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  #1  
Old 02-17-2011, 07:59 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Hello Wisconsin

Taking it to the streets!

A fitting tune.

Althouse frowns on the freedom (no links from me to her).
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2011, 08:27 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
Taking it to the streets!

A fitting tune.

Althouse frowns on the freedom (no links from me to her).
I have nothing substantive to add, but I'd like to compliment the That 70's Show reference, and add that Alex Chilton by the Replacements is much better than anything Alex Chilton did with Big Star.
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2011, 08:51 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
Alex Chilton by the Replacements is much better than anything Alex Chilton did with Big Star.
That is one of my favorite Replacements tunes, but I would never disparage Big Star especially when they put out songs like this: Oh My Soul.
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  #4  
Old 02-17-2011, 08:59 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Thugs and morons, practicing the politics of intimidation and (in the case of the MIA democrats) cowardice.

Cheers to the left showing what it really is.

Hopefully this will be Armageddon for the teacher's unions. Time to crush them for good.
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2011, 09:13 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by operative View Post
Thugs and morons, practicing the politics of intimidation and (in the case of the MIA democrats) cowardice.

Cheers to the left showing what it really is.

Hopefully this will be Armageddon for the teacher's unions. Time to crush them for good.
Hey, this has morphed into a music thread. Take your authoritarian anti-freedom hate back to your dead thread. Here's a song for ya:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhNP5...eature=related
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2011, 12:14 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
Hey, this has morphed into a music thread. Take your authoritarian anti-freedom hate back to your dead thread. Here's a song for ya:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhNP5...eature=related
LOL! First I've heard of this. Can't wait.
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2011, 12:13 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by operative View Post
Thugs and morons, practicing the politics of intimidation and (in the case of the MIA democrats) cowardice.

Cheers to the left showing what it really is.
Wow. A little work stoppage and protest marching in response to a know-nothing teabagger trying to roll labor relations back to the nineteenth century and immediately it's "thugs and morons."

But of course ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by operative View Post
Hopefully this will be Armageddon for the teacher's unions. Time to crush them for good.
... violent, eliminationist rhetoric is seen by the operative as perfectly acceptable, when directed at those he does not agree with.

Cheers to the full metal wingnut for showing what he really is.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2011, 03:41 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Wow. A little work stoppage and protest marching in response to a know-nothing teabagger trying to roll labor relations back to the nineteenth century and immediately it's "thugs and morons."
Yes, it is thugs--the people who are showing up at the homes of lawmakers. And it is morons--the college kids who don't even know why they're there.


Quote:
... violent, eliminationist rhetoric is seen by the operative as perfectly acceptable, when directed at those he does not agree with.
There's nothing violent about it. Teacher's unions have been a disaster for the American education system and it's time to destroy the public-sector unions. The unions are trying to hold the state hostage and in doing so, they're showing themselves to be exactly the sort of legalized mobsters that conservatives have long recognized them to be.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2011, 12:40 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by operative View Post
Thugs and morons, practicing the politics of intimidation and (in the case of the MIA democrats) cowardice.

Cheers to the left showing what it really is.
Of course. Peaceful protests against Scott Walker's transparently partisan union-busting constitute "the politics of intimidation." Spare me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by operative View Post
Hopefully this will be Armageddon for the teacher's unions. Time to crush them for good.
Way to stick it to the man, dude. I can hardly think of a more malevolent political force than midwestern public schoolteachers. Bear in mind that when you start talking about public employees in Wisconsin, I think of Marge Gunderson.
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2011, 12:50 AM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Of course. Peaceful protests against Scott Walker's transparently partisan union-busting constitute "the politics of intimidation." Spare me.



Way to stick it to the man, dude. I can hardly think of a more malevolent political force than midwestern public schoolteachers. Bear in mind that when you start talking about public employees in Wisconsin, I think of Marge Gunderson.
See, when I think of the police force from "Fargo" I think of Marge's partner Lou, who failed to ascertain that DLR meant dealer plates. "Not sure I agree with your police work there, Lou." And Marge Gunderson was from Minnesota, by the way!
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  #11  
Old 02-18-2011, 01:09 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
See, when I think of the police force from "Fargo" I think of Marge's partner Lou, who failed to ascertain that DLR meant dealer plates. "Not sure I agree with your police work there, Lou." And Marge Gunderson was from Minnesota, by the way!
I know, I know. But come on, I'm from North Carolina. It's all cold up there and the people all say "bag" wrong. I can't be expected to make fine distinctions between Midwesterners when it would prevent me from making such a fun movie reference. And if any Midwesterns are at all bothered by this, I invite you to compare my intelligence unfavorably with a sack of hammers.

