Monday, November 30, 2009

The Path to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions: Twitter Edition


Hellooooooo, Neumann!

Couldn't help but notice this web ad this morning.

A few quick notes:

a.) That's a pretty strong pledge -- one clearly designed to one-up Walker's "I'll hold the line" tax rhetoric. I can't decide if it's smart, desperate or entirely immaterial at this point ... but it certainly seems assertive.

b.) I never know what to make of one-term pledges -- or kinda one-term pledges in this case. For some reason I get the feeling that Neumann is asking me "What do I have to do to get you into this car?"

c.) That's a very fine homage to the Obama sunrise logo.

d.) It did get my attention, enough so that I clicked to see where the link would take me. I don't know if that's because I'm naturally curious about these types of things or whatever.

Discuss among yourselves.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Q: What do You do When You Lose Your Race for State Assembly?

A: Take up Dumpster-diving:
The document was found in Dumpster outside of an ACORN office in San Diego, a House Republican aide said. Derrick Roach, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for statehouse in California, took thousands of documents last week from the trash outside the office. An ACORN spokesman confirmed the veracity of the document.
Unfortunately, that's a typo: there is no suburb of San Diego called Dumpster, California (alas!).

I couldn't care less about ACORN and not disposing of confidential material properly is just one of myriad reasons why, but isn't this something you get a private investigator to do? Maybe even an intern? Does the actual candidate himself have to spend an afternoon sifting through trash looking for incriminating documents?

More "Rogue"

Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher both point to this review of "Going Rogue" in First Things:
She wants us to stand and fight and many of us are ready for such a call, but she does not tell us in enough specifics where to stand and what to fight. It would be, perhaps, acceptable if we were already at Agincourt with enemy ahead, but even then the rhetoric fails. It is not moving. It is not authentic. It is not bit roguish, but it is rougish ... the appearance of health covering up the absence.
It's exhaustive -- 10,000+ words long. I'm not kidding. It's written by a fan who comes at the book with a sincere desire to be swept away only to be ground slowly into the pavement.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

At Last! Someone Even More Fun than Sarah Palin to Pick on!

Take a bow, Matthew Continetti.

By the way, here's Continetti about three and a half years ago. It's amusing to see someone so brazenly sell out by trying to corner the market on Palin apologetics so earnestly lament the selling out by fellow conservatives to lobbyists. There's a difference to be sure, but one also must recognize that Continetti is very quickly becoming a creature of the Washington he so despised just a few short years ago.

Charles Darwin Invented Racism and Slavery

Not even worth the effort.

Q: How do You Know You're Going to Lose the State Assembly Seat You're Running for?

A: You're blogging about Adam Lambert.


It's pretty hard to disagree with Ben Smith that Peter Orszag's presence in this picture is no minor detail...

Monday, November 23, 2009

The "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Finale

If you missed the episode last night, make it a priority to watch it.

It's definitely worth all the hype and praise. I've watched three Seinfeld re-runs today alone -- none of them classic episodes that would qualify for a "top 20 list" -- and I've enjoyed each of them in a new way that probably wasn't possible before seeing this last season of "Curb." That's how good the finale was: it simply enhances viewings of old material by making the familiar fresh.

Palin's "Love" for the "Little Guy"

Hard to be more condescending than this:
In Going Rogue Sarah describes Andrew Halcro as “a wealthy, effete young chap who had taken over his father’s local Avis Rent A Car, and he starred in his own car commercial. He would go on to host a short-lived local radio show while blogging throughout the day, all of which were major steps up from a previous job as our limo driver at Todd’s cousin’s wedding.”

Has America Grown Up?

Well, we sure a hell haven't, but perhaps others have ...

When are Wisconsin Conservative Bloggers Going to Finally Admonish Reince Priebus for the Way He's Captaining the U.S.S. Micheal Steele?

Part III.

MORE: here.

Merry Fucking Christmas to You too, Buddy!

Oy vey:

Dummy of the Year
State/Local Douche Bag of the Year
Federal Douche Bag of the Year
Hiporcriscy [sic.] in action.

These will be awarded during the Holiday season.

Happy holidays, bitches.

MORE: It took less than four hours for this unfortunate idea to get canceled. Oh, well...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Only "Going Rogue" Review You Need to Read

Imagine watching your parents 69 one another while John Madden sits behind you and bellows out color commentary and you will have some idea of how excruciating and profoundly scarring it is to plow through each page of this wholly fictional monument to self-aggrandized mediocrity. Going Rogue is to the art of writing what the Holocaust is to the concept of a just God: the piece of disconfirming evidence so overwhelming that we are left questioning whether it can exist at all.
And that's just the beginning.

Glenn Beck, Community Organizer

It's really too bad that in order to sell a book these days the author has to be a celebrity who's famous for being famous, writing about vampires, or creating a populist pseudo-movement based on anger and paranoia.

Whatever happen to selling a book because it was, you know, good?

C'est le vie...

To his credit, Glenn Beck's elaborate scam to promote his upcoming book certainly does take things to a new level. I mean, a voter registration drive? Really? That's, like, ambitious!

A word about this last detail to Beck's "Plan." Conservatives don't really have much experience doing voter registration. I can't think of a single prominent conservative organization that focuses strictly on registration. I'm sure they exist, I've just never heard of them. On the other side of the fence, however, there are groups like Rock the Vote and, yes, ACORN that are nominally non-partisan, but wink wink, nudge nudge, if you know what I mean...

