Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Walker's 'agenda,' after drug-testing the poor...

I think you can count on more rewards for the rich, also known as 'those who got him where he is today.'

The completely unnecessary and punitive demand for drug-testing public assistance and food stamp recipients was a scape-goating southern-style dog whistle signaled in the midst of a bad run of Walker PR to divert his small-town and suburban constituents.

If Walker is re-elected, the payoffs to his campaign funders will come as part of another 'budget-repair' bill - - this time fixing the hole he's dug by refusing federal Medicaid funding while trimming revenues with tax cuts.

Expect to see the beginning of the state property fire sale for which he already has legislative approval.

Competitive, public bidding is not required - - only rubber stamping by office-holders and processes he controls, including hand-picked water-carriers at the state Department of Administration and Legislative budget lackeys like Alberta Darling installed to grease the skids at the Joint Committee on Finance who are there to implement his extremist agenda.

How better to polish your phony small government credentials, get some quick-fix financing and give some big contributors the favors they expect than selling off publicly-paid power plants, university dorms and choice acreage under the control of the Department of Natural Resources - - an agency already told by Walker and the Legislature to identify and sell 10,000 acres.

I'd also expect Walker to add more tax cuts at the higher end of the scale, and for the few remaining business functions that still contribute to state services, despite the budget problems such cuts have already caused.

Because to Walker, falling revenue only gives him further justification to keep cutting services, like local school aids. In his first budget, he tried to eliminate state payments to localities for recycling and transit programs.

And don't forget the one test Walker's proposals must all pass is the stick-it-to-Milwaukee rule.

Because Milwaukee is the biggest city, with the most Democratic voters, and minorities, and poor people, and stressed public services, any Walker revenue reduction that monley-wrenches local services will have the harshest impact right here and reverberate more pleasurably across Walker's GOP, conservative, talk-radio driven base in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties.

And yet I feel like I'm understanding his dark side. After all, who saw Act 10 coming, which he'd hidden throughout the 2010 campaign?

Who'd have thought that he'd be able to implement voter ID and enhance its voting suppression by trimming the hours where those very ID's are available?

Lessons learned.

Put nothing past him.

Dig the new Mary Burke ad

And when you apply for a Voter ID at WI DMV...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bucky walks into the DMV office in Luck, WI...

"I need one of those new ID's," said Bucky to a worker at the door of Bucky's hometown DMV office in Luck, WI. "Big election coming up.  I hear you can help me track down my paperwork."
Bucky was an older Wisconsinite and had voted for decades. But now he needed an ID and couldn't find his birth certificate and some other records.
"You're out of luck," said the worker. "I'm just the custodian. "Like the DMV offices in most counties, this is just a part-time operation, a day or two a week, maybe less."
"Well, I could head down to my sister's place in Ft. Atkinson," Bucky said. "But I don't have a driver's license. See what I mean?"
"Actually, that office is only open two days a month," said the custodian. "And don't go to Wittenberg. That office won't open up before the election."
"But Joel Kleefisch is touting the whole arrangement," Bucky said. "Called it a "collaborative initiative'" with the rest of state government."
The custodian shrugged his shoulders.
"And those judges in Chicago who thought it all over for few minutes last week and gave it their blessing," Bucky continued. "Who the hell's in charge here?"
"Hard to know what these people are thinking," said the custodian. "The election is in seven weeks. They're digging themselves a pretty big hole."

Joel Kleefisch misleads about WI DMV/voter ID services

State GOP Rep. and second-banana/first-husband Joel Kleefisch argues that the new Wisconsin voter ID will be a success because of policy initiatives ready-to-go at state DMV counters statewide:
The DMV is now required to provide ID cards free of charge and we just launched a collaborative initiative between the Departments of Health Services and Transportation, which will give individuals access to certain vital records, free of charge. 
Could someone please let this over-confident elected official know that many, many DMV offices are only one a day or two a week, sometimes even less - - despite the opinion Friday that Wisconsin's statute was OK because it was close to Indiana's already-approved voter ID law.

Wisconsin's DMV offices' skimpy and inconvenient hours are documented here and here.


And here:

  • Twenty-six percent of Wisconsin's 91 DMVs are open one day a month or less, while none of Indiana's are open less than 100 days a year and nearly all are open over 250 days a year.
  • Wisconsin has only one DMV with weekend hours, while Indiana has 124 offices with weekend hours.
  • Three Wisconsin counties have no DMVs, no Indiana county is without a DMV.
  • Over half of Wisconsin's 91 DMVs are open on a part-time basis, while Indiana provides full-time DMVs in every county.

