Saturday, March 1, 2014

What Did Assembly Republicans Know and When Did They Know It?

According to this headline, they must have known something.

State Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer enters treatment, may be forced from post. (Wisconsin State Journal, 3/1/2014)

A South Carolina State Representative in Major Pearl-Clutching Mode

South Carolina legislature confiscates budget of college for assigning Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" as a reading. (Boing Boing, 3/1/2014)

College of Charleston.  The College Reads!   The College Reads! is the College of Charleston’s campus-wide common reading program designed to connect students, faculty, and staff around a single book to promote the idea that liberally educated people read broadly and discuss with one another ideas arising from the books they share. All incoming students and roster faculty receive a copy of the book.

Uh-oh!  Richland Library.  Next in line for punishment?

The Wit and Wisdom of John E. Skvarla III

John Skvarla, new Sec'y of DENR: snake oil salesman? (INDY Week, 1/7/2013)

Meet McCrory’s top environmental official. (MSNBC, 2/14/2014)

Related post:
The upside-down world of John E. Skvarla III.  (3/1/2014)

The Upside-Down World of John E. Skvarla III

Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog was Defanged.   (The New York Times, 2/28/2014)

John E. Skvarla III is the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Photo source:  NCDENR

And how has he and Governor Pat McCrory, a 28-year former Duke Energy employee, accomplished these goals?
  • Funding for water pollution programs cut by 10.2%
  • Bipartisan regulatory commission reorganized to include Republicans employees only
  • NCDENR employees exempt from civil service protections, i.e., "who now serve at the pleasure of the governor," increased from 24 to 179

What Happens When Troglodytes Weigh In on the Issues of the Day

Outrage Over Sexist Remarks Turns Into a Political Fund-Raising Tool. (The New York Times, 2/27/2014)

Not mentioned here, but making the rounds again.  (Hillary's roots give her away, Washington Times, 9/24/2013)

Small man's photo source:  C-SPAN

One of Walker's Supporters Thinks the Governor Needs Man Up

Orville and Diane Seymer made regular small contributions to Scott Walker over a period of more than 6 years.

Walker Supporter Says Governor Needs To 'Tell The Truth' About Emails. (Wisconsin Public Radio, 2/27/2014)

Another example of Kelly Rindfleisch's people skills. Orville Seymer made a name for himself as a conservative activist in the 2002 effort to recall then-Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament. Ament resigned instead and Walker won the special election to succeed him. 

So, Seymer, who's with the group Citizens for Responsible Government, was bothered to find his own name among the many emails released last week. It involved an open records request that Seymer filed with the county over a security firm's contract. 

Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker's then-deputy chief of staff at the county, sent an email to Walker campaign manager Keith Gilkes in 2010 asking, "What the Hell is Orville doing?"

Related posts:
It's the same old song.  (2/26/2014)
That's my story and I'm stickin' with it.  (2/25/2014)
When you don't have anything of substance to say, spout talking points over and over and over again.  (2/24/2014)
The Scott Walker interview that will keep on giving.  (2/22/2014)
Another John Doe shocker:  Scott Walker doesn't blame Jim Doyle.  (2/21/2014)
John Doe shocker: Scott Walker lied to us.  (2/20/2014)
Getting to know Scott Walker by the company he keeps. (2/20/2014)

Maybe they're just waiting for the rest of the U.S. to move into the 21st century

Are the Democrats getting too liberal? (Pew Research, 2/25/2014)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Republican Hypocrisy: The "Hits" to Local Control Just Keep on Coming

Municipalities lose control over cell tower location.  (WBAY, 2/27/2014)

One of those policy-item thingies that got inserted into the state budget.   When the state budget was signed into law last July, it changed the way cell phone towers are regulated. 

The budget established a set of State rules for cell tower permits all municipalities must follow. It prevents cities from setting their own rules on everything from environmental testing, to aesthetics, to lighting.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Follow the Money
  • AT&T (1040 contributions totaling $152,408.84)
  • AT&T Mobility (5 contributions totaling $140)

Related posts:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board calls out Republican hypocrisy.  (2/17/2014)
And the hypocrisy just keeps on coming: Republicans can't even give lip service to their "Principles". (2/14/2014)
Yet another lesson in Republican hypocrisy.  (2/13/2014)
Another lesson in hypocrisy: Wisconsin Republicans disparage Mary Burke for her wealth.  (1/31/2014)
A lesson in hypocrisy, Waukesha County edition.  (1/29/2014)
Your Wisconsin Republican Assembly hard at work promoting Governor Walker's jobs agenda (and GOP principles).  (11/15/2013)

Taking a Wild Guess at the Source of this Rumor

Despite rumors, Kestell has no plans to retire ... yet. (Sheboygan Press, 2/27/2014)

What's a 3-letter word for encouragement?    It seems someone’s been working overtime trying to spread that rumor,” Kestell said Thursday morning. “They’re working pretty hard at it.”

