Archive for March, 2010


March 16, 2010

Please come and read at the new site! (Note: is still the correct url that will redirect you to the new page)

Posting like it’s hot

March 10, 2010

Just put up another post about the Cap Times loss in court yesterday. Please bookmark the new site!

First Brunch Links at new home!

March 10, 2010

Please come check out the first ever Brunch Links at the Daily Page!

The New Sconz: IT WORKS NOW

March 9, 2010

It’s up! HERE is the new location. will ALSO redirect you to the new site. I am still figuring out how to work with the new format stylistically so please be patient. This is all new to me too, but I will do whatever is necessary to make the information as accessible to readers as before.

There is an RSS link so please follow me on your feeds and please, please stop by and leave comments!

Moving for Brunch

March 9, 2010

So…I don’t really know how to say this. I’m moving. The Sconz is moving. From now on I will host The Sconz from The Daily Page, Isthmus’ website. The url will be If you go there right now there’s nothing, but that should all change tomorrow. If everything goes as planned, “” will redirect to the new page. Either way, the last post on this site will be a link to the new site, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding it.

I first talked to Isthmus about doing something similar last summer. At first I said that I would prefer to stay independent. It was working well and wanted to see how far I could take it. However, after doing the blog for eight months, I’m ready to try something new, and more importantly, I hope that having a paper behind my name will allow me to do more reporting, especially after I graduate in May and have more time. Some local and state officials have answered my questions and been cool. But others have not. I would like to change that.

I can’t believe how long this has been going. I started the Sconz the day after I got back from my study abroad trip in France. I immediately started a facebook for the site and soon I started a twitter. The social networking assured me a certain readership from the start, but nothing could have prepared me for the response I got over the following months.

I guess I was kind of lucky. The popular campus-area blog The Critical Badger was winding down and eventually stopped. The vacuum in campus affairs left me a certain audience. However, what most impressed me were the numerous readers from all over the state I met. People who came to The Sconz via WisOpinion (who links to me but won’t put me on their blogroll) or via other state blogs and became regulars. Brenda Konkel criticized me and in doing so drove scores of readers to The Sconz. After all this time, I think (knock on wood) Brenda is finally willing to cut me some slack.

I learned from the blogosphere. My very first brunch links was a very different affair than what most of you have come to know. And it was originally adopted from Dane101‘s breakfast links.

The poor economy was the worst thing that ever happened to millions of Americans and thousands of Wisconsinites but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I couldn’t find a job last summer, so I blogged.

Interaction is one of the key differences between the traditional media and the new media. The comments I’ve got in response have affirmed my faith in the new media and its potential to go beyond the boundaries set by its paper-print forebears. I am not a professional –– I had no qualifications to start this blog besides an interest in the subject matter. However, my readers, many of whom were more knowledgeable in many of the topics I touched upon, contributed and corrected me when necessary. Having readers who will point out your mistakes is a huge asset, and it’s one of the advantages of a more interactive media.

I could go on and on. I had the special pleasure of meeting Alec Slocum and Jaimie Chapman, both of whom took a load off my back while providing valuable new voices to the site. I can’t tell you what a relief it was last week when Alec live-blogged a forum on free speech that I had been completely oblivious to. Jaimie has a charming and fun style, and I encourage you to visit her own blog to keep up with her own writing.

Enough of the nostalgia. I’m not going away and neither are you. You are going to stay with me at the new location. Here’s what you gotta do. First off, like I said, the new url is: HOWEVER, even if you can’t remember that I will put up a link on this site so that the first thing you see on this site will be the link to the new site. ALSO, there will be an RSS button on the new site so you should add that to your RSS feeds. Facebook and Twitter will remain in tact, and all updates will be posted on both, including links.

Please follow me to Isthmus. The blog will be exactly the same. Here’s the thing though –– the comments are slightly different. You have to sign in to comment. All that means is that you have to put in an email address and password and then you can comment using that username. I know it’s a pain in the ass but you really should do it. I need you guys.

Mayor Dave shafted…again

March 8, 2010

If I knew more about movies I would make a reference to somebody who got shafted at the Academy Awards last night. But I don’t, so all I can say is that Mayor Dave probably sympathizes from the dozens of oscar nominees who went home empty-handed. The other night his patented “Mayor Dave Chili-a-vitch’s Award Winning Chili” lost its bid for the “Men Who Cook” award at the annual Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority benefit.

I know that all Madisonians will join me in their indignation at this horrible injustice. My entry this year was my “award winning” chili, which despite its obvious award winning qualities won no awards.

I’m disappointed too Mayor Dave. If only you had a picture of the chili I would gladly promote it in brunch links.

Dane County coming back?

March 8, 2010

The State Journal ran an article suggesting that Dane County’s economy is rebounding. They list a bunch of facts, the following of which was the most impressive:

• Unemployment hit a peak of 6.3 percent in June; by December it was down to 5.4 percent.

But 2009 as a whole was particularly tough.

Social service programs, including local food pantries, say there’s been a big jump in the number of people who need help.

“Every day that we’re open, we have new people that are just laid off,” said Jenny Czerkas, director of The River Food Pantry, 2201 Darwin Road.

