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Thu May 07, 2015 at 08:35 PM PDT

Requiem For a Minivan...

by PvtJarHead

Today my vehicle reached it's natural, inevitable, and long expected demise.  It had a rough 15 year life.  I'm kinda relieved it's over.  I "won" this POS in my divorce two years ago.  I never really wanted it EVER, but my then wife insisted we buy it back in January 2010.  The body had been repaired but there was rust underneath and it had a small exhaust leak.  I thought the front suspension would fail within a year, but all I ever had to replace was the sway bar linkage.  Go figure.  

No, the first thing to go was the AC pump.  I installed a bypass pully and replaced the serpentine belt and we dealt with the heat from then on.  I did several front brake jobs and replaced the rotors once.  I only had to do the rear shoes once, but had to replace a wheel cylinder at the same time.

The van was a godsend for my daughter and I at the time of our crisis.  That was about the time the rust started creeping up the fenders.  Last year the power steering went out and I replaced the pump only to have it blow the seals on the rack & pinion steering.  Parts alone would have cost $250 so, I've been developing my forearms since.  

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Last night I mentally and emotionally unburdened myself and the community came through for me with encouraging words and support, so I figure you all deserve the rest of the sordid tale.

All names have been changed in an effort to cover my ass.

I met Dick at a karaoke show. I didn't know at the time I met him that he was the owner of the karaoke company. We were just two guys having a good time singing, drinking, and enjoying ourselves. It wasn't until the second time I ran into him that I became aware that he was owner of this company and since I enjoy karaoke I inquired about a job. One wasn't forthcoming at that moment but a little over a year later, when I ran into him again at one of his company's shows, I asked once more and he hired me. I began as a helper to start. My job was to help load and unload the karaoke equipment, set it up, and work the crowd. I was good at cajoling people up to sing for the first time. Once they got over their initial stage fright I had 'em hooked. I soon learned how to run the equipment and became a Karaoke Jock myself. I was better at running the equipment than the KJ I had been working with. I eventually worked my way up to five or six shows a week making half of the take for each gig. Some paid better than others but it averaged out to about $100 a night for six hours of work.

Career wise it was probably the second best job I ever had. (The best was a year and a half restoring antique stained glass windows.) It was great having a job where I was paid to be the life of the party. I got paid to hang out at bars, get a little buzz on, and show off. I really didn't have to deal with Dick too much at all unless the equipment broke down.  He was good about putting money back into the business to keep the gear up to snuff. Everything was awesome for a few years until he decided I was making to much and he wanted a bigger cut. Other KJs were a little rougher on the equipment and having "too much fun" if you know what I mean and losing shows.  Profits were down and he thought he could improve HIS situation by screwing me or my customers over.  Since I was unwilling to gouge the bar owners for more money or take a pay cut... that era of our relationship ended.

That was when I went to work for Dick's sprinkler company.  Dick had a habit of hiring the lowest of the low so he could take maximum advantage of them.  These are the type of guys who don't show up for work the day after they get paid because they were living it up the night before. This just helped Dick keep them under his thumb.  Some of these guys worked for both companies working days and nights and doing sloppy work at both.  I quickly became Dick's right hand man on the sprinkler side of things. His companies were rather small at the time and he was operating on a cash basis giving out 1099s at the end of the year. We weren't eligible for unemployment during the Winter months because he wasn't paying in, so he offered to "bank" our overtime and pay it to us in the off season... but only as straight time. No time and a half. I was buying into all this because I liked Dick and the work (though often wet and muddy) wasn't all that strenuous.  

Dick ran one truck and I ran another. If guys were available we each might have a helper, but often not. While winterizing one house I notice a very large number of repairs that would be needed in the Spring and made a note of it to Dick. When we started turning on systems the next season I reminded Dick of that house and he asked if I remembered which one it was. Of course, he hadn't written it down when I told him in the fall, so we were going to have to wing it. Late one day I pulled up with my helper and realized my nightmare had arrived.  It was six o'clock and I pleaded with Dick to reschedule. He refused. I argued I wasn't even getting paid overtime. He called me every name in the book. I threatened to call the labor board. He told me if I didn't turn it on and fix it all right then and there I would be fired. My helper and I were there until after dark working by moonlight and flashlight, but we got it done. Dick felt it was an object lesson of his mantra "No excuses, only results." I felt it was an object lesson that he was a complete douchebag asshole. Still, I was up before the sun the next day ready to do it all over again.

At nine o'clock that very next morning as I was in the middle of another big job with two helpers (One of which was Don who plays a part later in the story...) I got a call from Dick saying he'd spoken with his accountant and wasn't going to put up with me threatening to call the labor board. Holy SHIT! I thought... Dick was talking about going legit!

