How to use Facebook to push your business.

or... how to sell pizza in Wisconsin.  Click the link, it's real!

UPDATE 2/22/10 5:27 PM EST:  Let me give a hat tip to Rob Bellin for posting the link below on his facebook account.  Also, just to be clear, I support both the business and political aspects of this markering campaign.  I don't think the owners of "Ians Pizza" are cynically taking advantage of the situation, I just think that they are taking advantage of it.  And here's to that!
Monday, February 21 (12:15pm)

Thank you all so much for visiting!

If you are here to learn how help feed the protesters in Madison, here's how you can do that:

Call us at 608-257-9248, then press 1. As we have just three phone lines it may take a while to get through, and we apologize in advance for that.

For online ordering we have partnered with both to process our online orders. If you would like to order online, please put 115 State Street as the delivery address, and add in the notes that you would like to help feed the protesters.

While we thought about it, we will not be setting up a Paypal account, even though we realize that would make it easier. Please understand it's not because we don't want to help you out; we really just don't want to over-promise & under-deliver.

It's important to us as a business and as individuals that if we say we are taking your hard-earned money to help feed supporters, that we will make sure that happens. By taking phone calls and online orders only we can ensure that the money you spend with us does indeed get made into pizza that goes to the capital.

We truly appreciate all the enthusiasm, and know that many of you want to help feed the protesters, but we are also just one small business. Believe us when we say we are not really accustomed to getting pizza orders from the entire country (let alone internationally!)

Thank you for your understanding!

What's this really about?

Ezra, nails it. If you've been following Wisconsin, then you need the perspective below. It's not about budget deficits, it's about power.

Scott Walker should be seen as the face of the modern GOP.

Column: Wisconsin is about power, not money:
from Ezra Klein

"You've probably heard politicians fret that state governments - or, worse, the federal government - will default on their debts. House Speaker John A. Boehner called the prospect of a federal default 'a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy.' Nasty stuff.

But it's worth asking why a default would such a problem. Can't we just launch a missile at our creditors, or promise to do better next time? Well, no. Our creditors have power over us. If the actors who make up the entity we loosely refer to as 'the market' - that means everyone from banks to hedge funds to China - don't get paid back, they'll go nuts. They'll realize we're fiscally irresponsible. They'll stop lending us money, or at least start charging us more when they do. Interest rates will skyrocket, and the economy will grind to a halt.

So America's various governmental entities are looking for ways to avoid defaulting on their debt - or at least defaulting on their debt to the powerful. That addendum is important, because one of the strategies that's emerging is to default on debt to the less powerful, the people who don't have the power to wreck our economy.

This is a crucial fact about the economy, and one often underplayed by economists: power matters. It's worth more, in many cases, than money. And that's what's really at issue in Wisconsin. It's why Gov. Scott Walker is uninterested in taking concessions from the unions on wages and benefits if they don't come alongside concessions on collective bargaining. What he wants isn't a change in the balance of payments. It's a change in the balance of power.

The deal Wisconsin made with its state employees was simple: Accept lower wages than you could get in the private sector now in return for better pensions and health-care benefits when you retire. Now Walker wants to renege on that deal.

Rather than stiff the banks, in other words, he wants to stiff the teachers - but the crucial twist he's added, the one that's sent tens of thousands of workers into the streets, is that he wants to make sure they can't fight back once he does it.

The reason you can't stiff bondholders is that they can make a state or country regret reneging on the deals they've made. They can increase borrowing costs far into the future, slowing economic growth and, through the resulting economic pain, throwing politicians out of office. That gives them power. An ordinary teacher does not have access to such artillery. Unless, of course, she's part of a union.

Unions - through collective bargaining, strikes and other means - give workers power. They make reneging on contracts with their members painful. They also make negotiations less lopsided.

They're not perfect, of course. They sometimes negotiate bad deals, or misbehave, or hand good money over to bad people, or put their short-term interests ahead of the public's long-term interests. But then, so do corporations and politicians.

But their power matters for more than just debt repayment. For all their faults, unions tend to see their constituents as not just their own members, but the 'working class,' broadly defined. That's why you'll find labor's fingerprints on everything from the two-day weekend to Medicare to the Civil Rights Act of 1965 - none of which require you to flash a union card before you can benefit from them. They act -- quite self-consciously -- as a counterbalance to corporate power. There's no reason, after all, that unions should be leading the fight to see the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. That's political capital they could be spending on reform of the nation's labor laws. And yet they are.

To get a sense of what a world without unions would look like - a world where power is distributed radically differently - you need look no further than Walker's own proposals. In his State of the State speech, he said, 'The decisions we face are not easy and the solutions we must approve will require true sacrifice.' He's already called for plenty of it from not only state employees, but also the low-income residents who rely on Wisconsin's BadgerCare program.

But some won't have to sacrifice nearly so much. Walker's campaign platform called for sharp cuts in corporate taxes, including 'eliminating corporate taxes for the first two years of operation.' His budget repair bill proposes to allow the state to sell energy plants 'with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state,' and goes on to say that 'any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest.'

What you're seeing there isn't necessarily a world where deficits are lower. Rather, it's a world where power is distributed very differently. You can argue that that's a good thing, though I'm skeptical. But let's not confuse a discussion over political power with a discussion over deficits."

As Brad DeLong would say...

Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

The Less Discussed Part of Walker’s Wisconsin Plan: No-Bid Energy Assets Firesales.: "

Mike Konczal is a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, and is a blogger at the Rortybomb Blog and New Deal 2.0.

Originally posted here


Have you heard about 16.896?

The fight in Wisconsin is over Governor Walker’s 144-page Budget Repair Bill. The parts everyone is focusing on have to do with the right to collectively bargain being stripped from public sector unions (except for the unions that supported Walker running for Governor). Focusing on this misses a large part of what the bill would do. Check out this language, from the same bill (my bold):

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

The bill would allow for the selling of state-owned heating/cooling/power plants without bids and without concern for the legally-defined public interest. This excellent catch is from Ed at (who, speaking of Madison, took me to the Essen Haus on my 21st birthday, where the night began to go sideways). Ed correctly notes:

If this isn’t the best summary of the goals of modern conservatism, I don’t know what is. It’s like a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism. Extra bonus points for the explicit effort to legally redefine the term “public interest” as “whatever the energy industry lobbyists we appoint to these unelected bureaucratic positions say it is.”

In case it isn’t clear where the naked cronyism comes in, remember which large, politically active private interest loves buying up power plants and already has considerable interests in Wisconsin. Then consider their demonstrated eagerness to help Mr. Walker get elected and bus in carpetbaggers to have a sad little pro-Mubarak style “rally” in his honor. There are dots to be connected here, but doing so might not be in the public interest.

It’s important to think of this battle as a larger one over the role of the state. The attempt to break labor is part of the same continuous motion as saying that the crony, corporatist selling of state utilities to the Koch brothers and other energy interests is the new “public interest.”"