Sunday, October 19, 2014

WI wolf 'hunters' are on their game this year. What sport!

Having sniped, trapped and killed with head shots more than half the WI 150 kill quota - - in less than five days. Down goes Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is killing its wolves

Walker drives, flies, pulls wool over our eyes

Our phony fiscal conservative leader bills taxpayers for 20-minute hops on state plane, and has commandeered public vehicles for campaign trips on more than one-in-four days since January, 2011, records show. 

Sure puts that reference in Debate I about driving his used Saturn into perspective. 

Wisconsin proves Sen. Warren's "game is rigged" message

Massachusetts progressive Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren's "the game is rigged and the Republicans rigged it" message certainly resonates nationally, and describes the reality we confront here moment-by-moment.

You can see and feel Warren's description of right-wing, corporate control across Wisconsin, from the domination of big money and influence atop all three branches of government...

...to big business being allowed by the State Supreme Court's far-right majority to write the Court's code of conduct that protects big money's judicial clout...

...to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources turned into a corporate tool of deregulation by Wrong-Way Walker, Wisconsin's pollution enabler-in-chief...

...to the oh-so-illustrative formerly-secret $700,000 donation routed to Walker's campaign committee from a mining company through a far-right corporatist third-party group that is currently fighting tooth-and-nail further investigation into its once-clandestine activity on behalf of the Walker campaign and those of some GOP legislators..

Two more points proving the Warren thesis here:

The mining company which gave the $700,000 donation - - and let that figure sink in, because it's really big and very unusual - - had also been allowed to help write and steer a controversial bill pushed to approval by Walker so the company can dig the continent's largest open-pit mine in pristine Northern Wisconsin woods and wetlands.

And should a stalled, bi-partisan prosecutors' investigation into these formerly-secret machinations by and for the benefit of Walker and allied legislators campaigns' be allowed to proceed - - despite the efforts by a Federal judge whose favoritism towards Walker and allied right-wing groups has reached clumsily outrageous levels - - and should that investigation result in criminal charges, the final arbiters of those charges would be...wait for it...a State Supreme Court majority freed from conflict-of-interest territory and recusals by a code of conduct written by some of the same groups which donated millions of dollars to Walker and the court's majority.

As Sen. Warren says, "the game is rigged."

Mary Burke's defeat of Scott Walker on November, and the election of Susan Happ as Attorney General as the unabashed Walker tool J. B Van Hollen departs that office, can slow down the right's rigged winning in Wisconsin.

If not, the slogan becomes "the game is rigged, and in Wisconsin, they have won."

Sign WI frac sand study petition now; deadline looming

The Walker administration is preventing people from petitioning the DNR for studies. So let's turn that around. 

And by the way, efforts like these wouldn't be needed if more media did their investigative jobs and our Governor wasn't allowed to argue - - without challenge - - that the WI environment is now cleaner than it was when he was elected.

Sign and circulate the petition!
and can be heard.

Deadline Extended: There’s Still Time to Sign the Frac Sand Petition

True Cost of Sand Petition signature pages are still coming into our office and more Wisconsinites are learning about why it’s important for the Department of Natural Resources to study the impacts of frac sand mining in our state.

That’s why we are extending the deadline for people to sign the citizen petition asking the state Natural Resources Board to direct the DNR to do a strategic analysis of frac sand mining.

You can sign the petition online until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 22. Petition signature pages can be mailed to 612 W. Main St. Ste. 302, Madison WI 53703 or scanned and emailed tosharbaugh@midwestadvocates.org

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, "Since 1951..."

...says its website, and after last night's debate, apparently frozen there.

Schimel smears Happ with over-the-top deceitful release

If you read this fresh Schimel GOP attack news release you'd think Jefferson County DA Susan Happ let a dangerous felon walk - - and you'd be duped into that conclusion because the release intentionally leaves out a key fact:

Happ worked with the feds to make sure the dangerous felon went to federal prison for seven years.

The Journal Sentinel has the story.

You don't put out materials like this steaming pant load unless your internal polls tell you you're losing and you think you need to create fear through dishonesty to stampede voters against a superior candidate.

Feds lay down the law for Nov. 4th WI voting

I hope that Wisconsin Attorney General, Supreme Court denier and voter ID last-man-standing J. B. Van Hollen - - and anyone else still suggesting voters need an ID to cast a ballot, or are otherwise interfering with the franchise on November 4th - - has read and takes to heart this statement out of the US Attorney's Office in Madison last week:
Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. For example, actions of persons designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are actions to uncover illegal voting, may violate federal voting rights law...
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington by phone at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767, by fax at (202) 307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov, or by complaint form athttp://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.
This is why there is a need for polling place observers.

The ACLU of Wisconsin can provide more information.