One post linking to blog analyses of Walker/WI GOP strategies

I've put a few of them into one posting.

*  Walker's southern strategy.

*  The Wisconsin Walkerites love Big Government these days.

*  Wrong-Way Walker.

*  Voters will chase after ID at DMV offices usually closed.

*  Giving away Wisconsin's waters.

* The growing list of Wisconsin's manipulated and disrespected.

* Numbers, data games.

* Finger-pointing, excuse-making.

WI GOP now loves 'stick-it-to-Milwaukee' big government

More evidence that Wisconsin Republicans used to be the party of local controls - - 'Get Madison out of our business!' - - but now that they run all three branches of state government they love that big government power.

*  The latest example.  An order from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission - - with a 2-1 right wing majority appointed by Wrong-Way Walker - - micro-managing how many miles of new pipe the City of Milwaukee must replace annually.

Overseeing the PSC's order is a Jeff Stone a former GOP state legislator from a Milwaukee suburb who was rejected in a 2011 run for Milwaukee County Executive on the strength of City of Milwaukee votes for the eventual winner, Chris Abele, because Stone was seen as a clone of outgoing Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.

* Not to mention the wonderfully-enlarged salaries and pension calculations that come with big government appointments and enjoyed by conservative Walker loyalists across the state government at taxpayer expense.

*  This is same 2-1 PSC majority that bought the argument of Bradley Foundation-supported attorneys and barred the City of Milwaukee from billing WE Energy customers for any share of the costs of moving utility lines if and when a downtown electric trolley system is built.

So the PSC dictated from its Madison perch a kill order for a Milwaukee transportation and development project.

Of course, We Energy would be the supplier of electricity for the trolley system, thus making money for shareholders already benefiting from the company's monopoly status and service territory.

Ditto for electricity sales to the new condos, apartments and businesses that a streetcar will spur along the route - - as it has in cities like Minneapoils-St. Paul that added what Milwaukee cannot build because of ideological and anti-urban politics:
The success of the Blue Line has also helped spur development along the line. At the north end, housing and office projects are planned or underway in the North Loop and near Target Field. Directly adjacent to the Nicollet Mall Station, a 26-story apartment building is being built — the first high-rise in Minneapolis in 30 years. Plans to add offices, green space and apartments near the site of the new Vikings Stadium are taking shape as well. 
East of the 38th Street Station, a 180-unit apartment building, Longfellow Station, is nearing completion. And in Bloomington, plans for a 50-acre transit-oriented development around the Bloomington Central Station are taking shape as the Mall of America continues to expand.
Note that when We Energy lines have to be moved for the widening of a highway - - like the big stanchions along the freeway system which often need relocation  - - that cost is rolled into the project budget and absorbed by the taxpayers.

*  Then you have multiple one-size-fits-all changes to ID, voting hours and absentee ballot availability laid down by Republicans in the State Legislature to put the squeeze on local voting officials in Milwaukee. Walker's southern counterparts will no doubt approve.

* And, yes, there is widespread and destructive Republican disregard for local controls out-state, too.

The 'best' examples of the worst GOP-led big-government-at-all-cost schemes are aimed at letting sand mining companies have their way with local land use and water conservation plans, as well as the closing off of Northern Wisconsin forest land in advance of wrecking an entire watershed for a politically-connected Florida mining firm.

And it's no coincidence that the interests being served first by Walker & Co. are major GOP donor partners, like WE Energy or GTac.

Regardless of their chamber of commerce rhetoric, no one loves big government more than a CEO with legislators and governors and phony regulators at their beck-and-call.

Voters and local officials statewide are being manipulated, but with its big Democratic turnout, sticking it to Milwaukee this way is the GOP's major aim.


Walker clone at PSC micro-manages Milwaukee water piping budgets

That would be former conservative Greendale GOP State Rep. and printing business owner Jeff Stone, now recast as a state water rate policy manager.

The same Jeff Stone defeated in 2011 for Milwaukee County Executive by Chris Abele and the same Jeff Stone who led legislative efforts for voter ID that will stifle city voting.

