Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ryan's Losing Boo-Hoo Boo-Boo

Chris Christie plays honest pundit on Paul Ryan's whine today about media bias:

“I’m not going to sit here and complain about coverage of the campaign,” said Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. “As a candidate, if you do that, you’re losing.”

Hypocrisy Alert: Thompson Attacks Baldwin On Health-Care Takeover, But Look Who's Talking

US Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, (R), is running a campaign ad against his opponent US Rep. Tammy Baldwin that accuses her of favoring a federal takeover of health care.

But Thompson, a former Secretary of Health and Human Services, has been described as key supporter of ObamaCare before he flipped in the campaign to oppose it.

And look at his own explanation about running federal health-care programs he said make him Senate-worthy:

I'll give you how big my department was: We have all the children programs, all the elderly programs, all the welfare programs, all the social services programs, all the drug production programs, we run FDA which regulates 25 percent of the gross national product, run CDC which is the organization that determines what an infectious disease is, ran the National Institutes of Health which is the greatest research center in the world, responsible for all the Native Americans and Alaskan Natives' health, responsible for all the international health of anybody that's coming to the United States...
So there's hardly anybody that has the knowledge or the base of knowledge that I do.
By the way - - in case you missed it - - the same article also has Tommy's tortured explanation for his role in health-care management after 9/18.
And then after 9/18, I was responsible for the public health of all Americans, responsible for preventing any attack using weaponized medicines like the plague, like smallpox, like anthrax, like tellurium.
9/18? Or did he mean 9/11?

Which led to these remarks from then-spokesman Brian Nemoir, now gone from that campaign post in the wake of his snarky distribution of a email and video a few weeks ago meant to undermine Baldwin, who is openly gay:
"There are two plausible explanations as to the recent 9/18 versus 9/11 reference made by Tommy Thompson at a recent event," said campaign spokesman Brian Nemoir. "First, the entire civilized world has the wrong date of this historic and tragic attack on our nation's soil; second, during a spirited campaign appearance Tommy Thompson misspoke regarding an horrific episode in our country’s history during which he played a key leadership role. The campaign is fully examining both scenarios."

He declined to answer a follow-up question on whether that meant Thompson had misspoken.

But after the article was initially published, Nemoir contacted The Huffington Post again and clarified that Thompson was actually referring to the date the anthrax letters were received.
"As a point of clarification, 9/18/01 is in reference to the anthrax attacks on specific members of congress and varied members of the news media," wrote Nemoir.
Hat tip, Blogging Blue.

After Senate Debate, GOP Still Facing Third And Long

GOP strategists and VIP's from Scott Walker to Paul Ryan no doubt wanted a stronger, more structured performance from Tommy Thompson in Friday night's debate than he provided.

(I live-blogged the debate, here, and summarized it here.)

Walker isn't supposed to be making headlines at this point in the campaign cycle, but his botched chairmanship of the state economic development corporation he created made negative news around the state, and the story broken by the Wisconsin State Journal last week isn't going away given the breadth and weight of the questions that federal authorities are raising about the corporation's legal and financial compliance.

Ryan is out there on the stump - - somewhere, muzzled to an extent except for power pointy chatter  - - as the national GOP ticket struggles with a Presidential candidate now more unpopular than George W. Bush.

And with just six weeks left in a campaign stalled in the 47% range due to writing off 47% of the electorate as lazy bums - - dead in the water since its convention more than a month ago that ended with Dirty Harry cracking wise to an empty chair.

So there was this opportunity in swing state Wisconsin Friday night to have the veteran Tommy Thompson - - signed by Team GOP out of retirement for one last shot at a ring - -  carry the ball and give the starters a breather, but he ran sideways for no gain instead of breaking through the line for a first down.

And we're still trying to figure out at the very time Republicans repeatedly deny that government can do anything right, and have beaten up President Obama for suggesting that government has any role in building things that former Governor Tommy's televised debate playbook called for claiming in the debate "I built Wisconsin."

Post-debate Monday will arrive and present as status quo ante, as my Dad was fond of saying.

Romney/Ryan will be continue to struggle for footing in Wisconsin without a weekend bump or even daylight from Tommy,

Scott Walker will still have to explain to the Feds whether his new shiny corporation spent millions of dollars legally without Tommy having strategically blocked him from the headlines.

And Tommy will be fulminatin' somewhere in Wisthompsin - - Grandiosityville, perhaps - - which he built.

The Onion can't be far behind.

Cross-posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Journal Sentinel Makes Right Call On Streetcar Construction Costs

Kudos to the Journal Sentinel for saying that he expense of moving some underground utility lines to make way for a streetcar planned for Milwaukee should be spread across the region with access to the system - - just as highway construction costs are spread across a region.

I don't remember WisDOT planning to bill Wauwatosa residents for utility work needed to rebuild the Zoo Interchange, so stop with the ant-Milwaukee double-standards.

Headed Out For A Fall Walk...

In the state Tommy built. #grateful

4:30 p.m. update: OMG! He really nailed it. All the trees are the right height.

Thank you, Tommy

Best Post-Senate Debate Facebook Comment About Tommy Thompson

These pithy few lines were written by my friend Mike Maierle after I'd wise-cracked and live-blogged about Tommy's claim in the debate to have built Wisconsin:

I got a jolt from the "I built Wisconsin" line. Business didn't build it, the tax payers didn't build it, God didn't build it. A man who was governor a long time ago built it. It's a line that should offend conservatives and liberals! Tommy is so great he doesn't need no stinking voters.

Report Has Waukesha And Oak Creek Nearing Water Agreement

The Waukesha Patch (comments available) says Oak Creek is likely to be Waukesha's supplier of Lake Michigan water.

The story suggests that Waukesha, after fits and starts, is back in hurry-up mode, and it's not clear if a public hearing is planned:

The Oak Creek Common Council and Water Utility Commission will each vote on the contract Tuesday. Terms were not immediately known.

Format Produces Unsatisfying Senate Debate; Baldwin Wins On Points

I posted this over at Purple Wisconsin:

Suppose they gave a US Senate debate and the format was so stifling you wouldn't watch the next one?