In Milwaukee, here's where volunteers should go first thing Monday:

Dan Puhek, Election Worker Coordinator - 414-286-3957, dpuhek@milwaukee.gov


WI environmentalists should go from green to red hot

We learned to our collective chagrin in last night's debate that the leading male faces of Milwaukee's commercial TV outlets would prefer exchanging sports banter to forcing a discussion about the state's damaged air, water and landscape - - so Wisconsin's environmental organizations and outspoken individuals should dominate media Monday with facts and commentary.

The debate was sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association - - founded in 1951 - - and apparently still stuck there, as it offered viewers an all-white, all-male panel on a set in Milwaukee, a city with majority-minority population.

An excellent exercise for activists and others interested in facts would be refuting Walker's preposterous claim last week that the environment is cleaner than it was when he took over.

Anyone living near an industrial-scale dairy, a 24-hour sand mine, a contaminated river or stream or a wetland damaged by an oil or gasoline pipeline break knows that the same Walker-installed the same chamber of commerce at the DNR is pulling the strings in the Legislature and with a Supreme Court majority, too.

And therefore knows that Walker's claim is fact-checkable, slam dunk whopper.

The debate panelists who thought they were on Sports Center, and others, might review one posting with ten links that can get the ball rolling by refuting Walker's claim.

Another good source of facts about such matters is the Walker Fail Files created by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

If there was ever a moment for a strong statement by a coalition of groups to communicate the faces about the state of the state's land, air and water, it's now.

More about this later today.

Friday, October 17, 2014

WI gubernatorial debate II, final thoughts

Final thoughts.

Mary Burke is smarter than Scott Walker and has first-hand business experience which Walker does not. He has been out-performed twice by a political neophyte.

Best answer of the night: Burke's destruction of Walker's evasive answer on crime-fighting, as she provided facts and spelled out the big picture, which includes jobs.

A close second: Burke's shot at Walker that he wishes he were running against Jim Doyle, since Walker keeps mentioning Doyle.

Biggest loser? The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, which chose or agreed to four white males to make up the panel.

Milwaukee is a city which has a majority population of minority citizens - - and I assume is also a majority/female city, too - - and the debate planners had many qualified, veteran female and minority journalists to choose from.


Oh, Ted Perry, you wasted air time with your "fun question"

This panel is a wreck. 

Q. on central city violence; Best Burke answer so far

Walker answers as a suburbanite leaving nearby. How patronizing.

And he reduced"shot-spotting" financing requested that he is not touting.

Burke notes Walker cut state aid to police departments through shared revenue cuts. That is a good point.

Ah, Burke hit him on the shot-spotting financing. She is informed!

And links it all to jobs. Her best answer.

DUI question. 1st time offenders/criminalization

Burke wants first-offenses as misdemeanors. Walker does not. Good for her.

Walker talks about repeat offenders. The question was about 1st time offenders.

And Walker has taken no leadership on this issue for four years, as Burke points out.

She correctly says that one way to stop repeat offending is to treat the 1st offense more seriously.

Q. on taking responsibility

On jobs - - right out of Walker's mouth, blaming Doyle.

Does Walker not get that was another responsibility dodge?

Two more Doyle references. For goodness sake.


Q. on job growth, historically

What's the over-under on Walker's Doyle mentions?

If Walker has been running all these initiatives, where is the payoff?

Walker is stressing one good month jobs #.

OK - - one reference back to the Doyle years.

Walker ducks the Bucks/financing question; Burke does not

OK, his kids love the games. And they were born here. Great. And then??

Burke says the public option is on the table, as the last option. That is a direct answer.

In rebuttal. Burke praises Herb Kohl and the investors. 

Four white males! A total Broadcasters' Association fail. Boo!

Shame on the group.

Walker evading Kenosha casino question

First by talking about jobs in Kenosha, then blaming Doyle. Good grief.

Burke hits Walker for being a weak negotiator.

Three white male panelists in a row?

Where is the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association? 1961?

Q. on Milwaukee, central-city economic problems

I don't remember Walker doing squat about this when he was Milwaukee County Exec.

Walker points to some initiatives, but undercuts it by noting that Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is a task force co-chair.

Burke links project development to existing institutions, like hospitals. 

Is this an all, white-male panel?

Just asking.

Budget question. Surplus vs. projected shortfall.

Burke as a businesswoman is explaining the difference. She points to Walker's borrowings.

Walker focuses on surplus. But is getting way too wonky in his answer. Not a direct answer.

Opening statements. Good for Burke going after Walker's 'no jobs problem.'

This a strong point. And melded into public education and ending Walker's divisiveness. Good opening theme.

WI gubernatorial debate II

Did I hear in the opening that questions cannot be directed to one candidate?

