Saturday, October 28, 2023

Nearly 5 months and $620,000 in debt later, Mike Pence suspends his ill-fated presidential campaign

He finishes with a 3.5% polling average, down from a peak of 7.0% on February 15, 2023

Poll resultsReal Clear Politics
HeadlineReuters, 10/28/2023
Pence stopped short of endorsing anyone in his speech on Saturday, but in an apparent swipe at Trump, called on Americans to select someone who appeals to "the better angels of our nature" and can lead with "civility." 
Pence failed to attract enough anti-Trump Republican primary voters, and donors, to sustain a candidacy that has languished in the low single digits in opinion polls and struggled to raise money since he announced his White House bid in June. 
As a result Pence, a stolid campaigner short on charisma, was low on cash by October and despite spending time and resources in the first Republican nominating state of Iowa, had failed to catch fire there. 
When his campaign released Pence's third quarter fundraising totals on Oct. 15, his candidacy was $620,000 in debt and only had $1.2 million cash on hand, far less than several better-performing Republican rivals and insufficient to sustain the financial demands of a White House race.

The Sunday School mind of newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson

HeadlineAlterNet, 10/28/2023
He has proclaimed his confidence in the "creationist" superstition that proclaims Earth is only six thousand years old, because the Bible appears to say so, and not 4.6 billion years old as determined by astronomers and geologists. Indeed Scripture, or at least his interpretation of it, provides his all-purpose intellectual guide. 
To anyone who asks, "What does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?" he offers a simple reply. "Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it -- that's my worldview. That's what I believe and so I make no apologies for it."

The reality of Vivek Ramaswamy's descent in the polls: Average percentage drops 43% during past month


What goes up must come down!  

From 8.1% on September 21 to 4.5% on October 24.

Headline:  Politico, 8/12/2023
Ramaswamy’s strength comes almost entirely from polls conducted over the internet, according to a POLITICO analysis. In internet surveys over the past month — the vast majority of which are conducted among panels of people who sign up ahead of time to complete polls, often for financial incentives — Ramaswamy earns an average of 7.8 percent, a clear third behind Trump and DeSantis. 
In polls conducted mostly or partially over the telephone, in which people are contacted randomly, not only does Ramaswamy lag his average score — he’s way back in seventh place, at just 2.6 percent.

Related posts

Covid Chronicles. Chapter 77: Early Voting in Middleton

Read chapter 76 here
Photos by Retiring Guy

Saturday, October 24, 2020

JoAnna and I spent the past four afternoons, Tuesday through Friday, standing in front of Middleton City Hall while volunteering as door monitors for early voting. The way it works in Wisconsin, voters have three options to cast their ballots: 

1. Absentee. Request a ballot from their city, village, or town clerk to be mailed to them. 

2. Early in-person voting at a designated location for a prescribed period of time. 

3. The traditional Election Day method. 

In Wisconsin, the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is the Thursday before an election, but anyone would be a fool to wait that long this year. Wisconsin Democrats launched a ‘Plan Your Vote’ campaign this summer, encouraging people to apply early, well before the election, in light of the dismantling taking place at the U.S. Postal Service, just another GOP voter suppression tactic. JoAnna and I filed our requests in August via MyVote, a voter information website, and our ballots arrived in the mail during our Great Falls trip. We promptly filled them out and deposited them in a specially designated drop box next to the library. According to Middleton City Clerk Lori Burns, about half of the city’s 15,000 registered voters requested an absentee ballot, an indication of the far-reaching success of the ‘Plan Your Vote’ campaign. About 8,000 ballots have already been returned, which means that more than 50% of voters have cast a ballot before the start of in-person early voting. People are clearly determined to vote early this year due to the concerns over Covid and, for Democrats, continuing voter suppression efforts by the GOP, such as invalidating any ballots postmarked on or before Election Day but received after November 3rd. And based on the record-setting number of Biden/Harris yard signs in Middleton, and the absence of Trump/Pence signs at locations that regularly show their support for GOP candidates, Middleton is joining the rest of Dane County, by far the state’s fastest growing county, in running up the score for Democrats. 

Thanks to the ongoing voter suppression efforts of Wisconsin Republicans, early voting here is limited to 11 days — October 20-30. It used to be that municipalities could schedule hours to vote starting in mid- September. Surprisingly, the Middleton city clerk limited early voting to 3 hours per day: 1 to 4 p.m. No evening or weekend hours. Which is why, during the first four days, we have had a line extending from the entrance of City Hall to Middleton Street from 12:45 to 4:15. (As long as people are in line by 4:00, they are able to vote. That’s JoAnna and me standing below the ‘ON’ in “MIDDLETON’.) 