That precisely describes last night's first-of-three televised debates 'joint appearances' with US Rep. Tammy Baldwin, (D), and former Governor Tommy Thompson, (R) - - and, yes, I did my due diligence and live-blogged it, here - -  but without cross-talking and immediate responses, or tough, researched questions, The Friday night show was more a pair of interviews that could have been conducted in separate studios.

So - - no surprise that there were no surprises - - or bombshells or strong blows landed or revealing flubs or truly memorable lines - - so I'm left with a few impressions.

*  Tommy was the more animated of the candidates, but he spent way too much time stating and repeating and repeating what he did when he was Governor - - he left office in early 2001- - which was a long time ago, and more importantly, in a far different era economically when a rising tide temporarily lifted all boats - - along with the job creation totals in Wisconsin he kept touting, too.

And while you might say, "well, that's just Tommy," he displayed an irritating grandiosity about things in the past that were clearly team efforts  - - "I built Wisconsin...I built a hospital..."and so on.

*  As for Baldwin: she answered questions more directly without bombast or references to the past than did Tommy and struck me as more current on issues.

She spoke passionately about the value of Social Security in the context of its value to the grandparents who raised her, but on other issues she was more cerebral and measured than emotional.

I don't know Baldwin well enough to know if that is simply who she is, or if she needed to present herself to viewers who might have been seeing her for the first time as cool, calm and collected to avoid the trapping, no-win allegation of 'look at that emotional woman' that can bedevil strong female candidates.

US Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri is feeling some of that from her male opponent, the disgraced Rep. Todd (Legitimate Rapes) Akin, and Karl Rove's SuperPac has put up an ad playing on the same double-standard in Wisconsin that shows Baldwin making a strong speech and using the words "damn right!"

The Horror!

But after watching and blogging and thinking about it, I have to grade Tommy down.

He laughed inappropriately or smiled insincerely when Tammy was speaking, or in response to her: I thought it was openly condescending. Also condescending to viewers is the canard that he's just a Wisconsin farmer who never left the state. Stop, please.

He also seemed to be on unsteady ground when talking about how "The Army Corps of The [Sic] Engineers should go about keeping asian carp out of the Great Lakes, and twice referred to Iranian president Ahmadinejad as Ahmadinejohn. These things hit your ear, grate and raise questions. Does he know the facts, and why does he stumble over them?

And when discussing energy options, he repeated a conservative meme about how oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would have as little impact on the environment there as putting a postage stamp on a football field.

That's where he lost me, this new, less-substantial Tommy continually off too far to the Right.

The myth of environmentally-neutral drilling in ANWR is oil industry propaganda. It principally focuses on the square footage taken up by drilling pads and a few ancillary items, but not, for example, the presence of machinery trucked in to set up well fields, and the infrastructure like roads.

And it distracts from what it would take to get to and repair broken pipes and clean up spills. Postage stamp on a football field? Don't condescend us.

Baldwin talked about greener energy alternatives, so, again, I credit her with having a greater command of of the issues, this being 2012.

So - - the winner is Tammy Baldwin, by a TKO, on points - - for the uninitiated, that is is a boxing reference (a technical knock out, rather than literally counted out "1...10")  - - and I base my decision on her preparation, level-headedness, grasp of contemporary matters and more consistently looking forward, not backwards.

I think viewers saw her as a competent Senator-in-waiting.

Tommy - - well, he should stick to that private-sector consulting and schmoozing.

He told us tonight that he does a lot of living in the past.

Reminiscence doesn't lead.

And if the next two so-called debates are set up and managed like this one - - and I mean this - - call them off and let the candidates go meet some voters or raise some money so we and they can do something more productive with the time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Let's Start Blogging The Tammy/Tommy Senate Debate

So here we go:

8:03: The intro panel of three old white guys like me who are representing sponsoring and hosting groups is way too exclusive and off-putting.

8:07 - - Opening statements. Tammy Baldwin going straight after Tommy and his special-interest representation.  Tommy invokes his history, mentions his wife. Says Tammy is number-one liberal and spender in Congress.

8:09 - - First questions. Softball to Tommy. What's the worst ad thrown at him? Woof! Tommy is all over the place, claiming to be a farmer. Second mention of his wife.

8:09 - - Same question to Tammy. She's responding with comprehensive answers about GOP spending. To this point, Tammy has more command of facts. Tommy is all 'aw-shucks.' '90% of the people in this great state know me as Tommy.'

8:10 - - Question about fiscal cliff. Tommy says we're heading for a recession. No back-and-forth. Weak format.

8:14 - - Taxing and spending question. He wants a balanced budget amendment- - but that would take effect years and years down the road, maybe. Weak answer. Tammy would end war spending. Hits Tommy's giveaway of drug prescription purchasing power. Tommy is smirking at Tammy's answer. Arrogant and cheesy.

8:16 Tax question. Fast-paced Q & A. Too bad there is no cross-talk. Tammy specific on getting rid of deduction that enables out-sourcing. Tommy talks about some company he worked at, LHI? Who knows what that is? Tommy is his folksy self tonight.

8:19 - - Q. about congressional procedures. Be specific. What needs to change? Tommy is talking again what he did when he was Governor. He says people should sit down and talk, then hits Tammy for being too "out there." Big smile from Tammy: She should do that more often.

8:22 - - Q. about Social Security. Tammy is now a little more conversational. Looking more relaxed.  She wants Soc. Sec. left alone. Strong answer. Tommy says he wants to fix Soc. Sec. and Medicare. Strong answer. But where is the mention of that tape where he said he'd get rid Medicare. Panelists missed an opening there.

8:25 - -Q. to Tommy on ObamaCare. Tommy says he's the health care reformer in the state. Tammy says ObamaCare should be put into full effect.

8:28 - - A follow-up Q! To Tommy: anything worth saving in ObamaCare? Wants it changed. He says it all should be up to the states and individuals, not the federal government. Tammy says Tommy's position is absurd. She hits Tommy again on the loss of federal drug purchasing power.

8:31 - - Q. about Medicare. Tammy opposes vouchers. Says Tommy supports that. If seniors are listening, this is a potential rough spot for Tommy. Tommy is laughing. Says he didn't do that. Says she wants to "tear down and criticize." Says the program will go broke in 2022. Fact-checkers?

