Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

Happy FRY-day, Everybody!  Here’s your Oleta Adams tune to close out the work week.  Go grab your mates and HOLD THEM.

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36 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

  1. Hat tip- Blksista

    If the tallies in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race were fabricated, it was done by somebody with a great deal of organizational and arithmetic ability. In other words – not by Kathy Nickolaus. It’s conceivable there is some evil genius lurking in a shadow, pulling strings, and keeping her from getting caught. But if Nickolaus wasn’t somebody’s puppet, I think she screwed everything up by herself.

    Grebner :: Kathy Nickolaus – the County Clerk who “found” the ballots
    My funniest encounter with her involved PPC’s collection of data from her office. We needed to photograph ten or twenty thousand pages of election records, at Waukesha, and because she knew we were Democrats, she set to work creating barriers. She finally seized upon the bizarre claim that altough we had every right to LOOK at the records, we had no right to use “her” electricty in copying them. We got her to place that statement in writing, and then simply rigged up a marine battery – like an auto battery, but operating at 6 volts. It provided enough power to run our camera and lights all day, and could be recharged overnight.

    She was so angry at being outsmarted that she simply left the office while we worked.

    She’s a criminal, a creep, and an idiot. It’s certainly a good idea to have an thorough investigation of exactly what went on. And this time, she ought to be held responsible for every violation of state law she committed. But my opinion is she’s too dumb to have organized the fabrication that would have been necessary.

  2. GAB Staff Sent To Waukesha To Review Canvass
    Report Will Be Released Before Election Certification

    MADISON, Wis. — Government Accountability Board staff has been dispatched to Waukesha County to investigate the post-election canvass results, according to Kevin J. Kennedy, director and general counsel of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

    Kennedy said he has been in close contact with Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus since her news conference on Thursday that acknowledged a computing error that gave an unofficial 7,500-vote lead to Justice David Prosser.

    The GAB said it will report on the results of its review in Waukesha County before certifying the statewide election results.

  3. Waukesha County clerk, board clash over audit
    Jan. 17, 2011

    Waukesha – Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ response to audit recommendations aimed at improving election security in her office was not a hit with the County Board leaders Monday.

    Nickolaus had said she would take the recommendations “into consideration” – sparking concern from members of the Executive Committee and, at one point, a scolding from County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer over what he later categorized as “smirks” during the discussion.

    “This is the only audit in my 17 years where there’s no compliance before (the audit reaches) the Executive Committee,” he said at the start of Monday’s audit review.

    An audit of last fall’s elections prompted Internal Audit Manager Lori Schubert to conclude that while the clerk’s system generally complies with state and federal guidelines and accuracy of election totals was not at issue, Nickolaus should improve security and backup procedures.

    For example, Schubert recommended that Nickolaus stop using the same ID and password for three employees, assigning individual ones instead, as required by county policy, so that an audit trail of each employee’s work exists.

    A “worst case scenario” of a disgruntled employee changing the password and locking others out of the system was possible and has occurred elsewhere in the country, Schubert said.

    Nickolaus explained her rationale, saying it would take too much time for one employee to sign off so another employee could sign on to the same programming computer when one is interrupted to wait on a customer at the office counter.

    Several committee members said they were uncomfortable with Nickolaus’ refusal to adopt the recommendations.

    During one part of the discussion, Dwyer erupted in exasperation at Nickolaus’ facial expressions.

    “There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy,” he said, raising his voice. “Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.

    “Don’t sit there and say I will take it into consideration,” he said, asking her pointedly whether she would change the passwords.

    “I have not made my decision,” she answered. After supervisors continued to press the issue, Nickolaus indicated she would create three different passwords.

    “This isn’t that big of a deal. It isn’t worth an argument,” she said. “This is ridiculous.”

    Nickolaus also said she would make her own assessment of when to back up computer programming for election ballots – and store the more frequent backup in another building, as the auditor recommended.

    The audit was requested by the Executive Committee after the county’s director of administration, Norm Cummings, said Nickolaus had been uncooperative with attempts to have the county’s experts review her systems and confirm that backups were in place.

    Because some of her equipment is so dated – such as an 11-year-old modem for transmitting data over the telephone and 1995 software no longer supported – and is not routinely getting security updates, her election systems are not connected to the county’s system but are on stand-alone equipment.

    Although it was not among the audit recommendations, the clerk’s decision to no longer report municipal election results on election night, as many other county clerks do, was questioned by Supervisor David Swan of Pewaukee.

    “I’m personally disappointed by that,” he said.

    Nickolaus said she made the decision after she was once chastised for having the wrong outcome for a local school board on her site when the results were incomplete. Nickolaus said that too often she had staff waiting on municipal results, something she’s not required by state law to report.

