Gov. Scott Walker's administration wants to shift multibillion dollar programs serving more than 55,000 elderly and disabled people from long-standing nonprofits to national for-profit health insurance companies.Having eyed some Wisconsiites' medical needs as a big-business profit center last year, too:
Thursday, April 28, 2016
After years of rubber-stamping Scott Walker priorities like the partisan and anti-labor Act 10, a Voter ID law based on non-existent voter impersonation fraud, and the killing of a high-profile investigation that freed Walker from further inquiry and deeply embedded special interest money and campaign coordination in state campaigns - - and after years of Court conservatives' subservience to several of their major institutional campaign donors - - and after being at the center of a personal uproar on the Court and part of a process over adopting recusal rules which helped earn the Court a grade of "F" from a national rating service - - retiring conservative Justice David Prosser actually wrote these words to Walker as the Governor contemplates which GOP toady with which he can replace Prosser and serve free of pesky election requirements until the spring of 2020:
Justice David Prosser is asking the guv to pick someone "fully committed to the important mission of the judiciary" to replace him on the Wisconsin Supreme Court…"Such a person will understand that promoting the reputation and integrity of the institution is more important than the promotion of any individual," Prosser wrote.You might as well ask Ronald McDonald to begin serving McTofu.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:26 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Johnson's obstruction is purely for partisan advantage.
As will be Walker's move.
So - - somewhat different processes, both deeply political - - but Johnson and his block-Obama pals are hypocrites if they do nothing but applaud Walker's partisan appointment when he makes it.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:21 PM
That's good news for the far right, as it leaves the ultra-partisan and reactionary GOP Gov. Scott Walker free to appoint to the state's highest court yet another young corporate tool to a long tenure.
A court managed by recusal rules the court let major donors draft.
Under state law, there can't be an election to fill the position for about four years,so the new incumbent will have served and gained advantage until 2020.
Walker promoted the far-right Rebecca Bradley to a State Supreme Court vacancy last fall after the sudden death of Justice Patrick Crooks.
Bradley won a 10-year-term outright earlier this month.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:03 PM
That's money the state could
Besides, having government offer educational information suggests government has credibility and something important to say, which is the opposite of the denigrate-and-mistrust/government misinformation message which the Walkerites are busy promoting.
Widespread voter participation directly threatens pro-corporate, anti-government authority.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:22 AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
HAYDEN, Idaho — A mom shopping at a Walmart store died Tuesday after her toddler, who was left in a shopping cart, reached into her purse andaccidentally discharged her handgun, authorities said.
Veronica J. Rutledge, 29, of
Blackfoot, Idaho, had gone to the store in this Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, suburb with four children in tow at mid-morning.
Her 2-year-old son, who was sitting in the shopping cart, reached into his mother's purse, causing the small-caliber handgun to discharge one time, said Lt.
Stu Miller, Kootenai County Sheriff's Officespokesman.
And now, Milwaukee, on a busy, familiar stretch of city highway north of Miller Park.
A 26-year-old woman was shot to death while driving in Milwaukee Tuesday morning and the shot came from a child in the back seat who somehow got hold of a gun.
The woman was struck once in the back as she drove south on U.S. 41/Highway 175 near W. Vliet St., at the southwest end of Washington Park, about 10:30 a.m., the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office said.And who could forget the Waukesha County husband and wife who left their guns in different bathrooms near children in different episodes and different counties. Mercifully, no one was shot.
Update: It appears that the gun in the Milwaukee fatality slid onto the backseat floor from under a front seat where the two-year-old, not restrained in a car seat, managed to fire it. The car and gun belonged to the deceased driver's boyfriend, a security guard.
Posted by James Rowen at 7:55 PM
New Report Details Assault on Wisconsin’s Way of Life by Walker, Legislature
April 26, 2016
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign issued a report on Tuesday that covers 100 items approved by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the legislature that have collectively assaulted Wisconsin’s democracy and the common good.
