Thursday, July 21, 2011

Daily Kos: Wisconsin Recall: Eye-catching new ad hits GOP state Sen. Luther Olsen

Daily Kos: Wisconsin Recall: Eye-catching new ad hits GOP state Sen. Luther Olsen

I'm in this, for, like, .02 seconds (denim jacket) but I'm proud of it. Maddow claims it's "the best political ad out of 2011" - I can live with that. Plus, hell, it's for a good cause :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We got this

This is what I tweeted:

Remember, #wiunion, 745,690 ppl voted for Kloppenburg. Need 540,206 signatures for Walker recall. We got this.

These are my sources:

Kloppenburg votes

Walker signatures needed

Obviously we'll need a massive buffer zone in terms of number of signatures collected (thank you very little, GAB) but the point is: this is within our reach.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I, and many others, love the idea of a silent protest on the square tomorrow. Whether you're there in person or in spirit and following along from afar, feel free to sign the chorus to "Solidarity" with us.

Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
and the union makes us strong.

These are the videos I used to help me put this together:

Solidarity (2nd video down):


(Repeat 3 times)






Wednesday, June 8, 2011


With some scrambling, I was able to make it to the square last night. I missed The Kissers, but found @pewtergryphon right away. She generously offered tent space, and I happily accepted. We serendipitously ran into @AnonyMissBadger, there to drop off a tent for me. Suffice it to say I was overwhelmed with kindness and generosity and hadn't even been there 10 minutes.

It had been brutally hot that day, but as the sun set temps came down, a breeze picked up, and it became the perfect setting to sit, chat and chug from our water bottles. We sat on the concrete steps by the Veteran's Museum and watched Michael Moore's SiCKO. Popcorn was passed around, and personally, I was grateful to see that film in that setting. I'm not a movie reviewer nor necessarily a huge Michael Moore fan, but I have to recommend the movie. I learned a lot about the differences in healthcare systems (and philosophies, really) around the world, and while it should have been and was, depressing, it left me hopeful for our democracy.

I grabbed a snack, headed back to the tent, and despite the sidewalk beneath me, fell asleep right away. I heard I snore ;-). It rained a bit around 6am, so we got up and put the rainfly on. Inside-out, but hey, it worked. The buses started arriving and I cried 'Uncle' and got up around 7. Coffee at Michaelangelo's, bagel at Gotham, and back on the #2 bus to be back home by 9:30.

There are areas where tents are allowed to stay erected, but most of the tents had to be taken down by 7am. Tents can't be put up until 9pm. There's only one set of porta-potties (next to Vet's Museum on State Street side), so if you were down by UWCU (as I was) it was a two block walk. No biggie, but it certainly informed my hydration rate! There was an area for families, an information tent, and plenty of volunteers to let you know about events both social and informational.

I can see where #walkerville will soon outgrow the two blocks the permit allots. There was also talk of extending the permit to June 27th (beyond the current June 29th) due to when the BRB might be taken up again.

I strongly encourage those that wish to experience this statement of protest to do so. As I watched little kids run around and listened to the street music, I couldn't help but think, "Well now, this isn't so bad after all." There is a sense of community and downright helpfulness that couldn't be ignored. But I'm not naive. I made the choice to participate, and after having done so, went back to do my work in a home I own in one of the best neighborhoods in one of the country's best cities. I am not forced to live in the streets, but many are. Many more may. I can't live with that.

So sleeping in a tent on Carroll Street doesn't really change anything, I know that. But each of us doing something, when we can, how we can, changes everything. I know that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who's Margo?

I had to resurrect this.

Tommy Thompson was my boss when he was Governor and I fell down the rabbit hole of being his legal assistant. In this video, he can't remember my name.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

AVEs are a Disease – Here’s a Little Vaccine

One of the truly insidious aspects of public relations measurement is the use of advertising value equivalency (AVEs) or media value to assign financial value to public relations outputs.  It is a highly flawed, path-of-least-resistance attempt to calculate return on investment (ROI) for public relations.   To make matters worse, the practice has clearly moved into social media measurement as well.  For example, research studies that attempt to monetize the value of a Facebook Fan/Liker by attributing a CPM value from the advertising world.  Online media impact rankings also utilize equivalent paid advertising costs to assign monetary value to online news and social media.  AVE is like a disease that has infected and spread throughout the public relations industry.

