The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Scott Walker

Yesterday on Facebook I posted, "When voters in Wisconsin elected Scott Walker, did they know he was a thug?" This generated an enormous number of comments, and since they're already published (and none of the commenters objected) I've compiled them here. My only edits were to remove two housekeeping comments from me, and to consolidate some comments from multiple posts into single posts.

Randy Zwitch Scott Walker: "I won"

Joseph Pearce

David Braverman Joseph McCarthy: "I won"; Robert Mugabe: "I won"; Hosni Mubarak: "I won"
· 1 person

Joseph Pearce Better a thug than a pansy like your boy Obama

David Braverman A pansy? You just called the President a pansy? You know, I called the last guy a warmongering, intellectually soft, rash, impulsive, alcoholic, drug-addicted, rude, arrogant poor excuse for an elected official, but I never actually lied about him.
· 3 people

Sean Pearson Mr. Pearce is a troll.
· 1 person

David Braverman Yes, but I troll him, so it balances out. :)

Sam Peterson Walker should lay low for a few months before announcing his candidacy if he expects to beat Obama in the general election.

David Braverman Walker should check into psychiatric care if he expects to beat Obama in the general election. Unless you're talking about Malika, and he's running for hall monitor.
What's interesting, my GOP friends, is that none of you denied my basic assertion that Walker is acting like a thug.
· 1 person

Joseph Pearce Have you thought that maybe I am not a troll (even though as a representative of the homeless community I do claim to live under a bridge) but it might actually be that Obama is a pansy?

Terence Begley What will happen is that Walker will not be able to balance his state budget. Because Republicans are spend and loan. I hope that the recall petition really works. If Obama is a pansy than Walker is the ponzi, as in Ponzi scheme...
· 1 person

Randy Zwitch My snarky comment was intended to dispute your assertion.
When Obama and Congress have operated in the last two years, it was a mandate from the voters (public opinion be damned), because "He won".
Now we have a Republican doing exactly what he said he would do (Walker, reducing the state deficit), but now he's a thug.
When newly elected Congressmen from the GOP start proposing legislation to shrink the size of government as they said they would in their campaigns, they are "teabagger" thugs.
Funny that. It's all the same behavior, but somehow different when the other side is doing it.
· 1 person

Sam Peterson Walker will probably not run for President.
Walker will also not likely be recalled.
Walker cannot be recalled until he has been in office for a minimum of one year. With 16 state senators on the recall block this year, WI residents will probably tire of the recall efforts by the time Walker is eligible to be recalled.

David Braverman Randy, the President isn't blatantly abusing FOIA to harass an individual critic, nor is he sending in the state police (or FBI) to break up peaceable assemblies of citizens petitioning redress of grievances. The President has worked unusually hard to balance the interests of his supporters and opponents, and has attempted to *govern.* He's also done everything he said he would, and very little he said he wouldn't. Walker, in contrast, ran on one platform and is attempting to rule--not govern--on another.
· 1 person

Randy Zwitch ‎"Govern" vs "Rule" is a matter of perspective, like "humanitarian mission" and "war" depend on what side of the gun you are on.

Ashish Desai The only guy fighting for taxpayers vs. union facist thugs. Anyone on that side of the argument is deluding themselves.

Terence Begley There is also such a thing called projection. You go around accusing a "socialist" of redistributing the wealth. Then you claim you are in a budget crisis, and redistribute middle class earnings coupled with giving tax breaks to corporations and the already rich - thereby doubling the debt in the process... The GOP needs to lay on the couch for a session. As well as those who think unions were the cause for the budget crisis in the first place...
· 1 person

