The Walker Factor

I consider myself to be from Wisconsin. My family moved to Madison in 1970. They’re still there.

I skipped my usual summer trip back home this year. In fact, I haven’t been back to Wisconsin since right-wing nut-case Gov. Scott Walker took office on January 3 of 2010. And this past week, Kathy and I decided we would not head back to the Midwest for Christmas.

It isn’t, exactly, that I am boycotting the state (and definitely not boycotting my family). But when I go to Wisconsin, I do my Christmas shopping there, rent a car, go out to eat with friends and family, and buy lots of groceries and stuff—that is, I contribute to the economy of Wisconsin.

This year the revenue will go to Washington; because, with a nearly balancing set of trade-offs for and against a trip home, the Walker Factor has tipped the scale in favor of not going. It’s a protest more than a boycott—my small way of saying, “fuck you, Gov. Walker, for trying to turn Wisconsin into a Republican wasteland.”

It looks like my protest can come to a satisfactory end soon:

Activists pushing to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) announced on Monday evening that they have collected more than 300,000 signatures for the effort in just 12 days.

To trigger a recall election, Walker’s opponents—coordinated by the group United Wisconsin—need to collect 540,208 valid signatures by Jan. 17, which is 60 days after the campaign launched. Organizers said they are aiming for 600,000 to 700,000 signatures.

I sense some anger towards Walker.

How are Republicans responding? As you might expect. With violence. You know, vandalism, threats of vehicular assault, destroying petitions (here and here)…the usual. And the fun has just begun.

I’m already making plans for a summer trip back home.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m pretty sure Walker is already talking to his fatcat corporate sponsors about what he’ll do after politics.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Also on Saturday, a driver deliberately backed his vehicle toward people collecting signatures outside All Sports Pub, 3458 Rapids Drive, Gallaher said.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Sure seems like the kind of place where a Republican crowd would hang out, doesn’t it?

  3. 3

    jennifer fox is a stupid lying bitch spews:


    I’m not sure if you could sound like more of an idiot if you tried.

  4. 4


    Say hello to the crazy KLOWN when you’re over there in a WI liberated from corporate (ALEC) / plutocrat (Koch) tyranny.

  5. 5

    proud leftist spews:

    Bravo, Darryl. I employ the same boycott strategy when I drive through places like Lewis County or Idaho. I’ll stop to relieve myself, but I won’t spend any money. Fuck ‘em.

  6. 6

    Zotz sez: High tonite. Low tomorrow. Precipitation is expected. spews:

    With violence. You know, vandalism, threats of vehicular assault, destroying petitions (here and here)…the usual. And the fun has just begun.

    This is who we are dealing with, people who crave this shit — of which we’re likely to get much, much more now that it turns out Newt’s the last Not Romney standing now that Cain’s out of the way (Digby on Gingrich’s rhetoric):

    “But when it comes to an overarching theory of conservative righteousness and snarling contempt for liberals, he’s the only politician in the party who can do it with the kind of panache the folks usually only get from wingnut giants like Limbaugh and Coulter. He just sounds like one of them. He’s the original Glenn Beck, but smarter and without all the Mormonism and kooky conspiracy mongering.”

    We are in for some nasty shit.

  7. 7

    Zotz sez: High tonite. Low tomorrow. Precipitation is expected. spews:

    @5: I know lots of real progressive folks in Idaho. Idaho made people people like Frank Church, a hero of mine. If I need to, I always make a point to support a mom and pop.

    Idaho’s problem is that it was overun by wingnuts “escaping” from California in the 80s and 90s.

    Something we should all be paying attention to, the winguts are actively recruiting their ilk to “retreat” to the “American Redoubt” (includes Eastern Washington). The worst of the worst are massing on our doorstep.

    The American Redoubt — Move to the Mountain States

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 A wingnut unsure of something? That’s remarkable! Usually, you guys speak with the surety of gods, i.e. you consider yourselves infallible.

