Thursday, November 10, 2016

Short Break

I decided to take a short break from this blog to recharge my batteries. Will resume next January. Good luck to all and keep-up the good fight.


Friday, November 4, 2016

A Few Random Thoughts on the Election

We only have four days left before November 8. Our final day of voting comes none too soon. This election seems like it has gone on forever. The Iowa caucus was held on February 1, 2016. Since that time, elections have dominated the news to the exclusion of nearly all else.

We expected a filthy campaign from Trump, and the Republican candidate has exceeded all of our expectations. However, the unhinged GOP leader has also influenced down-ballot candidates with his juvenile name-calling. Our own Ron Johnson has called his opponent "a complete phony". The desperate Johnson has even called Feingold "a swamp creature", promising to "drain the swamp". This promise to destroy protected wetlands is just another example of Johnson's disdain for the environment.

Like most W.O.W. voters, Germantown residents have few choices beyond the top of the ballot. Sure, there are candidates worth voting for in the Presidential, Senate, and 5th District US House races (thank you Mr. Penebaker !) However, there is only one (of course, Republican) candidate for State Senate (Alberta Darling), State Assembly (Knodl), County DA, County Clerk, County Treasurer, and County Registrar of Deeds.

I simply cannot bring myself to vote for any of these local Trump-Party candidates. I know that write-ins no longer count unless registered with the state. However, I am sure that Jesus H. Christ will make a good State Senator. My candidate for Assembly will be Charlemagne Tha God (love that name!). For the other offices, I will write-in Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Hardy, and cartoon hyena, Hardy Har Har.

Speaking of write-ins, I served as for several years as an election inspector. One late evening, I was working with the Chief Inspector to record the write-in votes. The Chief started cussing up a storm about all these write-ins and how they made a problem for election workers. At that point, I came to one write-in and sheepishly said, "You probably don't want to see this one !" To my surprise, one of my friends had written-in my name for State Assembly!.

Like so many Assembly districts, Germantown's 24th was gerrymandered to give about a 45% Democratic-55% Republican advantage. This has led to the criminal situation of having only 36 Democratic Representatives and 63 Republican ones, despite having more people voting for Democratic candidates in 2012 than Republicans. Unlike the Republican's mythical voter fraud, this is actual election fraud, committed by our GOP legislators and Governor.

One can hardly say that we have no choice for President this year. In addition to Hillary and Sniffy McGropper, we have Libertarian Gary (what is Aleppo?) Johnson and Green Party anti-vaxxer Jill Stein. There are three other candidates, too. The theocratic Constitution Party is again on our ballot, pushing for a Bible-based government. So is the revolutionary socialist Workers World Party. The Delta Party, headed by "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente is on the ballot. This little-known party is for election reform and against an interventionist foreign policy. (Wouldn't it be cool to have a President named Rocky?)

Donald Trump is the most unqualified, psychologically unfit, and intellectually deficient presidential candidate in my lifetime. His defense of and support by a Russian dictator and the KKK alone should rule him out as America's leader. His divisive rhetoric, belief in conspiracy theories, and explosive temper should alarm all voters. After the election, Trump faces trials for fraud and child rape. Hillary used the wrong server for her e-mails.

None of my Republican friends seem to like Donald Trump. However, many are still going to vote for this dangerous man. The anti-Hillary propaganda has been so consistent and shrill that many plan to vote for the worst candidate in my lifetime instead of one of the smartest and best-prepared. The Stockholm syndrome that has turned the GOP into the Party of Trump is the most bizarre and troubling political phenomenon of our time.

Each and every state GOP politician has taken a stand on Trump. That decision will follow them around the rest of their political lives. Scott Walker has come to accept Trump and actively campaigns for him. Ron Johnson embraces Trump and links himself to Trump as "Ron and Don". The weasel Paul Ryan can't bring himself to say Trump's name, but supports "the candidate of my party". Sensenbrenner loves Trump, claiming that "he won fair and square".

The increasingly senile State Sen. Alberta Darling has gone full-on for Trump, heading-up the state Women for Trump organization. In an interview she said, "When you listen to the policy discussions that Trump has, he is on point with what women want." According to Darling, women must want indiscriminate use of nuclear weapons, reneging on our national debt, and abandonment of our NATO allies-all policies that Trump has advocated.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Senator Sunspot

There are many reasons to deny my above-pictured BFF, Ron Johnson, a second term as Wisconsin Senator. For example, he refuses to do his Constitutional duty to keep the Supreme Court functioning. He sent a treasonous letter to the leaders of Iran, advising them to ignore the current US President. He voted to allow domestic terrorists to continue to buy assault rifles. He believes that your Social Security is some kind of criminal "Ponzi scheme".

