Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Major Great Lakes Neighborhood Development Conference Upcoming

The ambitious and energetic folks running the grassroots Great Lakes Urban Exchange are planning an exciting conference about neighborhood development next month in Pittsburgh.

Details below:

Green-Lighting Neighborhoods: GLUE's 4th Annual Conference
Pittsburgh, PA :: September 15-17, 2011

Every year, GLUE hosts a convening of young leaders from Great Lakes cities, to energize and motivate change agents through new information, relationships, and ideas. GLUE has spent the last three years building a multi-sector network of civically engaged younger people who are devoted to making their post-industrial city work. The annual GLUE conference is the paramount way by which we pursue our mission to connect engaged change agents from the cities of the Upper Midwest to one another.  Our annual, three-day conference was held in Buffalo in 2008, Milwaukee in 2009, and Cleveland in 2010.

This fall, we’re going to Pittsburgh.

This year, GLUE is going farther than ever before in its efforts to tie real people to real solutions, by locating its conference not in a downtown hotel, but in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  While Pittsburgh has made great strides in becoming America’s “most livable city” some neighborhoods have so far been left out of the redevelopment movement.  At the same time, Larimer is home to innovative, collaborative organizing efforts to make sure that Larimer’s residents have a say in the future of their neighborhood.  Furthermore, the future they’re envisioning is ambitiously green.  The work happening there may be a model for how Rust Belt cities ensure that every resident benefits from the revitalization of our cities.
Please plan to join us for three days in Pittsburgh, where you'll get to better know the city, collaborate with other Rust Belt enthusiasts, and learn about the ideas that are making our cities more sustainable, equitable, prosperous places to live--for all their residents.

To register, click here.

For more agenda details, click here.

For location and logistics info, click here.

To check out our amazing sponsors, click here.

Thanks to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, we are able to offer 15 scholarships--free registration--to low-income residents of Larimer or nearby areas served by the Kingsley Association.

Please contact us if you would like to receive a scholarship.

Downtown Detroit Revival

Great to read that one hard-hit downtown is making progress.

Jon Huntsman Fool's Errand

One white paper will fail where Bachmann and Perry deliver red-meat.

Mark Belling Exclusive: He Tells Us What 45-Year-Old Black Guys Look Like

LeBron James, that's who. Yep, that insight came from Milwaukee's leading p.m. righty talker at about 3:25 p.m Wednesday afternoon.

The context [sic] for such a remark?

That some people always look old, and that Le Bron looks old, which is the way 45-year-old Black men look.

Then Belling moved on to Michael Jordan "feminizing" half the male population popularizing the single earring - - but not going "girl" any further - - followed by a negative critique of Aaron Rogers' hair and mustache.

Isn't talk radio useful?

How Rush Limbaugh Poisons The Public Debate

I was privileged to hear about 20 minutes of the country's leading conservative AM radio talker Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday afternoon, and these were his contributions to our collective wisdom in just that short window into his long afternoon daily show:

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme no different than what Bernie Madoff pulled off.

Man-made climate change and global warming is a scam and a hoax.

There is no such thing as renewable energy because even the sun will eventually burn itself out.

Service Employee International Union (SEIU) members are brown shirts.
And you wonder why someone like Michele Bachmann is treated as a legitimate Presidential candidate, or my so many Republicans still believe that Pres. Obama is a Muslim/foreigner/socialist. etc?

Controversial Cross-Country Oil Pipeline Would Serve Foreign Markets, Industry Sources Say

I've posted a number of stories about the proposed Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline that will move tar sand crude oil across the US and over the largest underground source of water in the country.

In the comment section of a recent item, there is a discussion of whether the oil is destined for US consumers. The distinction is crucial, as its approval rests on a finding by the Obama administration that the pipeline would be in the country's national security interest.

One blog reader sends along information and a compilation of industry documents that show the oil is headed for overseas markets::

A new report from Oil Change International lays out the case, based on data and documents from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Canadian National Energy Board, corporate disclosures to regulators and investors, and analysis of the rapidly shifting oil market.

  • Keystone XL is an export pipeline. The Port Arthur, Texas, refiners at the end of its route are focused on expanding exports to Europe, and Latin America. Much of the fuel refined from the pipeline’s heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. drivers’ tanks.
  • Valero, the key customer for crude oil from Keystone XL, has explicitly detailed an export strategy to its investors. Because Valero’s Port Arthur refinery is in a Foreign Trade Zone, the company can carry out its strategy tax-free.
  • In a shrinking U.S. market, Keystone XL is not needed. Since the project was announced, the oil industry acknowledges that higher fuel economy standards and slow economic growth mean declining U.S. oil demand, even as domestic production is booming. Oil from Keystone XL will therefore displace American crude from new, “unconventional” domestic fields in Texas or North Dakota.
“To issue a presidential permit for the Keystone XL, the Administration must find that the pipeline serves the national interest,” said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. “An honest assessment shows that rather than serving U.S. interests, Keystone XL serves only the interests of tar sands producers and shippers, and a few Gulf Coast refiners aiming to export the oil.”

Justice Prosser, His Recount Counsel And Supreme Court Ethics

To guide us lay people through a State Supreme Court conflict-of-interest issue, the legal blog Illusory/Tenant posts a friend-of-the-blogosphere brief.

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Checks Her Beliefs At The Door. Really?

That's the management style for the state's leading resource regulator, reports The Journal Sentinel's Lee Bergquist.

She said her job now is to serve as a cheerleader for the agency and its employees. She said she is striving to harmonize the often competing agendas of environmental regulation and environmental protection.

On the issue of climate change, Stepp declined to offer her thoughts on whether humans are contributing to a warming of the earth’s atmosphere.
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” she said, adding, “My job is to check my beliefs and ideologies at the door.”
Or is this more about avoiding negative media and citizen criticism, other than being judged negatively for perhaps being inept, or uninformed, or just plain obtuse?

In a separate public television interview, Stepp said she didn't have any positions, or those that counted, on subjects such as clean water rules, or phosphorus regulation.
Frederica Freyberg:
I want to move into specifics on policy. I know that the provision in the budget, the state budget to delay for two years new stricter phosphorous rules or standards was thrown out. What is your position on that two-year delay of the phosphorous rules that would help regulate the algae blooms in our lakes?