Sam Peterson Here is a news flash from a WI resident. The public sector unions may not have been the cause of the budget problems in WI, but they are a serious contributing factor. Union membership for public (paid by tax dollars) employees was not (prior to the bill) optional in WI. If you were a public sector employee, you were REQUIRED (that means forced, coerced, against your free will whether you like it or not) to belong to a union and the dues were deducted (more like extorted) from your paycheck. Let's back up for a minute and spell it out really slow so that even the Rachel Maddow fanatics in the room can understand the level of corruption. Citizens paid taxes...those taxes paid for services...a portion of this payment went to unions...the bosses of the unions make high six figure salaries...they contributed most of the funds which do not pay for union thuggery to the campaigns of politicians who supported legislative efforts to ensure that the tax dollars kept flowing into union coffers. Rinse...repeat. If they were corporate executives, they would be indited under the RICO statutes for such blatant fraud and corruption, but since they are unions they are somehow sacred.
I wouldn't give the WI republicans a free pass either. When the 14 union sell outs were on vacation in IL to defend their corrupt (about 20% of their campaign finances according to the Milwaukee JS) contributions, the republicans should have played the high ground and done everything above board. There had been a crisis for going on a month when they decided to rewrite the "budget repair bill" to make it a non budget imitative, so there really was no need to rush a vote in two hours time. The WI open meetings laws require a 24 hours notice. They should have given 48. Let the corrupt senators come whimpering back with their tails between their legs to discuss the bill before the majority pass it (maybe even making some compromises for good measure). Instead they look like the dirty politicians that they are trying to sneak through a vote in the absence of the opposing party which allowed the shameful 14 to return looking like heroes.

Terence Begley And there is no corruption in the Koch Brothers having Walker in their pocket? And the whole issue was the budget, and the deficit DOUBLED! You neglected to mention how this balances the budget. Then again, it wasn't about the budget was it? It was about class warfare. The unions are not perfect, but you're in a bigger hole now than you were before...

Sam Peterson Recall Mark independent!!!
The $3.6 billion deficit was not balanced in any way. The $140 million in tax breaks to business very well may create jobs as the republicans claim. Then again it may not, at which time the voters have the opportunity to replace the politicians who did not live up to their promises.
The no bid contracts provision in the "budget repair bill" is really shady. That should definitely have been removed. If Mark Miller and his union loyalists had stayed in WI to argue the merits of the bill, they could have had that provision removed. Instead they were worried about their union cronies. Did you notice how quickly they caved on the financial demands which affect the working class employees, but they refused to budge on provisions that would have made union membership and dues optional. Why is that?

Terence Begley What the tax breaks will do is perhaps make some corporations move their offices to WI. But the jobs will continue to go overseas. The voters wanted fiscal responsibility.
But if the recall petition fades over time, we shall see the results of Walker's actions over the course of 4 years. Good Luck to you in WI....

Sam Peterson The republicans don't want to talk about union corruption because they are funded by corporate corruption. The democrats don't want to mention the freedom of public employees to decide whether they want a union or to pay dues. Instead they argue this nonsense about how one side fights for the workers and the other fights for the tax payers. Both of them veiled attempts to claim the moral high ground of supporting the majority of voters when in fact both parties are corrupt to the bone and no longer represent the people.
The outsourced jobs line is tired. Take an economics class and learn the meaning of "comparative advantage." As the U.S. "outsourced" jobs for the past 30 years, the GDP constantly went up, standard of living was improving, and unemployment stayed at very low rates. Now that the financial crisis (caused by overzealous politicians and unchecked greed of bankers...but not in any way by free trade) has caused unemployment to rise for the first time in a generation, the tired untruthful political message of outsourcing is rearing its head more than ever.
The worst thing that could be done to our already fragile economy would be to enact protectionist measures that restrict free trade in an effort to curb the perceived threat of outsourcing.
Back on the topic of Walker...I will admit that his "fix" probably goes a little further than required. That is okay because we need a big change to get us away from the status quo. There will be a reaction from his political opponents and it will correct his actions to some extent allowing the system to evolve over time. My only hope is that the reaction from the left will be to reign in the corrupt influence of corporations and not to undue the crippling of the corrupt unions which would be a step back IMHO.

Terence Begley I understand. My point is companies take advantage of the tax breaks, but the manufacturing jobs are being done where labor is the cheapest. And that will continue to be overseas. Corporate profits are at an all time high, but maybe 4 out of 10 new jobs are created in this country. What would help is to educate our children for the 21st century job. Too bad being a teacher just became an occupational. hazard. Not from you, but some of the comments on my wall made the teachers seem worst than the flu...

