yet to amp up hiring or make major investments -- the missing ingredients for a strong economic recovery.

Many Democrats say the economy needs more stimulus. Business lobbyists and their Republican allies say it needs less regulation and lower taxes.

But here in the heartland of America, senior executives say neither side's diagnosis fits.

They blame their profound caution on their view that U.S. consumers are destined to disappoint for many years. As a result, they say, the economy is unlikely to see the kind of almost unbroken prosperity of the quarter-century that preceded the financial crisis.
You know, a good start to encouraging people to spend more money would be to HIRE!

Sure people have debt to pay off. But what the clueless both in those companies and at the WAPO don't get is that right now the wallets remain tightly shut out of the fear among those that have a job that they may loose that job.

What this country needs is a hiring binge, and the executives with the guts and vision to take the plunge, not just for the good of the country but to see their own revenues rise.

The fantasy is that some group of public spirited business leaders would do just that, and take the lead.

But don't hold your breath. Ours is not a generation that sends men to the moon or sticks their necks out.

It is unfortunate that there is this whining about the little bit of taxes these executives will have to pay is the Bush cuts are allowed to lapse. Not only does this point to their hypocrisy about the deficit, but their lack of character. There are millions suffering far worse.

So people are not being hired, and it looks likely that unlike the New Deal, the government will not be stepping in any time soon.

We are so screwed.

RIP Jack Horkheimer

by folkbum

We need to name a constellation after him. "See that goofy face over there, son? That's the Horkheimer."


by folkbum

The new record rocks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Contingency Plans

by folkbum

In case that whole "being governor" thing doesn't work out.


Keep Debt Alive!

by folkbum

Re: Paul Ryan's Roadmap:
The CBO says your road map would put spending at 22.2 percent of GDP in 2020 and 23.5 percent in 2040. With revenue capped at 19 percent, that means Paul Ryan stands for deficits that would be 3 percent to 4 percent of GDP for at least the next 30 years, which would balloon the debt by trillions, to 100 percent of GDP from 53 percent in 2009. If you're supposedly willing to make "the hard choices," why wouldn't you balance the budget as soon as the economy is back on track? What kind of "fiscal conservative" has a half-century plan to balance the budget?
Indeed, CBO projects the deficit in 2020 to be about the same under current continued policies and under Ryan's policies. Roll back the Bush tax cuts for the top 5%, and Obama's policies lower the deficit faster than Ryan's.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let's try that here!

by folkbum

If we put the Republicans back in charge:
The austerity measures that were supposed to fix Greece's problems are dragging down the country's economy. Stores are closing, tax revenues are falling and unemployment has hit an unbelievable 70 percent in some places. Frustrated workers are threatening to strike back.

Something to consider when stewing about the mosque* at** Ground Zero

by folkbum

Among the actual plans for actual construction at the actual real and true Ground Zero is ... a massive shopping mall. It's planned for below ground level, in the actual dirt and soil that mingled with the dust and ashes of 9/11.

Apparently, a religious community center two blocks away, out of the line of sight of Ground Zero, that includes a memorial to the victims of 9/11 as arranged by an advisor to the official 9/11 Memorial and Museum committee, is an affront to our national sensibilities. However, allowing Americans to honor the memory of 3,000 dead countrymen by trying on jeans and slurping an Orange Julius is just fine.

A new Siena poll of New York state finds that registered voters here continue to oppose the construction of the Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York City -- but at the same time, they overwhelmingly say that the Muslim group involved has the constitutional right to build it. [. . .]

A follow-up question asked: "Regardless of whether you personally support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, do you believe the developers of the Cordoba House have a Constitutional right to proceed with the construction of the mosque and Muslim cultural center or not?" Here the answer is 64% yes, to only 28% no. Indeed, the internals of the poll show that even a majority of people who didn't support the center in the previous question still affirm the right of the organizers to construct it, by a 51%-42% margin within that sub-group.
AND Ted Olson, who argued and won Bush v Gore continues to walk away from the nutball right.

* it's not a mosque
** it's not at Ground Zero

FriTunes: 1972 edition

by folkbum

One, I forgot FriTunes last week.