Cathy Stepp:
Well, Frederica, my position isn’t really relevant to it. My job frankly as the head of the agency now is to carry out the will of the legislature and the governor, and of course the Natural Resources Board. Whatever they determine is the way we go, then it’s my job to implement that with our staff. So we were thinking that the two-year delay would be very helpful, because we were hearing from communities across the state how devastating this would be to their budgets when it comes to different technology that they’d have to put in place to meet some of the discharge limits that they were being forced to comply to. So that was a big challenge in a difficult economic time. If that’s not the case and we need to move forward with the rule as it is, then that’s what we’re going to do.

Frederica Freyberg:

Do you think that our water protection rules are too harsh kind of across the board?

Cathy Stepp:
Again, my opinion doesn’t matter.  And I don’t mean to sound evasive here, but really that’s a policy decision for the legislature, for the governor to make and the Natural Resources Board. You know, I know how important clean water is. Again, from my private sector experience, if we don’t have clean air, clean water, people aren’t going to want to live here and create jobs here. Of course they’re very critical to Wisconsin’s future economically as well as environmentally.
And in that interview, though she "I don't mean to sound evasive here," I defy you to come with a different conclusion about her answer (and just what does "Certainly, we’re very submitted to working with those folks, with the permit applicants" mean, anyway"} about mining permit rules and a proposed, controversial iron ore strip mine in Northern Wisconsin:
Frederica Freyberg:

Moving along, talking about job creation, the Gogebic Mine could potentially create thousands of jobs for people in Ashland County and Iron County, but what assurances can you give to people about the environmental impacts of that mine and whether the DNR would sufficiently regulate the operation to mitigate those impacts?

Cathy Stepp:

Well, we’re very committed. Again, environmental protection is an important part of what we do. That’s really the fundamental role of our agency. Again, I think it’s important that we start out early with the stakeholders, and we make sure they understand what the regulations are and that we’re helpful in ways of how to help them meet those regulations and standards and then everybody wins. Certainly, we’re very submitted to working with those folks, with the permit applicants, as they move through the process, making sure they understand all that’s expected and required of them and making sure we hold them to account just like we do any other permit applicant.
She sure wasn't a spinmesiter about beliefs and ideologies when she was on the outside:
"Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads.

The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture.

For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with..."
Stepp and Walker are working on recreating the DNR as a so-called "charter agency" with fewer rules to give it political independence (read: control by Walker) and align it better with the new Department of Commerce and "customers," like businesses, according to their planning memo I obtained some months ago:
Hiring Discretion - DNR exempt from CPR process for hiring permanent, project,  seasonal and LTE  positions;

Work Force Management Discretion - DNR given broader discretion to shift its workforce to meet challenges or meet new business opportunities.

Merit Tools Discretion - DNR able to utilize DCA and DCP tools to reward excellence, and retain attract talent; Fleet Management - DNR able to manage travel and fleet operations outside of DOA over-sight;

Information Technology - DNR able to pursue development and use of IT tools without meeting statewide enterprise barriers; and Facilities Management - DNR able to pursue cost-savings at facilities without DOA over-sight.

What hath Walker wrought?

Simple question, and Walker supplied the answer when he said her beliefs and ideologies were just what he wanted at the helm of the DNR.
"I wanted someone with a chamber-of-commerce mentality," Walker said.

EPA Chooses Milwaukee Region For New, Watershed Permit Procedure

This great news about our region's resource management from the water quality collaborative, Sweet Water Trust:

When: Wednesday, August 31st at 11:00 a.m.

What: Susan Hedman, Administrator for EPA Region 5 in Chicago, will make a formal announcement of a $100,000 grant to Kevin Shafer, Executive Director of MMSD, along with Sweet Water and other partners, to fund a pilot project to develop the framework for the development of a watershed-based permit for the Menomonee River watershed.

Where: Menomonee River at Hart Park (Riverside Picnic Area), 7300 Chestnut Street, in Wauwatosa - - (in the nearby Hart Park music pavilion in case of rain)

Background: The grant will be managed by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and will support work to be done by Sweet Water – the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. and its regional partners to create a watershed-based storm water permitting model for Menomonee River watershed communities.

A watershed-based permit can offer significant potential advantages over more conventional municipality-by-municipality permitting approaches, including cost-savings, one-stop shopping/permit streamlining and the potential for improved water quality.

Watershed-based approaches for storm water permitting were strongly recommended to the EPA in a 2008 National Research Council report on the NPDES storm water program. The innovative Menomonee River watershed permitting effort would be a national pilot for the EPA, one of just three planned across the country.

Additional remarks will be made by Cathy Stepp, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and Anthony S. Earl, Joyce Foundation Board Member and former Wisconsin Governor and WDNR Secretary.

The Joyce Foundation has made major multi-year investments in water quality work in southeastern Wisconsin.

Sweet Water’s Vice Chair Tom Grisa, of Brookfield, Mayor Jill Didier of Wauwatosa, and a variety of officials from other Menomonee River watershed communities and groups are expected to attend.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bruce Murphy On Prosser, Et Al

In a column, Milwaukee Magazine editor-in-chief Bruce Murphy homes in on Justice David Prosser's pattern of angry outbursts - - as did I - - and I also see in the comments under Murphy's piece that Madison-based good government activist Jack Lohman focuses on it, too.

Call this a meeting of judicious minds.

In a companion posting, Murphy defends Bill Lueders, the Madison journalist who broke the Prosser-Bradley confrontation story, against a misinformed attack by a Madison blogger.

Nicely done.

Top NASA Climatologist Opposes Tar Sand Oil Pipeline Across US

Add James Hansen to those opposing the proposed pipeline to carry tar sand oil from Canada to Texas.

Unsustainable amounts of fresh water and energy are needed to extract and ship this heavy form of oil, but it appears as if the Obama administration is going to green light it.

And these pipelines have a record of leaking and breaking, so running it over the nation's largest fresh water aquifer is really risky.

Support The Suit To Overturn Wisconsin's Voter ID Law: Details Below


Ways to Support the League's Voter ID Lawsuit
Contributions may be made payable to LWVWI Education Fund, a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

1. Send a check payable to:
LWVWI Education Fund
612 W Main Street #200
Madison, WI  53703
     Note "Voter ID lawsuit" on the check.

It would be helpful if you would include a completed donation form.

2. Make a secure online donation at:  There is a checkbox on the online form to designate your gift for the lawsuit.

3. Become a monthly donor, using this form. We can't tell you how long this lawsuit will take, but your steady, monthly support will help sustain the effort.

