A candid examination of right-wing policies and the Democrats who play along and the horrid liberal policies designed to assuage the moderates but end up irritating everyone. And other stuff. And now, Authorized and paid for, Soglin for Mayor,Scott Herrick Treasurer. Yeah.
This Saturday's candidate meetup at Netroots Wisconsin 2010 in Madison just got its biggest names: Senator Russ Feingold and candidate for Governor Tom Barrett.
Netroots Wisconsin is a regional version of the big national Netroots Nation face-to-face event. "The conference is a gathering of bloggers, progressive activists, and others interested in furthering progressive causes using the Internet and New Media."
Senator Feingold and Mayor Barrett will be joined by First District congressional candidate John Heckenlively, AG hopeful Scott Hassett, and Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who is not officially a candidate for re-election (yet). Cieslewicz will probably make the worst Cheddarsphere joke.
Netroots Wisconsin's whole day's schedule is here. You can still sign up in advance (and get the lunch) here. You can show up at the door for the same price, but lunch is unlikely to still be included. it's worth it either way.
I'm chairing a roundtable verbosely titled: "Fighting Astroturf-Based Telecom Policy and a Corporate Broadband Future." Joined by Mary Cardona, and Frank Paynter, we'll cover state efforts to deregulate telephone service, cable, and funding for access channels, and Net Neutrality. BlahBlahBlah.
The 3:30 - 5:00 pm "Meet the Candidates" session should draw the biggest crowd, and provide a great opportunity for some candidate dialog with the (oxymoron alert) leading luminaries of the Cheddarsphere. Landing Feingold and Barrett is a coup for the Netroots Wisconsin organizers. Probably some paid professional journalists will attend, possibly creating some of that official "news" as a result.
Ex-Alder Brenda Konkel is a glutton for punishment. She attends, and often blogs (at This Side of Town/Forward Lookout), more local government meetings than are healthy for anyone. She's stepped up her game recently and become a multi-media mogul, with regular shows on WORT radio and WYOU public access cable TV. The public interest and the public's awareness both benefit from Brenda's obsessive participation in local affairs.
Recently she's been on a mission to create an attendance score for Madison City alders. The result, a work in progress that Brenda admits is based on flawed and incomplete information, is actually kind of reassuring. In a post titled: "Is Your Alder Doing Their Job?" Brenda provides a preliminary list of Madison alders and their ratio of committee meetings attended:
33% Thuy Pham-Remmele 1/3
38% Brian Solomon 5/13
47% Jed Sanborn 17/36
66% Michael Schumacher 33/50
68% Bridget Maniaci 13/19
72% Joe Claussius 36/50
75% Lauren Cnare 25/33
81% Julia Kerr 13/16
81% Larry Palm 13/16
87% Mike Verveer 36/41
87% Satya Rhodes-Conway 34/39
87% Judy Compton 21/24
88% Mark Clear 38/43
88% Paul Skidmore 23/26
92% Tim Bruer 38/41
95% Chris Schmidt 23/24
96% Shiva Bidar Sielaff 24/25
96% Marsha Rummel 24/25
100% Steve King 7/7
100% Bryon Eagon 26/26
As a career professor, I can't help seeing the numbers in terms of semester grade averages. It's a pretty typical grade distribution for a mid-level undergraduate class. I see 5 alders with clear A+ grades, 6 with A's or very high B+ grades, 2 with B's, 2 got C's, 2 just managed D's, and 3 clearly flunked with F's. So out of a class of 20, there's three students alders (Pham-Remmele, Solomon, and Sanborn) that either don't belong there at all and have been totally missing in action. Two others (Schumacher and Maniaci) need to party far less and study more, or find a less demanding major.
Too bad this is real important city business and the five slackers are wasting taxpayer dollars, not their own tuition. But on the positive side, 75% of the alders are attending over 70% of their meetings, and 65% are attending over 80%.
Brenda's not done factoring in as many meetings as possible, so there's possible improvements before the grades become final. All whining for extra credit should be directed to Ms. Konkel.
I received a note from a reader about a post picked up by right wing bloggers claiming that proposed Cap and Trade legislation would require the owner of a home to get a federal license before they could sell their home.
...Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Cap and Trade Act, you won’t be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act. H.R. 2454, the “Cap & Trade” bill passed by the House of Representatives, if also passed by the Senate, will be the largest tax increase any of us has ever experienced..
The author of this fraudulent right wing screed, knowing the gullibility of these readers goes so far as to say:
...we encourage you to read the provisons of the Cap and Trade Bill that has passed the House of representatives and being considered by the Senate...
99.99% of the perpetually susceptible will not bother to read the bill.
Think about it. If there was a provision as described in any piece of legislation,we would have been flooded with advertisements, news release and the like from everyone starting with the real estate industry, the banks and the title insurance companies.
In order to to deprive all of these right wing wing nuts from driving up their readership, I am not providing a link but am providing a copy for the curious:
We encourage you to read the provisions of the Cap and Trade Bill that has passed the House of Representatives and being considered by the Senate. We are ready to join the next march on Washington!
This Congress and whoever on their staffs that write this junk are truly out to destroy the middle class of the USA….
A License Required for your house
Thinking about selling your house – A look at H.R. 2454 (Cap and trade bill) This is unbelievable!
Only the beginning from this administration! Home owners take note & tell your friends and relatives who are home owners!
Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Cap and Trade Act, you won’t be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act. H.R. 2454, the “Cap & Trade” bill passed by the House of Representatives, if also passed by the Senate, will be the largest tax increase any of us has ever experienced.
The Congressional Budget Office (supposedly non-partisan) estimates that in just a few years the average cost to every family of four will be $6,800 per year. No one is excluded.
However, once the lower classes feel the pinch in their wallets, you can be sure these voters get a tax refund (even if they pay no taxes at all) to offset this new cost. Thus, you Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class America will have to pay even more since additional tax dollars will be needed to bail out everyone else.
But wait. This awful bill (that no one in Congress has actually read) has many more surprises in it. Probably the worst one is this:
A year from now you won’t be able to sell your house. Yes, you read that right.
The caveat is (there always is a caveat) that if you have enough money to make required major upgrades to your home, then you can sell it. But, if not, then forget it. Even pre-fabricated homes (”mobile homes”) are included.
In effect, this bill prevents you from selling your home without the permission of the EPA administrator.
To get this permission, you will have to have the energy efficiency of your home measured.
Then the government will tell you what your new energy efficiency requirement is and you will be forced to make modifications to your home under the retrofit provisions of this Act to comply with the new energy and water efficiency requirements.
Then you will have to get your home measured again and get a license (called a “label” in the Act) that must be posted on your property to show what your efficiency rating is; sort of like the Energy Star efficiency rating label on your refrigerator or air conditioner.
If you don’t get a high enough rating, you can’t sell. And, the EPA administrator is authorized to raise the standards every year, even above the automatic energy efficiency increases built into the Act.
The EPA administrator, appointed by the President, will run the Cap & Trade program (AKA the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009″) and is authorized to make any future changes to the regulations and standards he alone determines to be in the government’s best interest. Requirements are set low initially so the bill will pass Congress; then the Administrator can set much tougher new standards every year.
The Act itself contains annual required increases in energy efficiency for private and commercial residences and buildings.
However, the EPA administrator can set higher standards at any time.
Building Retrofit Program mandates a national retrofit program to increase the energy efficiency of all existing homes across America .
Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Act, you won’t be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act.
You had better sell soon, because the standards will be raised each year and will be really hard (i.e., ex$pen$ive) to meet in a few years. Oh, goody! The Act allows the government to give you a grant of several thousand dollars to comply with the retrofit program requirements if you meet certain energy efficiency levels. But, wait, the State can set additional requirements on who qualifies to receive the grants.
You should expect requirements such as “can’t have an income of more than $50K per year”, “home selling price can’t be more than $125K”, or anything else to target the upper middle class (and that’s YOU) and prevent them from qualifying for the grants. Most of us won’t get a dime and will have to pay the entire cost of the retrofit out of our own pockets. More transfer of wealth, more “change you can believe in.”
Sect. 204: Building Energy Performance Labeling Program establishes a labeling program that for each individual residence will identify the achieved energy efficiency performance for “at least 90 percent of the residential market within 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.”
