Today is

Monday, June 30, 2008

Resigning From WMC A Good Business Decision

The Janesville Gazette ran the the A.P. version of the J.P. Cullen/WMC resignation story in Saturday’s edition on page 6A. The AP article attempted to paint the resignation as a forced concession between two free market businesses. The text of Cullen’s resignation letter read:
Isthmus Excerpt:
Due to some corporate structuring and analysis, we regret to inform you that we are withdrawing our membership in WMC and I must resign my position on the Board of Directors. I continue to support the ideals of the organization to promote a healthy business climate for Wisconsin, and it is my intent to continue to advocate for sensible public policies that will benefit both the businesses and people in our great state.
On the surface, I would like to think that Cullen’s resignation resulted from a re-examination of the their political conscience, but that is not to be. I also think it would be a misconception to call this any kind of a defeat for the WMC and their radical politics. We should just take Cullen's word for it, their resignation from the WMC was based on corporate structuring and analysis. It was strictly a business decision, nothing more. Other businesses should follow Cullen's lead.

If anything, perhaps it can be said they are finding business more important than whatever the WMC is pushing, but the Janesville contractor remains true to their cause.

Read Paul Soglin’s Explanation here.

Read more here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rip Rap

Obama Accepting Public Financing

A lot has been made of Barack Obama's decision to forgo taxpayer funding for the General Election.
Obama Refuses Taxpayer Money:
Obama turned down $84 million in federal money in opting out of the federal system -- the first major-party candidate to do so since it started in 1976.
Obviously, there are many reasons why publicly financed campaigns are the right way to go, but it is possible as crazy as it sounds, that $84 million is not enough to run for President. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Obama is in a strong position because nearly half of his donors have given less than $200. On that note, it certainly looks like Obama IS accepting public financing.

Drilling For China - Not Lower Prices
NEW YORK ( -- Fed up with record gas prices, drivers often scapegoat big oil companies for high prices at the pump, but in a recent survey, more Americans directed their scorn towards Washington lawmakers.
Now we're blaming government for the will of the "free markets." What could this mean?
As a result, 90% of those surveyed support an increase in alternative energy development, and 81% want the U.S. government to allow more drilling on and off our nation's shores.
We know where this debate is going. But before we start any drilling, Americans should demand Congress to declare our energy policy a matter of national security and nationalize our energy/oil resources and service sector. IF LOWER prices are really.....the goal. Otherwise, American oil will be sold to the highest bidder in the (phony) free markets, and that won't bring the price down one penny.

If warming threatens global security, should not our nation’s energy policy be a matter of national security? Point two for energy nationalization.

Concrete + Asphalt + Homes = WaterWorld
Floods: A Man Made Disaster:
Global warming seems to be creating a modest increase in violent downpours, but the real problem is the transformation of Midwestern wetlands into farmland and asphalt, which has eliminated the region's natural sponges and forced billions of additional gallons of rain into already swollen waterways.
You don't say. Over here in southern Wisconsin......we call that "Smart Growth."

After Ten Years in Congress and Eight Years With Bush, Rep. Paul Ryan Says.......
Wisconsin State Journal Excerpt:
"I don't want to be in politics my whole life. I want to be there long enough to make a difference."

Bush: Democrats Obstructing Oil Profits
Chicago Tribune:
"The fundamental problem behind high gas prices is that the supply of oil has not kept up with the rising demand across the world", Bush says today. "One obvious solution is for America to increase our domestic oil production."
Bush Economics 101. THEY need more oil, and we can sell it to them. Hurry...drill now before the price goes down!!

But in other words Bush is saying, "Just because the price of oil has steadily gone up since I invaded Iraq – don’t blame me. But even though drilling for oil won’t reduce gasoline prices, it’s a good argument against environmentalists and democrats."
Feingold Knows Opposition Well
Examiner Excerpt:
"I don't see how Obama really wins the presidency if he loses Wisconsin," Feingold said. "So it's essential for us to do everything we can and to not ignore the power of the McCain biography, which is no slouch, even though the Obama biography is amazing too."
I agree with our senator here, that McCain will be tough to beat. Remember, George W. Bush was re-elected to a second term and despite his low approval ratings now, he would would probably squeek out a third term if he could run. The right-wing/GOP media machine is not to be "misunderestimated." Plus I'm convinced that GOP candidates have a built in 10 to 12 point handicap in their advantage before they even start to campaign.

