Saturday, August 30, 2014

Skimpy Official WI Econ. Forecasts Under Walker Overly-Optimistic

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is issuing fewer economic forecast reports and the last one - - from five+ months ago - - projects job growth in the state not see since Walker's swearing-in.

Gee: wonder why?

First - - Check out the department's index of reports, and see how the frequency is declining.

Winter 2014

Past Reports

And "Winter 2014?" That report came out on March 20, according to this news release - - 
March 20Winter 2014 Wisconsin Economic Outlook and Winter 2014 Wisconsin Metropolitan Area Outlook
so is it titled "Winter 2014" because there were still 24 hours of winter left on the calendar earlier when released, or because it's supposed to take you to the end of the calendar year and make you think, wow - - they're really looking far ahead. What confidence! 

Why doesn't the report have an actual date on it? 

Note also how often these reports were published during the Doyle years, and were issued routinely with more precise dates. 

There have only been two in the last two years. How come, and where here is Walker's vaunted "transparency"?

  • December 2010
  • August 2010
  • May 2010
  • February 2010
  • November 2009
  • June 2009
  • March 2009
  • December 2008
  • August 2008
  • May 2008
  • And speaking of data: take a look among all the forecasts in the Winter 2014 report at the very important jobs creation number - - since Walker is repeatedly claiming during the campaign that he's succeeded while challenger Mary Burke correctly says he's way behind his 250,000 new jobs promise:

    The forecast calls for increases of more than 40,000 jobs per year in 2014 and 2015.
    40,000 this year? 

    How broken is that crystal ball?

    The state so far this year isn't hitting 30,000 - - and, OK , the year isn't over yet - - but in two of Walker's three years in office the state added fewer than 30,000 jobs, according to PolitiFact's regular tracking.

    And let's talk about personal income growth, a statistical area for which Walker had claimed success in a recent TV commercial until bloggers and others got PolitiFact to show that, in fact, Wisconsin over the Walker years was dead last in the Midwest and 44th nationally.

    The June, 2012 report had predicted a strong, 4.1% annual increase for 2013.

    By the so-called Winter 2014 report, that projection for 2013 had been cut to 2.9%

    So these official forecasts, few as the are, have exactly what basis in fact, and what value - - beyond PR? The dismal science gets more dismal when number get twisted, cooked and served with side of spin.

    It all reminds me of a Walker "Pants on Fire" rating fully deserved 21 months ago when he greatly overstated the jobs created during his term:

    Wisconsin has created "just under 100,000" jobs since he took office.  

    Scott Walker on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 in a speech

    Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin has created almost 100,000 jobs since he took office

    Talent Search Prospect Has Walker Victimhood Down Cold

    Why not bring him in here?

    After all, he'll land somewhere, and seems to have Walker's whiny media mantra down pat, as The Washington Post reports: 
    Jesse Benton, the GOP political strategist spearheading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign, resigned from his post Friday amid new details about an ongoing federal investigation into anendorsement-pay-scheme involving a 2012 presidential campaign he oversaw.
    In a statement issued Friday evening, Benton cited “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue.”

    Walker's Yard Sale Of Your Property To Begin Post-Election

    Like other controversial matters - - the Kenosha casino, Waukesha's Great Lakes water diversion scheme, DNR land sales, pending mega-dairy expansions, the iron mine - - Walker's no-competitive-bid/insider-friendly sell-off of public property will happen in 2015. First up: electrical power plants

    Friday, August 29, 2014

    'I Do Not Like You, Mainstream Media...'

    I do not like you, Mainstream media.
    I'm far more happy with Wikipedia.

    About me you should be more praisey.
    Instead you're incompetent - - flat-out biased and lazy.

    MSM's too broad; I should say press.
    It once sent love, but now only stress.

    I do not like your tone, so dour.
    Can't we pretend I'm doing book tour?

    Milwaukee papers would show my Harley.
    So why so mean now, Patrick Marley?

    That's real news, the kind I liked.
    When I, Desperado, rode and biked. 

    Why so gnarly, so not now nice?
    I mean you, Journal Sentinel, but mainly Dan Bice.