However, of all of the reasons to fire Ron Johnson on November 8, I personally believe that the most important is his refusal to do anything about global warming. In fact, Johnson frequently denies that human-caused global warming is even happening. The first step in solving a problem is to acknowledge its existence.

As a retired scientist, I find Johnson's utter disregard for science research and the scientific community deeply disturbing. Our political leaders should base policy on facts, rather than on the directives of their deep-pocketed political donors.

Johnson has fought action on global warming since the beginning of his political career. During a 2010 Senate campaign interview, he said, "I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate is proven, by any stretch of the imagination. Its far more likely that its just sunspot activity..." This statement earned him the early derision of the country and the nickname "Senator Sunspot".

Since that time, Johnson has wasted no opportunity to embarrass Wisconsin by his wrong assertions on global warming. During 2014 Senate hearings on the XL-pipeline, Johnson tried to lecture Columbia climate scientist, James Hansen, on the "facts", insisting that "The science (of global warming) is far from settled."

And Johnson's daffy ideas on global warming continue to this day. In an August 3 talk-radio interview, he was asked about regulations to limit carbon dioxide. Our senator went full-blown tin foil hat, saying "For some reason, liberals and progressives, socialists and communists, want to control everything. They want to control your life... There is an arrogance of power there, they're utopians. They think they can create heaven on earth. And where its failed in the past, those people like Stalin and Chavez and the Castros, the nut-cases in North Korea..."

Somehow, the unhinged Johnson equates limits on greenhouse gasses with dictatorships in Stalinist Russia and North Korea. Is this the guy we want representing us in the Senate?

Just last week, Johnson announced a different path, in which he simply wants to let global warming happen, damn the planet. In a radio interview, he said, “Climate has already changed, always will. I’m just not an alarmist. We will adapt. How many people are moving up toward the Antarctica, or the Arctic? Most people move down to Texas or Florida, where it’s a little bit warmer.” In a JS interview, he went further, saying "Mankind has flourished in warmer temperatures." Sounds like ol' RoJo would like to create hell on earth.

Johnson has certainly been putting his votes where his mouth is. Our Tea-Party Senator has received a meager 4% (out of 100%) lifetime voting score from the League of Conservation Voters. His performance led to a strong 2016 endorsement of his opponent, Russ Feingold, by the same pro-environment group.

In the Senate, Johnson has fought to keep taxpayer subsidies funneling cash to coal, oil, and gas producers. He co-sponsored resolutions condemning EPA rules to limit CO2 emissions from power plants. He signed onto a letter to the Obama administration to protest those rules.

During a debate over the XL-pipeline, the Senate voted on an amendment stating that "human activity is a significant contributor to climate change". Of course, RoJo voted nay, along with 48 of his Republican colleagues. Again, you can't remedy a problem that you do not believe exists. 

Ron Johnson has unwaveringly supported Donald Trump, tying himself to the Orange Groper as "Don and Ron". Trump is certainly an environmental soulmate of Johnson. Trump believes that global warming was an invention of the Chinese, aimed at making the US less competitive. Trump would immediately abrogate the Paris Climate Agreement. He would drastically cut the EPA. The country certainly cannot afford a combined Johnson-Trump assault on the environment.

Ron Johnson clearly does not understand global warming and the science behind it. If he was only expressing his bizarre opinions on the radio, in a bar, or at family gatherings, he would be harmless. Unfortunately, Johnson has real power in the US Senate. He uses that power to obstruct and impede others who are trying to make constructive environmental change. We must end this. Johnson must be sent packing on November 8.

Paul C. Adair

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jim Sensenbrenner Owns Trump

In this presidential election, we have a choice between one of the most qualified candidates who ever ran for the office, and the absolutely most frightening. Republicans officials are in a quandary. They must choose between a President who might make a few decisions with which they disagree and one who represents an existential threat to our country. Unfortunately, many in the GOP are making the wrong decision- one that will haunt them for the rest of their political lives.