But at age 72, John McCain’s biography as a POW war hero and U.S. Senator should be in its last editing stages of the final chapter.
Iraq Oil Service Contracts Liberated
U.S. Nears First Major oil service deals:
BAGHDAD — Iraq is close to signing oil service deals with several major Western oil companies in an effort to boost its output capacity, the country’s oil ministry said Thursday — the first major Iraqi contracts with big Western companies since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
That's how it's reported in our local paper here in Janesville. The New York Times and U.K Reuters had a slightly different take on it.
Reuters/UK Excerpt:
A total of 46 companies, including those from China, India and Russia have memorandums of understanding to provide that assistance to Iraq but were not awarded contracts.
NY Times Excerpt:
There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Krupp On Talk Radio Friday Morning

FM 92.1Marge Krupp, will be making her second appearance on Madison's Air America Affiliate this Friday morning. She will appear on the air live with Lee Rayburn at 7:00 a.m. on WXXM 92.1.

If you live outside the listening area of FM 92.1, you can stream the show from your computer and listen on-line at Madison’s Progessive Talk.


GM Should Rethink High Cost Of Oil

It seems like a year has passed, but it was only three weeks ago when General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner announced plans to close four North American truck and sports utility vehicle (SUV) plants including our Janesville facility because of the spike in oil prices. Excerpt:
“We at GM don't think this is a spike or temporary shift; we believe that it is, by and large, permanent,'' Mr Wagoner said at a press conference ahead of GM's annual shareholder meeting in Wilmington, Delaware.
But, if they really believed what they were saying, the worst decision they could make is shutting down these strategically located plants in the United States. Here’s at least one reason why: It’s called reverse globalization.

Granted, the most notable effect of reverse globalization is that China – and others – have concluded that rather than lending to US firms at low rates so US firms can invest overseas, China would be better off just doing their own business investments themselves right here in America. All of those foreign investors buying up U.S. brand businesses, utilities, ports and anything else they can get their hands on, are practicing reverse globalization.

But the high global cost of oil is having a further leveling effect on business investment start-up initiatives and trends.
Supply Chain Network:
For heavy products, rising shipping costs are eroding the low-wage advantage of China over North America, say chief economist Jeff Rubin and senior economist Benjamin Tal. If oil prices continue to rise, the soaring cost of global transport will act like a major tariff barrier and lead to a substantial slow down in international trade, they argue.
This is why I believe GM will be making a mistake if they finally exit Janesville. If they build a product consumers will buy, closing down the plant because of high oil prices doesn’t make sense, particularly with the skyrocketing cost to transport their product within the continental U.S. market.
Supply Chain Network:
“In a world of triple-digit oil prices, distance costs money,” they say in a paper released Tuesday. “And while trade liberalization and technology may have flattened the world, rising transport prices will once again make it rounder.”

They’ve got the factory, and they’ve got the world class workers, rail system and infrastructure all set up.

If GM has their thinking caps on straight, they would reverse the recent announcement regarding the four plants in North America. Particularly if they really believe their own words, that high oil prices are permanent.

But something tells me it was never about the high oil prices, workers wages or benefits. Exiting operations is a sure sign that it's all about ensuring returns for the investors in the short term, and a business in decline in the long term. If GM finally leaves, they will have not only betrayed America, they will have betrayed the most basic business fundamentals for sustaining profitability, they will have betrayed themselves. GM will probably go down as the worst managed international corporation in the history of the world.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Janesville Planning For Economic Reality

JG Editorial Excerpt:
Do you care about Janesville’s future? Are you concerned about our community’s economic health beyond the expected closure of the GM plant? Do you want our city to keep prospering without skyrocketing property taxes? One last question: Do you have plans for Thursday afternoon?
No, these questions were not asked by the Janesville Gazette when the Janesville GM factory just missed the corporate chopping block less than two years ago. Or when Feingold and Ryan were making the rounds taking their positions on CAFE and how urgent things were back then to coerce GM to bring a gas miser vehicle into production at the Janesville plant. And these questions weren’t asked, much less considered when the UAW was striking outside the plant in September of 2007. No, no. These questions were finally asked in Tuesday's Janesville Gazette editorial. But before this for the past ten years at least, the Gazette did what they always do. They ran vicious anonymous comments against the workers twice a week, editorialized against the workers to do whatever it takes for the strike to end, all the while remaining willfully complacent about gasoline mileage issues.

Back in July of last year, I was one among a very few vocal others who insisted that GM should not wait for Congress to impose better gas mileage standards through stricter CAFE standards. Back then, after the Gazette wrongly accused Sen. Russ Feingold of turning his back on Janesville for voting for CAFE, I wrote this…..