    I really don't like you, Washington Post.
    Implying that soon I could be toast.

    And curses on the New York Times.
    Implying I might be guilty of crimes.

    And charges of funding coordination?
    Outrageous newsroom insubordination.

    These stories cause panic, my donors say, "Yikes."
    Must I move to the studio with Belling or Sykes?

    And, yes, I prefer to be with a talker.
    Unlike you, Mainstream Media, they respect Scott Walker.

    Where's my credit, and why now such a tussle?
    Our direction is good - - I've moved past Tim Russell.

    Reputations are sullied, it's all been unfair.
    Will pay-to-play ever enjoy repair?

    The honest reason for Walker's irk
    is fresh-faced phenom Mary Burke.

    ----- Inspired by the news, and a certain SKW.

    Why Walker's Done So Much Traveling Lately

    He's been all over the map trying to find his reputation.

    For cryin' out loud!

    Wrong-Way Walker...Meet Whiny-Walker

    Like the losing manager who kicks dirt all over the umpire, Wrong-Way Walker and Scott Kardashian released a new Friday afternoon cartoon character, Whiny-Walker.

    The answer to where your reputation went? It was blown up by your own Act 10 bomb and checked out with that secret-no-more $700,000 GTac check.

    WI PSC Affirms Anti-City Funding Double-Standard

    Scott Walker's 2-1 anti-urban, rightwing Public Service Commission majority affirmed a ruling that said only city residents should pay for relocating utility lines if a street car line is built in Milwaukee - - while the state routinely spreads among all state taxpayers the cost of relocating utility lines when the so-called 'freeway' is being widened.

    Another double-standard aimed at the city by Scott Walker's gang.

    The PSC majority includes:
    *  Ellen Nowak, former chief of staff to GOP Assembly Speaker John Gard, and also to Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas;

    *   Phil Montgomery, a former Green Bay-area GOP State Representative. Montgomery was also a former Board Member to ALEC, the Koch brother-inspired state legislatures' advisory organization, and was once named an ALEC Legislator of the Year.

    On Secret Walker Campaign $$, JS Edit Board Seven Silent Days

    No comment yet from the state's leading board of media commentators about allegations of jaw-dropping campaign financing chicanery found and disclosed by prosecutors...and  widely reported and highlighted by Journal Sentinel news staffers and editors...and noted in national media, from The New York Times, to The Washington Post, and in this pointed account that all cry out for local recognition and comment:
    A fresh batch of emails emerged Friday night that shows Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was deeply involved in raising money for an ostensibly independent group focused on fending off recall efforts.. 
    Here’s a look at the six most revealing nuggets from the tranche of documents: 
    “There is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefited.”That’s a reference to perhaps the most immediate and politically potent revelation in the latest documents: that mining company Gogebic Taconite LLC cut a $700,000 check to the Walker group. The firm wants to build a controversial open-pit iron mine in the state, and Walker signed a bill in 2013 that helped them by lightening environmental requirements.
    As I said Wednesday, I understand the technical and scheduling issues that can delay quick comment on breaking news.

    But the relevance of commentary is fading as the days fall off the calendar, plus we're heading into a holiday weekend of traditionally-lighter newspaper access that works against readership, and editorial oomph.

    Will the edit board comment on the Walker campaign funding stories in one of the mini-editorials it stacks in its Saturday round-up potpourri?

    Sunday's more significant Crossroads section is really the paper's last relevant shot at meaningful commentary on last week's Doe document dump.

    Walker's Triple-Trickery On State Jobs Numbers

    Along with the rest of us, Wrong-Way Walker knows that his signature campaign promise to create 250,000 new private sector jobs in one term is a bust.

    Solid signs of the failure of his robotically-rightwing economic 'planning' that included tax cuts for businesses and upper-income filers combined with take-home income hits to middle-income public employees statewide have been there for a long, long time.

    So he's now got a three-step charade underway to detoxify and otherwise hide that reality from voters who will decide in two months whether he wins re-election.