Last edited by Don Zeko; 02-18-2011 at 01:29 AM..
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  #12  
Old 02-18-2011, 02:14 AM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
I know, I know. But come on, I'm from North Carolina. It's all cold up there and the people all say "bag" wrong. I can't be expected to make fine distinctions between Midwesterners when it would prevent me from making such a fun movie reference. And if any Midwesterns are at all bothered by this, I invite you to compare my intelligence unfavorably with a sack of hammers.
Even if you got the state wrong, Fargo references are always welcome. Fargo is one of the best movies of all time.
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:40 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
I know, I know. But come on, I'm from North Carolina. It's all cold up there and the people all say "bag" wrong. I can't be expected to make fine distinctions between Midwesterners when it would prevent me from making such a fun movie reference. And if any Midwesterns are at all bothered by this, I invite you to compare my intelligence unfavorably with a sack of hammers.
You mean "bag," don't you? (Pronounced "bayg" in the Upper Midwest style...)

On a side note, I'm wondering, Zeke, what you think of the Democratic legislators in Wisconsin resorting to fleeing the state to avoid a losing vote on the public union bill. Is that not similar to the abuse of procedure that you see in the U.S. Senate minority's frequent resort to the filibuster? Just asking.
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Last edited by rfrobison; 02-19-2011 at 08:48 PM.. Reason: punctuation
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:47 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
On a side note, I'm wondering, Zeke, what you think of the Democratic legislators in Wisconsin resorting to fleeing the state to avoid a losing vote on the public union bill. Is that not similar to the abuse of procedure that you see in the U.S. Senate minority's frequent resort to the filibuster? Just asking.
I for one am wondering why you're equating once with "frequent."
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:47 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
You mean "bag" don't you? (Pronounced "bayg" in the Upper Midwest style...)

On a side note, I'm wondering, Zeke, what you think of the Democratic legislators in Wisconsin resorting to fleeing the state to avoid a losing vote on the public union bill. Is that not similar to the abuse of procedure that you see in the U.S. Senate minority's frequent resort to the filibuster? Just asking.
How many times have the Democratic legislators done that?
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  #16  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:52 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
How many times have the Democratic legislators done that?
Jinx!
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  #17  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
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  #18  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:58 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
How many times have the Democratic legislators done that?
Hey guys (BJ & Ocean):

The answer that springs to mind is: twice in recent memory. You may recall Democratic members of the statehouse in Texas sitting it out in Oklahoma for a while to avoid an unfavorable redistricting vote.

And while twice is not frequent, I'll grant, the principle is the same. I addressed my question to Zeko specifically because I remember him calling frequently for reforming or scrapping the filibuster rule.

I don't really have strong feelings on it either way, but wanted to hear whether he thinks procedural dodges are just as condemnable when it's his side that's using them. My own view is that in this instance the Democrats are probably hurting their own standing with voters more than helping, but I'll admit I'm probably biased.
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  #19  
Old 02-19-2011, 09:10 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Hey guys (BJ & Ocean):

The answer that springs to mind is: twice in recent memory. You may recall Democratic members of the statehouse in Texas sitting it out in Oklahoma for a while to avoid an unfavorable redistricting vote.
Well, it's a stretch, since that was eight years ago, but yes, I guess my memory can handle that.

Okay, at this rate, Dem walkouts will match the number of Republican filibusters in the last Congress alone by when, about the year 2400?

Quote:
And while twice is not frequent, I'll grant, the principle is the same.
I doubt anyone with a lick of sense has a problem with the principle of a minority party doing what it can to put the brakes on when it feels like the majority is doing something horribly wrong. I certainly don't. But there is quite a difference between approving of the principle of breaking glass in case of emergency and pulling the handle every damn vote.
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  #20  
Old 02-19-2011, 09:13 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Well, it's a stretch, since that was eight years ago, but yes, I guess my memory can handle that.

Okay, at this rate, Dem walkouts will match the number of Republican filibusters in the last Congress alone by when, about the year 2400?

I doubt anyone with a lick of sense has a problem with the principle of a minority party doing what it can to put the brakes on when it feels like the majority is doing something horribly wrong. I certainly don't. But there is quite a difference between approving of the principle of breaking glass in case of emergency and pulling the handle every damn vote.

