Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Romney's Staged "Storm Relief" Rally Bought, Handed Out, Took Back 'Donations'

Solid investigative journalism by Buzzfeed reveals that some people who came to Mitt Romney's non-campaign/actual-campaign event in Ohio staged as a "storm relief" rally were handed stuff the Romney staff had bought at a Wal-Mart, then could hand back the items as donations [Sic] to be trucked as relief to New Jersey, "I think," Romney told the crowd.

Here's part of the account of the fakery:

But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal-Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it "did donate supplies to the relief effort," but would not specify how much it spent.)...

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their "donations" to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest "Thank you."

Bradley Foundation Funded Billboards To Unsettle Some Voters

How low can you can go?

In 2010:

...the 75 billboards that declared, “Voter Fraud is a Felony!” that peppered the Milwaukee area in 2010?

The Einhorn Family Foundation was behind those, too, but it had some financial help.

Michael Grebe, president and CEO of the conservative Bradley Foundation, said this week that his organization gave $10,000 to Einhorn in 2010.
“The grant was for general purposes but it was, in fact, used for those billboards,” Grebe said via email.

Poll Results Here On GOP-Rape Remark Causation

Why Baldwin Is Leading Thompson

Because Tommy got caught asking, "Who better than me...?"

The polls are answering, too.

Uh, Oh: Here Comes The Righty Polling Hate 3.0

I suppose the talk radio attacks will begin anew on the Marquette Law School Poll and the professor/statisticians left-wing Democratic data monkey-wrenchers who produce it.


Because both President Barack Obama and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin are leading their Republican challengers.

The right loved this polling operation when it showed Scott Walker leading and winning, but this season, when it showed Democrats out front, the Right claimed the poll was both wrong and poorly-constructed.


Ike's Grand-Daughter - - International Affairs Expert - - Endorses Pres. Obama

Interesting statement from Susan Eisenhower, posted on her website  - - in part:

Four years ago, I left the Republican Party of which I was a lifelong member and became an independent. Not long after, I supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election for president. I made this decision determined to look at the issues not as a Republican or a Democrat, but as an American.

It is through that lens that I consider my choice in the 2012 election. Like many other voters who crossed party lines to vote for Barack Obama in the last election, I have watched the 2012 campaign carefully and listened closely to what the candidates have said. I believe that President Obama should be re-elected...

I saw him as a man with a keen intellect and a cool analytical head. I believed he would also be able to inspire those who had suffered most from a recession unparalleled since the Great Depression. In doing so, I reasoned, he would go a long way towards reuniting a nation deeply divided...

In the last four years, and despite the global downturn, America has come back from the brink. ..While there is still an enormous amount to do to assure a recovery, the president deserves credit for a steady hand during this dangerous and unpredictable time.
In the last four years, President Obama has also had to contend with a rapidly changing international environment. He ended the war in Iraq, was the first Democratic president to ratify an arms control treaty with the Russian Federation, and rallied global leaders to put nuclear security at the top of the international agenda. The Obama Administration has also been responsible for decimating the top leadership of al-Qaeda and introducing biting sanctions on Iran...

As a result of this campaign I am more confused than ever about what Mitt Romney stands for. I know little of his core beliefs, if he even has any. No one seems to agree on what they are, and that’s why I do not want to take a chance on finding out.
Given Romney’s shifting positions, he can only be judged by the people with whom he surrounds himself. Many of them espouse yesterday’s thinking on national defense and security, female/family reproductive rights, and the interplay of government and independent private enterprise. In this context, Barack Obama represents the future, not that past...

Barack Obama’s record as president has not been perfect, and there have been frustrations for all of us during this time. Nevertheless, I believe that he deserves four more years in the White House.

Romney's Last-Ditch Deception

His closing Ohio ad says Chrysler is moving its Jeep production from Ohio to China.


The man disqualifies himself for office.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tweet Of The Day: Christie On POTUS

On conf call with POTUS discussing post-Sandy cleanup efforts in partnership with the feds. He is instructing Gov't to lean forward to help.

Climate Change: Join An Open Thread Discussion Here

I'd observed a couple of days before Sandy hit that climate change had disappeared from the campaign, but would surely be on the front burner when the rain stopped.

New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have weighed in.

And here is a dialogue among experts, and these paragraphs jumped out at me:

We have increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere by about 40% in the last 100 years (mostly the last 50 years) on the way to doubling later this century.  The Earth has warmed up about 0.8°C (1.4°F) already due to the extra greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere and it would have warmed even more if we weren’t also putting up smoke that reflects sunlight.  This warming has increased Earth’s energy radiation to space, but the excess greenhouse gases are still trapping more heat than the Earth is radiating to space.  This “energy imbalance” is about 0.6 watts/square meter. This doesn’t sound like much but it is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off every day (see my briefing for the math).

Extremely Hot Summers (“3-sigma” events) have increased 50X (5000%) in the past 50 years. There is 4% more water vapor in the atmosphere than 50 years ago.  Average ocean temperatures have increased (90% of global warming energy goes into the ocean). The Arctic sea ice just reached its lowest level in thousands of years and in a few years you will be able to sail a boat to the North Pole for the first time in human history.
Have at it with comments.

Remember Romney's "Rise Of The Oceans" Convention Laugh Line?

Not so funny today, eh?

At the end of his acceptance speech Thursday night, Mitt Romney mocked Barack Obama for his concern over rising seas:

Said Mitt:

President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet…My promise is to help you and your family.
Big laugh line. Big laugh from the floor.

Romney Ducks FEMA Questions

Campaigns do reveal the candidates, as Romney self-deports from campaign and leadership credibility:

From the Romney pool report:
TV pool asked Romney at least five times whether he would eliminate FEMA as president/what he would do with FEMA. He ignored the qs but they are audible on cam. The music stopped at points and the qs would have been audible to him.
A follow-up report noted the specific questions Romney ignored, as he was collecting hurricane supplies following his event:
"Gov are you going to eliminate FEMA?" a print pooler shouted, receiving no response. Wires reporters asked more questions about FEMA that were ignored.
Romney kept coming over near pool to pick up more water. He ignored these questions:
"Gov are you going to see some storm damage?"
"Gov has [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?"
"Gov you've been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?"
During a GOP primary debate last year, Romney had said he supported the idea of states and private sector groups taking over responsibility for disaster relief.

Another Walker Initiative Ruled Unconstitutional

Along with Voter ID, and portions of both redistricting and the union-stripping Act 10 law, you can add Walker's usurpation of rule-making covering the independent Department of Instruction.

Romney/Ryan Storm-Aid 'Rally' Transparently Political

With no authentic role to play from the sidelines, the GOP candidates are knee-deep in shameful sham storm relief campaigning in Ohio.


Why not Utah?

Why anywhere?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Anybody, Post-Sandy, For Smaller Government Today? Out East?

Why have anti-government/small-government/public employee-bashing conservatives gone so silent today?

How does the Tea Party-obeisant and FEMA-opponent Mitt Romney, with ideological sidekick and shiny object Paul Ryan in tow, even dare show that campaign's face between now and Nov. 6th?

Wisconsin Wolf Kill Now at 38

Blood flowing for sport in Wisconsin: 38 dead wolves, with a majority captured by traps.

In all, 21 of the 38 animals were caught by traps — an indication how effective this method is compared to hunting.
DNR rules permit hunters capturing wolves in traps to kill them with a gunshot.

Wisconsin DNR Kids Wolf Website Fudges The Facts

Enter "wolves" on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources home page search box, and the first link that comes up is a page in the the kids' education project - - and you can't escape the holes in the story now that at least 20 wolves have been killed by trappers and rifle-shooters in the first days of the hunt:

Monday p.m. update: the number is now 38.

Timber Wolf

Wisconsin Status: game species
Federal Status: delisted in Wisconsin as of 1/27/2012
wolf graphic
Have you ever heard a wolf howl in the wild? Not many people have.

And the concluding section isn't a model of full, timely disclosure:
They're back!
timber wolf
In 1989, a group of concerned citizens got together with the Department of Natural Resources to develop a Timber Wolf Recovery Plan. The goal of the plan was to work toward having wild wolves roaming northern Wisconsin. Wolf population monitoring was put into action with live-trapping, radio telemetry, winter snow tracking, and summer howl surveys.