4. Tell others about the lawsuit, and encourage them to support it too!

John Norquist Wants Democrats To Focus on Good Democratic Issues

In an interesting essay, Milwaukee's former Mayor wants both Al Gore and Pres. Obama to be consistent and lead on fiscal and land-use policies that are good for cities - - and thus good for the Democratic base that can help the party reclaim its leadership.

Norquist's conclusion:

Gore could use his stature to promote ending heavy tax subsidies for sprawl-inducing highways, separate-use zoning and for large lot single family housing that all have negative side effects . Doing so would help the United States reduce its carbon profile and make the economy more efficient. Conservative economist Ed Glaeser's latest book, Triumph of the City, highlights the economic and environmental benefits that flow from cities. Glaeser notes that per capita energy consumption in Manhattan is 25 percent of the U.S. national average. Glaeser demonstrates that compact urban development is not only energy efficient, but serves as a setting for inventiveness, entrepreneurship and wealth producing markets. Go to Al Gore's website though and there is almost nothing about urban policy, land-use and U.S. living patterns. If a conservative like Glaeser can recognize the value of urbanism, why can't Gore? [See a slide show of 10 cities adopting smart grid technology.]

Gore's critique of Obama as too cautious is not inaccurate. Yet, President Obama has begun to move federal policy in the right direction by ordering the EPA, HUD, and the USDOT to work together on a sustainability partnership to better serve the needs of cities, regions and states. Yes, the president should be more forceful and enthusiastically promote his agenda addressing climate change. Gore's criticisms would prove far more effective however if he hadn't shied away from the very same issue in the 2000 campaign. As such, Gore's remarks read as hollow as Obama's measured silence. Both the 2000 election and the 2010 congressional elections show what happens when Democrats hide their true beliefs and campaign on banalities- they lose.

[Disclosure: I worked for Mayor Norquist from 1996-2004 in several positions, including Chief of Staff.]

More PolitiFact Score-Keeping: All "Full-Flops" Were Made By Republicans

In an earlier post, I pointed to the large number of "false" PolitiFact rulings for Wisconsin Republican officials.

I also notice that in the "full-flop" category, four have been issued and the GOP gets them all.

What is wrong with these people? Below are the details, from PolitiFact, via the Journal Sentinel:

Statements we say are Full Flop

Monday, August 29, 2011

National Governors Association 2013 Conference, In Milwaukee - - Let's Have The Welcome From A Democrat

Organizing statewide next year by recall activists can make sure Scott Walker isn't in office to give the opening address.

Anger Management And State Supreme Court

As the Wisconsin Judicial Commission now looks to whether there are disciplinary sanctions to be recommended in light of the Prosser-Bradley Supreme Court confrontation, a productive step towards group reconciliation and the restoration of civility on the Court could be made if the observations as reported by the Journal Sentinel of Justice Patrick Crooks - - the one Justice who did not witness the confrontation - - were addressed in a supportive, non-punitive way:

Justice N. Patrick Crooks, the only justice not present at the June 13 altercation, told detectives he had observed blowups by Prosser going back more than a decade. In a June 29 interview, Crooks told detectives that during a meeting sometime around the fall of 1999, Prosser had called him a "viper" for not supporting Abrahamson's re-election campaign and then left the room, slamming the door hard enough to make the glass vibrate. Crooks said Prosser "explodes and storms out of a room" about three or four times a year.

Crooks also recounted to detectives a closed meeting of the justices on Feb. 10, 2010, in which Prosser called Abrahamson a "bitch" and said she would be "destroyed," an incident that Prosser later acknowledged. Crooks said that on Feb. 22, 2010, he and Bradley met with Brady, the courts human resources officer, and John Voelker, the director of state courts, "because they felt there was an escalation" in Prosser's aggression, the records said.

Rick Perry Campaign A Lesson In Conservatives' Fiscal Double-Standards

Conservatives like Texas Gov. Rick Perry talk a lot about frugality, but note that Perry has arranged for records of state spending on his travel be kept secret, and that expenses for his security entourage, which helps set up campaign events, are principally paid from the state highway fund, according to The Washington Post.

In the meantime, during a special session that ended July 1, the Texas Legislature, at Perry’s urging, added language to a school finance bill that will seal the governor’s travel records for 18 months — until after the 2012 presidential election...
Before Perry’s travel records were sealed, Texas newspapers were able to shed some light on his travel and the cost to taxpayers, including [a] Bahamas trip.
The records, reported in 2005 by the Austin American-Statesman, showed that Perry and staff members had traveled the previous year to the Bahamas for a meeting with top campaign donor James Leininger, a supporter of public school vouchers and charter schools, his wife, and Grover Norquist, a national anti-tax advocate.
The records showed $4,200 in taxpayer money was spent for the squad of six state troopers who went along, including costs for renting scuba gear, golf cars and cellphones, according to the newspaper...

In 2009, Perry traveled to Israel where he was given the “Defender of Jerusalem” award. According to a local television report, he and his wife flew first class at more than $5,000 per ticket, paid for by an energy company financier.
Four security detail officers also went on the five-day trip at a cost of more than $70,000 to taxpayers. The expenses included $17,000 for rooms at the King David Hotel, nearly $13,000 for food and more than 350 hours in overtime pay...

While Perry pays for most of his travel from his campaign account and donated funds, costs for the security detail are paid largely out of the state highway fund, derived from a gasoline tax and vehicle registration fees.
More details here.

Will Obama's Economics Adviser Pass The RoJo Resume Test?

Holy Cheeseheads!

Doesn't the President know he's supposed to consult in advance with The Oracle that Is RoJo when it comes to appointments that the Senate must confirm.

It's right there in the Constitution, isn't it? (More from the legal blogger Illusory Tenant.)

Eight months into his first political job, the not-consulted-in-advance Senator Ron Johnson labeled as unqualified a Stanford-educated/Yale, Georgetown and UW-Madison woman law professor nominated by Pres.Obama for a seat on the US Court of Appeals, and is blocking her confirmation hearing - - so how long will it take Johnson or a like-minded conservative to also call Alan Krueger unqualified?

Krueger, Obama's nominee announced today to head the Council of Economic Advisers, held positions in the Labor and Treasury Departments, has taught at Princeton for 24 years and got his Ph.D at Harvard.