The report, “Walker’s Worst 100,” details measures approved since 2011 when Walker became governor and the Republicans took control of the legislature. These measures run the gamut:
Justice and the Courts
Public Education and School Vouchers
Taxes and Corporate Welfare
Voting and Elections
Collectively, these 100 items drew support from more than a dozen powerful special interests, mostly because the items signed into law benefited them at the expense of the general public. These special interests, including business, manufacturing, construction, real estate, energy, transportation, agriculture, and banking, contributed $14.4 million to the legislature, including $12.2 million to majority Republican lawmakers, and $32.2 million to Walker, between January 2011 and December 2015.
Posted by James Rowen at 6:40 PM
Scott Walker signs wetlands bill Scott Walker signs wetlands bill
Walker signed Senate Bill 459, which designates areas as specialized wetlands, allowing property owners to conduct more building activity in these areas.
The law will also allow dredging in artificial bodies of water, require disputes over piers to be handled by circuit courts, instead of through administrative hearings, and curb the ability of the Department of Natural Resources to block municipalities from constructing storm-water management ponds.Update - - the headline is corrected to just:
Scott Walker signs wetlands bill
Posted by James Rowen at 2:39 PM
While Kansas, the poster state for failed GOP economics, has stripped 15,000 of its citizens of their food stamps:
Kansas Governor Justifies Kicking 15,000 People Off Food StampsWalker's Wisconsin has nearly tripled Kansas' cold toll:
Report: 41,000 lost food stamps in Wisconsin last yearWhich brings this to mind:
FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013
Scott Walker: Cutting Govt Aid To The Poor Is LoveAnd this, when it comes to food stamps and health insurance in Wisconsin:
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Posted by James Rowen at 11:45 AM
Monday, April 25, 2016
Draft permit documents newly-posted by the DNR show that the the Central Sands CAFO operation in Juneau County - - one of the state's most controversial - - will be required through changes in its DNR-issued operating permit to install additional monitoring wells and other improvements on-site.
A public comment period about the Central Sands CAFO permit modifications, and a two-hour hearing on the matter will be held in the Necedah village hall on May 9th, from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
...a report filed in August with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that shows monitoring wells at Central Sands Dairy, in the town of Armenia in Juneau County, recently contained nitrate levels substantially higher than state drinking water standards.
...groundwater tests of four wells at Central Sands Dairy found nitrogen levels ranging widely — some far below state standards, but other tests that indicated nitrogen levels well above what the state considers safe.
More about those CAFOs and their common ownership, here:Tests in one well showed nitrogen levels at 77 parts per million in July, an increase from 60 parts per million in December. The state considers nitrate levels above 10 parts per million unsafe, particularly for infants...Testing also showed the presence of E. Coli in two wells, and levels of ammonium exceeding a lower standard of concern.
Central Sands Dairy LLC is a currently Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES)-permitted dairy Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Its current WPDES permit became effective on January 1, 2012 and will expire on December 31, 2016. At issuance, the operation housed approximately 3800 dairy cows and 400 calves, or 5300 Animal Units. In response to concerns about potential groundwater impacts associated with the operation’s production area, the Department is proposing to modify the current permit to include requirements for Central Sands Dairy LLC to install a production area groundwater monitoring system...
Reasons: The Department is modifying the WPDES Permit for Central Sands Dairy to require additional groundwater monitoring for the reasons listed here. Additional information is in the attached report from the Drinking Water and Groundwater Program dated March 31, 2016.
A. The above listed submittals from Central Sands Dairy included new information that a septic system drain field exists immediately upgradient from the groundwater monitoring well nest CSD-1.
B. The Department has reviewed the production area groundwater monitoring results submitted to date, and finds that additional groundwater monitoring locations are needed to identify the source or sources of groundwater contamination. The monitoring results to date do not support, Central Sands Dairy's position that the causes are from off-site, and possibly from on-site limited facilities that the WPDES Permit does not regulate (a septic system drain field) or that are no longer in use (a feed runoff treatment infiltration strip).