Okay, what if we coordinate this from now on? Your turn starts now. I'll give my keyboard a rest.
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  #21  
Old 02-20-2011, 03:15 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I doubt anyone with a lick of sense has a problem with the principle of a minority party doing what it can to put the brakes on when it feels like the majority is doing something horribly wrong. I certainly don't. But there is quite a difference between approving of the principle of breaking glass in case of emergency and pulling the handle every damn vote.
Reminds me of the old joke about the guy who takes a flask of whiskey from his pocket. When he gets a concerned look from his friend he says, "This is only for emergencies...Fortunately, there's a constant state of emergency!"

In all honesty, I'm fairly sympathetic to Zeko's call for filibuster reform in the Senate. The good governance fan in me overcomes the partisan in me. I'd be more excited about it if I had less of a sense that most political activists on both sides use calls for reform to press a temporary political advantage; the minute the seesaw tips the other way, they suddenly lose their zeal. Cf entitlement/fiscal reform.

As I said before, I'm sort of agnostic on these procedural gimmicks. We'll see how the tussle in Wisconsin plays out, but I have a feeling its a loser for the Dems.

On the other hand, I'd be the first to admit I'm not that well informed (or interested) in the ceaseless "who's on top?" that seems to define U.S. politics these days.
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Last edited by rfrobison; 02-20-2011 at 11:23 AM.. Reason: deleted extraneous "the"
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  #22  
Old 02-20-2011, 06:39 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Reminds me of the old joke about the guy who takes a flask of whiskey from his pocket. When he gets a concerned look from his friend he says, "This is only for emergencies...Fortunately, there's a constant state of emergency!"

In all honesty, I'm fairly sympathetic to Zeko's call for filibuster reform in the Senate. The good governance fan in me overcomes the partisan in me. I'd be more excited about it if I had less of a sense that most political activists on both sides use calls for reform to press a temporary political advantage; the minute the seesaw tips the other way, they suddenly lose their zeal. Cf entitlement/fiscal reform.
Be advised that Zeke is far from the only one calling for filibuster reform, and also that many (including me) have advocated it even when their side was in the minority. At minimum, I'd like to see a return to the requirement that a filibuster actually mean filibuster -- someone from the filibustering bloc should have to be up there, at the podium, non-stop. I have a feeling those C-SPAN cameras would do a lot to inform the casual voter about who's the pimple on the ass of progress, and hence, would mean a healthy sense of discretion would develop.

I also think anonymous holds should be done away with, completely, whether they're on bills or presidential nominees.

Quote:
As I said before, I'm sort of agnostic on these procedural gimmicks. We'll see how the tussle in Wisconsin plays out, but I have a feeling its a loser for the Dems.
I wouldn't care to bet. Zeke's fine post puts well what I'm vaguely thinking: probably the Wisconsin Dems can't win with procedural trickery alone, but I am encouraged at how much attention they've managed to draw, and I think this will pay some longer-term dividends, both state- and nationwide.

Quote:
On the other hand, I'd be the first to admit the I'm not that well informed (or interested) in the ceaseless "who's on top?" that seems to define U.S. politics these days.
It can be a tiresome business, I agree. On the other hand, I also believe that without some of us staying on top of it, we could well wake up one day and find things have been completely sold down the river. Eternal vigilance is the price, as has been said.
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  #23  
Old 02-20-2011, 05:36 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Be advised that Zeke is far from the only one calling for filibuster reform, and also that many (including me) have advocated it even when their side was in the minority. At minimum, I'd like to see a return to the requirement that a filibuster actually mean filibuster -- someone from the filibustering bloc should have to be up there, at the podium, non-stop. I have a feeling those C-SPAN cameras would do a lot to inform the casual voter about who's the pimple on the ass of progress, and hence, would mean a healthy sense of discretion would develop.

I also think anonymous holds should be done away with, completely, whether they're on bills or presidential nominees.



I wouldn't care to bet. Zeke's fine post puts well what I'm vaguely thinking: probably the Wisconsin Dems can't win with procedural trickery alone, but I am encouraged at how much attention they've managed to draw, and I think this will pay some longer-term dividends, both state- and nationwide.