Walker slow to coordinate WI Ebola response

Sure did take him a long time to begin today coordinating state health care resources in response to Ebola developments.

Oh...forgot it's debate night. Gotta look gubernatorial on debate nights.

Then - - off to higher priority matters - - fundraising and scripted events at businesses only.

Opponents of lakefront golf course holding fundraiser Saturday

FALL ART AUCTION, ANTIQUE AND GARDEN SALE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18 2-6 p.m.
Auction 5 p.m.

Live auction of works by BLACK RIVER ARTISTS John Clemmer, James Michael, Jean Tobin, & James Tobin
,
On sale throughout the day: Noteworthy local and Midwest collage artists, watercolorists and photographers, Dale Lorens, Cynthia Lee and Gary Zimmerman

Antiques, florals, garden whimsies

Food and beverages available

5631 Driftwood Lane, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

All proceeds will benefit the environmental efforts of Friends of the Black River Forest.
Mission Statement: 
"To oppose the construction of a golf course within the Black River Forest and to promote the preservation of the integrity of that river, its wetlands, the forest and the adjoining Lake Michigan shore as an ecological whole."
For information and updates on the artwork, check:
friendsblackriverforest.org

Facts - - a frequent Walker enemy - - disprove his cleaning the environment claim

[Updated] Even for Wrong-Way, Pants-on-Fire, Science-Denying Scott Walker, this was a jaw-dropping-fact-checking category-busting new low - - 
Walker Contends He's Left Wisconsin's Environment Cleaner Than When He Found It
- - because it is:

* Refuted by a "catastrophic" gasoline pipeline break in a Jackson, WI marsh and farm community.

* Refuted by facts, such as multiple frac sand contamination events, including two in the St. Croix River.

* Refuted by a federal list of 75 deficiencies in water pollution plans and policies.

* Refuted by increased airborne manure spreading on farm fields supplied by ever-larger dairies. 

* Refuted by human fecal waste spreading that was illegal, but didn't even merit drinking water inspections by the same Walker DNR which has cut back pollution inspections and enforcement - - and only slapped the fecal spreader polluter's wrist.

*  Refuted by a 50,000 gallon Enbridge oil pipeline spill.

* Refuted by the DNR's levying a mere $464 fine against a one-million gallon manure spill polluter.

* Refuted by a known dairy farm's pollution being no barrier to a pitch for bigger permits.

* Refuted by the DNR's environmental award to a known polluter.

* Refuted by delaying phosphorous pollution in state waterways for another 25 years.

Even for Walker, that was a whopper.

Like Rush Limbaugh claiming the airwaves are a more civil format now than before he sat in front of a microphone.

Do you think Walker's now so over-confident he can start just messing with us?

Rapid WI wolf kill raises questions

The Wisconsin DNR is reporting that 28 wolves - - about 20% of the full season's allowable total - - have been killed in the just first three days of the hunt, and one zone is hitting its quota and will being closed Saturday.
Wisconsin is killing its wolves 
Given the current DNR management's support for a particularly violent, dog-assisted season, and its close and supportive relationship to sport hunting groups and intolerance for the opposition - - a question:

Has citizen/volunteer-provided winter wolf tracking data gathered for scientific purposes and population estimates been given to or transferred among hunters or groups for fast wolf trapping and shooting when the season begins?

Looks like a twist on shooting fish in a barrel.

Will debate panel challenge Walker tonight?

There are at least two substantial opportunities to break ground and make news tonight. Who is game?

*  On Walker's absurd and downright inflammatory claim the environment is cleaner now than when he took office. Here are the facts.

*  On his attendance at a pivotal 2007 meeting with influential strategists and funders to take power. Here is the story, citing Reince Priebus and a senior official with the Koch brothers' American for Prosperity. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ron Johnson out-stupids himself, sees ISIS/Ebola threat to US

Sen. Sunspots auditions for lead in "Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest" by saying ISIS terrorists could infect themselves with the ebola virus and sneak into the US to harm us. He actually said:
“Well, it’s certainly something I’ve been thinking about ever since this Ebola outbreak started,” Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Wednesday of ISIS using Ebola on America’s Forum on NewsmaxTV.

Northern Wisconsin mining jobs claim is false because there's no mine

Given that no actual mining work at the GTac site was done, no mine application has been filed, and all work has been shut down after a few rock sample test borings were done at the end of a few little access roads that were cut, there's no way that Americans for Prosperity should get anything less than "Pants on Fire" for its claim that Scott Walker is creating high-paying mining jobs in Northern Wisconsin.

And letting a spokesman throw sand mining that is underway across the state into his already-shaky iron mining claim was wrong, wrong, wrong.


If Walker is happy with 44% 'progress' towards big broken jobs promise...