C. Central Sands Dairy performed what it refers to as a "comprehensive integrity analysis" ofthe manure storage lagoon, which included emptying, cleaning, and inspection, and repair ofthe cracks identified. The Department believes most ofthe cracks were narrow enough that significant liquid leakage seems unlikely. Unfortunately, soil samples taken from below the cracks did not receive chemical testing to help determine if leakage had occurred. Also, Central Sands Dairy has still not acknowledged the groundwater found within 2 feet below the floor elevation at the time of repair, and the analysis also did not address this finding. This groundwater found was mentioned only in a field note, with no photos or resulting soil test results provided, and no other information or mention ofthis groundwater elevation was made in the analysis report (prepared by AECOM).
D. The Department and Central Sands Dairy have determined the digester floor elevation appears to not have the required minimum 2 feet from saturation, based on the groundwater level monitoring results from groundwater monitoring wells, and the digester design plans (no as-built record is available).
E. The Department does not agree that the manure lagoon and digester were in compliance with the minimum required separation to saturation specified by the NRCS 313 Standard in effect at the time of construction. (September 28, 2015, Non-Compliant Evaluation letter from the Department).
Also - - the number of CAFOs statewide has gone from 50 to more than 200 since 2000, according to DNR data:
Posted by James Rowen at 11:37 PM
Walker...said the bill sends a message that Wisconsin is serious about drunken driving. Wisconsin remains the only state, however, that doesn't criminalize a first offense.
Posted by James Rowen at 2:56 PM
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Last year, there were 165,531 separate gunshots recorded in 62 different urban municipalities nationwide, including places such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., St. Louis and Canton, according to ShotSpotter, the company behind a technology that listens for gunfire's acoustic signature and reports it to authorities.In addition to the program's instantaneous notification of gunshots to police officers on patrol, the data can be used to craft specific and community crime-fighting, life-saving strategies, for example:
Posted by James Rowen at 1:56 PM
Walker owes just under $1 million from presidential race
UPDATED 1:28 PM CDT Apr 23, 2016
His latest campaign filing this week shows Walker owes just over $952,000. That is down about $141,000 from the previous month. His debt stood at $1.2 million at the end of 2015.Walker has frozen UW tuition, but never introduced a bill to directly address student loan debt.
And he's said student loan debt - - which would be reduced through the state's low-interest borrowing authority which his WEDC shovels to friendly businesses - - might just be politics.
Horrors. Good thing he's never been involved in anything like that - - politics - -
- - thought I note that his 'no-poliics' declaration seem a a default trope and rationalization when he's crafting a Mr. Reasonable sound bite.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:54 AM
Saturday, April 23, 2016
If you were expecting a proclamation or salute to former Wisconsin Governor and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, it basically looks like this.
However, his office on the day celebrated as Earth Day around the earth did post this breaking news:
Executive Residence 2016 Spring and Summer Public Tours are UnderwayFriday, April 22, 2016 - Press Release
Governor Scott Walker Takes the Lead, Nations’ Governors Join in Signing SNAP Welfare Letter to Congressional Leaders
Posted by James Rowen at 10:21 AM
Friday, April 22, 2016
I'm reposting a blog item below from 2012 that shed light on how and by whom that map was drawn.
Waukesha ties water deal to developments
...Waukesha, in its plan to tap Lake Michigan as a water source, estimated the water would serve an area that, if fully developed, would have a population of 97,400, an increase of 21,900 people from the total in the 2000 U.S. Census.
“I would say the majority of it is in the residential area,” said Dan Duchniak, general manager of the Waukesha Water Utility. “There is some commercial and industrial growth, but most of the commercial and industrial growth would be more redevelopment or infill development.”