Two, capper put a song in my head.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

McIlheran Watch: Watching YOU, that is

by folkbum

Big Brother is alive and well in the conservatives watching your bedroom:
The reason some people insist on redefining marriage to include gay couples, writes philosophy professor Stephen J. Heaney in a brilliant piece of work, is because so many of us misunderstand what marriage is in the first place. [. . .]
[B]ecause it leads to children, sexual intercourse has extraordinary public consequences. It is not, as we might like to think, a purely private act. [. . .] In marriage, the couple promises before the community to fulfill this project through vows of fidelity and permanence, joining their bodies and their lives to make the project work. The community promises to give the couple the privacy to perform their sexual acts.
In other words, if you're not a married hetero couple planning children, then "the community" apparently has not just the right but the responsibility to get all up in your business. Open up those shades, people!

I have to say it's nice to see a conservative admit out loud what is usually something they try to avoid making plain.

Are They Really for Religious Freedom?

by bert

Jeff Wagner on WTMJ-AM Monday joined the teeming mob of pundits opposing a proposed Islamic center called Cordoba House near the Manhattan site of the former World Trade Center towers. His argument used the standard talking points on this issue.

“This isn’t to me a question of religious freedom. Yes, they have a right to put up a mosque,” Wagner said. However, he opposes the building because of where Muslims want to put it, which is about two blocks from the site of one of the two Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “It is the precise location that makes it controversial.”

Wagner might be sincere. However, I would be more convinced if Wagner, or even his station's fellow pundit Charlie Sykes, had taken a visible stand in a local case involving the construction plans for Muslims.

In other words, why did I not hear his station come to the defense of the Muslims in the Sheboygan area that want to build their mosque there? There the Christians opposing it were basically attacking Islam itself as inherently violent and hostile to the U.S., not opposing the project based on its location.

I know it would be too much to expect the station to actually interview one of the many thoughtful Muslims in this listening area to break down, rather than promote, a prevailing image of Muslims as crazed terrorists. But the Sheboygan issue is a local story that other news outlets not from here have covered. Why didn't Wagner mention it to show he means it when he says Muslims have a right to put up buildings once in a while?

Since I bring up the conservative campaign against Islam and its followers, I cannot resist also pointing out the gaffe Monday by the king of radio talkers, Rush Limbaugh. Rush confused Hindus with the Japanese on Monday while trying to make an anology between the World Trade Center site and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Nobody’s perfect. The slip-up, though, tells us more than Rush wanted us to know about the right-wing's pursuit of a legitimate religion. It’s a sign of ignorance that was lampooned well by The Simpsons in a episode from long ago.

I recall that Chief Wiggum was addressing Krusty the Clown, Homer, and Apu. The chief said something close to “We have the world’s three main religions here, Christian, Jew, and, uh [gesturing toward Apu], miscellaneous.”

If I Tweeted

by folkbum

@JillBader: Established protocol = blaming the painkillers #excusefail

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fisking Paul Ryan

by folkbum

I'm glad somebody else did it; I'm on vacation. Read it, it's pretty devastating.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quote of the Day, Paul Ryan edition

by folkbum
He’s saying: ‘Eat your broccoli. And then maybe you don’t get to eat at all for a few days. You don’t get steak--ever.’ ” - Jeb Bush
They always did say Jeb was the smart one.

Also, a chart:

Click it for an explanation.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm am smart.

by folkbum

I went to collage, after all.

Take the quiz y'allselveses.

What If?

By Keith R. Schmitz

Imagine how many of the 160,000 laid off teachers would have been pissed off enough to work for the Democrats during the midterms if the GOP would have blocked the state aid package passed yesterday. They would have had a lot of time on their hands and Democratic campaigns would have been happy to give them something to do with it.

That could have tipped many congressional and perhaps senatorial/gubernatorial elections.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Proving my point

by folkbum

The right-o-sphere was shocked, just shocked!, that I would point to them as a reason why a political candidate (Russ Feingold) might want to use a fake name ("Elizabeth Ackland") in an ad. They just could not believe, despite knowing well their history of libel and harassment, that someone would suggest that they might engage in, you know, libel and harassment of an innocent volunteer in a commercial.

Just shocked.