Because of the success of recovery efforts, wolves have made a comeback in our state. When the population reached 373 in 2004, wolves in Wisconsin were reclassified from threatened to protected. It is estimated that there are now more than 800 wolves in Wisconsin (2011). Wolves were recently removed from the endangered species list in Wisconsin.

back to the top

Repent, Ye East Coast Sinners

Mitt Romney, replying to a 2011 debate question about federal borrowing for FEMA disaster spending after the Joplin tornado, called more borrowing "immoral."

House Republicans have cut such spending, and the Ryan budget, which Romney endorsed, calls for cuts to FEMA.

The debate, on CNN, was moderated by John King:

KING: Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.
Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…
KING: Including disaster relief, though?
ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ryan And Romney Endorsed Cuts To FEMA

As superstorm Sandy heads for the East Coast, let's not forget that Ryan and Romney backed budget cuts to emergency disaster responses:

That is not something you will hear Paul Ryan talk about this week at the convention, nor any of the other lawmakers who make simplistic promises about the power of slashing government spending. But the budgets assembled by Mr. Ryan and warmly embraced by Mitt Romney severely cut spending for emergency preparedness, exactly the kind of money needed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and scores of other states for this and future storms. 

Between 2010 and 2012, House Republicans forced a reduction of 43 percent in the primary grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that pay for disaster preparedness. That is $1.8 billion that will not be available for evacuation equipment and supplies, communications gear that lets first responders speak to one another, and training exercises.

 (House Republicans tried to cut $354 million more in this year’s homeland security spending bill, but Democrats restored the money in a conference with the Senate.)
Posted earlier.

Climate Change Disappeared From Campaigns, Returns To East Coast Tomorrow

Neither presidential campaign or the news media wanted to touch climate change in the debates or along with serious discussions of serious issues like Medicare, or taxes, so here comes yet another major weather event - - a late-year hurricane/super-storm ready to collide with winter air over the eastern third of the US in this year and decade of profound and damaging climate occurrences - - and all opportunity for context and policy advancement is lost.

[Though Ryan and Romney backed cuts to FEMA and flood-control budgets.]

The language accompanying the storm's warnings is similar to what was issued just before Katrina hit. Even with Katrina's last-minute downgrade, the impact was catastrophic.

I'm not saying that human behavior and fossil fuel burn caused this storm, but it's the height of denial to say that our climate isn't reflecting the new, post-industrial 'normal' long-predicted: heavier rain events, extreme weather outbreaks and growing danger to low-lying, coastal areas that will take lives and greatly add to public budgets and emergency spending.

Anyone want to guess at how long it will take to restore electrical power, finish the cleanup, add up the damage and pay off the claims this time?

Because of a monster hurricane. It's nearly November?

The oceans, air temperatures and precipitation are all intricately interwoven; you can call a decade of record warmth and repeated big storms, floods and harsh fire 'seasons' a mere coincidence, but it would have been better, and still would be useful to treat them as real and addressable circumstances.

I don't give President Obama an "A" on these matters, but I think we can say that if Mitt Romney's anti- EPA/free market worship philosophy gets free rein in The White House, and if the Koch brothers are over for dinner, you can expect lower grades.

Cross-posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Senior Bush-Era Aide Says GOP 'Full Of Racists'

How will the haters deal with this turn of events?

A former senior Army officer who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, and who is also a Republican, said his party is full of racists.

The context was the statement by Romney campaign co-chair John Sununu that Powell endorsed Barack Obama was because both are African-American.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When The Race Is Close, The GOP Invokes Race

You can add remarks by Romney national campaign co-chairman John Sununu to the mix of racialized news as the country decides whether to re-elect its first African-American President.

Sununu, a former New Hampshire Governor, decided the other day that the only reason former Secretary of State Colin Powell would renew his endorsement of President Barack Obama is because both men are African-American.

The comedian Stephen Colbert, in character as an exaggerated, faux right-wing talk show host, does a funny bit when interviewing African-American guests, telling them "I don't see race" and feigning ignorance of skin color, even his own.

Call Sununu, who apparently sees only race, the anti-Colbert.

Looks like Sununu may be more typical than I'd have thought, as polling shows a majority of Americans harbor negative views about African-Americans.

Republicans could lead on this issue - - like being the party of Lincoln - - but instead prefers spouting birther hatred and snarky stereotypes for political gain as an election looms.

Journal Sentinel Opposes More Steamship Coal-Ash Dumping

Props to the Journal Sentinel for opposing efforts by the owners of the S.S. Badger  - - and Scott Walker - - to win another extension from federal regulators allowing the ship to discharge coal ash overboard into Lake Michigan.

This has been a frequent topic on this blog for the last couple of years.

Enough is enough.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sununu Joins Palin In Race-Driven Comments

I guess classless John Sununu wanted some of that racialized publicity for himself that Sarah Palin had monopolized the last few days.

Sununu, former Gov. of New Hampshire, decided that former Defense Secretary Colin Powell - - a Republican - -  endorsed  President Obama because Obama and Powell are African-American. Remember that Powell endorsed Obama in 2008, too.

Said Sununu, a Romney surrogate and the campaign's co-chair:

"I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Climate Change Talk In Debates, But Maybe Now...

That a hurricane is headed for the US East Coast as the calendar turns to November:

"We're talking about a confluence of events," David Bernard, chief meteorologist for CBS News' Miami station CBS 4 said. "We have a powerful hurricane ... in the Bahamas. That's a lot of warm air, a lot of heat, a lot of energy and of course we're deep into fall now and we have an unusual strong jet stream dip with winter-like cold air, and you put those two things together, that's the possibility that is on the weather maps right now and that could lead to a powerhouse low pressure forming Sunday and Monday. 

Fox, Talk Radio Have Scared Their Key Demographic

White guys like Romney, even though his wealth is built on stripping value and jobs from American business, investing in China and stashing earnings from the Cayman Islands to a Swiss Bank.

Wisconsin One-Percenter Threatens Worker Jobs If Obama Relected

This should be Obama HQ bulletin board material, as it highlights the ugliest side of Romney's core backers' arrogance:

Mike White, the chairman and owner of Rite-Hite, a major Milwaukee manufacturer of industrial equipment, told employees in an email this week that all employees "should understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected, forcing taxpayers to fund President Obama's future deficits and social programs (including Obamacare), which require bigger government."

On Those Untracked State Loans: Stop Asking Pesky Questions!

Scott Walker's troubled development agency - - he's the board chair - - is fed up with reporters asking just how many millions haven't been monitored, or kept current, so you reporters, stop asking all these questions. 

Citing an ongoing review of its failure to track millions of dollars in loans, the state's top jobs agency isn't saying whether the total amount owed to taxpayers by scores of unnamed businesses could go higher than the $9 million figure that officials first estimated.
A spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. told the Journal Sentinel that the agency wouldn't provide information on the total owed until it finishes an internal review that will take an unspecified amount of time. "WEDC is developing a corrective action plan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reposting Sweet George McGovern Column By Old Friend Bill Kaplan

Thank you for this, Bill:

Senator George McGovern was my hero, mentor and friend. He was a principled and prophetic political leader who courageously spoke truth to power while fighting to end the carnage and stupidity of the Vietnam War. McGovern was denigrated and vilified by many on the right who never served in the military. But McGovern was a highly decorated war hero who served as a B-24 bomber pilot during World War II. He was a civil, soft-spoken combat veteran who knew the horrors of war. His opponents knew only character assassination. Senator McGovern spoke on the Senate floor in 1970:

"Every senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval (hospitals) and all across our land. ... There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor, or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed."

There was stunned silence in the Senate. The right never forgave McGovern for telling the truth. 
By the way, Susan and I were in the Senate Gallery that day as the McGovern-Hatfield amendment to end war came for its floor vote.

George said "this chamber reeks of blood."

The moment was unforgettable.

Why The Endless GOP Rape Remarks This Year; A Poll

First there was Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin.

Then there was Wisconsin State Rep. Roger "Some girls rape easy" Rivard.

And now we have Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard "gift of God" Mourdock.