8:33 - -Tommy asked about Israel and using American troops. Mispronounces name of Iranian president twice, and name of and major waterway. Wants "the red line" drawn! Tammy strong against Iranian nuke. Backs Obama, and sanctions. Would not send US troops into harm's way without serious thought and an exit strategy.

8:36 - -Mideast q. Tammy begins by defending her early support for Afghanistan war support after 9/11.Tommy says Tammy misstated her Iran sanctions' votes. He says he built a women's hospital in Afghanistan He did? Tommy wants all troops out. So does Tammy. Wisconsin still an anti-war state.

8:39 - - Energy. Tommy wants drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Says the drilling area is as small as a postage stamp on a football field. Really? Roads and vehicle storage, for instance?

Also the Keystone pipeline. he says he went to ANWR to take care of people there? Grandiose. Tammy is talking green energy. Stark difference in answers.

8: 41 - -Job creation Q: Close-up on Tommy. Those jowls. Yipes! Says he's tired of being attacked on job creation when he's in the private sector creating jobs. Says there is plenty of money to be invested, but there is uncertainty?

8:45 - - Abortion q. Tommy says he is and always been pro-life, with some exclusions for health and life of the mother. Ten-second answer. Tammy says she is pro-choice. For as few abortions as possible.

Follow-up, though it's a different issue: Same sex-marriage q: He supports the anti-same-sex marriage vote in WI referendum where it passed in 71 of 72 counties. Says it's a state issue.

Tammy says she supports marriage equality. Gets cut-off for time.

8:48 - - Asian carp q. Tammy is for more cooperation among the states. Wants more cooperation on invasive species. Tommy says this is her first answer where he's not being blamed by Tammy. he's buying and spending time, it appears.

Says he's for sealing the waterway with wire. What? Talks about the Army Corps of the Engineers. Oops.

8:51 - - Q. for Tommy. Would be obstruct Obama agenda as GOP has been doing. Gives stump speech answer about working together. Bombast. Not moving me. Tammy brings up Tommy's singing Grover Norquist's no-tax-pledge.

8:52 - - 90-second closing statements. Tommy is running for his kids and ours. "I'm a reformer, ladies and gentlemen." Third mention of his wife. Says ObamaCare will ruin America. Asks for people's votes.

Tammy's closing statement: Wants tax fairness. Tommy wants tax cuts "weighted to the very wealthy." Wants end to Afghan war, tax breaks for the wealthy, the sacrificed drug purchasing leverage Tommy supported. She asks for people's votes.

She hit more issues in that closing statement. Tommy a bit more rhetorical and theatrical.

And by the way, this live-blogging is for the birds. I'm no stenographer.


Tammy/Tommy Debate #1

I think I'll live blog it off the TeeVee.

Sheriff Clarke, Always Whining About His Budget, But...

Now we know he blew through a lot of free money that came his department's way through an asset-forfeiture program:

The Milwaukee County sheriff's office has used funds from crime asset forfeitures to buy workout equipment for Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.'s command staff, customer training for 50 employees through a Disney program and a mounted patrol unit, a county audit released Friday shows.

Under the national asset forfeiture program, property seized in drug raids and other crimes can be used to compensate victims and deter crime. The sheriff's office fund provided more than $800,000 since 2008.

Just A Few, Pre-Debate Hours Until Tommy Thompson...

Runs from his "I'm the guy" to do away with Medicare and Medicaid video tape.

You can see his spin and sprint when the 8 p.m. televised debate is aired statewide tonight.

Student Loan Wisconsin Research Gets Good Media Ride

Top of Page One in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Cap Times.

Green Bay TV/radio

Wisconsin Radio Network.

Consumer media.

Progress Now.

This blog.

Troubled Walker Agency Picking Winners With Public Dollars

Scott Walker accused Tom Barrett during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of using government programs and public dollars to pick business sector winners and losers.

Conservative talker Charlie Sykes even put the reflexive righty allegation on his website when Walker sent him an email about it and said to Sykes (bold-face and italics in the original):

But the bottom line is that people create jobs and not government. The Mayor's plan is limited to tax credits which allow the government to pick winners and losers.
OK: You tell me how just this one example - - among many - - from the Wisconsin State Journal's eye-opening disclosure story about federal claims of fiscal and legal mismanagement at Scott Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation  - - whose board he chairs  - - doesn't completely give the lie to the Sykes/Walker/boiler-plate rhetoric about job creation and picking winners and losers:
In the case of Kapco, a metal fabricating company, HUD questioned both the per-job cost of the $3 million loan to create 152 jobs at its Osceola plant — $20,000 versus the $10,000 "maximum" set in state policy — and the fact that the loan is forgivable.

Scott Walker, Damage Controllers, Got Their Hands Dirty Thursday

Scott Walker and his band of one-dimensional power players haven't had much experience with I'm Sorry or Mea Culpa, but that was Job One yesterday after the Wisconsin State Journal broke the story that Walker & Co. had withheld information about fiscal and legal mismanagement from a relatively new business development board Walker chairs.

Worse from a PR point of view, one outraged board member - - a CEO from Walker's core constituency - - had gone public with blistering criticism and a threatened resignation.

Others, including this blog, piled on, (here, too), Damage Control went to DefCon 5, and by the end of the day the unthinkable had happened:

Apologies were issued.

*  Walker himself walked back a talk radio-style barb he had auto-spoken about how the whole thing had been "hyped" by media. He even left a voice mail for the offended CEO.

*  Department of Administration Secretary and Chief Sacrificial Lamb Mike Huebsch was sent out to fall on his sword.

Which meant that the state official in charge of the super-agency that blocked access to the State Capitol on behalf of an administration that "dropped the bomb" on tens of thousands of public employees, and which is still overseeing an aggressive Capitol crackdown on peaceful protesters - - all without anything approaching an apology - -  is responsible for unprecedented Walker-era crow-eating headlines in both the state AP's story and today's edition of the Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin's largest newspaper:

Walker aide apologizes over handling of WEDC federal complaints

In a story that had grown to include three bylines.

Though Administration Secretary Huebsch is so unfamiliar with this business of apologizing, and obviously unaware of the true benefits of transparency in government, that he butchered the cliche in which he gift-wrapped it.

Said Huebsch:
"I will certainly err on the side of providing greater information in the future."
In WalkerWorld, more information is seen as a mistake, still.

