Friday, April 18, 2014

BREAKING: Vos Gets Teabagged - Doesn't Like Taste Of Balls

Guess what? Robin Vos isn't conservative enough for some Republicans and they're running a primary candidate against him.

Score one for the "Know-Nothings."

Libertarian wingamaroon, Bryn Biemeck, of Mount Pleasant announced yesterday she intends to run against Little Lord Pops-the-Corn from the right. The right.

Biemeck is married and works for Johnson Bank, is running mainly on the platform of repealing Common Core standards in Wisconsin public schools.

Naturally, Biemeck has no children, which makes her preeminently qualified to decide whether or not there should be consistent education standards from state to state which use federal monies. Biemeck thinks states should govern themselves...garbble blargh squawler blag.

Biemeck also believes that Wisconsin should do away with state income tax all together.

(Get this: Vos believes in lower taxes, Biemeck believes in NO taxes - check! Your move, Vossy.)

Biemeck is supportive of the fringy GOP movement to secede from the United States. While dumb and laughable, a bunch of conservatives are very excited about the idea. It's going to fun to watch Vossy carefully thread the needle of not pissing off the folks at the very right edge of the right wing movement.

He can't very well come out and say she's nuts. Why? Two words: Ted Cruz. Sometimes, the fringe actually gets lucky in electing one of their own.

Vos said he "was surprised to see a challenge from the right." Oh yeah, he is. He really is.

This just made our week. What will be interesting is to see if Biemeck calls Vos out on some of the issues that both sides agree on - the sleazy secrecy agreements, withholding documents on redistricting and our very favorite: installing a spiral staircase in his office to the one upstairs at the Capitol, so he doesn't have to go out in the public hallway.

If she is smart, she will. She could also just be a plant by the teabillies to move Vossy even farther to the right than he already is. Time will tell and watching it is going to be fun. Cheers ya'll.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Welcome To Wisconsin: Now Made In Georgia

The annals of "WTF?" in the Walker Administration are extensive for such a brief administration, but a new chapter has been written this week that deserves special notice.

The blue highway signs, so pervasive across the state, have been maintained for 28 years by the Derse-Wisconsin Highway Business Sign Company out of Milwaukee. Derse used to make signs in Racine for a awhile, but moved to Chicago in the late nineties. Since then, they have expanded to several states and built a facility in Milwaukee.

Earlier in the year, chatter began indicating Derse might lose its contract to out of state competitors.

Odd. With job loss draining away in Wisconsin, who would be stupid enough to end a contract with a Wisconsin company that maintains Wisconsin highway signs and award the contract to a company in Georgia?

You know the answer kids. Scott Walker, that's who!

Now get this: The company, Lamar Advertising, which is based in Louisiana, offered to to keep the price for sign maintenance literally the same as Derse by farming it out to one of their subsidiaries in Georgia. Except Derse offered to do the job for less than they ever had - which would have meant a sizable price decrease for the businesses that advertise on them.

The contract is good for 10 years.

According to the Journal Sentinel, on the contract scoring tally, Derse came in just a mere 22 points behind Lamar out of a possible thousand points. (For the record, we'd like to see that tally list which doesn't award a contract to a Wisconsin based company, who has done the job for more than two decades and is willing to do it for less money.)

Is Derse not on the right side of the political tracks? Well, no. Employees of Derse have forked over more than $45,000 to state Republicans over the years - but Jim Derse is dead and he made the lion share of contributions.

Guess who started making political contributions to Scott Walker around recall season? The folks at Lamar Advertising. Lamar has busted out over $1 million dollars in political contributions over the last decade - and that's the kind of cash Walker has developed a taste for.

Derse doesn't even score a single hit at Open Secrets.

The Siren is going to make a suggestion to Mary Burke: Start talking about it. Loud and repeatedly.

People are busy, people are dumb. They don't understand BLS reports and they don't care if people get kicked off Badgercare (as long as it isn't them). THIS they understand. All you have to say is:


It even fits a Tweet. This is NOT how you run a business or a state.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Teabilly Tax Day Rallies In Wisconsin - But Scott Walker Is Running Again!