    Btw, Jennifer Fox is an acclaimed documentary film producer who has won many awards. And you? Just a vulgar loudmouthed fool with no credentials except the beer can in his right hand and the wad of toilet paper in his left hand.

  9. 9

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 8: Lets’ just hope he doesn’t confuse one hand for the other. That would be, well, gross.

  10. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 Ever since Newt Gingrich’s “civil war” speech in 1988, the rightists have felt that the ends justify any means, because, you know, they’re fighting a war against liberalism:

    “The left at its core understands in a way Grant understood after Shiloh that this is a civil war, that only one side will prevail, and that the other side will be relegated to history. This war has to be fought with the scale and duration and savagery that is only true of civil wars. While we are lucky in this country that our civil wars are fought at the ballot box, not on the battlefields, nonetheless it is a civil war.”

    Well, Republicans think like that, but liberals don’t — there’s only one side in American politics that thinks politics is “civil war” and should be fought with the “savagery of civil wars.” What a sick bunch of bastards.

  11. 11

    jennifer fox is a stupid lying bitch spews:


    Current events must not be on your to do list…you just proved me wrong, because you do sound more stupid than before.

    Way to own yourself there, champ.

  12. 12

    Blue John spews:

    I know what you mean. There are some states I try to avoid. Oklahoma had such a backward stance on gays adopting kids we will never travel through that state. Our son was legally an orphan while with in Oklahoma borders, because they wouldn’t recognize gay adoptions from other states.
    The courts through that out, after a while, but get a few more conservative judges….

  13. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    While I have my Gingrich file open, I may as well post this, too:

    “‘Gingrich does have ideas,’ John Taylor wrote in Esquire. ‘Gingrich essentially is a proponent of social Darwinism, which initially took hold in the late nineteenth century — a time …. Like Gingrich, the Victorian social Darwinists worshiped entrepreneurship; they actually celebrated the unfairness of life.’

    “Newt also introduced a new style of Republicanism, based on confronting and demonizing the liberal culture that supported the big government idea. Newt understood that conservatism thrives only when it has an enemy …. No longer would the Democrats simply be opposed; they would be destroyed. …

    “Newt’s overarching strategy was to portray the differences between the two parties as at root moral, not political, laying the rhetorical groundwork for an offensive ….

    “He used certain outrageously stigmatizing language, long a hallmark of right-wing political organizing, to caricature the opposition as immoral, even evil.

    “‘People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz,’ Gingrich declared. ‘I see evil around me every day.’

    “Newt called Democrats ‘sick,’ ‘grotesque,’ ‘loony,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘corrupt,’ ‘anti-family,’ and ‘traitors.’ …

    In Esquire, Taylor concluded, ‘Gingrich offers up a history of American values in a scheme so hysterically partisan, so transparently dishonest, so willfully stupid, that it’s impossible to believe even Newt himself would expect anyone to take it seriously.’

    “But Newt did take himself seriously, as did legions of other right-wingers across the country ….”

    — David Brock, Blinded by the Right, pp. 65-66

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Nothing speaks louder than Newt Gingrich’s own words: A serial adulterer who told his party to wage politics like “civil war” and compared FDR’s New Deal to Auschwitz is now running for the GOP’s nomination for President of the United States — and he may get it. Pathetic.

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Business As Usual Dep’t

    Traveler information posted today on the American Airlines official website:

    “American Airlines is flying normal schedules and conducting business as usual worldwide. Additional information about the Chapter 11 reorganization is available at”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: When somebody’s bankrupt, they’re bankrupt, and ought to be out of business. For airlines, Chapter 11 is nothing but a revolving door they periodically go through to break their union contracts, dump their pension obligations on taxpayers, erase their customers’ frequent flyer miles, wipe out their shareholders’ equity, and stiff their creditors. And the CEO probably gets a bonus for dreaming it up.

  15. 16

    proud leftist spews:

    Zotz @ 7
    That’s some crazy, paranoid shit, but it provides another reason for me to expand my weaponry collection. Those fucks will take eastern Washington and Montana over my dead body. Why can’t they just be satisfied with Oklahoma and Utah?