I think he meant "err on the side of caution," implying thoughtful hesitation and not, as he suggested, 'erring' by doing something "greater."

None the less, the scapegoats have been heard from, but the story isn't over, as the issue is really about the state's mismanagement of millions of public dollars picking winners and losers at an agency so important to Walker's pro-business persona and political future that he chairs its board.

Student Loan Debt Weakens Economy, Recovery

Congress and the President made a deal this summer to rein in student loan interest rates for another year, but what's the impact on families and businesses of that revenue being diverted from the consumer, retail or housing sectors, for example?

A study released Thursday by the Institute for One Wisconsin, Madison, offers a comprehensive set of jaw-dropping answers:

Madison -- As student loan debt tops one trillion dollars nationally, surpassing credit card debt, federal officials are pointing to the debt crisis as a drag on economic recovery efforts. Original research from the Institute for One Wisconsin released today confirms the detrimental economic impact of student loan debt, finding it reduces new car purchasing in Wisconsin by over $200 million annually and that middle class households with student loan debt are overwhelmingly more likely to rent than own a home.
(Disclosure: I am a member of the Institute Board.) 

The Journal Sentinel, combining the Institute study and separate data, said in a Thursday story that the effects on the overall economy were extensive and expanding:
One in five American households now owes money on student loans - more than double the percentage of households and nearly triple the average amount of college debt of two decades ago.
Among the Institute's detailed findings, according to Scot Ross, Executive Director:
  • Individuals with bachelors degrees reported making an average monthly student loan payments of $350 and those with graduate or professional degrees made an average payment of $448;
  • The length of student loan debt was nearly 19 years for persons with bachelors degrees and over 22 years for those with graduate or professional degrees;
  • An increasing reliance on private student loans versus government loans and an increasing number of individuals consolidating their loans, therefore extending the repayment period and total amount paid, post-1996 Student Loan Marketing Association Reorganization Act;
  • Individuals paying on a student loan are more than twice as likely to purchase a used versus new automobile;
  • Annual aggregate new vehicle spending may be reduced in Wisconsin by up to $201.8 million;
  • A strong correlation between student loan debt and renting with 85.6% of renters with household incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 currently paying on a student loan.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Walker Was Involved In Legally-Troubled WI Redistricting Strategizing

Bad enough that court orders were repeatedly violated in a Federal court case about setting election voting districts, and that the district maps were drawn in secret, but now the Journal Sentinel is reporting that even more court-ordered documents were not disclosed during the Federal litigation and Gov. Walker's office was involved in the case:

Groups that sued the state over election maps said Thursday they had identified 15 more documents that were improperly withheld from them by lawyers for the Legislature.

The case has shown that lawyers with Michael Best & Friedrich did not turn over a raft of documents despite a string of court orders. The latest filing alleges there are even more...

The groups released some but not all of the emails they have found. One showed Gov. Scott Walker’s chief legal counsel, Brian Hagedorn, and top officials at the state Department of Justice planned to meet with Michael Best’s attorneys in August 2011 on how to respond to the lawsuit. That was the first time it was shown Walker's office had been included on litigation strategy in the case.
Heads should roll.

Romney Talking Point Dies: Data Review Shows Nearly 400,000 More New US Jobs

Well, with Romney's key campaign job claim now dead, he can always ask for Obama's birth certificate.

In His First Few Minutes Today, Righty Hate-Speech Talker Mark Belling...

Opened by calling the female panel on "The View," or its viewers, "old bats...old bags...old biddies...," and continues about the TV show:

"Liberal women are always ugly...liberalism makes you ugly...liberal women are always angry...a growing number of them are playing for the other team..."

I won't be listening all day, though at some point he will dig in his heels and again attack a man who died in police custody while hand-cuffed, and dump on anyone who didn't like hearing Belling's attack.

3:50 p.m. update: I'm done. Belling is off on a rant about the coming Spain-and-Greek-style riots in the US next year if Obama is re-elected and the country slides into another recession, the 50% cuts that are needed in food stamps, and Medicare, and so on.

4:30 p.m. update: Dropped back into Belling's program just in time to hear Belling refuse to back down..."I called him a dirty rotten thug because he's a dirty rotten thug...," go on yet another word salad-heavy misogynistic rant about "fat" mothers who suffocate their children "by recklessess" in co-sleeping incidents being worse than police officers who allow a prisoner to suffocate while hand-cuffed.

And, apropros of nothing, tosses in a barb at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Meg Kissinger, who interviewed Belling about 15 years ago, calling her a "battle axe."

Another Dirty, Rotten Mark Belling Outrage

James Causey of the Journal Sentinel takes WISN AM 1130's right-wing Mark Belling to task for an unconscionable attack on the African-American Milwaukee man whose videotaped death while hand-cuffed and begging for his life in police custody has sparked calls for a federal probe and new state-mandated police training.

As Causey writes:

WISN-AM (1130) radio host Mark Belling referred to Derek Williams as a dirty, rotten thug and said the only reason his death is in the news is because the Journal Sentinel discovered the story.

Belling made the comments during the last three minutes of his three-hour show Wednesday. Click here to hear his rant.
It's hard to keep track of Belling's demogoguery at the expense of minorioties and the less-powerful over the years, but here is a partial scorecard of his targets:





He's the face and voice of the poison in Southeastern Wisconsin that is right-wing talk radio.

Wisconsin Development Board, Members, Being Used, Dissed

One of Scott Walker's signature, pro-business moves upon becoming Governor last year was morphing the cabinet-level Wisconsin Department of Commerce into something that CEO's and investor-types were supposed to like even better- - a public/private hybrid with a business-dominated Board of Directors called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Set aside that the executive director there is quitting after little more than a year at the helm, and that the new agency has failed to lead a business turn-around in Wisconsin as Walker is only +11% towards his campaign pledge to create 250,000 new jobs during a four-year term.

Facts are emerging that the agency kept its board in the dark about allegations from federal regulators that millions of taxpayer dollars were being poorly managed and perhaps spent without legal authority.

The Wisconsin State Journal broke the story.