In June of 2010, the PR industry came together in Barcelona to draft the Barcelona Principles, a set of seven principles of good measurement intended to provide guideposts for the industry.  The principle that has generated the most conversation is this one:

Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) is Not the Value of Public Relations

 While many of the Measurati have been preaching against AVEs for years, there now appears to be a critical mass of outrage that may kill the practice in the coming years.  Here are four compelling reasons why I believe we must make this happen – the sooner the better.

1. AVEs Do Not  Measure Outcomes

AVEs equate an article with the appearance cost of an advertisement.  It does not speak at all to the results or impact that the article may have on a reader.  Advertisers do not judge the success of advertising on how much the insertions cost.  Imagine an advertising manager being asked by his or her boss, “How are we doing in advertising this year?”, and them replying, “Great!  We have spent $500,000 so far!  The true value of public relations or social media is not the appearance cost, but what happened as a result of the PR or social media effort – the impact it has on brand, reputation and marketing.  You will note the Barcelona Principles also call for a focus on measuring outcomes and not (just) outputs.  What happened as a result of media coverage is inherently more interesting and valuable than how much coverage was obtained.

2. AVEs Reduce Public Relations to Media Relations

You are, or become, what you measure.  AVEs do not address the impact or value of several important aspects of public relations including strategic counsel, crisis communications, grassroots efforts, viral campaigns or public affairs.  In other words, AVEs reduce PR to just the media dimension by only assigning a value in this area.  If only AVEs are used to assess PR value, the results will understate the totality of value delivered by PR.  AVEs also cannot measure the value of keeping a client with potentially negative news out of the media, yet that may be the primary objective of the PR practitioner.

3. AVEs Fly in the Face of Integrated Measurement                

Good marketing, branding and reputation campaigns have always been integrated to varying degrees.  The digitization of our lives has accelerated integration.

Advertising and PR actually work together synergistically, yet AVEs treat them as cost alternatives.  Studies have shown ads that run in a climate of positive publicity actually receive lift from the PR.  Conversely, ads run in an environment of negative publicity will likely not be successful and/or may be perceived negatively by consumers.  We have seen exposure to brand advertising increases conversion rates in social channels. Integrated campaigns and programs require integrated measurement.  AVEs don’t play well in this world.  They are analog and segregated in a digital and integrated world.

4. AVEs Provide No Diagnostic Value

Too much measurement energy is focused on score-keeping and not diagnostics.  This is one reason why single-number metrics like the Klout score and others have great appeal to many.  However, measurement is fundamentally about assessing performance against objectives with sufficient detail and granularity to determine what is working and what is not.  AVEs fail miserably in this regard.  AVE results can actually be misleading and result in false positives.  AVEs may be trending up while important metrics like message communication, share of favorable positioning and share of voice are falling.  Unfortunately, AVEs provide neither a valid single-number score nor any diagnostic value.

Some have said the Barcelona Principles are the ‘end of AVEs’.  I would agree directionally with that statement with one minor addition, Barcelona was the ‘beginning of the end of AVEs’.  Awareness of the practice and recognition of its flaws are at an all-time high in our industry.  More education and evangelism are required.  Understanding concepts like impact, tangible value, intangible value and (true) return on investment help foster much more sophisticated conversation about the total value delivered by public relations and social media.  AVEs are a disease, education and knowledge are the vaccine.  AVEs won’t die easily.  The momentum generated by the Barcelona event has provided focus and intent.  It is up to all of us to make AVEs a thing of the past.

A good read on AVE, will be comparing to similar social media struggles.

Monday, April 4, 2011

In sum

There's a group (on Twitter, but everywhere, really) that has been looking for alternatives to Johnsonville Brats given their ties to Walker and Koch Industries.

There's a Jacobson's Deli down the street, so I called the Stoughton location (first in Google search) and asked to speak with the manager. The man that answered said "that's me."

I explained that there's a group looking for an alternative, union-friendly brat vendor, and could he tell me the company's position (not his, personally) on the budget bill. He said that's a personal question, and I repeated I was asking about the company's position and maybe he could refer me to the owner? He said "I'm the owner." (Ok.)

He then told me "you're making a big mistake asking these questions."

I said "I have a right to research where I spend my money." His response was "No, you're just alienating everyone."

He then said he was union for years, but he supports a balanced budget. Didn't I?

Of course, I said, but I oppose this bill and if he supports the bill and Walker I needed to know that. He kept saying "No, you don't get to ask that. You people don't get to ask that."

I wrote up a review, and posted on the Facebook fan page on boycotts, as well as the Pledge to Spend page. I also, of course, Twittered as I went along.