The same Jeff Stone who got promoted by Wrong-Way Walker from to a fat PSC division head job that probably doubled his big government salary (not to mention a big leap in potential pension levels) only because a state grant scandal forced Walker's first choice - - former State Assemblyman Scott Suder - - to leave the PSC position for a job with the Wisconsin Paper Council.

That's how things work in this administration: Walker's legislative water carriers - - Jeff Plale is another - - become Big Government clerks and any concerns with credentials or credibility is, shall we say, papered over?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

About the poor; let Walker explain

People are asking why Walker would go after the poor seeking food stamp and/or public assistance with mandatory drug testing (among other things).

Without comment, a relevant explanation, in his own words:
Interview: Gov. Scott Walker Talks Faith, Compromise and Helping the Poor

Walker's southern strategy

Paul Ryan and Scott Walker are perfecting the pitch of their dog whistles to the party's tea party base and competing for the same far-right love as the 2016 GOP presidential race takes shape.

Ryan got a head start, (no pun intended), when he said earlier this year that the inner cities were full of lazy black men.


Sure, there was some backlash, and Ryan said he'd been misinterpreted, but Mission Accomplished/Signal Sent, and his cheesehead rival Wrong-Way Walker needed to respond in kind.


So Walker channeled Newt Gingrich's 2012 attack on President Barack Obama as "the food stamp president" by proposing over the weekend that food stamp and public welfare recipients in Wisconsin take mandatory drugs tests before they can eat and feed their kids. 


Walker says it will help the poor find work. 


In fact, Walker is adding a fresh scapegoat - - the unemployed and low-income themselves - - to his excuse-me list of Syrian rebels, Obamacare and recall protesters - - to explain away and distract from his inability to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin.


This time he's suggesting to otherwise law-abiding workers that the poor must be too high or tipsy to get a job.


You just can't keep a good divide-and-governor down.

This isn't the first time Walker has used and abused the poor for political purposes - - remember that he is the one standing in the way of an increase in the minimum wage being raised elsewhere that the WMC says will boost prices - -  like the fast food AM 620 WTMJ talker Jeff Wagner and his pals, through their snickering, demand be kept dirt-cheap.

And In his first budget, Walker kicked at the poor financially when they were already far, far down in the Great Recession - despite Walker foot-stamping spin to the contrary - - as noted several times on this blog, including this summary from two years ago:
Despite the denials, the same Scott Walker budget that contributed to months of job losses statewide also contained tax increases totaling $49 million on lower-income Wisconsinites - - plus a 'just-cuz-you're poor-$20-monthly dunning - - and also cut taxes on some capital gains and business income. 
The Walker machine spun on, claiming in statements and ads that the budget was balanced without raising taxes, even though the information about the tax increases came from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, as reported by PolitiFact.

Overall, Walker’s budget included a modest $34 million reduction, mainly through business tax breaks. His plan included $83 million in tax cuts, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, but that was offset by $49 million in tax increases. 
The bureau determined that Walker included three tax increases in the budget. As we noted in our Walk-O-Meter item on the promise: 
"The largest involved a reduction in a state tax credit for low-income working families, known as the earned income credit. A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe. 
"In this case, the earned income tax credit is in place for both state and federal taxes. It’s refundable, so individuals with little or no income tax liability may still receive the credit. 
"A second tax increase, the fiscal bureau said, is stopping the inflationary adjustment of the state’s Homestead Tax Credit -- the property tax break that appears as a credit on income tax forms for low-income homeowners and renters. The bureau calculated that change would increase taxes by an estimated $8.1 million. 
Ryan and Walker are showing us that while the GOP apologized for it a few years ago, the so-called southern strategy which worked for Dick Nixon is back in right-wing Republican vogue.

Forty percent of the 860,000 Wisconsinites receiving food stamps live in Milwaukee County: who thinks Walker's food stamp drug testing scheme is aimed at people in River Hills or Whitefish Bay?


Though many formerly-employed Wisconsinites statewide who are still reeling from the Great Recession, and Walker's inability to get the state's economy on track despite holding all the budgetary and policy-making cards, might be surprised to learn that the Governor and his valet Robin Vos want them to pee in a cup to prove they haven't unemployed themselves by smoking dope or having a cocktail with lunch at the club.


Take that, laid-off office administrators, middle managers, sales staff, HR supervisors, small business owners, and the like - - all now under suspicion.