It's bad policy to keep important information like that from a board, especially one with a public mission and multi-million-dollar public budget - - and worse, in this case, since it was the board chair Scott Walker himself who is on record opting for management by bureaucratic double-speak instead of disclosure, as reported by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Walker, who chairs the economic development board, defended the decision not to inform the board of the matter, saying the federal government "routinely" corresponds with the state.

"It's one where the Department of Administration is still waiting to hear back from HUD in terms of whether the things they're proposing are acceptable to them," he said. "And if those are things that need approval from the board certainly we'll have a special meeting of the board."
Late Thursday update: Apologies and other CYA activities smooth over the administration's bad behavior.

All of which undermines something Walker told The Lakeland Times during the 2010 campaign about "transparency:"


When he says he believes in government transparency, it's not just a campaign slogan, Walker said.

"I don't just say that, I've lived it," he said.

The Journal Sentinel is also reporting that one board member, threatening resignation, seems to be catching on.

I suspect the public will be close behind.

Anti-Medicare Tommy Jumps On Sinking Ship

Tommy Thompson's troubled vanity campaign for US Senate is now a referendum on killing Medicare.

With large numbers of senior and low-income voters in Wisconsin, you might as well campaign statewide here  side-by-side with replacement NFL refs. Wearing Chicago Bears caps.

Tommy is on video tape saying he's the guy to "do away with" both Medicare and Medicaid, and on the eve of his first debate Friday with Democratic opponent and pro-Medicare candidate Tammy Baldwin, The Washington Post is leading its online page today with a story showing Paul Ryan's plan to tamper with Medicare is dragging Romney down in swing states Virginia, Florida and Ohio.

Bad timing for Tommy as the "who better than me" video becomes his own "47%" albatross.

Walker Skips Out On The Daily Grind

Prefers being flattered in North Carolina than confronting paltry job growth in Wisconsin.

BURLINGTON GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory on Tuesday embraced Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has become a hero in conservative circles because of his battles with organized labor.

Barnstorming across the state with Walker, McCrory declared that “there was no greater role model” than Walker and that he would bring the same kind of strong leadership qualities and pro-growth policies to North Carolina.
"Pro-growth policies?"

The facts in Wisconsin are far from impressive, according to regular Journal Sentinel tracking:
In an update, the newspaper has this to say about Scott Walker's core campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in one term:

The [Federal] monthly survey shows 500 fewer jobs in August than when 2012 began. That puts the rough total of jobs created since Walker took office at 27,311. That leaves about 222,689 jobs to go, with a little more than two years left in his term.

Read more here:

Why The Need For Specifics From Mitt Romney? Remember Act 10

Mitt Romney refuses to be pinned down on the details of his economic plans, and will not disclose, for example, which deductions for which earners, or exactly which government programs he would eliminate.

But make the issue and questions broader: which budget cuts and other basic ALEC-inspired policy changes would he sign as dictated Grover Norquist, who has said he and his supporters only want a President with digits to hold a pen and sign into law what the far right might push through Congress.

The ever-changing Romney is that pliable, so the risks are real.

Specificity at this state of the campaign is certainly within the public's right to know, and we here in Wisconsin have first-hand knowledge of what can happen when a Chief Executive candidate - - Republican Scott Walker - - withheld his key policy and fiscal initiative during the campaign, then was elected and "dropped the bomb."

His phrase.

Not elegant.

Walker's blockbuster was Act 10, which stripped public sector workers of their historic-in-Wisconsin ability to bargain collectively, monkey-wrenched their internal union operations, effectively cut their pay and kept enough money out of main-street economies to stall the economy.

More results: unprecedented political battles and protests, recall elections and ongoing litigation - - all expensive measured in dollars and damage to the state's political climate and reputation.

So: disclosure matters.

Early, effective and honest disclosure is what we needed in Wisconsin, didn't get, and now want from Romney before Nov. 6th.

The longer he bobs and weaves, the more you can assume that should he win, Grover Norquist, channeling Scott Walker, will run the show.

Romney Takes Campaign Irony To New Height

He calls out foreign-born, Muslim, Socialist President Obama's campaign for "character assassination."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Headline Writer Could Have Said 'DNR Board Avoids Contempt Citation'

But the Journal Sentinel wrote it this way:

DNR board says no to dog rules for wolf hunt

Walker's 250,000 Jobs'-Pledge Buried On His Campaign Website

You won't find his failing 250,000 new jobs' pledge (and 10,000 new businesses, too!) under "Issues," and "Putting Wisconsin Back To Work."

What's there instead looks hurriedly-written, with punctuation and sentence-structure errors, such as:

Within minutes of taking the oath of office, my first official act as governor, was to begin to implement a comprehensive Emergency Jobs Plan...

I will continue my focus , we were successful.
(In case a virus or a hacker or someone in the administration with a sudden finger-twitch hits the website and the information disappears, I'll post the full text below so you can see that the pledge and numbers were mentioned four times when Walker and his campaign were touting it.)

But you can find the pledge on the 17th of 19 pages at the "Press Releases" link:

I've posted about it several times - - one example, here - -  and this is where on his site to find it, including this intro:

Scott Walker Unveils Plan to Bring 250,000 Jobs and 10,000 New Businesses to Wisconsin by 2015

Tells Business Leaders “People Create Jobs, Not Government”

Madison – Scott Walker, Milwaukee County executive and candidate for governor, announced today at the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) Gubernatorial Candidate Forum his ambitious plan to bring 250,000 jobs and 10,000 new businesses to Wisconsin by 2015.
“If you elect me as your next Governor, I’ll get government out of the way and lower the tax burden so Wisconsin business owners and factories can create 250,000 jobs and 10,000 businesses in our state by 2015,” said Walker to the group of over 800 business owners and community leaders.
Full page text:

Scott Walker Unveils Plan to Bring 250,000 Jobs and 10,000 New Businesses to Wisconsin by 2015

Tells Business Leaders “People Create Jobs, Not Government”

Madison – Scott Walker, Milwaukee County executive and candidate for governor, announced today at the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) Gubernatorial Candidate Forum his ambitious plan to bring 250,000 jobs and 10,000 new businesses to Wisconsin by 2015.

“If you elect me as your next Governor, I’ll get government out of the way and lower the tax burden so Wisconsin business owners and factories can create 250,000 jobs and 10,000 businesses in our state by 2015,” said Walker to the group of over 800 business owners and community leaders.