He should be happy with the same tally come election day.

Friday's Burke-Walker debate a political media watershed

Friday's second and final Wisconsin gubernatorial debate will probably be the last opportunity for reporters before the November 4th election to ask questions of the Governor in a format which media control.

Throughout the campaign, reporters have failed to ask Walker questions about his presence at a significant meeting which another attendee said took place "on the shores of Lake Michigan" in 2007.

It was where long-range strategies to win the Wisconsin Governorship were discussed among Walker, a key official of the Koch brothers-created Americans for Prosperity and about a dozen others.

The disclosure of the meeting was made unabashedly earlier this year in Washington, DC at an annual, high-profile gathering of the nation's conservatives, including RNC Chairman and Wisconsinite Reince Priebus and conservative guru Grover Norquist, according to this published report:
Panelist Luke Hilgemann, the current Americans for Prosperity COO who formerly led the Koch-backed group’s Wisconsin efforts, told the crowd that the 2011 victory “started back in 2007 on the shores of Lake Michigan,” at a meeting of fifteen intrepid activists who’d “had enough of government overreach,” including then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. 
Priebus, a former Wisconsin GOP head, credited the ability to pass Walker’s reforms in part to the party and Tea Party activists unifying well before the 2010 primary behind candidates that made voters “proud to wake up” and vote, like Ron Johnson, Paul Ryan, and Walker. Norquist shared that Walker, after deciding to do a hasty signing of the “budget repair” bill prior to the official event, in order to stave off attempts to sign union contracts before it became law, gave Norquist the pen he used to sign the bill
I have noted several times on this blog both the right's open bragging about the meeting and its successes, and the media's reticence to dig into it, and I continue to be floored that no one in the Wisconsin or national media has followed up.

Priebus, Walker and "on the shores of Lake Michigan" - - and no local follow-up?

This unwillingness to ask Walker who set up the meeting, where It was held, who attended and upon what they agreed can and should be rectified by Friday debate panel.

Those reporters hold in their hands the last opportunity to drag out important facts for Wisconsin voters about how Walker became Governor and is positioned to make a run for President.

Last week's debate panel in Eau Claire was sharp and prepared, but left this final repertorial duty to the Friday Milwaukee panel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In the WI campaign's last few days...

I would expect Walker to carpet bomb Mary Burke and your favorite TV shows' commercial breaks with negative ads. Ditto by the right-wing advocacy groups which have spent millions on the guy and will spend more.

Walker in the last few news cycles has tried to paper over his radical anti-abortion beliefs and even offered up an insincere mea culpa of sorts about the Act 10 bomb he dropped on public employees - - but that's all a diversion from what this frightened incumbent will do:

Saturate the air waves with every negative image and talking point and twisted phrase imaginable.

Were Walker to lose, it's seven years of planning and a Presidential fantasy down the drain.

Do not expect him or the far-right to go quietly.

Phony Walker Act 10 mea culpa about tactics, not substance

Translation: you deserved the shiv, but I should have flashed it so you'd have known how deep the pain would be.

And if you think WI is on top of frac sand issues

Read this account of the regulatory FUBAR at one W. WI mine:
Mining regulators in Trempealeau County, Wis., said Tuesday that they took action against the wrong company last week when inspectors discovered permit violations at a ­frac-sand mine in Arcadia...
In Tuesday’s statement, the county said it first investigated activity at the Guza mine Oct. 6 at the request of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  

Mary Burke voters in Wisconsin should not lack enthusiasm

Polling in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race continues to show a tight race, but there's no way that Mary Burke voters should be suffering a lack of enthusiasm right now.

Democrats and independents and first-time voters have the opportunity to be part of an historic movement, to be able to say that in 2014, after battles over ballot access and fair campaign financing you seized the opportunity to reclaim your state's legacy by:

* Electing the first female Governor in Wisconsin history.

* Defeating Scott Walker, a devious, extremist and destructive incumbent whose victims are nearly too numerous to catalog.

* Stopping the state's slide to the right, its capture by self-interested mining and industrial-scale dairy corporations, its official disregard for clean  air, water, and land, and its open contempt for voting rights, Ojibwe treaty rights, women's health care needs and everyone's fair access to livable wages, health insurance and taxation without discriminatory targeting.

* Derailing the far-right's plan to vault Walker to prominence, and sending a message to major state media that ignoring the right's admitted strategizing for Walker that began in 2007 was an unacceptable fail in public interest reporting.

If these opportunities to vote in Mary Burke, vote out Scott Walker and end Wisconsin's use by the right as a laboratory to do damage can't motivate voters - - if being stuck in the eye for four years with four more to come can't get people to the  polls - - nothing will.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rudolph Randa, Renegade Redux

The federal judiciary and its capacity to dispense justice in Wisconsin has a Rudolph Randa problem.