Congressman-for-life, Jim Sensenbrenner is one of those people. At a time when many in his party are rejecting their dangerous nominee, Sensenbrenner is doubling down on his support for Sniffy McGrabber. However, Jim never makes a case for why GOPers should vote for Donald Trump, but on why they should vote against Hillary Clinton. In fact, when talking about the election, Sensenbrenner rarely even mentions the name of his own party's candidate.

In an October 5 interview on the hate radio show of Limbaugh-wanna-be Jay Weber, Sensenbrenner tried to make his case to Wisconsin Republican voters. "There are a lot a people who don't particularly like Trump, but they sure don't like Hillary. If you don't like Hillary, you've gotta turn-out and you've gotta vote and you've gotta vote for Trump."

So Sensenbrenner supports the flimflam artist who set-up a phony school to steal money from the gullible. He supports the unscrupulous thief who stiffs small businesses and workers. He supports the crook who uses his sham charity like a personal bank account. He supports the sexual predator, bigot, and misogynist who preaches a doctrine of division and hate. He supports the dictator-in-waiting who would jail political opponents, ignore the Constitution, and restrict the press. He supports the traitor who idolizes, defends, and is aided by former-KGB agent Vladimir Putin.

Sensenbrenner came roaring to the Orange Con-man's defense in a October 7 column in the Journal-Sentinel. Earlier, the paper opined that Trump is not qualified to be President. Rather than defending Trump, Sensenbrenner could only attack his opponent. Jim brought-up all of the delusional so-called "scandals" from the far-right bubble. Of course, he brought-up Benghazi. He brought-up the Clinton Foundation. He brought-up the silly e-mails. But not a single word extolling the virtues of his man, Donald Trump.

Even on the day after the infamous "grab p***y" tape, Sensenbrenner was supporting the sexual predator that heads his party. Last Saturday, Sensenbrenner spoke at the GOP Frightfest in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. During his seven minute speech, ol' Jim could not bring himself to utter Trump's name a single time. He tried to make the election all about enacting the crazy Tea-Party agenda of Paul Ryan. He tried to make it about imposing far-right judges on America, saying "President Hillary Clinton will veto this (Ryan's Ayn Randian) plan. That is why we can't have President Hillary Clinton sitting in the White House. This election is not about individuals. It is about issues. It is about ideas. It is about the direction this country will take."

Sorry, Jim. This election is very much about individuals. It is about the person who will be Commander-in-Chief of America's military. It is about the person in charge of our nuclear arsenal. You want to entrust that responsibility to Donald J. Trump.

In a Monday statement, Sensenbrenner again tried to convince people to vote for Trump. Again he said nothing supporting the Donald, but merely criticized Hillary, saying "Now is not the time to make perfect the enemy of the good." He claimed that a Clinton presidency "would have a devastating and far-reaching impact on the future of our country." and that "Hillary Clinton is a bet America cannot afford to make."

Jim Sensenbrenner could not care less whether an insane and horrible person becomes our nation's leader. To him, it is all about entrenching an extreme Supreme Court that will continue to allow the wholesale purchase of politicians. It is about having a President that will rubber-stamp taking heath-care away from twenty million Americans. It is about having an unfettered path to privatizing Social Security and turning Medicare into a discount coupon scheme. It is about sending the country even deeper into debt by giving deep tax-cuts to the rich.

All in the name of gross partisan politics, Senenbrenner fully supports Donald Trump. With his enthusiastic and self-serving Trump support, Jim Sensenbrenner owns all that is Trump. He owns all of the hate, division, and fear stoked by Trump. He owns every outrageous racist, xenophobic, and sexist comment uttered by Trump. He owns every one of Trump's wacky conspiracy theories. He owns all of Trump's fascist tendencies. He owns it all. 

Paul C. Adair

Friday, October 7, 2016

These Are a Few of My Favorite Poll-Agglomerators

During the 2012 elections, my liberal aunt kept worrying. She thought that Romney was likely to win the presidential race. Several times, we had to talk her down from the ledge. We knew that Obama had this. Nate Silver told us so.

Political geeks of all stripes are frequent visitors to websites predicting the national political races. At least 13 well-known groups are making predictions on the presidential and Senate races. Many of these are associated with news media. For example, ABC, Associated Press, NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post all make predictions. Based on individual state polls, each predicts how many of the 270 electoral votes required to win that each candidate can count on. Here are the most recent calls from this morning (October 7, 2016):

Outlet           Hillary EV's           Trump EV's           Toss-up EV           % Likelihood of Hillary Win
ABC                272                         197                         69                                    --- 

AP                  272                          197                         69                                    ---
NBC                272                         174                         92                                    ---
CNN                271                         197                           70                                     ---
Wash Post      253                          197                         88                                     ---

There are other, independent pundits who also make prognostications on the races. Sabato's Crystal Ball (U. of Virginia), the Cook Political Report, and the Rothenburg and Gonzales Political Report are three of these groups. All three also predict the Senate, House, and gubernatorial races.