Aaron Blasius David - I usually refrain from commenting on your boneheaded comments, but in this case I just can't. Yes I disagree with your contention that a governor attempting to restore a state to stability by attempting to control costs, unchecked power of absurd public employee unions and the flow of money from tax payer -> employee -> union -> democrats, is a thug. The idea the status quo is sustainable or even fair is absurd. Without changes to CB, unions can just buy their own politicians again, re-instate unfair benefit packages and fleece tax payers - which of course will lead to this
In order to pay for public employees and public unions you must have a public - and they must have jobs. Do more to create an environment of that kind not less. The alternative is of course to move somewhere where you can better practice your values and stop voting in my home state or pretty soon I feel it will reflect more of another state ruined by the policies of organized labor and democrats - MI.

Julie Johnson He's a thug.
Walker, that is.

Thanks for the comments. I still don't think we have a strong refutation of my thesis, but it sparked a good conversation.

Who authenticates the authentication?

Via Bruce Schneier, the author of How the End Begins describes how no one can ever be absolutely certain an order to destroy civilization is authentic:

Can the president start a nuclear war on his own authority—his own whim or will—alone? The way Brigadier Gen. Jack D. Ripper did in Dr. Strangelove? What if a president went off his meds, as we'd say today, and decided to pull a Ripper himself? Or what if a Ripper-type madman succeeded in sending a falsely authenticated launch order? You're about to kill 10 million people, after all.

Anyway, back down there in your launch capsule you might allow yourself to wonder: "This launch order, is this for real or for Nixon's indigestion?"

If you were asking yourself that question, you wouldn't be the only one. James Schlesinger, secretary of defense at that time, No. 2 in the nuclear chain of command, was reported to be so concerned about Nixon's behavior that he sent word down the chain of command that if anyone received any "unusual orders" from the president they should double-check with him before carrying them out.

So there you are, having just received the order to launch nuclear genocide. Should you suppress any doubts, twist your launch key in the slot simultaneously with your fellow crewman and send death hurtling toward millions of civilians halfway around the world? Without asking questions? That's what you're trained to do, not ask questions. Trainees who asked questions were supposed to be weeded out by the Air Force's "psychiatric consideration of human reliability" requirement. I've read this absurd Strangelovian document, which defined sane and reliable as being willing to kill 10 or 20 million people with the twist of a wrist, no questions asked.

Oh, yeah, I'll sleep well tonight.

Friday miscellany

In no particular order:

  • Today is the 100th anniversary of the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York, in which 146 workers died. If you want to know why we have unions in the U.S., read the story. This is the world to which the radical right are happy to return us.
  • I have to hand it to Citibank and their crack team of fraud preventatives. Last week I bought a plane ticket from Chicago to London for about $700. A few hours later I attempted to put down a £100 deposit on a hotel room in London. Citibank declined the smaller charge, because it was an international purchase without card-in-hand, as they say. Note I bought the airline ticket online also.
    A 10-minute phone call to them, followed by an apologetic phone call to the hotel, and it went through fine. This morning, I bought a £58 round trip rail ticket from London to York on a day within both the air ticket and hotel reservation (both of which Citibank knows about), and their computer called me within seconds to warn me of yet more fraud. Fifteen minutes later they have finally—finally!—acknowledged that I might be in the UK for a couple of days, and possibly will be using my credit card to make reservations ahead of the trip. Note to people outside the US: They're not trying to protect me; they're trying to protect themselves. In the US, card holders have a $50 liability limit for fraudulent transactions; the bank's liability is essentially limitless. But still, guys?
  • Microsoft's Raymond Chen has a funny anecdote about the Seattle Symphony Orchestra's front office getting confused between Paul Cézanne and Camille Saint-Saëns, complete with a handy chart to tell the difference.

That is all.