    1. In statements and campaign ads, Walker redefines the jobs promise into a "goal." After all, missing a goal isn't as serious as breaking a promise. And he will throw in self-aggrandizing terms like "big...bold...aggressive" to embellish his stature and performance, when, in fact, the promise and his leadership to keep it is failing:
    Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.
    That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term, 
    That's more jobs than were created for two of the three full years that Walker has been in office. (In the year that topped the figure, employers added 33,872 jobs in 2011.)
    2. He has had his state workforce department appointees release early just the state's jobs numbers they receive as part of a comprehensive federal data set that the feds routinely release themselves in a 50-state package.

    The early release makes it tougher to see or appreciate the full context the state's comparative national ranking - - most recently #37 - - so the goal and consequence of the Walker manipulation is to obfuscate rather than inform fully.

    Whic, if you think about or have a good memory, is just what Walker, his campaign staff and the public employees under his control have been doing habitually for years.
    Gov. Scott Walker and his top campaign and Milwaukee County aides were named Monday as part of a team that routinely commingled political and official county business.
    The Journal Sentinel included a good explanation of the manipulation in a story yesterday showing Wisconsin job growth flat and remaining behind the national trend, further distancing Walker from  hitting his 250,000 goal and undermining his mantra that the state is moving in a good direction.

    3.  Early on, Walker attacked a separate federal jobs data set as inaccurate because it relied on a small survey sample. But now that the comprehensive report noted above continues to show Wisconsin's relatively poor job growth, Walker cherry-picked numbers from one of the small survey samples that he'd earlier condemned that showed some good growth and used those numbers in a campaign ad - - even though the more comprehensive report shows no such thing.

    Walker's data deceit is so transparent these days that PolitiFact rates "True" the sleuthing by a blogger and on-line commenter who spotted the deception in a different set of cooked numbers.

    I'll add Walker's fuzzy math and calculated spin to my separate updated posting covering Walker's inveterate penchant for spin that, regrettable, is getting longer.

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    A Question For Walker, GTac And Their Pocketed Legislators

    How much time has been lost, how many resources have been wasted and how much good will has been flushed away by the mining lobby's pushing its never-to-be-opened open-pit monstrosity without any honest and authentic commitment to a comprehensive, multi-faceted, long-term, sustainable and publicly-crafted jobs and development plan for the region?

    No Plan B, C, D...X,Y or Z from WEDC, or the WMC or the rest of the big cheeses who are more interested in big talk instead of the day-to-day grind that, as in all communities, has to involve the people and be for them if it is to have any credible chance of taking root and paying off.

    Clarke Also Asks For Personal Nuclear Submarine, Land Speeder

    Blogger Who Outed Walker On Income Also Verifies Ugly State Deficit

    Props to Jakes's Economic TA Blog for helping prove an outrageous Walker manipulation of income data, and again in a separate posting showing the truth about Walker's failing, deficit-growing economic policies:

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 2014

    Verified- a massive budget deficit in Wisconsin. Who'da thought?

    Well, those Wisconsin revenue numbers we’d been waiting on finally dropped today. And as predicted, we’re now looking at a real and growing budget deficit in Wisconsin.
    Wisconsin tax collections are more than $281 million short of estimates, nearly 2 percent less than anticipated.

    The state Department of Revenue on Thursday released the figures for the fiscal year that ended in June. Those figures show the state collected $281.2 million less than was anticipated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.
    Huh, who could have predicted something like that? 

    Walker Trying To Raise Money Off Obama's Labor Day MKE Visit

    I won't include the links, but Scott K.ardashian Walker finds a new way to make everything in Wisconsin all about himself - - and to seek contributions for the Walker campaign. At least this pitch for $25 donations and your email address - - which is worth a whole lot more to the campaign - - is included in transparent fund-raiser - -  not like some secretive $700,000 mining company windfall or casino mogul Sheldon Adelson/hair stylist Donald Trump/hedge fund owner Steven Cohen/Koch brothers checks.

    And P.S. - - Obama has been to Labor Fest twice since 2008, and Walker has met Obama on Milwaukee airport visits when the photo ops worked to boost the Governor's mini-statesman credentials, as well as in Green Bay, so reduce the drama, Walkerites:

    HIGH ALERT: President Obama is coming to Wisconsin

    President Obama is coming to Milwaukee on Labor Day for a massive Laborfest Rally.