  16. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Here’s what American Airlines is telling investors and creditors today:

    “What value will AMR’s common stock have in the future? Is it now worthless?”

    We don’t know.

    “Will AMR’s common stock be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange?”

    We don’t know, but if it is, you’ll still be able to buy it over the counter!

    “How will the Chapter 11 filing affect the value of AMR and American Airlines bonds?”

    We don’t know.

    Will AMR and American Airlines continue to make interest payments on its bonds?

    Hell no! Why do you think we filed for bankruptcy?

    “Will AMR continue to issue quarterly financial results? Hold quarterly investor conference calls?”

    Why do you want this stuff? Do you really want to know how your investment with us is doing? Are you some kind of weirdo?

    (Paraphrasing by Roger Rabbit)

  17. 18

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 15: During one of United Airline’s earlier bankruptcies, the CEO pleaded his case to the pilots and flight attendant’s unions, saying the company would go under and everyone would lose their jobs if the unions didn’t offer major concessions on pay and work rules. After getting the concessions, the ink was barely dry on the agreement when United’s parent organization gave huge bonuses – in tens of millions of dollars to multiple executives – as a reward for getting the union concessions and managing the company through the bankruptcy.

    Accountants quickly tabulated the savings from the concessions, subtracted the cost of the bonuses, and figured it would take seven or eight years for the savings to pay for the bonuses – perhaps as much as a decade.

    The cost in labor relations wasn’t included in the calculations. All the unions realized that they had been taken to the cleaners, every dollar they gave up went straight into the pockets of the executives. It was never about the survival of the company. The unions dug in their heals the next time the company asked for more concessions. When the unions wouldn’t yield, the company tried a tactic which nobody thought would work – they asked the bankruptcy court to void the union contract. Everyone was amazed when the court did so, and it was upheld on appeal.

  18. 19

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 17: About fifteen or twenty years ago, the American Airlines CEO said that any investment in airline stock was a waste of money. He said he wouldn’t invest in it, even in his own company.

  19. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    American Airline’s now ex-CEO, Gerard Arpey, received his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and had worked for AA continuously since then.

  20. 21

    Zotz sez: High tonite. Low tomorrow. Precipitation is expected. spews:

    @16: Me too, man. Mostly for now I’d be wary of wearing any “colors” (that obviously ID you as a “proud leftist”) if you’re in or near the back country.

    Kalispell and surrounds is a hotbed right now because of Baldwin et al, although so far they’ve been prevented from taking over elections wise (attempts at school board and county, etc.). Seeley Lake / Swan Valley has been a scary place since the 80s. I’ve found that Montana Cowgirl is a good place to stay up on their goings on in Montana.

  21. 23

    proud leftist spews:

    I spend a lot of time in Montana every year and I just don’t think the average Montanan would be very receptive to these cretins taking over. First of all, the religious right is not nearly as pervasive in Montana as it is in other right-leaning states. Montana is pretty libertarian, for the most part. I meet leftists in the strangest of places and circumstances every time I visit that fine state.

  22. 24

    Michael spews:


    The WSRP had to buy Spokane’s most recent mayoral race. Spending a little over double (not sure on the exact amounts) what Mary Vernor’s camp spent and having Vernor piss off both her base and her enemies shortly before the election they still barely won the thing. About half the Spokane city council are fairly good liberals and we’ve got more depth than they do over there. The third LD is also a good liberal voting block. Spokane’s going to be turning from purple to blue here real soon.

    I’m not up on what’s going on in Boise, but that’s got a lot of tech sector folks and outdoor life style liberals in it as well as a large portion of the state’s population.

    In Montana you’ve got lots O’ liberals in Missoula, Bozeman, and Great Falls.

    Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho are all big time welfare states. As federal spending goes down those folk not around Boise, Coeur d’Alene, and anywhere more that 20 mies from I-90 are going to suffer.