    She said she wouldn’t reverse her decision unless required by the state to begin reporting municipal results – something she said voters can find on individual municipal websites.

  4. Wisconsin court race won’t be certified without vote probe

    (Reuters) – The agency overseeing Wisconsin elections will not certify results of Tuesday’s state Supreme Court race until it concludes a probe into how a county clerk misplaced and then found some 14,000 votes that upended the contest.

    Michael Haas, Government Accountability Board staff attorney, told Reuters on Friday the watchdog agency was looking into vote tabulation errors in Republican-leaning Waukesha County which gave the conservative incumbent a net gain of more than 7,000 votes — a lead his union-backed challenger seems unlikely to surmount.

    “We’re going to do a review of the procedures and the records in Waukesha before we certify the statewide results,” Haas said.

    “It’s not that we necessarily expect to find anything criminal. But we want to make sure the public has confidence in the results,”

  5. Wisconsin election worker’s find of uncounted ballots certain to draw scrutiny

    Update: Dems cry foul as massive cache of votes was reportedly stored on a former Prosser aide’s personal computer

    Unofficial returns on Wednesday gave the union-backed challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, a narrow 204 vote statewide lead over Republican David Prosser.

    But late Thursday, the county clerk in Waukesha, a Republican stronghold, said that votes not included in earlier totals had resulted in a net gain of 7,582 votes for Prosser.

    News of the uncounted votes came as officials throughout Wisconsin were conducting county canvasses, a final review of voting records that allows the state to certify this week’s bitterly contested elections.

    The contest was widely seen as a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walkerand the controversial curbs on collective bargaining that he and his allies passed in the legislature.

    Because Prosser, a former member of the state assembly, is a Republican who expressed support for Walker last fall, opponents characterized him as a proxy for the governor and his anti-union policies, which triggered massive protests and 16 recall campaigns targeting lawmakers who supported and opposed the measure.

    Kathy Nickolaus, the Waukesha clerk, apologized for the uncounted votes and blamed “human error.”

    • But late Thursday, the county clerk in Waukesha, a Republican stronghold, said that votes not included in earlier totals had resulted in a net gain of 7,582 votes for Prosser.

      Hmmmm…lets back up a bit…

      September 2006

      Computer monitors at the Waukesha County Clerk’ office briefly showed Lufter winning her race late Tuesday as county officials scrambled to correct flawed returns from the City of Waukesha. Final results later showed Lufter losing to fellow Republican Bill Kramer by a significant margin.

    • Ametia says:

      How’s that white female privilege/affirmative action thingy working for ya?

      RE: Kathy Nickolaus

  6. Vettte says:



    • In the Midnight Hour

      ****SG2 shakes it down****

      • Ametia says:

        Go head, SG2. This tune is very apropos.

        I’ve been watching this fiasco for weeks now. It’s all a sideshow. Boehner and Co. will agree toall the terms put before them. CRYBABY BOEHNER wants to appease the titty baby baggers right up to the last hour, to prove he could hold out that long. I LOATHE ALL THESE MOFOS.


    September 2006 election:

    Christine Lufter, who lost a Republican Primary in the 97th Assembly District, said Wednesday that she likey would not challenge the out-come, though she was still trying to sort out what happened.

    “There was obviously a huge problem”. She said. “And why it affected the 97th race more than any other is confusing”.

    Computer monitors at the Waukesha County Clerk’ office briefly showed Lufter winning her race late Tuesday as county officials scrambled to correct flawed returns from the City of Waukesha. Final results later showed Lufter losing to fellow Republican Bill Kramer by a significant margin.

    County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said some returns from the City of Waukesha inexplicably had data recorded in the wrong column, which momentarily skewed results.

    Deja Vu?


    UPDATE: 4/8/11, 9:57 a.m.

    From a statement by the SEIU:

    A recent revelation by Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus of thousands of votes supposedly cast for her former boss — Justice David Prosser — does not pass the smell test. Just one year ago, county officials ordered an audit of Waukesha County’s outdated election system after Nickolaus removed election data from county computers and installed them on personal computers in her office. Even before this issue, Nickolaus was resistant to an independent and thorough review of her election system. Now she wants the public to believe that some 7500 ballots for Prosser were somehow lost on her personal computer. Waukesha county’s ballots should be immediately impounded and recounted. […] Following what can only be described as a midnight or sneak attack where Governor Walker summoned his friends to help him eliminate collective bargaining rights for nurses and teachers, this is yet another reminder of the lengths this administration will travel to side with partisan politicians and corporate donors rather than Wisconsinites.