    The political purpose is clear: RALLY THE TROOPS TO DEFEAT GOVERNOR WALKER.

    In a Governor's race that's too-close-to-call, Democrats are hoping a presidential appearance tips the balance, makes the difference, and makes their dream of defeating Governor Walker come true.

    The media circus will create a surge of propaganda for the Burke Democrats. Don't be surprised if the Democrats use the Obama visit to raise millions.

    Every dollar will be transformed into TV attack ads that are long on lies and short on truth.

    We MUST fight back right now -- that's why we are announcing the creation of our Rapid Response Fund.

    Jim Spice, Et Al, Take A Bow; Your Data Derails Walker Claim

    I think this is the first time in the Era of Walker Falsehoods that an online commenter and a Daily Kos/economics blogger get credit from PolitiFact for showing Walker's misleading use of official income data:

    Bloggers say Wisconsin ranks last in income growth since Scott Walker became governor

    Scott Kardashian

    The Walkerites are unsettled today, and with good reason.

    Yesterday's Marquette University Law School poll showed their guy - - the career politician, the incumbent Governor with 264% name recognition and bank accounts larger than some nations' cash reserves - - at 50% and two points down among likely voters to the lesser known, lesser-funded challenger, Mary Burke.

    Polling may be rocket science, but it's pretty simple to grasp why Wrong Way Walker is on the wrong side of those numbers:

    Walker fatigue.


    Set aside the likely voters who've gotten the back of his hand for nearly four years: How many times can his supporters go to the well and the wall to defend and save him?

    In the last election, Walker successfully spun away from personal staffers and associates who did his bidding and then headed off to jail while he stepped over them for personal glory and better housing at the Governor's Mansion.

    Now he's on another opportunistic route to higher office - - again under an ethical cloud - - fighting allegations that he worked secretly and possibly illegally to raise and spend campaign money that negate his repeated claims to transparency and render his 2012 recall election illegitimate.

    People are tiring of his fading, phony, failing story lines, and I suspect that even his supporters understand that his principal purpose is without principle, though I won't be surprised if the First Amendment speech-and-association arguments conservatives are making to support his formerly-secret campaign manipulations gets further elevated to the principled status of 'civil disobedience-in-the-face- of-unjust-[campaign finance]-law.

    Producing fresh banality on top of celebrity with ubiquity, without credibility - - a Kardashian Kandidate, if you will - - and apologies in advance to Kim and Co., since no one ever asked them to be the K in SKW.

    But think about it:

    He's got a book. She's got a book.

    She's got an Instagram account, and a busy Facebook page, and so does he.

    Her Twitter page is filled with trivia and self-promotion, which are not contradictory - - so Walker's is, too.

    He's posted close-up photos of his Gille's [Sic] vanilla custard cone and late-night burgers. Twice, lately. Or "Nice 4th inning for the @Brewers." Or posting a smiling picture of himself on a ride seated next to a freaked out State Fair Queen, without a sense of irony, "#SpinCity."

    Therein lies the reason for Walker's Wrong Direction polling.

    No one wants to go with him to spin city anymore.

    Secret Iowa Campaign $$ Peanuts Compared to Wisconsin's

    Someone's going to the pokey in Iowa for failing to properly report $73,000 during the 2012 campaign there, the Washington Post reports, and a prosecutor lays out why:
    On Wednesday, [the defendant]pleaded guilty to one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures and one count of obstruction of justice. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the first count and up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the second count, but prosecutors plan to recommend he receive a reduced sentence for accepting responsibility, according to court filings.
     “Campaign finance reports should be accurate and transparent, not tools for concealing campaign expenditures,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement. “Lying by public officials – whether intended to obstruct the FEC or federal investigators – violates the public trust and the law, and the Department of Justice does not tolerate it.”
    OK, OK. In Iowa, it was pay-for-endorsement, and in Wisconsin you could argue that what's been recently disclosed John Doe II documents was pay-for-play. 