And when the poor and unemployed are done degrading themselves at Walker's direction at some government food-stamp-drug-testing station, office, let the poor chase after the voter ID we tricked the Appeals Court into thinking is needed in Wisconsin. 


Better the poor should spend their time driving or busing around to find a DMV office with the voter ID information and assistance that's actually open than on the job or applying for work.


That subset of the poor is also under a different kind of suspicion - - cheating at the ballot box, like the accusatory billboards posted by a Walker donor, with Walker's advice had said when he was fighting the last time for his political life.

What a dark, vicious loop that is.

Walker's fresh assault on the poorest citizens among us during a re-election campaign - - a politician's time of greatest self-interest - - will be added to a post on this blog documenting the many ways he continues to disrespect or disregard Wisconsin and its low-income residents:

There has never been a Wisconsin Governor in our memories prior to Wrong Way Walker who so widely disrespected the time, resources and basic interests of so many Wisconsinites, particularly the state's lower-income residents, just to advance his own political career. 
Conflationists can claim until the cows come home that every Wisconsin Governor has behaved this one-dimensionally, opportunistically, selfishly, coldly.
If proper eligibility and stewardship and of public money is what's behind Walker's pledge to tighten up taxpayer-paid assistance, maybe there ought to be drug testing for Walker, legislators and their appointees who created and are running the dysfunctional Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, where millions of public dollars have been misspent or misplaced.

The agency was supposed to create jobs but now prefers talking about the jobs it has "impacted," - - deceptively camouflaging how little employment has resulted from all the millions it has spent. Actual number: 5,480, one study shows.


Maybe there should also be drug-testing for the private sector officials who have taken public WEDC financing, grants, loans or credits while 'impacting' so few real jobs in Wisconsin and creating jobs overseas


Here's an example of one company that took millions of state dollars, and which was lauded by Walker, but has brought on only a few people, hasn't put up the promised assembly line and is busy hiring workers in another state from which Wisconsin allegedly had lured the firm's business and commitment.


Right-wing talk radio Monday will give a big ride to Walker's fresh attack on the poor.


The AM talkers provide open microphones for Walker and his legislative allies to gin up fear and anger among their conservative suburban and smaller-town Wisconsin listening audiences.


In fact, the latest John Doe document dump showed Walker routinely sending the shows their talking points.


Attacking the poor from the cushy digs of elected office, or isolated radio station studios is about the easiest, cheapest self-serving effort imaginable - - but a reminder of the depth of that hole Walker correctly found himself in the other day.

CAPTION CONTEST: All right gang, have at it. And keep it clean.



Football weekend trains to make three WI-IL trips in October

Saturday, September 13, 2014

WI Voter ID info. available at DMV offices usually closed

Scott Walker snookered a three-judge panel of judges on the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals - - led by his "favorite friend" Diane Sykes - - to believe at a Friday heariing that State motor vehicle offices are the perfect place to send tens of thousands of people for voter ID help prior to the November elections.

Too bad many of the out-state and smaller-town offices are rarely open. Some examples below in three posts from earlier today, fyi:
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2014

No one's holding down the fort for voter ID at Fort DMV

Walker says to just stop over at your local State Department of Motor Vehicles office for help getting your Voter ID. The US Court of Appeals bought his B.S. - - but check at the DMV website to see how many communities' DMV offices are open part-time, at best.


Fort Atkinson service center (Jefferson County)
Municipal Building
101 N. Main Street, Fort Atkinson,  WI 53538

Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: Special Rules - 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Go to Merrill DMV for WI voter ID help - - at your peril

Walker says to just stop over at your local State Department of Motor Vehicles office for help getting your Voter ID. The US Court of Appeals bought his B.S. - - but check at the DMV website to see how many communities' DMV offices are open part-time, at best.

Merrill service center (Lincoln County)
100 S. Mill Street, Suite 103
Merrill, WI 54452

Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

For WI DMV voter ID help in Luck, WI - - good luck

Walker says to just stop over at your local State Department of Motor Vehicles office for help getting your Voter ID. The US Court of Appeals bought his B.S. - - but check at the DMV website to see how many communities' DMV offices are open part-time, at best.

For example, good luck if you are in Luck, WI:
Luck service center (Polk County)
Danish Brotherhood Hall
300 S. 1st Street, Luck,  WI 54853
Open dates for 2014: January 15, February 19, March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19, December 17

Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Special Rules - 3rd Wednesday of the month 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

No one's holding down the fort for voter ID at Fort DMV

Walker says to just stop over at your local State Department of Motor Vehicles office for help getting your Voter ID. The US Court of Appeals bought his B.S. - - but check at the DMV website to see how many communities' DMV offices are open part-time, at best.


