Thursday, August 21, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
My personal favorite:
Juneau County, population 26,631, has a sheriff's department that acquired nearly $3 million in equipment since 2004, the most of any police force statewide.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:46 PM
Talk about having a tiger by the tail.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:05 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 1:44 PM
Here is the list Milwaukee is barred by right-wing politicking from joining:
Planned Light Rail Systems
Posted by James Rowen at 9:30 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Gov. Scott Walker likes to brag about how much he has saved Wisconsin taxpayers during his first term in office, but here's something those taxpayers should know: Walker has cost them millions of dollars by refusing to fully expand the state's primary health care program for the poor under the Affordable Care Act.
Wisconsin would have saved $206 million over two years if the Walker administration had chosen to accept a full expansion of federal funding for BadgerCare, according to a new nonpartisan report. The state could have saved more than $500 million over 31/2 years, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates, and about 87,000 more adults a month would have been served under BadgerCare Plus...
Walker's decision to reject the additional federal money and forswear a state-run Obamacare exchange (another mistake) came as Republicans pressed their case against the Affordable Care Act nationwide. It was another example of this governor's penchant for sacrificing good policy on the altar of expedient politics.* A year and a half, I wrote:
Under Walker's Medicaid 'Policy,' Distance From Obama Is Priority #1* In April, I'd praised Washington, DC-based columnist Bill Kaplan for his trenchant analysis of Walker's terrible move. Wrote Kaplan:
Walker's "plan" is throwing nearly 80,000 Wisconsinites off Medicaid, and with the help of a letter and a phone call, telling them to find their way to the federal exchange. Many will enroll and be eligible for ACA federal tax credits, thanks to the heroic efforts of groups like the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. But Sen. Baldwin rightly said rejecting federal Medicaid funds will result in higher state spending, burden the poor with out-of-pocket costs, many of whom will fall between the cracks, risking worse health outcomes...
When Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich expanded Medicaid he got emotional talking about helping the disabled, poor and sick. Not Walker. It's all about his political ambitions and pleasing the Tea Party. Wisconsin is being left behind in the dust.* I'd added Wrong-Way Walker's callous disregard for the health of thousands of the poorest residents of our state to a summary piece I reposted Saturday as a continuing update that archives the worst of his most-damaging decisions:
If you are a low-income wage earner making just above the poverty line, Walker made things more difficult for you by turning down no-cost federal funding to help maintain your BadgerCare health insurance.
Walker told you and about 80,000 others in Wisconsin, 'Hey, you're free to find new doctors and perhaps a more costly program via the federal website.'
And tough luck if you fall between the cracks or into ill health while chasing after care like you already had.* On Sunday, I wrote about his fake, damaging fiscal conservatism:
If he was your accountant, you'd fire him.
If he's the Governor, you defeat him over scandalous ideological behavior that has kept poor people at risk without medical care and sabotaged the state's finances:* This morning, I'd added about this:
...his message is continually misleading, since in what universe do... "right direction" and "37th place" in job creation work together?
Or "fiscal conservatism" and "$500 million" lost?
Posted by James Rowen at 9:43 PM
RESCIND ACT 1—a PETITION for PROTECTIONS from mining, nuclear waste & property confiscation
Petition Background (Preamble):
Posted by James Rowen at 4:30 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 1:16 PM
There certainly will be no Waukesha water diversion decision, let alone substantive action before November.
And his pals at the Wisconsin Club for Growth are fighting to keep John Doe records secret, and that works to Walker's advantage.
The goal is to prevent fresh fires or scandals from breaking out so he can minimize dissatisfaction while keeping his messages simple.
And collect checks from all sides.
Though his message is continually misleading, since in what universe do "right direction" and "37th place" in job creation work together?
Or "fiscal conservatism" and "$500 million" lost?
Posted by James Rowen at 11:52 AM
Bear Hound killed in Price CountyOn August 17, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed an 11 year old Black and Tan bear hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Emery, Price County. More information and a caution area map are available on the gray wolf webpage.
Hunters are reminded to use the caution area maps on the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov, keyword "wolf management") to help reduce conflicts during this year's bear dog training and hunting season.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:18 AM
Monday, August 18, 2014
Math majors, others?