The amount of time and energy conservatives and Republicans waste complaining about vote fraud could be far more productively used registering voters. This is how parties expand.

One of the problems with voter registration drives is that they suck. It's brutally hard and thankless work and it doesn't take long to figure out that there are better things to do with your time -- like eating lead paint chips. It's difficult recruiting capable personnel to staff these kinds of efforts.

The second problem is that they are complicated. Different states have different rules and it isn't easy to coordinate efforts. This leads to confusion among management, which is usually drawn from the volunteers who were not bright enough to figure out the job sucks dedicated enough to get the job done.

One of the reasons ACORN is an unspeakably poorly managed organization is because they aren't exactly working with the best and the brightest. Registering voters sucks so much that only ex-felons who can't find work anywhere else would want to do it. Beck's band of merry men will almost certainly suffer from the same problem -- maybe not so much with the felons (I'd imagine this will likely be an all volunteer army of registrars at first) -- but the unfortunate fact of the matter is that the folks who would be ideal for voter registration drives likely have better things to do with their time.

Plus, if the reason you're running around your neighborhood registering people to vote is because Glenn Beck told you to, then there's something wrong with you.

If Beck is actually able to set some kind of conservative voter registration drive up some time in th next year, don't be surprised if it quickly falls prey to the same issues that have plagued ACORN: registrations at non-existent addresses or of fictional characters or real people multiple times -- all the work of rogue volunteers looking for an easy way out of doing grueling work.

If "The Plan" is nearly as organized as the rest of the Tea Party movement, then such chaos is almost predestined.

Have You Seen Just How Much Fucking Money the Twilight Movie Made this Weekend?

I seriously didn't believe the numbers when I first saw them and had to see about six different sources to make sure they were correct:
Jaws are dropping all over Hollywood: “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” an inexpensive sequel from a three-year-old independent studio, sold a supernatural $140.7 million in tickets over the weekend in North American theaters.
And in completely unrelated news we will be retiring from blogging to work full time on our novel about recent graduates from an English boarding school for wizards who move to the Pacific Northwest and get into sexy, yet chaste, adventures with the forces of darkness ...

Well, You've Come to the Right Place!

“My goal is to make him a half-term president.”
-- A guy waiting in line to see a half-term governor.

[via M]

"If only all Jew/Muslim conflicts could be solved in 10 rounds"

Good line:
Salita is an Orthodox Jew who observes the disciplines of his religion so strictly there are 70 religious holidays on which he refuses to box. He also will not fight on the Sabbath – which runs from Friday night until darkness on Saturday – and said once, "Anyone who wants a good whuppin' from me is going to have to wait until sundown."
[via Heeb]

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Even the Epigraphs Go Rogue

So far as bungled epigraphs go, the third chapter is arguably the winner so far, attributing this nugget of wisdom to the renowned former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden:
Our land is everything to us.... I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember than our grandfathers paid for it -- with their lives.
Now, if that's not the sort of thing you'd expect a hall of fame basketball coach to say, that's because, of course, he didn't. Students of American Indian history might recognize that passage as belonging instead to John Wooden Legs, the post-WWII Northern Cheyenne tribal leader who -- though a contemporary of John Wooden's -- was not the same guy.

Mary Lazich Thinks Cops Should be able to Drink on the Job

Has there been a rise in deer-on-deer crime that I'm not aware of?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Matt Taibbi on Palin


The CRU Hack

Before anyone spending the rest of the weekend shitting themselves over the climate change email archive hack, consider the following:
More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.
That will be all.

"Contusion of the Testicle"

This is why I read New York newspapers.

Brett Favre is now a Weapon of Psychological Warfare

I'm not kidding.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All of the Children are Impo'tent to Me!!!!

The best place in Wisconsin to raise children is Oshkosh!

Suck it, Sheboygan!

Go fuck yourself, Fondy!

Lick our collective balls, La Crosse!!

The Kosh will raise the shit out of your kids!!!

Unfortunately, the photo Business Week chose to use was of Milwaukee.

But, hey, we'll take what we can get.

[via ONW]

"Life is too short to hold a grudge."

Too true!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good. Sweet. Christ.

This is a perfect example of why Sarah Palin can not be allowed to start talking policy:
"I disagree with the Obama administration on that," Palin told Walters. "I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don't think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand."
This is the foreign policy equivalent to Ms. South Carolina.

Who's the Leaker? (Hint: it was Nicole Wallace)

If you missed Marc Ambinder's post featuring several McCain campaign emails that do a great deal to discredit much of the Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" criticism of said campaign, enjoy.

I have really nothing more to add to except the obvious question: Where did the email come from?

My guess is Nicole Wallace. Of course I have no evidence of this, just conjecture.

The first sign is the salutation of the first email: "fellas." In my experience this is a dead give away that the author is a female working among mostly males. I can't speak to the rhetorical value or purpose of beginning an email in this way, but it's just something we've noticed over the years, both in speech and in written memos.

The second bit of relevant information is the emphasis on press related events in the second email. The first two of three we-were-informeds are related with communications aspects of the campaign and Ambinder basically introduces it as proof that Palin's "caged bird" memories are a little hazy.

The third sign is that both email are written by someone who genuinely cares about crafting a message, regardless of the size of the audience. In the first email, there are very few abbreviations and a rather detailed account of events. You don't get this kind of clarity in writing from IT folks. The second email used repetition and rhythm extremely effectively.