Rock Netroots Excerpt:
If autoworkers really believe gas guzzling trucks and SUV’s are the future, stick with Paul Ryan. If anyone thinks that gasoline will never pop to five dollars a gallon or more within the next ten years, stick with Paul Ryan. Building EnergyStar Trucks and SUV’s will be the future market and to the contrary, Janesville can be the future if we don’t turn our backs on this reality. Don’t be fooled by the satisfaction of complacency or the blindness of a partisan newspaper.
Now the Janesville newspaper is promoting a city sponsored pep rally of ideas to reform the local economy?

I can’t even begin to imagine how different things might be, had the city’s only newspaper taken a philosophical U-turn from their wingnut propaganda and took on an activist’s role like this in support of the GM workers for the sake of the Janesville economy, if not, at least for themselves.

Can you imagine the impact had the newspaper sponsored a media campaign asking 25,000 Janesville area residents to flood Delavan to Kellogg and the surrounding streets around the Janesville GM factory on a Thursday evening in July or September of 2007 marching in support of demanding corporate GM to do whatever it takes to keep the doors open for business? High oil/gasoline prices were the best reason to bring in a new model and the poorest excuse to betray the workers. I can imagine only because it's the right town. Reality tells me it's the wrong newspaper.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Democracy Becoming the Status Quo?

During Monday’s Janesville city council meeting, the city manager talked about something he termed “absolute” city ordinances. Apparently, Janesville has ordinances that cannot be appealed, disputed for exceptions or variances, or questioned by the council on behalf of citizens unless the council ASKS the city manager for a judgment based on his discretion. Councilman Tom McDonald challenged this definition. Stay tuned on this one.

I heartily applaud McDonald’s persistent candor and awareness on these issues, but if he continues, he just might save this greasy anti-democratic system of government from itself and prolong our agony.

Speaking of going backwards, Edgerton’s (Pop. 4,933) Mayor Erik Thompson has put forward three proposals to change city government. One of the three, to change the current district representation to an at-large system is right out of the same playbook that downsized the Walworth County Board.
JG Excerpt:
Currently, the city has three aldermanic districts with two council members each. The proposal is to elect all council members at-large, meaning voters anywhere in the city could vote for any candidate.
They have six alderman representing 5,000 people in three districts and they want to change this?? If only Janesville were so lucky over the years. Obviously, somebody's not getting their way in Edgerton. But hey, why not encourage more people to run for mayor in Edgerton and include all of Fulton Township or Rock County?

The other two proposals actually have some merit, to change the mayoral term from two years to four years and to create a term limit of ten years. Before they go any further however, someone needs to change that idea to multiples of four for a three-term, 12 year limit if they change the length of a single term.

But wouldn’t you just know it, those wanting to dismantle districts represented by it's people, will paint this ultimate form of democracy as the status quo. Time for a change - right? Erik Thompson is a Republican.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hippy Dippy Weatherman Dead at 71

AFP Excerpt:
LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Stand-up comedian George Carlin, who became famous for his biting anti-establishment brand of humor, has died in Los Angeles, his publicist confirmed Monday. He was 71.
Anti-establishment? Counter culture? How about straight-forward honesty and the unadorned and gritty truth? I’ve always paid attention to what George Carlin had to say, not for his vulgarity or style of humor, but for his quick quips and perception of the social-political landscape in America. In the past, I had Carlin’s Youtube video Owners Of America posted on the blog, only for the link to turn cold, again and again. It is quintessential Carlin at his cranky old-man best.

Fair warning – video not for tender ears. Or you can read “Owners of America” Transcript Here.

Imagine Molly Ivins and Carlin now discussing George W. Bush and his administration, and the wreckage they will leave behind. R.I.P.

How Carlin Changed Comedy.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Media Consolidation Hurts On Any Scale

As a critic of our local news and print media, you might've thought I would be happy to hear that the owner of CSI, the parent company of several local free publications sold out their interests to Bliss Communications, owner of the Janesville Gazette. You'd be wrong.
JG Excerpt - June 17, 2008:
JANESVILLE — Bliss Communications, the publisher of The Janesville Gazette and several other daily newspapers, announced today that it has acquired Community Shoppers Inc. and its family of free distribution publications.
Among them of course, the Janesville Messenger, the only other publication with local content delivered to the doorsteps of Janesville area homes. This is bad news.

For all my criticism, the Messenger’s news articles including coverage of local political debates and elections were fairly balanced, even superior, compared to the Gazette. And their local stories were usually a nice reprieve from the social programming and embedded political agenda the Gazette regularly delves out.

The Messenger had what I would call a one page problem. It was their editorial page. Much to their credit though, at least the Messenger’s political agenda was confined to that page, in striking contrast to the Gazette. But boy did the Messenger take it to the extremes when they editorialized. Unlike the Gazette’s comical attempts to hide their partisanship, the Messenger's editor(s) made no effort to hide their lefty hatred.