Johnson worked as an accountant - - OK, so he and Krueger both know something about numbers - - but Johnson didn't finish his MBA, according to his official bio, so Krueger's work ethic and bona fides could easily flunk him on the RoJo resume test.

Mark Neumann Makes It Official

He's lost statewide elections for US Senate and his party's nomination for Governor, but conservative home builder Mark Neumann apparently thinks the third time is the charm.

Let the games and the campaigns for Herb Kohl's Senate seat begin.

Commentary on the GOP's upcoming year of fratricide, here.

It's The Truth: Senior Wisconsin Republicans Overly Familiar With "False" In PolitiFact Ratings

Another day, another "False" rating from PolitiFact for a top Republican leader from Wisconsin.

This time, it's Reince Priebus, the Wisconsinite running the national GOP apparatus these days.

In a statement, Priebus was found to have doubled the amount of money public-employee union spent in the recall elections - - turning about $15 million into $30 million.

That's a pretty big goof, both in total dollars and in as a percentage of the true facts.

Accident or spin or willfully misleading? Hard to say, but it continues a pattern for Preibus where the word "false" shows up far more often than "true:

PolitiFact has rated seven of his statements this way: two half-true, four false, one Pants on Fire.

It seems that Wisconsin's senior GOP elected officials have far more negative than positive PolitiFact ratings. Here's a summary as of Sunday, August 28th:

PolitiFact has rated 11 of 31 statements by Gov. Scott Walker true, mostly true or half-true, while 20 were rated mostly false, false or Pants on Fire.

The scorecard for Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch: Three statements rated - - two false, one Pants on Fire.

For Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald: Four statements - - one half-true, one mostly false, two false.

For Assembly Speaker, and probable US Senate candidate Jeff Fitzgerald: Four statements - - one true, two mostly false, one Pants on Fire.
For US Senator Ron Johnson: Eleven statements - - one true, one mostly true, one half-true, four mostly false, four false.
US Rep. Paul Ryan, by comparison, squeaks through with one more "true" than "false" in his ratings, but it's still a weak record for an incumbent and chair of the House Budget Committee: Nine statements rated: one true, one mostly true, three half-true, three mostly false and one Pants on Fire. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans Get Ready For Their Year Of Living Destructively

Monday should bring the news that GOP conservative Mark Neumann is entering the race for the US Senate seat that Democrat Herb Kohl will be vacating in January, 2013.

This will put the spotlight on the Right's factions and fault lines, and weaken a Republican Party that also has to defend Scott Walker against a probable recall effort as the race for the Senate seat makes demands on conservative activists and donors.

Neumann's far-right pals at the Club for Growth have already been running snarky ads against another likely candidate, the unacceptably moderate former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Tommy has spent the last few years working in law firms and on business boards and making money, but he clearly wants back in the game and on the campaign trail and into a resume-padding big electoral retirement job. 

Neumann, a home builder, can finance much of a campaign with his own resources, as he did in his recent gubernatorial primary loss to Scott Walker - - a race he ran rather clumsily against the eventual winner that embittered some Walkerites, so I'd expect them to do their best to undercut Neumann now.

Does that mean they line up with Tommy?

Some will. Former unofficial Thompson Deputy Gov. Jim Klauser is already softening Neumann up. 

Klauser began the GOP gubernatorial primary season in Neumann's camp, then defected to Walker. Let's just say that Ronald Reagan's admonition to Republicans to avoid internal criticism is somewhat oversold.

So don't discount the impact of another Senator wannabe who is waiting in the wings: That would be Jeff Fitzgerald, the ultra-conservative State Assembly Speaker, who fits somewhere between the Tea Partyish, mavericky (quirky?), baggage-laden Neumann and establishment figure Thompson.

So we have these three well-known, well-connected, well-financed Republicans vying for the heart of a base from Waukesha to the Fox Valley that has moved farther to the right since Tommy's glory years.

Back then, he was something of a consensus figure. These days, the GOP is being driven by the Tea Party, and the Right wants red meat. I don't know if Tommy can fake it, or should even try.

We'll see if his strong suit - - name recognition - - can carry him past talk radio hosts who now call him a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and the Club for Growth's gun-slinging, and party activists who will see him as tea too weak.

And until one of these Republican heavyweights drops out (as Walker strategically did in 2006, deferring to then-Congressman Mark Green, whom Jim Doyle went on to defeat), or another wins the convention endorsement and the primary, the big winner is - - Democrats - - who will watch with glee while backs are stabbed and resources are burned as three Republicans chase a chance to be a junior senator to Ron Johnson.

End The Mifflin St. Block Party

The Madison police and Mayor Soglin are right: The Mifflin St. Block Party should end.

There isn't a city in the state than needs another glorified binge drinking event. The most recent 'party' included stabbings and sexual assaults.

Madison needs a plan to unwind the party, tradition or not.

Leading Milwaukee Experts Have A Water-For-Development Formula

I recommend this piece about water and jobs from Sunday's Crossroads section, with special attention to the Akron, Ohio model:

As Milwaukee expands its use of water as an economic development tool, it should look to the experience of Akron, Ohio. In order to sell water to its suburbs, that city first enters into agreements with those suburbs to establish economic development districts. It receives revenue through user charges for water sales to the district plus it receives a share of the district's income made possible by those sales. Since Milwaukee contemplates similar suburban sales of water through diversions of purified Lake Michigan water, it should consider creating a similar shared-income formula.
Water pricing also should play a greater role in the current discussion of Waukesha's application for water diverted from Lake Michigan and purified by the Milwaukee water utility. In fact, without proper prices in place, no one can estimate how much water Waukesha needs - if any!
As far back as 2004, and reported in 2006 and 2007, some Waukesha officials have thrown cold water on the idea of linking water sales to sharing development revenues - - but maybe this is an idea whose time has come.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So Does Recalling Walker Automatically Recall Kleefisch, too?

The High Priests of Electioneering in Wisconsin are still researching the topic, writes the Journal Sentinel.

Though Governor and Lt. Governor are elected as a single ticket in Wisconsin, no one knows if they can go out of office as they came in - - but you can bet that Scott Walker's people will argue that the two office holders are completely independent, saying in effect:

'If you remove me, meet Gov. Kleefisch!'

The Ideologues Spinning Wisconsin Health Policy To The Right Are At It Again

A few months ago, the ideological imperative that is the Walker administration was balking at federal funds to fight obesity and smoking.