Again.

Randa Tuesday gutted state campaign finance law before some of the parties in the case, including the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, were able to appear before Randa with counsel  - - because J. B. Van Hollen refused to represent the GAB and Walker took his sweet time appointing special counsel.

This penchant for Randa ruling where he should not happened a few weeks aga, and as a result the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled he'd overreached and abused his authority - - also in a state campaign finance matter.

Why Randa went into this territory again is anybody's guess, but issuing a ruling before all the parties can appear in court with counsel indicates a dangerous and clearly unacceptable situation.

Update, Wednesday, 2:15 p.m. : It's a total farce:

Randa cited in his ruling the earlier flawed ruling the Seventh Circuit had already tossed  - - while Walker finally appointed a special counsel who'd contributed to his 2012 recall campaign. 

Simple solution to Walker's minimum wage minimum thinking

So…if Gov. Walker really believes that $7.25/hr. is a livable wage but serves no real purpose, and if he really believes in austerity and reducing government spending - - then he should cut his own pay to $15,080 from the current $144,423 annually.

If his pay went from about $70/hr. to $7.25 - - disregarding all the other benefits he hauls in like a mansion and drivers and pension eligibility and health care, etc. etc. - - he might understand that among what's important about the minimum wage is its insufficiency.

Wisconsin, hedged

It occurs to me that what happened to the financial environment a few years ago is similar to what's happening in Wisconsin's political landscape right now, too.

Wall Streeters crashed the economy because the rules were changed and regulators took a snooze and shady people on the inside mucked around in investments and parts of the playing field from which they'd previously been barred for the common good.

Everyday people who had no role in changing the rules paid a heavy price when hedge fund owners and other self-important smarty-pants collapsed the system.

In Wisconsin, some big donations previously barred from campaigns were freed to pour in after the Citizens United decision began relaxing rules adopted for the common good.

Formerly-secret strategic coordination between big-dollar donor organizations to further multiply their influence with the Walker and other GOP recall campaigns is also alleged to have taken place.

Walker won re-election in 2012. He and his party now control all three branches of government and people already with great wealth and power have compounded their advantages in Wisconsin.

And who's paying a heavy price for the legal and campaign financing distortions which have kept Walker in control?

Control which, had the US Supreme Court not intervened against voter ID, would have tipped the re-election campaign his way yet again - - this time by obstructing the ballots of tens, hundreds of thousands of people in a close election sure to vote against him?

Low-income citizens Walker has booted off BadgerCare insurance. Transit riders. Public school teachers and pupils. Women now without access to Planned Parenthood health care clinics. Food stamp recipients whose assistance Walker has limited.

And Main Street Wisconsin business owners and employees taken down by the ripple effects of the ideological and partisan misuse of law and power - - Walker's signature move - - known as Act 10.

They are the equivalents of the small investors, lower-income homeowners and everyday middle-class workers nationally, and here, too, who got pounded by and will never recover fully from the Great Recession.

Change the rules on Wall Street - -  people with relatively less money and power took the short-and-long-term hits.

Changes the rules on campaign finance - - and how state campaign finance laws in Wisconsin are applied and investigated - - and people with relatively less money and power will be again be submerged.

Call it Wisconsin, hedged. A democratic train wreck, intentionally, for partisan gain and Walker's personal agenda.

And always follow the money, like this particular $1 million hedge fund nexus.

Given the GOP's gerrymandered control of the Legislature, the wealthy right's majority power on the State Supreme Court, and the possibility that voter ID will be reinstated next year by the US Supreme Court, the Wisconsin gubernatorial election November 4th is really the last chance here for people to restore a semblance of balance, democracy and fair play.


Poor to Walker: Thank you, Scrooge

[Updated, 2:09 p.m., with Haynes tweet.]

And thank you, kind sir, for that $7.25/hr. 'liveable' wage:
 ‏@DailyReporter  4 minutes ago4 minutes agoWalker doesn’t support repealing minimum wage
I don’t think the minimum wage serves a purpose, says @GovWalker He    wouldn’t work to repeal it. #jselection 

11:51 AM

Citizens to monitor, document WI wolf hunt

Wisconsin's unusually-cruel and arbitrary wolf hunt begins tomorrow - - dogs and leg traps encouraged - - will be monitored by citizens concerned. Details, here:   
Coinciding with National Wolf Awareness Week, a coalition of citizen monitors from Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and other states will  be patrolling Wisconsin’s recreational wolf hunt, which begins October 15th.
Great Lakes Wolf Patrol (GLWP) will be documenting the use of steel-jaw leg hold traps on public lands to capture gray wolves, and investigating claims that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is under reporting wolf mortality, and failing to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in Wisconsin.
GLWP is made up of members of the same group that led a citizen monitoring effort outside Yellowstone National Park in Montana. YELLOWSTONE WOLF PATROL members hiked into the back country, without incident, on the opening weekend of Montana’s wolf hunt in September, to document the hunt.
GLWP members in Wisconsin are hoping that their monitoring efforts will help empower citizens to act in defense of wolves, and lobby their elected representatives to stop the trapping and hound hunting of wolves in Wisconsin.