Their far-right anarcho-capitalist editorials were enough to make Limbaugh or Coulter blush and oftentimes were so politically aloof and groundless, there was no point trying to counter this hell-bent perspective. Sometimes I actually thought their editorials were at the cutting edge of reverse propaganda.

But the real story of serious importance is the media consolidation and the monopolization of news programming and marketing. When alternatives are not available in local news and advertising, other voices are eventually pushed out of the market and off the airwaves.

On any scale, media consolidation means:
 Fewer voices and viewpoints
 Less diversity in ownership and programming
 Less coverage of local issues that matter to communities
 Less of the unbiased, independent, critical journalism we need to prevent abuses of power

One media owner can influence:
 What news and information communities receive
 What voices are heard – or silenced
 Whether important issues get covered accurately – or covered at all
 Who gets hired to report and produce the news
 What music and which artists get airplay
 How women and people of color are portrayed in the media
* Above points from Free Press.

Whether you read the Messenger, or agreed with them or not didn’t matter. It was the idea that different thoughts were heard from people with different backgrounds and perspectives away from the dictum of another, in this case, the Gazette’s hierarchy. That is all changed now, nowadays you don’t have to be Time Warner, General Electric, Disney, Rupert Murdoch or Clear Channel to be considered a threat to democracy. This local consolidation is just as threatening and it is not good news for the Rock or Walworth county area. More voices of democracy will disappear as they are systematically deleted from the community discourse.

Well Equipped House For A Flood
On Beloit Ave. near Jeffris Park - Photo sent in by reader

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keep Liquor License Quota Based On Growth

In a close vote last week, the Janesville City Council kept the city’s existing liquor license ordinance and quota requirements intact. The current ordinance allows one license for every 3,500 residents, which brings the number to a total of 18 establishments.

Apparently, in response to several new license applicants, the city administration offered a revised ordinance based on one for every 2,500 residents to the council. This would have created about seven new licenses. At the council meeting, several council members avoided the narrow view of catering to the special interests and felt comfortable with the 3,500 quota as it is. They also spoke out about the need to protect existing liquor licensee's in these extremely volatile economic times.

Yet, Wednesday’s Janesville Gazette transposed the council’s decision to leave the ordinance as it is as a poor signal to future developers.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
But more important, if Wal-Mart can’t get a liquor license, it doesn’t reflect positively on the city as a friendly place to do business. Potential investors might be reluctant to invest here.
This is a standard WMC talking point. It’s baloney!

The city of Janesville has one of the most liberal TIF district hand-outs in the world and allowed a Super Wal-Mart to be built side-by-side with a Sam’s Warehouse in a new retail blow-out on the north side. Nobody could ever accuse Janesville city councils of ever NOT welcoming business, even if it KILLS our own business district!! The council's reasons this time to defend the liquor license quota based on growth came as a welcome breathe of fresh air. Bear in mind, we’re not talking about increasing lumber yards or automobile manufacturing plants here.

Although I enjoy a glass of fine red wine or two, when I think of economic growth, liquor stores are nowhere near the top businesses I would want my city council fighting for. Unfortunately, at least one council member embarrassingly fought like a corporate lobbyist on behalf of the unnamed special interests.

And instead of the Gazette applauding this quality-of-life decision, they come out swinging from their bully pulpit.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
The city must welcome developers with open arms rather than take the narrow view of protecting existing businesses from competition.
Sure but that doesn’t mean changing the rules in the middle of the game. By not granting additional liquor licenses on demand, the city council has taken a huge first step to ensure a clear and sober vision of economic growth and a destiny based on our own terms. This city still belongs to it's taxpaying occupants and our representatives need to carry out those wishes, not the wishes of the newspaper, Forward Janesville or some other special interest. And certainly not mine.

But it takes a lot of cojones to conclude their editorial with that line considering the Gazette has a monopoly on local news and continues to expand their influence. The Janesville Gazette and their affiliates are the only local media source in town now that they've purchased CSI, the parent company of the Janesville Messenger. Obviously, a town of only 62,000 can’t afford a second news source based on growth, but we would certainly welcome at least one more based on competition.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ryan Courageously Representing Corporate Interests

It didn’t take long after the Janesville Gazette and the Beloit Daily News gave tender endorsements for Paul Ryan’s Roadmap plan, that the Janesville Messenger would pitch in their support with a cover story promoting Ryan’s rattling caravan of old far-right-wing tax cut election year ideas.

To be fair to the newspaper, at least the twice-weekly newspaper allowed opposing viewpoints including those from two Democratic candidates challenging Ryan for the congressional seat.

But the more I read Ryan’s plan, the more it turns my stomach. And the more I read the reactions from others here and here, including the Messenger article, the more I realize many feel the same way I do.