Fort Atkinson service center (Jefferson County)
Municipal Building
101 N. Main Street, Fort Atkinson,  WI 53538

Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: Special Rules - 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Go to Merrill DMV for WI voter ID help - - at your peril

Walker says to just stop over at your local State Department of Motor Vehicles office for help getting your Voter ID. The US Court of Appeals bought his B.S. - - but check at the DMV website to see how many communities' DMV offices are open part-time, at best.

Merrill service center (Lincoln County)
100 S. Mill Street, Suite 103
Merrill, WI 54452

Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

For WI DMV voter ID help in Luck, WI - - good luck

Walker says to just stop over at your local State Department of Motor Vehicles office for help getting your Voter ID. The US Court of Appeals bought his B.S. - - but check at the DMV website to see how many communities' DMV offices are open part-time, at best.

For example, good luck if you are in Luck, WI:
Luck service center (Polk County)
Danish Brotherhood Hall
300 S. 1st Street, Luck,  WI 54853
Open dates for 2014: January 15, February 19, March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19, December 17

Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Special Rules - 3rd Wednesday of the month 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Walker, right on cheating

He says voter ID will make it harder to cheat.

Who better than he to understand the effort involved, what with that secret, off-the-radar Internet fundraising and campaigning network set up in his Milwaukee County Executive office, and later, the work that went into raising millions of dollars off-the-books to help him win the 2012 recall election.

Election cheating IS hard - - which is why local officials routinely catch the handful of dopes who try.

Walker is right: Best leave it to the experts.

The more that downtown Milwaukee grows...

On sites like this one, the more demand there will be for modern light rail/streetcar service to get these office workers and their clients to and from nearby law firms, restaurants, festivals and other urban amenities.

Which is why a rail stop is now part of the signature Couture project.

Who knows: even staff at the neighboring Bradley Foundation, whose grant-supported lawyers have blocked the streetcar's ground-breaking, might find the system attractive.

Is this how Walker tapped recall campaign $$ ?

Apple's new phone touts an electronic wallet function for instant, secure money transfers. Did the Walker campaign test prototypes during the 2012 recall campaign?

Bad River Tribal Chair's solid comeback to Walker ad

Hat tip, Mike Wiggins Jr. on Facebook this morning:
Governor Walker is saying "Its alot easier to dig a hole than it is to get out of one." Lake Superior and the Bad River Watershed completely agree which is why we ask Gov. Walker to get his Florida based Mining Company (Gtac) out of Wisconsin.
Check the comments section at this posting for some other creative lines, too: 
CAPTION CONTEST: All right gang, have at it. And keep it clean.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2014Walker and the hole truth[Updated, 12:03 a.m. Friday] Optic of the day. From the Walker campaign, via One Wisconsin Now. 30 seconds of self-dimunition.One Wisconsin NowCAPTION CONTEST: All right gang, have at it.And keep it clean.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Aside from the grandiosity, get crackin'

If you believe in justice, the next 60 days are all about voter registration

The only thing that can stop the bad guys (and women judges) who would stand in the voting booth door are people of goodwill who will now put aside everything else and register every possible voter to throw out every last one of them bums.

The Federal Appeals Court's unsigned quickie approval today of Voter ID has to be the disrespecting, manipulating tipping point for Wisconsin voters.

Appeals Court panel quickly tilts election Walker's way

After just a few hours of 'deliberation,' a three judge Federal Appeals court panel in Chicago helps the Republican forces of voter suppression by green-lighting Voter photo ID with the gubernatorial election just two months away.

Taken together with the far-right, pro-Walker reflex at the State Supreme Court, it's another slam at judicial fairness and equal legal protections for all. 

Waukesha-bound commuters today, in light rain, without light rail

It was only 3:30 p.m today, in a light rain, but traffic was already crawling towards Waukesha and I-94 construction delays from downtown Milwaukee. With a congestion free rail alternative killed by anti-urban, self-defeating opposition. Send your thanks to the Waukesha County Board, former County Executive Dan Finley, Tommy Thompson, Scott Jensen and their talk radio buddies.