River Alliance of Wisconsin running new media campaign

Wisconsin waters are under great stress these days - - from frac sand and iron mines, climate change, freely-flowing phosphorous runoff, mega-dairy expansion, big ag groundwater drawdowns - - and a host of other pressures.

So check out a savvy new media campaign - - Wish for Water - - with multiple ads hosted by the River Alliance of Wisconsin that can help you get some information and channel your concerns.

And as you will see, wishing is just the first step.


Major WI media still ignoring major local/national Walker story

I first wrote this nine days ago, and I have updated the key numbers:

Here are a few facts about a major gap in media coverage of Scott Walker's campaign during which formerly secret, possibly illegal coordination with outside funders came to light:

Number of days since it was reported by Salon.com that Scott Walker and fourteen others met "along the shores of Lake Michigan" in 2007 to plot the takeover of Wisconsin. 211. 220.

Number of the other fourteen people at the meeting who have also been identified. 0.


Number of organizations represented at the meeting which have also been identified. 0.


Number of mainstream Wisconsin media who appear to be covering the story. 0.


Number of references to the meeting in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2014 just-published and definitive profile of Walker's career and ascension to power. 0.

Number of days until the gubernatorial election. 30. 21

Monday, October 13, 2014

Breaking news! Walker will follow a Supreme Court ruling

Take that, John Doe. You, too, J. B. Van Hollen, for that matter. It's a law and order breakthrough.

Gov. Walker states he will indeed follow the Court ruling throwing out the same-sex marriage ban Walker boosted for years. (Pssst…like he had a choice!)

Unscripted Walker Flubs, Again

Wrong-way Walker usually appears in tightly-scripted-and-controlled settings, or in ads where take after take has been rehearsed, shot and edited to optimize voter manipulation, but get him away from handlers where he has to think on his feet - - such as a live TV debate - - and he falls flat.

And when asked a simple question that should be in his incumbent's wheelhouse - - he falls flat, again:
Gov. Walker stumbles in addressing allegations he rejected Medicaid expansion to benefit insurer 

Speak out Tuesday against latest WisDOT billion-dollar boondoggle

This blog has taken note often of the environmental and fiscal wreckage in store for Milwaukee and taxpayers if the double-decker eight-lane eyesore WisDOT wants to build is allowed to deface Story Hill and trash several cemeteries from Miller Park to the overbuilt-in-progress Zoo Interchange.

The issue highlights WisDOT's wild spending on huge projects that serve the state-roadbuilder complex but are not supported by good data, accurate traffic projections and credible budgeting, as the organization 1000 Friends of Wisconsin has recently documented.

Regrettably, the road-builders have bought their way onto the state ballot to guarantee themselves continuing and guaranteed profits at taxpayer expense for more such huge highway projects, argues Capital Times editor Paul Fanlund.

There is a public meeting Tuesday about all this, and here are the details:

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is proposing a $1.1 billion expansion of Interstate 94 in Milwaukee between N. 16th Street and 70th Street (between Marquette and Zoo Interchanges) that includes a massive double decker structure.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Burke's Irish Castle: 5328 West Bluemound Road, Milwaukee

WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb (invited)

Community leaders and residents want WisDOT to provide options that:

*        Don't waste tax payer dollars,

*        Are safe for drivers and the community,

*        Preserve and honor nearby cemeteries,

*        Connect people to their work, homes, and services,

*        Protect the quality of our air and water, and

*        Support local businesses and create local jobs.

Alternatives should include fixing (rehabilitation) the highway and reliable, efficient transit.

AG GOP candidate Schimel might not enforce campaign collusion law

Though Schimel, the Waukesha County DA and cookie-cutter GOP right-winger, said in the Sunday night debate that Democratic AG candidate Susan Happ was wrong for stating she would not defend the voter ID law, for example.

So he called out Happ - - the Jefferson County DA - - but then waffled on whether he might do the very same sort of thing - - and, not coincidentally, picked a campaign finance law he might not enforce that threatens Gov. Walker.

How situational and partisan are those ethical apples - - and he already gave a pass to a couple of other bad GOP apples.

In other words - - Schimel lacks Happ's candor - - but goes ahead and condemns hers.

Has there even been a candidate for the so-called State Top Cop position who signaled "Olly Olly Oxen Free" to a single person - - the sitting Governor, of the same party, perhaps poised to run for President?