    Wyoming’s climate and soils are so poor and it’s so far from anywhere it’s never been able to support many people. Most of what it supports now is thanks to subsidies from the rest of us. Wyoming’s going to be depopulating over the next couple of decades. Look for the USPS, UPS and the like to only deliver to most of WY once or twice a week in the near future.

    James Wesley Rawles, the author of Survival Blog is just running a business, and couldn’t make it two weeks without power.

  23. 25

    Michael spews:


    From the Survival Blog article.

    Expect a long driving distances for work and shopping.

    In the snow, over crappy roads, in a 4WD that get crap gas milage with gas at $4.00 a gallon. Yeah, that’s going to happen.

    Make a clean break by selling your house and any rental properties. You aren’t coming back.

    Your home and your rentals that you’re underwater on and that no one wants!

    Get used to eating venison, elk, moose, antelope, trout, and salmon.

    Might want to cross that last one off the list.

  24. 26

    rhp6033 spews:

    Of course, it does make for some entertaining news stories about Idaho and other such places from time-to-time:

    When 28-year-old white supremacist Daren Abbey began threatening Marlon Baker at an Idaho bar and threatened to stab him because “blacks are not welcome” there, he might have read the t-shirt Baker was wearing first, the Idaho Spokesman Review reports.

    It said, “Spokane Boxing Club champion.” Baker knocked Abbey unconscious with one punch. When Abbey woke up, he was arrested and charged with malicious harassment.

    White Supremacist Picks Fight with Boxing Champ

  25. 27

    Zotz sez: High tonite. Low tomorrow. Precipitation is expected. spews:

    @25: Rawles happens to be off the grid “somewhere in N. Idaho”. Since I regularly browse SB to keep tabs on them (and despite his admonitions re “OPSEC”), I gather he’s somewhere in a box canyon in the Salmon River country.

    One thing of interest to note about Rawles’ blog is that he seldom writes anything, it’s pretty much reader input for which he runs an ongoing contest (prizes are weapons, training, freeze dried foods, etc. from the “prepper” advertisors on his site).

    I’m fascinated (like Dave Niewert) by the subculture and I think in this day and age, when the chronically indignant and paranoid can easily find each other and organize, we need to keep our eyes and ears open for trouble.

    Also note that I never made any representations as to rationality on their part…;-)

  26. 30

    Kaiser Max the First spews:


    the survival blog people might want to get a clue.

    every one of our rentals is rented – and at more than the mortgage payment…we are looking at adding another one to the portfolio in a few months.

    our house isnt upside down…although it has lost some value, but I dont care because we plan on being here a long time and it will be paid off in 7 years or so…besides, the size and quality of the property will keep the value up.

    eh, fortune favors the bold..and those with the brainpower to make wise choices.

    basement dwellers who live off the internet need not apply…

  27. 31

    Michael spews:

    every one of our rentals is rented – and at more than the mortgage payment…we are looking at adding another one to the portfolio in a few months

    Maybe you can buy the rental next to my house. From what I understand the woman who owns it can only rent it for less than the mortgage payment and the people she rents it to are always neighbors from hell.

  28. 32

    Michael spews:

    it will be paid off in 7 years or so

    What’s taking you so long, I’m 43 and I’ve got a nice water view in Gig Harbor and my house is paid for.

    LOL… I’m messing with you. One of my grandfathers built this house in the early 60’s and we’ve kept it in the family. Hopefully, It will just transfer from person to person in the family and never be sold.

  29. 34

    Kaiser Max the First spews:


    I bet its beautiful. We have gone back and forth about moving there, but with kids in school, etc….probably not going to happen.

    I will let you know the next time we dock at the Tides for a drink.

  30. 35

    Michael spews:

    It’s a shitty rancher that relies on on a french drain and a sewer pump to keep it from flooding in anything more than a modest rain. I couldn’t believe the city let them build it without at least building up the lot a couple of feet. Why someone would buy it or want to live in it is beyond me.

