Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Anti-science crowd holding GOP fundraiser Wednesday

Wisconsin US Senator and book-learning foe Ron Johnson will be in the spotlight at a fundraising event tomorrow raising money for fellow pollution backer Brian Schimel, the Waukesha County DA and GOP Attorney General hopeful. 

For $1,000 you can get your picture taken with RoJo, though surprisingly, Big Government legal tender is mandatory, while Bitcoin and other freedom currencies are not acceptable. Go figure.
Reception for Brad Schimel for AG. 
10/1/2014 5:30 p.m. 
Green Bay Distillery, 835 Potts Ave., Ashwaubenon. 
With special guest U.S. Senator Ron Johnson 
5:30 PM – Host Reception/Photo Opportunity 6:00PM – Main Reception 
$1,000 – Platinum Host , $500 – Gold Host, or $250 – Silver HostAttendees: $100 per person 
PAC contributions are welcome
We know that flat earthers like Johnson believes sunspot activity, not human action like power plants and vehicle emissions, is fueling climate change, despite reams of science to the contrary.

Johnson is the author of the phrase "environmental jihad."

Also for legacy purposes, we note that PoilitiFact rated as "true" the allegation that Johnson has voted in favor of "unlimited" carbon dioxide pollution. 

Because he did it twice.

So you can expect to see the PAC contributions roll in tomorrow, as Schimel has the requisite Ron Johnson fossil-fuel-pollution-is-OK talking point down pat
If elected, Schimel said one of his first acts would be to join Republican attorneys general in a legal challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions to slow global climate change.
Because if there's one thing the planet needs right now, it's more powerful politicians pushing extra pollution into the atmosphere.


Journal Sentinel editorial board botches Court recusal argument

[Updated, 11:48 a.m.] The Journal Sentinel editorial board argues there is nothing positive to be gained by recusals over potential conflicts-of-interest facing the State Supreme Court majority which has accepted millions of dollars in campaign contributions from some of the same groups whose donations routed to the 2012 Walker recall campaign are at the heart of the John Doe probe case into potentially illegal campaigning that is heading for State Supreme Court consideration:
For better or worse, this is the court Wisconsin has, and this court needs to decide cases, including these. Recusals could paralyze it.
I disagree. When did it become OK for justice to lose that blindfold?

Let the majority be pressured to acknowledge their conflicts-of-interest - - including the fact that some of the big-dollar conservative groups also wrote the 'no-recusal' code of conduct which gives the Justices an out - - but which the newspaper did not add to its list of ethical problems facing the Court.

Let the Justices and their backers and donors and enablers stew in it.

And if the court majority won't budge, if it takes the case, the newspaper should loudly demand the majority's recusal or their resignations.

We'd expect no less from the majority on a local village board of trustees about to going to vote on a controversial development after having taken huge amounts of money from the developer for their winning campaigns.

No one would say that level of failed impartiality was fair or smart or ethical or right or protective of the larger public interest. 

And we would expect the newspaper to condemn, not excuse or rationalize it.

"For better or worse?" Come on.

The newspaper a few days ago said the appearance of a conflict of interest in a case handled by the office of Jefferson County DA Susan Happ, and widely politicized by her GOP opponents as she runs for Attorney General, was a problem that Happ should have avoided by deferring to an outside prosecutor.

So recusal/withdrawal is the prescribed solution for Happ, but not for the hapless majority on the State Supreme Court - - our most senior arbiters - - in what is arguably is its biggest case in years, decades, maybe?

The same court which the newspaper's editorial says "faces serious conflicts of its own."

Are the standards of fair review recommended by the newspaper so flexible, so inconsistent? A line is drawn in Jefferson County but not across the Capitol on behalf of the entire state?

Let the majority of the justices take the heat for what ever angst or paralysis or embarrassment or vilification from voters which might come in the wake of refusals, or their recusals - - which would not be fatal to the case.

A conflicted state supreme court can decline to make the ruling and let an appeals court make the final ruling by declining to accept the case, since that's where the it sits now.