I should probably be a bit more clear about this: I'm more confident that Wallace was the author of both these email than I am that she was the actual leaker, though I think she has a lot of motive rebut many of the accusations in "Rogue."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Colts v. Pats

Shucks, that game was fun to watch...

Why Big Hollywood is a Useless Fucking Web Site

This was the actual lede to a review of latest incarnation of A Christmas Carol:

When it comes to celebrating Christmas, actor Jim Carrey says he prefers the “Christian” traditions he and many other people in America grew up on as children.

Jim Carrey is from Canada.

Whatever Dom Capers Fed the Defense this Week...

... Keep it coming.

Gawker on Palin

Quite entertaining:
The release of Going Rogue is like that moment in dodgeball when there's only one kid left on the other side of the court, and the last ball has rolled away from them, and everyone's just standing around, waiting to see who's going to pick up the ball and really go for the killshot.

$50 on this guy.

"Tom the Taxer"

That won't get really old, really quickly...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fred Dooley Supports Horrific Acts of Terrorist Violence

If someone thinks that another person is "not fit for anything except to be the next Daniel Pearl," the speaker is saying that the killing of Pearl was justified. Saying that anyone "deserves" or is "fit for" what happened to Pearl is to empower the terrorists who killed him with a degree of justice they most certainly don't have.

It goes well beyond poor taste. It's an unspeakably callous act that belies a sinister nature, a Freudian slip that betrays the speakers true mind.

So was it the painkillers that were responsible for such a barbaric comment? Or is this just another Southern thing that us simple folk up here in the boonies wouldn't understand?

Sarah Palin is Finished in the GOP

This isn't a memoir, it's a career suicide note.

[via M]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Barrett's In

And Scott Walker is fucked.

We Give Out Awards Too!!!!

I had an epiphany today: I don't give Kyle Maichle the respect he deserves. After all, he's an award-winning, blog camp attending go-getter who does things by the book and always gets his man.

So when we saw his spirited defense of his own award-winning commentary this afternoon, we decided to jump on the bandwagon and present him with an award of our own. Tonight we proudly present Kyle Maichle with the Chief's Inaugural Golden Knee Pads Award.

The Golden Knee Pads aren't just given out to any blogger. The Pads are presented to an up-and-comer who learns at the feet of his superior. We want to showcase a stand out blogger who really knows how to use his lips to win over others, someone with an flexible tongue that isn't afraid to really get in there and wipe clean all of the nooks and crannies of the opposition. Someone with the skill to spew out a mouthful of knowledge. Maichle and future recipients of the Golden Knee Pads are rough riders who can take a shot in the face and keep coming back for more, men who understand that quality is job number one and if that means using a little spit polish, then so be it.

So congratulations, Kyle! You're on roll of late, but we're sure the Golden Knee Pads are just the beginning of a long line of award-winning service you'll be providing to conservatives in power for many, many, many years to come!

Virginia Slims

Widgerson's got a piece up arguing that this year's Virginia gubernatorial race could be harbinger of things to come in Wisconsin. It's a bit hard to swallow.

For starters, no Democrat will run the kind of campaign the Creigh Deeds ran next year. The Deeds' game plan was damning from the start and he never adjusted. I actually anticipate both sides running on substantive issues like jobs and spending while foregoing the culture war garbage.

Demographically and culturally, Virginia is nothing like Wisconsin. There's been a lot of talk about Virginia becoming a swing state lately, but it is still very much a proud member of the Old South. VA may be trending blue but Democrats aren't exactly welcome in places like Lynchberg yet.

VA has about 2 million people more people than Wisco, an African-American population of almost 20% and a Latino pop. around 6.5%. The entire minority population of Wisconsin is only about 8.5%, so a significant decline in minority turnout will not impact Wisconsin tallies as dramatically as it did in VA. Widgerson's correct when he says the minority vote is important to Wisconsin Democrats, but in Virginia it's essential. There will be a drop off in minority turnout next year, especially when compared to last year, but in Wisconsin this drop-off can be absorbed far more easily by picking up votes in non-minority area (which is pretty much anywhere outside of MKE).

Walker needs to compete in those areas too. If he thinks this election is going to be won in Southeast Wisconsin, he's in for a world of hurt:
Barrett’s likely opponent, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, has already been building a base in Milwaukee County. Walker’s fight with the Milwaukee County Board over the budget has been a boost to his organizing efforts.
There a two ways of reading this and I'm not sure which one Widgerson is talking about here. If Walker is building "his base" -- i.e. his numero uno base -- in Milwaukee, he's a dead man in the rest of the state. But if Widgerson is talking about one of many bases and a general attempt to reach out to conservatives across the state, then that's different story.

We've talked about Walker having inflated expectations in Milwaukee County. Chances are, most people in SE Wisconsin have already made up their minds about Walker. There's little doubt that he will run up the score in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, but that might still not be enough to off set any gains a Dem makes in Milwaukee. If Walker does manage a split in MKE it will be an indication of a poorly run Democratic campaign and be part of a tidal wave of support from across the state.

Virginia is also an entirely different world economically. It has lower unemployment, a growing tech corridor, tons of federal government jobs and a more affluent population (on average). Those factors tend to change voters' priorities.