Walker outlined his six-step plan to help Wisconsin businesses create 250,000 new jobs and 10,000 new businesses by 2015:
1 – Lower Taxes “I want to lower the tax on employers, lower the tax on income, freeze property taxes and phase out retirement income taxes.  States that have a lower tax burden have more jobs and better budgets, and its time Wisconsin was a better state to do business.”

2 – Less Regulations “State agencies should be more responsive to the customer and standards must be science-based and predictable.”

3 – End Frivolous Lawsuits “Luckily, we stopped the Governor’s changes in joint and several liability, but we need to do more to block frivolous lawsuits, and we need true tort reform to help lower health care costs.”

4 – Better Education “We need a strong education system with more accountability and more tools to prepare our future workforce. And it means giving our UW System the tools to operate more like a business to pursue economic development.”

5 – Improve Healthcare “We need help for employers to be able to afford the costs of providing health care without government taking total control. That means eliminating the state tax on Health Savings Accounts.  It means full disclosure on medical procedures. And it means helping employers tap into larger purchasing pools to share the risk. Most importantly, it means finding new ways for everyone to get some skin in the game so we work on improving our health which will ultimately lead to lower costs.”

6 – Strong Infrastructure “Reliable energy sources and dependable transportation links are the final piece to our plan.”

“Unlike my opponents, I believe that people create jobs, not government,” Walker concluded.  “By enacting my plan, we will be able to get government out of the way of employers big and small who will then help Wisconsin create 250,000 jobs by 2015, and as we create those new jobs, we will be able to add 10,000 new businesses.”'

Scott Walker serves as Milwaukee County executive and approaches his county budget the same way he approaches his family budget - cutting out waste and doing more with less.  Walker has cut the county debt by 10%, reducing the workforce by more than 20%, and has authored eight consecutive budgets without increasing the property tax levy from the previous year.  And when he and his wife Tonette realized the county executive made more money than the governor, they thought that wasn’t right, so dating back to his election in 2002, they have given back over $370,000 of his salary back to the county.

This week, Walker kicked off his brown bag lunch tour that outlines his Brown Bag Guide to Government that follows three basic principles:
  • Don’t spend more than you have.
  • Smaller government is better government.
  • People create jobs, not government.
Scott Walker packs his own brown bag lunch each day before heading to the office (two ham and cheese sandwiches on wheat), and drives a 1998 Saturn with 100,000 miles to cut back on costs.  Scott and Tonette Walker live in Wauwatosa with their two high school aged sons, Matt and Alex.

On Cue, Romney's Ego Proves My Point

I'd written a post dismissing the notion that Mitt Romney would let #2 Paul save the ticket, and a day or so later, Romney embarrassed himself by telling an Ohio crowd wildly chanting Ryan's name it had to chant "Romney" first, and then led the cheer.

Today's Washington Post reports that the conservative TV host Joe Scarborough watched the tape with his hands over his face and said, "Sweet Jesus!"

Upon Further Review, Wisconsin Has a Replacement Governor

The Journal Sentinel keeps a tally of jobs created in Wisconsin measured against Scott Walker's core promise in his 2010 election, and repeated in the 2012 recall runoff, that he would create 250,000 new jobs during four years in office.

I posted the newspaper's most recent update and the briefest of commentary for the record, and to get a discussion going, on my blog:

The monthly survey shows 500 fewer jobs in August than when 2012 began. That puts the rough total of jobs created since Walker took office at 27,311. That leaves about 222,689 jobs to go, with a little more than two years left in his term.

Looks to me that at about the halfway point, he's got 89% of the way to go.

Let's face it: the promise was cotton candy whipped up for political purposes, period. There was no expertise, no economics behind it, regardless of how many buzz-wordy news relases that his campaigns and administration have issued about business tax breaks, new tools, more flexibility, jazzy, camera-ready cold calls to Illinois by Rebecca Kleefisch and "open for business" billboards installed at Wisconsin's borders.

Walker continued the artifice by re-creating the Department of Commerce as a public-private corporaton that was supposed to work faster and more efficiently and get more love from the private sector - - again, wuth the fresh tools and flexibilities and attitudes  - - but Paul Jadin, its first boss has already said he's leaving for a southern Wisconsin regional development agency post, and the feds are saying and documenting that his agency and Walker's coordinating Department of Administration have disregarded oversight responsibilities and squandered big money Big Government sent their way, the Wisconsin State Journal reports today.

I know that Wisconsin political observers are focused in the national and US Senate campaigns, and pro-Walker conflationists will immediately deflect any analysis of his job-creating performance with statements that begin with "But President Obama did this," or "Jim Doyle did that," or "Uncertainties continue to be a pesky problem..." but is there anyone - - especially anyone on the Right flying the Personal Responsibility flag - - who wants to argue on the substance that after nearly two years in office, Scott Walker can claim job-creating success by having hit just 11% of that 250,000-new-jobs'-pledge?

Tommy Thompson Says He's The Best Guy To Do Away With Medicare, Medicaid

In his own words, on video tape.

Journal Sentinel Says Walker Way Behind On 250,000 Job Pledge

Is this what's called leading from behind, or just being behind?

In an update, the newspaper has this to say about Scott Walker's core campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in one term:

The monthly survey shows 500 fewer jobs in August than when 2012 began. That puts the rough total of jobs created since Walker took office at 27,311. That leaves about 222,689 jobs to go, with a little more than two years left in his term.
Looks to me that at about the halfway point, he's got 89% of the way to go.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Milwaukee's Isolated Sheriff Melts Down. Again.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke paint himself into corners with grandiosity that only validates his critics.

Remember when he displayed an ill-advised absence of both judgement and decorum over a budget dispute by pulling his deputies from their role in providing Presidential security in Milwaukee?