But here, ladies and gents, is a comment found floating freely on the comment boards of one of those who was shocked. I will not link to it (there are enough clues for you to know it's real) and I have fuzzied out the name of the target of the smear to protect him, but suffice it to say the target is a real person using his real name who disagrees politically, though respectfully, with the owner of that blog:

A caveat, but one which I think does not diminish the point: I am not a believer in "nutpicking," so please do not consider this to be my accusing the blog owner of believing this. I am sure he doesn't, and I hope that he removes the comment to prove that. (AFTERNOON UPDATE: It's gone now, though it was visible for more than eight hours.) However, I took this screenshot four hours after it was posted; maybe the blog owner hasn't had time to remove it, though four hours is a long time to leave something like that up. And no doubt it's plenty of time for the real target to have seen the comment.

But here's why that does not diminish the point: These people are out there, and they are reading the righty blogs in this state, and they are making these comments even though (if) they get deleted. Imagine that the "Anonymous" who made that comment hadn't been reading a post about Six Flags but instead had read a post about a real Elizabeth Ackland, posting perhaps information about where she works, or a link to her facebook profile page, or the city she lives in. What might "Anonymous" have said or done about "Elizabeth Ackland"?

That is my point. And the right just proved it, again.

UPDATE: And they're at it in Alaska, now--someone dared confront Ste. Sarah de Wasilla..

One step closer to Donovan's dream panopticon

by folkbum

Can we attach a Bob Donovan campaign poster to this thing? "A chicken in every pot and a surveillance van in every driveway!"

More importantly: Does this truck have a fax machine from which Donovan can send his daily press releases?

Monday, August 09, 2010

McIlheran Watch: Ignorance of the Dumb

by folkbum

I thought perhaps we could just play "simple answers to stupid questions":
My Sunday Journal Sentinel column looks at all the excuses the left is offering to let the term-limited 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire.

Mainly, I write, it comes down to wanting to increase taxes on some people--the ones they think have too much money. Only, just where in the constitution does it say our leaders have the right to decide who has too much money, much less to, um, remediate that?
Um, Article 1 section 8? "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes." Done, right? No, sadly, he doesn't stop there where the simple answer would suffice.

Let's kind of give McIlheran credit, though: Those paragraphs offer the correct implication, that while Democrats will let Republican policy take effect and sunset the Bush tax cuts, they will offer new tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 a year--those who in his parlance are the ones Democrats think "have too much money." I prefer of course to think of them as "the only people who have seen growth in their income in the last thirty years," but he makes the big bucks down there to the newspaper and I'm just a schlub with access to google, so he gets to define the terms.

McIlheran can't bring himself to say that explicitly, that the only people who will see their effective federal taxes increase are the ultra-wealthy. He can't do it because he needs to play ignorant, and keep his readers ignorant, to make the remainder of his points. First, majorities of Americans are in favor of letting all the tax cuts or the tax cuts for the wealthiest expire on schedule. It's hard to gin up populist anger when the popples are not on your side, unless you play ignorant.

Second, the rest of that blog post is all about "how the repeal of those Bush tax cuts would hit middle-income families." In reality, the Democrats' proposals would have zero hit on middle-income families. Period. There would be no change. So the whole rest of that post is worth exactly nothing. Every word of it is moot, every sentence is a lie.

Is that something McIlheran will ever admit? No. See, the right is counting on you to stay ignorant, because if you knew what you were really getting with a Republican agenda, you'd never agree to it.

(Updated to add the graphic again that originally appeared here in this post.)

(Updated again with mad props to JimSpice, who comments here often, too: "Why on earth would a conservative try to sway the opinion of liberals by sending them to the Heritage Foundation. That's as useless as convincing a conservative by quoting a scientific journal.")

The best defense against radical Islam

by folkbum

. . . is moderate Islam:
A two-year study by a group of academics on American Muslims and terrorism concluded that contemporary mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism. The study was conducted by professors with Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina. It disclosed that many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring antiviolence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts.

Radicalization of alienated Muslim youths is a real threat, [Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky] said. “But the youth we worry about,” he said, “are not the youth that come to the mosque.”
Remember that Osama bin Laden wants the Cordoba Initiative to fail just as much as Sarah Palin does.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

YOU are the reason

by folkbum

(SEE ADDITIONAL UPDATE BELOW. Special update for those of you joining us via BadgerBlogger: Please note that one commenter here has personal experience with the kind of harassment I'm talking about in this post, perpetrated by regulars from BadgerBlogger itself. See John Foust's comment below. [JOKE REDACTED TO MEET GOOGLE'S POLICIES.] Thanks!)