Now it's praising our state's health care delivery system, as-is, even though the outside author of a major study says otherwise, reports the Cap Times:

If you read the state's press release about the new report or went to an invitation-only press briefing Wednesday you would have been told that the study shows that reforms will mess up what is already working fine in Wisconsin.
"We have one of the lowest uninsured rates and one of the most robust insurance marketplaces in the nation, all achieved without federal mandates," Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis G. Smith said in the press release, which lists what it calls "major concerns" that are "demonstrated by the results of this study."
But that's not the conclusion Gruber came to at all.
"They picked out the most negative aspects of the report to highlight," [study author Jonathan] Gruber told me in an interview. "Overall I think health care reform is a great thing for Wisconsin."
With Walker's people - - our new Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith comes from the 'free market' front line against national health care and President Obama's initiatives - - it's ideology first, then substance, then facts.

What Was Most-Read Here Last Week - - Including One Golden Oldie

Note that the fifth most-read item is one that keeps getting hits, but dates back nearly four years. The power of the Internet!

Aug 25, 2011

Aug 23, 2011

Aug 26, 2011

Nov 25, 2007

A Fresh Black Eye For SE Wisconsin

A neo-Nazi from New Berlin is organizing a white power rally in West Allis.

How disgusting is that?

Dennis Shook's Death Is A Shock

People who worked in Milwaukee City Hall as I did in the late 1990's got to know Dennis Shook when he covered Milwaukee and especially transportation issues for The Freeman, in Waukesha.

He was bright and fair, and wry, industrious, even dogged - - a Kenosha guy, as he told it who had even once run for the legislature, so appreciated politics in ways that other reporters could not.

He'd come to the Mayor's office and report, and kibbitz. He was a pro, and great company.

There was talk that he was too liberal for The Freeman, for whom he also had an editorial position before it cut him loose ( I don't recall the exact date, but I want to say at least five years ago, maybe more?).

For many of us outside of Waukesha, Dennis was the face of that paper, and though he missed The Freeman (he later worked for The Shepherd), he made a life outside journalism and we shared a few laughs about his having gone to work for WisDOT, an agency that he had covered.

A lot of people are going to miss Dennis.

His death is sad news, for sure.

Proposed Canada-To-Texas Tar Sands Crude Pipeline Keeps Moving Forward

The pipeline, with its projected spills, is moving inexorably towards approval.

Remember that the route takes it over the nation's largest underground supply of fresh water.

The issue isn't if the pipeline leaks, or breaks. It's when, as that's the track record.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Justice Mike Gableman And That Phantom Giant, Justice Anne Walsh Bradley

From the investigative records of the State Supreme Court fracas, and Journal Sentinel reporting, comes this eyewitness head-scratcher:

Justice Michael Gableman told detectives in a July 5 interview that Bradley "rushed" to Prosser and punched the air around his face. He described Bradley as being a little bit taller than Prosser and compared Bradley's stance with Prosser to a famous photo of then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson leaning over a shorter, cowed senator.

According to the records, Prosser is 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. Bradley is 5-feet-3-inches and weighs 131 pounds.
Now where did I just hear that Bradley moves like Packers defensive end Clay Matthews? Oh, I remember. Football maven and expert-in-all-things Mark Belling.

Mark Belling, Civility Arbiter, Helps Interpret The Supreme Court Fracas

Investigative reports are surfacing, but talk radio is already helping sort it out:

Mark Belling on 1130 WISN-AM radio yesterday said Justice Anne Walsh Bradley was "a broken down dump truck" who came at David Prosser like a blitzing Clay Matthews.

That's helpful.

See A TV Reporter Best A Hapless Ron Johnson

$10 million and great political TV ads gave us a really limited US Senator in Ron Johnson.

Johnson's inability in this interview by WITI Fox 6 reporter Mike Lowe - - after eight months in office - - to get beyond slogans and talking points is pretty weak tea.

Bottom line: Mike Lowe For Senate.

And Speaking Of Why Americans Hate Congress, Consider Eric Cantor's Continuing Cold-Heartedness

The ideologically-craven House of Representatives Majority Leader says, as he did in the wake of the Joplin tornado disaster, that any federal assistance for victims of hurricane Irene will have to be provided through spending cuts, not a fresh appropriation.

We'll see if he holds to that Tea Party callousness if his home state's Virginia Beach, Newport News or inland areas get socked.

And about our Congress' conduct and ratings...

Paul Ryan Took The Windex Pledge

Paul Ryan is parading around like the Righteous High Priest Of Tax Code Reform, but back home he's just another Congressman trying to open up loopholes for big donors and local firms.

Which means carrying water for S.C Johnson and its brand-name consumer products.

Xoff and The Huffington Post had the details.

And you wonder why Congress polls so dismally?

Genesee...Town Of Waukesha...Pewaukee...Delafield: Who ISN'T In Waukesha City's Water Application?

Man, oh man - - it's hard to keep up with the other communities included in the City of Waukesha's application for a precedent-setting diversion of Lake Michigan water.

Though the application is in the hands of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and will be there, I'm guessing, for a year - - get me a scorecard.

And so, apparently, add the Town of Delafield to the list, though as is true with the Town of Waukesha, I don't remember any action by local Delafield officials to opt into the application - - meaning not just the benefits (clean, abundant water) but also costs and responsibilities under state law and the Great Lakes Compact (a high-bar, demonstrated need, public input, conservation plans with demonstrated results, and so on).

The regional planning commission (SEWRPC) may be responsible for the application's shirttail  relations, like Delafield, et al, because the planning agency produced a diverted water service delivery map required for Waukesha's application, but SEWERPC never held a hearing on which communities or whose residents thought who should receive the diverted water, its benefits and obligations/costs.

With the towns of Waukesha and Delafield not yet formally saying if they are in or out, and thus the extent of the application's water need being rather fluid, you wonder if the application was really ready for the DNR's review.

The agency's ruling after a year of Waukesha's tweaking and editing was "sufficiently complete."

You be the judge.

So I repeat another question I asked a while ago (related to issues now months and years old, as well) in a separate posting: 

Is The Waukesha Water Proposal A City Expansion And Regional Diversion Plan?

Is the City of Waukesha's application for permission to pipe in Lake Michigan water an effort to offer a new and improved water supply to its residents, or is it a plan to bring water to a larger region, stimulate growth there and also extend the City's presence outside its current borders - - and if it's both, will all eight Great Lakes governors agree to it?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Senior Walker Aide Steps Aside

Cindy Archer was also the top Walker administrator during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive, and like Tom Nardelli, his former chief of staff, is also off the state job to which Walker appointed her.