20+ point victories in open races are typically outliers and Wisconsin voters deeply don't give a shit about what voters in Virginia do. There are certainly lessons to be learned from Virginia, but we have little doubt that results will carry absolutely no weight in Barrett's decision to run for Governor.

One thing that certainly won't happen is this:
Despite Obama won Wisconsin by fourteen points last year by the margin of 56 to 42 percent, there could be the possibility of the same swing happening in favor of Scott Walker like Virginia Republicans had this year. A larger swing could happen in favor of Wisconsin Republicans that could exceed 30 points or more counting in last year’s result and a possible double digit victory for Scott Walker.
I sincerely hope Kyle Maichle is not trying to say that because Virginia was such an overwhelming victory for Republicans, Scott Walker could win with 70% or more of Wisconsin. That would require a Democratic candidate of truly astonishing incompetence. What happens in Wisconsin next year will be the result of events that occur in Wisconsin over the next 12 months. End of story.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The GOP Pays for its Employees Abortions

“The current policy has been in effect since 1991, and we are taking steps to address the issue,” Gitcho said.
Yeah, I've used that excuse before too.

Seriously, 18 years and no one's noticed?

[via M]

Sec. Gates in the Kosh

Definitely not something seen every day in these parts.

... and probably a good indication of how this little tiff will end.

Pipsqueak Propagandist (Who Doesn't Know How to Start a Sentence with the Word "Despite") Continues to Make Little Sense

Oh, Kyle Maichle, the joy you bring me!

Recently Mr. Maichle called Mark Neumann a "career politician," a pejorative phrase if ever there was one in today's parlance. We thought this wasn't exactly fair considering Neumann has only been an active office-seeker for a little over eight of his 55 years. He's made a living in the private sector for the last ten years. I assume he's dabbled here and there in politics since he left office, but he hasn't tried to run for office in over a decade.

This isn't good enough for Maichle, who defines a "career politician" thusly:
Neumann sided with liberal, radical Republicans like Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Bob Livingston of Louisiana, and the RINO establishment during his entire tenure in Congress. Despite he may tout his private sector experience all he wants, voting with establishment Republicans and saying you have private sector experience is a political double negative.
First of all: Learn how to begin a sentence with the word "despite" properly or just piss on a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary every time you sit down at your computer. This is just painful to read.

Secondly: What the fuck?

This line of reasoning makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Maichle seems to think that the way someone votes while in office can negate years of experience in a certain field when out of office ... an assertion for which there exists no phenomenological or epistemological argument (of which I'm aware) that applies to accepted standard of fact in the public discourse. Maichle's welcome to give one a shot, but I think we all know where that would lead.

In other words: if you've spent 10 years being a carpenter, you've spent 10 years being a carpenter. End of story. Even if you're elected to the school board and you vote to eliminate shop class from the curriculum, no one can take away the fact that you've been a carpenter for ten years.

And that's just the first point Maichle makes. In his second point Maichle actually gives what appears to be the minimum time required to be a career politician:
Neumann made a career of eight years in total running full time for elective office in which he was unsuccessful in three out of the five times he ran for office. That is losing the Wisconsin-1 Congress seat in 1990 and 1992 and losing the Senate seat to Feingold in 1998.
So not can years of private sector experience can magically disappear according to how one votes while in office, but there's also a minimum service requirement of about eight years that can win a candidate the dreaded label of "Career Politician." So even though Neumann has spent more of the last two decades in the private sector than he has seeking office, he's still a "career politician" -- got that?

Moving on ...

Here's Maichle's last point:
Neumann is back this time running for Governor at the blessing of old guard Republicans such as Jim Klauser, former Administration Secretary under Tommy Thompson. Also, add on former state party chairmen like Rick Graber who have made a career of singing the praises of Mark Neumann. Those old guard Republicans are career politicians too.
Translation: A candidate that is supported by "Career Politicians" becomes one by osmosis.

Now Maichle is on the Scott Walker side of the GOP divide, and the reason we found he assertion that Neumann is a "Career Politician" so amusing is that is guy Walker is an actual "Career Politician," not only by Maichle's own definition, but pretty much by anyone else's. Walker has held elected office for 16 of his 42 years ... that twice as much political experience in 13 fewer years. Also, Walker's got more than a few "Career Politicians" backing him as well.

The moral of the story is: if you're going to insult someone for the benefit of a third party, it would be wise to make sure that the third party doesn't qualify as the insult just levied.

Frankly, we don't care who wins the GOP endorsement. Why Walker supporters feel the need to go after Nuemann is beyond us. By just about every measure we've seen, Walker has a commanding lead and no real reason to engage with his opponent at all. The optics of doing so aren't very flattering: it looks spiteful and unbecoming of such a clear front runner.

At some point in the next year, Walker is going to have to say publicly that he thanks Nuemann for his record of public service and that he ran a hard fought campaign, and that his presence in the race made Walker a better candidate yadda yadda yadda. That's a much easier statement to make when you've just ignored the guy. Try sounding sincere after months of throwing nonsensical insults and farcical arguments at someone, it's not easy to do credibly.

Which brings us back to Maichle. We've seen his ilk before. He's the kind of kid who flocks to where he perceives Power resides. He may talk a big game about "principles" and "selling out" and all that jazz, but the moment he starts to feel like the horse he's backing isn't going to win, he'll disappear faster than the best man at a shotgun wedding.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More on Heidegger

Since I rarely see much of an opportunity to write about philosophy that anyone else can appreciate, I'm gonna roll with the Heidegger thing as long as it can be milked...