Sabato            316                          215                          7                                    ---
Cook               272                          197                         69                                   ---
R&G               279                          191                         68                                   ---

However, I prefer the groups that use statistical analysis to derive a percent likelihood of a given result. The New York Times, Huffington Post, and the Daily Kos all take this approach. Of the statistical groups, my personal favorites are the Princeton Election Consortium (Sam Wang), and FiveThirtyEight (Nate Silver).

FiveThirtyEight, for example, weights each poll contributing to its overall predictions by how recent the poll was conducted, historical ideological skew, and historical accuracy. Both FiveThirtyEight and Princeton offer a dazzling array of great graphs and charts. Using differing assumptions, both give several types of percent likelihoods. Best of all, neither tries to weasel-out of prediction by calling any state a toss-up.

Huff Post       263                           180                        95                                    83.5
Daily Kos      308                           230                         ---                                     86
NYT              322                           192                          24                                    82
538                326                           212                         ---                                     79.6
Princeton       323                           215                         ---                                     88

With all of the various and sundry poll-agglomerators, is was only natural that an agglomerator of poll-agglomerators would appear. The site 270 to Win is such an entity. The site gives current results and links for most of the groups mentioned above. It lists averages of all of the sites, covering both the presidential and Senate races.

After the 2012 election, stories abounded on how the election night loss shocked Romney and his staff. We remember the right-wing website that "unskewed" supposedly liberal polls and proclaimed that the Republican candidate would actually win. However, reliable poll-agglomerators like Wang and Silver had been predicting an Obama win for weeks. The Romney campaign should have paid more to the actual numbers than to their misplaced hopes.

There is a wealth of free, on-line election predictions available to the incurable political geek. With that information, there is no reason to be unsure of the state of the races or to be taken by surprise on election night. 

Paul C. Adair

Friday, September 30, 2016

Two Peas in a Political Pod

The first Presidential Debate is over, with the overwhelming ass-whipping of Donald Trump by his smart and well-prepared opponent. Now the country's political geeks anxiously await next Tuesday's Vice Presidential debate.

Like Trump, Mike Pence is no Brainiac. He had a number of very bad moments during last year's furor over Indiana's "OK to discriminate against gays" law. However, Pence was a talk-radio personality in Indiana and his calm media demeanor is much better than Trump's (he called himself Rush Limbaugh on decaf). And unlike Trump, he is taking the debate seriously, actually preparing for it.

As part of his preparation, Pence is going through mock debates. The person that he chose to stand-in as his opponent, Tim Kaine, is none other than his good friend and soul-mate, Scott Walker.

Tim Kaine graduated with a Harvard Law degree. He has deep political experience as a mayor, governor, senator, and DNC Chair. Selecting Walker to play Kaine is simply bizarre. Intellectually, Scott Walker is to Tim Kaine as Beavis is to Sir Issac Newton.

However, there is a deep bromance between Pence and Walker. In Pence's first Wisconsin trip after the GOP Convention, Pence called Walker the "best governor in America". And the admiration is reciprocal. After Pence became Trump's running mate, Walker gushed, "Mike’s just someone that’s very well respected, certainly amongst governors, Democrat (sic) and Republican alike, highly regarded, and he’d be a great vice president."

During Trump's first post-convention trip to our state, Walker was busy washing his hair. But Mike Pence was welcomed with open arms. Buddies Walker and Pence hang together at the quarterly meetings of the Republican Governors' Association. They are both frequent speakers at far-right "God, guns, and gays" meetings such as CPAC and the NRA National Convention.

There are many parallels between the two with respect to sponsors, ideology, and actions. For example, both Pence and Walker endorsed Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in their states' late GOP primaries.

Due to bumbling incompetence and a far-right agenda, both Walker and Pence are unpopular in their own states, with approval ratings hovering around 40 percent.

Both are wholly-owned employees of the Koch brothers. The two were among the four prospective Presidential candidates invited to a secret January 2015 meeting of Koch donors. Koch money and organizations were integral to the election of both governors.