The latest mini-dustup on the right half of the Cheddarsphere is that in Russ Feingold's new commercial, there's a fake name on a nameplate. The ad's about job creation, you see, and the righties are now convinced that this fake name is Feingold's tacit admission that government stimulus hasn't created any real jobs. This is merely desperate ideology in search of confirmation when faced with the overwhelming fact that they're wrong. And, clearly, that is not the reason why Feingold used a fake name.

Consider: How do we even know it's a fake name? Because as soon as the ad appeared, the right-wing smear machine flew into action to see if they could find this "Elizabeth M. Ackland." Google searches, Lexus-Nexus searches--Charlie Sykes even went so far as to search cemeteries. This is not just a casual "I wonder who that is" curiosity. This is obsession. So if you want to believe that the motives of people like Charlie Sykes in digging obsessively for information about Ackland were entirely pure, be my guest. But you have to ask yourself: Why were the right wingers so hell-bent on finding Ackland, if she were real? Of what possible use to them would the information be about where she worked? Where she lived? Where her children went to school?

Yeah, scary. When you consider the way that the Charlie Sykes stormtroopers (not a Nazi thing--they embrace that for themselves) treat the personal and professional lives of those of us who are real and do attach our real names to what we do and our support for candidates, it would have been irresponsible for Feingold to subject an innocent person and her family to the hell that was sure to follow.

Seriously: You, my friends and neighbors in the right blogosphere, you are the reason why Feingold used a fake name there. Think, and think honestly, though sometimes I imagine that's hard for you, think about what you would have said, done, and advocated if and when the real Elizabeth Ackland were revealed. That's it right there. That's the reason.

(Illy-T reminds us of the rabid right's history of doing exactly that, and points us to a reminder that Charlie Sykes's BFF Scott Walker uses fake people himself, a post which itself references Mark Green doing the same thing.)

UPDATE: The Chief points out that in Ron Johnson's recent "Tipping Point," Johnson used stock footage of a "family" packing up and driving away, rather than a real Wisconsin family as Johnson's voiceover would have you believe.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What's outrageous?

by folkbum

Since I started teaching for the Milwaukee Public Schools full-time in the fall of 1999, about half of my first days of school were done under an expired contract. It is looking more and more like this year's first day will be another, making two in a row. (Three in a row is the record--2003, 2004, 2005.)

Why is this? Is it because MTEA, my union, is a bunch of hardened bastards who refuse to negotiate, who won't make concessions, whose only concerns are gimme, gimme, gimme? No.

In fact, every one of those expired-contract first days has been because the district's negotiators have delayed, stalled, demanded arbitration, withheld critical information from the union, and bargained in the media rather than at the table.

Indeed, in the current round of negotiations, the union has been ready for two years to get a settlement, and the district has gone months at a time, literally, before returning to the table with new or adjusted offers. Late last winter, for example, when the media campaign ramped up about teachers' health care plans (this following months of ignoring union requests to bargain), MTEA requested utilization data in order to help craft a revised proposal. Those data were delivered just a few weeks ago, long after the superintendent released his draft budget proposing to lay off hundreds of employees, long after the layoff notices were sent. In the intervening months a solution could have been achieved, except the district delayed because it is their strategy to fight these things in the media and make the union look like the bad guys.

All of this is outrageous, right? A public entity negotiating in bad faith with its employees and spreading lies in the media, this should cause all good people to stand and demand better accountability. But no. What is it, really, that spurs outrage?


(I am anxious to see what google ads appear in the sidebar after this.)

For some reason--I cannot say for sure, but I am guessing the AP was tipped off by district officials--a long-running legal battle over whether the district's prescription formulary can offer female sexual dysfunction treatments but deny coverage for male sexual dysfunction treatments made the news this week. After all, it had been a few weeks since any news had broken about the status of contract (non-)talks and whether there were any breakthroughs that might have saved some teachers' jobs. So someone felt the pot needed stoking, and then the AP offered its story. Viagra is, literally, a much sexier story than the way the district conducts its negotiations.