Or his ranting about bus security, again to make a budget point - - to the detriment of bus riders and the system's viability, as Milwaukee Ald. Bob Bauman pointed out:

First, it is increasingly apparent that no tactic is beyond Sheriff Clarke’s reach, as he is now attempting to scare tens of thousands of daily transit users by asserting that the transit system is “horrible,” “intimidating” and “frightening.” Apparently he is now willing to vilify the transit system to advance his agenda and, as a result, further jeopardize the financial viability of this taxpayer-funded public service by driving away passengers and prospective passengers.
So again you can wonder in the wake of a new uproar laid out by the Journal Sentinel if there is an end game to Clarke's behaviors other than playing to talk radio which hangs on his every word:
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. said Tuesday he won't implement a deal in which the county pays the Milwaukee Police Department to take over patrols of the lakefront and county parks, even if the plan is formally ratified by the Common Council and County Board...

The sheriff tied the warnings to Monday's announcement that Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele had reached a preliminary agreement to have Milwaukee police take over patrolling county parks in the city and the lakefront and more of the 911 system. Clarke says Milwaukee police are already stretched too thinly to add park patrols.

"I don't really care what they have worked out," Clarke said in an interview. "It's not binding on me."
Yes, every word: AM 620 WTMJ radio's Charlie Sykes, the medium through which Clarke often speaks, read Clarke's intemperate messages verbatim Tuesday, and posted them.

GOP Voter Fraud Squad Good Landing Spot For Replacement Refs

What better way to use people who are familiar with seeing what's not there?

Photos Show Replacement Refs Divide And Conquer

Check the photo gallery.

Most Hypocritical Packer Tweet Is From Scott Walker

Big friend of organized labor! 

Does he know the real refs are unionized, and are locked out by management?

He Tweets "#Returntherealrefs." 
After catching a few hours of sleep, the game is still just as painful.

Mark Neumann Shows The GOP Primary Is Still On!

Tommy, who beat Neumann, is hard up for contributions against better-financed Tammy Baldwin, so here comes Neumann raising money now to pay off a less-than-killer debt.


How Will Right-Wing, Pro-Walker WI Radio Spin The Packers Loss?

You can't be anti-union and complain about replacement refs.

Noteworthy Gems In Journal Sentinel Packer Game Analysis

First, the online headline in Bob McGinn's piece, above the crucial photo, as the paper pulls no punches:

Packers interception gives Seahawks victory

Then this choice phrase in a family newspaper:
Tim Connolly, the Packers' vice president of sales and marketing, said, "That was the most horseshit thing I've ever seen," as he put his coat on and prepared to leave.
And "scab" is not an everyday term, either:
The final play was one of about a dozen that involved controversial calls by the scab crew led by referee Wayne Elliott. It ended the third week without the NFL's regular officials, who are involved in a labor dispute with management.
And a great kicker:
Then Tate stole about half the ball from Jennings, and the Seahawks stole the victory.

Another Excellent Tweet About The Game

As Packer players T.J. lang and Josh Sitton risk fines for Tweets that blast the outcome, Milwaukee's Fox 6 News anchor Ted Perry gets off this gem:

I think Sitton and Lang won't lose money. You get fined for criticizing the refs but it's all too clear now: those dudes AREN'T refs.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Post-Game Tweet Of The Millennium

@wi_defender: I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are all anxiously awaiting what Governor Walker will tweet about this.

11:43 p.m. update: Just checked Scott Walker's Twitter feed. Nada.

My Prediction On Walker Doe Case: From "Hardball" To "Let's Make A Deal"

I just don't believe we will be seeing Walker on the witness stand.

Another Odd Mitt Moment: Wonders Why Airplane Windows Don't Roll Down

How disconnected from the world is this guy?

In a LA Times story about the recent smoky situation his wife Ann endured during a plane malfunction recently, Romney said this:

“When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem."

Romney Will Not Become Dependent On A Rogueish Ryan

The right's meme these last few days for saving Mitt Romney (in advance of the release of "Who Lost The Election" due out Nov. 7th) is that Paul Ryan needs to go rogue (Sarah Palin), or be used more visibly (Charlie Sykes), or as ideologue-in-chief (Scott Walker).

I doubt this transformation is going to happen, because a) Mitt Romney is not a rogueish sort, and b) as the Presidential candidate - - the guy who has been running since 2007, spending millions, and enduring all the political plastic surgery it took to get where he is today - - Romney is not going to concede Ann Coulter was right all along, that he doesn't have the right Right stuff and needs to turn things over to someone 20 years younger.

Politicians and their egos are simply not constituted that way, and when you hear Romney say 'I've got a budget and that's the one we're running on,' he's letting everyone know he's the CEO of the campaign, too.

Ryan's job on the ticket, and in a Romney administration should they win, is supportive, subsumed and secondary.

If they play golf together, Ryan lets Romney win. You don't show up the boss - - in a presidential campaign, on the squash court, in a joint appearance, on a conference call, during a meeting. Period.

Romney also understands that the more Ryan is showcased, the more Ryan's radical plan for Medicare takes center-stage - - to Romney's disadvantage and to President Obama's benefit.

The same is true for the tax plan Ryan pushed that would have brought Mitt Romney's rate to below 1% - - a discussion Romney does not want or need while trying to convince the American people that 14.1% for a multi-millionaire is a fair rate for Romney to have paid last year.

For better or worse, candidates for President do not turn over the campaign to their #2.
And in a campaign stalled for a week over Romney's unforced "47%" error and damaging comments about voter dependency on government, Romney is not going to let his opponents say his ratification as POTUS is dependent on Paul Ryan.

Cross-posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Businesses Ring Truest For Region's Customers

The Journal Sentinel published a long Sunday story, with charts, about area businesses with registers that rang up inaccurate prices, and not a single business in the City of Milwaukee - - the largest municipality in the region and entire state - - made the top-20 error list dominated by the 'burbs.

Chart, here.

Fatalities Accelerating On Wisconsin Roads

Wisconsin is looking at grim 2012 numbers through last week, according to WisDOT:

Weekly fatality report

As of September 16, 2012

September 2012 fatalities* 50
August 2012 fatalities* 59
2012 year-to-date fatalities* 452
2012 year-to-date fatal accidents* 396
2011 year-end fatalities 565
2011 year-end fatal accidents 515
Five-year fatal trend comparison
  2012* 2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  Average
Fatal accidents 396 357 376 340 388 474 387
Fatalities 452 385 405 378 422 531 424
Fatalities by role
  2012* 2011
Bicyclists 7 9
Drivers 235 208
Motorcycle-drivers 76 69
Motorcycle-passengers 12 5
Passengers 90 58
Pedestrians 30 34
Unknown 2 2
Total 452 385

* 2012 data shown is preliminary
Data source: WisDOT-DMV Accident Records database

The figures shown represent traffic fatalities occurring on public traffic ways in Wisconsin reported to the Division of Motor Vehicles-Accident Records Unit as of the date shown at the top of the page. A traffic fatality is reported when death occurs within 30 days (of the accident) as a result of injuries received in the accident. Traffic fatalities are not considered officially reported until the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles-Accident Records Unit has been notified by the investigating law enforcement officer or agency.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) contains data on all vehicle crashes in the United States that occur on a public roadway and involve a fatality in the crash.