Posted by James Rowen at 5:35 PM
Here is a summary of the delays and related matters from multiple posts and news stories, for your files.
Back to the Freeman story:
* For one thing, Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak acknowledged that water levels are rising in the main deep underground supply that the city wants to replace with the diversion.
That is a point raised recently by the Michigan-based science and journalism website Circle of Blue and it raised fundamental questions about the application's data and overall need.
Duchniak said the Circle of Blue was not taking the proper, longer view, but he did not argue the data's accuracy.
For another thing, the DNR is taking that water level data into consideration and is projecting further application delays - - again undercutting Waukesha's years of setting deadlines that are allowed to come and go.
Jill Jones, director of the DNR’s Bureau of Drinking/ Groundwater, said the department is not prepared to make any conclusions regarding the recent water level increase.
“We are aware of the rising water levels in the aquifer,” she said. “We are including this in the present review — the technical review — we are completing right now on Waukesha’s application.”
Jones said that review would likely not be completed for several months.
Posted by James Rowen at 2:30 PM
When SEWRPC green-lights more freeway [Sic] expansion as transit connections are blocked by Waukesha governments and state funding cutbacks, which constituencies do you think SEWRPC and the state's development resources and powers are serving?
Posted by James Rowen at 1:30 PM
A thoughtful reader who knows a lot about farming and the environment sent me an observation during an email back-and-forth about some enforcement and deterrence and some options that I am pleased to pass on, with permission:
I suggest that instead of tax breaks and subsidies for CAFOs and other large farming operations we provide healthcare and a guaranteed minimum income for the little farmers. They create jobs and wealth as small businesses. That might give them some help anyway. Everyone seems to want small farmers instead of CAFOs but we don't provide them with real support.
The deterrent in this case will be that the farmer has to pay for the clean up which will most likely put him out of business.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:00 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2014
If he's the Governor, you defeat him over scandalous ideological behavior that has kept poor people at risk without medical care and sabotaged the state's finances:
Madison — Wisconsin taxpayers would have saved $206 million over two years — 73% more than previously estimated — if officials had fully expanded its main health care program for the poor under the federal Affordable Care Act, a new nonpartisan report shows.
If officials decide to change course and expand the program in the next state budget, state taxpayers would save another $261 million to $315 million through June 2017, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau...
In all, the state could have saved more than $500 million over 31/2 years, the report shows. That would have allowed Gov. Scott Walker and legislators to put more money toward schools or roads or cut taxes more deeply than they did over the last year.
In addition to saving state funds, the full expansion would have served an estimated 87,000 more adults each month under BadgerCare Plus, according to the fiscal bureau.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:15 AM
Add state utilities plans to sock it to solar and other customers to the State of Wisconsin's disinterest in renewable elegy production.
So many of the state's official actions these days under Wrong-Way Walker - - from promoting concealed and open gun carry, to defunding local transit and killing inter-city Amtrak to trivializing women's health concerns to dismissing long-standing environmental principles - - tell young people, students, graduates, urban professionals and possible returnees from out-of-state:
Don't bother coming or staying: we're a backwater now.
Posted by James Rowen at 9:00 AM
This fact has been cited repeatedly: Ferguson has 53 police officers, of whom only three are African-American.
But don't get on too high a horse, Milwaukee region.
Remember the ugly incident a few years ago when two white volunteer firefighters ran an African-American man off a fishing spot in Waukesha County - - confronting him with a German Shepherd and a gun?
Data published later showed that among all 600 firefighters in the Milwaukee suburbs, only one was African-American, and a new hire, at that.
Posted by James Rowen at 7:30 AM
After all, he was open about what he was going to do to that DA in Travis County, Texas. He said he'd veto a big part of her budget if she didn't quit, and he did just that.
Give him credit for transparency
But there are three things about PerryGate that surely strike him as unfair.
1. Fellow GOP Governor and presidential wannabe Scott Walker has gotten away without charges though secret political work and fund-raising by his staff on public time was going on right under his nose in his County Executive office suite, and also no charges have been filed -- so far - - over secret campaign coordination while Governor with outside groups that prosecutors were zeroing in on until a sympathetic judge suspended the investigation.
2. And there's Chris Christie, yet another fellow GOP Governor and presidential wannabee. He's out there talking up Walker and goofing around on late night TV as if there weren't accusations about secret pay-back political plots being hatched by his staff.