Except for a glitch on the first day of early voting on Tuesday, the lines have moved at an acceptable pace – an average of 1 person voting every minute. Due to social distancing requirements, only 5 voters are allowed inside the building at a time and 3 voting machines are set up in the council chambers. Our primary responsibility as volunteers is to maintain order at the entrance, allowing a person to enter the building after someone else exits. I also walk up and down the line every half hour or so to ask if anyone needs to register to vote. In that way, people can fill out the form while they wait and an employee in the city clerk’s office can input the information so that they’re in the system once inside the building. Based on the number of people in line, I also offer an estimate of a person’s waiting time depending upon where they are in line. Tuesday’s glitch involved the slow processing of labels for each ballot at the central site. In other words, every voting was affected. On that day people at the end of the line waited as long as 90 minutes to vote. During the rest of the week, few people waited more than 45 minutes. Big improvement! Except for Wednesday, the weather has been cool, overcast, and blustery. On Thursday, lots of umbrellas were in use during a series of light rain showers. No matter what the conditions, though, JoAnna and I felt sore after spending so much time standing and not having the opportunity to moving around all that much. 

I took this photo at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Middleton’s city clerk, the person responsible for overseeing all elections at the local level, estimates that an additional 25% of those registered will vote during the two weeks before Election Day. At the same time, absentee ballots are still being received in the mail, deposited in the drop box, and returned directly to city hall. By November 3rd, it’s likely that 75% of Middleton’s eligible voters will have already cast a ballot. In other words, there is likely to be no crowds or long waiting lines on Election Day.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne gives Robin Vos sham impeachment panel a scathing review: Powerless!

HeadlineCapital Times, 10/27/2023
The group of three justices — David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Jon Wilcox — ultimately “had no power,” Ozanne wrote, and their findings “carry no force or weight of law.” 
“It appears it was created to serve a political purpose by providing a veneer of judicial impartiality to what is or would be a partisan political decision: the potential impeachment of Justice Janet Protasiewicz,” he said. 
“While Speaker Vos may have wished to portray the panel as a governmental body, no rule created the panel, the panel members were not bound to engage in any collective decision-making (outside of selecting a place and time for lunch), the panel members were not bound to agree to collective action (providing a single opinion or decision to Speaker Vos), and the panel members decisions carried no weight of law.”  emphasis added]

Foxconned in Ohio: Lordstown Endurance electric truck is a must to avoid

Screenshot from 2020 video by Retiring Guy
Headline:  MSN, 10/27/2023
2023 MSRP: $52,500 
Don’t let the low price tag fool you. While the upfront cost might be attractive to your wallet, there is a staggering number of reports about Lordstown Endurance’s low real-world range of MPGe (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent). “This particular truck, though being affordable, is quite low for a range of 174 miles,” said Dubois. 
Plus, some of the untested tech features have been called into scrutiny, among several other features it offers. 
“Official EPA stats show a meager 174-mile range for this sizable crew cab,” said Steven May, owner at Number Plates 4 You. “That’s barely above a standard Nissan Leaf and well below the Ford F-150 Lightning’s reach. Even more, it sits at the bottom of the 2023 EV list with a mere 48 MPGe combined.”

Other Foxconn and Foxconn/Lordstown posts:








GET ME REWRITE: Yes, Foxconn's $100 milion pledge to UW-Madison was nothing more than a cynical election ploy by Scott Walker.  (8/11)
The mysteries of Foxconn (season 2).  (5/12)
The collapse of Donald Trump's '8th Wonder of the World'.  (4/20)

GET ME REWRITE: Two gullible guys from Racine County still believe anything Foxconn tells them.  (10/23)

Keeping tabs on Foxconn Place in

Mike Johnson weighs in on homosexual relationships

Text:  NBC News, 10/26/2023

Friday, October 27, 2023

Little progress made on housing development on 500 block of West Washington in Madison WI

No demolition yet.

Photos by Retiring Guy

But a few windows boarded up on two of the properties.

Renderings:  Madison Plan Commission

Related post:

Other West Washington developments:
Avenir Apartments, 504-516 West Washington (green arrows)
The Triangle, West Washington and Regent (red arrows)
West Washington Place, 624 West Washington (purple arrows)

GET ME REWRITE: Menomonee Falls school superintendent David Muñoz offers no specifics as to why books were removed from high school library

HeadlineWaukesha Freeman, 10/27/2023

Here's his latest gibberish:
"To be clear, Board Policy and Procedure 365 sets a standard for content in the materials available in our School District’s libraries. This policy and procedure sets guidelines based on age/grade appropriateness with specific focus on limiting or excluding materials with sexual content and profanity [bold emphasis added]
"Again, these guidelines were in the previous versions of the policy and procedure and should have been adhered to prior to the revisions made in April of 2023. Upon my arrival, and with this knowledge, after meeting with two of my trusted administrators, I directed them to bring the District into compliance with Policy and Procedure 365. The 33 books removed are still available at several sources outside of the public school if parents individually choose to have them available for their own children. 
"My hope is that regardless of your position on this subject, looking at this from other perspectives will help lead to better understanding," Muñoz said in his statement.