If there is any consolation for Paul Ryan, it appears to come from the media’s willingness to give him some credit for drawing attention to problems his own votes have exacerbated. But this too, is like giving Hurricane Katrina credit for drawing attention to New Orleans.
JM Excerpt:
“Paul Ryan really has laid down an ideological marker here. This is much more Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater than it is George W. Bush.”
This appears to be among the first I’ve heard trying to draw a separation between Ryan and Bush. For a lack of a better analogy at the moment, they'd have better luck trying to split a hair using a butter knife.
Dead End Excerpt:
Fortunately it appears that the extreme free-market ideas of George W. Bush and Paul Ryan are on the wane and we are moving into a period where policies that view carefully crafted government involvement as a positive force are on the rise.
Yet, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Ryan’s supporters claim he is not an ideologue OR a partisan. Nothing is further from the truth. The “Roadmap for America’s Future” is more a ideological profile of it’s author, a radical corporate right-wing business model dressed up in a moderate conservative suit for public consumption, than it is a comprehensive view of the inner workings of government.

One of the main talking points behind Ryan's corrective measures is his contention that more tax cuts/credits will lift the debt burden of entitlement spending on future deficits. Yet he seems to ignore the CBO-based CBPP findings that show recent legislated tax cuts are responsible for nearly half of our running deficits.When you’ve come up with a plan to cut taxes for the wealthy even more than Bush did, eliminate all corporate taxes including taxes on profits and dividends, use government as a strong-arm middle-man for Wall Street investment firms, relegate health care priorities to nothing more than a shopping experience, and replace employer sponsored health insurance with a tax credit, I’d say you laid down more than a ideological marker. I’d say the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin no longer has a representative in Congress. I’d say we have a Wall Street broker.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ryan's Roadmap A Wall Street Gimmick

JS online Ryan’s Roadmap Excerpt:
At a time when party leaders are looking for new ideas to convince Americans that they can lead again, Republican strategists say he offers a comprehensive plan that could help the party recast itself as the party of limited government and fiscal restraint.
Let’s pretend for a moment that Paul Ryan genuinely wants to strenghten and protect Social Security. His 33% private investment scheme actually creates another government-run bureaucracy. Yet, he also proposes to guarantee Social Security benefits while only collecting 66% of the funds that he swears is not enough at a hundred. Those numbers don’t add up. Limited government? Fiscal restraint? Bright idea? Hardly.

This is WHAT he has to show for after ten years in Congress? It's bad news for taxpayers, bad news for Social Security and it’s very bad news for our future.

Release Priorities/Timeline of Rep. Ryan's "Roadmap"

May 21, 2008 --- He launched the plan with a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

June 12, 2008 --- Constituent newsletter announcing "Roadmap." received in mail.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Greased Media Skids On Story

The Janesville school board member who resigned from her position on the board after she openly made her interest known to pursue a newly created job position within the school administration has now said she is not interested in the job, whether it is created or not. The damage has now come full circle.

At first glance it would appear like this entire episode was a huge waste of time and talent, but this did not end without some merit. In Janesville we’ve learned several important things here. We’ve learned that some school board members will never question the directives, authority or ethics of the administration or fellow board members. And contrary to all ethics and honesty, we’ve learned that if you serve in Janesville elective office and want (need) a job, and it happens to open up in the city administration it’s best to hide your true intentions. There is a certain protocol to follow and transparency is not one of them.

We’ve also learned how (paid) administrative leadership is defended, how jobs are distributed and guarded for the connected, and how our elected civic servants coalesce around protecting this entitlement. And we’ve learned (not really, we always knew) that the local media and their affiliates are compliant tools in all of this, diverting attention away from the real causes and serious problems while sharpening it’s knives only on the resulting consequences they themselves have fueled.
JG Excerpt:
The job has been a frequent topic on “The Stan Milam Show” on WCLO radio, something that prompted Rashkin to come out with her statement. Milam has speculated that “the skids were greased” for Rashkin to get the job. Rashkin has said she did nothing wrong.
But if “greased skids” are suspected, isn’t there a much larger problem that needs to be addressed within the Janesville city administration? Should not those greasing the skids, those with far more authority, be called into scrutiny instead of the so-called passenger?

The story here was never about the school board creating jobs for themselves. Only the appearance of it, and that would never happen because some board members would never question the intentions or ethics of the administration or fellow board members - Right? So, with that self-impunity, we must focus our attention on the divisive atmosphere created by the paid professional administrative leadership – they should've known better. This is what school board member Tim Cullen recognized and challenged. And just as importantly, it is about leaders consenting to the obvious advantage insiders have about the timing, availability and hiring parameters of future jobs.