Using data in a news story

Via Sullivan, the New York Times has its lede checked twice, and found wanting. The Times ran a story claiming two people's mobile phone conversations in China disconnected after a participant said the word "protest" twice. As we say in technology, we could not duplicate the issue:

METHODS: The staff prepared three phrases. A) Queen Gertrude’s response to Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks;” b) “I like Bob Dylan’s protest songs, the most;” and c) “PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST!” The staff also prepared a list of five individuals with phones in China. They are a) a foreign Shanghai entrepreneur; b) a Shanghai school teacher; c) a Beijing-based foreign correspondent; d) a Beijing-based scrap metal entrepreneur; e) a Foshan-based scrap metal entrepreneur. Each individual was called from a Shanghai phone line, and asked to listen to the three phrases, repeated twice.

RESULTS: In all five cases, the connection was sustained and the staff was subjected to varying degrees of bewildered responses....

Read to the bottom, where it appears the Times Beijing correspondent wants to correct the record.

Sunset tonight

After a little more than six months, the sun will finally set at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station at 23:42 UTC today. It rises again at 07:52 UTC on September 21st.

The station has decent weather today: it's a brisk -60°C with a gentle breeze causing a wind chill of -84°C. To understand what that means, just keep in mind dry ice forms at -77.5°C.

Actually, the place is really cool fascinating; I recommend starting with the Wikipedia entry and exploring from there. I can't fathom over-wintering there, but I'd take any opportunity to visit in December or January.

Never get involved in a land war in <strike>Asia</strike> Africa

Sullivan sums up the frustration a lot of us feel:

I watched the president stand idly by as countless young Iranians were slaughtered, imprisoned, tortured and bludgeoned by government thugs by day and night. I believed that this was born of a strategy that understood that, however horrifying it was to watch the Iranian bloodbath, it was too imprudent to launch military action to protect a defenseless people against snipers, murderers and torturers.

Now I am told that "we cannot stand idly by" as tyrants tell their people they will be given no mercy. And so one comes to terms with the fact that this administration is willing to throw out its entire strategy and principles in this period of Middle Eastern revolt - in defense of rebels about whom we know almost nothing, whose strategy is violence, not nonviolence, and whose ability to resist Qaddafi even with Western help is unknowable.

My exasperation and anger is not because I want Obama to fail; but because I want him to succeed. But the views of any blogger, or of the American people, or the US Congress seem irrelevant to this. We live in an empire, it must simply be conceded, in which the emperor gets to tell us, after the fact, that we have embarked on a brutal, bloody war against a madman who holds almost all the cards on the ground.

This comes shortly after the Arab League reverses course now that we've done, you know, what they begged us to do. A pox on all their houses. Or a pax on them, which in the long run might be best.

Moving on

On April 12th, I'm starting a new role on the Valkre Solutions development team. Valkre is a startup in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood approximately 0.13% the size of Avanade, the company I left yesterday.

Avanade would like me to remind Daily Parker readers (and those of you tuning in through Facebook) that "Avanade does not control or endorse the content, messages or information found in any public Weblog, and therefore specifically disclaims any liability with regard to this Weblog and any actions resulting from the author's participation in any Weblog."

Now that's out of the way, let me say I truly enjoyed working with every Avanade consultant I met. I'm going to miss them, especially the team I worked most closely with at [a major food and beverage company in Chicago]. Accenture, Avanade's parent company, is a different matter, which I'll leave there.

Anyway, I'm excited to start at Valkre, and in addition to the cool work, great team, and huge potential of the company, I'll be working 5 km from my apartment (about an hour's walk or 12-minute bike ride).

Who pays for entitlement reform?

Gen-X, of course. David Frum:

For the under-40s who will be exposed to the fullest impact of entitlement reform, the past half decade has been an economic disaster. Now we are about to load an additional burden on a generation already struggling with under-employment and (in many cases) heavy student debt. We also are about to ask them to simultaneously pay the taxes to support current retirees and save for their own retirement, while receiving less help from later generations than earlier generations will receive from them.

To put it a different way: Every previous wave of retirees has been supported by the young. Today's young are expected first to provide for today's old, then provide for themselves.

Yeah, but don't worry, kids. We X-ers will fix it, the same way we built the Internet, fought in the first Gulf war, and paved the way for the nonchalant life many of you born after 1978 enjoy.

We're not bitter, either. We're happy to have our parents take our money and give it to you, as has been the pattern since 1964.