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That was the first offensive thing my boss said to me today.  It was not the last.  We were building a lawn irrigation system for a large house with a small yard in downtown Chicago.  Everything was going well except for the steady string of abuse from the boss.

The job was about a half hour from completion and testing, but we needed to go help a second crew finish another job afterward.   For some reason the boss thought berating us was somehow going to speed up the process.  It had the opposite effect on me.  The verbal assault sapped all motivation and morale.  I told a co-worker I was reaching my limit but continued with my work.  When moments later he began again I stopped completely...

I was using every ounce of energy I had to calm myself and just keep going.  He demanded to know what I was doing.  I told him I was thinking of walking.  The tirade he unleashed was epic.  I made up my mind.  I stood up and left the hole I'd been working in and all the parts and tools.  I walked straight to my lunch box and thermos, removed my company hoodie, t-shirt, and hat amidst the onslaught of vitriol and started walking down a chilly Chicago sidestreet in my thermal undershirt.  I was 45 miles away from my car and 65 miles from home, but I felt much better.

Luckily the first of thw Chicago friends I tried calling wasn't busy and happily picked me up and drove me to the train station.  The train was late and behind schedule but got me within five miles of my car.  My efforts to get someone I knew to pick me up at the station failed, but I got lucky again and after thumbing two rides the clock in my vehicle said it was only three hours since leaving the job site.

The guys I work with called me several times along the way asking what happened and wondering where I was.  I didn't feel like talking about it and told them I was fine.  As I was picking my daughter up the office manager called to tell me I needed to turn in my remaining uniforms.  I told him maybe he should just have the boss call me after he's cooled down.  

I'm conflicted at this moment.  I don't know if I should try to straighten this out or what.  I know if I go to work tomorrow I'll have a job, probably with a pay cut.  I can probably get back to where I was after a week or two.  I also know the boss is going to say I have "an attitude problem" which at this point may very well be true.  I won't know until after I talk with him whether he's going to change HIS attitude.  I've worked for this guy off an on in several different capacities for over 15 years.  

I know he has absolutely no respect for any of his employees and cares about no one but himself, but he HAS always given me a job whenever I've been in a pinch.  He knows I'm the hardest worker he's ever had.  There are many things I do better than anyone else who works for him.  He knows I'm conscientious and meticulous.  He knows I've covered his ass on countless occasions.  I'm always the first to arrive every morning.  I suppose I'll find out soon enough if any of that matters to him.

Discuss

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson hit a speed bump on her way to justice yesterday...

Channel 3000

A federal judge has denied Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson's request for a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of a constitutional amendment that could lead to her being demoted.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson issued the order on Thursday.

Like I said, this is just a speedbump...  

Green Bay Press Gazette

Peterson ruled that Abrahamson did not show why he should take the extraordinary step of blocking the law before he hears from the defendants. Peterson also noted that the vote to approve the amendment won't be certified by state election officials until April 29, negating the need for emergency action now.

However, he did allow for Abrahamson to renew her motion "if new evidence shows the need for it."Peterson set a hearing on the case for April 21 and promised a "prompt resolution."

Abrahamson's attorney, Robert Peck at the Center for Constitutional Litigation in Washington, noted that the judge was not ruling on the merits of the lawsuit."

He wants to make sure he hears from both sides," Peck said. "We still feel very good about our legal position."

This story has just begun, and it will likely be quite awhile before it's over.

More below the fold....

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 at 09:23 AM PDT

Good Day Sunshine!

by PvtJarHead

This morning I need to discuss a phenomenon that I've noticed since my return to dailykos in early February, and that is that almost every time I'm in a Wisconsin diary a certain group of people come in to rock the boat.  It doesn't happen every time, and at first I thought it was random and these were just individual pinheads saying unknowingly cruel and heartless things.  They've stated outright of Wisconsinites that: "We must love Scott Walker."  "We elected the man 3 times."  "We get what we deserve."  "We get what we voted for."  

The more I've blogged here in the last month, the more I have noticed what appears to be a bunch who fight every thing we're trying to do here in Wisconsin.  They don't exactly say overtly offensive things, they just slickly argue every minute point.  I understand that debate strengthens our arguments and if all we did was sit around petting each other then its no more than a circle jerk.  I'm not looking for an echo chamber, just a little common courtesy.

We need our allies support and assistance not the abandonment and derision we've been getting from more than a few shitheads around here lately.  Whether you realize it or not, your comments are abusive and demoralizing and they're PISSING ME THE FUCK OFF!!!!  If you are going to posit a conflicting opinion you had better couch it in the most empathetic words you can muster.  It's not hard to be understanding.  It's not hard to be caring.