It can be a tiresome business, I agree. On the other hand, I also believe that without some of us staying on top of it, we could well wake up one day and find things have been completely sold down the river. Eternal vigilance is the price, as has been said.
Funny how obstructionism becomes a virtue when it's your side doing it, eh?
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  #24  
Old 02-20-2011, 07:12 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
Funny how obstructionism becomes a virtue when it's your side doing it, eh?
Remember what I said about doubting you were competent to judge coherent thought? I think what you said here, in response to what I wrote, illustrates my doubt quite well.

In fact, I don't even think you can read. I think all you can do is scan for trigger words and then select canned responses.

Pretty sad, even for a lowly operative.
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  #25  
Old 02-20-2011, 07:19 PM
Not4Navigation
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Remember what I said about doubting you were competent to judge coherent thought? I think what you said here, in response to what I wrote, illustrates my doubt quite well.

In fact, I don't even think you can read. I think all you can do is scan for trigger words and then select canned responses.

Pretty sad, even for a lowly operative.
I think you just described the recent Jeopardy winner.
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  #26  
Old 02-20-2011, 07:20 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by Not4Navigation View Post
I think you just described the recent Jeopardy winner.
Given your level of 'puter skillz, 'fur, I'm not surprised you were impressed with that.
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  #27  
Old 02-20-2011, 07:33 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Remember what I said about doubting you were competent to judge coherent thought? I think what you said here, in response to what I wrote, illustrates my doubt quite well.

In fact, I don't even think you can read. I think all you can do is scan for trigger words and then select canned responses.

Pretty sad, even for a lowly operative.
"but I am encouraged at how much attention they've managed to draw, and I think this will pay some longer-term dividends, both state- and nationwide."

Moron.
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  #28  
Old 02-20-2011, 07:41 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by operative View Post
"but I am encouraged at how much attention they've managed to draw, and I think this will pay some longer-term dividends, both state- and nationwide."

Moron.
In fact, I don't even think you can read. I think all you can do is scan for trigger words and then select canned responses.

Pretty sad, even for a lowly operative.
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  #29  
Old 02-20-2011, 08:37 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
In fact, I don't even think you can read. I think all you can do is scan for trigger words and then select canned responses.

Pretty sad, even for a lowly operative.
BJ, by now it is well established that you are incapable of serious discussion and instead opt for a tired, predictable parade of garbage responses. I think that you are aware of your hypocrisy and simply do not care. That certainly won't stop me from pointing it out.
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  #30  
Old 02-20-2011, 09:29 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
.. by now it is well established that you are incapable of serious discussion and instead opt for a tired, predictable parade of garbage responses ...
It's your credibility that's in question, just you, no one else. Thug!
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  #31  
Old 02-21-2011, 09:08 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
BJ, by now it is well established that you are incapable of serious discussion ...
It's fascinating how self-centered you are. The reality is this: I am uninterested in wasting time trying to have a serious discussion with you.

If you weren't so locked into your little mission, you'd be able to see that, by looking at my responses to non-wingnuts.

Since you are, sadly, that locked in, however, you may now return to furiously filling your daily quota for typing the word THUG!!!1!
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  #32  
Old 02-21-2011, 06:37 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
If you weren't so locked into your little mission, you'd be able to see that, by looking at my responses to non-wingnuts.
Keep telling yourself that, dear child.


Quote:
Since you are, sadly, that locked in, however, you may now return to furiously filling your daily quota for typing the word THUG!!!1!
There are plenty more apt terms for you.
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  #33  
Old 02-19-2011, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Hey guys (BJ & Ocean):

The answer that springs to mind is: twice in recent memory. You may recall Democratic members of the statehouse in Texas sitting it out in Oklahoma for a while to avoid an unfavorable redistricting vote.

And while twice is not frequent, I'll grant, the principle is the same. I addressed my question to Zeko specifically because I remember him calling frequently for reforming or scrapping the filibuster rule.

I don't really have strong feelings on it either way, but wanted to hear whether he thinks procedural dodges are just as condemnable when it's his side that's using them. My own view is that in this instance the Democrats are probably hurting their own standing with voters more than helping, but I'll admit I'm probably biased.
If at every turn, the Dems were trying every possible trick to sabotage the normal flow of government, I could agree with you. But comparing isolated instances to two years of consistently blocking everything the Dems tried to do, doesn't seem to make sense.
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  #34  
Old 02-19-2011, 11:04 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
You mean "bag," don't you? (Pronounced "bayg" in the Upper Midwest style...)