Let the citizens of the state watch the charade play out. Let everyone see the power of special interest money. Let a disgusted electorate take note and take charge - - and let the state's largest newspapers help set the tone as part of their traditional mission to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

The State Supreme Court majority put itself in this position by a) taking the big bucks, b) letting the fox dictate the rules in the hen house, c) and behaving like an automatic arm of the Walker campaign and GOP machine when reflexively approving Act 10 and voter ID - - thus making the John Doe decision look like a done-deal for Walker and the donors which they and the Governor share.

A done deal that could further do in the Court's standing and state's reputation.

The Journal Sentinel should argue first for transparent judicial ethics and simple, unequivocal fairness, and not spend its time on arguments that help justices off the petard of their own injudicious choosing.

The court's majority took all the chips that came its way, so let them fall where they may.






Another grassroots initiative to save the groundwater

Over the weekend I'd noted that local officials and activists were stepping up their regulatory efforts to monitor and manage groundwater in the public interest because Walker's DNR had punted in favor of laissez-faire corporate favoritism.

Now, a fresh, encouraging development in a high-profile big dairy expansion:

The Saratoga Town Board is expected to consider a contract that would allow the installation of 10 monitoring wells — costing about $60,000 — around the Wysocki Dairy Farm at a meeting Wednesday…to detect whether the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation would hydraulically or chemically affect the local groundwater flow system…
The wells would be tested for the presence of phosphorous, pesticides, herbicides, coliforms, total dissolved solids, total organic nitrogen, ammonia, chemical oxygen demand, nitrate nitrogen and chloride.
The Wysocki Family of Cos.’ initial dairy proposal includes 4,000 milking and dry cows, 300 heifers and 1,000 calves, for a total of 5,300 animals. Plans also call for about 6,400 acres of crops and 49 high-capacity wells. The Saratoga project was announced in 2012.
The DNR is in the process of creating an environmental impact statement for the proposed dairy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Walker/Christie event draws small, small-town crowd

Hudson turned out super-small at this Walker/Christie event earlier today. For two governors! Much bigger crowed in Milwaukee with Michelle Obama talking up Mary Burke:

Ron Johnson stopped Obama from filling key Appeals Court seat

Now we know why President Barack Obama was unable to make a crucial appointment to the appeals court which last week affirmed Wisconsin's voter ID law and gave Scott Walker and the suppressionist party a leg up in the November election. Fascinating story:
Although ten judges voted on whether to reconsider Wisconsin’s voter ID law, there are actually eleven active judgeships on the Seventh Circuit. The eleventh seat, however, has been vacant for more than four years
In 2010, President Obama nominated a University of Wisconsin law professor named Victoria Nourse to this vacancy — Nourse was one of four potential nominees suggested to the White House by a nominating commission sponsored by the state’s two senators. This nomination died, however, after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) defeated incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the 2010 election...

Governor under investigation campaigns in Northern Wisconsin

WI DNR further enabling dog-wolf cruelties

Bad enough that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources arranged for politically-powerful bear hunting groups to take over a key advisory committee on statewide wolf hunting policies.

Worse now that those interests have convinced the DNR that the best way to find out if wolf-dog confrontations are taking place during the wolf hunting season is to ask wolf hunters - - pretty-please - - if DNR staffers may examine wolf pelts for evidence of dog-wolf fighting.
Wisconsin is killing its wolves
A program which this news story says few hunters will participate in voluntarily. 

This willful cave-in to hunting and gun lobbies in Wisconsin comes on top of existing outrages which taint the state's reputation and make its intentionally-cruel and politicized wolf hunt a travesty:

*  The legal use by hunters of wolf-pursuing hounds - - setting up the very confrontations the DNR continues to obfuscate and minimize.

*  State payments up to $2,500 per bear-hunting dog killed by a wolf  - - even if the owner had released the dog off leash during 'training' in areas where wolves are known to den, congregate or occupy when attracted by bait left by bear hunters.

Pathetic.

Journal Sentinel editorial should go one additional step

It's all well and good to condemn the Wisconsin voter ID law that Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature are inflicting on the electorate, but how about closing that loop and urging the electorate to vote out politicians who did the inflicting?

Especially since the newspaper twice endorsed Walker for Governor. And he supported and signed the voter ID bill and other measures reducing absentee voting hours, and won't even commit to finishing a second term anyway,

Why support a leader who works to suppress the vote and won't agree to abide fully by the outcome?

