Saturday, April 18, 2015

WI over-billed family planning groups by 93%? Drafting error 2.0

I'm sure the massive over-billing was nothing more than a drafting error, and the threat to the organizations' survival was completely unintended.

These things happen: not long ago a restaurant server gave me the wrong check. "Excuse me," I said, "but we didn't order a strawberry Margarita."

This clerical error could easily have happened to organizations providing services other than the family planning programs hated by Walker's 'pro-life' core constituents - - and had nothing to do with politics or ideology or a back-door method of shutting down even more clinics than those which Walker bragged about having closed when he recently fired up Iowa Tea Party activists.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Walker and the rebellion of the resentment voter

[Updated] By now, Bucky, you've heard that our Scott Walker's positive poll numbers have fallen to 41%.

Walker basically shrugged it off to routine voter unhappiness with a budget proposed by some state official.

I think he's right. I don't think there's been any blowback that would show up in voter surveys after months of saturation media coverage of Walker's ambition-driven out-of-state trips, taxpayer-paid overseas 'trade missions' - - 
Met with officials from our sister state of Hessen.

- - at spring break, plus meetings with billionaire presidential campaign donors since his re-election to a second term as Wisconsin's governor which he said he planned to serve to its conclusion.

Besides, Walker is the master manipulator of resentment voters, and there's no way, as an experienced career dog-whistling politician, that he would let that worm turn. After all, he's got an American Revival to complete, and restive Wisconsinites could really mess that up.

Breaking news: Walker appointee apologizes for climate change stupidity

Wisconsin US GOP Senator and Flat-Earth expert Ron Johnson has never apologized for blaming climate change on sunspots.

The two elected GOP Dodo birds making up a majority on the Wisconsin Commission on Public Lands won't retract their agency-wide ban on uttering "climate change," and Scott Walker's corporatized DNR, busy trying to block new US EPA clean air rules, won't add back all the climate change data and information they deleted from that agency's official climate change web page. 

See this summary post.

But give credit to Mike Huebsch, Walker's latest appointee to the Wisconsin Public Commission, for his apology for saying that a volcanic explosion would release more greenhouse gases than all the cars on the road, Politifact notes today.
When we asked about his comments, Huebsch issued an email saying his answer to the climate change question was wrong, and apologized. 
We rate his claim False.
This may be the first-ever apology by a Walker official, though Huebsch, formerly Walker's Department of Administration, should have repeatedly apologized - - along with Walker - - for all the time, money and reputations they cost state taxpayers and citizens when they misused state power to close the State Capitol and direct police under their jurisdiction to illegally arrest and ticket protesters in the wake of Act 10. 

We'll see if this is a trend.

After politicking during trade mission, Walker masks the issue

Walker is ducking his politicking during his just-completed European 'trade mission.'

I'd posted repeatedly about it, noted it and a Washington, DC-based reporter for The Guardian called Walker out about it, too - - a summary post, here - -  but when Scott Bauer of the AP asked a political question of Walker on a media call as he closed out the trip - - start at the ten-minute mark on the audio - -  Walker declined to answer because "I'm here on official business on behalf of the taxpayers of the State of Wisconsin."

Regrettably, none of the five reporters next in the call queue asked a follow-up, though Walker's political tweeting - - even linking to his presidential campaign exploratory committee and ripping both the sitting President and potential partisan rival Hillary Clinton - - are there for all to see, including these samples:

 · Apr 12
As Secretary of State was the architect of the failed foreign policy we’re seeing executed by President Obama today. -SKW 
 · 8 hours ago
It's time to provide lethal military help to Ukraine so they can defend themselves against Russian aggression. -SKW  
Walker was asked about his wife Tonette's official activities on the trip - - remember, this trip had a taxpayer-paid delegation of 22, while his recent 'trade mission' to London, with a delegation about one-fifth the size cost taxpayers $138,000 - - and he went on at length after ducking Bauer's question to justify Tonette Walker's official, event-hosting role.