Just for fun, do a "Kestell" word search in this Wisconsin Soapbox blogpost.

Realtors Follow Up on Their Busloads of Cash

Busload of brokers visits Madison to support property tax cuts, Couture. (Milwaukee Business Journal, 2/27/2014)

Some of which may find its way back to Scott Walker. A busload of 25 real estate pros cruised from Milwaukee to Madison on Wednesday for Realtor & Government Day to support Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed property tax cuts and recent state law changes.

Source: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: A Look at Manufacturing Employment Data

Related posts:
Report from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS): State of Working Wisconsin 2012.  (9/4/2012)
Point/counterpoint on manufacturing: Panel on Wisconsin's economic future barking up the wrong tree?  (10/26/2011)

Size Matters (for Smart Phone Buyers)

Handset Makers Go Big on Smartphones.  (The New York Times, 2/26/2014)

Going in the opposite direction. Year by year, computers, storage devices and music players have shed size and weight. And for decades, it has been happening with cellphones, too.

The Motley Fool commented on this trend in July 2013:  How big can your smartphone screen get?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I guess it all depends on your point of view

Ja, this is going to go over big

Connected to the Oven via an App. (The New York Times, 2/26/2014)

An app with niche appeal.  Nevertheless, GE says the timesaving possibilities will make smart ovens attractive to busy cooks. Last month, the company announced the GE Brillion app, [like in Wisconsin? an upgrade to its line of Profile wall ovens, which allows users to turn it on and off, heat it, set the timer and temperature and check cooking status remotely.

Trends in US home food preparation and consumption: analysis of national nutrition surveys and time use studies from 1965–1966 to 2007–2008.  (Nutrition Journal, 4/11/2013)

So maybe there's hope. US adults have decreased consumption of foods from the home supply and reduced time spent cooking since 1965, but this trend appears to have leveled off, with no substantial decrease occurring after the mid-1990’s.

As Christiane reports, "Libraries remain very much alive"

And if you need any more convincing, read this report.

Polar Vortex Makes a Return Trip to Wisconsin

Bible to Christian Metal Band Singer

Photo courtesy of Stewart Church Signs

Metal Singer Pleads Guilty in Plot to Kill Estranged Wife.  (The New York Times, 2/26/2014)

Perhaps 10% was his final offer.  Mr. Lambesis was arrested after a sting operation that was set up after he tried to hire a fitness trainer [???] to kill his wife, who was divorcing him, and who, he feared, would walk away with more than half his income, prosecutors said.

Pew Research Center Report: The Web at 25 in the U.S.

From the summary of findings:
  • Adoption.  87% of Americans use the Internet.
  • Impact
    • 90% of users say it's been a good thing for them personally
    • 76% of users say it's been a good thing for society
  • Most difficult of technologies to give up (compared with cell phones, television, email, landline telephone, social media)
  • 76% describe the Internet as a "mostly kind" environment.

Note:  After 1999, the annual report didn't include a yes-or-no question regarding Internet access.  There was a statistical shift to the number of computer terminals/workstations.

Safe to say, though, that public library Internet access in Wisconsin was quickly closing in on ubiquitous.

U.S. Census Bureau: Computer and Internet Use in the United States (Population Characteristics).  (7/25/2013)
Pew Internet and American Life Project;  Internet use at libraries.  (12/28/2012)

Rematch in Wisconsin's 37th Assembly District

Arnold enters race for the 37th District. (Beaver Dam Daily Citizen, 2/26/2014)

About Mary.   Arnold is a retired social worker who is serving her second term on the Columbus School Board as vice-president. She and her family have lived in her home town since 2009 after residing in Plover for 20 years, where she worked as a school social worker. She is active in the community, volunteering at the Columbus Community Hospital and the VA Hospital in Madison, and belongs to the local historical society and Friends of the Library. She is a member of the Columbia County Democratic Party Executive Board.