But if Milam was seriously looking for “greased skids,” he would've requested a chat with the Janesville city manager and his personal secretary to discuss the circumstances surrounding the firing and hiring of the city assistant attorney. When who knew what and when? And why? Check out that lube job.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

House Candidates On Talk Radio

FM 92.1Paulette Garin, a Democratic Candidate for Wisconsin's First Congressional District will be a guest on Madison's Air America Affiliate this Thursday morning. She will appear on the air live with Lee Rayburn at 7:00 a.m. on WXXM 92.1.

If you live outside the listening area of FM 92.1, you can stream the show from your computer and listen on-line at Madison’s Progessive Talk.

Just a reminder. Marge Krupp will be on same show this morning (Wednesday) at 7 AM.


McCain's Trainwreck Express

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Animosity Behind Poor Wages

The Janesville Gazette rarely fails to amaze me with their self-extricating editorials, painting themselves up as a mere innocent bystander in the aftermath of the boiling tensions arising from the GM announcement to close the auto plant in two years. Sunday’s Gazette editorial titled “Put animosity behind, move ahead together” was another exercise hoping Janesville residents don't look back while they drive the final nails into the coffin of the American Dream. The American Dream here of course being that workers with little more than a high school education can find good family-raising jobs with taxable wages.
JG Gazette Editorial:
The GM bashers say the workers never deserved what they got in the first place and now will learn to live like the rest of the people in the community.
You'd think they're talking about CEO's here.

Outside of politics, labor unions are usually the only organization that are regular targets of discrimination and hate speech in mainstream media newsprint.

For years the GM hate talk in Janesville was primarily directed at the wages and benefits of the union and its supporters….. not at corporate GM. In Rock County and more precisely Janesville, the only newsprint media to carry the divisive words of a small group of union bashers over and over again was the Janesville Gazette through their anonymous “Sound Off” column. The editors are sitting in the driver's seat and steer this media vehicle into any wreck of their choosing. They let others do their talking for them, and it's power should never be underestimated.

But this statement says a whole lot, because it trickles down from the very same mindset that supports for instance, the influx of new but mediocre jobs meant to allow us to compete in the future economy. Just try to bash the low-wage, benefit negligent and tax shortchanger Wal-Mart or any other low-wage Fortune 500 company, and all kinds of creeps crawl out of the woodwork.
JG Gazette Editorial:
And because of the challenges ahead, it’s time for this community to put the animosity and divisiveness behind and move forward together to forge a new place in the future.
You think at least one time in the recent past during labor strikes or a production crisis at the local GM would the Gazette have written something like that imploring low-wage conservatives and other malcontents, including the newspaper itself, to stand up in unity with the UAW and forge a defense for this “American Dream” economy? NOT ONCE!
JG Gazette Editorial:
The catalyst for so much of the bitterness and so many of the feelings that separated the people will be gone.
Yeah. There’s nothing more promising and unifying in the community than to have all the "general" workers earning the same low wages. How will Wal-Mart compete?

Whatever we do here in Janesville once GM is gone, don’t anyone get the funny idea to bring in good paying family-raising jobs or organized labor. You'll just start trouble. The last thing we need is for some mega-corporation to move in and pay a living taxable wage. God forbid. Instead, all the workers can start wearing two-piece potato sack sickle-and-hammer sweat suits and a red star hat flipping burgers at their new "global" job.

So long as investors and corporate executives continue to pull profits away from the employees who earned it, and the hip-pocket Congress eliminates taxes on the wealth confiscated by the profit takers, corporations and their accountants - we’ll be fine. You see, the better paying jobs that powered the American Dream in Janesville for over 90 years, what the Gazette calls the catalyst for all the animosity.....will be gone.

John McCain Doesn’t Represent Me

Watch and listen to John McCain imply that citizens fighting for equal rights and equal pay are nothing more than dupes of trial lawyers scheming to make money. And he is applauded!!

A fourteen-year-old girl knew better and stood on her own against the intimidating GOP presidential candidate.…..

What a gutsy little lady!!

Check it out at One Wisconsin, and then pass it along to your friends.

Marge Krupp to Be Guest On Air America Wednesday At 7 A.M.

Marge Krupp, a Democratic Candidate for Wisconsin's First Congressional District will be a guest on Madison's Air America Affiliate this Wednesday morning. She will appear on the air live with Lee Rayburn at 7:00 a.m. on WXXM 92.1.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Economic Planning Ignores GM Decision

Saturday’s Janesville Gazette contained two articles obviously meant to draw some public attention towards a city-wide economic summit originally planned just before the announcement by GM to close the Janesville factory.
JG Excerpt:
With the understanding that Janesville’s economy does not operate in vacuum, a group of community leaders decided Friday that they must first focus on charting a course for the city.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I found it a little premature they are proposing a "new" course without its "new" city manager. The current city manager is set to retire in just a few months.