He said her activities were routine for Governors' spouses, and those of the trip's hosts.

So if her role was official, why was she tweeting things like this during the taxpayer-paid trip?
 · 7 hours ago. launches another "reset" while the Russian Defense Minister blames US for violence in Ukraine. - TW  
 · 6 hours ago
Show that you're a defender of the . Stand up and sign: - TW 

National media note Walker's trade mission political Tweeting

[Updated 12:52 p.m.] Spotted this today in Mike Allen's early morning, daily must-read "Playbook" email by
--"Walker says he doesn't talk foreign policy abroad - then tweets about it," by The Guardian's Ben Jacobs: "Walker remains unequivocal about his personal policy that he will not discuss foreign policy while abroad, which he reiterated before heading on a second European trade mission of 2015. But that hasn't stopped [him] from sending multiple signed tweets directly commenting on foreign policy while overseas this week."
The link goes to The Guardian story, filed from Washington, DC:
Scott Walker says he doesn’t talk foreign policy abroad – then tweets about it
Glad to see that - - as The Guardian had given Walker a tough time for dodging foreign policy questions on the earlier 'trade mission' to London - - though I sure would have preferred Wisconsin media highlight the issue and particularly Walker's politicking from Europe on state, taxpayer-paid time.

I did post on this blog all week and also at Purple Wisconsin about Walker's political focus and tweets on the state taxpayer dime while he was on the foreign 'trade mission' trip.

 A sample...
Said he wouldn't as foreign visitor, but Walker hits Obama in Europe

On state 'trade mission,' Walker tweeting politics multiple times daily

...and raised the same questions as does The Guardian, but when I read Jacobs' piece I learned that in the Walker tweets, "TW" at the signature stands for Tonette Walker, and not Team Walker, as I presumed.

If indeed TW is Tonette Walker, then all the more reason for state taxpayers through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation which is paying the bills not to cover Tonette Walker's expenses if her job there was to post some of the more overt political tweets for Walker followers to read, like thos one yesterday:
. launches another "reset" while the Russian Defense Minister blames US for violence in Ukraine. - TW

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Walker heading back to more familiar territory

And by that I mean a GOP presidential hopefuls' party leadership summit in New Hampshire this weekend, then he's off to a big-dollar fundraiser in Washington, DC.

South Carolina beckons. So does Benjamin Netanyahu. And Iowa: he better not forget his first love, lest Marco or Ted swoop in and win Michele Bachmann's all-important followers.

Because, look: there's only so many long days sunrise-to-sunset-you can put in on a non-political (wink-wink) shoulder-to-the-wheel-taxpayer-paid European 'trade mission' on spring break...
Met with officials from our sister state of Hessen.
pitching beer to Germans, cheese to the French, closed doors to the Spanish and "lethal" arms to the Ukraine before you have to get get back on that airplane and head for the friendly confines of...Granite State (work on that cross-state Harley ride!) and the Nation's Capital - - preferably close enough to The White House to smell it.

Notice I did not say he was hustling back to Wisconsin to save his budget or The Milwaukee Bucks or to lend his considerable moral weight towards solving urban gun violence in the state's biggest city.

I didn't say it because he didn't say it; correct me if I'm wrong.

On the contrary: he's looking forward to signing another Gun Freedom bill eliminating the 48-hour cooling off period for Wisconsin handgun purchasers, because if there's anything we learned during the awful week when Walker was boning up foreign policy 4,000 miles away, or was letting his mind roam free over the important issues of the day…
...was that people with access to handguns don't impulsively run to get and use them for murderous mayhem when faced with an emotional crisis.

Via Twitter, follow Walker's shrewd business recruiting posture in Spain

He's focused like a laser today wooing Spanish investors. Qué maravilla!
. launches another "reset" while the Russian Defense Minister blames US for violence in Ukraine. - TW

Doyle, Barrett lured wind energy firm to WI, but I'll bet Walker...

