Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Self-absorbed end of year note on this blog

As 2013 draws to a close (and this is a good thing), I wanted to give a thanks to my 5 groupies and the random others who dropped by the Funhouse this year. It's a great outlet for me to handle this messed-up, deception-filled world, and if a couple of you reading have learned something that you can pass on to your buddies, all the better.

Here are the 5 most-viewed posts from this last year. I'll have a few words on each, and feel free to take a gander.

1. June 8 - Wisconsin's economy- it hasn't just sucked for the last 3 months.

Hilariously, I wrote this article the morning of my wedding, and it was one of many "Philly Fed survey coincident index" articles. This is right before Gov Walker's administration tried to use this same index to indicate the state was finally starting to grow (and I and others noted that the "improvement" still left Wisconsin dead last in the Midwest since Walker/WisGOP came to power in January 2011). A lot of the reason I write what I do is because I recognize our political media has little clue in how to read economic figures, and falls prey to the spin that politicians and stink-tankers give to them, and this post is an example of that.

2. Oct. 3 - United Sportsmen Scandal Pt. 1- where we've been.

This basically was a rundown of former Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder's connections to the corrupt Koch front group United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, and also illustrated how United Sportsmen connected to the mining interests that wrote the bill to try to open up the Penokee Hills to GTAC. If you remember, Suder was quitting his Assembly post to take a high-paid regulator's position with the Public Service Commission, but stepped away from the job after the United Sportsmen scandal heated up. I wrote this post the day Suder proved he wasn't so "unintimidated" to stay on, instead choosing to be a lobbyist for the (Koch-affiliated) paper industry. The J-S head honchos took Jason Stein off of the United Sportsmen story after Suder's comeuppance, but I got a feeling we'll hear from these guys again as John Doe Deux's details come out in 2014.

3. Nov. 25 - The good, bad and ugly in senior services

While I also propped up the good story of the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR) and Dane County working to add more services to the elderly, I bet the bigger reason you read this article was because of the allegations of grant-rigging by the Walker Administration. (read them again at this link) Amazingly, the grant-rigging story was buried by most state media, including the Journal-Sentinel, but I noticed that my tweets on the subject keep getting relayed more than a month later. I also combined this callous disregard for outcomes and cronyism with the ongoing failures of this administration on Medicaid- failures you can bet will continue to occur in 2014. We need to keep the pressure up with stories like this, on both the WisGOPs, and the media, because you can bet both of those groups don't want this issue discussed in any detail.

4. Sept. 4- Walker Administration keeps deceiving on Obamacare

This is one of many "exposing the Walker Admin's BS" posts I've had on Obamacare, illustrating how this administration has tried to sabotage the Affordable Care Act's implementation in the state from Day 1. Since Obamacare implementation combines wonky policy items and budgetary effects, it's both mysterious to a lot of people (which allows them to be misled), and is something I can usually explain a lot better than media can, so I write about it quite a bit. Also because this administration says blatant lies about Obamacare that are often unchallenged, in tandem with other Koch/ALEC-run states (in this case, Indiana, Ohio, and Georgia). I recognized Walker's Insurance Commissioner was intentionally giving "apples to oranges" comparisons in insurance costs, and omitting very important context like what sort of treatments were covered and the amount of subsidies and tax credits that were available to cut consumers' costs. This type of garbage is sure to continue next year as well, but with people actually being covered under Obamacare and the world not ending as a result, I bet it falls flatter and flatter.

5. Nov. 26- New Philly Fed index out- where's Walker's press release?

This came the day after the grant-rigging post that was the Number 3 most-viewed, so there was probably some crossover viewing here. The October Philly Fed coincident index came out after Walker's Administration had been trying to pull the "It's Working" routine when the last couple said the state's economy was looking good. This gave Wisconsin more pedestrian numbers, and the Administration was strangely silent (as they were when a similar "Wisconsin had moderate growth in November" report came out from the Philly Fed on Christmas Eve). And by the way, even with the better growth numbers of the last few months, Wisconsin is still dead last in the Midwest by this index's measure since January 2011- when the Age of Fitzwalkerstan began.

I won't be going away from this blog in 2014. In fact, I fear I'll have plenty to discuss and refute in this election year, given that our courtesan media won't dare go after the golden goose of campaign cash (the way the Journal-Sentinel headline writers tried to cover up Jason Stein's revelation of a $93 million Medicaid deficit yesterday is a good example). Oh well, the need to do good and prevent misinformation never seems to go away, and it'll continue next year.

Thanks for reading, and let's make 2014 better than what we have now.


  1. Your blog is terrific.

    It's THE place to get the facts and stats.

    I count on your tireless work to get the lowdown on the
    numbers of the state.

    Jake, please have a beer on me.

    You've been invaluable.

    Can't wait to see what's up in this election year.
    Perhaps Wisconsin folks will wake up and Walker
    will be on his way to his Fox gig.

    I worry about election tampering.

    Hang tight and thanks for all you do.

    Fighting Bob

  2. I second Fighting Bob's comments...your information (and links to your sources) keeps me on top of what's really going on in Wisconsin.

    Thank you for all your hard work!

  3. Fighting Bob, meakai- Thanks for the kind words, and yes, vigilance is key in this battle. Time to crank it up even more.

  4. I agree with the others, and have found your blog to be extremely informative, and have passed a lot of your blogs on to others and they've even mentioned to me how informative they are.

  5. Without a doubt your blog is THE place to visit for state specific economic information. I love it and visit it multiple times weekly. Thank you for your tireless work and please keep it going in the new year!

  6. WhatIsCommonSense, Shane_J- Wow. I'm honored you guys think so much about this place. I certainly plan to keep trying to get the info out as best I can, especially when we have a Lt. Gov. telling business execs "We want to know how to love you more."