  9. Scandal in Fitzwalkerstan: Federal probe, full recount required in high court race

    Cap Times editorial | Posted: Friday, April 8, 2011 7:30 am

    Suppose the Democratic governor of Illinois had proposed radical changes in how the state operates, and suppose anger over those proposed changes inspired a popular uprising that filled the streets of every city, village and town in the state with protests. Then, suppose there was an election that would decide whether allies of the governor controlled the state’s highest court. Suppose the results of that election showed that an independent candidate who would not be in the governor’s pocket narrowly won that election.

    Then, suppose it was announced by a Democratic election official in Chicago that she had found 14,000 votes in a machine-controlled ward that overwhelmingly favored the candidate aligned with the Democratic governor. And suppose the Democratic official who “found” the needed ballots for the candidate favored by the Democratic governor had previously been accused of removing election data from official computers and hiding the information on a personal computer, that the official’s actions had been censured even by fellow Democrats and that her secretive and erratic activities had been the subject of an official audit demanded by the leadership of the Cook County Board.

    Now suppose that the number of additional votes tabulated for the governor’s candidate was precisely the number needed to prevent the independent candidate from demanding an official recount.

    Would even the most naive Illinoisan simply accept at face value that the new count was “legitimate” or that the governor’s candidate should suddenly be presumed to have been “elected”? Not likely.

    Wisconsinites should respond with equal skepticism to the news that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a former Republican legislative staffer who worked for Prosser when he served as Assembly speaker and with Gov. Scott Walker when he was a GOP rising star, has found all the votes that justice needs to secure his re-election and that the governor needs to claim a “win” for his agenda.

    There is no need for a conspiracy theory. The facts raise the questions that election observers are now asking.

    The clerk, who has a history of secretive and erratic handling of election results, says she forgot to count the votes of Brookfield, the county’s second-largest city, in the total for Tuesday’s Supreme Court election.

    Nickolaus claims that it was “human error” that caused her to “lose” the Brookfield results on her personal computer where she had secreted away the data. Yet, she apparently knew of the “mistake” for 29 hours before reporting it and then handed the information off to conservative bloggers and talk-radio personalities.

    But what is most important to note are the numbers. With Walker’s candidate, Justice David Prosser, essentially tied with his independence-and-integrity challenger, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, it was all but certain that a recount would be required. And the final unofficial count, as tabulated Wednesday afternoon, put Kloppenburg ahead by several hundred votes, giving the challenger an advantage going into the count.

    Then, two days after the election, Nickolaus found the 7,582 votes needed to put Prosser outside the zone of a state-funded official recount.

    Former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager says the developments require inquiry and explanation. She’s right.

    The Kloppenburg campaign has demanded “a full explanation of how and why these 14,315 votes from an entire city were missed.” As part of the search for that explanation, the campaign plans to file open records requests for relevant documents.

    The open records requests highlight concerns about the credibility of Nickolaus — whose secretive and suspicious activities led the Waukesha County Board’s executive committee to order an audit of the clerk’s use of election equipment and her controversial approaches to counting and tabulating votes.

    That’s appropriate. But these requests do not go far enough.

    Weeks ago, state Rep. Mark Pocan, the former co-chair of the legislative Joint Finance Committee, suggested that the lawless actions of Walker and his legislative consigliere, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, had remade Wisconsin as a rogue state he dubbed “Fitzwalkerstan.”

    After the snap 17-second tally that denied most Assembly Democrats a chance to vote on Walker’s anti-labor agenda, after the threats to deny Democratic state senators legislative voting rights, after the attempts to close the Capitol to the people of Wisconsin, after the violations of open meetings laws, after the flagrant violations of a judge’s temporary restraining order, the “Fitzwalkerstan” label seems increasingly apt. And the idea of leaving an inquiry into the Waukesha County scandal to authorities who bow to the governor is simply untenable.

    The circumstance lends legitimacy to the call by the advocacy group Citizen Action of Wisconsin for “an immediate federal investigation and immediate impoundment of all computer equipment, ballots, and other relevant evidence needed to verify a fair vote count in Waukesha County.” Citizen Action says this investigation should include an accounting of all communications by “Kathy Nickolaus and anyone in the Waukesha clerk’s office with all outside actors, and all interested parties to the election dispute.”

    It also demands a full recount, no matter what the ultimate margin of victory or defeat. Whether David Prosser or JoAnne Kloppenburg is elected, the only way that the high court will retain even a shred of credibility is if every ballot is recounted, every tabulation is reviewed and every citizen is certain that this election was legitimate.