[Updated] Left out that part of the story - - along with any references to his special-interest opposition to solar and wind energy - - when he met with the Spanish firm Ingeteam today on his 'trade mission.'

Ingeteam opened in 2010 its first US plant in Milwaukee with city, Doyle-era state and Obama stimulus funding assistance. Yes, that stimulus plan Walker had attacked.

The same plan that was paying for the Amtrak expansion  - - with Spanish-built trains assembled in Milwaukee - - which Walker killed.

As I said the other day, I bet Walker won't bring that up or the train-maker Talgo's continuing lawsuit against the state - - when he's in Spain trying to win the trust of Spanish business people.

Walker's hypocrisy is limitless: He was killing wind energy installations within weeks of his inauguration on behalf of certain real estate and fossil fuel interests.

Note this report by Louis Weisberg at Wisconsin Gazette, following Walker sudden move after his election to stall rules which had been worked out for wind turbine siting:

When Wisconsin voters elected Scott Walker governor and handed Republicans control of the Legislature, about 1,000 new jobs in the emerging wind energy sector stood waiting on the state's horizon, according to industry proponents. 
But Walker, who received at least $1.5 million in campaign cash directly from interests opposed to wind energy and much more indirectly, quickly quashed the rules that would have allowed those jobs - and the state's energy independence - to move forward…
Invenergy, a Chicago-based company, announced in March that it was canceling the Ledge Wind Energy center, a 100-turbine facility proposed for Brown County, due to the GOP's refusal to go forward with the compromise wind siting rules. Shortly afterward, Midwest Wind Energy, also based in Chicago, said it was suspending a 75-turbine wind farm that had been under development for four years.

Preservationists save most of Fitchburg/Lake Waubesa wetlands

Years of struggle to save acreage in the Lake Waubesa watershed from fill, pavement and sprawl development in Dane County's City of Fitchburg are paying off.

It's not a complete victory, but it will be years before any development takes place while much of the contested area appears safe, The Capital Times reports.

I had recently updated this issue.

Walker missed that class on Lincon's "house divided" speech

Lincoln was an empathetic uniter who warned against a "house divided," so never would have embraced and implemented - - as has Walker, twice - - "divide-and-conquer."

His tweet and proclamation referenced ring calculated, hollow and insincere, given his record.
Honoring President Lincoln today on the 150th anniversary of his assassination:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WI war on "climate change" broader than two-word ban

The sheer stupidity of Wisconsin's elected Treasurer and Attorney General who banned the use of the phrase "climate change" by a board and staff which manage tens of thousands of acres of state forests has come to the attention of national media because the officials' ideological know-nothingism mirrors right-wing wackiness which first popped up in Florida.

And the stories have legs because media enjoy delivering a punch to low-brow politicians who so effortlessly affirm every newsroom stereotype of the clueless elected official.

But it is important to grasp that the effort to muddy, dumb down and stifle the climate change issue in Wisconsin goes far beyond the petty and uninformed behavior of two state officials..

Gov. Walker's corporate-friendly Department of Natural Resources has scrubbed virtually every link and word about climate change from what had been a very useful and comprehensive web page - - noted often on this blog back to 2012 - - and the agency is poised to undergo another round of budget and personnel cuts aimed by Walker at scientific research, policy-making and field work.

Even though Wisconsin's forests and the wetlands and waters they protect are vulnerable to a changing climate's drought, rising temperatures and disruptive, heavier rain events, and the state's agricultural and tourism sectors prosper only with the best science available.

Also led by Walker - - a cursory official look at a cross-state tar sand oil pipeline that will ship more liquid daily than envisioned for the higher-profile Keystone XL, a look being managed without a comprehensive environmental review of the route.

Walker is also coordinating opposition by his Public Service Commission and the Attorney General to new clean air greenhouse emission rules proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The ignorant censorship at the State's Commission on Public Lands is bad, but there is a lot more being done in Wisconsin by Walker as bad, or worse.

More, here.