Muñoz neglects to specify what section of this policy was violated.

One of the 'major goals' of school library media centers is to provide for personal interests, professional, educational, and recreational reading while promoting an appreciation of literature.  [bold emphasis added]

When it comes to books and reading, this goal casts a wide net.

One of the criteria for selecting library materials ties in directly in line with the above goal:  support and enrich the curriculum and/or students’ personal interests and learning.  [bold emphasis added]

As for a specific focus on sexual content and profanity, the current policy as published on the school district website provide no guidelines.

Moreover, the word 'sex'  or 'sexual' does not appear in the policy 365.

And the word 'profanity' does not appear in policy 365.

So which of the 11 materials selection criteria in the current policy is out of compliance?

David, it doesn't matter what was in the previous policy.  What matters is the language in the current policy approved by the board of education on April 11, 2023.

Something fishy is going on in Menomonee Falls.

Related post:

That was then, this is now: Jefferson Elementary School, Warren Pennsylvania

Retiring Guy attended Jefferson from September 1957 to June 1962 -- 2nd through 6th grades.  During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the schoolyard served as a wiffle ball field for the neighborhood kids.  And there were a lot of us living on this block back then.

In the early 2000s, the Warren County School District consolidated the grade school in the City of Warren, opening an elementary center on the high school hill.  Some of the former schools were repurposed, others demolished to make way for new construction.  Jefferson, on the other hand, has been in a state of messy rehabilitation for the past 10 years.
Photos by Retiring Guy

Related posts:
Post office.  (9/9/2013)

This week in the cereal aisle: Lucky Charms gets a limited edition Halloween makeover

Photo by Retiring Guy

Haunted marshmallows? They look like (from left to right) French toast with a cinnamon swirl, Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants, a walrus’ snout, and the logo of the superhero Shazam.

Very unappetizing, in other words.

Other cereal aisle posts:
Fall flavors.  (10/25)
Movietime!  (7/24)

General MIlls limited edition dessert fest.  (11/30)
Kellogg's Family Size Cosmic Brownies.  (11/6)
Hocus Pocus 2.  (10/17)
General Mills Limited Edition L.O.L. Surprise Birthday Cake Cereal.  (10/12)And after a few minutes in milk, it looks like a bowl of barf.  (7/15)
Retiring Guy arrives late to Cheerios 80th birthday party.  (7/13)
Wheaties 100 Years of Champions limited edition collector series.  (4/27)

Limited Edition Kellogg's Frosted Flakes Apple Jacks Mashup,  (10/3)

This box wants to party with you.  (6/4)
Blueberry Cheerios.  (5/16)
Snap, crackle and redpop.  (2/26)
Kellogg's Honey Oat Frosted Flakes.  (2/19)
Kellogg's All Bran fights for shelf space.  (1/22)
Cheerios adds to its long list of flavors. (12/31)
General Mills offers two flavors of Dippin' Dots.  (11/28)
Kellogg's vanilla latte Frosted Mini-Wheats.  (10/1)
Nutter Butter.  (6/24)
Still a little bit of shelf space provided for boxes of Big Biscuit Shredded Wheat.  (4/3)
Chocolate Frosted Flakes.  (3/30)
It's just peachy, part 2 (with probiotics).  (3/26)
It's just peachy (Cheerios).  (3/25)
Snap, Crackle and Pop shrug off competition from Fancy Friends Cereal Treats.  (2/23)
Lucky Charms wants you to have a daily dose of yellow 5 and blue 1.  (3/9)
The takeover of Mom.  (3/1)
Hoopla over rainbow marshmallows added to Lucky Charms.  (2/22)
Kellogg's Donut Shop in your choice of flavors.  (2/14)
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the shredded wheat go down.  (2/6)
General Mills offers yet another flavor of Cheerios -- chocolate and peanut butter.  (1/30)
I suspect this special edition Cocoa Puffs isn't exactly flying off the shelves.  (1/16)
What's really going on with this General Mills blend.  (1/10)
Giant size bargains to kick off the new year.  (1/3)