Here's a solid summary of Heidegger's "complex" relationship with Hannah Arendt:

Heidegger himself went from being mildly anti-Semitic to becoming a leading Nazi collaborator and puppet - for example, he enthusiastically removed all Jewish faculty from his University. And, here is the rub. After the War, Heidegger's greatest defender was Hannah Arendt, a distinguished Jewish philosopher, the author of Eichmann in Jerusalem and a student of Heidegger's. She was also his lover over a period of forty years, before and after World War II.

What could possibly move a brilliant Jewess to defend a man who had been an active Nazi? It sprang from a combination of love and admiration - adoration - for an esteemed professor Arendt met when she was 19. Arendt justified her mentor by imagining that his belief in the limitations of modernity was shanghaied by the Nazis, and Heidegger himself duped. Oh, and Arendt threw in the manipulative Mrs. Heidegger, out of loyalty to whom he had ceased his initial affair with Arendt.

After Arendt - who, escaping the Nazis, now lived in the United States - assisted Heidegger in his "de-Nazification," they rekindled their romance. But Arendt was never to be satisfied. Heidegger, whose reputation was permanently damaged, was deeply jealous of his protegee, and participated in their affair only reluctantly. Thus, the most distinguished Jewish philosopher of her era threw herself at an ex-Nazi, continuing their romance over a period of 40 years, while he barely tolerated her!

Every I read something like that and there's a little voice in my head that starts chanting "Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!"

Walker and the Palin Endorsement

This will not end well for Walker:
Walker sought help in his run for governor Friday in a half-hour meeting with Palin after her invitation-only Wisconsin Right to Life event. Time's Web site first reported on the meeting Wednesday, and Walker spokeswoman Jill Bader confirmed it was accurate.


Palin told Walker she would be focused through the end of the year on her tour promoting her upcoming book, "Going Rogue," but would begin helping candidates in January. Walker asked Palin to appear with him at a Fox Valley event to help combat expected fund-raising help the Democratic candidate would get from President Barack Obama.

(emphasis added)
The Fox Valley is one of Wisconsin's swing regions. Bringing an extremist in to court independent voters will only backfire. It may rally the base, but those aren't the people Walker needs to get on board. (Of course, if this is just a fund-raising thing, that's another story all together)

Palin is tremendously unpopular. There's also every indication that she's going to be doubling down on her scorched earth campaign against Republican insiders during her book tour in the next few months [via M]. Since Virginia seems to be such a popular model to the governor's mansion among republicans these days, it should be noted that McDonnell kept Palin at arm's length until the election was already in the bag.


A rather interesting op-ed from Steve Jagler in the BizTimes.

The 21 Most Powerful People in Wisconsin

Believe it or not, a couple of years ago we were in a masochistic mood of utter self-loathing and compiled a list of the 101 Most Powerful People in Wisconsin. (The list actually included about 109 people: some ranks were tied, others occupied by people who worked in tandem.) Anyway, we discovered it recently and thought we would resurrect the gimmick and let our 4 readers play along in the discussion.

So here's what's going to happen: By next Monday we're going to post a list of the 21 Most Powerful People in Wisconsin. In the comments section you can nominate your favorites. Seriously, as many as you want. If you have a list of 50 names, go nuts. We'll take any and all advice into consideration -- it doesn't matter who it's from. List like this are entirely arbitrary and capricious anyway. They're only fun after they published when people get to bitch about them...

Our criteria: there is none. Just throw a bunch of names against the wall and see what sticks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hating on Heidegger

If you read Arts & Letters Daily you may have noticed a recent trend: the editors seem to be pushing anti-Martin Heidegger pieces lately. Here are three of them.

This is hardly a new development. If you're unfamiliar with Heidegger, here's a picture of him -- he's the mustachioed fellow sitting above the dark x at the bottom of the pic:

Now, if you're asking yourself, "What are all of those swastikas doing in the background?" there's a perfectly good explanation for that: Heidegger was a Nazi. He's also considered to be one of the most brilliant philosophers of the 20th century. It's been a debate that has raged in the philosophical community since the end of WWII with the typical ebbs and flows between both sides of the disagreement (here are two opposing views to those above).

So are we entering a period of anti-Heidegger furor or just another author getting attention for publishing an anti-Heidegger tract?

Turns Out We Were Right: Being a Dick Isn't Good Politics

WaPo on Scozzafava [via Memeorandum] -- Just a reminder.

Lord of the Teabaggers Admits He's Full of Shit

It's difficult to believe that the Tea Party movement is "all about principles" when you read something as craven as this shit:
Armey prides himself on his intellect and rationality, but his years in Washington have taught him the political uses of irrationality and even outright fantasy. He told me he does not believe some of the most extreme charges that emerged in the debate over health care reform — for example, that "death panels" will tell elderly people when it's time to die — but he welcomes the energy and passion that such beliefs bring to his side. "You know that expression: The enemy of my enemy is my friend?" he asked. "Are their fears exaggerated? Yeah, probably. But are Obama's promises exaggerated? I may think it's silly, but if people want to believe that," he said, referring to death panels, "it's O.K. with me."

Scott Walker Supporter Hilariously Refers to Primary Opponent as "Career Politician" Without the Slightest Hint of Irony

It boggles the mind...