But just as odd and confusing was the next article titled GM is not the focus of this group. Here, city planners have apparently made the decision to first go ahead with an economic summit despite the anticipated closing of the 2,600 employee 114 acre GM plant in the south-central portion of the city. With or without GM, it's stay the course?

I couldn't disagree more. On the cusp of the latest information from GM, Janesville city planners should first put some serious consideration into either postponing or trash-canning their pro-sprawl Comprehensive Plan, TIF district implementation, future riverfront property purchases and park expansions and create a template of demands and guidelines to pursue with the State Of Wisconsin regarding the sprawling plant. Start that now!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Dark Side Of McMoon

Senator John McCain's presidential campaign on Friday released its first general election television ad in a major ad campaign targeting supposedly battleground states. Entitled "Safe," the ad positions John McCain in various phases of light and shadow talking about his service to the country, and a seeming self-denial of fantastic statements only a "fool" would make. The visuals are stunningly accurate depicting the contrast in the two sides on every issue John McCain holds......depending on who he is talking to.

Under most circumstances I would not post a GOP campaign ad here, but I couldn't resist the award winning Nosferatu-like imagery. Click cartoon for video.Click for Youtube Video

Friday, June 06, 2008

Similarities Between Rezko And Troha Abound

The article headlining Page 4A in Thursday’s Gazette titled Political fund-raiser convicted in corruption Trial dealt with the corruption case involving Tony Rezko. The Gazette story was an AP article slightly retouched by Gazette Staff. It did carry that disclosure under the sub-title. Apparently, Rezko was convicted on charges stemming from illegal transactions involving Janesville-based Mercy Healthcare. Excerpt:
"It showed us that he did have some links to that. We had evidence that point to that," Coleman said, but would not identify what that evidence was.
The Gazette’s version appeared to only clarify that Mercy was never implicated in the case. For whatever reason, no two AP articles of this story found on the Web are alike.

Beyond that, the similarities between Rezko and the recent Troha illegal donations scandal are uncanny. Both Rezko and Troha stood accused of trying to buy legislation. Both were convicted of campaign finance abuses, and both were implicated with prominent politicians accused of no wrongdoing. But that doesn’t stop the Republican Party or the mainstream media. Both entities are ripping into Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and Barack Obama, both democrats. And although Rep.Paul Ryan was the only politician named in Troha's indictment, the media here often headlined the story sure to include Gov. Jim Doyle, another democrat.

John Kass, Rezko A Republican problem Too (that's an understatement).
Chicago Tribune Excerpt:
The National Republican Party is making a big deal out of Rezko, with a snazzy new Barack-Rezko video, questioning Obama's judgment for buying that $1.6 million dream house, with the Rezkos purchasing the lot next door on the very same day in what looked like an old-fashioned back-scratching.
It will be extremely interesting to see how far the RNC will go connecting the prominent political fund raiser’s conviction and illegal campaign contributions to politicians accused of no wrongdoing. Show us the way GOP.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Media Reform Begins With Us

More than 3,000 people from across the country are set to attend the National Conference for Media Reform held in Minneapolis this weekend.Click HereIf you’re unable to attend, you can still take part in this amazing event at

When you tune-in, here's what you'll find online:
Video streams of the main events and keynote speakers, including Moyers, Goodman, Huffington, Rather, Larry Lessig, Naomi Klein, Van Jones, FCC Commissioners, members of Congress and many more;
Full audio clips from nearly 70 panels and workshops;
Live blogging and updates throughout the conference;
Flickr photos.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Newspaper Takes A Shot At Two Ryan Challengers

JG Excerpt:
But Paulette Garin of Kenosha and Marge Krupp of Pleasant Prairie have been out front in taking shots at Ryan.

Two other Democratic candidates for the 1st District Congressional seat—Jeff Thomas of Janesville and Mike Hebert of Kenosha — spoke at a meeting of Walworth County Democrats in February.
The Janesville Gazette must be really nervous about Krupp and Garin.

The Hammer Has Fallen On Janesville

General Motors announced it will be closing four truck and SUV plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico including the plant in Janesville as surging fuel prices hasten a dramatic shift to smaller vehicles. The plant will be shuttered in late 2010.

Many in Janesville were hoping to get a hybrid passenger car or the new Chevy Volt, but that vehicle will be built at a plant in Lordstown, Ohio instead. The cuts will effect about 2,600 employees at the Janeville plant and will have a tremendous rippling effect across many Rock County area supporting businesses. The moves will save GM about $1 billion per year.