  31. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @25 Montana ceased to have salmon when the Snake River dams were built. Some folks want to tear them down so Idaho and Montana will have salmon again, but you won’t find any survivalists in that crowd. They’d rather keep the dams and eat dirt.

  32. 39

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @27 Fortunately, there are organizations that keep tabs on the militias and other crazy groups. Morris Dees and Mark Pitcavage are among those who have done yeoman’s work in this area.

  33. 40

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    15, wonder if the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor relations in the airline industry(the Railway Labor Act was passed under the Coolidge Administration, I believe, extended to airlines in the Roosevelt Administration) making contracts perpetual make renegotiating them harder?

  34. 41

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Also, off topic here, but I was following this story over the weekend out of New Zealand. The Center-Right National Party won the most votes in the elections for the NZ Parliament. THat was not the big part of the story, their was also a referendum on scrapping the fairer electoral system New Zealand adopted about 20 years ago. Only early votes on that one have been released so far, looks like they will keep it. The Mixed Member Proportional system they use is a hybrid of Germany’s, only they include special seats for the Maroi indigenous community.

    A big winner under MMP? The NZ Green Party, 10% of the vote, 13 seats, with one more on the bubble(later, special and absentee votes still to be counted). The Greens have gone middle of the road, according to some NZ news sources, and are open to working with the Nationals. Under at least two of the alternatives proposed under the referendum, that would not have happened. First Past the Post(the same winner take all system we use) would see very distorted results, and a system called Supplementary Member would have only counted the proportional seats. The Mixed Member Proportional system gives the voter two votes, one for a district, the other for a party slate. The proportional seats are compensatory,while under supplementary member, they are not.

    Too many entrenched interests would oppose that here, and I think the overhang seat(to keep the result proportional) part of the system might violate the constitution, not sure. I would love to see this system tried in bigger states though. Could conceivably work in California and Texas. Another form of proportional representation was used in many US Cities for City elections in the 20th century, before the party bosses used the Red Scare to take it back.(Still used in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by the way.)

  35. 42

    Everett spews:

    Interesting comments.
    I know lots of people who avoid shopping in Washington because of the nearly 10% sales tax. They have friends or relatives take delivery in Oregon..and go down & get it. With Washington, there is a real economic reason to avoid purchasing.
    Those that hate Washington but are forced to travel to & from will fill up their gas tanks just outside the border in Oregon & Idaho. On the Idaho side of the border is an awesome Cabella’s and lots of other great shopping.

    I really don’t think stuff like this has much of an impact though, do you? It makes you feel empowered by taking control over where you spend your own money. That’s a great thing. We earn our money and have every right to spend it wherever and however we least for now. But as far as overall impact? Below minimal.

  36. 43

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 42: If someone wants to avoid buying from a state because of the politics of that state, they are free to do so.

    But I have a big gripe about those who live in one state (like Washington), enjoy it’s benefits and spending on vital services, then go to Oregon to shop just to avoid the sales tax. Pick one state or the other – Oregon with it’s income tax and no sales tax, or Washington with it’s sales tax and no income tax. But don’t try to make others pay the expense for services you enjoy by switching back and forth between the states to avoid paying taxes in either one.

  37. 44

    Michael spews:

    Works the other way around too. People work in Portland and live in Vancouver for the cheaper housing, lower property taxes, and no income tax. Not much you can do about it.

  38. 45

    Blue John spews:

    #43 For the sake of argument, how is that different than buying something over the internet from another state, to avoid taxes?

  39. 46

    rhp6033 spews:

    #43: There isn’t a difference.

    My understanding is that if the seller doesn’t collect and send in the tax, then it’s the purchaser’s responsibility to do so. Technically, this applies to any purchases a Washington resident makes in Oregon, as well. The fact that this requirement is widely ignored, doesn’t make it legal.

    The state doesn’t have the resources to investigate every trip to WalMart in Oregon by a Vancouver family, but it does concentrate on the high-ticket items, such as vehicle sales.