Makes you wonder...More later.

Whitefish Bay's Water Woes Tell Important Fiscal And Political Story

Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin is a small, traditional and comfy Milwaukee-area suburb and village just to the north and east of the big city, but its storm and sewer infrastructure has been overwhelmed by heavy rains that have validated Midwestern climate-change predictions about the arrival of more frequent, heavier and costly rain events.

The science says it all.

New research summarized here projects significant consequences for Wisconsin as soon as the next few decades, increasing in severity into the middle and end of this century...

Toward the end of the century, if current pollution trends continue, projected effects in the state include:

Far more scorching summers

• Every summer in Wisconsin would be hotter than 1988—the hottest summer during the historical baseline.
• Milwaukee would experience more than 55 days per summer with highs over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) and more than 22 days with highs over 100°F.
• Milwaukee would face at least one heat wave per summer like the one that killed hundreds in Chicago in 1995...

Dangerous storms and flooding

• Heavy rains would become more common throughout the year, leading to a greater incidence of flash flooding.

• Winters and springs, when the flood risk is already high, would become 25 percent wetter.
So Whitefish Bay, having been hit by floods and losses, is now considering which of the expensive options to choose to minimize the inflow of water into basements and the outflow of property tax dollars and borrowings to pay for it.

Give the north shore Village of Whitefish Bay credit for moving past hand-wringing or griping to planning and now action.

Adding to the dilemma is the shrink-government mentality of the conservative leadership strutting around the legislature and Governor's office.

Driven by ideology, they have limited spending by local governments and simultaneously are unfriendly to state-financed lending that can assist localities faced with necessary, but huge infrastructure needs and thus the inevitable bills.

It's a political and financial choke hold, regardless of real-world realities - - financial, scientific, natural, environmental, political.

New and upgraded sewer connections, modernized systems and overflow management staffing and technology is all extremely costly, as Whitefish Bay knows and others across the county and regional will confront.

Doing nothing or cutting corners, is not an option. The science says this is just the beginning.

This is precisely the time and circumstance in which government's unique and critical role can and must come into play and must be encouraged.

The alternative is more than damaged rec rooms or washed-out sidewalks: at stake and at real risk are the integrity of entire communities and the moral and political philosophies that keep our municipalities appealing and vibrant.

Re-Election, Recount, Roil, Rebut, Recusal, Refusal - - David Prosser's Five, Make It Six!, "R's"

And the six "R's" add up to an "F" in Public Policy 101.

David Prosser keeps on roiling state politics, helping to undermine what's left of the State Supreme Court's reputation for even-handedness.

The Capital Times lays out the story: a law firm that Prosser's campaign paid handsomely during his election recount is about to come before the Court in a separate case, from which Prosser so far has refused to recuse himself.

The case, Wisconsin Prosperity Network vs. Gordon Myse, is a challenge by several conservative groups to rules promulgated by the state Government Accountability Board that require those running independent political ads to disclose who they are and where the money for the ads is coming from. The rule is currently on hold pending a Supreme Court decision...

Tea party groups and other conservative organizations -- including the Prosperity Network, the MacIver Institute, Americans for Prosperity and others -- that feel the rule violates constitutional rights to free speech filed a lawsuit last year, and oral arguments are scheduled for Sept. 6.

The controversy involves Prosser's payment of $75,000 to James Troupis, whose law office represented Prosser during the statewide recount in his victory over liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Troupis is arguing the Wisconsin Prosperity case on behalf of the conservative groups
The Racine Journal Times makes the case that Prosser should step aside in this matter:
“In sum, when all the facts are examined, I do not have a favorite ‘horse in this race.’ ” — State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.
Please, your honor, you must be looking at the wrong end of the horse if you do not recognize it.

Your horse in this race is the one that is being ridden by attorney Jim Troupis. You know him, of course; he was in your camp earlier this year during the bruising Supreme Court race and subsequent recount in which you were struggling to keep your seat on the high court. 
His firm helped represent you in the recount and Troupis, whom you have described as a “friend of two decades,” was lead counsel in that effort.

Troupis Law Office billed you for $75,000 for its work keeping you in office, although Troupis himself reportedly worked for you for free.

And now, next month, Troupis will come before you again to argue a case before the high court. He will represent a coalition of tea party and conservative groups that are opposing a state Government Accountability Board rule that would require independent organizations that run ads for or against political candidates to disclose what they are doing and where the money for the ads is coming from.  
More and more we are seeing the collapse of the court's integrity - - all traceable to the right-wing money that installed Annette Ziegler and then defeated Louis Butler - -  electing the once-obscure corporatist puppet Mike Gableman, who is Prosser's friend and ally  - - to cement the right's axis of high court control.

Unsurprising Decision: No Criminal Charges In Supreme Court Justices' Confrontation

After all, how could anyone prove anything to the level of charging, then prosecuting?

And if a separate judicial commission probe led to a complaint, the final arbiter is...the State Supreme Court.

Where a record would be set for recusals, or failed recusals.

So this episode melts to history, but I doubt if the internal workings of the Court and its factions will get better.

Walker? Accused Of Cronyism? Say It Ain't So

We're shocked.

For the second time.

George Will Wins The Summer Smugness Prize

I think it was Mark Twain who criticized an author, saying "that isn't writing. It's typing."

I felt the same way when I read George Will's victory lap around the Governor's mansion and Capitol Square.

Paul Ryan Loves Big Government

When law enforcement and courts are available to keep constituents and citizens from visiting his home office.

That's when you can't get a government big enough, apparently.

Right-Wing Anti-Rail Politics Could Again Cost Wisconsin Transit Money, Services

Bad enough that Scott Walker turned back $800 million that could have added modern Amtrak service between Madison and Milwaukee and put these cities on the planned Midwest High-Speed Rail system.

His ideologically-driven, talk radio-inspired assaults on rail service also cost Wisconsin thousands of construction jobs, rail corridor development and permanent operating, maintenance and assembly jobs, too.

But the right in the Legislature also wiped out another rail initiative, the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter line, taking down as well the transit authority that was to manage it, and related services, too.

Lost, as well - - years of organizing by regional business groups and transit advocates, an unusual and refreshing coalition that has been subbed and marginalized. 

