No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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Archive for May, 2012

May 31, 2012

Last call – Walker/Barrett Debate liveblog

by @ 20:23. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be using CoverItLive as they’re transitioning to an almost-mandatory monthly fee starting in July, but as long as they’re still available, let’s roll. Besides, I need the practice again.

The debate will be at 9 pm, hosted by WISN-TV, so tune in to that, find it on your TV dial if you’re not in southeast Wisconsin, or mash here for a livestream from WISN-TV. Come on and chime in in the CiL iframe below:

May 29, 2012

Rally for Rebecca Kleefisch

by @ 11:21. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

While it appears that Governor Scott Walker will walk away with a relatively-easy victory come Tuesday, June 5 in his recall, things are quite a bit tighter, both in polls and in money, in the recall election between Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin president Mahlon Mitchell. I have focused on this “undercard” before, but allow me to reiterate the point now as part of the day-long fundraising drive launched by Dana Loesch, Michelle Malkin, and Teri Christoph. Donate here.

In a normal election cycle, once the separate primaries for governor and lieutenant governor are held, the winners of the same party run on a unified ticket, complete with shared campaign finances. However, due to the unique nature of the recall elections, the governor’s recall and lieutenant governor’s recall are entirely different elections. One of the consequences is Kleefisch’s campaign doesn’t have access to the millions of dollars raised by Walker.

Kleefisch has done yeoman’s (or should that be yeowoman’s) work being what she promised during the 2010 lieutenant governor’s primary campaign – be an saleswoman of Wisconsin to businesses. In addition to the well-publicized “cold calls” to out-of-state businesses to try to get them to relocate to Wisconsin, she launched the Small Business Roundtable to get input from small businesses across Wisconsin on how to improve the business climate.

What are the consequences of a split decision on June 5? Let’s first start out with the “minor” detail pointed out by WDJT-TV. Whenever Walker departs Wisconsin, the lieutenant governor constitutionally assumes the duties of the office, including the power to issue executive orders.

Considering that Mitchell, in his capacity as president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, signed letters demanding public opposition to what became Act 10 upon threat of public boycott to M&I Bank (then the largest Wisconsin-based bank) and Kwik Trip (the largest Wisconsin-based convenience store chain), one can only guess what kind of executive orders he would issue if given a chance.

That split decision would also put Mitchell a heartbeat, or a felony criminal conviction on a trumped-up charge, away from the governor’s office. If you are doubting that the Left using the criminal court system as their last stab from Hell’s heart is possible, I present today’s column from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice, who has served as the press organ of a very-leaky 2-year-long “John Doe” fishing expediti…er, investigation by Democrat Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s office headed by an investigator who has a Recall Walker sign in his yard (blamed on his wife) and a history of donating to pro-union Democrats. Bice’s sources are insinuating that a potential relocation of the offices of Milwaukee County’s Department on Aging to a location a longtime Walker political adviser was representing while Walker was Milwaukee County Executive could be “bid-rigging”.

A Mitchell win, even if the other 5 recalls fall short, would be an unequivocal win for the unionistas. Don’t let that happen. Donate to Kleefisch’s campaign, and if you are a Wisconsin resident, remember to vote for her (and Walker) in the recall election on June 5.

May 21, 2012

Minority Nation

by @ 14:44. Filed under Elections.

The story of Elizabeth Warren just won’t go away!

If you aren’t up to speed, Elizabeth is running for a Senate seat in Massachusetts currently held by Scott Brown.

Elizabeth is a Democrat’s dream candidate. Female, Harvard law school professor, Obama administrative appointee and for frosting, native American ancestry…well, kind of.

Ms. Warren’s claimed Cherokee ancestry has run into a heap load of problems. Turns out she probably has no Cherokee blood at all. In fact, in irony only available from the “man bites dog” world of politics, her heritage does include family members who were responsibly for forcibly relocating Cherokees!

However, Warren’s biggest problem is not the lore of her ancestry but the fact that like Obama and his “Kenyan birth,” she allowed it to be used when it served to advance her desired agenda. Warren seemed to have a penchant for invoking her Cherokee status to benefit herself like when she allowed Harvard to list her as the law school’s “First woman of color.”

I’ve written a song for Ms. Warren. I think it would resonate with many of her supporters. I offer the following as the Elizabeth Warren campaign song. To be sung to the tune of “Cherokee Nation” which is embedded at the end.