Let's have a poll. Is this:

A.  Stupidity.

B.  Misogyny.

C.  Callousness.

D. All of the above.

The poll is on the upper left margin. One typo can't be removed. Anyway...Please vote.

Sarah Palin Launches Flat-Out Racist Attack On President Obama

The Right camouflaged its racist contempt for our President of African-American descent with their disrespectful birther/foreigner/Kenyan coded talk, but finally Sarah Palin goes the full nine yards by criticizing what she calls Obama's "shuck and jive."

She and the rest of the Republican Right, the Tea Partiers and other of their ilk can claim ignorance, or over-reaction by people like me  - - or invoke that classic dodge: 'it was a joke' - - but Palin was a Governor and ran for the Vice-Presidency, a step and heartbeat from leadership of much of the world and cannot evade responsibility for her racist language.

So here you are, in her own Facebook words, as she shames the nation:

Why the dissembling about the cause of the murder of our ambassador on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil? We deserve answers to this. President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end.
Shuck and jive?

From the Urban Dictionary:
To shuck and jive" originally referred to the intentionally misleading words and actions that African-Americans would employ in order to deceive racist Euro-Americans in power, both during the period of slavery and afterwards. The expression was documented as being in wide usage in the 1920s, but may have originated much earlier.

"Shucking and jiving" was a tactic of both survival and resistance. A slave, for instance, could say eagerly, "Oh, yes, Master," and have no real intention to obey. Or an African-American man could pretend to be working hard at a task he was ordered to do, but might put up this pretense only when under observation. Both would be instances of "doin' the old shuck 'n jive."

Long Waukesha Water Comment Inadvertantly Deleted: Please Resend

Not being nimble managing the blog from my phone, I accidentally deleted a long comment this morning about Waukesha and wastewater. If you sent it, please do so again. My apologies.

I've done this a few times this week, so if you haven't seen yours, pls. resend.

Though I have knocked out a few that are inappropriate - - too angry, taunting, etc.

Who Wants Waukesha's Diversion Wastewater?

Not Racine:

After Racine was beaten out of a water deal with Waukesha, two local officials expressed concerns Wednesday about the possibility that the inland city would send its treated wastewater through the Root River...

While the route that will be taken has yet to be chosen, Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason and Mayor John Dickert saw issues with any plan that would call for Waukesha to send treated wastewater through the Root.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions for Racine,” said Mason, who represents Racine. “It might be a good deal for Waukesha, it might be a good deal for Oak Creek, but it’s a bad deal for Racine and the Root River.
OK - - Anyone else?

Not Milwaukee, and apparently, not Waukesha. pitching the effluent it wants to pour into Underwood Creek as an asset.

If so, why hasn't Waukesha re-engineered its wastewater treatment system and moved the discharge point that is now below the city on the Fox River to a point above the city so the asset could flow right through downtown Waukesha?
And the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors weighed in with a negative opinion:

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors convincingly overrode on Thursday County Executive Scott Walker's veto of a Board resolution opposing Waukesha's plan to discharge, on average, 10.9 million gallons of effluent into Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa...

I think the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors would have responded the same way to a proposal, say, from Wauwatosa, to discharge its effluent into the Fox River and let it flow through downtown Waukesha...

Board members also know that both Underwood Creek, and the Menonomee River into which the creek empties have had flooding and pollution issues that continue to be addressed at great cost.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Whatever Happened To Paul Ryan?

He brought little to the campaign other than botched photo ops - - washing clean dishes, pumping iron - - exaggerated athletic claims and a host of policy contradictions with Romney 2.0 - 9.0, et al - - but perhaps the goal all along was helping nail down Wisconsin's electoral votes?

If so, Wisconsin Dems have to think nationally, act locally, with erasing Walker's reddish successes a bonus motivation.

Trappers, Shooters +20 In Wolf Hunt

Twenty dead wolves in just the first few days of the new Wisconsin wolf hunt means a lot of blood has been shed through technology the state has loosed on these animals. The state gets a few bucks from each licensed hunter. Do you feel enriched?

Waukesha Ups The Water Pressure On Neighboring Town

The City of Waukesha drops a half-million dollars in an annexation move to let the neighboring Town of Waukesha know the city means business: help us out on the Lake Michigan diversion or the town can lose some tax base and water.

And does the City need that many wells and the source there without blending and conservation?

The Obama Stare And The Romney Sweat

I managed to see some replayed TV clips of Debate #3 today and got a look at the stare President Obama beamed at Mitt Romney.

That had to be disconcerting - - after all, that's the President of the United States (a/k/a/ "Most Powerful Man In The Free World") directing that icy eye contact your way - - and I'd say there was a direct relationship between that mind game and the sweat popping out on Romney's face.

Cameras caught that same Obama glare aimed Romney's way in Debate #2 when Romney was in the middle of his "acts of terror" FUBAR and asked the President a question - - to which Obama said, simply, "Governor, proceed."

So Obama proceeded to use the tactic in Debate #3, where Romney was over-matched on the facts and appearances.

I'm sure Romney is on a behind-closed-doors Apology Tour with donors today.

Debate #3 As Job Interview: Hire Obama, Show Romney The Door

When I had administrative jobs in city halls, I interviewed a lot of people for a lot of jobs, and often the final list got paired down to a couple of candidates who'd come in for the final interview, one right after the other for an instant comparison.

Sometimes that last interview pair was a close, hiring call, and sometimes not, and as I watched the debate tonight I saw one qualified candidate - - Barack Obama - - and one unqualified candidate - - Mitt Romney.

Romney was the kind of interviewee who'd done a little brushing up and knew a few names and places, but had no depth, comprehensive view or analysis or understanding, and basically got by on a resume, personal charm and nice suit.

Obama was in command of facts, their connections, nuances, and their historical consequences  - - in other words, the big picture. He absolutely outshone Romney.

Who won the interview was never in doubt: Obama.

The Romney file goes back in the applicants' binder. On the bottom.

And I'd have also been on the phone to Human Resources, or the chair of the screening panel when the last interview was over to ask why that Romney guy had made it to the final round.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Romney Endorses Obama Foreign Policy

So let's see...Mitt Romney now agrees with President Barack Obama on drones, on the Afghan withdrawal, Iran sanctions, the Syrian issue - - no heavy weapons - - and the President's leadership on Libya.

(Debate live-blogged).

Flip-flopping, again.

So moderate Mitt shows up because Romney knows the American people don't want more wars.

Maybe foreign policy doesn't win elections, and this debate may not be a game-changer for either candidate, but I think Obama goes into the last two weeks with a head of steam, having won the foreign policy issue, and thus on leadership overall - - as the more credible, consistent person in the race.

I think Obama cleaned Romney's clock.

Cross-posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Romney Backs Obama On Afghan Withdrawal, Libya, Egypt...

No wonder Romney had a blue-and-red tie on.

He did some Nixon-sweating. Weak performance.

Live-Blogging Debate #4

No opening statements:

Romney, spray-tanned again!

 And gets the first mention of killing Bin Laden.

Obama tells Romney his strategy has been all over the map.

Romney must think we can rule every event in every country. #intensepredebatebriefing

8:10 - - Obama hits Romney he had said Russia was our number-one threat. Foreign policy of the 50's and economic policies of the '20's. Boom, and boom...

8:11 - - First spotting of Romney condescending smirk.

Romney disagrees. Says attacking me is not an agenda. Romney is peeved.

Obama is now speaking as Commander-in-Chief. And that we do not only use military means to meet challenges.

Second Q.  Syria:

Will Romney call for a direct intervention?

Obama talking statesmanship, coordination.

Romney no new ideas. He is not the Prez.

Obama says we are mobilizing and leading.

He is teaching, referencing Libya to explain Syria.

Reminds people Romney said forcing out Khadafi was "mission creep."

Wants steady, thoughtful leadership.

Romney fudging the arms question for rebels.

I guess he didn't listen to the previous answer.

Two-faced here on arms.

 Obama says we are doing exactly what we should be doing.

Hitting Egypt Q. and pushing Mubarek - -  out of the ballpark. He's quite energized.

Romney cannot disagree with this one. Obama winning.

8:25 - - Romney has to agree with pushing out Mubarek.