Fatalities by county
Fatalities by month
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-9288 or (608) 266-2265
Fax: (608) 267-2119

On Health Reform, The Informed And The [Romney] Uninformed

Mitt Romney is so disconnected from the real world that he said on Sunday that emergency room admittance is a substitute for getting the uninsured and the chronically-ill preventative care in the first place.

Meanwhile, a Milwaukee physician explained on Sunday why that approach makes for bad medicine and economics, too.

Obama Turns Romney's 47% Bungle Inside-Out

In his speech on Milwaukee's Lakefront Saturday evening, President Barack Obama got off a great line about his having publicly told the 47% of the 2008 electorate that voted against him he'd be their President, too - - while Mitt Romney said [privately, until exposed] he had no interest in the 47% of the electorate he demeaned.

Could you ask for a more precise contrast between the two candidates, or a more profound motivation to re-elect Obama?  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eugene Kane Wins Facebook Post Of The Night Award

I thought 60 Minutes did good with tough questions for both presidential candidates.
Also proud to have two men of color running for the White House.

Diverse Milwaukee Crowd Gives Lie To Ann Coulter Racialized Ploy

The large and diverse crowd that stood shoulder-to-shoulder in long lines and then in the rain to hear Barack Obama speak Saturday - - like the people next to us (L)  - - on Milwaukee's Lakefront expose the false manipulation in GOP provocateur Ann Coulter's race-baiting trouble-making Sunday:
“...Democrats are dropping the blacks and moving on to the Hispanics, because they’re a larger group of Hispanics now” — seeming to claim that Democrats are more aggressively courting the growing Latino population than the African American vote, which polls show is firmly behind President Obama.


Scott Walker Can't Break 50% True In PolitiFact Categories

What's true is that Scott Walker is still fact-averse.

During the run-up to the recall election, I'd post Scott Walker's PolitiFact's scorecard, like this April 12, 2012 pre-recall election accounting:

I took a look-see there today, and he's still in the false categories more than 60% of the time:

Tweet Of The Day: Thank You, Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol: Obama has turned around the financial meltdown "pretty well"

From a Think Progress' report:
...Kristol advised the Mitt Romney to avoid making the election about the last four years, noting that the Obama administration inherited the crisis from Bush and has handled it well. “If this election is just about the last four years, that’s a muddy verdict. Bush was president during the financial meltdown. The Obama team has turned that around pretty well. Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention was very important in that way,” he said.

Milwaukee Physician's Must-Read Sunday Op-Ed

Using a simple and compelling case study involving a patient, "Mr. Smith, Dr. Ian Gilson explains why basic health care reform can save money and lives:

Health insurance is essential for living well with chronic disease, and the loss of access to care is a major cause of preventable illness and death, but it is also ultimately much more costly to society than long-term continuous primary care. As a doctor, I know how to help people. I can't do it when I don't see them because they cannot afford to come in. We need to shift our care to the doctor's office and away from the expensive emergency room.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Obama Fires Up Milwaukee

Photo: Great speech.  Huge crowd. Fired up and ready to go...organize.Photo: Off to get Barack re-elected. Crowd est. 25000.
Photo: Lomhggggggg Obama line.Long line to get into the Summerfest grounds for President Obama's speech. Missed the opening acts, couldn't directly see the stage, got wet in the rain and, like everyone, left happy and fired up!

Romney's Tax Return Release Boomerangs: Tommy, Ryan Should Duck, Too

Mitt Romney will get more grief than relief after releasing his Federal 2011 tax return information in the heart of a Friday data-dump.

All he did was re-aggravate the self-inflicted wound over having withheld his tax return information all campaign-season-long.

In politics, one rule is don't create day-two stories. Romney has been breaking this rule this for weeks, months, to his detriment, as he declined to follow protocol and tradition dating to when his father ran for President, and thus Mitt began to attract negative media over what he was hiding in this 2012 race.

So now he has rekindled the debate with a day-126 story with information from just a second-year's release, and the information shows he is so wealthy that a) he paid Federal income 2011 taxes at a modest rate of 14.1% - - less even than the sweet 15% privileged break the IRS grants on investment income at the heart of Romney's return - - and b) has wealth so excessive that he could afford to forego deductions to keep him out of politically toxic single-digit rates.

How many Americans can afford to give away deductions for political reasons, and how many everyday voters and income return filers will use Romney's data to finally connect with him?

The Friday Romney release also undermines GOP veep candidate Cong. Paul Ryan.

Ryan was put on the ticket so the GOP could showcase their expert tax reformer, but Ryan's 'reforms' emphasize more tax breaks for upper-class investment earners like Romney who already benefit mightily from an IRS code that helps money trickle up.

Ryan's plans would have dropped Romney's rate to below 1%. Is this the right and rightly-timed message that helps Romney with six weeks left until the election?

And speaking of mishandlng tax issues - - Tommy Thompson, the GOP Senate candidate from our state, has done the impossible by managing to mismanage it even more clumsily than has Romney.

Tommy's Democratic opponent Cong. Tammy Baldwin has released multiple years of tax returns, but Tommy has said "no" to releasing even one year's filing.

Granted that there is no law requiring politicians to disclose these documents, but Tommy is among the candidates for the highest and most influential offices in the country.

Tommy's resistance, like Romney's reticence, only attracts unproductive attention in a quickening campaign, and raises questions about his revolving door trajectory out of the Bush Cabinet into multiple, corporate connections.

If Tommy feels heat on the tax return front, he can thank Romney for turning up the temperature.

Cross-posted at Purple Wisconsin.