This means that within 5 years 90% of all residential homes in the U.S. must be measured and labeled. The EPA administrator will get $50M each year to enforce the labeling program. The Secretary of the Department of Energy will get an additional $20M each year to help enforce the labeling program. Some of this money will, of course, be spent on coming up with tougher standards each year.
Oh, the label will be like a license for your car. You will be required to post the label in a conspicuous location in your home and will not be allowed to sell your home without having this label.
And, just like your car license, you will probably be required to get a new label every so often – maybe every year.
But, the government estimates the cost of measuring the energy efficiency of your home should only cost about $200 each time.
Remember what they said about the auto smog inspections when they first started: that in California it would only cost $15. That was when the program started. Now the cost is about $50 for the inspection and certificate; a 333% increase. Expect the same from the home labeling program.
Sect. 304: Greater Energy Efficiency in Building Codes establishes new energy efficiency guidelines for the National Building Code and mandates at 304(d), Application of National Code to State and Local Jurisdictions, that 1 year after enactment of this Act, all state and local jurisdictions must adopt the National Building Code energy efficiency provisions or must obtain a certification from the federal government that their state and/or local codes have been brought into full compliance with the National Building Code energy efficiency standards.
Here is the response of one person who knows about this:
The bill would create a national building code with a goal of improving energy efficiency for *new* construction. States would have a year to bring their codes in compliance with the federal code….
It was mid summer, I think 1969. A sign went up in front of the Mifflin Street Co-op announcing that Bob Dylan was coming on Saturday. He would play in the empty lot, gloriously renamed People's Park...The crowd faded under the hot Madison afternoon sun.
...I spend a lot of time in libraries doing research and sometimes I wander off task, diverted by some tidbit that grabs my attention...That's when I remembered Bob Dylan and Mifflin Street. Short and sweet, and lots of names that may draw visitors to my blog. Perfect. So without further blather, here's The Capital Times story about Bob Dylan's non-appearance, written by reporter Jim Hougan:
Click on picture to enlarge.
Now all we need is the elusive photograph of the sign announcing Dylan's arrival.
I am holding out and not signing up for Twitter. Enough is enough.
I started onto this entire Internet adventure in the early 1990's when I bought my first PC and signed up for CompuServe. CompuServe was invaluable when traveling in the early 1990's, since it had the best dial-up network throughout the country. Far superior to AOL, which I never joined.
I moved on to various applications such as Yahoo, which I still launch on startup, Netscape, and Google- my favorite search engine.
I migrated from Microsoft Explorer to Firefox.
I have five yahoo emails, one hotmail, but no gmail. I have this blog, and my own domain and email for Soglin Consulting.
When social networking caught on I first used CompuServe's system and then looked at Yahoo's Profile and IM.
Enough was enough when it came to social networking.
While I ignored MySpace, I did explore youtube when my daughters' acting was recorded and posted. I was late to join Facebook and having just gotten the hang of it, joined Linkedin last week, after pestering from numerous friends.
In reviewing my evolution, I love Facebook for bringing me in touch with friends I had not spoken with in over forty years, and for knowing what they are doing now. I do appreciate the posts about the vacations, the pictures of the children and grandchildren, and the social, cultural, and political commentary.
The blog, the business website, and the one week of Linkdin did not bring a single business opportunity.
Jon wrote: "Most people think Internet news sources have been the cause, but that's not true. ... subscriptions was not a major profit center for newspapers...The real cause of the newspaper industry's demise is craiglist. Yes, craigslist. Turns out the most significant source of profit for newspapers was the classifieds." I firmly agree.
Chuck posted: "Trying to shore up newspapers in the wake of the Internet seems a bit like trying to rescue Budweiser in the wake of the microbrew revolution. Why? There are better things out there in every category, and you don't even have to look very hard to find them." I firmly disagree.
anonymous: "The Wisconsin State Journal has a right-wing editorial page. Disagree.
Bob Keith: "The old newspaper culture just seemed deaf to the idea their world was under rapid assault. " Yes and no. The newspapers are no worse than other industries but they have more skin in the game. And some responded better than others.
Then George Hesselberg, long-time friend and admired columnist, said:
Parts of this are inaccurate, mean, vengeful and just cranky. Happy Holidays. Your only beef is with the edit page - gee, now there's news - so you advocate closing the whole thing because of it...The more media, the better off the community.