Romney has no new idea here, but lots of blah blah blah.

8:30 - - He's back on his economic talking points. I'd say he's conceding here.

Obama will recite his successes. A talking-point face-off.

Romney's hair looks darker...

Links Romney to Bush and Cheney. "Wrong and reckless."

Romney is back to his five-steps. Wait for Obama to say it's one-step: fewer rules for the 1%.

Romney shot at teachers' unions. No context there...

Romney in super salesman mode.

Obama in teacher-hiring mode. Oh, man - - where was this guy in Debate#1?

8:40 - - Romney sweat alert. Channeling Nixon. Ducking revenue Q. GO to my website? Really...

Schieffer pusing Romney on the lack of fiscal sense. Obama crushing Mitt on thenumbers, $4 the military doesn't want.

"The math simply doesn't work."

Military spending "driven by strategy," not politics. Boom!!!!

Schieffer needs to stop being so wussy in the face of Mitt's "excuse me."

We have fewer ships and fewer horses and bayonets. Ouch. Obama kicking #$@.

Halfway point: Q on attack on Israel being an attack on US?

Obama as Pres. is on the spot. Says we will stand on Israel. Not committing to an attack.

Says Iran is crippled.

Romney underscoring what Obama just said.

Complete agreement w/Obama. ??

Obama says reports about negotiations w/Iran are not true. Obama makes news.

"I'm glad Gov. Romney is agreeing with the things I've been saying."

Obama explains that creating the sanctions is a complex, "meticulous" process. Speaking as Prez. again. Says "the clock is ticking." Obama making news again.

So far, Romney's most flat performance.

Romney says Obama went on his apology tour. Talk radio talk.


Glad Obama answering the apology tour remark. Calls it the biggest whopper.

Attacks Romney for investing in a co. doing oil biz wIran. Boom.

9:00 p.m. Obama directly responding to Romney's apology tour remark, and insinuation of weakness towards Israel. "I didn't take donors...I didn't attend fund-raisers."

Schieffer's ridiculous hypothetical q. about bombers are on the way. Romney good answer.

Romney going back over old answers, talking points. "I see our influence receding." Obama getting ready to pounce.

Romney says "Democrat" senators. Ignoramus.

Obama listing Romney's foreign policy flip-flops.

Strong Obama answer that it was worth it moving heaven and earth to get Bin Laden. Romney looks superficial in this exchange. Schieffer cuts off Romney: finally.

Romney endorses Obama withdrawal Afghan. timetable.

9:05 - - Long-winded stuttering Romney word-salad response. He hasn't done his homework. I predict he will end w/his econ. plan, as these issues are not his game.

If Obama had been this strong in Debate#1, it'd all be over. You know he wants this over.

Q. on Pakistan, to Romney: Romney dieseling here. Just agreed w/Obama on drones. Now he's back to his anti-Obama talking points. Weak.

Obama can again speak as Prez. Alliance-building. Capacity-building. Brings up Tunisia. Egypt. Libya. Romney cannot deny all this.

9:15 Next Q: Q on China: Also - - who is the biggest threat to us/US? AlQaeda.

An adversary, but also a partner if it follows the rules.

Obama brings up Romney's support of China tire mfg. at expense of US jobs.

Romney says biggest threat to US is a nuclear Iran. Not Al Qaeda. News item...

9:18 - - Romney is on an anti-China roll. Risk of trade war.

Says they are already winning. Obama will crush them.

Obama nails Romney on investing in China.

Brings up GM; says Romney would prefer we buy Chinese-made cars?

9:25 - - Observation on my part: 90-minute debates are too long...

Romney says he was was a car guy.

On the bankruptcy: Obama says "that's not the record...the people of Detroit do not forget." Obama interrupts.

"Gov. Romney you keep on trying to airbrush history."

Each say, 'look it up.' Calling the fact-checkers...

Romney on talking-points, stammering...

Looks like Obama will get the last word.

Closing statements: Obama goes first. Damn!

Obama says Romney wants to take us back to wrong and reckless.

Too bad Romney will get the last word. But on balance, Obama much stronger.

Awkward WI Court Ruling Cites "Constitutions"

I'd better run for further study to my dictionary and the Act 10 section of the Government Operating Manual, as a Wisconsin judge writes today there are "constitutions" - - more than one? - - that reined in the powers of Walker and fiefdom manor lords Scott and Jeff Fitzgerald:

"Even laws enacted by the legislature and the governor, though they may manifest the popular will of their time, are subordinate to them. Even a temporary infringement of fundamental rights of speech and association protected by the constitutions is an irreparable harm."

How Long Will It Take Romney's Haughty CEO Persona To Emerge

I'd say within the first 10 minutes.

Waukesha Town Chair Discusses Water, Annexation Issues

Town of Waukesha Board Chair Angie E. Van Scyoc included these remarks in an e-mail update to Town residents today:

The City of Waukesha Common Council voted to annex approximately 96 acres of land which is north of 59 and east of the Walgreens on Sunset creating another Town island. 
The Department of Administration, who reviews all annexations, wrote a strong letter finding the annexation '...against the public interest."
Here is a copy for your review:
The town residents who remain all reside on Big Bend Road and will continue to be served by the Town of Waukesha. They have expressed no interest in joining the city and will not be forced to do so.
I attended the City of Waukesha Common Council meeting last week to hear the discussion. I was encouraged that at least two Common Council members spoke and voted against the annexation.
They clearly acknowledged realities for the City that others on the Common Council may not fully accept.
One, that growth through annexation does not always relate to a net tax increase given the cost of providing services to new developments.
Two, that the City should not expand until a water solution is in place.
Continuing to expand with the water issues the City is grappling with seems short-sighted and reckless, especially given that they plan to locate shallow aquifer wells in and around the Town of Waukesha if they are unsuccessful obtaining a Lake Michigan water source.
Good news is the City does not always accept annexations, as was demonstrated not long ago with their denial of the 'Walgreens' property area on Sunset and Genesee.
We will continue discussions with the City regarding the Water Service Area to see if we can come to terms to protect Town of Waukesha territory and water supply on a cooperative basis.
The DNR has taken the position that we will be out of the Water Service Area and related Sewer Service Area, unless the Waukesha Town Board asks that we be included within 3o days of the City of Waukesha executing a Memorandum of Understanding with a Lake Michigan water supplier. All indications are that the supplier will be Oak Creek.
This is an improvement as the City of Waukesha simply included us.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Photo Of George and Bill Clinton Just Came My Way

Hadn't seen this before. Probably from TX, where Bill was campaign co-chair w/Hillary. Note also the Eastern airlines jet. That's gone, too. At the end of the campaign, Susan and Matt and I got on the plane for the last two weeks. Great times!

George McGovern, 1922-2012

This elegant and compassionate American statesman died peacefully this morning at age 90.

George Mcgovern Dead
A sad day, but also the right time to recommit ourselves to peace and justice that George McGovern fought to protect and advance. I was always proud and lucky to have been his son-in-law.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mitt Romney Secret Tax Plan Reminds Me Of...

Richard Nixon's secret plan to end the Vietnam War in 1968.

That war - - having spread to Cambodia and Laos, too - - ended in 1975, so better to get your details up front.

Obama Endorsed By Salt Lake Tribune

Seems it found "Too many Mitts" for its liking:

From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"

The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.

Walker Agency Was Campaign Prop: Now Needs Propping Up

Little wonder that Scott Walker, board chair at the economic development corporation he put together to please business executives and trade association directors who'd installed him as Governor, finds the operation of the development corporation in tatters:

It was set up less to do actual, fine-tuned lending and job-creating and more to serve as a campaign-promise delivered and ideology validated:

"More power to the private sector: see how it works."

Somehow this new private-sector-dominated, quasi-public state agency, fed Free Market magic management beans, would turn our tax millions into business activity and jobs.

The watchword at the agency set up by people who hate regulation and oversight and Nanny Statism wasn't "prudence."

It was "Presto!" And the state was open for business, of sorts.