Neither believes in science. In 2001, Pence said on the House Floor, "... I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe." Walker brought shame to our state when he "punted" on the question of evolution during a trip to the UK.

Walker and Pence are using taxpayer money to push their extremist agenda, acting in concert to sue the federal government. Both Indiana and Wisconsin sued to stop workers from getting a raise through new overtime rules. Both sued to stop new pollution rules pertaining to coal-powered power plants.

Pence and Walker both greatly increased taxpayer funding of for-profit and religious schools through voucher give-a-ways. Pence ended Indiana's use of Common Core state standards, while Walker, pushed by his Tea Party base, is headed that way. Both have attempted to grab power from their independently-elected state Superintendents of Public Schools.

Both have signed some of the county's most restrictive anti-choice laws. Both have signed some of the country's most lax gun laws.

Both are against LGBTQ rights. Walker refused to let the state defend our civil union registry. He has fought against gay marriage much of his career. Pence once stated that gay couples "signaled societal collapse". Scott Walker even defended Pence during the Indiana "OK to discriminate against gays" fiasco. He said the widespread anger was the result of "people who are chronically looking for ways to be upset about things instead of really looking at what it is."

Mike Pence and Scott Walker are like two peas in a political pod. They are owned by the same billionaires, follow the same "God, guns, and gays" ideology, and have same delusions of competence. If you like Scott Walker as Governor, you will love Mike Pence as Vice President. 

Paul C. Adair

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scott Walker's Personal, Taxpayer-Funded Law Firm

This week, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that his office was joining in yet another lawsuit against the federal government. This time, the suit attempts to overturn new workplace regulations that increase the salary threshold at which overtime must be paid to workers.

This is certainly not the first time that Schimel has used your state tax money to fight the federal government (which is ironically supported with your federal taxes). In a series of highly partisan actions, Schimel has consistently used state resources to advance the right-wing agenda of Scott Walker and the state GOP.

No friend of the environment, Schimel has entered Wisconsin into a suit fighting federal regulation of power plant carbon emissions. He is fighting federal regulations  that limit ozone-forming pollutants. He has spent state money to limit the ability of the federal government to remedy the pollution of navigable waters.

But Schimel doesn't just limit his actions to the protection of corporate polluters. He has joined in no fewer than three suits attacking the Affordable Care Act. He joined in a suit to allow federally-banned discrimination in schools based on gender identity. He joined a multi-state suit fighting much-needed federal immigration reforms. State suits against the US government almost always require the approval of the governor. Walker has been involved, if not the instigator, in all of these actions. 

Schimel's meddling on the national scene isn't limited to fighting the feds. He has supported Texas in their unconstitutional anti-abortion efforts. He has involved Wisconsin in a federal case to protect manufacturers of leaded paint from liability (sound vaguely familiar?).

Where is all of the money coming from to advance this right-wing-corporatist agenda by the Wisconsin Department of Justice? I thought that Wisconsin was broke! At a time when our university system, public schools, and the DNR have undergone drastic cuts, the DOJ keeps getting more and more money. Walker has given the DOJ a hefty 5.2% increase in funding between 2014 and 2017.

In a 2015-17 budget that pulled $250 million from the state university system, Scott Walker somehow found the money to build a new bureaucracy within the DOJ. The new group, called the Solicitor General's Office, was created and funded at $584,500 per year (2017). This staff of five is tasked with representing "the State of Wisconsin in cases on appeal that are of special importance to the State". In reality, this means defending new extremist-GOP laws of questionable constitutionality.

Much of the new funding for the DOJ is being used to defend Walker's and the GOP legislature's extreme agenda. Schimel's recent actions include defending Wisconsin's anti-choice laws, defending new voting restrictions, and defending our unconscionable redistricting maps. He defends the state GOP's union-busting Right-to-Freeload law that was jammed through the legislature in 2015. He defends the constitutionally-questionable "pee-in-a-cup" law requiring drug tests for those on public assistance.

Not content to have a lock on the Governor's office, the State Supreme Court, and both houses of the Legislature, the GOP has sought to punish any remaining moderate office holders. GOP legislative power grabs to minimize elected moderates like Supreme Court Justice Abrahamson, Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, and State Superintendent Tony Evers have all been defended in court by the partisan hack, Schimel.