She had the whole minority nation
To aid her in her education
Female didn’t seem enough
For grants to cover all her stuff

Family lore was her basis
high cheek bones was their focus
never mind the lack of fact
partial squaw was her full act

Cherokee nation
that’s what she tried
so much to gain
she had to lie

a Senate seat she chose to chase
when there was question about her race
“wasn’t me” was her deny
But Cherokee nation wouldn’t die

Cherokee nation
that’s what she tried
so much to gain
she had to lie

And some day when she’s learned
Elizabeth Warren will return
Will return will return
Will return will return

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May 14, 2012

DOR chief economist explains the difference between CES, CPS/LAUS employment

by @ 16:22. Filed under Economy, Politics - Wisconsin.

Some people, like Tim Nerenz, noticed a rather disturbing disparity between the two main measures of employment earlier this month. One measure, the Local Area Unemployment Statistics, based on the Current Population Survey, said that 21,570 (rounded up to 21,600) more Wisconsinites were working in March 2012 than in March 2011. The other measure, the Current Establishment Survey, said that there were 30,000 fewer jobs in March 2012 than in March 2011.

Department of Revenue chief economist John Koskinen addressed that disparity last Thursday at a meeting of the Association of Government Accountants….

To wit, Koskinen noted that the CES slide in employment was not supported by the all-establishment Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (for the first quarter of disparity, the third quarter of 2011), tax revenues received by Wisconsin, per-capita income growth in 2011, or initial unemployment claims. For those of you interested in the PowerPoint portion of the presentation, Christian Schneider posted the slides that are included, in somewhat-pixelated form, on the video.

Before I continue, however, I do have to quote for the benefit of the lefties who might think Koskinen is a Walker stooge his short biography included in the DOR press release:

Prior to joining the Wisconsin Department of Revenue agency in 2007 as Chief Economist, John Koskinen served as a Staff Economist for the Wisconsin Department of Administration from 1979 to 2007. He started his professional career at the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Koskinen has his B.A. and M.A. in Economics from Marquette University, as well as additional graduate studies in Economics at Northwestern University.

That’s right – Koskinen became DOR’s chief economist in the middle of Democrat Jim Doyle’s administration.

QCEW begins to break the tie

A quick explanation of what is covered by the three measures of employment is in order. The CPS/LAUS survey, covering 60,000 people on a national level and roughly 4% of Wisconsinites of working age, is the smallest of the three, though it covers every conceivable form of legal employment. The CES, covering 440,000 worksites on a national level and approximately 10% of Wisconsinites of working age, misses those who are self-employed and thus not covered by a form of unemployment insurance. The QCEW, covering every one of the approximately 9.7 million employers who pays unemployment taxes (thus missing the self-employed, railroad employees and religious institution employees), is a trailing indicator as it is released 6 months after the quarter that it covers.

For the first 6 months of 2011, the year-over-year changes in all three measures were on essentially the same slope. Starting in July, the year-over-year change in the CES started to separate from the year-over-year changes in the CPS/LAUS and QCEW. As Koskinen somehow used seasonally-adjusted data for the CPS/LAUS data while using unadjusted CES data and actual QCEW data, I redrew the chart to use the same measure for all three sets of data:


Click for the full-sized chart

The CES really diverged from both the climbing CPS/LAUS and QCEW in August. Against the QCEW, the disparity grew from an average of the QCEW year-over-year change being 5,000 higher than that of the CES for the first half of the year (and 5,700 higher in June) to the QCEW year-over-year change being 32,500 higher in September, the last month QCEW data is available. Against the CPS/LAUS, the disparity went from an average of the CES year-over-year change being 16,600 higher than that of the CPS/LAUS (and 21,200 in June) to the CPS/LAUS year-over-year change being larger than the CES year-over-year change starting in September, growing to a 49,400 disparity in December, and reaching a 51,570 disparity in March.

Koskinen blamed the fact that the second quarter was used as the yearly “benchmark” of the CES rather than the third quarter. I cannot properly evaluate that claim, but the DOR produced a chart supporting this allegation:


Click for the full-sized chart

Wages and tax collections support the CPS/LAUS numbers

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that per-capita personal income in Wisconsin grew by 4.8% in between 2010 and 2011. That is not only significantly higher than the national average of 4.3% growth, but was the 11th-highest in the country.

In part because of that, and in part because the Republicans repealed the “millionaires’ tax” and combined reporting instituted by the Democrats when they had total control of state government in 2009, general-purpose revenue increased by an adjusted 4.3% for the first 10 months of FY2012 from FY2011 (that adjustment is downward from 6.0% due to more pay periods this time around). That includes an adjusted 4.5% increase (7.8% unadjusted) in individual income taxes, a 4.8% increase in sales taxes, and 5.4% in corporate taxes. Of note, FY2012 started in July 2011, when the CES measure of employment began to wildly diverge from the other two measures.