Citizen describes stacked DNR committee push for bigger WI wolf kill

I'm posting blogger Rachel Tilseth's first-hand report on how the DNR's hand-picked group of pro-hunting wolf policy advisors wants to increase the number of allowable trophy kills.

It's a solid example of the disregard for science that now permeates the "chamber of commerce" DNR that Gov. Walker has crafted - - an attitude with outcomes - - an unsustainably large number of hunted and rapped wolves killed with head shots - - that has sparked a lengthy documented appeal by five experts urging federal wildlife officials to intervene.

Just another Friday in FitzWalkerstan

Another typical Wisconsin week is wrapping up.

* The state's lawyers are spending more of your money in Federal Appeals Court in Chicago today, this time arguing it's legal to disenfranchise 300,000 Wisconsin voters by making them secure and present unneeded photo ID in order to vote, as is their birthright, in elections.

The same court is still deciding whether to uphold a lower court that suspended a probe into whether Gov. Scott Walker and others may have broken state law prohibiting secret election fundraising and message coordinating activities.

* Media are also busy today sorting through yet another John Doe document dump.  From a probe that began prior to the one which a judge shut down that had its Appeals Court hearing Tuesday. I know it's confusing, but that's the state we live in these days.

Another recent ruling by the same appeals court overturning Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage is being appealed to the US Supreme Court with your money by Walker and Attorney General Van Hollen.

Maybe the Appeals Court should have a special Wisconsin FitzWalkerstan wing.

*In other news, Wisconsin is facing a projected $1.8 billion-dollar budget shortfall, because Walker - - after excoriating former Gov. Doyle for presiding over a deficit (caused by a huge national recession) - - produced a structurally-phony budget which a) underestimated incoming revenues,  b) cut taxes and c) turned away hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed federal Medicaid money.

*  This Walker-created deficit is further proof that Wisconsin is missing much of the modest, post-recession economic recovery the rest of the country is seeing - - a situation highlighted and relate to the failure of Walker to have created on his watch only 40% of the 250,000 jobs he said would appear in Wisconsin a term in office that ends in four months.

So - - here we are - - with fewer jobs, a fresh deficit, thousands of low-income Wisconsinites without health insurance other than taxpayer-paid emergency room visits, and more litigation to address the the multi-layered dysfunction Walker has brought to the state while he's off somewhere raising money for an even more dysfunctional diversion - - a presidential run.  TGIF
CAPTION CONTEST: All right gang, have at it. And keep it clean.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

More WI DNR sickening contempt for science

[Updated, 8: 24 p.m.] Experts of all kinds used to bring their training, advanced degrees, families and professional goals to Wisconsin.

Scientists, lawyers, and public-policy specialists were drawn to Wisconsin principally by the reputation of the state Department of Natural Resources. Rich traditions there merged genuine public involvement with science to guarantee clean air, pure water, and accessible land - - the classic, picture-postcard good life - - in the land of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Gaylord Nelson.

And there was a pleasant, cooperative bi-partisan/non-partisan underpinning to it all, as Nelson, a Democrat, and former GOP Governor Warren Knowles worked together to create a land acquisition fund that helped preserve some of the best trails and waterfronts and landscapes in the public domain.

To be passed along to the next generation. A legacy, if you will. The Wisconsin Idea, implemented at the state government end of State St.

But things changed - - devolved and are still heading downhill - - because Scott Walker appointed Cathy Stepp, a developer and agency critic who had famously mocked DNR staffers and scientists, to run the agency with what Walker called her "chamber of commerce mentality."

Sort of like appointing The Marlboro Man to run a state health department.

There have been two noteworthy events of late that stand out among all the examples of newly-weakened DNR regulation, tolerated pollution and disregard for wildlife that highlight the deep contempt for science now demanded at the agency from on-high.

*  First is the science-based request for federal intervention into Wisconsin's uniquely-cruel wolf hunt. Details and documents are here.

*  Second is the twisted DNR award of elite environmental status to a known sand mine permit violator and polluter - - I'd written about the possibility earlier - - but now we learn that the upside-down recognition has been approved.

The message to businesses the DNR already only marginally 'regulates' - -  go ahead and pollute.

To out-of-staters, it's a message from the backwater.

Walker's DNR will paper over your violations of a permit obviously not worth the paper it's printed on it by giving you a big environmental prize.

So just when you think the reputation of the state and the very definition of public service can't get worse in Wisconsin, Walker's people figure out a way to do just that.