Acting like Scott Walker's personal legal representative, Schimel has interjected himself in the John Doe illegal campaign-coordination scandal. In August, he submitted a brief to the US Supreme Court, arguing that Walker's Doe case should not be considered by the highest court.

Wisconsin Attorney General, Brad Schimel has taken gross GOP partisanship to an unprecedented level. Hardworking Wisconsin taxpayers are footing the bill for his spree of lawsuits against the federal government. We are funding his expensive courtroom defense of a swarm of indefensibly-partisan state laws. We need an Attorney General whose first obligation is to the people, not his Governor, legislature, and party. 

Paul C. Adair

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Assembly GOP Plans for Next Session

Last week, State Assembly Republicans unveiled their plans for the next legislative session. They call their 16-page manifesto, "Forward-For Wisconsin's Future". The plan is long on photos of politicians posing with workers, but short on substance. The plan is long on flowery PR language, but short on actual policy proposals.

As in past years, the Assembly Republicans are not running on what they really plan to do. They don't mention their intense efforts to stay in power through voter suppression and gerrymandering. They don't mention their continued campaign to lower the wages of Wisconsin workers through banning prevailing wage, instituting Right-to-Freeload, and ending the right to bargain. They don't talk about their relentless push to demolish Wisconsin's once-clean government.

However, last night I received a folder from an anonymous and totally unreliable source. The folder contains what appears to be a set of future bill proposals from the GOP Assembly majority. I can't vouch for their authenticity, but these bills just might be what we see emerging from Madison next legislative session:

AB-231 Relating to: Establishing Emergency City Manager plan. Take control of Milwaukee. Save money by sourcing municipal water from Milwaukee River instead of Lake Michigan.

AB-232 Relating to: Making English the official state language. Requiring all Wisconsin city names to be changed to their Anglicized versions. Germantown will become "Britishtown", Prairie du Chien will become "Dog Prairie", Fond du Lac will become "Melted Cheese Lake". 

AB-233 Relating to: Replacing out-dated Capitol "Forward" lady statue with nude statue of generous public benefactor Diane Hendricks. Replace Capitol bust of Bob LaFollette with bust of John Menard.

AB-234 Relating to: Changing the name of the WEDC (called Wee-dik) to the Business, Industry, & Governmental Development Corporation.

AB-235 Relating to: Renaming Badgercare "The Socialist Plot to Destroy Wisconsin Jobs -Care"

AB-236 Relating to: Limiting purchases by Food Stamp recipients to gruel, porridge, moldy bread, and dented cans.

AB-237 Relating to: Compensating for cuts to state university system by requiring all academic staff to participate in annual popcorn and cookie sale fundraisers.

AB-238 Relating to: Tripling the budget of Wisconsin Attorney General, Brad Schimel, so that he can continue to bravely defend Wisconsin against abortion, same-sex marriage, labor unions, minority voters, gun laws, immigrants, healthcare, and federal environmental laws.

AB-239 Relating to: Moving Wisconsin citizens from dependence to independence by ejecting anyone with an income higher than 50% of poverty level from Badgercare program. Those removed to be issued a bottle of aspirin, a field surgical kit, and a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

AB-240 Relating to: Banning the sale of British magazine, The Guardian, in Wisconsin (because Walker asked us to).

AB-241 Relating to: In the spirit of the Wisconsin Right-to-Work law, making payment of Wisconsin state taxes optional.

AB-242 Relating to: Providing ideological balance in the UW system. Require teaching climate stability. History instructors must swear that Ronald Reagan is the greatest president. Geology professors must teach Creationism. Chemistry professors must cover phlogiston.

AB-243 Relating to: Allowing the no-bid sale of Devil's Lake State Park, the Bronze Fonz, and the Giant Shirt.

AB-244 Relating to: Calling for a special legislative session for emergency action on the next (to-be-determined) Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce whim.

AB-245 Relating to: Prohibiting former Supreme Court Chief Justice Abrahamson from purchasing crab, lobster, or shellfish with her taxpayer-funded salary.

AB-246 Relating to: Requiring the successful completion of a civics test as a condition for obtaining a high school diploma. The test to include an essay section on: Ronald Reagan-great President or the greatest President ?

AB-247 Relating to: Establishing a “Wisconsin State Bureau of Rosy Economic News” to let everyone know that “It Really Is Working !”

AB-248 Relating to: Making English the official state language. Requiring all state employees to adopt Anglicized names. For example, Rep. Janel Brandtjen will become Jane Brand, Rep. Andre Jacque will become Andy Jack. Rep. Joel Kleefisch will become Chris Larson. 