I disagree with large-union efforts to intimidate businesses by telling their members to boycott (a la Union Grove story). What I support is my right as a consumer to research my spending decisions. And while this business owner had every right to ignore or refuse to answer my question, he does not have the right to tell me I don't get to ask the question or that's it's a 'mistake' to even ask.

I get to ask. We all do.

That was my point with this, and what I hoped I conveyed to the Wall Street Journal reporter when he called.

More later. I'm gonna go soak my head.

P.S. I also had an exchange with a realtor today; we're personal friends but do not agree on this bill. We disagree, but I know that and make the decision to continue the working relationship (and, of course, the personal friendship). It's not about never working with or supporting anyone with opposing viewpoints; it's about asking, learning, and making informed decisions.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Public Schools for the Public Good: SB 22

Public Schools for the Public Good: SB 22

This is insane

A provision in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) budget proposal would repeal Wisconsin's contraceptive coverage law that requires health plans to cover prescription birth control, the Wausau Daily Herald reports. 

And, in an executive order that was quietly released, Gov. Scott Walker recently suspended rules requiring contractors on state construction projects to employ workers under the state’s apprenticeship program. The rules have existed since 1971. One Milwaukee-area lawmaker is protesting Walker’s order, saying it will hurt efforts to employ minorities in the construction trades in Wisconsin.

Plus: (via Daily Kos)

House Republicans have introduced legislation that, if passed into law, would deny food stamp assistance to any family member of a striking worker.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike on strike as defined by the Labor Management Relations Act 1947, because of a labor dispute.
It's clear Walker hates women, minorities, children, probably kittens, too. But the extent to which those controlling him REALLY hate women, minorities, children and probably all domestic animals, is starting to emerge. This is one ugly picture.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Couple things wrong here Sen. Fitzgerald: Email re: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

So says Fitzgerald:

Sen. Fitzgerald: Email re: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

From: Sen.Fitzgerald
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 3:52 PM
To: *Legislative Senate Republicans
Subject: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

Dear Members,

With the return of the Senate Democrats this weekend, questions have arisen regarding Democrat members’ participation in Senate standing committee public hearings and executive sessions.

Please note that all 14 Democrat senators are still in contempt of the Senate. Therefore, when taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats’ votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal. They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.

Thank you,

Scott Fitzgerald
Senate Majority Leader
13th Senate District

Problem the first: "a quorum in an assembly is the number of VOTING MEMBERS who must be present..."

Second, the 'contempt' order was never enforceable.

Third, what a dick.

CEPR Resources on Public Sector Workers and Pension Funds | CEPR Blog

CEPR Resources on Public Sector Workers and Pension Funds | CEPR Blog

OMG more math but a really good read. Excerpt:

This paper shows:

  • Most of the pension shortfall using the current methodology is attributable to the plunge in the stock market in the years 2007-2009.

  • The argument that pension funds should only assume a risk-free rate of return in assessing pension fund adequacy ignores the distinction between governmental units, which need be little concerned over the timing of market fluctuations, and individual investors, who must be very sensitive to market timing.

  • The size of the projected state and local government shortfalls measured as a share of future gross state products appear manageable.

MapWI - Interactive Maps of the Wisconsin Legislature

MapWI - Interactive Maps of the Wisconsin Legislature

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Overview of Walker’s Budget Proposal’s Program Cuts « Wisconsin Women's Health Budget Project

Overview of Walker’s Budget Proposal’s Program Cuts « Wisconsin Women's Health Budget Project

I'll be looking for alternatives to these

Here's the list I'm working with in boycotting Koch products and other Walker supporters: (from

Johnsonville Foods markets meat sausage products, most notably bratwurst. Their products are sold by most groceries, and are easily identified. Alternate products are readily available

Sargento Foods

HyCite: Royal Prestige and OceanBlue are the company’s primary branded product lines. 

Wausau Homes
Standard Process Laboratories
Briggs & Stratton

Wausau Paper: sold through OfficeMax, Office Depot, Staples, and local office supply stores. Their consumer paper products have the following brands - Astrobrights,Astroparche, Creative Collection, Exact Eco 100, Exact Pastels, Executive Collection, Professional Series, Stardust, Wausau Bright White.