Initial unemployment claims for 2011 well below that of 2010, with the last 7 months at pre-recession levels

Perhaps the data that is most damning of the CES “job loss” is initial unemployment claims. The DOR produced a chart showing that those claims are the lowest in 5 years. Once again, I created my own chart, partly to remove the “clutter” of 2009 and 2010 from the DOR chart, partly to align the weeks to the week being reported instead of the week the report was issued, and partly to further demonstrate the point by choosing 2006 instead of 2007 (after all, the Great Recession supposedly started in December 2007).


Click for the full-sized chart

Throughout 2011, initial unemployment claims were below 2010 levels. Indeed, by the 40th week, it was virtually indistinguishable from 2006 levels, and that trend continued through this year.

That is a measure more of a 1-month change than a 12-month change. So, how do the years compare? Allow me to give you one more chart, this time directly from the BLS:

Something just doesn’t add up, and it’s rather clear it’s the CES numbers everybody has been taking as the last word on jobs.

May 9, 2012

Recall Post-Primary Thoughts

by @ 16:20. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

In case you missed the toplines from yesterday, I’ll restate them quickly:

  • Governor Scott Walker crushed “protest ‘Republican'” candidate (and semi-pro protestor) Arthur Kohl-Riggs 626,538-19,920 in the Republican gubernatorial recall primary.
  • In the Democrat gubernatorial recall primary, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett easily outpaced former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, state Senator Kathleen Vinehout, secretary of state Doug La Follette, and “protest ‘Democrat'” candidate Gladys Huber 390,109-228,940-26,926-19,461-4,842.
  • Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin president Mahlon Mitchell won the Democrat lieutenant governor primary, beating “protest ‘Democrat'” Issac Weix and private investigator Ira Robbins 384,208-192,207-159,762. There was only a Democrat recall primary for lieutenant governor.
  • “Real” Democrats Lori Compas, former state Senator John Lehman, Kristen Dexter, and state Representative Donna Seidel easily bested the “protest ‘Democrats'” to earn the right to take on (respectively) Republican state Senators Scott Fitzgerald, Van Wanggaard and Terry Moulton and state Representative Jerry Petrowski (who was the only Republican to file to replace retired state Senator Pam Galloway). Much like the lieutenant governor race, there were only Democrat recall primaries, all triggered by the presence of “protest ‘Democrats'”.

Let’s dig a bit beyond the raw numbers:

Governor’s race:

As noted by Allahpundit last night and Ed Morrissey this morning, Walker got more votes than the two major Democrat candidates, and came close to equaling all five of the Democrats (including Kohl-Riggs). How odd is this? Let Christian Schneider explain:

A bit of context: Traditionally, vote totals in contested primaries vastly exceed vote totals in corresponding primaries that are essentially uncontested. Take, for instance, the 2010 gubernatorial election, when Walker faced off against former congressman Mark Neumann, and Barrett ran for his party’s nomination essentially unopposed. Over 618,000 people voted in the GOP primary, while only 236,000 voters cast ballots in the Dem primary, where there was nothing at stake. That same year, Ron Johnson ran in a U.S. Senate GOP primary against several other candidates, while incumbent Russ Feingold was unopposed. The GOP primary drew 596,000 voters, while Feingold garnered only 224,000 votes. The Republican gubernatorial and Senate primaries drew 263 percent and 266 percent more voters, respectively, than the Democrats.

The same effect traditionally occurs for Democratic primaries. In 2002, a Democratic gubernatorial primary featuring, coincidentally, Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk, and eventual winner Jim Doyle, drew 554,000 votes. Incumbent Republican governor Scott McCallum, running virtually unopposed, saw 230,000 votes in his primary — giving Democrats a 241 percent vote advantage.

This came despite the only effort to get the Walker vote out coming from talk radio, and at least some efforts at something resembling what Rush Limbaugh once termed Operation Chaos. Unlike the typical partisan primary, the only prohibition against participating in multiple partyies’ primaries was against participating in multiple parties’ primaries for the same office. Indeed, there were two mentions that one could only vote for one candidate per office for each of the offices on the ballot instead of the usual one.

On the Democrat side, Barrett’s win was essentially inevitable once Public Policy Polling and Daily Kos released polls taken in mid-April that had him well ahead of the early union favorite, Falk. Even with that said, there was a giant surprise – Barrett carried Falk’s home county, Dane, where she was county executive for 14 years before retiring in 2011, by 31 percentage points. In addition to the fact that Falk was the only Democrat in the country to lose a contested “major” statewide or Congressional office held by Democrats in the 2006 election (Wisconsin attorney general), the folks at the Republican Party of Dane County offered up another reason – she barely survived a debacle in the Dane County 911 Center that was a key miss that led to the murder of a UW student.

