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.

Archive for June 16th, 2010

Vote early, vote often – no longer just a Chicago Machine Expression

Ace dug out the memory of wanna-be Assistant General for Civil Rights Lani Guiner when he found that Port Chester, New York was forced by a Lawgiver-In-Black to give up its at-large voting system for its six village trustees and adopt “cumulative voting” in order to assure Hispanic representation, and also keep the in-person polls open for five full days.

The difference between at-large voting systems and cumulative voting systems is, in an at-large system, one can only vote for each candidate once, casting votes up to the maximum number of offices being filled. Meanwhile, in a cumulative voting system, one can apportion votes up to the maximum number of offices being filled with no limit on the number of votes cast for a particular candidate.

The reason this “works” for the “aggrieved minority”, and indeed, worked for one Luis Marino, who The Journal News cheered as the first Latino elected in Port Chester, is a minority group can multiply their votes behind a single candidate, while the “high-minded majority” splits their votes among multiple candidates. The effect is enhanced if, like Port Chester, there is no primary to narrow the field to “the number of offices plus one”.

Bear in mind that, while what Jay Weber calls the Accomplice Media notes, correctly yet incompletely, that Latinos make up close to half Port Chester’s population, there is a small detail that most of them will miss, and I will give kudos to The Journal News for mentioning it – Latinos make up only roughly 20% of the voting-age citizens in the village. The fact that, up until yesterday, no Latino had been elected to the board is more a statistical quirk than anything else.

Rural Dane County elites whine for cheap broadband

by @ 12:45. Filed under Business, Politics - Wisconsin.

(H/T – Dad29)

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story today about some residents in Town of Berry, roughly 20 miles west of Madison, trying to get the Public Service Commission to force TDS Telecom, the local telephone provider, to provide DSL broadband to the southwest corner of town. TDS, which was turned down for “stimulus” broadband funds by the FCC because Dane County isn’t “rural enough”, says that those residents live in an area too sparsely-populated to make a business case to install the necessary equipment.

For megabit-class speeds, DSL subscribers need to be within roughly 2 miles of the DSLAM (which connects the DSL lines to a backbone line, and is either installed at the local telephone exchange or in the case of AT&T’s Milwaukee-area fiber-to-the-neighborhood, a cabinet in the neighborhood), and for any DSL service, there cannot be a load coil (which extends the effective range of voice communications but blocks DSL signals) on the line. Meanwhile, the population density of Berry as a whole in 2000 was 30.2 people per square mile (that’s as detailed as the Census Bureau gets). The roads, which the utility poles travel along, are “not-exactly” straight because of the geography of the area, requiring longer runs and, in many cases, prohibiting running a DSL line down from Highway 19, which has DSL service.

Said geography also plays havoc with some peoples’ attempts to use wireless broadband connections, and the compaintants whine in the linked complaint about both the reliabiltiy and cost of that. They also don’t want to use satellite internet service because they don’t want to pay the going rate for that less-than-reliable service. They further think that access to cheap land-based broadband is a right guaranteed by state statute.

Those who don’t remember history – The Boondoggle Edition

by @ 11:20. Filed under Politics - National.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI, and my Congresscritter) and his fellow House Budget Republican members launched the Budget Boondoggle Award a couple years ago to carry on the tradition of William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award. Today, they turned their attention to the proposed $20 million Office of Livable Communities, with a stated goal of making car-less hyper-urban communities with promises of federal money that simply isn’t there.

It sounds a lot like FDR’s Resettlement Administration. The RA, and its predecessor Subsistence Homsesteads Division of the Department of the Interior, had a rather spotty record in attempting to set up socialist communes. For every community that survived until it could be privatized like Greendale, there was an abject failure like Hickory Ridge, Virginia.

A Quick Thought

by @ 9:08. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Do you suppose that President Obama would have been willing to meet with the BP Executives earlier if they had offered to buy the beer for the meeting? Or maybe, President Obama wouldn’t meet with them because they told him they were bringing “ale” and he kept insisting on “beer?”

“Shut up!”, they said – national edition

by @ 8:01. Filed under Politics - National.

(H/T – Owen)

There is a piece of legislation called the DISCLOSURE Act (H.R. 5175 on the Congressional calendar) that would, among other things, require disclosure of all donations to corporations, non-profit organizations, and unions of at least $600 to an account used for campaigning within 120 days (a new extension in and of itself) of an election (whether the entity uses a segregated political account or a mixed-use account), as well as all donations to corporations/unions of at least $6,000 regardless of purpose if said entity particpiates in campaigning.

Side note – while many are saying that this doesn’t apply to unions, that non-application, at least as of the May 25 mark-up, is a function of the way the triggers are written rather than an express exemption. Unions are already required to segregate political funds, and I don’t know of too many unions that take either $600 for that segregated political fund or $6,000 for total dues.

In order to grease the skids for shutting up the less-connected, Politico reported that the National Rifle Association negotiated a deal with the Democrats to exempt itself, and contrary to Democrat claims, other groups like AARP and the Humane Society, from the donation-reporting requirements. Specifically, the deal would “exempt organizations that have more than 1 million members, have been in existence for more than 10 years, have members in all 50 states and raise 15 percent or less of their funds from corporations”.

“Shut up!”, they said – Wisconsin edition

by @ 6:59. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

The Crist-ification of Mark Neumann continues unabated. As part of his pitch to Democrat cross-over vot…er, continuing string of street theater, this time outside the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention, he told every commenter on the Wisconsin governor’s race to shut up. Christian Schneider grabbed the video for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute…

[flv width=”480″ height=”380″][/flv]

In case you couldn’t quite hear that, allow me to transcribe for you:

Unseen questioner – “What do you think about corporate money…the Supreme Court decision that equate (sic) corporate money with free speech and individuals, and unlimited corporation spending on campaigns? What do you think of that?”

Neumann – “I think they should shut down every outside source of information in this campaign except the candidates themselves standing right here in front of people like yourselves debating back-and-forth between them – that’s what I think.

“Now, whether that’s not constitutional so we obviously can’t do that. But if Mark Neumann got to have what he wished, that’s what would happen, sir.”

“Ironic” is probably too weak for this, but I find it hilarious that the person most dependent on the “independent” voters wants nothing but spoon-fed information from the campaigns given to them. Sorry Charl…er, Mark; I might have the blogging blahs, but I will not be silenced by you and your kind.

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