As the Journal Sentinel puts it:

For more than a year, the state's flagship jobs agency lost track of millions of dollars in past due loans for a simple reason: The new agency never designated staff or created a department to keep tabs on repayment of its portfolio of hundreds of taxpayer-funded loans totaling $69 million.
And to prove how this replacement for the traditional Department of Commerce - could auto-pilot itself to results, perhaps greatness, the board chair - - our Governor - - would spend an inordinate amount of time flying around the country pumping up reactionary candidates, sucking up right-wing cash and re-telling his tale of union-slaying while his corporate experiment back home was turning from folly to fiasco.

So we've had a part-time Governor running an agency that can't track its loans or satisfy the feds who sent in a lot of the money that the agency is being legally or responsibly-run.

Part-time stewardship; full-time embarrassment.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Free Market In Walker Loan Managment; Free Money!

Hey, the market takes care of everything, doesn't it?

The Diminished Tommy...

Plays second banana to Karl Rove's PAC.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tommy Gives Himself 'The Business'

Sounds like some self-loathing goin' on at the debate about "the business," according to this Journal Sentinel posting

Baldwin criticized Thompson for investing in companies that do business with Iran. Thompson said he heard about it today. He said his stockbroker had bought the stock and when he heard about it, he sold the stock.
“I don’t agree with anyone doing the business with Iran,” Thompson said

Blinders, Not Binders

The big issue exposed by the debate question about equal pay for women for equal work performed by men isn't that Mitt Romney dodged a direct answer and ended up in Stupidville talking about binders of women looking for gubernatorial appointments.

It's that he cannot commit to the principle, and worse, that Paul Ryan voted "no" when it was before him in Congress as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act - - named after a blue-collar worker who'd worked years doing the same job at a tire plant for less pay than her male co-workers.

Do Ryan and Romney really want to argue and parse and communicate on this whole matter in the language of mandates, that requiring pay equity is some sort of an evil extension of power into the private sector, that our (men's) freedom can't be infringed in this way?

Interesting, isn't it, that Ryan and Romney, white male millionaires, are the ones having trouble with this issue. You don't hear too many women out there saying Lilly Ledbetter - - the person and the law - - are wrong.

If you believe that employers should have a freer hand through whatever means enforcing pay distinctions based on gender, you are endorsing discrimination that helps keeps more than half the population down, and:

Hurts women's families.

Makes them more dependent on a male partner who can earn more money through a chromosomal quirk.

And gives the employer a cheap supply of labor to increase profits - - and we know who is more likely to get more of that pie at the top.

And it's not much of a leap to say the employer should be free to discriminate on other grounds.

Campaign Trails, Family Values

What these kids, er, grown sons won't say these days:

Jason Thompson, twice:

Tommy Thompson's Son Made Birther Joke On More Than One Occasion (VIDEO)

Tagg Romney:

Tagg Romney says he wanted to ‘take a swing’ at Obama during the debate

Wisconsin Is Open For Business - - Monkey Business

Scott Walker has been overseeing some sketchy deals.

If the bucks stops with him, he's got a few million still floating around out there and they belong to you and me.

Walker had the Legislature direct millions of dollars to his jazzed-up, buzzword-heavy, quasi-public competent Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, (WEDC), that replaced the stodgy old Department of Commerce - - and whose board he chairs - -and a lot of them weren't being tracked or collected.

You might as well have run these public loan programs out of a cardboard box on a paark bench down by the Lakefront under a "Free Money: No Questions Asked" sign. 


For more than a year, the state's flagship jobs agency failed to track whether businesses are repaying loans from state taxpayers - leaving the public in the dark about how much they are owed on a total of $8 million in past-due loans to 99 businesses...

The loans that are past due by at least 30 days - and in some cases much longer than that - amount to 16% of the state agency's total loan portfolio of $51 million in loans, said Ryan Murray, the WEDC's chief operating officer.

Murray said he learned from staff late last week that the agency had stopped systematically tracking its loan collection efforts and has no records on those efforts since June 2011, the month before the WEDC started.
This is the second recent disclosure raising financial and other management questions about the agency: 
Federal officials are raising legal, fiscal and management questions about how Wisconsin's new cabinet-level Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, (WEDC) - - created in 2011 as a top Scott Walker priority - - awarded millions of dollars in federal Community Development Block Grant funds received from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development...
The Wisconsin State Journal broke the story, while blogs have piled on - - here and here - - and the entire fiasco raises serious questions about how the agency is being run.
You wonder who will hold Walker accountable for this fiasco.

More Bad News For Romney

Uh, oh -- great housing data.

On top of good jobs' numbers. And that booming stock market.

What's a doom-and-gloom candidate to do?

Look at his pension, I guess.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Republican Critic Of Thompson's Sweetheart Drug Deal Comes To Town

Arizona GOP Senator John McCain comes to town to raise money for Tommy Thompson.

An odd assignment, given Tommy's role as George's W. Bush's Health and Human Services Secretary in quarterbacking the creation of Medicare's Part D drug program  - - a program McCain ripped on the Senate floor:


November 24, 2003

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, we have before us a conference report that represents one of the biggest expansions of the Medicare entitlement program and offers enormous profits and protections for a few of the country's most powerful interest groups, paid for with the borrowed money of American taxpayers for generations and generations to come.

   This legislation reminds me of the ancient medieval practice of leeching. Every special   interest in Washington is attaching itself to this legislation and sucking Medicare dry.

   We do not need leeching. What we need is reform...

   What is absolutely astounding is that this new benefit will add an estimated $7 trillion in additional unfunded liabilities... By the year 2020 Social Security and Medicare, with a prescription drug benefit, will consume an estimated 21 percent of income taxes for every working American.

   I think we ought to be honest with the American people. Passing this package without implementing the necessary reforms to ensure that the Medicare system is solvent over the long term is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic....

   Unfortunately, the minor reforms in this bill do not even begin to offset the burden added by the new drug benefit. With future generations of American taxpayers funding the purchase of prescription drugs under Medicare, we have an obligation to ensure some amount of cost containment against the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, however, this package explicitly prohibits Medicare from using purchasing power to negotiate lower prices with manufacturers.

   How is that possible? The Veterans' Administration, the VA, and State Medicaid Programs use market share to negotiate substantial discounts. It is prohibited in this bill. The taxpayers should be able to expect Medicare, as a large purchaser of prescription drugs, to be able to derive some discount from its new market share. Instead, taxpayers will provide an estimated $9 billion a year in increased profits to the pharmaceutical industry...

    We cannot let political shortsightedness blind us from the long-term fiscal implications of this package.

Best Obama Tactic Last Night? Uncovering Mean Mitt

Putting Bain Capital's ties to China under the microscope, which led to Romney's waspish, Jan Brewer-inspired face-to-face hectoring of the President his face - - 'look at your pension...have you looked at your pension....'

Romney revealed himself as the unvarnished one-percenter CEO lecturing an ungrateful underling who dared question the boss' regal authority.

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett Pitches Waukesha Council On Water

Full text of his letter, below:

October 16, 2012

Dear Waukesha Common Council Members:

As you continue closed session discussions regarding the proposed water purchase from Oak Creek, I would like to provide you with some relevant information. I am providing these figures to help you assess whether the benefits you derive from expanding your service area outweigh the additional cost you will incur to provide your residents with high quality water.

If the $1.90 per thousand gallon wholesale rate contemplated in the Oak Creek deal were to be approved, it would add 30% to the typical household’s water bill, adding $90-95 per year. The rate of $1.90 is 64% higher than the $1.16 rate Milwaukee Water Works is currently charging West Allis, our most comparable wholesale customer. Citywide, the additional cost would be approximately $1.9 million per year.
Waukesha ratepayers have no guarantee that Oak Creek will not raise its costs, or that it will not ask to pass costs onto you as a wholesale customer as it has for Franklin residents. There is also no guarantee the Public Service Commission (PSC) will approve the $1.90 rate proposed in the Letter of Intent. In fact, Franklin’s 2011 wholesale rate is much higher at $2.16 per thousand gallons and is likely to increase further based on the recent PSC decisions.

The $183 million capital infrastructure cost contemplated in the Letter of Intent also exceeds what we have estimated it would cost to hook up to Milwaukee’s system by approximately $13 million. That would amount to an additional cost of $1 million per year or $19 million over a 20-year revenue bond at today’s historically low rates. Revenue bond rates are highly likely to increase in coming years.
The Milwaukee Water Works provides predictable and sustainable costs to customers in fifteen communities, Milwaukee County institutions, and nearly every water-intensive industry in the region. Our customers benefit from the fact that our rate base is spread far and wide.