Scott Walker decided to announce his re-election campaign on April 15th - Tax Day. Interesting choice, no doubt the campaign wants to cash in on their bullshit rhetoric of having lower taxes...$13 worth, whoopie. The Siren's taxes have stayed the same - too bad our property value is in the crapper. Of course, if you got an earned income credit or a homestead tax credit, then you are paying more taxes, aren't you?

So April 15th, is a very interesting choice.

Oh well, the teabillies didn't have anything planned anyway. Nope, not a rally planned anywhere. Isn't that supposed to be their thing?

So, Walker opened his campaign by taking no questions, not mentioning that Wisconsin ranks 35th in job growth, down from 11th when he took office. New businesses lagging behind the nation - as a whole - and a whole lotta recent layoffs - Oh, and it was at an invitation only event.

But, Scott Walker wants you to know, Mr. John Q. Public, that Wisconsin is on "the right track." (BTW, he doesn't mean "right" like the opposite of "wrong," he means "right" as in Republican.)  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Racine D.A. Won't Resign, Won't be Fired & Won't Be Recalled: Here's Why

Ugh. The cringe inducing video of Racine District Attorney, Rich Chiapete, struggling through a sobriety test - clearly inebriated and the revelation of a new citation of obstructing an officer. It's ugly, embarrassing and not sitting well with everyone we've talked to.

While no one seems to think Chiapete should be locked up, after-all this is a first offense, the consensus says it's a deal breaker for the credibility of the chief prosecutor in Racine County.

We're not talking about the vile haters in the comments section - we're talking about reasonable folks who think running away, hiding in the house, lying to police officers and refusing a breathalyzer is just too "criminalish" for a D.A. to survive in his job as a public servant.

The Siren would have to agree with them.

Chiapete says he isn't going to resign. Very few do these days - no matter what they do. It's not like he texted a picture of his erect penis in his undies to some fan girl - that get's you the offer of a pink slip - but only if you're a Democrat.

However, if you're a Republican - especially in Wisconsin, you can practically try and rape a staffer, get away with it for years and get PROMOTED in the mean time.

Why would Chiapete even consider giving up his day job on the public dime?

In order for Chiapete to be fired, the State Attorney would have to act - and that would require he actually care. J.B. Van Hollen isn't running for reelection, he doesn't give a flip - he wouldn't even cooperate with the first "John Doe" investigation that indicted six people and it was his fucking job.

Scott Walker isn't going to fire Chiapete - he's not even going to say Chiapete's name. With a virtual media blackout outside S.E. Wisconsin - no one even knows this is a guy Walker first appointed to office.

Next, the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association isn't going to do anything. Chiapete's crime spree was a municipal offense - not a misdemeanor and far from a felony. No matter how bad it looks for him, the crimes are basically small-time and not really actionable as a matter of law.

So, if the chain-of-command that can actually force Chiapete out isn't going to act - what are the remaining options?

A recall? Well, that would take something like 20,000 signatures to trigger. We aren't sure about the exact number because whatever it is, it is frankly too high to even be bothered looking it up. Who's going to fund that effort? Even the people who think they have the moral ground on demanding a recall - aren't going to get enough people during an election summer to succeed. Forget about it.

Chiapete has two years left on his term - he's up for reelection in 2016 - a Presidential election year. That, my friends, is where the man is toast.

Unless Chiapete manages to save an entire family, the dog and a litter of kittens from a burning house and extinguishes the blaze with his own body sweat - he's a goner 2016.

Chiapete may get primaried by someone in his own party. You can count on the Dems to use their time wisely recruiting someone to run.

The best thing Chiapete can do for himself and the community is to say, "Hey, I'm gonna use the next two years trying to be a good D.A. and then I'm going back to the private sector." That would be classy and people might be able to live with it.

Chiapete doesn't have a great track record of making good choices - so that's probably not going to happen.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

GOPS: Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?

Bad boys, bad boys indeed.

Holy cow! Republican politicians in Wisconsin need to pace themselves.