Let me give everyone a tiny bit of advice.  Today is not the day to be fucking with your Wisconsin bloggers.  I have had enough of the bullshit, and I'm not fucking taking it anymore...  Not one fucking bit of it.  What kind of asshole kicks his friends when they're down?  No kinda friend of mine that's for sure.  I don't want to hear one more goddamned comment about how the referendum we lost Tuesday was no big deal.  If that's what you think then you obviously don't know shit.  

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You didn't seriously think the longest serving Supreme Court Justice in the entire United States of America and in all of Wisconsin History was going to just roll over and give up did you?  

In 2009, 473,712 voters elected Shirley Abrahamson to be Wisconsin's Chief Justice for ten more years.  She was appointed to the court in 1976 and has been reliably reelected every ten years since 1979.  She was the first woman ever on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the only woman jurist until 1993.  She has been described as "A NATIONAL TREASURE".

On Tuesday 41,758 fewer Wisconsinites (431,954 voters) decided to amend Wisconsin's State Constitution and change the way our Chief Justice is chosen.  Chief Justice Abrahamson filed suit in Federal Court against the six other Supreme Court Justices on Wednesday to block implementation of the new rule on the grounds it didn't specify when it was to take effect and doing so would overturn the election she won in 2009 with the slogan "Wisconsin's Chief".  

Had the amendment not been a blatant partisan attack it would have contained a "grandfather clause" protecting the position of the duly elected sitting Chief Justice.  Abrahamson seeks to postpone implementation of the amendment until the end of her term in 2019.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Abrahamson's lawsuit contends putting it into effect before then would violate her constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law.

Abrahamson also sought a temporary restraining order Wednesday to keep her in the position of chief while the issue is decided. The case is being heard by U.S. District Judge James Peterson.

Abrahamson was joined in her lawsuit by her 2009 campaign treasurer and four people who voted for her that year. They sued the other six members of the court, court administrators, Secretary of State Doug La Follette, state Treasurer Matt Adamczyk and state Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel.

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has called the election of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice for incumbent Ann Walsh Bradley!

It's only a partial victory so far though.  The Constitutional Amendment Referendum (2015 JR) called Question 1 by some has turned into a nail biter.  With 66% reporting it is 52% to 48% in favor of the measure that would oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson from her post leading the court.

My liveblog down the recent list has grown too cumbersome for my phone so I will continue updating here.

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Polls close at 8:00 p.m. (CDT)

Election results will be streaming live via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal website.
There was a surge in TV ad spending over the weekend in dollar amounts over 9 to 1 supporting the Constitutional Amendment aimed at ousting our Supreme Court Chief Justice.  

Gavel Grab

Justice at Stake said a group backed by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has booked television ads supporting Question 1 in the amount of at least $195,626 in two markets, an increase of more than $79,000 since early Friday. The group, Vote Yes for Democracy, also previously reported radio ad expenditures of $189,084. The group has received all of its reported funds to date, $600,000, from the WMC Issues Mobilization Council.

Meanwhile, a group backed by the Greater Wisconsin Committee has booked television ads opposing Question 1 in the amount of at least $96,180 in two markets, an increase of a little over $8,500 since early Friday. To date, the group, Make Your Vote Count, has $280,000 in contributions from the Greater Wisconsin Committee. 

I was voter No. 20 at my polling place this morning.  That doesn't bode well for turnout which the Government Accountability Board predicts will be around 20%.  Polls close at 8:00 p.m. (CDT) tonight.  Results should start coming in soon after that as I don't think there are going to be all that many ballots to count.

I noticed while voting that in addition to party affiliation being absent from the ballots in this "non-partisan" election, the incumbency of Ann Walsh Bradley was also not indicated.  Her opponent James Daley was given the top slot on the ballot I filled out.

2015 JR 2 the Constitutional Amendment aimed at our Chief Justice (called Question 1 in the blockquote) was the very last item on my ballot after row upon row of uncontested races for which voting was a moot waste of time.

In case you missed it up top, the election results will be streaming live on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal website.
Another race to keep an eye on is the Green Bay Mayoral race pitting incumbent Jim Schmitt (R) against City Counsel President Tom DeWane.

As many of you know I blog from an Android Cellphone, so "liveblogging" is in the eye of the beholder.  I'll be doing my best to update with the latest numbers, but quite often my phone doesn't like cooperating with me.  I'll do my best.

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This comes as a total surprise...

Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative

Daley, a Rock County circuit court judge, admitted that he would step down because he is a defendant in the recent investigation into Scott Walker and his potentially illegal coordination with campaign donors. Daley is a judge for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case.

In earlier comments in the Cap Times from March 11 Daley states he does not believe in “dictating recusal” based on campaign donations. He also states that he believes coordination between candidates and outside money groups is illegal, the basis of the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker’s alleged coordination between his campaign and millions of dollars of donations involving Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and Club for Growth, among others.

