My question on Ron Johnson’s company using prison labor: Hiring after release?

A sad fact of America’s sprawling prison-industrial complex is that upon release, many former prisoners do not have work skills, to say nothing of the stigma that comes with a criminal record.

And by now–the news has been out for at least fifteen minutes now–it’s old news that, quoting the AP story, “Pacur Inc. and Dynamic Drinkware LLC, two companies run by Johnson, employ up to nine inmates at a time through a state Corrections Department jobs program.”

I’m fine with that. They get to let the state of Wisconsin pay for their healthcare. How can Johnson not like not having to pay for healthcare? Must save his company a lot of money.

While a company spokesperson called this the company’s “public service,” my question is this: Does either company hire former inmates upon their release from prison? Or do they just use them while they are inmates?

Ron Johnson’s money bomb, so successful that it disappeared?

“Donate to Ron Johnson’s money bomb TODAY and watch the scales tip back to the people!” declares Real Debate Wisconsin. I find that statement rather ironic, not just that it comes from that site, but that there’s the impression that electing Johnson in lieu of Senator Feingold will in any way return the seat to “the people.”

To review, Ron Johnson is hardly a man of the people. He’s not a self-made man, unless you call marrying into money a way to remake yourself in such a way.

Moreover, because he married into money, he could use the power and influence that gave him to see that the company he was handed repeatedly received government assistance. It’s that sort of assistance that now Johnson condemns that he’s a Republican candidate in the tea party era. (Isn’t that one thing the government exists to help with? Just sayin’…)

Now, someone in the hubristic wing of the Cheddarsphere, a.k.a. the “Wisconsin Political Bloggers Mafia,” has called for a money bomb for Johnson.

Thing is, he doesn’t need it. The man’s got his own money; why don’t you let him spend it as we damn well pleases?

Look at how the size of the checks Johnson has written to his own campaign:

just over $5 million:

  • 5/1/2010: $200,000
  • 6/9/2010: $1,274,184
  • 7/19/2010: $925,000
  • 8/10/2010: $500,000
  • 8/19/2010: $1,500,000
  • 9/8/2010: $865,00020000

That is over five million dollars—$5,264,184, according to FEC reports.

All from his own bank account.

And this man would be a representative of  “the people”?

But back to my original point. If the money bomb was so successful, why is it that the only traces of it that we can now find are in Google search results? Why has the graphic showing the live total disappeared?


Endorsement: Rep. Christine Sinicki for 20th Assembly District

During successful career in the Wisconsin State Assembly, Rep. Christine Sinicki has made it her business to be in touch with voters. Be they in Cudahy, St. Francis, or Milwaukee, Sinicki has proven time and time again that she brings their issues to the government, and gets them put into action.

In the Assembly, Sinicki is responsible for the creation of accountability standards for voucher schools, a law to end puppy mills in Wisconsin. and the continued funding of SeniorCare, the prescription drug assistance program for senior citizens. And she was the co-founder of the Save the Hoan Coalition. Let no one say she’s not in touch with her constituents. The Hoan Bridge is the south side’s connection to Milwaukee and the region. When the DOT made noises abut taking it down, Sinicki stepped up to help make it clear that we need it.

Rep. Sinicki wrote a terrific overview of the things she worked on in the 2010 legislative session for the Bay View Compass. In it, you get a sense of what can be done by our state legislators when they make a consistent effort, as has Rep. Sinicki. She has served the people of Bay View, St. Francis and Cudahy very well, and deserves our vote on November 2.

New Feingold ad looks back to ’92, ahead to tomorrow

The Feingold campaign has a very sincere new ad with bits from his 1992 ads, which featured Feingold making his simple pledge to Wisconsin voters. If you recall, he had his campaign promises painted on his garage door. They were:

  1. I will rely on Wisconsin citizens for most of my contributions.
  2. I will live in Middleton, Wisconsin. My children will go to school here and I will spend most of my time here in Wisconsin.
  3. I will accept no pay raise during my six-year term in office.
  4. I will hold a “Listening Session” in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties each year of my six-year term in office.
  5. I will hire the majority of my Senate staff from individuals who are from Wisconsin or have Wisconsin backgrounds.

I’m glad to say that Senator Feingold has kept to his promises. Wisconsinites have a strong affinity for our senator. And I want to keep him working for us in Washington.

Oh, and here’s the new ad, called “Garage Door.” Enjoy.

The Feingold Cheddarbomb is going well — donate now!

The Cheddarbomb, the grassroots fundraiser organized by Wisconsin’s lefty bloggers, is going quite well. We are well on ith some 15,000 small donations, we will raise some serious cash for Senator Feingold.

At this moment, the blog front of the Cheddarbomb has almost 9,800 grassroots online donors – most of the way to our goal. Help us now! Cheddarbomb for Russ Feingold

Click on the image to the right to chip in your little bit to the Cheddarbomb!

Grassroots support for Russ Feingold: the Cheddarbomb!

As you know, Ron Johnson is spending $15 million from his own pocket to try and unseat Senator Russ Feingold. He’s not running on principle, but because he’s got the cash. We, the grassroots, the little Cheddarbomb for Russ Feingoldguys and girls of Wisconsin, are going to raise just as much money—or get at least 15,000 donors—all in one day, all small donors. Sounds intimidating, but we can do it! We call it the Cheddarbomb. Run through ActBlue, the Cheddarbomb has been made possible in part by Wisconsin’s lefty bloggers.

Click here to donate to the Cheddarbomb, or the image on the right!

Non-shocker of the day: JS endorses Plale

It comes as no surprise that the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board has endorsed incumbent Sen. Jeff Plale.  The board usually endorses incumbents unless they’ve done truly wrong. Plale killing the Clean Energy Jobs Act — which the board says he’s wrong on — was not enough for them to shift their endorsement. They’re very pro-incumbent, and despite what some commenters believe, they are not terribly liberal or necessarily even pro-Democrat. Frankly, I’m not sure who or what they’re in favor of, but that’s not the point of this post.

While few people’s minds are likely to be swayed by this endorsement, we can expect a last-minute Plale mailer or flier crowing about it. Just in case all the help from Scott Jensen and Charlie Sykes weren’t enough to try and help him win. With friends like that, why does a Democrat need the paper’s endorsement?

And if he loses, what do you bet a cushy job at AT&T or some other corporate contributor will be in his future?