The pantry had 21,680 household visits in 2009, up from 13,380 the year before. Each family can get food once a week. “A two-hour wait (to get inside) is not uncommon,” Czerkas said.

I certainly don’t think cutting unemployment benefits is the answer to drive these people away from food pantries, as some suggest. When unemployment spikes, it’s not a spike in laziness, it’s a spike in desperation.
Brenda Konkel weighs in, optimistic but skeptical.

ASM this week

March 8, 2010

Erik Paulson wants me (and hence you) to know that some shit is going down in ASM this week:

Monday 8 a.m.
-The candidate declaration forms for the spring elections will be available online. The forms will be due March 21 for anyone looking to run for Student Council. The Student Elections Commission will be discussing further campaign events at their meeting Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Tuesday 6 p.m.
-Academic Affairs is looking to take the Cheaper Textbook Campaign to another level by proposing the creation of a new shared governance committee to handle textbook prices and practices. They hope to present a proposal to the Faculty Senate at their next meeting.

Wednesday 6:30 p.m.
-Student Council: agenda to come

Thursday 5:30 p.m.
-The Shared Governance Committee will be reviewing applications to fill the three student slots in the newly-created Student InformationTechnology Initiative Advisory Committee (SITIAC). This committee will review how UW uses tuition money to improve it’s information technology. Chair Melissa Hanley will also present to the Council on Wednesday her findings from the focus group she held this weekend regarding segregated fees and how they are used to fund UW building projects.

That message was from Ken Harris, head of ASM press office.

Some real talk about Walker’s fiscal policy

March 8, 2010

Steve Walter, for Wispolitics, gives us a glimpse of the budgetary implications of Scott Walker’s most magnificent campaign promises. In case any of you haven’t kept up, Walker has recently come under fire for promising to “create 250,000 jobs” by 2015. Such a goal, if realized, would translate into virtual full employment in the state.

**Walker: “I want to lower the tax on employers…”

First clarifying question: By “employers,” Scott, do you mean all Wisconsin businesses?

If so, you’re referring to the “corporate income and franchise” tax, which totaled $629.5 million last year, and is projected to go up — by 11 percent — to $700 million this year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Democratic legislators, who said they were closing a “Las Vegas” tax-avoidance loophole, and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle last year raised taxes paid by large, multi-state companies.

Or, were you referring to payroll taxes businesses pay to finance unemployment benefits? If so, remember that Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance fund is out of cash, after paying a record $3.2 billion in jobless benefits last year.

Right now, Wisconsin has borrowed $1.1 billion from the federal government; by the end of the year that debt is expected to be $1.9 billion, which doesn’t include interest (that must be added in 2011).

There are only two ways to repay the federal loan, experts say: Raise taxes on employers, or cut benefits to the jobless. Which of those two changes — and what exact changes — are you recommending, Scott?

He asks similar questions in response to Walker’s property tax and income tax promises. It’s a pretty simple question: What are you going to cut Scott? Unfortunately, it’s a question that is rarely asked of Republicans.

Brunch Links

March 8, 2010

Yeah I watched some of the academy awards, but more importantly, I played some serious Chatroulette. That Russian guy is a genius. How revolutionary. It just might eliminate war, the small cost being a generation whose only method of addressing problems in relationships is to press “next.” A few of my friends and I watched a group of guys in Texas improvise a song based on a random word we gave them. Next we ran into breast-seeking junior hockey players from Minnesota. We were sorry to disappoint them.

High of 45, low of 26. Monday’s my hardest day of the week, which means I have to start it out right with a margarita from El Rio Grande.

“Student discipline should never cause injury or death,” Sen. Julie Lassa said in a release. How naive.

Milwaukee County Supervisor sentenced to 6 months of jail for fraud.

Good article by the WSJ on a potential Thompson run. Feingold’s response was perfect. Shows a sense of humor and desire for a challenge but managed to nail Thompson for working as a lobbyist and abandoning Wisconsin. The message is clear: You really wanna come back now Tommy? We thought you’d forgotten about us.

Yet another limit on gubernatorial vetoes introduced. Governors would not be able to raise or lower spending on individual items.

“If just 1 percent of Wausau’s population goes uncounted in the 2010 census, the city stands to lose nearly $500,000 a year in federal money.”

“Speaking on local terms, Patz said Wisconsinites routinely drink contaminated water.”

The Post-Crescent has been keeping up with Kagen and health care pretty well. Most recent update: White House giving Kagen major love on his efforts to require health care product prices be listed.

ALRC changes rules requiring property owners to find tenants within a year if they want to keep their liquor licenses. I don’t really know much about the issue but I don’t think the Cardinal did a very good job explaining why the current restriction could be a nuisance to small businesses.

New professor of Hmong studies. That’s cool –– we’re one of the only universities to have a department of Scandinavian Studies (I’ve taken two Scandinavia history courses!) so it would make sense to try and take advantage of another significant culture/ethnicity that’s somewhat unique to the area.

Wow, enough with the office space already.

That makes sense. 311 is a service for non-emergency information. Why not make non-emergency police calls go there?

Take a look at Terrence Wall’s political contributions. Name the guy whose feelings should be hurt by that list.

Candidates always try to pull the wool over the voters eyes with talks of legislative process.

Oh good, Republicans railing against drug users. You just know this will result in good policy.