3. I can't think of the third one. Oops.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:17 AM
Saturday, August 16, 2014
* The more references to Grothman as Michele Bachmann-in-waiting, the better:
Because Grothman “may be Wisconsin’s answer to Michele Bachmann, and GOP operatives’ worst nightmare,” [Cook report writer David] Wasserman wrote this summer in handicapping the race. The 59-year-old lawmaker is arguably the most outspoken conservative in the Wisconsin Senate. And he is outspoken on the kinds of social issues — lifestyle and culture, abortion, gay marriage — that most Republicans are trying to avoid these days for fear of alienating moderates, women and younger voters.
Grothman has attacked Kwanzaa as an “inept attempt to create a holiday for African-Americans” and urged people to treat it “with the contempt it deserves.” He introduced a bill requiring a state board to list single parenthood as a contributor to child abuse. He has argued that excessive welfare benefits are destroying the family and putting the nation on a path to “suicide.” He says the government is conducting a “war on men” by encouraging companies to promote women ahead of them.Noted here, and here, too.
* And props for getting "demonize-able" past copy editors and into print. Though the usage originated in a source's quote, it shows up twice.
Jeez. I'm the guy who lost a fight at the copy desk over "angst."
Maybe as the campaign regresses we'll see the candidate described as "Bachmann-able," and more issues "Grothmanized."
Posted by James Rowen at 10:34 PM
Walker, Burke try to drum up support amid August doldrumsWalker has had a dead-in-the-water WEDC/John Doe documents'/multiple advertising FUBAR's/stagnant polling summer, while Burke has wind in her sails, as noticed by national media, like TIME:
As Scott Walker Falls, His Democratic Challenger Continues to Rise
Posted by James Rowen at 8:40 PM
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.
But I defy anyone to find in the ten previous administrations - - split about evenly between five Democrats, and Republicans: Nelson, Reynolds, Knowles, Lucey, Schreiber, Dreyfus, Earl, Thompson, McCallum and Doyle - - and that covers roughly the almost half-century I have spent here - - examples and patterns comparable to Walker's self-interested, game-playing, documented false-speaking and overall manipulative arrogance at the expense of so many other people:
* If you are among the 600 workers at a slaughterhouse at Cargill in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley, the Walker administration allowed the company to close the plant on 48 hours notice and did not hold the company to the in a long-standing state law that requires 60-days public notice be given to workers, the City and other interested parties.
* If you are a low-income Wisconsin homeowner and/or low-income wage-earner, Walker's first budget raised your taxes, despite his denials designed to put forward an ideological fiction that he was a tax-cutter only.
* That budget also cut low-income families' Welfare-to-Work (W-2) $20 a month, just to get poor people more motivated to find work, as I wrote, citing Walker's budget language, in early 2011:
It's right there in the budget, on page 65, in the "Health and Human Services" section (really): "To further encourage W-2 recipients to recognize that the goal of W-2 is for participants to secure unsubsidized employment, reduce the monthly benefit check by $20."* If you are a low-income woman using one of several Planned Parenthood clinics around the state which Walker's budget shut down, then feel free drive or hitch yourself a ride since you've got nothing better to do with your time to another county or part of the state. That was done so Walker could please his important Right-to-Life constituency.
* If you were a lower-income higher ed student denied state aid for which you quality, you joined 41,000 fellow students without the means to continue your schooling, the Cap Times reports, joining students with student debt which GOP leaders will not allow to be refinanced and Veterans facing aid cuts, too.
* If you are a low-income wage earner making just above the poverty line, Walker made things more difficult for you by turning down no-cost federal funding to help maintain your BadgerCare health insurance.
Walker told you and about 80,000 others in Wisconsin, 'Hey, you're free to find new doctors and perhaps a more costly program via the federal website.'
And tough luck if you fall between the cracks or into ill health while chasing after care like you already had.
That middle-finger pointed your way was to let Walker burnish his preposterous Presidential ambitions and suck up to big, right-wing donors.
* If you have asthma, heart, lung or breathing problems - - or would just like your kids to be able to breath cleaner air - - Walker did have your interests in mind when he failed to direct his agencies to write and enforce a mandatory clean air plan, so the Feds stepped in Friday, August 8th and said the US EPA would do it.