Here's an earlier post where Maichle discusses all the work Neumann did in the, a-hem, private sector.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Note to the WISGOP

If you are going to take a clever idea, like taking out a want ad out for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and are only going fork over enough cash to pay for an ad in the classified sections of a few newspapers, just use Craigslist: it's free, more people will read the actual ad and the earned media that results from the stunt will be roughly the same.

Does WOSH Only Hire 16 Year Old Girls to be Their News Directors?

Five paragraphs into his daily self-pity party -- and, really, today's edition is quite the exercise in wince-inducing uninformed hyperbole -- Jonathan Krause drops these words a propos of nothing:
I am also resigned to the fact that the US economy will never be the same. Yes, Great Britain is still a free market--but what British companies help to drive the worldwide economy? Royal Bank of Scotland? And they would kill to have "just" 10.2% unemployment. I guess we will have to be resigned to that standard of life as well. "Living on the dole"--that is something to really shoot for in life.
Bare in mind the post is about the health care reform bill, which leads me to believe that Krause is convinced that the House passed a bill that will turn health care in America over to a National Health Service like there is in in England. If this isn' the case, then his shoddy writing is recklessly suggesting as much.

We've noted before that Krause really doesn't have the first clue what he's talking about when he starts discussing health care policy, but this glibertarian whining does no one a damn bit of good:
So that's why I am giving up hope.
Jesus, dude: get a grip.

When are Wisconsin Conservative Bloggers Going to Finally Admonish Reince Priebus for the Way He's Captaining the U.S.S. Micheal Steele?

Seriously, how many more of these awful sound bites can one party take?
MARTIN: But your candidates got to talk to them. One of the criticisms I've always had is Republicans -- white Republicans -- have been scared of black folks.

STEELE: You're absolutely right. I mean I've been in the room and they've been scared of me.
[via M]

Groups Alienated by the GOP's Lurch to the Right, the Second Part in an Ongoing Series


Groups Alienated by the GOP's Lurch to the Right, the First Part in an Ongoing Series


MORE: Here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Adventures in Awful Reasoning

From Texan in Wisconsin:
Rep. Ahn "Joseph" Cao, from Louisiana, was the only Republican who voted for Obamacare. His reasoning for voting as he did is all you need to read in order to convince yourself to support term limits for elected officials.


This is EXACTLY the reason we need term limits. Whatever happened to citizens who wanted to serve their neighbors for a term or two, then return to their hometown and go back to their old job?
Cao is, of course, a freshman congressman.

You're Welcome

Via Topless Robot:

Carrie Prejean, Please Take Note

Everything about this story is awesome.

[via M]

Very Good Point


MORE: And here.

Noted Without Comment

From Steve Clemons:

Palin Says Milwaukee Media Blackout Wasn't Her Call

Anyone else buy this?
Let me set the record straight on the media's follow-up reports of the great event: Despite what CNN reported, decisions about not allowing cameras at the event were the prerogative of the sponsors of the event, and I, of course, respected their decision.
She respected the decision so much that she included a cell phone photo from the event in the post ... from an event that didn't allow photography or cell phones:

Why on Earth would WRL adopt a blackout policy for this event? It would make much more sense to have the entire place rigged with cameras to capture the event for future fund-raising and promotional material.

I guess I can kind of understand the logic of the call if it were based on principles similar to the ones the NFL uses to blackout local television coverage of teams that don't sell a certain amount of tickets to a game, but that's a pretty large stretch.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jonathan Martin on Palin's Speech in Milwaukee: Meh

Not exactly a glowing review of the Palin out-of-town opening in West Allis:
Palin had remarks prepared but frequently wandered off-script to make a point, offering audience members a casual “awesome” or “bogus” in discussing otherwise weighty topics.

As in: “It is so bogus that society is sending a message right now and has been for probably the last 40 years that a woman isn’t strong enough or smart enough to be able to pursue an education, a career and her rights and still let her baby live.”

Other Palin touchstones included: praise for the military, jeers for the “the liberal media” and a general manner of speaking that often veered into rhetorical culs-de-sac.

While she drew applause during her remarks, Palin’s extemporaneous and frequently discursive style was such that she never truly roused a true-believing crowd as passionate about the issue at hand as she. Not once during her address did they rise to their feet.

In a closing exhortation, she urged the audience, “Don't ever let anyone to tell you to sit down and shut up.”

She then got a standing ovation from most of the crowd, but a few had begun to leave before she even finished and within seconds of her concluding, scores more got up and put on their jackets as they walked away.

(emphases added)

Palin Pushes Death Panels in Milwaukee

Sarah Palin's visit to Milwaukee last night leaves a ton to talk about, but we wanted to focus some special attention on one aspect of the speech before we get into some of the minutia.

Probably the most complete account of the speech will be found at Kathy Carpenter's blog. It's fawning and sycophantic, but to her credit, Carpenter seems to report on a lot of the actual content of the speech. Here's one troubling graph from Carpenter's write-up:
The governor even spoke about “panels” of bureaucrats making health care decisions for the elderly. The governor also promised that health care rationing is coming if this health care bill is passed in its current form. You could see the light dancing in her eyes as she spoke of the “panels of bureaucrats.” That was fun to watch.
You'll notice the modifier "death" has been conveniently omitted from the noun "panels," but there's little getting around the implication: Palin is still getting mileage off of her grossly untrue "death panels" comment made this last summer. In fact, the "light dancing in her eyes," according to Carpenter, may have been just as good as one of the vintage Palin winks.