That's weak and beyond laughably hypocritical.

Schimel disqualified himself Sunday night.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Under Walker, WI DNR ignores science, pollution and wildlife cruelty

Under Wrong-way Walker, unmonitored renegade sand mining has polluted rivers, human waste was allowed to contaminate farm fields virtually unpunished, other permit inspections have been reduced and the country's most violent, leg trap-and-dog-assisted-science-free wolf hunt has been introduced, abetted by a hunter-dominated 'advisory committee' cleansed of opponents and made cheaper by Walker with a 50% cut in the killing permit fee.

Here is one among many items on this blog highlighting the many-layered and anti-science environmental depredation underway in Wisconsin since Walker said he was putting the chamber of commerce mentality at the helm of the Department of Natural Resources.

As I'd noted in that posting, real scientists have come forward to say that the deliberate exclusion of science from the Wisconsin wolf hunt is such a threat to the species - - which was the goal from the beginning by the gun and bear-hunting lobbies that Walker has been serving for years - - that the hunt should be suspended before it begins next week:
Considering a corrupt delisting, poaching documented as 51 percent of all wolf mortality unreported by the DNR, natural mortalities inadequately reported, inevitable killing in hounding “training” year-round, and the hunt itself, it seems the DNR is manipulating mortality statistics to serve wolf-hater magical thinking.
Wisconsin is killing its wolves
That won't happen. The killing, principally with head shots to wolves caught in a leg trap, will run from October 15th into the winter after deer season closes.

That's when dogs - - only in Wisconsin, by the way - - will be let loose to chase, confront and battle with wolves before the so-called 'hounding' hunters dismount from their ATV's, track down their GPS-wired dogs and open fire on trapped wolves until 150 are 'harvested.'

I learned plenty in the Friday gubernatorial debate

And they say only the optics and occasional gaffes are interesting. Wrong!

I actually learned a few things.

*  For example, I didn't know until Walker explained it that a $7.25-an-hour minimum wage was a living wage. That's about $15K a year. But I forgot until Walker reminded us that he'd worked at McDonald's about 30 years ago and knew all about minimum wages.

See what I mean? You get a lot of good information in debates.

*  I also learned that all that social shaming and politicking and legislating to mandate ultrasound probes and de-fund Planned Parenthood and make women travel long distances taking time off from their living wage jobs was to provide them information about their biology - - not to obstruct their rights to health care services or to make their own decisions or render legal abortions difficult-to-near-impossible.

*  I also learned that Wisconsin doesn't have a jobs problem.

What a relief.

I thought since we're 32nd nationally among the states in job growth and Walker is 150,000 jobs short of the 250,000 he said was the minimum he'd promised to create in one term that there's a jobs problem here, but I was wrong about that and stand corrected, again.

It was just like my misunderstanding about getting by on $7.25-per-hour.

And imagine - - if you have two of those jobs in our no-jobs-problem state - - assuming you don't have one of those work problems - - wink, wink - - you'd be living large.

No need for you and the family to be ordering of the dollar menu, big spender.  You and the kids can get one those sandwiches tonight with a price that begins with $3.

Man, oh man - - was I about to be a low-information voter on November 4th.

Like Walker said - - and, come to think of it, same for J. B. Van Hollen, too, when it comes to voter ID - - he's just there to make sure you get all the good and helpful information you need.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

On Twitter, Walker highlights event's small audience

Talk about a near-invisible event. This is from his official, non-campaign Twitter account.
Ribbon cutting for new 250,000 sq ft facility in Germantown for AirGas:

An unscripted Walker compounds broken jobs promise

Forced to think on his feet, Walker stumbled in Friday's debate by saying the state doesn't have a jobs problem, when in fact it has several: job growth in the bottom one-third of the states, lagging national performance, and a pivotal 250,000 new jobs promise only 40% met.

A condescending and intellectually dishonest Walker is saying we you have a "work problem," so you lazy jobless people - - it's your fault if you haven't grabbed one of the low-wage jobs he 'created.'

Great that the Burke campaign has an ad out already about the true jobs problems - - and the leadership problems - - we all have because tWalker can't admit to, or address, or even articulate them.

Walker needs to stop Van Hollen's Constitutional crisis

It was disturbing in last night's gubernatorial debate that Scott Walker said he had not talked to Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen about the AG's even more disturbing declaration about not implementing the US Supreme Court's order blocking the use of voter ID.

I noted it last night when live-blogging the debate.

One can understand Van Hollen's pique. He lost the same sex marriage ban case, and, for the time being, lost the voter ID case, too.

But the last thing Wisconsin needs at this point is a renegade attorney general and a Governor who will let that Attorney General run wild.