They also benefit from the security of knowing we have two treatment plants that produce water for our customers and do not need major plant expansions to increase our output of high-quality water. The peace of mind our back-up infrastructure provides to residents and businesses who need to be able to rely on our water is unquantifiable.
Based on our communications with the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) and the DNR, it is clear that the City of Waukesha could ask for the proposed sewer and water service areas to be amended. Now that your ability to use Oak Creek as a supplier faces uncertainty, this would be a good time for you to re- evaluate your decision not to seek such an amendment.

The City of Milwaukee continues to be interested in negotiating the sale of water to the City of Waukesha’s current water service area. The Milwaukee Water Works could provide your residents with a healthy and sustainable supply of drinking water at a rate that our competitors cannot even come close to matching.

Taking action to revise the proposed service area now is likely to relieve you from the expense and time spent on challenges to your diversion request down the road. For the sake of your ratepayers and your timeline, I ask that you reconsider your position on the service area so that we can commence negotiations to serve Waukesha city residents with high quality water at the lowest possible cost.
Tom Barrett Mayor

Biggest Loser In The Debate

Whichever staffer briefed Mitt Romney and told him President Barack ("Get The Transcript") Obama took 14 days to call the Libya attack "an act of terror."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Candy Crowley Did a Heckuva Job

That can't be an easy task and I think she was outstanding. She refereed, fact-checked, got the town hall questioners' their moments, and let a lot of the candidates' back-and-forth fly.

Big hat-tip.

Obama Knows More About His Day Job Than Does Romney

Romney needs better binders.

Scoring Debate II: Obama "B+", Romney, "D"

President Barack Obama re-energized his base with a strong debate performance, and showed that he had a far more comprehensive understanding of basic issues and their inter-actions  - - women's health, pay equity, immigration reform, federal budgeting - - than did Mitt Romney.

I also graded Romney down for, again, failing to list the tax deductions he'd favor eliminating (offering yet another dollar amount in that fictional "bucket list" instead), and for two huge unforced errors:

1. Accusing the President of waiting 14 days for calling the Libya attack a terrorist attack, when the moderator corrected him after a confident Obama said "get the transcript" of his remarks from the very next day.

You will hear a lot about that in the next 48 hours - - about Romney sounding more like an uninformed talk show host than an informed candidate.

2. Saying in his closing statement that he stood for 100% of the American people - - when he had gotten through 90 minutes without Barack Obama dropping Romney's taped slam at 47% of the public as lazy and dependent - - giving Obama the opening to clobber him with it as the debate's close.

So Romney handed Obama the ending, and the win.

Obama can make more hay out of the debate in ads than can Romney.

Posted at Purple Wisconsin.

On Immigration, Libya, Women's Issues, Taxes

Obama cleaned Romney's clock. Worse for Romney - - two huge unforced errors:

1. On the President not saying the Libya was terrorism. Moderator says he did. Boom.

2. Romney in his close says he's for 100% of the people. So Obama gets to close with the 47% remark. Boom, boom!

Romney Walked Into It Right At The End

In his final remarks, Romney gives Obama the opening to bring up the 47% taped remark. So Obama ended with a closing statement wrapped around it.

A Smiling Chris Matthews Is Better Than Mr. Snarling


Strong Performance For Obama

Winner on style and substance. More later.

Great answers on immigration, women's issues, and Romney foolishly brought up the 47% issue right at the end.

Debate II - - Here We Go

Now let's hear from the undecideds!

Job Q. from a college kid sets up Romney answer.  Promises the kid a job. An opening pander.

Obama - - right to the Q. Didn't waste time on the pleasantries. Hits Romney on letting GM go bankrupt. He's firing off the specifics. Taking the Q. to green jobs. Ending wars. Where was this fire two weeks ago?

Candy Crowley follow-up. Good for her.

Romney promising 12 million new jobs. We in WI remember Scott Walker's pledge. On the defense on GM.

Obama says Romney's answer was "not true." Says Romney has one-point plan: more for the wealthy. He's killing Romney on outsourcing, closing plants, making money. Obama on offense.

Q. Gas prices as federal responsibility. Obama is out with facts. Finally! Back on green jobs. Fuel efficiencies. Looking to the future. Obama is fighting for his presidency. Says Romney wants to let oil companies write policy, has no plan for the future.

Romney is for green jobs in the mix, too.  Romney just flashed us a little angry sneer. Not like last week's cakewalk.

Crowley - - pushing Obama on oil prices. "Very little of what Gov. Romney just said is true."  Obama wants traditional fuels cleaner and smarter. Obama is schooling Romney on permits, drilling.

I suppose the fact-checkers will have a field day with the drilling, permitting and production. Romney is avoiding the impact of world demand, and collapse of the economy. Obama gets a laugh over Romney's policies driving us back to bad times.

Q. to Romney on which deductions he'll cut. Still no answer. "I'll pick a number..."

Talking no tax on capital gains, investments. Says Obama will raise middle-class taxes.

Obama - - Got to nail him on the specifics. Listing his tax cuts to date...wants return to tax rates on the higher earners. Reprising Romney's past positions on tax cuts for the wealthy.

Romney reiterating his new position.Obama needs to go after the unspecified # in the "bucket."

These guys do not like each other.

Obama is doing the math. $8 trillion obligated. Rams home the lack of deduction cut specificity. Boom.  Calls it "a sketchy deal...the math doesn't add up." "You can't bu this sales pitch."

Q. to Romney, if the #'s don't add up..."Of course they add up." "We're on the road to Greece."

Q. to Obama - - On female job and salary inequities.  Personal history, Ledbetter bill.  "We fixed that." "Advocacy." "This is a family issue, a middle class issue., so we've got to fight for it." Got rid of middle-men in student loans. "We will not tolerate discrimination."

Romney talking about his service as MA Gov. Has no personal experience with this earlier? Flex time...

Obama won that answer. Romney is way over his time. Hey!

Obama is turning this to health care/choice. It's an economic issue, too. Again talks about advocacy. I see a theme here. The President and party as advocate. "These are not just women's issues. They are family issues. They are economic issues."

Q. Impact of Bush administration. "I fear a return to those policies." What is the biggest difference between you and Pres. Bush. Wow. Great Q.

Romney is back on his five-point plan. Oil in N. Am., not from Arabs or Venezuela.
"Our party has been focused on big business for too long." Interesting.

Obama says centerpiece of Romeny's tax plan is same as Bush. Says Romney outsourced jobs to China. Says to Romney - - "You are the last person to get tough with China." Boom!

Geo. Bush embraced comprehensive immigration, did not attack Planned Parenthood, voucherize Soc. Sec., etc. Faint praise damnation.

To Obama - - An '08 Obama voter who is unhappy with Obama.  Imagine getting to ask that Q, face-to-face!

A chance to reprise his entire record. Kept his commitments.Romney will, too. The Grover Norq. pledge, repeal Obamacare, kill Planned Parenthood.

Romney in closing statement attack mode. More poverty now, food stamps, etc. Mentions Doff-Frank.  No one knows shat that means. Says Obama is a geat speaker. Huh? Romney now in statistical mania.

At the one-hour mark. Half hour to go...

Immigration Q.  to Romney - - We welcome legal immigrants into this country. No amnesty to people who come here illegally. No drivers' licenses. Uses "Democrat" instead of "Democratic." Ignoramus.

Obama - - Wants to fix it. Streamlined the process. Added border patrol. Lowered the # crossing. Focus on illegals who are gang-bangers, not students. Stressing his admin. effort for the young people. Reminds questioner of Romney pledge to veto Dream Act, encourage "self-deportation." Hits Romney on supporting AZ law.

GOP in Congress did not and will not support it.

Q. on "self-deportation" from Crowley. Romney will not answer for it. Says it means "choice." Oh, please!

Obama gets off wisecrack on his pension not being as large as Romney's. Romney tried to duck out of his investments in Chinese firms. I guess he meant in his mutual funds? Romney is disrespecting POTUS.