* If you are a student, or live in Milwaukee's central city without a driver's license - - and not coincidentally both are low-income groups, again - - Walker knows you will be inconvenienced by having to obtain the special, mandatory Voter ID provided at state DMV offices with reduced hours so you can exercise your Constitutional right to vote.
Which is the goal - - to discourage urban, young and Democratic-leaning voter turnout with a wink towards an anti-Milwaukee suburban and SE Wisconsin exurban GOP electorate.
* If you gay or lesbian, and the federal courts say you have the right to marry and share in a host of equal property and legal rights already enjoyed by straight citizens, Walker and Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen are demanding that the state's ability to deny you those rights and to discriminate against you be restored.
* Expect a mocking if you are a parent of Walworth, WI elementary school age children, and you want the state transportation department to listen and react to your worries about a highway expansion within less than 60 feet of the school.
* And if you are a member of one of Wisconsin's Native American Ojibwe bands, Walker has several special sticks-in-the-eye for you.
The wolves which are part of your spiritual heritage are now being hunted, hounded, shot, trapped and otherwise literally dogged and harassed regardless of your opposition and beliefs.
That's to please his conservative, NRA-subscribing base, to which he gave a bonus: The $100 wolf kill license was cut in his most recent budget to $49 - - a blood red, blue light special.
Even wild animals are not exempt from Walker's political calculations.
And for the Bad River Ojibwe Band, he's got an especially nasty twist of social engineering headed your way:
Walker proposes leveling your sacred Penokee Hills and fouling your essential wild rice growing waters with open-pit iron ore mine fill for 35 years, along with acid runoff let loose by an out-of-state coal mining firm whose executives are major Walker donors.
His disregard for the environment and Ojibwe culture was the subject of a major feature piece in The New York Times, though his own Department of Tourism in something of a telling mixed message has been touting the unspoiled area's hiking and camping opportunities.
Walker has rhetorically crafted the mine into a big potential job creator to appeal to Up North residents in economically depressed counties - - while knowing full well that most of the better jobs if the mine ever opens will go to out-of-state speciality workers already on call or working for the mining company in other states.
Walker also knows that any mine permits and approvals are problematic, at best - - in part because the mining law he pushed through the Legislature is incompatible with current Federal water review requirements, not to mention Federal treaties with the Bad River Band. So years of delay and even outright veto and defeat for the mine are quite likely - - by which time Walker would have already extracted the political capital he needed from the issue.
And it is not an accident that so many of the people and groups which Walker and his legislative allies have targeted are low-income or minority Wisconsinites - - the very people who have fewer resources with which to fight back.
* One more: Walker signed a bill making it easier for schools to retain their Native American logos and nicknames. Free speech for school districts, he said.
* Though to be fair, Walker and his team did recently cut one low-income farmer some slack.
Trust me: Walker and his team know this, factored it into the calculations, and care less about the harm their work - - from official disinterest to calculated media spin and to governmental policy-making - - will leave in their wake.
Most politicians like to please as many people as possible.
Few Governors would read a snotty Top Ten Public Employee Insult List to the senior staff, including:
"On a snow day when they say “non-essential” people should stay home you know who they mean.
"You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe.
"You have a Democratic congressman’s lips permanently attached to your butt."
Posted by James Rowen at 3:18 PM
The Republican-controlled Legislature on Monday approved new maps that would alter seven of the state’s 27 congressional districts after Judge Terry P. Lewis ruled the current districts were illegally drawn to benefit Republicans. He gave them until Aug. 15 to fix the maps, acting after the League of Women Voters and others contended that Republican consultants used a “shadow” process to draw districts that benefited Republicans.Wait...it's coming to me...wasn't it in Wisconsin during the 2011-'12 secrecy-laden redistricting...ahhh!- - there it is:
Three days before new election maps were made available to the public, Republicans supplied copies of some of them to former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who now heads a group that spends heavily to elect GOP lawmakers.
The emails show the Republicans drawing the legislative maps were willing to share their work with Jensen and other outsiders just weeks after having nearly all Republican lawmakers sign agreements to keep them secret. They did not provide the maps to Democrats or the general public at that stage, and strenuously fought in court to keep their documents out of the public domain...
Posted by James Rowen at 11:00 AM