It's hard to keep track of all the programs which Walker has backed that run counter to the paper's editorial position: Voter ID. Amtrak expansion. Medicaid financing...as well as his litany of false statements and broken promises catalogued in the paper's news columns by PolitiFact.

It's one thing to spot a bad apple.

It's another to serve it to your customers.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why commit to Walker when he's not that into you?

Voters should reject Walker in November for using them to advance his career at their expense, but not being honest enough to say he has his eye on something bigger and would think nothing of kicking them to the curb.

In no other commitment situation - - pledging to a fiance, hiring a roofer, adopting a puppy - - would you get away with behaving like you'd walk away from your end of the bargain and lapsing into charade mode when directly confronted about your intentions.

Beware an arrangement where the person signing on the dotted line is using disappearing ink.

If Walker wins four more years in Wisconsin

Even if Walker quits early, your Wisconsin program, policy, priority, and prognosis remains targeted precisely as righty radio talker Mark Belling called it the day after Walker and the GOP swept into control in 2010
They can do whatever they want.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Clever WI man with scope-mounted 12-gauge outsmarts bear

I noted the story last week, but more Wisconsin media are gushing over a hunter who out-foxed and killed a 780-pound bear.

Scientists credit bears with high animal intelligence equivalent to that of a three-year-old human child.

Interesting that a bear in its prime had to give up his lifetime so the hunter could claim his "bear of a lifetime."

WI DNR default on water oversight prompting strong citizen responses

[Updated, 2:45 p.m.] 

From the Wisconsin Groundwater Council's 2013 report to the State Legislature:
The foundation of Wisconsin's groundwater law is the belief that all groundwater in Wisconsin must be protected equally to assure that it can be used for people to drink today and in the future. 
------------------------------------------------------------- 
You know that residents in rural, relatively-conservative Wisconsin are unhappy with the state DNR's pro-industry groundwater 'oversight' when the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors votes 20-0 for tougher local regulation.  
All 20 Kewaunee County Board members on Tuesday approved a public health and groundwater protection ordinance limiting winter and early spring waste spreading on thin soils over karst bedrock.
The measure passed despite opposition from the Dairy Business Association and other major Wisconsin agricultural groups that called it illegal... 
the ordinance [is] intended to keep waste — including manure, plus industrial and human waste — from contaminating groundwater in particularly vulnerable areas.
More, here.

The Kewaunee County Board actions echoes action in Jefferson County over the DNR's capitulation to tar sand oil pipeline expansion across Wisconsin greenlit by the DNR.

Media have noted that Wrong-Way Walker is polling more weakly in small-town Wisconsin than in previous elections, and I would wager that's a direct consequence of his direction to the DNR to ease pollution enforcement and the agency's recent - - but under-reported move - - to remove citizen input from regulatory reviews at the very time large ground water users, like big dairies and sand mines, are expanding rapidly.


Also expanding: controversial airborne manure spreading:
A center pivot manure irrigation system is used to spread manure on a Wisconsin corn field.
Wisconsin DNR photo
There is strong grassroots activity in Kewaunee County over the expansion of industrial-sized dairies that are wreaking havoc with local water and air quality - - here is a principal citizens' web site - - and a recent judicial decision cutting back a big Central Wisconsin dairy's ground water allotment attracted statewide attention.

As did the dairy's huge donations to Scott Walker's campaign while the news has been filled with stories about big donors allegedly funneling millions of dollars illegally to Walker's 2012 recall campaign.


It's not coincidental that so much of the recent attention focused on the disclosure of a $700,000 contribution from the out-of-state mining company allowed to write legislation that will open a swath of NW Wisconsin to open-pit iron mining - - at the expense of the water-rich Penokee range and a watershed that supports unique wild-rice harvesting.


Under this Governor, water that is in the public domain has become a major political commodity: people across the state do not like it and have strengthened their resolve to fight back.


Case in point: Bad River Ojibwe resistance to save their watershed - - which is also a fight in the public interest, broadly-defined, against private-sector water expropriation enabled by politicians obeisant to big, often far-away corporations.