Daley’s daughter is also wanted on operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges on an open arrest warrant that dates back to 2008. Daley was aware that his daughter is a fugitive of the law, but chose not to disclose it earlier in the race.

Isthmus
“I can’t participate in that because I am a defendant,” Daley says in a phone interview with Isthmus, declining to comment further. He notes a secrecy order prevents him from discussing whether he has had a change of heart or whether he still believes that Walker’s campaign might have violated election laws and that the investigation should proceed.

Daley’s conflict has flown below the radar during much of this quiet race, although the special prosecutor involved in the secret investigation has called on at least four justices to disqualify themselves. Judicial ethics has emerged as one of the key issues in the race.

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Mon Apr 06, 2015 at 08:02 AM PDT

The Definition of Democratic

by PvtJarHead

Tomorrow, April 7th, is Election Day here in Wisconsin and it seems to be boiling down to the definition of the word "democratic".  Specifically, whether it's more democratic to have the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court elected by the 7 member panel of jurists themselves, or the entire electorate of the State of Wisconsin as a whole...

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal...

Supporters argue it would make the court more democratic and the chief justice more accountable to the other justices. Detractors contend the measure is aimed at dislodging Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson from occupying the court's top position.

(snip)

In Tuesday's election, the referendum question has become the main battleground between liberal and conservative groups. Those groups been less involved in the race for a seat on the Supreme Court, in which Justice Ann Walsh Bradley faces a challenge from Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley.

(snip)

Opponents of the measure say Abrahamson should remain the chief because voters knew she held that post when they re-elected her to another 10-year term in 2009. Others say if voters change the constitution, the court should select a new chief justice right away.

Anyone that's been following my diaries for the past few weeks will notice the careful omissions from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal article...
Poll

Do you think Wisconsin can pull it off this time?

55%10 votes
27%5 votes
16%3 votes

| 18 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Apr 04, 2015 at 07:26 AM PDT

Scott Walker - One Man Death Panel

by PvtJarHead

First you need to familiarize yourself with the history of long term care for the elderly from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services webpage:

In his January 1998 State of the State address, Governor Thompson proposed the creation of "Family Care," to reform Wisconsin's LTC system and directed the Department to develop legislative language for inclusion in its biennial budget request.

The Department developed a revised proposal, based on the recommendations of the work groups and the Steering Committee; on issues where consensus had not been reached, the Department made proposals that reflected the input received. The LTC Redesign Consolidated Steering Committee discussed this revised draft proposal at its meeting on April 17, 1998. In May, the Department published a further refined draft that incorporated many suggestions from the Steering Committee.

As directed by the Governor and the Legislature, the Department submitted drafting instructions to the Legislative Reference Bureau and issued a further refined proposal for Family Care on July 31, 1998. Governor Thompson included the Family Care proposal in his 1999-2001 biennial budget request, Assembly Bill 133, which was passed by both Houses of the Legislature in early October, 1999. The Family Care legislation was included in the final version of the bill.

So Wisconsin has a long standing program conceived and signed into law by a former Republican Governor which has been functioning well and helping seniors for over 15 years.  

Guess who is trying to radically modify this Medicaid funded program and shift the profits over to Big Insurance...  C'mon, take a wild f*ing guess....

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h/t to bearsguy

From MADISON.COM, Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate's daughter wanted by state:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Online court records show Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate James Daley's daughter has been a fugitive since 2008.

The state filed a warrant for Maureen Daley's arrest in June 2008 after she failed to appear on charges of operating while intoxicated. The warrant is still outstanding.

Daley in a statement said the issue should not impact the campaign and that he hopes people will pray for those who struggle with dependency. He did not say where his daughter is.

(snip)

The Wisconsin Supreme Court's rules on judicial duty say judges have a responsibility to notify authorities about judges and lawyers who violate rules of professional conduct. They don't address whether judges have a responsibility to notify authorities of fugitives' whereabouts if they know them.

Holy Shit!  An October Surprise in APRIL!!  More details...
Deputies for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office arrested Maureen E. Daley on two counts of third-offense OWI on April 14, 2008 after she allegedly ran her car into a ditch on Highway 12 in the Township of Koshkonong.  She was 33 years-old at the time.

A criminal complaint states that when asked if she had been drinking, Maureen Daley told deputies "it's obvious."  A blood test later showed Daley had a blood alcohol level of 0.304 - nearly four times the legal limit.

But Daley never made her initial court appearance set for June 9, 2008, causing Jefferson County Court Commissioner Jennifer Weston to issue a bench warrant for her arrest.  That warrant is still open.

A campaign spokesperson told 27 News Judge Daley has tried to convince his daughter to return to Wisconsin and face those charges.

So where is she Mr. Daley?  Is there no honor in "Your Honor?"
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