Given that almost 901,000 recall signatures were certified by the Government Accountability Board against Walker, the weak total rung up by the Democrats has to be disappointing. The total 1.32 million turnout, on the other hand, was significantly over the 1.08 million who turned out for the Presidential primaries in April (785,167 on the Republican side) and nearly 61% of the 2.16 million who voted for governor in 2010.

Senate races:

We haven’t had a poll with a fresher sample than the Public Policy Polling/Daily Kos poll in mid-April that had all the Republicans except Wanggaard with double-digit leads over the “real” Democrats and Wanggaard up by 2 points, though there was a Myers Research/Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee poll taken in late March/early April (2 weeks prior to the PPP/DKos) poll released afterward that had Wanggaard losing and Moulton and Petrowski with single-digit leads. Compas and Lehman (who will be going against Fitzgerald and Wanggaard respectively) received more votes than recall signatures against their opponents, while Dexter and Seidel received fewer votes than recall signatures against their opponents. That metric suggests Wanggaard and Fitzgerald, the latter with a Libertarian challenger as well as a Democrat, could be in for a long night on June 5.

Lieutenant Governor’s race:

The thing that just struck me was that the 758,070 people who voted in the statewide “undercard”, with only minimal advertising by Mitchell, was roughly 90,000 more than those who voted in the Democrat gubernatorial primary, where millions were spent by both Barrett’s and Falk’s camps, and roughly 70,000 more than everybody who voted for somebody other than Walker in the gubernatorial primaries. That. Just. Does. Not. Happen. (until now, that is).

Even so, only 561,018 voted for the two “real Democrat” candidates, over 104,000 fewer than those who voted for the “real Democrats” in the Democrat gubernatorial primary, and over 124,000 fewer than those who voted for said “real Democrats” and the “protest ‘Republican'”. Again, that was significantly fewer than the nearly 809,000 who signed recall petitions against lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who like the Republican Senators (and Petrowski), was not in a primary as she was the only Republican who qualified.

The crossover factor:

That brings me to what factor, if any, the potential for crossover had on the Democrat gubernatorial primary. As most of those who did so likely would have voted for Falk as the “weaker” candidate, it obviously was not successful in keeping Barrett from winning. However, that is not to say that it was not significant, even though there were no exit polls to check this against.

James Wigderson used one way to calculate the maximum potential crossover, using heavily-Republican Waukesha and Washington Counties. Allow me to use a second method. The four “real” Democrat gubernatorial candidates garnered 665,436 votes, 104,418 votes more than the two “real” Democrat lieutenant governor candidates garnered.

The last Marquette Law School poll said that roughly 17% of the potential voters in the Democrat gubernatorial primary would actually be Republicans. The 0.7% of the Democrat primary vote Huber received is almost entirely “crossover”. If all 104,418 who voted for a “real” Democrat in the gubernatorial primary but didn’t vote for one in the lieutenant governor primary were Republican crossovers, that would be another 15.6%. Add the two together and the 16.3% crossover would be right in the ballpark.

However, there is a complication. On my paper “complete the line” ballot here in southern suburban Milwaukee County, and on the sample paper ballots in the parts of Racine County where there was a Senate primary, both the Republican and Democrat gubernatorial primaries were in one column, while the Democrat lieutanant governor primary (and in the 4 Senate districts where there was a recall, the Democrat Senate primaries) were on a second column. It is reasonable to believe that at least some people didn’t realize this.

With that said, I strongly doubt that much more than 50,000 people who voted for a “real” Democrat in the gubernatorial primary would either “forget” there was also a Democrat lieutenant governor primary or somehow vote for the one “protest ‘Democrat'”. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll estimate that only 50,000 Republicans decided to meddle by voting for a “real” Democrat in the gubernatorial primary, and will return “home” to vote for Walker come June 5.

That sort of destroys the meme that the Democrats got more votes than Walker. Add that 50,000, and the 4,842 that Huber got, to Walker’s total, and subtract that 50,000 from the Democrats’ (including Kohl-Riggs’) total to wipe out the effects of crossover, and the Republicans likely outvoted the Democrats roughly 681,000-635,000, or 51.7%-48.3%.

Addenda:

To complete Ed’s thought on how bad a night it was for the unions, the Democrats and the public unions had planned on having all the candidates get together with them in Madison today. However, Barrett nixed that idea on Monday, and while the unions are rallying in Madison, the candidates are meeting at his home in Milwaukee.

There is one more recall potentially coming down the pike. Some of the residents of Democrat state Senator Bob Jauch’s far-northwest district got mad enough over his vote to kill a mining bill that would have brought a rather signnificant number of lead mining jobs to the district to launch a recall effort against him on March 19. They have until May 18 to turn in 15,270 signatures. A story posted today by the Barron News-Shield quoted recall organizer Shirl LaBarre, “All I can say is that I’ve put my heart and soul into (the effort).”

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