And while you are digesting this information, check out this fascinating article about the differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin when it comes to sand mine oversight and the importance in Minnesota that is attached to ground water protection and citizen health:   

Wisconsin has handled the growth in the industry much differently than Minnesota, 
According to the report, the number of frac sand facilities in Wisconsin grew from seven in 2010 to 145 this year. In contrast, Minnesota has 19 active sand mines and 20 proposed facilities. 
Monitoring by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources —less than 10 percent of the state’s 140 frac sand facilities are required to monitor their air emissions — has prompted Midwest Environmental Advocates to circulate a petition that asks the state’s Natural Resources Board to conduct a health and environmental study of the state’s fastest growing industry. 
Kimberlee Wright, the group’s executive director, said citizens living near the sand mines have had their lives impacted by mining lights on 24-7, the noise from blasting, trucks and trains and people whose houses’ foundations are beginning to crumble from the repeated blasting nearby. 
“Special interests have pretty much crippled the ability of DNR staff to do their jobs,” Wright said. “Sound science is being overruled … leaving citizens very much at risk.”

Fans of NFL team in DC get taste of own medicine

US economy rebounding: not in Wisconsin

This is why we call him Wrong-Way Walker.
The U.S. economy's bounce-back last quarter from a dismal winter was even faster than previously thought, a sign that growth will likely remain solid for rest of the year.
But...

This is why we call him Wrong-Way Wisconsin.
Wisconsin ranked 33rd in private-sector job creation for the 12-month period ending in March, based on federal data released Thursday, the last update of its kind before the November election.
This is why we call him Wrong-Way Walker. 
Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau provides yet another indication of Wisconsin's glacial business-start-up rate.
The latest evidence comes from an extensive database called the Business Dynamics Statistics. It is based largely on administrative records, not surveys, and it offers insight into the life cycle of businesses. 
In 2012, the Business Dynamics Statistics data shows, Wisconsin entrepreneurs created 5,757 businesses with employees. 
That amounted to 5.8% of the state's universe of employer firms — third lowest among the 50 states.
This is why we call him Wrong-Way Walker. 
...the state has added about 8,800 jobs this year...
Our tally now stands at 102,195 jobs -- or about 40 percent of what Walker promised... 


Friday, September 26, 2014

250,000 jobs fail is not Walker's only broken promise

PolitiFact is tracking other Walker pledges, and this one should get more attention:  
Develop plan to keep Veterans Trust Fund solvent
The Promise: 
Will develop plan to keep Veterans Trust Fund solvent. "One of my first jobs as governor will be to develop a long-term plan to ensure the Veterans Trust Fund remains solvent."
Update September 10th, 2014: Cash infusions have kept it afloat, but deficit projections remain.
Note that the budget failure was pointed out in the first few months of Walker's term, in early 2011.

Related issues, here

Feels like Stephen King, Jon Stewart writing WI Doe case end-game

The right has successfully tipped the scales when it comes to Wisconsin elections, ballot-box fairness and crucial judicial reviews, too.

There's no way around that conclusion. The state's procedural checks and balances have been replaced by checks, from big balances.


Here's how and why:

Now that the federal courts have said it's a state issue, it's likely that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether an investigation by several prosecutors into possibly illegal coordination between Scott Walker's campaign and big-dollar donor groups can continue.


That investigation could determine whether Gov. Walker can remain in office.


With that in mind, give careful consideration to these paragraphs from the Journal Sentinel story today that explains how some of the same donor groups fighting to terminate the investigation have also given gobs of money to the campaigns of a majority of the Supreme Court that could review the investigation:

Among the groups mentioned in the investigation are three that have spent heavily in court races to elect four of the court's seven justices. The Wisconsin Club for Growth is estimated to have spent $400,000 for Annette Ziegler in 2007; $507,000 for Michael Gableman in 2008; $520,000 for David Prosser in 2011; and $350,000 for Patience Roggensack in 2013.
Citizens for a Strong America spent an estimated $985,000 to help Prosser. That group was funded by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which prosecutors have described as a "hub" that distributed funds to allies.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which has received some funding from the Wisconsin Club for Growth and is the state's largest business lobbying group, spent an estimated $2.2 million for Ziegler; $1.8 million for Gableman; $1.1 million for Prosser; and $500,000 for Roggensack.
The estimates come from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a group that tracks political spending and lobbies for more campaign finance regulations.
So you say - - 'well, those justices have to step aside, recuse themselves.'