On a side note, I'm wondering, Zeke, what you think of the Democratic legislators in Wisconsin resorting to fleeing the state to avoid a losing vote on the public union bill. Is that not similar to the abuse of procedure that you see in the U.S. Senate minority's frequent resort to the filibuster? Just asking.
I certainly won't fault you for making this comparison, but I think that you need to consider how this stunt works and how the filibuster works. With the filibuster, there is a rule on the books that says that a bill that can't get 60 votes for cloture can't come up for a vote at all. So if Wisconsin had the Senate's rules, then the bill would have failed to get cloture and would never have come up for a vote. The press probably wouldn't have even identified the Democrats as the reason for the bill's failure, the Democrats that voted against it would be able to claim that they didn't really vote against it, and they would also be able to do this again on every other bill that Walker pushes. The filibuster is actually a 60-vote requirement on everything - well, it's actually even worse than that. Because you have to set aside a certain amount of time for debate even after you win a cloture vote, a tiny minority or even a single Senator can take up time on the Senate calender, which is a very finite resource. This is why we have the practice of holds on nominees in the Senate.

Instead, they did something that isn't in the rules. There's a reason that the Wisconsin Democrats are hiding out somewhere in Illinois: the Wisconsin police are looking for them and will bring them back to the state house by force if they find them. They aren't doing this because they think it will stop the bill; they are doing it in order to slow the bill down and draw attention to the issue, in hopes that the delay and the teachers unions' protest will erode support for the bill and allow them to defeat it when they come out of hidint. This changes the dynamic quite a bit. For one, it means that they can't do this forever. Eventually they will have to come back and vote, and if nothing changes, they will lose. It also requires that the Democrats share a very strong objection to the bill. Legislators aren't going to hide out from the cops to stop a nomination for an undersecretary of the treasury; they will withhold unanimous consent.

So what we're looking at has a lot more in common with Strom Thurmond's anti-Civil Rights filibuster than it does with the modern filibuster. It's a way for the minority to express it's very strong objections to the majority's policy, in hopes that the political spectacle will change the politics of the issue and allow them to eventually win a vote. It can't be used routinely, it can't be used on minor issues, and it doesn't prevent an eventual up-or-down vote with majority rule. If the filibuster worked like this, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Wisconsin's state legislature isn't already horribly anti-democratic in the way it apportions seats, unlike the US Senate.

Last edited by Don Zeko; 02-19-2011 at 11:07 PM..
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  #35  
Old 02-19-2011, 11:09 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
I certainly won't fault you for making this comparison, but I think that you need to consider how this stunt works and how the filibuster works. With the filibuster, there is a rule on the books that says that a bill that can't get 60 votes for cloture can't come up for a vote at all. So if Wisconsin had the Senate's rules, then the bill would have failed to get cloture and would never have come up for a vote. The press probably wouldn't have even identified the Democrats as the reason for the bill's failure, the Democrats that voted against it would be able to claim that they didn't really vote against it, and they would also be able to do this again on every other bill that Walker pushes. The filibuster is actually a 60-vote requirement on everything - well, it's actually even worse than that. Because you have to set aside a certain amount of time for debate even after you win a cloture vote, a tiny minority or even a single Senator can take up time on the Senate calender, which is a very finite resource. This is why we have the practice of holds on nominees in the Senate.

Instead, they did something that isn't in the rules. There's a reason that the Wisconsin Democrats are hiding out somewhere in Illinois: the Wisconsin police are looking for them and will bring them back to the state house by force if they find them. They aren't doing this because they think it will stop the bill; they are doing it in order to slow the bill down and draw attention to the issue, in hopes that the delay and the teachers unions' protest will erode support for the bill and allow them to defeat it when they come out of hidint. This changes the dynamic quite a bit. For one, it means that they can't do this forever. Eventually they will have to come back and vote, and if nothing changes, they will lose. It also requires that the Democrats share a very strong objection to the bill. Legislators aren't going to hide out from the cops to stop a nomination for an undersecretary of the treasury; they will withhold unanimous consent.

