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  • February 24, 2011

    Open Secrets on Koch Industries

    [Posted by kris]

    Whatever your take on Scott Walker and Wisconsin's public unions, one thing I think that needs to end is this demonization of Koch Industries and this idea that they are the nefarious driving force behind Walker's budget repair bill. I've already highlighted David H. Koch's considerable philanthropy and eclectic political views, but let's take a look at just how involved Koch Industries is with Scott Walker and with the budget repair bill.

    Here are some facts:

    • Koch Industries gave $43,000 to Walker's campaign in 2010, approximately 0.47% of his total campaign contributions.
    • I've read some articles that say that Koch Industries donated millions on non-candidate specific attack ads. However, I can't find any evidence on Open Secrets that this is true. David & Julia Koch have donated over $1 million in soft money, but none since the 2002 election
    • Looking at the national issues Koch Industries has lobbied about, you see, predictably, energy-related bills. Not budget. Not labor. There's simply no evidence of some dark union busting agenda. Sorry.

    I get that people can reasonably and passionately disagree with this bill, but building up a Koch Industries boogie man does nothing to help their argument. I'm so incredibly sick of this attitude from people on both sides of the political spectrum that people can't disagree with them without being evil. David Koch isn't out to destroy the American way of life any more than George Soros is. Move on.

    Posted by kris at 07:46 AM | Comments (6)     
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    February 23, 2011

    Et tu, Surly?

    [Posted by kris]

    When I first heard about Surly Brewing's destination brewery project, I couldn't quite figure out why the artist's rendition of the brewery/restaurant/beer garden looked so familiar.

    But then it dawned on me - the glass-faced back of the building, the tables, the umbrellas and the terrace. OMG, it's the Terrace! Just you wait, it'll probably have red & white sunburst chairs!

    Just like Paddlequest, progressive politics and the Minnesota Vikings, Surly Brewing can't get them enough Wisconsin. This, despite the fact that Surly's owner Omar Ansari has said "Some in the opposition have suggested that we build our destination brewery in another state, where the laws are more accommodating. While it’s true that we could get this brewery built in many other states, we don’t see that as an option right now. We want to build it in Minnesota—we are a Minnesota company and would like to keep it that way."

    And lord knows that the guy has never missed an opportunity to rip on Wisconsin during every Surly tour I've ever been on. But when it comes down to it, political turmoil and all, the truth is that Minnesota not only loves Wisconsin, it wants to be Wisconsin. And while really, who can blame them, it's time to just admit it.

    Posted by kris at 05:44 PM | Comments (3)     
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    February 22, 2011

    We're Badgers

    [Posted by kris]

    Abraham Lincoln famously said:

    If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

    At this point, that's how how I feel about the Wisconsin budget repair bill. I've read a lot and I still believe that the power of public employee unions needs to be curbed.

    However, if the price of this legislation is the destruction of the Wisconsin union (no, not that one), then it's too high. There's nothing to be permanently gained by antagonizing the side that lost the election. I think Obama learned that in 2010 and Walker should learn that in 2011.

    Wisconsin doesn't need to take the lead on this, particularly as there are many states in worse financial situations than the Badger State. Rather than pissing everyone off, let's just see how things shake out across the country in the next couple of years and then revisit the idea.

    The worst thing that can happen isn't public union busting or continued public union power. The worst thing that can happen is a permanent division of the people of Wisconsin. Our union is more important than any organization with initials. As Bono said:

    "We're one, but we're not the same.
    We get to carry each other."

    We're not Republicans or Democrats or Progressives or Tea Partiers. We're something far, far, far better. We're Badgers.

    Posted by kris at 08:55 AM | Comments (4)     
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    February 16, 2011

    Should Facebook and politics mix?

    [Posted by kris]

    So thanks to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's budget repair proposal my Facebook feed is filled with hyperbolic political posts and preaching. It's pretty much unbearable and I'm so tempted to deactivate my account until it stops.

    Facebook is never more obnoxious than when its users get involved in politics. To my mind, if you want to spout off on political issues, you should get a blog, write a letter to an editor, post on a page dedicated to the issue you want to talk about or scream and yell at a protest in person.

    What you shouldn't do is broadcast your opinions on a social network. Social media is just that, social. The idea is that you're having back and forth conversations, not preaching. I've always heard that it's not good form to discuss politics and religion in social settings. I imagine this is because you are likely to offend and antagonize someone, and that's a bad thing.

    I also imagine it's because preaching in a social situation is incredibly selfish. When you meet someone at a party, for example, you might ask them a question and react to their response. You wouldn't walk up to someone and immediately state your controversial political opinion, would you?

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but at the same time everyone needs to learn when to shut up about it. It's part of being a grown up, even on Facebook.

    In the meantime, thank God for the "hide" option.

    Posted by kris at 02:41 PM | Comments (3)     
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    February 13, 2011

    Live Blogging The Grammys

    [Posted by kris]

    I'm intrigued by The Grammys and I want to try out this live blogging software, so I'm going to live blog the proceedings this evening.

    Stay tuned!

    Posted by kris at 03:37 PM | Comments (1)     
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    February 06, 2011

    The miracle of the Reggie Wedgie

    [Posted by kris]

    A lot of smart football people are going to analyze the Packers' victory tonight. They'll talk about Rodgers' great play, the Steelers' turnovers and who knows what else. What they won't talk about is why the Packers really won. They won because my Mom put on her "Reggie Wedgie" necklace. The second she touched this sacred object, the Steelers fumbled.

    Behold the power of Reggie:

    And Go Pack Go!

    Also, the Bears still suck :)

    Posted by kris at 09:49 PM | Comments (29)     
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    February 02, 2011

    Wisconsin shows its colors

    [Posted by kris]

    This is what the Wisconsin State Capitol would look like if you could actually see it through the blizzard.

    Go Pack Go!

    Posted by kris at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)     
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    February 01, 2011

    Inside the Packers' arrival in Dallas

    [Posted by kris]

    Clay: That's right ladies, I'm the man your man could look like if your man starts using Suave.
    Aaron: I am soooo not signing that cancer lady's hat.

    Posted by kris at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)     
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