Revealed just yesterday, an undercover videotape of Wisconsin State Senate President, Mike Ellis, plotting a completely illegal scheme to fund a political action committee to smear his Democratic opponent in the upcoming election in November.

(A plot inspired by the same playbook which the current John Doe investigation is based on: Illegal coordination between campaign operations and independent political action committees. So Ellis doesn't even get credit for creativity - it's their go-to play.)

After the video surfaced, Ellis responded that his plan was strictly hypothetical, he never acted upon it and learned the next day it was illegal anyway. All of which is a big lie. The woman who Ellis says should run the scheme for him quit his campaign moments after seeing the video, saying basically that he was a crazy bedbug and he wasn't going to ruin her career with his bullshit ideas.

The kicker? The video was made by conservatives exposing corruption within their own ranks.

The Ellis campaign fraud interlude proved interesting, but failed to steal the spotlight from Racine County District Attorney, Rich Chiapete, who got arrested last Friday night for drunk driving and hi t& run.

Residents learned today that in addition to running home after trying to kill a stoplight and maple tree with his car, he refused a breathalyzer and then a blood test (an initial on the scene - but not admissible - breathalyzer test blew at double the legal limit) and also lied to the police about his whereabouts just before the crash.

Chiapete told them he had been sleeping for the last two hours. When they reminded him they had just seen him come enter his own house and a witness saw him running from the car - he admitted to being the driver.

The police described him in the report as "semi-cooperative."

It was probably the best spin they could put on a guy who ran from the scene of a crime, hid in his house, changed his clothes and lied to them with bloody knuckles and air-bag dust all over him - in addition to being drunk.

Sorta like a typical episode of COPS, featuring moronic, drunken white trash and a lifetime of hard luck which makes it nearly impossible for them to advocate in their own defense - except this is an elected District Attorney with an MBA and a law degree.

Chiapete has stated he has no intention of resigning, even though he very well may have to start his car with a breath analyzer to get to his court dates to prosecute other drunk drivers.

Regardless of whether or not public pressure prevails in urging Chiapete to resign - he's got a reelection in 2016. Potential opponents are already being interviewed.

Another Wisconsin GOP criminal who won't resign, but says he won't run again is Bill Kramer. He heads to court on Monday - and what little we have already read about his sexual assault case from a couple years back is nauseating enough. MORE details are not going to make it better.

So far, NO ONE from the GOP is calling for ANYONE'S resignation, naturally.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Must See: Rachel Maddow Eviscerates Wisconsin GOP

Good times. What the hell is wrong with these people?


Facebook Unfriended Us Again!

The Siren (among others) has been locked in mortal combat with Facebook for nearly two years.

First, links to our posts were deemed as spam and prohibited, making sharing them from the blog impossible.

Then, they were determined to be pornographic - which would be funny if it wasn't so annoying.

Why? It's a game played by conservatives who don't find pictures of Robin Vos in a penis suit (or with teabags hanging from his tricorne hat, or as a girl riding a horse, or as David Koch's wife) as funny as we do. So they report it as spam or pornography and Facebook censures you (unlike the Wisconsin Assembly).

Tons of lefty bloggers have battled the same phenomenon over the last few years too.

In spite of pleas to Facebook by loyal readers who testified the RRS might be irreverent and sometimes downright offensive - it wasn't spam - we couldn't get reinstated. So we created a parallel blog which could be shared.

Then we created a RRS Facebook page. Take that, Zuckerberg.

Yesterday, Facebook decided we weren't a real person, locked us out and put us under review. Dislike!

So we have lost our valuable Facebook friends while we wait - but do not despair kittens - we have a new page which is a community and not a person. You can find the Siren HERE. Go there and like the page and share with your friends too.

The battle continues.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rich Chiapete's Very Bad Weekend

The Siren will never understand Wisconsin's strange relationship with drinking and driving.

It is the only state where your first DUI is a municipal offense and not a crime - one of the most lax in the entire country - which rates at the highest of alcohol related deaths among industrialized nations.

Getting your first DUI in Wisconsin is considered a "mistake." A few miles south, it is a class "A" misdemeanor.