Other 2014 election posts:
87th Assembly District.  (2/17/2014)
Todd Novak, Dodgeville Mayor, Running for 51st Assembly seat.  (2/17/2014)
88th Assembly District.  (2/17/2014)
58th Assembly District.  (2/10/2014)
81st Assembly District.  (2/7/2014)
17th Senate District.  (1/27/2014)
59th Assembly District.  (1/18/2014)
1st Assembly District.  (12/13/2013)
Candidate scorecard for the 2014 Wisconsin Attorney General's race.  (12/8/2013)
22nd Assembly District.  11/21/2013)
17 Senate District.  (11/7/2013)
19th Assembly District.  (11/7/2013)
9th State Senate District. (10/23/2013)
15th State Senate District.  (10/10/2013)
Wisconsin Attorney General in 2014: Waukesha County DA Brad Schimel.  (10/10/2013
25th State Senate District.  (10/9/2013)

Scott Walker Likely to Support Tom Tiffany's New Mining Bill

Gogebic Taconite LLC:  Looking to get their money's worth

Wisconsin senator backs off on sand mine changes, (Green Bay Press-Gazette, 2/26/2014)

The new bill's provisions.    Under the new bill......
  1. existing sand mines wouldn’t be subject to new zoning ordinances that are more restrictive than what they currently operate under. The provision is designed to codify in state law court findings that local governments can’t zone a business out of existence, Tiffany said. 
  2. The bill also would protect sand mines from any other new local ordinance or license requirement if they’re operating within the year preceding the ordinance or requirement is adopted. 
  3. The bill doesn’t include bans on local environmental standards, blasting ordinances and road fee collections laid out in the first bill.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Alabama Looney Tunes

So Tell Us, Boot-Quakin' Republicans, How Far Forward Have We Moved Since January 3, 2011?

And what's with the golden circle, RGA guys?

I wouldn't want to run on this record.

Library Advocacy or Library Oddballs?

Folks boarding the bus are heading to Albany for this event.

Citizens Defending Libraries (blog)  Mayor Bloomberg is defunding New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

I guess the question is:  Where does newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio stand on this issue?

Here's the  link to NYLA legislative agenda.  You tell me if the two protesters are making sense.

The Arizona Legislature's Happy Fizzies Party is Over -- for Now

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill. (NBC News, 2/26/2014)

Understatement.   "I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve," Brewer said.

Arizona Senate Bill 1062

Dane County Demographics: Race, Population and Percentage of Total

Source:  United States Census, State and County QuickFacts

Slightly reworded footnote:  The numbers may add to more than the total population, and the percentages may add to more than 100 percent because individuals may report more than one race.

UW-Extention's Tim Brown Provides Us with an Example of Hyperbole

Internet access becoming as vital a service as water, electricity. (Lakeland Times, 2/20/2014)

Well, we're not quite there yet, Tim.

Tablet Ownership.  (Pew Research Internet Project, 6/10/2013)

Perhaps Tim's 3-hour presentation on the Internet as a vital service mentions libraries.  There's no indication in the Lakeland Times article that he did so with the Lake Tomahawk town board.

Odd, particularly in light of this recent big news.

You Never Know Who You're Going to Run Into at the Library

Neenah police find meth lab in garage while seeking suspect. (Appleton Post-Crescent, 2/25/2014)

Doing a little research? One resident absent from the house became the prime suspect in the case. His probation officer authorized his arrest on a possible probation violation. Later in the day, the Appleton Police Department found the suspect at the Appleton Public Library in connection with a theft complaint and arrested him for the probation violation. Police are not releasing his name at this time, citing the pending investigation.

Or perhaps he was hoping to find a copy of this book.

Which doesn't exist.  It's from a satiric post published at Julie's "A Day in the Wife" blog, How To's for Illegal Activities (6/4/2013).

Scott Walker: It's the Same Old Song

Related posts:
That's my story and I'm stickin' with it.  (2/25/2014)
When you don't have anything of substance to say, spout talking points over and over and over again.  (2/24/2014)
The Scott Walker interview that will keep on giving.  (2/22/2014)
Another John Doe shocker:  Scott Walker doesn't blame Jim Doyle.  (2/21/2014)
John Doe shocker: Scott Walker lied to us.  (2/20/2014)
Getting to know Scott Walker by the company he keeps. (2/20/2014)

But as the conclusion of the AMA Report sez, "Overall, there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012"

Which didn't stop the New York Times headline writer from using this oh-happy-day headline.

In a boding-well kind of mood.  . “It was exciting.” She [Cynthia L. Ogden, a researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the lead author of the report] cautioned that these very young children make up a tiny fraction of the American population and that the figures for the broader society had remained flat, and had even increased for women over 60. A third of adults and 17 percent of youths are obese, the federal survey found. Still, the lower obesity rates in the very young bode well for the future, researchers said.

The obesity rate for children ages 2-5 declined from 13.9% in 2003 to 8.$% in 2012.

The obesity rate for women over 60 increased from 31.5% in 2003 to 38% in 2012.

Obesity Rate for Older Women Swells 21% in a Decade