And, again, there are financial consequences, as Larry Sandler at the Journal Sentinel reports, meaning that federal funds could be lost to the state and region, further setting back cash-strapped bus lines, too.

Walker and his legislative allies use transit and rail as convenient political targets. Their anti-transit, one-note agenda keep the highway lobby happy and the conservative talkers at bay, but communities and states with poor transit fall further down the lists of desirable places in which to open a business, move a family or take a vacation.

Wisconsin can ill afford to keep losing funding to other states with active transit planning that are more free of destructive ideology.

One 'Job Creator' Tells It Like It Is

He'll take his tax breaks but he's not hiring anyone.

Cuprisin Sees Through Sykes

Veteran TV/Radio critic and columnist Tim Cuprisin has posted a primer on interpreting Charlie Sykes and talk radio's confusion of political opinion, fact and entertainment.

The headline is a bit of a spoiler - -

OnMedia: A political analyst or a cheerleader?

- - but is still definitely worth the read.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rail...Why Bother?

I was in London recently. Let me tell you: They've got this crazy notion about trains.

Like the Right says through its talk radio spokesmen in Wisconsin - - who's going to use something like this?

Plus, in England they've got an inter-connected system of national rail lines that connects further destinations with their Utopian underground - - the above ground system being what Amtrak and US Midwest High-Speed Rail could have become in Wisconsin, but master planner Scott Walker's right - - it's all a bad idea.

They don't get it in England: we saw extensions and upgrades being added.


Good thing Walker and State Rep. Robin Vos just wiped out all the planning for the KRM commuter line to Milwaukee's south, and future, coordinated transit services through a regional authority, too.

I'll post maps of these two failed British systems so you can see what we mercifully avoided in the state:

Principle Routes of British Rail

Team Walker Shakeup: First Plale, Now Nardelli Moving

Walking from Walker? What up?

Update: Walker's former top county administrator, and now State Department of Administration deputy is also taking a leave.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jeff Plale As Wisconsin Railroad Commissioner? Oh, Dear

So Walker is already transferring former Democratic State Senator Jeff Plane from his $90.000-a-year DOA position to the semi-useless and over-titled office of state rail commissioner? Also at $90,000 k a year.

Oh, man - - in a state hostile to passenger rail, and certainly from Scott Walker the anti-rail crusader, this is a genuine sidetracking, away from the Capitol and the life of the government.

One former commissioner, Rodney Kruenen loved the job, but he was a rail buff who had pro-Amtrak Tommy Thompson's support. This is a different era.

Wonder whom Walker wants to insert into the DOA post instead? Stay tuned.

Support The Legal Challenge To Wisconsin's Voter ID Law

Kudos to the Wisconsin League of Women Voters for its decision to file a lawsuit challenging the legality under the Wisconsin Constitution of the Voter ID bill.

The state constitution guarantees eligible citizens their right to vote unfettered by an ID bill - - something the Republicans seem to have overlooked in their hurried, anti-democratic zeal for partisan reasons to tamp down voting in the state.

The League of Women Voters is the perfect plaintiff, as its goal is the furtherance of voting rights and process, not its obstruction.

No doubt this will be expensive litigation, and I assume the organization will need donations to support it.

I'll do my part with a check, blogging and other communications. Let's put Facebook and other platforms to work to advance the suit, as the Voter ID bill is badly motivated bad law and that badly needs to be overturned.

High Interest, Detailed Questions, In National Group's Review Of Waukesha's Water Planning

This blog has been a source of information and analysis of the City of Waukesha application for Great Lakes water, but I want to make sure readers understand that these issues are being raised, studied, vetted and pursued by groups across the country - - because the Great Lakes is an international water resource carefully monitored by experts whose views are not Wisconsin-based.

Here is a solid example from the National Resources Defense Council, and it is well worth reading, particularly by supporters of the Waukesha application.

The conclusion, after a long and detailed discussion:

If Wisconsin deems the Waukesha application ready to move to the next level of review (that decision is expected sometime in November, 2011, after more state analysis and an environmental impact statement), it goes to the 7 Great Lakes governors – each of whom can be expected to weigh in on a questionable proposal as strongly as Governor Cuomo (New York) and Governor Snyder (Michigan) did when Ohio Governor Kasich wavered on vetoing a bill that undermined the Compact.

That’s because protection of the Great Lakes is a rallying point for the region – and a nonpartisan one at that.  As in Ohio, the other governors are unlikely to pull their punches if Wisconsin approves an application with obvious flaws.  The state and the City of Waukesha have a long way to go before it’s even close

Monday, August 22, 2011

Walker Preparing For A Recall? No Doubt

Not much news in Walker's preparing for a recall or using to get his base and donors involved. Regardless of the date or the scenario, game on. As it should be.

Ron Johnson, Of The Government-Should-Run-Like-A-Business Crowd

I wonder if Ron Johnson ran his business this way?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Luminaries lead effort to get Obama to stop tar sands pipeline

Visionaries including Wendell Berry, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and Wes Jackson have joined with indigenous leaders, scientists and others to call on President Barack Obama to refuse a permit for an tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Texas, which poses some serious environmental threats.

They have also called on people from across the country to join them in Washington, D.C., for what could be a historical moment.

From now until Sept. 3, hundreds and perhaps thousands of citizens are participating in nonviolent civil disobedience, in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., to try to convince Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.

A Madison contingent has already answered the call, and one Madisonian is among those arrested.

Read more in this LaCrosse Tribune story.

In Broke Wisconsin, Plenty Of Loot For Partisan GOP Lawyers

I trust taxpayers fully grasp that the broke State of Wisconsin under the Walker/Fitzgerald 'budget-repair' regime has found $700,000 - - and growing - - to pay the lawyers to fight for partisan redistricting and other special interest costs, as the Journan Sentinel reports.

Why Unemploy Walker? How About, Return The Favor?

You can argue that the worst thing Walker did was wipe out most union rights.

Or arrogate to himself the power to make or break administrative rules.

Or turn the DNR into another Commerce Department.

Or play ping-pong with people facing health crises.

We had a debate on this blog about his worst offense, but in my view, the worst thing he has done, and strongest evidence that he fails the test of character and leadership, is the politics and games he and his party played with everyday people who had been out of work for weeks and months.

If local media produced something similar, I'm sorry I don't remember it, but take a look at these profiles about the unemployed produced by The Washington Post.