MORE: Mudflats has an interesting (albeit incomplete) transcription and Heartland Hollar may have pulled off the most significant Wisconsin blogger coup of the year by "acquiring" a bootleg video recording of the tape.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Crazy Company John Nygren Keeps

Advice usually comes extremely cheap to elected officials, so it's usually important to be able to distinguish between the good, the bad and the just plain crazy.

There's at least one blogger in Wisconsin who seems to be living proof that Rep. John Nygren doesn't know how to do that.

I'm referring to Capt. Karl, a Ron Paul acolyte and blogger from up north who part of a nascent movement to organize a second Continental Congress. But that's just the start of his crazy, crazy ideas: he's a Birther and paranoid about the North American Union and the Federal Reserve -- pretty standard stuff for a neo-Bircher -- but he also believes that the H1N1 vaccine is a secret government plot to implant RFID chips in the population so as to control us all. Seriously.

This last delusion disqualifies him from the pool of rational human beings in my book, but some say my standards are too high. Regardless, Capt. Karl fancies himself, if not something of a mover and shaker, then at least one of Rep. Nygren's informal advisors:
[I have worked on] Assembly Joint Resolution – 51 Wisconsin State Sovereignty, which the Democratic “tyrants” are letting die in conference and SO; and soon working on a combo with MORE TEETH that will be a “marriage” of Wisconsin Health Care “Right to Choose” combined with a MUCH STRONGER version of State Sovereignty which will be a reasonable facsimilie of the New Hampshire model.

I have been working with Assemblyman John Nygren of the 89th. If you read this blog a little more often you would know more about this. I, Capt. Karl, was the one who initiated this effort to protect my fellow Wisconsinites from The Federal Government via this legislation.

I bolded the last line just because its self-importance brings me great mirth. I don't understand what the hell he's saying in the first paragraph after the opening sentence.

The moral of the story is that this guy is under the impression that he's working hand-in-hand with member of the state Assembly -- and I find that a member of the assembly listening to advice from a guy who believes that who H1N1 vaccine nonsense to be a little troubling.

Now, I understand that I can't in good conscience say in one breath that this dude is batshit insane, then in another breath believe everything he says about just how important he is. In fact, there's evidence to suggest that Nygren's office keeps Capt. Karl at arm's length. Here's the text of an email Nygren staffer Matt Banaszynski wrote back to crazy ass Karl in response to a truly insane message that tries to tie all of Karl's paranoid obsessions into one Unified Theory of Alternate Reality (really, this thing has to be read to be believed). Most advisers don't communicate through a legislator's staff, but the notion that Nygren has some kind of Batphone with a direct line to Capt. Karl's Unibomber shack is amusing nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Which One of the Women Pictured Below Has a Sex Tape?

Hint: It's exactly who you thought it would be.

Shorter Michelle Malkin: Brrraaaaaaaiiinnnsssss!!!

Better a donkey in office that acts like a donkey than a donkey in elephant’s clothing making a complete ass of the GOP.
[MM via Memeo]

The Stupidest Analogy You'll Read All Day

Take it away, Dan Riehl:
The New York GOP, or whomever, picked its candidate, the GOP establishment backed them, as they were all but compelled to do under the circumstances. The problem is, the entire process was FUBER aka Effed Up By Establishment Republicans living insidethe machine and not the people that make up the electorate.

This reminds me of the frustration we felt as we rolled through the primaries in 2008. We watched open primaries with cross-over voting yield results that we didn't much like in too many cases.

(emphasis added)
This assumes that floods of Democratic voters "invaded" the Republican primary, even though the GOP primaries were over well before the Democrats had finished their own hotly contested primary. Riehl is basically saying that tons of Democratic voters threw their chances at making their own voices heard away just for the opportunity to screw with Republicans like they were participating in some kind of impromptu "Operation Chaos."

It's never conservatives fault, after all...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


What a strange fucking election.

It seemed all too appropriate that such a strange race be capped off by Hoffman's weird "Acorn slashed my tires!" gaffe.

There's just no way anyone can convince me this race was a net win for tea baggers, conservatives, moderates in the GOP and pretty much anyone who's not a Democrat.

Even though there were probably a dozen pivotal moments throughout the race -- and certainly more that may never be made public -- for my money, the most important moment was one that never happened:
At a brief campaign appearance here last night, I asked NY-23 Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman to confirm whether he’d spoken with Dede Scozzafava after she abandoned her Republican bid, and before she’d been courted by Democrats to endorse Democratic candidate Bill Owens.

“No, I hadn’t had an opportunity to talk to her,” said Hoffman. “Of course I would have liked for her to endorse me, but hey, we’re going to win without her.”
That arrogant lack of consideration probably cost Doug Hoffman a seat in Congress.

Here were just some very interesting details in Politico's article on the "winning" of Scozzafava's endorsement by the White House a few days ago.

First, the Dems didn't know Scozzafava's was going to end her campaign.

Second, when the news dropped, the Dems immediately sent Steve Israel up to the district for a face-to-face meeting. Also, New York "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the most powerful figures in the state, and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo" also placed phone calls. Scozzafava also spoke with Sen. Chuck Schumer and former NYDP chair June O'Neil.