Posted by James Rowen at 9:26 PM
Big surprise, as I'd pointed out the obvious nearly six years ago:
The weakest link in the application - - and what will raise questions all the way from the Town of Waukesha to the City of Milwaukee, and with reviewers and regulators in all the eight Great Lakes states, is Waukesha's plan to send Lake Michigan water into parts of Pewaukee, Genesee and the Town of Waukesha.
Expanding the current service territory land mass by 80%.
That expansion - - mapped out and green-lighted by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission for the Waukesha application administatively, without public review…[means] you have the application resting on the shakiest of premises, because:
Water for growth is not the goal of the Compact. Take it from a Compact expert's superb analysis, here.
And which Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett warned about four years ago:
The City of Waukesha will run into "a buzz saw" of opposition from other Great Lakes states if it persists in its bid to distribute Lake Michigan water to a future service area extending beyond its boundaries, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Thursday...
He made his comments to representatives of environmental and conservation groups from Wisconsin and the other states….
Barrett insisted Waukesha's diversion request was vulnerable on the issue of a future water service area designated by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. The larger area encompasses portions of the City of Pewaukee and towns of Delafield, Genesee and Waukesha.The reviewers made the decision to remove the expanded service territory from the application during the second of two days of meetings in Chicago.
The application's reviewers will make a final decision in June.
Posted by James Rowen at 4:25 PM
under the terms of a US-Canadian water management Compact designed to strictly limit such diversions essentially to last-resort cases.
A non-diversion alternative has been prepared, but Waukesha has rejected it.
Among the stumbling blocks to Waukesha's diversion application - - already backed by Scott Walker and given a technical thumbs-up by his Department of Natural Resources - is Waukesha's insistence since it drafted the application six years ago that it is allowed under state law to send a portion of diverted water beyond its borders that includes some undeveloped land in an expanded service 80% larger than its current municipal land mass and to several neighboring communities which did not ask for the diversion and have no demonstrated need for it.
The application asks for a daily average diversion of about ten million gallons day, while the city's current usage is around six million gallons daily; the reviewers will decide if they are bound by Wisconsin's expanded service territory legislation, and will assess the DNR's evaluation of the application as well asWaukesha's options, conservation practices and more,
Keep in mind Waukesha's long history of property annexation and its inclusion of the neighboring towns in its diversion application without those municipalities' prior approvals.
I'd add some additional concerns:
* Walker's "open for business" sloganeering, also remembering that Waukesha is the hub city in Walker's strongest base voting county and noting this Milwaukee Business Journal December editorial (paywall warning) which makes the water-and-development connection:
Waukesha water case also about development
The attempt by the city of Waukesha to tap Lake Michigan for its water supply is getting intense scrutiny for its potential environmental impact, as it rightfully should. But the move by Waukesha is also about determining the future economic development of one of the most populated areas of southeastern Wisconsin.* Can the same "open for business" Governor and corporate-friendly Legislature which has long defied federal water standards and enforcement, cut DNR staff, diminished its science focus, eased waterway phosphorus removal schedules statewide - - a summary Wi water crisis posting here - - encouraged sand and iron ore open pit mining, increased wetlands-filling and shoreline development procedures, softened environmental inspections and prosecutions, and enabled the expansion of large animal feeding (and manure-producing) operations be entrusted with making sure that diverted Lake Michigan water is not used to fuel sprawl, and will not harm the quality of, or add flood risk, to the diversion's Root River discharge route?
* Should a Wisconsin DNR that is intentionally defined and managed by Walker with "a chamber of commerce mentality," and which is increasingly run with business interests at the fore be made responsible for diversion oversight in the public interest?
Simply put, should the Great Lakes governors turn over Compact diversion compliance to sharply politicized policy-makers and their hand-picked, ideological agency managers in Wisconsin who have shown little respect for the water they are supposed to manage for everyone as the public trust laid out in the Great Lakes Compact and guaranteed by the Wisconsin State Constitution?
Posted by James Rowen at 11:30 AM