And, of course, outrage. Jason Fields, reliably anti-MPS Milwaukee legislator: "You've got to be kidding me. [. . .] What are our priorities?"

I expect more soon, and perhaps even renewed calls for state intervention. One state legislator wrote to me, "[This] is exactly what nauseates me and 99% of Milwaukee when it comes to teacher compensation. MTEA has not done anything creative since they were created."

Again, outrage. And for false reasons, too: MTEA has been incredibly creative in trying to find solutions. In 2005 for example, when the contract went to arbitration (an arbitration that was settled after, technically, it had expired), the union offered to have every teacher pay 1% of salary, on top of out-of-pocket costs, to health care costs. This plan would have saved taxpayers money compared to the district plan the arbitrator settled on--in fact, it would have been much more expensive for me at the time, I wrote. Yet it was only long after the arbitration that the media, who were allies with the district in its public negotiating, finally admitted that maybe the teachers had a point. This should be outrageous. But it's not--viagra is.

More recently, the Board proposed a way to offset health care costs: a two-day furlough for all teachers ... equivalent to about 1% of salary! That the district took so long to come around to the idea should also be outrageous. But it's not--viagra is.

MTEA had to drag the district kicking and screaming into adopting a wellness plan that has saved the district tens of millions in costs and has meant that MPS's health cost inflation has been lower than the regional and national average. The union got in changes to retiree health care that had those costs decreasing for several years. That the union is still blamed for out of control health spending despite its creativity and success should be outrageous. But it's not--viagra is.

MTEA has also designed one of the most innovative programs to identify, mentor, and if needed fire underperforming teachers, but you wouldn't know that from the way people talk about the union protecting bad teachers. The way the media attacked MTEA for letting young teachers be laid off rather than some undefined, non-specific, theoretical group of "bad" teachers certainly seemed to me like it should be outrageous. But it's not--viagra is.

Beyond that, the fact still remains that MPS teachers are just about the lowest paid in SE Wisconsin, and even counting our benefits we are average in total compensation compared to peer districts. You don't know this because it's not, apparently, important for stories about MPS to include context. It's not, apparently, a priority to make sure that the people who choose to work with the most difficult students in the region get rewarded for their service. This, too, should be outrageous. But it's not--viagra is.

So go ahead. Have your viagra outrage orgy. (Now I'm just asking for trouble with the google ads.) Get it all out of your system, make your comments about how this will make it easier for teachers to molest students or whatever else it is you feel you need to say. Believe me, I've seen that and worse in many places the last couple of days, sick as it is. Because in a few days I head back in to school to do what none of the rest of you seem to care about: Actually helping the children of Milwaukee have a better life than what they see around them every day. Your outrage does squat to change that.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

And people complain about the people I have writing for me

by folkbum

Andrew Breitbart, professional smearer and failed bringer of the Breitbartocalypse, sought out and hired a racist, bamboozling sock-puppeteer. If my credibility is shot because capper read jsonline at work one day, what do you say about those ACORN tapes now?

Damn Those Activist Judges!

by krshorewood

Appointed by Ronald Reagan.

UPDATE by folkbum: The AP is wrong on this. The judge was a Bush I appointee.

At Least I Know I'm Free

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Stupid Hippie

by folkbum

This guy could never get nominated today:
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Why does Michael Bloomberg hate New York?

by folkbum

If you cut him, I bet he does not bleed, because no real 'Murcan talks this way.

</sarcasm> <--tag added for clarity (also)

Alternatively, I could ask why all the local righties, who howled and moaned about "private property rights" during the smoking ban debate, have sided against property owners in this case. I won't link to their hate blogs, to borrow a phrase, but I'm guessing you know who they are.

A little slow on the uptake

by folkbum

Dear editors:

A lot of us figured out a long time ago--after the ACORN tapes, after the Anita Dunn smearing, after the Van Jones Lyncing, and certainly last week after the Shirley Sherrod matter--that the right has no argument but false theater.


yr hmbl folkbum

Monday, August 02, 2010

It's the White People, Stupid

by folkbum

Or, more accurately, it's the stupid white people. But at least they're not racist!