 AB-249 Relating to: Abolishing Badgercare. Replace with common-sense, patient-related reforms. Abolish the food stamp program. Replace with common-sense, hunger-related reforms. Abolish the DNR. Replace with common-sense, mutation-centered reforms.

AB-250 Relating to: Establishing standards for teachers at school-choice voucher schools. Teacher must have graduated from eighth grade, have an audible speaking voice, and be off-paper

AB-251 Relating to: Selling corporate naming rights for Milwaukee, Lake Winnebago, and the University of Wisconsin.

AB-252 Relating to: Requiring a five-day waiting period for abortions. Prohibiting abortions after the first three days of a pregnancy.

AB-253 Relating to: Commending Scott Walker for his tireless 2015-16 efforts to build interstate trade relations with Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

AB-254 Relating to: Establishing a wall at the Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois borders, to keep out-of-state demonstrators, welfare bums, illegal aliens, and fraudulent voters out of Wisconsin.

Paul C. Adair

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

By this time in 2012, Romney signs in the W.O.W. counties were sprouting like mushrooms. However, there just does not seem to be similar enthusiasm for Donald Trump this year. Last weekend, we made two journeys through deep-red W.O.W., going from Germantown to Brookfield and from Germantown to Cedarburg. During these drives, we saw a total of five Ro-Jo signs, but only a single Trump sign. This is only anecdotal evidence, but it seems to verify other tales of very low Republican enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin's BFF.

Psychologically quite revealing is a comparison of Hillary yard signs with those of Trump. The design employed by the Democratic ticket uses the same font-size for Clinton and her running-mate, Tim Kaine. Not surprisingly, the font for Mike Pence is 35% smaller than that of his egomaniacal Cheeto running mate

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of campaign yard signs. Many political campaign professionals believe that they are a waste of time and money. However, in a study conducted at Columbia University, campaign yard signs in a set of four different campaigns generated an average 1.7% increase in turnout for the sign-posting campaign. That is not huge, but it could make all the difference in a close race.

Signs for local races may well be more effective than for statewide and national elections. Signs for local candidates get people familiar with your candidate's name.
In local races, name recognition is half the battle. Candidates for national and top state offices are already well known.

Democrats in W.O.W. counties are especially hesitant to display yard signs. Many of us have tried, only to have our signs quickly stolen. Such is one of the hazards of living in a red area. However, we should not let a few vandals deter us.

I have heard of a lot of strategies to keep signs from being stolen. Of course, there is the malicious approach, in which the sign is electrified, or is equipped with razor wire, or shards of glass are scattered around it, or bear traps are placed in front of it. Tempting though that might be, you shouldn't try to actually hurt someone. You could go to jail longer than would the sign thief.

No, there are many ways to foil the sign thieves short of causing physical harm. A common method is to print on the sign "If this sign is stolen, I will donate $200 dollars to Hillary's (etc.) campaign.". You don't actually have to do that, but don't feel guilty about lying to a would-be thief.

Another approach that I employ is to allow my dog, Bella, to poop in a circle around my signs. This approach is especially effective in poorly-lit neighborhoods. It may not totally deter the perp, but it will give you some satisfaction of revenge.

Some folks have gone out of the way to actually catch the crook. A strategically-placed trail camera could provide the evidence you need for an arrest. It probably isn't worth buying a camera just for this purpose, but if you already own one, go right ahead and try it.

Yet another effective approach I call -"If you steal us, we multiply". This requires getting a goodly number of signs. If you have one sign stolen, replace it with two. If those are taken, replace them with four. Like the fable of grains of wheat on a chess board, you can't keep this up for very long, but your thief will probably give-up before you do.

Similarly, if you are handy enough to make you own signs, you can make progressively larger and larger signs until the perp gives up. This works up to a point because state law (and many local laws) limit the size of residential yard signs.

However, probably the most effective method is to simply bring-in your signs at dusk. Even the most brazen pilferer will not strike in broad daylight. It is more work for you, but at least you will probably not be robbed.

Campaign yard signs have been shown to have a small, but distinct impact on voter turn-out. As progressives in a deep-red area, we should not be afraid to display support for our candidates. It says to other liberals in your town that they are not alone. It has the added bonus of pissing-off your right-wing nut job neighbor.

Paul C. Adair