  10. Ametia says:

    We Don’t Need to Shut Down the Government: Tax the Wealthy and Deadbeat Corporations to Close Budget Gaps
    April 7, 2011

    Before any government shutdown–or drastic state and federal budget cuts –we should reverse huge tax cuts for the wealthy and deadbeat corporations.
    When you hear politicians lament that “we’re broke,” consider this fact: If corporations and households with $1 million income paid at the same levels

    they did in 1961, the Treasury would collect an additional $716 billion a year – or $7 trillion over a decade.

    Our communities are facing mammoth state and federal budget cuts because Congress has, in large part, failed to sufficiently tax America’s millionaires and billionaires or prevent aggressive tax avoidance by multinational companies. The rest of us are paying to pick up the slack in budget cuts and future taxes.

    There are two primary explanations behind our current budget “squeeze.” First, income and wealth have become extremely concentrated in the hands of the super-rich. The richest 1 percent of households own over 35.6 percent of all private wealth, approximately $20 trillion. The number of households with incomes exceeding $1 million has grown from 15,753 in 1961 to 361,000 today, adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile the middle-class standard of living is collapsing and poverty rates are at a 15-year high.

    If corporations and households with $1 million income paid at the same levels they did in 1961, the Treasury would collect an additional $716 billion a year.

  11. Hat tip Blksista

    The paper trail about Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ dealings with votes and voters continues to accumulate:

    Waukesha County to audit election equipment
    Clerk criticized for not sharing data with other departments

    By Laurel Walker of the (Milwaukee) Journal Sentinel

    Posted: Aug. 18, 2010 |(10) Comments

    Waukesha – The County Board’s Executive Committee has ordered an audit of the county clerk’s election equipment and system beginning with the September primary despite several memos she sent to the committee over the weekend defending her practices and resisting the move.

    County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has maintained that as the one in charge of elections, she is responsible for the security and operation of the system. However, other county officials say they worry about the integrity of the old equipment and the system she’s using and whether she has adequate backup.

    County Corporation Counsel Thomas Farley told the committee Monday that as an elected official with responsibility for elections, “If she wants to keep everything secret, she probably can.

    “I don’t know if that’s wise or what she should do, but if she wants to and the public is satisfied that that’s what they want – someone who keeps everything secret – that’s up to them.”

    The issue came to a head when Nickolaus removed the election results collection and tallying system from the county computer network this spring and installed it on standalone personal computers in her office. She has said they are backed up with redundant systems.

    Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said Nickolaus has been uncooperative with attempts to have information technologists review the system and confirm the backups.

    He said he isn’t interested in placing the system on the county network, but he wants to know whether the system is functional and secure and whether the county will have to replace equipment and programs in the next budget year – in time for the next presidential election.

    “It is not a good idea to have one person in charge of everything,” Cummings told the committee. “There should be someone who also reviews things. I’m not saying it should be IT. But there should be more accountability than there is now.”

    Nickolaus had asked for a postponement of the discussion because she had scheduled poll worker training before the matter was scheduled for committee action.

    In several memos to the committee, she said she didn’t have confidence that security wouldn’t be breached with the county’s information technology department.

    She presented information from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that said voting systems should never be connected to a network not under the election official’s control.

    She also said she’s running the most current election software certified – as required – by the state.

    The only old equipment, she wrote, was a computer that collects results from local polling places by modem over the telephone lines.

    Waukesha County is one of three or four counties that use that method.

    “The rest have the results faxed, walked into the county clerk’s office, or phoned in,” she said.

    Nickolaus also produced an e-mail from the staff attorney for the state’s Government Accountability Board.

    The attorney, Michael Haas, said that under state law, the clerk is ultimately responsible for securing election records and equipment.

    Clerks also are subject to a complaint process, he added.

    “In the event that an election is affected by an equipment issue, in other words, the clerk is likely to be the official held responsible and left to answer to any affected parties,” Haas wrote.

    Some committee members criticized Nickolaus for not providing election results for municipalities on election night, or not providing them soon enough at the April election.

    Nickolaus reports county, state and federal results but discontinued local municipal and school reporting, contending that she doesn’t have the staff to enter the data.


    Excuse me, but bulls–t. Bulls–t. One clerk being this standoffish about upgrading her equipment? This is the fix. Who knows how many more vote tallies she has fixed?

    Excuse me, but bulls–t. Bulls–t. One clerk being this standoffish about upgrading her equipment? This is the fix. Who knows how many more vote tallies she has fixed?


    • Ametia says:

      This is the kind of filthy shenanigans white folks pull. They are mediocre, dumb, incompetent, and just plain ole UNQUALIFIED, but their WHITENESS trumps all.

