- gone, at least for now

I've been meaning to mention this for a few days now -- uber-aggregator mysteriously disappeared a few days back.  Apparently owner (and former Bush speech writer and conservative Washington Times editor) David Mastio has killed the project because it was not taking in enough ad revenue to sustain itself.  Of course, right-wing blogs that were big supporters of the project are calling this the fault of Obama's economic policies.  Personally I also blame Obama economic policies for the fact that Penelope Cruz married Javier Bardem rather than me -- I mean, if I was rich and handsome and famous and an actor ---

I've alwys had mixed feelings about this service. It clearly had a right-wing spin to it, and it kept promotiing its raniking systems of blogs in each state, which seemed to be fairly arbitrary.  Also, they've had any number of run-ins with bloggers whose content they appropriated without permission, and they apparently often refused to remove blogs even if the blogs involved asked to be removed. This seems in keeping with Mastio's general attitude toward pagiarism.

I've recently started a new aggregation effort.  We're hoping to help rebuild the old 50-State Blog Network by having an opt-in aggregator of progressive blogs from around the country.  It's off to a slow start, but you might want to stop in at if you'd like to start reading collected blogs from around the country.  Soon this will include a weekly 50-state blog roundup.

RoJo attack ad rated 'barely true'

PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature of the St. Petersburg FL Times, gives Ron Johnson's attack ad on Russ Feingold a "barely true" rating. And that's a stretch. The summary:

Feingold did vote against a bill that included the permanent ban on Great Lakes drilling, and also voted against two of the bills with temporary bans, though for reasons unrelated to the drilling ban provision. As a result, Johnson has some justification for saying that Feingold "voted against the law that protected our lakes."

But the ad ignores that Feingold supported one of the temporary bans, and that he has a long record of protecting the environmental quality of the Great Lakes, including championing at least one bill that dealt directly with drilling. Meanwhile, we don't buy the campaign's rationale for excluding New York from the list of Great Lakes states. That fundamentally undercuts the ad's claim that Feingold was the only Great Lakes senator to vote against the 2005 bill.

At least 38% know who he is

The Capital Times:

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's approval rating has hit a new low.

The University of Wisconsin Survey Center's Badger Poll released on Friday shows the two-term governor's approval rating at just 38 percent. That is down from a high of 52 percent in June 2007. Just seven months ago his approval was at 46 percent.


Based on the Badger poll's other results,  they probably found the other 62 per cent didn't have any opinion or had never heard of Doyle.


Conservation Champions Eau Claire

I attended the League of Conservation Voters event in Eau Claire Wednesday night.  The event honored Jeff Smith and Kristin Dexter for having 100% voting records on their Conservation Scorecard. It was heavily attended and was a great event for conservationists in Western Wisconsin.  Here are some pictures:

[img_assist|nid=13856|title=Jeff Wood Accepts Conservation Champion Award|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=300|height=226]











This should help turnout

Madison NORML reports:

MADISON: In a voice vote, the Dane County Board unanimously voted Thursday night to place a Medical Marijuana Advisory Referendum on county ballots for the Nov. 2 general election. Thursday's vote sets up the first-ever vote in Dane County on medical marijuana.

The resolution was sponsored by District 6 Supervisor Jon Hendrick, who was joined by 12 cosponsors. It had previously passed out of the board's Executive Committee on July 8 on a unanimous 6-0 vote.

The vote means that on Nov. 2, all Dane County ballots will carry this question:

"Should the Wisconsin Legislature enact legislation allowing residents with debilitating medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?"

Now, what are we going to get on the ballot in some other Democratic counties?

If Ron Johnson falls in the forest ...

When Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West mistakenly said recently that Arizona didn't border Mexico, she became an instant celebrity and object of ridicule, both locally and on the national scene.

A one-second search of the JS found at least seven articles about West's gaffe.

And it was a bad one. Whether she really didn't know about the Arizona-Mexico border or experienced a brain fart while she was debating on the County Board floor, she really embarrassed herself.

Fast forward now to this week, and a TV commercial by Senate candidate Ron Johnson, airing statewide at saturation levels, in which Johnson claims that Russ Feingold was the only Great Lakes Senator to vote against an energy bill cooked up by Dick Cheney and the oil companies in 2005.

Spin, spin, spin again

Wasn't that an old Pete Seeger song?

Five minutes with the front page of the NY Times this morning produced two gems:

"I am very excited that there is no oil in the Gulf of Mexico." -- Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president, after announcing BP has capped its leaking well, at least temporarily.  (We'd all be excited if that were only true.)


“This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing." said Robert S. Khuzami, Securities and Exchange Commission's director of enforcement, on a $55-million settlement with Goldman Sachs.   

From the same story:...  it would represent only a small financial dent for Goldman, which reported $13.39 billion in profit last year.

News of the settlement sent Goldman’s shares 5 percent higher in after-hours trading, adding far more to the firm’s market value than the amount it will have to pay in the settlement.

Peggy West, meet Ron Johnson


When County Supervisor Peggy West forgot that Arizona bordered Mexico, it was national news, with Bill O'Reilly and others roasting her.

And she got a lot of attention from the Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin media, too.

So, should we brace ourselves for similar treatment of Ron Johnson, the Senate candidate who doesn't know that New York state borders the Great Lakes?

Johnson is running a commercial trying to mislead people into thinking Russ Feingold supported Great Lakes oil drilling because he voted against a 2005 Dick Cheney-inspired energy bill that included a drilling ban.

Not only did Feingold vote against it, the commercial says, but adds:

That's right. Feingold was the only Great Lakes Senator to vote no.
Well, unless you count Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, two New Yorkers who would be surprised to discover that New York is not one of the eight Great Lakes states.

Candidates, stop campaigning! Poll says you're going backwards

After months of trashing the Rasmussen Reports polls, what a surprise to find that they look pretty credible compared with the latest one from the University of Wisconsin survey center.

Judging from those numbers, pretty much all of the campaigning anyone has done up until now has been a waste of time and money. Three and a half months before the general election, they say, no one knows who's running, and if they do know they don't care.

A dozen previous polls in the governor's race, summarized on, have had Democrat Tom Barrett somewhere between 34 and 46 per cent of the vote, with Republicans Scott Walker and Mark Neumann in a range between 34 and 49. (One from St. Norbert College had Barrett lower, but it's an outlier -- or it was until the UW effort came along.) 

The UW poll would have us believe that Barrett has 15 per cent of the vote, while 32 per cent say they'd vote for a Republican (no one asked them which one.)

In the Senate race, they say Russ Feingold leads Ron Johnson 25-19.

Mudslinging? No. Misleading? Yes

The Associated Press, going where no other media outlet dares, actually does an analysis of the exchange of TV commercials between Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson on the issue of oil drilling in the Great Lakes:

Johnson's response focused on Feingold's no vote, which came on a successful 2005 energy bill that made permanent a temporary ban on Great Lakes oil drilling. The no vote, Johnson suggests, calls into question whether Feingold is serious about standing up for the lakes.

The Republican's criticism is misleading. It implies that Feingold didn't want to protect the lakes. In fact, it was Feingold who co-sponsored the 2001 measure that enacted the temporary ban. Feingold voted against the 2005 measure because it wasn't substantive enough, he has said.

So far, so good. The AP actually looked at the record, not just what Johnson said.


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