Satisfy your craving for chocolate.  (12/22)
Pumpkin Spice runs amok.  (11/7)
Danger lurks.  (11/2)
Dan G. wets himself over Special K Blueberry with Lemon Clusters.  (9/20)
Limited Edition Mocha Crunch.  (7/16)
Kellogg's Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows.  (2/1)
A marriage between General Mills and Girls Scouts of America.  (1/19)

Tiny Toast.  (6/21)

Meet the members of the Wyoming Freedom Caucus

That would be a freedom from intelligence.
HeadlineCowboy State Daily, 10/27/2023
Gordon was at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics in Massachusetts on Monday promoting the Decarbonizing the West initiative he established in his role as chairman of the Western Governors’ Association. 
"It is clear that we have a warming climate," Gordon said. "It is clear that carbon dioxide is a major contributor to that challenge. There is an urgency to addressing this issue.” 
His comments drew the attention of the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, which the next day issued a scathing statement saying the governor is “castigating Wyoming’s legacy industries.”

This is the direction the WY Freedom Caucus is taking.

Fox Business, 1/16/2023

At a time when the state is at increased risk of fire, heat, and drought due to climate change.

Covid Chronicles. Chapter 76: This Just In From Manitowoc

Read chapter 75 here
From Retiring Guy's postcard collection

Monday, October 19 , 2020

And now let’s take a side trip to Manitowoc. 

JoAnna’s sister Cindy currently works for Manitowoc County’s Aging and Disabilities Resource Center as coordinator of its Meals on Wheels program. Her territory includes a neighboring county to the north, Kewaunee, which apparently doesn’t have the staffing resources or political wherewithal to support its own program. 

Cindy’s responsibilities includes the supervision of a small number of staff and a large contingent of volunteers — packagers and drivers, for the most part. When the state’s safer-at-home order went into effect in March, it greatly changed the way she managed her operation. Many of her volunteers are older adults, including her 85-year-old Aunt Shirley (who wisely chose not to continue to volunteer), and a significant number who no longer felt comfortable delivering meals. Some became fearful of even leaving their homes. Her partner Jen, a teacher in the Ashwaubenon School District in suburban Green Bay, helped out during the summer, filling in wherever help was needed. As much as Cindy enjoys this job, the stress occasionally became overwhelming. 

About a month ago, Cindy informed us that one of her volunteers, a packager with whom she regularly works, tested positive. 

“I need to quarantine for 14 days,” she announced to us during a video call. 

She got tested, of course, waiting three days for the results. It came back negative, much to everyone’s relief. 

During this time, JoAnna and Cindy talked on a daily basis. Cindy provided updates on the various household projects she worked on to help pass the time, from the mundane (reorganizing a junk drawer) to more ambitious (painting the dining room). By the second week of her exile, boredom had set in. 

“I can’t wait to get back to work!” she exclaimed. 

I imagine it was quite a struggle for Cindy’s supervisor and other staff to keep the Meals on Wheels program running at its usual level, but I was never within earshot when these conversations took place. 

Less than two weeks back on the job, Cindy and Jen learned that a friend in their Covid bubble had been exposed to someone — her father, actually — who caught the virus. She immediately got tested herself, early last week, but hasn’t yet received then results. Probably good news, Cindy and Jen assume, as positive cases are quickly turned around. Hope so! (We talked with them earlier this evening. Their friend hasn’t received her test results, and Cindy and Jen exhibited no undue anxiety.) But that wasn’t all she was concerned about. 

“It’s crazy, it’s out of control here,” Cindy groused. “I’m losing drivers left and right. And yet people are still hanging out at the bars.” 

And the numbers prove it. 

From April 5, the day its first case was reported, through August 31, Manitowoc County reported a total of 578 Covid cases, an average of nearly 4 new cases per day. As of September 1, the county reported an additional 1,573 new cases, an increase of 270%. The daily average during this period is 32. 

Kewaunee County shows a similar trajectory. From April 6 through August 31, the county reported 187 new cases, an average of a little more than 1 per day. As of September, it reported an additional 738 new cases, an increase of nearly 400%. The daily average during this period is 15. With a population of 20,434, Kewaunee County currently ranks 5th among the state’s 72 counties in having the highest Covid positive test rate per 100,000 people – 4248, or more than 4 out of every 100 residents. By comparison, Dane County’s rate is 2369. 

And there’s no indication that things will get better anytime soon. Meanwhile, the Ashwaubenon school district went virtual in late September as a result of Brown County’s skyrocketing Covid numbers. The school board, however, recently voted to reopen school on Monday, November 2. I suspect the political affiliation of this group’s members lean to the red side. Just another example of the dithering and chaos at the local level due to a lack of any leadership at the federal level. Our president keeps insisting that the virus will go away, just disappear. Very troubling. What makes it even more disturbing is that millions of Americans are drinking this Kool-Aid every day.