  12. Ametia says:

    Trumped by Political Failure
    Posted on Apr 7, 2011
    By Eugene Robinson

    In political terms, who has the most to lose from this appalling brinksmanship over a federal government shutdown? House Speaker John Boehner? President Obama? Senate Democrats? Tea party Republicans?

    The clear answer is all of the above, plus American democracy itself. As proof, we need look no further than a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicating that Donald Trump is running second behind Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.

    Donald Trump.

    Look, I like The Donald. He’s a quintessentially American character, the brash billionaire who’s more Barnum than Buffett. As a developer, he’s thrown up some schlock but also given us some landmarks; his Trump International Tower in Chicago, for example, is a gorgeous spire that houses a superb hotel. As a celebrity and television star, he plays his role to perfection. And as a self-promoter, well, even in an era that historians may call the Age That Shame Forgot, he has few equals.

    But that anyone could seriously imagine Trump as president of the United States—the actual president, living in the real White House, making fateful decisions about war and peace—must reflect something deeper and more significant than the weakness of the Republican field. I mean, really. Trump doesn’t even qualify as a wing nut on the political fringe, although that’s what he’s pretending to be, with all his “birther” blather. He’s a caricature, a cartoon, a “candidate” only in the wink-and-nod sense.

    Yet 17 percent of Republicans surveyed by NBC do take Trump seriously—as many as favored Mike Huckabee, a former governor who won the second-biggest number of GOP convention delegates in 2008. In the poll, Romney led the field with 21 percent; of the rest, only Newt Gingrich with 11 percent and Sarah Palin with 10 percent made it into double digits.

    In part, this must be a function of name recognition—but only in part, because knowing Trump’s name isn’t the same as saying he should represent a major party in a presidential campaign. Charlie Sheen has name recognition. Gary Busey and Lil Wayne have name recognition.

    Trump’s prominence in the race must also owe to the fact that he’s a businessman—and, perhaps, that he also plays one on television in “The Apprentice.” Over the years, Trump has made smart moves and boneheaded ones. He has made great fortunes—and lost them too. But whatever his acumen as a deal maker, he couldn’t possibly keep himself in tailored suits and hair-care products if he ran his affairs the way our elected officials do.

    The richest, most powerful nation on Earth is more than halfway through its fiscal year without having a budget. Lately, we’ve been operating on two- or three-week spending plans. This wild irresponsibility comes at a time when the nation is fighting wars in the Middle East and struggling to recover from the worst economic slump since the Great Depression—a time of great uncertainty and high anxiety about America’s place in the world. Now comes a serious threat to shut down the government, strictly as an act of political theater.

    I blame the Democrats for not passing a budget last year, when they were supposed to, while they still had big majorities in both houses of Congress. I blame Republicans for their ever-changing demands, which seem to be coming from a caucus of 2-year-olds. But the point isn’t who’s responsible. The point is that in the larger sense, nobody’s responsible.

    This is no way to run a banana republic, let alone a superpower. Leave aside, for the moment, the long-range challenges—sagging infrastructure, vanishing industry, growing inequality, underfunded entitlements, an overextended military. Leave aside the rise of China, the fall of Arab autocrats, global climate change and our stubborn addiction to oil. At one of the most basic duties of any government—make a budget, even if you don’t keep to it—our elected officials have utterly failed.

    It’s the kind of incomprehensible failure that makes people conclude that the system is broken. It’s the kind of failure that makes voters want to look for a knight in shining armor, a caped crusader, a Man With No Name—maybe even a Man With an Inescapable Name. We’re lucky that polls show Obama well-positioned to defeat any of the Republicans mentioned so far. We’re also lucky that Trump’s “candidacy” is a piece of performance art.

    And let’s hope Charlie Sheen keeps his tiger blood and Adonis DNA out of politics.

  13. Ametia says:

    Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton Upset Over Treatment of DC During Shutdown Resolution Talks
    Updated: Thursday, 07 Apr 2011, 7:02 PM EDT
    Published : Thursday, 07 Apr 2011, 7:48 AM EDT


    WASHINGTON – Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D -DC) was on fire when she spoke to FOX 5 Morning News Thursday about how Washington, D.C. residents are being treated as work to avoid a government shutdown continues.

    “We are absolutely outraged. This is the functional equivalent of bombing innocent civilians,” she said.

    “It’s time that the District of Columbia told the Congress to go straight to hell,” Norton continued after explaining how an attached rider to the latest bill prevented D.C. from spending its own money on abortions for low income women.

    “If these Republicans insist that, if they don’t get the whole pie they’ll take the whole country down with them,” she continued, “then we have got to make them pay the price.”

  14. dannie22 says:

    Good morning all!!

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