When his recall is underway, recall the issue and remind people that the fate of their already-beaten-down neighbors became fodder for talking points and ideological one-upsmanship.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sounds Like Elizabeth Warren Is Running For The US Senate

Now there's a worthy successor to Ted Kennedy.

Ron Johnson's Search For Judges Now More Complicated

We know that newbie Tea Party US Senator Ron Johnson thinks the Constitution gives him the right to pick federal judicial nominees - - an excellent discussion is here - - thus he's blocked a UW-Madison law school professor's nomination to the US Court of Appeals by President Barack Obama.

Regrettably, Johnson can now block a second nomination, as the President will have to replace the legendary Terence Evans who passed away last week.

This means Johnson has to come up with the names of two candidates with degrees in law and at least a minor in sorcery, and that is no easy task.

Justice Prosser, Wisconsin Judiciary Gets Slapped By The New York Times

An editorial takes him to task for his failure to recuse himself in a key ruling.

The cloud hanging over the Right in the state keeps getting darker, and the state's reputation takes another hit.

Democrats Love Republicans Who Act Like Democrats

George W. Bush and Rick Perry forget Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment.

Reader Feedback: Last Week's Top Five Posts

These were the five most-read item here last week. Thanks for the hits:

Aug 15, 2011
Aug 13, 2011
Aug 16, 2011
Aug 17, 2011
Aug 16, 2011

Devastating Essay, Shocking Data On The State Of The Nation

The author, Gus Speth, is a former White House advisor, UN official, co-founder of the National Resources Defense Council, and Yale environmental Dean, among a long list of positions and activities.

I'll reprint his data from the original:

To our great shame, among the 20 major advanced countries America now has
  • the highest poverty rate, both generally and for children;
  • the greatest inequality of incomes;
  • the lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP on social programs for the disadvantaged;
  • the lowest number of paid holiday, annual, and maternity leaves;
  • the lowest score on the United Nations’ index of “material well-being of children”;
  • the worst score on the United Nations’ gender inequality index;
  • the lowest social mobility;
  • the highest public and private expenditure on health care as a portion of GDP,
yet accompanied by the highest
  • infant mortality rate;
  • prevalence of mental health problems;
  • obesity rate;
  • portion of people going without health care due to cost;
  • low-birth-weight children per capita (except for Japan);
  • consumption of antidepressants per capita;
along with the shortest life expectancy at birth (except for Denmark and Portugal);
  • the highest carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption per capita;
  • the lowest score on the World Economic Forum’s environmental performance index (except for Belgium), and the largest ecological footprint per capita (except for Belgium and Denmark);
  • the highest rate of failing to ratify international agreements;
  • the lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of GDP;
  • the highest military spending as a portion of GDP;
  • the largest international arms sales;
  • the most negative balance of payments (except New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal);
  • the lowest scores for student performance in math (except for Portugal and Italy) (and far from the top in both science and reading);
  • the highest high school dropout rate (except for Spain);
  • the highest homicide rate;
  • and the largest prison population per capita.

Friday, August 19, 2011

See Monarch Butterflies Tomorrow; They're Free To See, As The Song Says

This is where you want to be Saturday, at 5 p.m., according to the good folks who are saving butterfly habitat at our very own County Grounds:

Monarch Migration Events 2011.

Monarch butterflies will soon start their 2,000-mile annual migration from Canada to Mexico.

They feed and roost by the hundreds on our very own Milwaukee County Grounds before they head for their winter roosting site.

Best time to visit to witness the roosts is around sunset, from about 10 days before and after Labor Day.

Many butterflies can be seen feeding from sunrise to sunset.
Bring Your Camera! Migration Launch August 20th ~~~~~~~~Saturday, 5 pm start.

All events are free~~meet at the Kiosk—Parks Department Headquarters, 9480 W. Watertown Plank Rd., Wauwatosa.

Guided tour starts at 5:45.

Pack a picnic, food and beverages will also be for sale including Dick’s famous sandwiches. Fly kites (bring yours/borrow one of ours, local acoustic musicians, and don’t miss the butterfly release!

The Friends of the Monarch Trail have saved 11 acres of habitat from all development in the future.

But development will occur on some of the area that is now monarch habitat, so the saved area will need to be improved and enhances by volunteers.

Look for the Monarch flags on the North side of W. Watertown Plank Rd.

Here's a Michele Bachmann Highlight Reel

Did you know we had "gangster government?"

There's more.

NY Times Makes The Case For Walker's Recall

I'm sure Walker's insiders know that what the Times is saying is true:  Recalls are difficult, and Democrats did not win control of the Senate, but there is deep dissatisfaction with Walker's approach and program even in Republican strongholds - - all suggesting Walker is vulnernable.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

According to WalkerMath, Nearly All US Jobs Lost In July Were In Wisconsin

Just like nearly all the jobs created in June were created in Wisconsin, no?

GOP/Tea Party Favorites Illustrate National Political Double-Standard

Just an observation:

The Right is allowed to put up far-right, fringe Presidential candidates who get front-runner or authenticating treatment - - Michele Bachmann appeared by invitation on five Sunday morning TV shows on the strength of an eked out 'win' in the 'voting' in the Iowa $straw Poll last Saturday.

How many zany this has she said relatively recently - - Barack Obama is a socialist or "unAmerican," for example.

Now the instant legitimization is conferred on Rick Perry, the Secessionist.

Look at the fawning over Perry on the 15th in The New York Times after the Texas Governor swooped into Iowa:

The introduction of Mr. Perry as an aspiring presidential candidate unfolded in bite-size pieces, with fresh details emerging as he sauntered across the fairgrounds on the third day of his announcement tour. The path had already been well worn by his Republican rivals who camped out in the state last week, but he breezed in like a long-lost visitor, so confident that he blew kisses into a camera when asked about Mr. Romney. “Give him my love,” Mr. Perry said.
The addition of Mr. Perry to the presidential campaign has changed the landscape of the Republican field — particularly for Mr. Romney and Mrs. Bachmann — while injecting a shot of vigor into the contest.
But if a candidate from the genuine Left ran for President, such as Bernie Sanders - - and please, no references at this mention of the consensus-seeking Pres. Obama, who, on taxes, the War in Afghanistan, Arctic oil drilling, for example, indicate he's really a moderate - -  that candidate would be excoriated, mocked, threatened and/or ruined.