Q. to Obama on Libya, denied security? This will be a Romney win, as the deed was done on Obama's watch. Said Romney tried to make political points while people were under attack. "Right when it was happening." Obama on broader answer. "I mean what I say."

Romney says Obama went fund-raising after the attack.

Obama says he's responsible. Says he said it was "terror" the day after. Romney said it took 14 days. Obama says Romney's attitude suggesting a coverup and politicization is "offensive."

Obama says "get the transcript."

Crowley corrects Romney. The Right will go nuts.

13 minutes left.

Q. on assault weapons. Q. to Obama - - 2nd amendment. 

Romney not in favor of new gun laws. Agrees w/Obama on changing the culture of violence. Better law enforcement. No one will touch this q.

Romney on two-parent families as an antidote-to- iolence. He hits Obama on fast and furious."Does he know it began under Bush.

Crowley returns Romney to the Q. He does say he signed an assault-weapons ban in MA.  Obama says Romney was for a ban before he was against it because he was running for President.

Q. on outsourcing: To Romney. Obama should kill it if he brings up Bain.  Says he's against trickle-down gov't. Pro-private-sector, tax-cutting, anti-regulatory talking point word salad. He's attacking China. Says Obama won't label China a currency manipulator. Says he will levy tariffs to enforce the rules.

Now he's attacking Obamacare as a jobs' killer. We are way off the topic. Waiting for Obama.

Obama wants to close loopholes that allow companies to move jobs overseas. Says Romney wants to expand those breaks.

Obama says media called Bain an outsourcing  pioneer.

Can Apple bring jobs back here from China?

Obama says low-skill/wage jobs will not come back.
He wants high wage/high skill manufacturing jobs here.

Last Q? Debunk what is mis-perceived about each of you. He says he cares about 100% of the people - - giving Obama the option to bring up the 47% remark. Says he isn't being given enough credit for his work as a pastor. Closing speech stuff. $4 gas? Again? Nice turn of the Q., but it's too talkingpoint-ish.

Obama - - Wants fairness. Ah - - the 47% tape is dropped on Mitt. Romney handed it to him. Fool. Obama is on a roll about who is in the 47% - - soldiers, workers, etc. "If they succeed, the country succeeds."

Obama gets the last word. Asks for your vote. Strong finish.

Waukesha Has Said Its Diversion Is The Proverbial Drop In the Bucket, But...

The timing for a discussion of a potential Lake Michigan diversion that Waukesha is currently having with Oak Creek, Milwaukee and now with the Town of Waukesha couldn't come at a worse time:

Lake Michigan level touches record low for month

Lake Michigan kissed its record low water level for October on one day last week, and federal officials now predict the world's fifth largest lake is likely going to plunge into never-seen-before levels in the coming months.

Town Of Waukesha Sets Tough Conditions On Water Deal

The Town of Waukesha, having been roped without notification or discussions into the City of Waukesha's pending Great Lakes water diversion plan, announced today its conditions for joining in the deal - - and the tough stance the Town is taking on reimbursement for annexations and other issues suggests the City should have sat down with the Town two years ago:

Town officials are asking the city to pay 20 years worth of property taxes as compensation for any properties annexed by the city after switching to a lake supply.

In a letter to city officials setting out its opening offer in negotiations, the town board also asks to participate in a joint review of future annexations.

Town Of Waukesha Holding Emergency Water Policy Meeting

The Town of Waukesha is under the gun to decide whether to join the City of Waukesha's application for a Lake Michigan diversion, and has scheduled an emergency meeting today about it, according to the Waukesha Patch.

The Town needs to act, one way or the other, in the wake of the City's letter of intent to buy the diverted water from Oak Creek - - though that deal is on hold.

Waukesha-Oak Creek Water Deal Envisions Regional Water Authority

Waukesha's water management ambitions, like its interest in sending diverted water beyond its borders to four neighboring communities, also may play a role in the creation of a bigger utility, too.

Note that item "F" in the Oak-Creek Waukesha water deal envisions the creation of a regional water authority:

F.    Regional Water Authority: Both Parties agree to engage in discussions related to the creation of a Regional Water Authority ("RWA"), the purpose of which would be to own and operate a treatment facility and the facility's related infrastructure. Such discussions would investigate the potential for the RWA to serve Oak Creek and its wholesale customers and the ownership and governing structure of the potential RWA. If such RWA purchases Oak Creek's existing Water treatment facility and the facility's related infrastructure, Oak Creek will receive fair and equitable monetary compensation for the sale.
The groundwork for a new multi-jurisdictional water entity in Southeastern Wisconsin was laid by SEWRPC's regional water supply study-cum-greenlight that recommended diverting Lake Michigan water out of the basin into Waukesha.

Additionally, Lorie Kobza, the same attorney hired as a consultant by SEWRPC for her expertise in regional water authority legislation, received a contract in May, 2010 from the Waukesha Water Utility.

And Dan Duchniak, Waukesha's water utility general manager, previously worked at the Oak Creek water utility.

Here Is The Waukesha-Oak Creek Water Deal Letter Of Intent Text

Forwarded to me by the Waukesha Clerk/Treasurer's office from the Waukesha Water Utility (there is reference to an attachment that I do not have):


This Letter of Intent ("LOI") is dated as of ____________, 2012 (the "Effective Date"), by and between the City of Waukesha, by and through its Waukesha Water Utility ("Waukesha") and the City of Oak Creek and its Water and Sewer Utility (collectively, "Oak Creek")

WHEREAS, Waukesha and Oak Creek desire to enter into a Letter of Intent ("LOI") for the provision of Lake Michigan water (the "Water") pursuant to a Water Supply Agreement (the "Agreement") and in accordance with provisions and restrictions of the Great Lakes Compact (the "Compact") and an approved water service area (the "Water Service Area") as delineated by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission ("SEWRPC").
NOW THEREFORE, Waukesha and Oak Creek (collectively, the "Parties") agree as follows:

1.    This LOI provides a basis and an outline of provisions that the Parties intend to include in an Agreement between Oak Creek and Waukesha pursuant to which Oak Creek will supply Water wholesale to Waukesha and Waukesha will purchase Water wholesale from Oak Creek.

2.    Waukesha will construct any infrastructure necessary to distribute the Water to Waukesha's water service area, as identified and included herein by exhibit and reference. The alignment and route of any Water transmission mains infrastructure, which includes pumps stations and other improvements, that may need to be constructed to effectuate the Agreement will be the sole responsibility of Waukesha, provided, however, that Waukesha shall consult with Oak Creek regarding the location and construction of water transmission mains infrastructure within the boundaries that are currently under the jurisdiction of Oak Creek. Once such water transmission mains infrastructure is placed into service, it will become the property of Oak Creek and shall be operated and maintained as part of Oak Creek's system. Alternatively, Oak Creek may choose to construct required water transmission mains infrastructure within Oak Creek and incorporate the appropriate costs into the water rates charged to Waukesha and shall give written notice to Waukesha of its intentions. If Oak Creek chooses to construct the water transmission mains infrastructure, then Oak Creek shall determine the alignment and route of any water transmission mains infrastructure.

3.    This LOI is also for the purpose of advancing Waukesha's Water application to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (the "WDNR") and the Great Lakes Regional Body and that specific details regarding day to day operational issues will be addressed in the Agreement at a later date and time.

4.    By executing this LOI, Waukesha agrees to negotiate exclusively with Oak Creek for the provision of Water, provided, however, that Waukesha shall be allowed to negotiate with other Water suppliers if Oak Creek provides written notice that it requires substantial modifications to the provisions of this LOI. Both Waukesha and Oak Creek shall negotiate in good faith.

5.   The Parties agree in concept to the following provisions of Water service:

A. Water Quality, Quantity and Service Pressure: Oak Creek shall provide, at its municipal border, Water to Waukesha which is safe for human consumption and which meets all primary drinking water quality standards from time to time established by State and Federal governmental entities. The Water shall be of the same purity and quality as the Water provided by Oak Creek to its individual retail and other wholesale customers and shall be at a pressure sufficient to satisfy all applicable requirements of the WDNR and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (the "PSC").