Not so fast.


Under Wisconsin judicial procedure, the Supreme Court justices themselves determine whether they are in a conflict-of-interest situation by adopting rules to guide their recusals.


The current rules putting the judges in charge of their own ethical enforcement were written at the Court's request by big outside, generally pro-GOP groups, including the WMC which heavily donated to a majority of the Court - - Prosser, Ziegler, Roggensack and Gableman - - as the Journal Sentinel story reported today.

Here is how I wrote about and documented this complete State Supreme Court recusal procedure absurdity a few months ago - - and then you tell me if you think the playing field here is anything but tilted.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
As you process the news that the conservative majority on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justices today validated Wrong-Way Walker's rollbacks of voting and collective bargaining rights - - and that several of the same Justices' campaigns were significantly funded by the WMC and other corporate special interests which also heavily back Walker - - do not forget that these same Justices let the WMC and the Realtors write for the Court a new ethics rule defining when - - basically, never - - recusals were in order by Judges and Justices to reduce conflicts-of-interest and enhance the appearance of fairness.

Yes, you read that right:
In response to [a tougher, independent proposal], the Wisconsin Realtors Association (“Realtors”) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (“WMC”) filed separate petitions.[4] The petitions sought to amend the Judicial Code of Conduct to provide that recusal is not required in a proceeding based solely on any endorsement or receipt of a lawful campaign contribution from a party or entity involved in the proceeding. The petitions also sought clarification that a judge does not need to seek recusal where it would be based solely on a party in the case sponsoring an independent expenditure or issue advocacy communication in favor of the judge.
In a 4-3 decision,[5] the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied the League’s petition and adopted the Realtors and WMC’s petitions. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice N. Patrick Crooks, criticized the majority’s decision to adopt the rules calling it “a dramatic change to our judicial code of ethics.”[6] In particular, the dissent took issue with the majority’s decision to adopt petitions “proposed by special interest groups.”[7] Dissatisfied with the majority’s decision, the dissent urged the Legislature to “engage in further study of judicial recusal.”[8]

The Center for American Progress surveys the states on judicial ethics, gives Wisconsin an "F," and slaps David Prosser's face at the top of the Internet version of the report. 

Read it here:
Wisconsin: F (35 points) 
Wisconsin received a failing grade after its state supreme court adopted a recusal rule that literally instructs judges not to recuse themselves from cases involving campaign contributors.  
In 2010, the four-justice conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to institute a recusal rule written by the Wisconsin Realtors Association and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, a group that subsequently donated nearly $1 million to support conservative Justice David Prosser’s re-election in 2011. The rule says that recusal is not required “based solely on … a lawful campaign contribution.”  
The majority’s comments that accompany the rule say that requiring recusal for campaign cash “would create the impression that receipt of a contribution automatically impairs the judge’s integrity.” In other words, the four justices in the conservative majority are worried that mandatory recusal would lead the public to think that judges are biased.
It's a political mobius strip, a trap. The foxes built the hen house, moved in, expanded it, locked the door - - and get to decide if they've done the right thing.

Look at it this way: 

Suppose the Wisconsin Badgers were in the Rose Bowl playing the Washington Huskies, and the game, which had been tied through 59 minutes, was going to be decided by a last-minute review of a Huskies' touchdown.

The referees huddle to make their decision, and you know already that Huskies' boosters had given most of the refs large payments that helped them hold on to their jobs.

Fair? Ethical? In America?



Bum lottery, court composition, gives ID a win

The full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals splits 50-50 on whether to hold a full hearing on Wisconsin voter ID, so without a majority, the first 3-0 ruling in favor of ID is affirmed. 

The 50-50 split followed the party of the judges' appointing President - - three appointed by Democratic Presidents voted for a hearing, joining two GOP-appointed judges; five other GOP-based appointees voted not to have a hearing.

What a mess.