So what we're looking at has a lot more in common with Strom Thurmond's anti-Civil Rights filibuster than it does with the modern filibuster. It's a way for the minority to express it's very strong objections to the majority's policy, in hopes that the political spectacle will change the politics of the issue and allow them to eventually win a vote. It can't be used routinely, it can't be used on minor issues, and it doesn't prevent an eventual up-or-down vote with majority rule. If the filibuster worked like this, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Wisconsin's state legislature isn't already horribly anti-democratic in the way it apportions seats, unlike the US Senate.
That was first-rate analysis, Zeko. Nicely said.
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  #36  
Old 02-20-2011, 03:46 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
I certainly won't fault you for making this comparison, but I think that you need to consider how this stunt works and how the filibuster works. With the filibuster, there is a rule on the books that says that a bill that can't get 60 votes for cloture can't come up for a vote at all. So if Wisconsin had the Senate's rules, then the bill would have failed to get cloture and would never have come up for a vote. The press probably wouldn't have even identified the Democrats as the reason for the bill's failure, the Democrats that voted against it would be able to claim that they didn't really vote against it, and they would also be able to do this again on every other bill that Walker pushes. The filibuster is actually a 60-vote requirement on everything - well, it's actually even worse than that. Because you have to set aside a certain amount of time for debate even after you win a cloture vote, a tiny minority or even a single Senator can take up time on the Senate calender, which is a very finite resource. This is why we have the practice of holds on nominees in the Senate.

Instead, they did something that isn't in the rules. There's a reason that the Wisconsin Democrats are hiding out somewhere in Illinois: the Wisconsin police are looking for them and will bring them back to the state house by force if they find them. They aren't doing this because they think it will stop the bill; they are doing it in order to slow the bill down and draw attention to the issue, in hopes that the delay and the teachers unions' protest will erode support for the bill and allow them to defeat it when they come out of hidint. This changes the dynamic quite a bit. For one, it means that they can't do this forever. Eventually they will have to come back and vote, and if nothing changes, they will lose. It also requires that the Democrats share a very strong objection to the bill. Legislators aren't going to hide out from the cops to stop a nomination for an undersecretary of the treasury; they will withhold unanimous consent.

So what we're looking at has a lot more in common with Strom Thurmond's anti-Civil Rights filibuster than it does with the modern filibuster. It's a way for the minority to express it's very strong objections to the majority's policy, in hopes that the political spectacle will change the politics of the issue and allow them to eventually win a vote. It can't be used routinely, it can't be used on minor issues, and it doesn't prevent an eventual up-or-down vote with majority rule. If the filibuster worked like this, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Wisconsin's state legislature isn't already horribly anti-democratic in the way it apportions seats, unlike the US Senate.
I have to agree (reluctantly?) with Jeff: You've obviously thought a great deal about this issue (and a great deal more than I — the minutiae of parliamentary procedure make my eyes glaze over). It's hard to argue with your interpretation of events in Wisconsin and, as I said in an earlier post to BJ, I'm generally sympathetic to your position vis-a-vis the filibuster.

I'm much less enthusiastic about your idea of reapportioning seats in the Senate, however. Aside from the fact that any reapportionment (to give states with larger populations more seats, presumably) would require a constitutional amendment and thus have no chance of ever passing, it seems to me that if one is to have an upper house of the legislature whose purpose is to be the more deliberative, slow-moving body, any move to reapportion seats would simply duplicate what we have in the House. In that instance, why not save the taxpayers a fair chunk of change and simply switch to a unicameral legislature?

And then there's the problem of running roughshod over the interests of people who live in less populous parts of the country. One often hears complaints (mainly from Democrats, these days, because they do better in heavily urbanized states) that the Senate has too much power and is unrepresentative of the country, but, well, no system is perfect and balancing majority vs. minority interests is always difficult in a democratic system.

Consider, if you will, gerrymandering crazily shaped congressional districts to ensure that racial minorities, especially blacks, have significant representation in Congress. This has the unintended consequence of making for greater polarization because carving out "safe" seats for very liberal majority-black districts also means carving out safe, whiter, conservative ones as well (which, in turn, leads to more and more frequent recourse to questionable procedural tricks like the filibuster). That's something that I'd like to think has outlived its usefulness, too, but I don't expect it to change anytime soon, if ever.
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Last edited by rfrobison; 02-20-2011 at 05:20 AM.. Reason: white>>whiter; punctuation; missing "and"
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:23 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

There aren't any easy answers to these things, and I suspect you're already aware of what I'm about to say, but just in case not, two reminders.