The minimum hge (“hydraulic grade elevation”) shall be 870 (USGS datum) at the metering station measured at the downstream side of the meter based on a single pipe dedicated to Waukesha. This hge may change if the City of Franklin's distribution system is utilized for transferring water to Waukesha. The supply of water for the current areas served in Waukesha, are set forth in Exhibit A (the "Initial Service Area") attached hereto and incorporated herein, shall be at the rate needed by Waukesha but not to exceed eleven million gallons per day ("gpd") (11,000,000 gpd) measured at any point in time at the meter near the Oak Creek municipal border, as set forth above. During the term of this Agreement Oak Creek's supply of Water to Waukesha to serve the Water Service Area shall not exceed eighteen million five hundred thousand gallons per day (18,500,000 gpd) measured at any point in time, except with Oak Creek's consent to such exceedance. In the event Oak Creek is unable to satisfy Waukesha's request to supply more than 18,500,000 gpd (or such higher demand figure as agreed to by Oak Creek), Waukesha may obtain Water service from any other source without violating the terms of this LOI.

Improvements to Oak Creek's water supplies (the "Improvements") will be required to enable Oak Creek to supply the Waukesha's Water demands. The Improvements will be installed based upon pre-described system demands as outlined in Table 1, attached as B.

Exhibit B hereto and incorporated herein. To enable Oak Creek to meet future Water service demands, Waukesha shall develop a five (5) year water projection for both average day demand and maximum day demand, to be reviewed by Oak Creek on an annual basis. By April 1 of each calendar year, commencing in the year following the date of final approval of the Application for Great Lakes Water. Waukesha shall notify Oak Creek of its updated five (5) year water projections. Oak Creek shall meet Waukesha's updated demands, provided that Waukesha's demand increases in any one year will not exceed one hundred fifty thousand (150,000) gpd measured at any point in time, unless both Parties agree to such exceedance. If Waukesha does not provide an update of its five (5) year projections by April 1st, Year 1 of the prior year's plan will become Year 1 of the updated plan. For planning purposes, Waukesha's 2012 average day demand is seven million (7,000,000) gpd and Waukesha's maximum day demand is eleven million (11,000,000) gpd.
B. Service Area: Oak Creek shall provide Water at wholesale Water rates for the Initial Service Area. The Initial Service Area may be expanded to provide Water to the Water Service Area provided the average day demand does not exceed 150,000 gpd per year measured annually on a cumulative basis. Such expansions may occur without the consent of both parties.

C.  Allocation of Shared System Costs (Source of Supply, Pumping, Water Treatment and Transmission Mains): Shared system costs will be allocated per the following Two Step Method: The allocation of Oak Creek's shared costs to wholesale customers will be determined in the first step of a Two-Step Cost of Service Study (COSS) prepared by Oak Creek. The second step will be developed by each Party for retail rates for each community. Under this Two-Step method, revenue requirements will be allocated between Oak Creek's wholesale and retail customers using a base- extra capacity methodology. Base shared costs will be allocated pro rata based on water consumption. Extra capacity maximum day (MD) shared costs will be allocated by applying relative system maximum day ratios to base flows. Customer costs will be allocated based on the number of equivalent-meters using standard PSC ratios.

1.    Revenue requirements will be developed under the current method approved by the PSC. If Oak Creek or its treatment plant is no longer regulated by the PSC, then revenue requirements will be developed using guidance from the American Water Works Association's Manual of Water Supply Practices M1.
2.    The base-extra capacity method used in step one of Oak Creek's Two-Step Method does not allocate any base or extra capacity costs to fire protection. All fire hydrant costs are allocated to Oak Creek retail customers.
3.    Transmission mains are considered to be all mains fourteen inches and larger plus fifty percent of twelve inch mains.
4.    Total system MD ratios are determined by using an average of the annual MD ratio for the previous four years.
5.    Actual individual wholesale customer metered data will be used to determine each wholesale customer's MD ratio. Oak Creek's MD flow will be determined by subtracting wholesale MD flow from total system flows. The allocation of base shared costs and extra capacity maximum day shared costs between Oak Creek and each of the wholesale customers will use the average of the annual MD ratio for the previous four years.

D.   Rates: Waukesha shall be a wholesale customer of Oak Creek. The wholesale rate with Waukesha as a customer is estimated to be $1.90 per 1000 gallons of water based on 2012 dollars with Waukesha purchasing an average of 7 million gallons per day (MGD) and a maximum day purchase of 11 MGD with Oak Creek installing the improvements identified in Exhibit B. Waukesha will be responsible for providing adequate water from its system storage to meet its maximum hour demand plus fire flows. Both Parties acknowledge that this rate is based on assumptions that may change between 2012 and 2018. This rate will not be guaranteed until the date on which Waukesha actually purchases the Water, which is estimated to occur in 2018.

Waukesha shall be solely responsible for billing and collection of all fees or charges from its retail and/or wholesale Water service customers. The initial rate of charges for wholesale Water services supplied to Waukesha by Oak Creek shall be the current rates authorized by the PSC, which rates shall cover all commodity and fixed excess demand related charges inclusive of public fire protection charges. The schedule of water rates shall be subject to modification during the term of the Agreement based on the Two Step Method described above. Such changes shall be approved, as required, by the PSC. Oak Creek shall submit invoices to Waukesha on a monthly basis. A reasonable rental fee for the operation, maintenance and repair of metering and demand measuring devices will be charged to Waukesha and incorporated in the monthly service fee as approved by the PSC. All such invoices shall be payable to Oak Creek within twenty (20) days. If payments are not received within twenty (20) days a penalty of 1% per month on any delinquency shall be due and payable by Waukesha.

E.    Reliance on PSC: The Parties acknowledge that in entering into this LOI they are mutually relying on the current regulatory role of the PSC, as of the date of this LOI with respect to matters relating to Water service rates, rules and practices. If the responsibilities of the PSC or any successor agency with respect to such matters change materially, or if the level of involvement of the PSC or any successor agency in such matters changes materially or if the PSC ceases to exist or exercise regulatory authority regarding water service rates and practices and such authority has not been transferred to a successor agency, the provisions and procedures of Dispute Resolution outlining a binding arbitration process set forth in the Agreement will be invoked.

F.    Regional Water Authority: Both Parties agree to engage in discussions related to the creation of a Regional Water Authority ("RWA"), the purpose of which would be to own and operate a treatment facility and the facility's related infrastructure. Such discussions would investigate the potential for the RWA to serve Oak Creek and its wholesale customers and the ownership and governing structure of the potential RWA. If such RWA purchases Oak Creek's existing Water treatment facility and the facility's related infrastructure, Oak Creek will receive fair and equitable monetary compensation for the sale.

G.    Operation and Maintenance: Oak Creek and Waukesha may agree to enter into a separate agreement governing Oak Creek staff's proper operation and maintenance of Waukesha facilities located outside Oak Creek at a cost outlined in such agreement. In the event such an agreement cannot be reached, Waukesha would be solely responsible for operating and maintaining such facilities.
Facilities in Oak Creek shall be owned and maintained by Oak Creek and the cost of those facilities shall be incorporated into the Water rates as set forth in the Allocation of Costs described above.

H.    Agreement Term: It is intended that the Agreement shall be for an initial term of forty (40) years then automatically renew for four (4) ten (10) year terms unless both Parties agree otherwise. The Agreement shall terminate eighty (80) years from the date upon which it takes effect, which shall occur upon the Agreement being
duly approved and signed by each of the Parties and approved by the WDNR as required by law.

6.    No Obligation: Except as expressly set forth herein, neither Party shall have any obligation to the other. No reliance, performance, change or loss of position or other action or expectation now or hereafter made based on this LOI shall be deemed to create any obligation or agreement of any type. There are no agreements or understandings between the Parties regarding supplying Water except as expressly set forth in this LOI.

7.    LOI Term: This LOI shall remain in effect for a period of forty-eight (48) months from its Effective Date.

For: Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility:
________________________________ Gerald H. Wille, Chairman
________________________________ Fredrick R. Siepert, Secretary
City of Waukesha:
________________________________ Jeff S. Scrima, Mayor
________________________________ Thomas E. Neill, City Clerk/Treasurer