I hope there are resources for an appeal to the US Supreme Court, as our election process here right now is somewhere between chaotic and rigged.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Walker unleashing his inner demagogue

[Updated, 7:55 p.m.] In full southern strategy campaign mode, this is your Wrong-Way Governor on the campaign trail, stereotyping people receiving food stamp and other assistance and entertaining a partisan audience with his pledge to force the aid recipients to be drug-tested:
"My belief is we shouldn't be paying for them to sit on the couch, watching TV or playing Xbox," Walker told cheering Republican campaign volunteers last week in West Bend. "We need to get them the skills to get back in the game and get back to work."
The dog whistle, set to divide-and-conquer pitch, is getting louder: we have seen and heard this code from Walker before as he whipped up a partisan crowd in the Milwaukee exurbs towards the close of an election:
People do not want to see Wisconsin "become another Milwaukee," Walker said [at Oconomowoc Lake at the end of the 2012 recall campaign].
And has Walker or his staff been trolling Heritage Foundation papers?

You cannot vet Walker's words routinely scrubbed from his sites

[updated 4:53 p.m.] I just used Google to find an example of a Scott Walker op-ed published by a newspaper to make the point in this parsed and increasingly trivialized debate over alleged plagiarism that it is unlikely that a politician at his level actually writes what appears under his name.

Google served up this fascinating nugget:
Walker posts op-ed that Times didn't publish 
By Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel March 29, 2011
Gov. Scott Walker has posted on his website an op-ed piece he wrote for the New York Times that he said the paper declined to publish. 
You can read the op-ed here. 
And when you click on "here," you get:
Not Found
Just like what you get when you try to click on links posted at PolitiFact and elsewhere to get to Walker campaign sites that had posted his jobs plan so you can review his words:
Uh oh, it seems you've come across a page that hasn't been created yet
So what is the important issue: whose words are being used and from what sources, or whose words were used, have been deleted, and why?

Updated: An internet savvy reader found it. Raise your hand if you think Scott Walker walked into the office and knocked it out in one draft without other people editing, adding, deleting, pasting, etc.

Will anyone ask Walker to define "coordination?"

The meaning is everywhere.

And far more significant to governance than the meaning of plagiarism.

And by the way, does anyone really think Walker actually writes the op-eds that run under his name in newspapers?

Or on a campaign release? These are team efforts.

For God's sake.

Can we get some focus here?

Iron mine would devastate extensive NW Wisconsin wetlands, expert shows

Erin O'Brien shows in picture and words what will be lost if GTac is allowed to turn the Penokee range into an open-pit iron mine and dumping ground in NW Wisconsin - - and she explains why it is hard to map and catalog all the wetlands at risk there.  A must-see-and-read on the Journal Sentinel op-ed page.
This beaver pond wetland complex in Iron County is slated for burial under waste-rock in the Gogebic Taconite mine plan.
Erin O'Brien photo

Walker political aides, state appointees at same donor retreat

As long as we're having a discussion in Wisconsin politics and courtrooms about coordination of campaigns, outside financing and government transparency - -  take a look at the squadron of senior Walker-appointed public employees and Walker political aides listed by the Appleton Post-Crescent who attended a confidential retreat with GOP campaign funders.

Corporate donors paid up to $250,000 to attend, and dozens reportedly paid tabs of $100,000.

Details about the funders' retreat were accidentally put on line and reported first by The New York Times; the Wisconsin information below is from the Appleton Post-Crescent story:
Senior members of Gov. Scott Walker's administration and his top campaign and political advisers are listed as attendees at a Republican Governors conference along with corporate titans and lobbyists who donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Republican Governors Association, according to documents published Wednesday by the New York Times
Invites to such retreats with high-level decision-makers are listed as a benefit for contributing to the RGA, according to the documents, leading some good-government groups to criticize it as a pay-for-access scheme. Among those who were slated to attend the conference and retreat in California in July 2013 were Walker's Chief of Staff Eric Schutt, Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch, campaign manager Stephan Thompson and political adviser Keith Gilkes. 
Also listed were Deputy Chief of Staff Rich Zipperer, senior advisers Eileen Schoenfeldt and Waylon Hurlburt and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health Services Kevin Moore.
Note also in this list the presence of big donors from businesses and groups with a major presence in Wisconsin including Johnson Controls, MAXIMUS and the MMAC.