M&I Bank
Bank of America
Culver's (pending confirmation)

Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins
Stainmaster Carpet
Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes
All Georgia-Pacific lumber and building products
Georgia Pacific Building products:
Dense Armor Drywall and Decking
ToughArmor Gypsum board
Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood
Densglass sheathing
G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)-
Agricultural Plaster
Arts & Crafts Plaster
Dental Plaster
General Purpose Plaster
Glass-reinforced Gypsum (GRG)
Industrial Tooling Plaster
Investment Casting Plaster
Medical Plaster
Metal Casting Plaster
Pottery Plaster
FibreStrong Rim board
G/P Lam board
Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing
Blue Ribbon Sub-floor
DryGuard Enhanced OSB
Nautilus Wall Sheathing
Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing
Broadspan Engineered Wood Products
XJ 85 I-Joists
FireDefender Banded Cores
FireDefender FS
FireDefender Mineral Core
Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard,
Perforated Hardboard and Thin MDF
Wood Fiberboard -
Commercial Roof Fiberboard
Hushboard Sound Deadening Board
Regular Fiberboard Sheathing
Structural Fiberboard Sheathing
COMFOREL® fiberfill
COOLMAX® fabric
CORDURA® fabric
DACRON® fiber
SOLARMAX® fabric
SOMERELLE® bedding products
SUPPLEX® fabric
TACTEL® fiber
TACTESSE® carpet fiber
TERATE® polyols
TERATHANE® polyether glycol
PHENREZ® resin
POLARGUARD® fiber and
LYCRA® fiber

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

holy hell

Republican Senators created special committee at 4pm, to meet at 6pm (even tho law requires 24 hr notice). Met at 6, they stripped out the "fiscal" items so they could vote without quorum. Passed the anti-union bill (so never about budget in the first place, which is what we were saying all along). They wouldn't allow motions or amendments or democrats to even SEE it, said "it's the same, just took some items out".

I can't think straight. Trying to figure out if Dem14 are on their way back. This was a disgusting display and the most undemocratic thing I've ever seen.

GOP senators find way to advance collective bargaining bill without Democrats present

GOP senators find way to advance collective bargaining bill without Democrats present

If the Republicans move forward with their plans, it would be a major reversal for Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. Both have contended that the bill is fiscal in nature and thus the collective bargaining could not be stripped from the measure.

Democratic Senators on Wednesday immediately criticized the move, saying it proves Republican attempts to end collective bargaining for public employees are not about balancing the budget.

"They have been saying all along that this is a fiscal item, we've been saying it is not," said Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, from Illinois. "They have been lying. Their goal is to bust up the unions."

I am speechless. Stay tuned. Screw that, hope everyone gets down to the Capitol. NOW.

Select Helpful Websites - Wisconsin Budget Situation

Select Helpful Websites - Wisconsin Budget Situation

Sen. Fitz. Come again??

Connecting the dots FOR us. Nice!

Almost forgot

There's also this.

AN ACT to amend 302.372 (2) (a) (intro.) and 302.372 (3); and to create 66.0408
and 175.55 of the statutes;  relating to: local ordinances, determining the
lawful presence of a person arrested for or charged with a crime or certain civil
violations, and providing a penalty.


Under the bill, a person who cannot prove his or her lawful presence may be
held in secured custody for up to 48 hours to allow the person to obtain
documentation of his or her lawful presence.  If the person produces the required
documentation, he or she may be released.

So, right now my driver's license is expired (as of my birthday, Sunday March 6). Since that's not valid ID, I would need to have upon my person my Alien Registration Card to prove I'm a lawful permanent US resident (and would be subject to being detained until I provided the goods).

I don't even know where that card is, for starters. I purposely do NOT keep it on me as replacing it would be a phenomenal pain in the ass. But off I go to look for it. Just in case.


Wrapping brain around something

I caught Rachel Maddow's show (TG for internet) and had to rewind to make sure I was hearing her correctly. In addition to the Wisconsin budget mess, there are huge issues brewing in Michigan's budget proposal.

Chief among them, get this:

Towns are hurting financially.
The governor can declare a town to be in a financial crisis.
The governor can then appoint someone that town's "emergency manager."
The emergency manager has the authority to:
- cancel, amend all contracts in place (including union contracts, natch)
- a bunch of other crap

But here was the biggie (for me): The emergency manager has the authority to dismiss elected officials.

Dismiss. Elected. Officials.

So, a municipality struggling financially can be placed under the management BY WHOMEVER THE GOVERNOR APPOINTS, and THAT PERSON can then, y'know, dismiss the mayor.

Rachel Maddow does a much better job at outlining all this (here's the video) but I needed to get this out, apparently.

Dark days, my friends. Poor Michigan.