No more I-told-you-so’s….no more worrying about somebody earning more money and getting better benefits… more blaming the more calling Janesville a GM town. Based on the comments posted in the "Sound Off" anonymous column in the Janesville Gazette over the past years, quite a few people should be happy about this.

Quote of the Month
JG Excerpt:
Not everything associated with GM was positive for Janesville, however. This has always been a blue-collar place, and our education level lagged because young people didn’t need to earn degrees to earn good wages. The image of a working-class place without much character, culture or class spread, but it wasn’t wholly unwarranted. – Scott Angus, Gazette Editor
February 28, 2008:
During his press conference today, a reporter asked President Bush what his “advice” would be to the “average American” who is “facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline.” Bush replied, “That’s interesting, I hadn’t heard that.”

Janesville Gazette article here.
Chicago Tribune article here.
Capital Times article here.
Channel 3000 here.
Doyle: A kick in the gut.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Two Local Newspapers Approve Ryan's Roadmap

Both the Beloit Daily News and the Janeville Gazette have publicized their support for Rep. Paul Ryan and his "roadmap" plan in two editorials over the past week. The BDN editorial titled McCain-Ryan? Not a bad idea seemed like the average GOP pep-rally.
BDN Editorial:
Besides all that, Ryan is a serious lawmaker with particularly impressive credentials on key domestic issues - economics, the budget, Social Security and Medicare - which McCain has admitted are not his strong suit.
Where do they get this impression from? That's like saying a bank robber is highly qualified to be a security agent. But seriously, I would like to know WHAT Ryan's impressive credentials are on those issues? And I'm not talking about a certificate hanging on the wall.

The title of the Gazette editorial "Ryan's 'Roadmap' is a good place to start debate" is self-explanatory. It concludes on this note.
JG Editorial excerpt:
But Washington must get talking about the problems, and Ryan has provided the first word.
No he hasn’t. Hillary Clinton has been talking about health care reform since the beginning of time and Al Gore made the Social Security lock box a campaign issue in 2000. Ryan's roadmap offers a $5000 tax credit for health care, a nearly equivalent benefit contained in the democrats expansion of SCHIP. Ryan had his chance and voted against the "real" first words on reform on all of these issues.

Countless others have made attempts to adjust the tax code as well and have taken the country in the wrong direction. Just witness the Bush tax cuts and the widening gap between the rich and the poor for the past six years. Ryan’s roadmap is based on a very backward if not utterly contradictory foundation: That the country cannot afford to keep it’s obligations to Social Security and Medicare unless we introduce massive tax cuts and credits. This is the M.O. of corporate driven top-down economics of old right-wing business politics - otherwise known as the status quo.

However, Ryan and his supporters imply that the left and others who might oppose his plan are the status quo, yet claims that America is majority center-right, i.e. the status quo. You can't have it both ways.

It's really stunning if not obnoxious that Ryan’s proposal asks the lower 80% to be prepared to accept some difficult decisions and prime up for some sacrifices, while he has plenty of room for massive and costly tax cuts that are geared toward the wealthiest.

Here's an amusing anonymous comment about Paul Ryan from the Sound Off column in the Gazette.
Sound Off:
"Remarks in Sunday's Sound Off castigating Rep. Paul Ryan were offensive....." -- Anonymous
I'm assuming that was referring to this comment last week.
Sound Off:
I find it very interesting that he wants to fix what he helped create by rubber-stamping everything Bush has asked for." -- Anonymous
Well, around 90% is not everything, but I get the point. What I find more offensive is the idea that someone is not offended by Ryan's rubber-stamp voting record and even worse to imply that we should ignore it.
May 25th Sound Off:
"I don't know what Rep. Ryan is thinking, but as a Republican he's going to have very little authority in the next government." -- Anonymous
This is assuming Ryan is part of the next government. But I can't blame Ryan and his supporters for the growing sense of entitlement and cavernous narcissism. If there is any audacity in hope, this November is the time for it to show itself.

On a separate note here, also in the June 1st (Sunday) Gazette, the editor Scott Angus wrote a separate opinion piece titled, "Tax drop is good news, but lets not go too far" that offered some restrained praise for the state of Wisconsin dropping out of the top ten highest tax states for the first time since 1980. Good news for Gov. Jim Doyle. What I found revealing here was the fact that Angus's perspective on the praise apparently was not shared by the Gazette editorial staff, as the heading at the top of this editorial was "Editor's Views" instead of the "Our Views" heading at the top of their "official position" newspaper editorials. The paper is owned by a member of the WMC Board of Directors.