The Siren thinks a "mistake" is wearing a black belt with brown shoes. Driving your car after having a few drinks is a crime. A selfish, dangerous crime.

Racine County District Attorney, Rich Chiapete, found himself in some serious hot water this weekend when he crashed his car into a stoplight and a tree on Main Street after attending a birthday party and consuming a few drinks.

Thank God he didn't hurt anyone. No one knows this better than perhaps Chiapete himself, who has prosecuted many drunk driving offenses in the District Attorney's office, many which included injuries and/or fatalities.

Worse for Chiapete, after he crashed his car he ran home - which is also known as a "hit & run" offense. Police found him there after they identified his car when the tree's owner called 911.

Ugh. A really dumb move.

Chiapete admitted to his crime - but only after he got caught. It doesn't appear he tried to contact police before they showed up at his house - which would have been a much better plan of action and not quite so embarrassing.

Now, the battle royale begins between people who believe he must resign and those who think he deserves a break for making a mistake - and the discussion is not cordial.

Chiapete was promoted to District Attorney through a special appointment by Scott Walker in 2012 when previous DA, Mike Nieskes, ran and lost a bid as a candidate for circuit court judge. Chiapete got his old job. A few months later he ran unopposed as a Republican. The Walker/GOP connection is leading some to wonder if there will be pressure from Madison for him to step down since the mugshots are really beginning to add up.

Chiapete's evening interlude with said stoplight and tree was his first offense in an up-to-that-moment crime free life. Folks think that deserves credit.

What is also true, the vast majority of people are never charged with a crime ever in their whole lives. It is not that hard to live a crime free life - shouldn't that be true of the District Attorney too?

Interestingly, Chiapete (like his predecessor) in the DA's office has been notoriously ambivalent about Racine County's Drug & Alcohol Court - with Racine coming in last with referrals for alternatives to prison for non-violent substance abusers (programs which are cheaper and more effective). The referrals to drug court instead of prison are begun in the District Attorney's office.

While other municipalities in Wisconsin have grown their drug courts, Racine actually had so few referrals at times, they have failed to use up the grant money already allocated to the program.

Chiapete has never issued one single U-Visa for victims of crimes or sexual trafficking - which are lawful status waivers for non-citizen victims of crime who assist law enforcement in investigating crimes - a bigger issue than you might imagine.

Ten thousand U-Visas are awarded each year in the United States. Law enforcement in La Crosse, WI have been on the forefront in advocating for them because they understand effective community policing can be accomplished only when people cooperate and help the police and prosecutors.

Getting undocumented residents to report and testify in crimes is very difficult - especially if it means getting deported. Women who are victims of domestic violence risk losing their family and therefore often fail to report crimes against themselves and their children.

Kenosha and Milwaukee among many Wisconsin communities award them - but not Chiapete - not in Racine.

On top of that, Wisconsin remains number one in African American men incarcerated in the entire nation - a statistic Chiapete has helped to inflate with a prison cost to taxpayers twice that our neighbor, Minnesota.

So, while one can debate the circumstances and potential forgiveness of Rich Chiapete's lapse in judgement that permitted him to drive his car while intoxicated, destroy public and private property and then flee the scene of his crime - we find Chiapete's own professional lack of circumstantial forgiveness somewhat lacking.

Were Wisconsin's DUI laws even relatively on par with other states and Mr. Chiapete to face prison time for his crime, he would be the perfect candidate for drug court instead of incarceration - if only there were not a District Attorney Chiapete who wouldn't bother referring him to it in the first place.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Today's Disappearing Post

The post that appeared this morning has been reverted to a draft and will appear again at a later date. While it is unusual - after 1,300 individual posts - the Siren has never taken down a post. We have decided to delay our thoughts and see how we feel about it in a few days.

In the mean time...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Call Out The Racine Journal On Ignorant AFP Endorsement

The day after 13 Wisconsin communities voted overwhelmingly to repeal Citizens United, the Racine Journal Times issued an endorsement of the Koch brothers political organization, Americans for Prosperity, and their interference in the Kenosha School Board election. No wonder their readership sucks.