    You say tomato, I say tomahto, but set aside the apples and oranges and the rest of the low-hanging fruit and consider:

    If $73,000 secret and unreported campaign bucks can get you you up to 25 years hard time in Iowa, some folks in Wisconsin or its 2012 recall campaigns might end up in Alcatraz. 

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Major WI Editorial Boards Loathe To Hit Walker On Secret $$

    Last Friday's bombshell disclosures about a secret $700,000 mining company donation and additional big-dollar contributions steered through a willing, behind-the-scenes conduit to benefit Scott Walker's recall campaign have yet to prompt comment by the Journal Sentinel editorial board.

    Maybe it's on its way. We'll see.

    I know that there are limitations on editorial page space, and that some editorials are scheduled in advance. I understand that there are production obstacles to quick editorial comment about news breaking on a Friday afternoon, though I don't see anything yet on the paper's editorial page blog, either.

    And let's note that taking one's time didn't spur the Wisconsin State Journal to muster up more than dereliction-of-duty 'they're-all-doing it' editorial criticism today.

    To be accurate, the elements of secret campaign advertising and organizational coordination for Walker's benefit that are alleged in the official investigation have not been alleged against anti-Walker efforts.

    Boo to the State Journal for insulting readers and voters with false conflation that helps give Walker - - whom the paper endorsed in 2010 - - a pass.

    Blood Sporters Losing WI Opinion Battle

    [Thursday update: See new blog by Rachel Tilseth]

    Despite fear-mongering by Wisconsin wolf killers enabled by a gun-pandering Legislature and their allies inserted by Walker atop the DNR, the general public wants to put the brakes on the state's scientifically-devoid, dog-assisted, cruelty-laden $49-a-carcass' wolf slaughter.
    gray wolf
    Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    We'll see if the DNR listens to its own data, and the people -- or to gun and hound-hunting special-interests whose votes and campaign assistance Walker needs to carry Northern and Western Wisconsin this fall.

    Oops: WEDC-Sponsored Tech Event Yields Biz Defection News

    Not the business location/relocation discussion, I suspect, that Walker's WEDC was looking for out of a Tech Festival it is co-sponsoring in Madison this week, as reported by the Journal Sentinel:
    Kurt Brenkus, [tech firm] Aver's president and chief executive officer, approached [venture finance firm] Drive Capital about moving from De Pere to Columbus, Ohio, where the venture capital firm is based, said Chris Olsen, a Drive co-founder.  
    Aver recently moved to Ohio... 

    I Imagine The Walker Campaign Voice-Mail Greeting Has Been Redone...

    (In light of Mary Burke's fresh polling lead among likely voters): 
    Please listen to our menu, as some options have changed: 
    If you'd like to make a campaign donation, press 1. 
    If you'd like to make a campaign donation, press 2. 
    If you'd like to make a campaign donation, press 3. 
    If you're Kathy Nickolaus, press 4, and stay on the line. 
    If you'd like to make a defense fund donation, press 0. 

    Walker Mocks "Transparency." Again.

    Wrong-Way Walker badly distorts "transparency" into 'whatever I do is automatically virtuous.'

    This blog has tracked Walker's preposterous, Orwellian claims to transparency since he threw the word around even though his public, taxpayer-paid staff had set up a secret Internet communication and fund-raising system in his Milwaukee County Executive office suite.

    Since he sucker-punched public employees after his election with the anti-collective bargaining "bomb" he dropped on them out of nowhere and whispered "divide-and-conquer" to one of his biggest, private-sector donors.

    Walker - - or is he Tommy Flanagan? - - has no legitimate claim to transparency, and when he mouths it you know it's to cover up the exact opposite.

    Hearing Walker embracing transparency after court documents showed him directing to his recall campaign millions of dollars in secret and possibly illegal campaign donations and valuable organizational coordination is like spotting a late-night pitchman for home gym equipment pff-camera wash down a bag of pork rinds with a 64-ounce soda.

    Waukesha Judge Added To Gun Stupidity

    [Updated] In a period when the news about guns in the country has been repeatedly sad, shocking and downright gruesome, let me be the first to suggest to Waukesha County District Court Judge Lloyd V. Carter that he rethink the paean to guns he delivered in a burst of gun-lobby over-thinking a few months ago when he dropped a criminal charge against an Oconomowoc woman who'd left her loaded semi-automatic pistol in a church bathroom. Said Givens:
    "A firearm is not an existential threat. It does not come alive and act by itself to menace society."
    Well, fine, if there were only one person - - the owner - - in the immediate area code and she knew where it was safely stored?