Rail advocates keeping pressure on Walker

[Updated, 1:51 p.m.] Props to the backers of Amtrak expansion for keeping the pressure on our Wrong-way governor who killed Wisconsin's Amtrak rail industry as well as expanded service here:   
Time to Get WI Back on Track with High Speed Rail 
Friday, September 19, 2014
CHICAGO, Ill. – Wisconsin now has to play catch-up, says Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), noting the state has been left behind by its Midwest neighbors in high-speed rail. 
The ELPC is expanding its advertising campaign in Wisconsin, erecting another billboard south of Milwaukee to encourage political leaders to support high-speed rail. Learner says it’s time to put partisan politics aside. 
“Even though Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle were strong advocates of advancing high-speed rail in Wisconsin, Gov. Walker made the quixotic decision to turn down funding for higher speed rail going from Milwaukee to Madison that would have created jobs in Wisconsin,” says Learner.
The new billboard is on Interstate 94, 800 ft. northeast of State Line Rd., near the Illinois border. I'm working on getting a photo. 

Related information about the new trains made in Wisconsin but forced elsewhere by Walker's opposition, here:
This blog has tracked the banishment by Scott Walker of new Amtrak trains, rail-line construction work and train assembly jobs in Wisconsin - - and noted the happy arrival in Oregon of two of the banned-but-built in Wisconsin trains:

Join us in a celebration
train cab in production
Oregon's Talgo trainset, preparing for move to Colorado 

OUR TRAINS HAVE ARRIVED!

On Friday, July 26 at the Eugene Amtrak station, we'll "officially" welcome the state's new 13-car passenger train sets. You're invited to the 2:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting! Get details here.
More links and history, here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Appeals Court adds Doe to Randa's rising reversal record

Nice catch by the Journal Sentinel team to remember that it was right-wing Rudolph Randa who ordered the wrongfully-convicted Georgia Thompson to prison before her successful appeal was heard.

And was reversed, harshly, by the Seventh Circuit, as he was again today in the John Doe probe ruling.

With straight face, DNR puts berry, mushroom pickers with deer hunters

Remember after Wrong-Way Walker was elected and his one-track, hunting lobby-driven DNR got hold of the carefully-constructed, low-impact recreational plan for the former Baraboo Army Ammunition lands?

Well - - here are some of the consequences, and seriously - - would you really amble around that property lining up photos or climbing a tree to pick apples with high-caliber ammo in the air, as this DNR invite proposes:

Sauk Prairie Recreation Area open Nov. 22-30 for deer hunting and other recreation activities


BLUFFVIEW, Wis. -- Portions of the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant, that are owned by the Department of Natural Resources, the Bluffview Sanitary District and the U.S. Army will again be open during the nine-day gun deer season Nov. 22-30. The DNR owns 3,400 acres of the more than 7,300-acre property.
"We're pleased to be able to open parts of this remarkable property to the public for a brief period so that hunters can participate in the November gun deer hunt tradition and non-hunters can also enjoy the late fall seasons here," said Steve Schmelzer, Devil's Lake State Park property manager who also oversees the recreation area.
All legal firearms for hunting in Sauk County as well as bow and arrow and crossbow will be legal for use in this hunting season. Hunters should check the 2014 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet for further information on legal weapons, daily hunting hours, and other material...
    In addition to deer hunting visitors may trap, hike, bird watch, pick mushrooms, berries, and apples, study nature, take photographs and other traditional outdoor activities. No fishing opportunities are available.
    Visitors may drive, bike, or horseback ride only on roads within the complex that are designated as open...
    Some areas remain closed to public access due to safety issues. No entry into these areas for any purpose is allowed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dairy Forage Research Center lands are closed to hunting and all other public recreation activities. Visitors are asked to refrain from entering areas and roads closed by the Dairy Forage Research Center's and the U.S. Army...
    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Devil's Lake State Park, 608-356-8301 or Bob Manwell, DNR communications, 608-275-3317

    Appeals Court overturns Randa, reinstating Doe probe...

    I guess the Walkerite State Supreme Court justices are now on speed dial.
     ‏@journalsentinel  47sMT The federal order halting the John Doe investigation into has