How To Engage On Sites Using Facebook’s New Commenting Plugin

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Basic GIMP: Preparing Pictures for the Web - The Geekazine Network with Jeffrey Powers

Welcome to Geekazine!

The GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) is the flagship of Linux and open source photo editing programs. (A windows version, which I have used, though not recently, is available at Sourceforge.) The GIMP is free and open source; there is no charge for installing and using it.

The GIMP is a powerful, complex program which I’ve heard compares well with Photoshop. I cannot speak to this, since I have not used Photoshop, but I have used Paintshop Pro extensively on assignment, and the GIMP is easily equal to it.

The GIMP, though, is not easy to figure out.

I don’t believe that there really is any such thing as an “intuitive” interface for a program, in the sense of “easy to figure out at first glance.” “Intuitive” means “easy to remember.” The GIMP offers so many options that it is neither easy to figure out nor easy to remember without help. So I thought I’d share some of my experiences.

Most of what I do with the GIMP is prepare pictures for posting on the web. Although I’m little more than an intermediate level amateur, I’ve learned a few tricks which enable me to fool my friends and family into thinking that I know what I’m doing.

So here are the steps I normally follow to edit a picture, without getting involved in layers and other stuff I haven’t yet mastered.

The basic GIMP interface includes two windows: the image window and the toolbar. Every item on the toolbar may also be accessed from the menu bar at the top of the image window. (The most significant planned improvement for the GIMP is to integrate the tool bar into the image window.) Click for a larger image.

GIMP Interface

My first step is normally to sharpen the image. Go to Filters–>Enhance–>Sharpen to start the Sharpen Tool. The illustration shows both the Sharpen dialog and the menu selection. Click for a larger image.

Sharpen Image Dialog

In the preview pane, use the sliders below and to the right of the preview window to navigate to different parts of the image. I normally move to the area with the greatest detail and contrast; for example, if there is a flower in the picture, I’ll navigate to the flower. Then use the “Sharpness” slider to select the degree of sharpness; the changes will be reflected in the preview window. Clicking “OK” makes the change, but, if you are dissatisfied, you can click Edit–>Undo or hit CTRL-z and to revert and try again.

Next, I tinker with the brightness and contrast. Until recently, I’ve used the Brightness and Contrast Tool (accessed at either Colors–>Brightness-Contrast or at Tools–>Color Tools–>Brightness-Contrast) to do this, as shown below. Once again, the illustration shows both the menu and the tool. Click for a larger image.

Brightness-Contrast Tool

Changes made using the sliders are reflected immediately in the main image window.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with color curves. I don’t really understand what they are, but you can access the Curves tool at Colors–>Curves or Tools–>Color Tools–>Curves. The illustration shows a curve with only one manipulation point, but you can bend them at two or more points if you wish. Changes are reflected immediately in the main image window. Click for a larger image.

Color Curves Tool

Frequently, I crop pictures to exclude extraneous material. Use the Selection Tool to outline the area to keep, then go to Image–>Crop to Selection. If dissatisfied, use the Undo commands to revert to the previous image. Click for a larger image.

Crop Tool

My last step is to scale or resize the image. I see no need to upload an umpty-ump mega-pixel image at 2400 by 1900 pixels for display in an environment optimized for less than half of that. It increases page load times, adds overhead, and provides little or no benefit for someone who is not a professional photographer trying to attract customers or make sales.

In this post, I scaled the original images to a width of 960 pixels and set them to display at a width of 500 pixels, so that the reader could click on them and see the detail more clearly; I did not use thumbnails, because thumbnails would be so small as to look silly.

Normally, I scale to as close to the desired display size as I can get.

In the GIMP, the scale tool is accessed at Image–>Scale Image. In this illustration, I’ve also increased the view of the original picture from 25% to 100%. Click for a larger image.

Scale (Resize) Tool

And here is the image with the view still at 100% after scaling (the illustration below was scaled to 450 pixels wide).

Image after scaling (resizing)

I ended up not using this version of the picture. You can see my final effort.

Notes and Hints:

Once you save a normal image file with changes, undo information is lost. Saving images in the native GIMP format (*.xcf) preserves undo information. I normally “Save As” and preserve the source image.

You can do fancy stuff with layers in the GIMP. I don’t understand them yet.

Meet the Gimp offers excellent video tutorials for download. There’s a detailed table of contents if you are interested in a specific topic. The library contains over 150 tutorials and is still growing.


This entry was posted by Frank on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 at 3:36 pm and is filed under Frank Bell . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Thanks, Jeff!