I did have a beef with the editorial page, particularly for the hypocrisy I saw in their financial models, which did not speak kindly of the public sector or of the leveraged buyout which contributed to the financial mess in which Lee Enterprises is now immersed.
I agree, the more media the better. In fact at this juncture I want to bring in Bill Lueders' excellent article in this week's Isthmus, Will the Capital Times buy out Lee Enterprises? I strongly recommend reading it to get the best understanding of the issues. For example:
How valid are such musings? Watchdog tried to find out. But Capital Times publisher Clayton Frink refuses to discuss his paper with Isthmus, and the company's patriarch, the winsome philanthropist Jack Lussier, hung up on a polite inquiry after offering this unenlightening explanation for his reticence: "I've got my reasons."
The Lueders article is important for another reason. It is more than a blog post; it is news . Those of us who blog are not reporters or journalists in the true sense of the word. Occasionally I do research and even interview people for what I post. Normally I share views and opinions.
For reasons that range from recession to the rise of the Internet to the changing reading habits of Americans, general-circulation newspapers are caught in a survival crisis like none since the Depression...
...Most newspapers have reacted by cutting news space, newsroom staffs or both. That may be the only short-term option, particularly for publically traded newspapers worried about debt loads and the next quarterly report, but the long-term strategy should be the opposite: Deliver high-quality news and information, regardless of the medium.
That is why I am so down on Lee Enterprises. In an effort to be profitable for shareholders, they, like Zell with the Chicago Tribune, further jeopardized their core mission, bringing people news.
We do not have enough of that. The Internet delivers news provided by the real journalists. Those journalists are supported by newspapers, not the Internet. Newspapers conduct the investigations; they do the reporting.
They tell us about arms deals, contaminated wells, Senate seats for sale, and burglaries.
With one of the greatest blogging stories sitting right under their collective noses, Wisconsin bloggers sat on their collective behinds and allowed the mainstream media, the CBS Evening news with Katie Couric, to scoop them on the biggest stories of the departing year, the Shawano -SIST story of international intrigue:
Alleged Murder-For-Hire Rattles Small Town:Placid Midwest Town Turned Upside Down By Alleged Hit List And Secretive Group
All a reaction to news of an alleged hit list and claims by a so-called hit man, now telling his story for the first time.
"And I said, 'you want me to kill 60 people? You want me to kill the whole town of Shawano?" said Canadian businessman Bob Cameron.
Keteyian asked: "They were hiring you as a hit man?"
"Yes, they were," Cameron said.
"You're talking about the mayor, the city administrator, the city treasurer, the city attorney, the police chief, judges, investigators, fire commissioners," Keteyian asked.
"Uh huh," Cameron assented
Cameron says in late October he received $175,000 in wire transfers from people known to be part of a secretive group long run out of a house near Shawano called SIST.
Its is a story that could never be fabricated. The cast of characters are from the next great movie, a combined effort of the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino.
The mayor (Kathy Bates) tops the list of sixty potential local victims. The Canadian hitman (Martin Short) was trying to do no more than collect some unpaid bills from the local cult when asked to wipe out half the town. The cult leader (Samuel L. Jackson in a reprise of his role of Jules in Pulp Fiction) is responsible for the investment of over $15 million in local real estate.
The real estate holdings fail and the county treasurer (Johnny Depp) is now foreclosing. The sheriff (Ben Stiller) and his deputy (Owen Wilson) manage to keep the town on edge as they tail two SIST members (Mike -Wayne-Meyers and Dana -Garth- Carvey), who prowl the city streets with a camcorder filming anyone they suspect is in cahoots with the town leaders.
SIST spokesman and attorney (JohnnyDepp or should that be Robert Downey Jr.?) manages to bring some semblance of reality to the entire story claiming this was all a misunderstanding.
Sanity is maintained. The FBI agent (Brad Pitt) brings calm and peace to Shawano.(Pronounced Shawn-o as in Shauno of the Dead).
All this going on in plain view. Badger bloggers are writing about Republican committee assignments in the legislature, the performing arts, and Lake Michigan.