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
And then there's the problem of running roughshod over the interests of people who live in less populous parts of the country. One often hears complaints (mainly from Democrats, these days, because they do better in heavily urbanized states) that the Senate has too much power and is unrepresentative of the country, but, well, no system is perfect and balancing majority vs. minority interests is always difficult in a democratic system.
What about the problem of a disproportionately small fraction of the population being able to run roughshod over a much larger one? I mean, we're talking about a few thousand people in Wyoming essentially canceling out a few million in California. (Or a few thousand in Vermont canceling out a few million in Texas, if you prefer.) This seems like a real violation of the greater good for the greatest number principle.

Quote:
Consider, if you will, gerrymandering crazily shaped congressional districts to ensure that racial minorities, especially blacks, have significant representation in Congress. This has the unintended consequence of making for greater polarization because carving out "safe" seats for very liberal majority-black districts also means carving out safe, whiter, conservative ones as well ...
It has also had the effect of keeping minorities/districts with large minority populations under-represented in the House. I've gone on at length about this before, but the short version is that gerrymandering has also been used to create, say, "the one black seat" or "the one Latino seat" while keeping most or all the other districts in a state lily-white, with the result that a state with X% of a minority population ends up with no chance for more than 0.5*X% or 0.333*X% or 0.25*X% representation.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:50 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
I have to agree (reluctantly?) with Jeff: You've obviously thought a great deal about this issue (and a great deal more than I — the minutiae of parliamentary procedure make my eyes glaze over). It's hard to argue with your interpretation of events in Wisconsin and, as I said in an earlier post to BJ, I'm generally sympathetic to your position vis-a-vis the filibuster.
Thanks.

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
I'm much less enthusiastic about your idea of reapportioning seats in the Senate, however. Aside from the fact that any reapportionment (to give states with larger populations more seats, presumably) would require a constitutional amendment and thus have no chance of ever passing...
Oh, I agree. Senate reapportionment is never going to happen.

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it seems to me that if one is to have an upper house of the legislature whose purpose is to be the more deliberative, slow-moving body, any move to reapportion seats would simply duplicate what we have in the House. In that instance, why not save the taxpayers a fair chunk of change and simply switch to a unicameral legislature?
If Senators represented districts 4 or 5 times as large as House districts for 6 year terms on a rotating schedule that were all roughly equal in population, you'd have all the fun Federalist Papers benefits without the overrepresentation and underrepresentation. Reapportionment after the census would be a bit tricky, however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
And then there's the problem of running roughshod over the interests of people who live in less populous parts of the country. One often hears complaints (mainly from Democrats, these days, because they do better in heavily urbanized states) that the Senate has too much power and is unrepresentative of the country, but, well, no system is perfect and balancing majority vs. minority interests is always difficult in a democratic system.
For one, the Senate doesn't over-represent low-population parts of the country; it over-represents people that live in smaller anachronistic governmental sub-units. Everyone thinks about California vs. Wyoming, but the Senate also means that someone living in Manhattan has much less say in the Senate than someone that lives across the Hudson in New Jersey. Or, to pick another example, someone that lives in Bethesda and commutes to work in DC has a bigger say that someone who commutes to DC from Arlington, and both of them have an infinitely bigger say than their co-workers that actually live in the District. There's just no principled argument for this. It's a historical accident that continues through pure status quo bias.

In practice the Senate does over-represent rural Plains states, but this is also a historical accident, not the result of some plan by the founders to favor the interests of farmers over city-dwellers. And besides, why should we over-represent the rural parts of the country in the first place? What makes them different from any other minority? The Senate doesn't prevent majority tyranny in any generalized way. It gives incredibly powerful resources to a specific minority that has been chosen essentially arbitrarily, and does nothing to prevent people that constitute a minority of the rural-urban divide from being a part of majorities that run roughshod over minorities that aren't protected by the Senate's structure.
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  #39  
Old 02-20-2011, 01:22 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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[...]
A good post over at LGM on these topics.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:43 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: Hello Wisconsin

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Of course. Peaceful protests against Scott Walker's transparently partisan union-busting constitute "the politics of intimidation." Spare me.
What else would you call thugs who show up at lawmakers' homes?

Quote:

Way to stick it to the man, dude. I can hardly think of a more malevolent political force than midwestern public schoolteachers. Bear in mind that when you start talking about public employees in Wisconsin, I think of Marge Gunderson.
Teachers unions exist to keep bad teachers in jobs and prevent good teachers from being paid better. They're a cancer on society. We need plenty of changes in our education system--longer school days, longer school years. And a demolishing of the teachers unions.
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