So here's the question: How the hell did she have time to speak with no less than five prominent Democrats?

I know the snide answer from conservatives is going to be "Because she always was one," but that doesn't excuse a utter lack of awareness on the Hoffman campaign's part. There should have been a ton of hand holding by the GOP after what was clearly a very emotional resignation speech. It gives the impression that she was just left on the side of the road after -- to use a cliche conservatives love to deploy these days -- being thrown under the proverbial bus by the pitchforks and torches crowd that bullied her out of the race.

Don't you think someone would have thought to do a little bit of comforting until election day, if for no other reason than to run interference against what were almost assuredly going to be Democratic entreaties for her to endorse Owens?

As soon as Hoffman heard the news that Scozzafava was leaving the race, she should have been the very first person he called. He didn't have to "make a deal" or any of that nonsense -- all he had to do was say thank you, reassure her that her voice was important, and offer her a seat at the table for at least the four days that followed. He didn't and came back to bite him in the ass.

Thanks for playing.

MORE: The Recess Supervisor has more.

EVEN MORE: Here's Erickson's take-away lesson from NY-23:
First, the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives. In 2008, many conservatives sat home instead of voting for John McCain. Now, in NY-23, conservatives rallied and destroyed the Republican candidate the establishment chose.

(emphasis added)
Except in NY-23, the GOP lost with a conservative. There's no other way to read that line than being utterly wrong. Erickson is claiming that a Democratic win last night was actually a win for the GOP -- not conservatives, mind you, but the GOP -- which is manifestly incorrect. The only winner last night were Democrats.

I'm hestitant to say that moderate Republicans dodged a bullet by not having a Hoffman victory open up the flood gates to an unruly mob of third party tea baggers, but clearly his lose isn't going to deter any them from trumpeting their own greatness.

This will likely only get worse.

NY-23 Special Election Determines Which New York Congressional Seat gets Eliminated in 2012

Most folks think that after the 2010 census New York state will lose a congressmen.

Special thanks to all the tea baggers out there for making the choice of which district goes real easy on the redistricting committee.

MORE: Or perhaps not...

A Phyrrhic Victory

If you didn't get a chance to see Doug Hoffman's utterly sycophantic interview with Glenn Beck, kick back and enjoy watching Hoffman fold like a beach chair.

I'm sure this will be greeted with hosannas by supporters, but when you pair this interview with the star-struck op-ed the NY Post published and the fact that he couldn't meet with an editorial board without Dick Armey's help, Conservatives should be worried that Doug Hoffman is going to go straight to Washington and fall in line with the GOP leadership, the very people the "grassroots" (if the term actually qualifies in this race) are trying to send a message to. He's not too bright, not too strong and not at all ready for prime time.

So he's not exactly the guy you want leading the vanguard of the revolution, and yet here comes everybody!

This will not end well for conservatives. Here's Stu Rothenberg:
In fact, Democrats might be better off were Hoffman to win the special election in New York. Yes, that outcome would prevent Democrats from expanding their House majority, but a Hoffman win might embolden the Club for Growth and encourage conservatives to take on other Republicans who aren't entirely pure. And encouraging a bigger GOP civil war is something that could help Democrats win more than a single additional seat in the House.
And Froma Harrop:
If Hoffman wins, every Baby Beck will be trying to dethrone the moderate Republican establishment in purple districts, such as this one. They will be running armadillos in Canadian goose country. And they will lose a lot more than they will win.
That's a bleak future to rest the hopes of the entire tea party movement.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Charlie Sykes Discovers David Foster Wallace

And, naturally, doesn't read the entire article, choosing to cherry-pick the part that makes him look good.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Smell a Meme: Lady Gaga Edition

A hilarious reminder that Christopher Walken is a goddamn national treasure:

Not as funny, but still amusing recitation from Jude Law:

And Cartman's version:

This seems like fertile material for amateur readings on YouTube, but I haven't found any yet.

Again, Milwaukee isn't Going to Help Walker

Here's an interesting claim:
I do not know if Walker would win MKE County in 2010, but the DEM candidate would need to get 60% in MKE County to win statewide. I think almost any DEM could do that against Neumann (and Belling agrees), but I do not know any DEM who could pull those numbers against Walker, including Barrett.
I'm interested in the bolded line (added by me), which isn't true.

Let's go back to 2006. Doyle beat Green by a margin of 160,451 votes while winning Milwaukee County 62% to 37%, or (199,561 to 118,989). In other words, if 80% of Democratic voters in Milwaukee County had been suddenly raptured up to heaven the day before the 2006 election, Doyle still would have edged out Mark Green statewide.

For the sake of convenience, let's say that 300,000 votes will be cast in Milwaukee County next year. A Dem nominee with 60% would win 180,000 votes and come out 60,000 ahead of the Republican. That still leaves a margin of victory of 100,000 votes from around the state the GOP would need to neutralize.

The moral of the story is that the next Governor will not be chosen by Southeastern Wisconsin. Why bloggers continue to think that (a.) Scott Walker has a prayer in Milwaukee and (b.) that southeastern Wisconsin in the only geographic area is the end-all-be-all of the Wisconsin electorate, is beyond me. If Walker is going to win Wisconsin, he's going to have to craft a message that resonates throughout all of Wisconsin, not just with conservatives outside Milwaukee. Doing so inoculates him from charges of extremism and connects with independent votes (who are typically moderates).