    And if the very people mishandling their firearms were not given a high-falutin' but ultimately illogical philosophical pass by the judge, would we be reading today that the husband of the woman who left her gun in that bathroom left his loaded semi-automatic pistol in a Door County amusement park public men's room.

    Didn't know his gun was missing and thought it was "funny" when he found out?

    I'd say that the menace to society began on the bench and moved to the bathroom stall.

    Will there be a third time that shoots down the judge's theories?

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Walker Working Hard To Erase Mining Embarrassment

    Go way back, Bucky - - back, back, back before there was the Walker Presidential fantasy fed by big-dollar, Club for Growth opportunism, back before the Wisconsin Governorship was a mere day-dream for Team Walker, back before their years of grind in the falling-down, depressing, politically no-wheresville Milwaukee County Courthouse with all those aggravating Supervisors, low-income taxpayers and social services that didn't lend themselves to peppy, preppy, post-card pretty TV spots.

    Yes, Bucky...go back to the lean, dark, dead-end years when Walker was carpool commuting to back-benching irrelevancy in the Assembly, nursing his wounds and big fat grudges over being beaten for the Marquette college presidency, then by Gwen Moore.

    Politics for Walker was little more than water-carrying for Tommy Thompson and Scott Jensen - - 'here's how you vote, son' - - and yes, before being discovered by talk radio and Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers there were old-timey consensus votes that had to be taken and which now must be lived down when Dan Bice spreads them across the newspaper:

    Like that awful vote opposing toxic mining.

    Walker will atone.

    But, let's be clear: things happened back then to the Scott Walkers in the Assembly because there just wasn't the money that could have helped a guy make the Right choices if, someday, he wanted to chase after Bigger Brass Rings.

    So now he has to live down embarrassing votes that were recorded, but which are now being corrected, because for God's sake, Bucky: there's a New Walker Now, and the system is flush with boatloads of cash that could never have been imagined back in the day.

    So trust me, Bucky and Walker backers everywhere.

    He's moving in the Right direction now. So while Intolerable mistakes like these were made, they will never happen again:
    Now pro-mining, Walker as legislator opposed mining bill

    Props To OWN For Student Loan Research, TV Media

    Good for One Wisconsin Now scoring public television national news hour coverage today. (disclosure: I am on OWN's C-3 board)

    You can watch it now at

    N. WI Iron Mine Research Going Slowly; Application Delayed

    How surprising is that while the politicians in the mining company's pocket pushed through a bill that cut application review timelines - - against the better advice of real scientists and the US Army Corp of Engineers - -  the company is now discovering that all that stupid pre-application research is going more slowly than expected?

    I'll bet the company wishes it had a certain $700,000 available to spend on the ground instead on campaign commercials now in the ether.

    My opinion, to the best of my knowledge.

    Reagan-Era Judge Skewers Walker/Van Hollen Gay Marriage Argument

    Scott Walker, and the state Attorney General who obstructed John Doe I by declining to assist federal investigators, have been busy the last few months making the ideological case with taxpayer funds that there is room in Wisconsin's Constitution for discrimination against same sex couples.

    So the nation got a good look today at the shallow vindictiveness of these GOP leaders - - Walker and Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen - - who are running Wisconsin into the ground: 
    Chicago — A three-judge federal appeals panel on Tuesday closely questioned Wisconsin and Indiana's bans on same-sex marriage, with one judge calling parts of the states' arguments "absurd" and "ridiculous."
    "These people and their adopted children are harmed by your law," Judge Richard Posner said of gay and lesbian couples who are barred from getting married. 
    The Wisconsin State Journal's account was even more pointed:
    Judge Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, was dismissive when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to 'tradition' as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.
    "It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away," Posner said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, he said, is "a tradition of hate ... and savage discrimination."
    Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama each appointed one of the other two judges on the panel.