Van Hollen needs to immediately state that he is no longer trying to find ways to install voter ID requirements for the November election.

And Walker needs to tell us he has told Van Hollen just that, or they both become the new caricatures of George Wallace, this time standing in the polling place door.

We need to vote Walker out in this most important election next month, and install an Attorney General,Susan Happ, who will calm the waters and right the ship.

One more thing, post-debate. About Walker's "plan" to serve...

Yes, he said his "plan" was to serve a second term - - but a "plan" is not a commitment. A pledge. A promise - - as if that means much coming from him - - because as we all know, despite good intentions, plans change.

You planned to finish college - - but like Walker, you drop out. You plan to go back and finish. But like Walker, you don't.

I didn't see him raise his right hand and swear. I heard nothing emphatic or sincere or convincing. Instead I heard another reference to what he'd told Tonette.

I heard wiggle room.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Burke has more than held her own against an incumbent Governor

I'd give her the debate on specifics and clarity.

And what a fluff by Walker - - that the state has the lowest employment since 2008. A Freudian slip from  a governor who's hit only 40% of his big, broken jobs promise.

And hooray for her hit on Walker's "divide-and-conquer" strategy, special interest favors, the $700,000 mining donation. Nice that she got the closing three minutes.


On balancing budgets, Burke again points to private sector experience

I like this continual contrast which she can make and does. She points to $30 million entitlement for high-income voucher parents that she'd delete.

On frac sand mining, Walker weak, indirect

Walker doesn't really recognize frac sand mine problems. The two inspectors he added to the DNR budget still can't inspect 80% of the mines. Burke bring up the $700,000 GTac donation. Nice. She says "I'm not going to be selling out to the special interests."

Burke can draw on business experience, which Walker cannot

Brings that thread into answers ranging from deficits, to collective bargaining to contracting.

Walker calls for Obamacare repeal. That is not real, or popular

Burke again points out how much money his Medicaid turndown costs taxpayers.

Burke nails Walker on women's health care, right to choose

His robotic insincerity on abortion rights and women's rights to choose came through compared to Burke's direct answer.

Burke gets that minimum wage is useless for family support

Walker will not budge on $7.25/hr.  A chatty story about one woman worker frll flat, since no one will remember the story. He is not answering the question about $7.25 being livable wage or not.

Burke gets this issue.

Burke strong on boosting college, tuition aid; Nothing from Walker

Good for her for answering the question about offering something new.

Walker hasn't talked to Van Hollen about voter ID?

Not believable.

And pretty wild that Van Hollen still wants to reinstate ID, despite the ruling.

Getting read for the debate. Cue the Walker talking points

Here we go.

If this is the first time voters are seeing Mary Burke, she looks and sounds strong in her opening statement.

Walker thanks the Wisconsin Broasasters. Mentions some local people by first name - - a tired gambit.

And he's papering over the 250,000 jobs' fail. So far, two verbal flubs. Opening statement advantage to Burke.

No debate about it; time for Walker to go

The election looms to assess Walker crimes.
Too harsh a word? Then how 'bout slimes?

Either way, his tally climbs.
And a total lends itself to rhymes.

First up, worker pay was hit.
Part of the divide-and-conquer bit.

Then a Green Bay wetlands fill
for a campaign donor, through a special bill.

And a DNR that OK's spills
and for good measure, dog and wolf kills.

Later a mining bill, a $700,000 donation
given in secret with no explanation.

You don't think strings were included?
Seek health care help, since you're deluded.

And speaking of health care,
At Planned Parenthood, there's far less there, there.

And, of course, there's voter suppression,
a Walker touchstone in public expression.

He won't even say if he'll serve four years,
because he thinks the Presidency nears.

So while one debate is about to start,
the other is over. Make Walker depart.






Richard Posner is my favorite Ronald Reagan-appointed judge

The champion of American voting rights.

And for those of you old enough to remember why, Earl Warren redux:
In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren the fourteenth Chief Justice of the United States. Among the Warren Court's most important decisions was the ruling that made racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Another was the "one-man one-vote" ruling that caused a major shift in legislative power from rural areas to cities.

Wall Streeter Jon Stewart parodied also a big Walker backer

Here's last night's Daily Show send-up of one Hank Greenberg, an ingrate financier who claims in court papers that the government owns him more billions of public dollars despite having benefited from a $184 billion over-priced taxpayer bailout.

Greenberg is also a major Scott Walker backer, having hosted for Walker a big-dollar New York City fund-raiser and who gave the Walker recall campaign $2,500, records show.

Don't confuse him with the original, historic Hank Greenberg, by the way. He had a better, Hall of Fame batting average and list of significant social accomplishments. Regrettable that the Wall Streeter gets to appropriate the nickname.