Thursday, September 24, 2020

Wisconsin's COVID data are grimmer than Canada's

Here are some stunning measures of how poorly Wisconsin is controlling the COVID-19 pandemic:

Canada - a country closer to Wisconsin than, say, Kansas or Idaho or Virginia or Tennessee - has a population of 37.8 million people that is more than six times Wisconsin's population of 5.85 million.

Yet Canada reports 92 COVID-19 patients currently in intensive care units there, while Wisconsin exceeds that number by more than 50% with 140

Call it the tip of the iceberg, as COVID-19 data bases compiled by The New York Times for Wisconsin and Canada reveal more shocking disparities not in Wisconsin's favor

Wisconsin reported 10 COVID-19 deaths on September 23rd while all of Canada reported nine, and Wisconsin had close to 80% more new positive COVID-19 cases on September 23rd, at 1,883, than did Canada on the same day with 1,090.

I don't see the Wisconsin-Canadian COVID-19 caseload imbalance flipping, as the Republican/far-right in Wisconsin is dumping on Gov. Tony Evers' mask-wearing emergency extension and already convinced the State Supreme Court to kill his effort to extend his earlier 'Safer-at-Home' policy.

And unlike Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been wearing a mask in public or when working in close proximity to other people since May. 

That's the way a normal leader would educate the public and help reduce a pandemic's impact, while an abnormal leader who undermines science, won't wear a mask and gathers people together in crowded, raucous rallies has helped push the US COVID-19 death toll past an unimaginable 200,000

300,000 by December 31 isn't out of the question - even more if seasonal flu weakens more Americans' immunities - so Wisconsin's COVID-19 case load and death toll are sure to keep growing.

And the New Year will in all likelihood bring WI GOP State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to the Congress where he can peddle his dumb 'masks-optional' ''philosophy' to fellow science-disbelieving House Republicans whose minority status at the Capitol we hope spreads to the Senate and White House.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Johnson says media missed his Russia story. Like that overlooked July 4th Russia-RoJo story?

Noted Trump acolyte and Senior GOP US Senator Ron Johnson

complained on Twitter Wednesday about media disinterest in his Biden-smearing-taxpayer-subsidized nothing-burger which political reporters spat out today.

GOP senators’ anti-Biden report repackages old claims

Griped the Badger State's perpetually-fact-challenged Tea Party original:
Senator Ron Johnson
Why did Hunter Biden’s company receive a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow? 
Just one of many questions raised in our investigation out today. @NRO asks why the media isn't more interested?

And since Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Johnson is raising questions about media coverage of key things Russian, let's answer his question with a couple of of our own:  

1. Why did he join a group of GOP Senators who spent the 2018 July 4th holiday making nice with Russian pols in Moscow of all places?
After Moscow Trip, Johnson Says Election Meddling Overblown
2. And was he surprised or irked that his water-carrying comments about Trump made after the trip, and which also undercut US sanctions showed up reported or reprinted in the state-owned and hardly-objective media platform Tass
7 JUL 2018, 23:54

US sanctions against Russia not working — US senator Johnson

WI GOP Cohort of the COVID Complicit is at it again

We have reached an unbearably absurd point in the COVID-19 damaged Wisconsin political environment - 

 which continues to draw the wrong kind of national attention:

Wisconsin is experiencing "unprecedented, near-exponential growth" of the virus...with the daily number of new cases rising from 678 at the end of August to 1,791 on Monday. 

And look at the case growth in smaller, rural Wisconsin counties - Kewaunee, Forest, Pierce, Grant and others - which are far from big population centers. 

Yet after months of personal, family, and community suffering enabled by the right-wing Supreme Court majority and their Republican legislative allies' intentional abandonment of accountability: 

* COVID-19 hospitalizations have hit a record level:

Wisconsin breaks record for coronavirus hospitalizations

* And the same GOP legislators who walked away from any COVID-19 policy-making actions are again opposing a Gov. Evers' order requiring some public mask-wearing mandates while urging the Legislature they adjourned months ago (while still collecting paychecks) to finally reconvene - but only to block the Evers' disease-preventing masking order after earlier faked a pledge of cooperation and never offering a pandemic-prevention plan:

.’ third executive order is unlawful, unilateral and fails to account for differences across our state. The Legislature should meet immediately to rescind this order. Read my full statement here:

This takes the Grover Norquist wish for a government small enough to drown in a bathtub to a lower level by throwing more citizens, their bank accounts, hospital resources and respect for at-risk frontline medical personnel who deserve far better into the toxic tub.

And thanks to the WI GOP's 'do-all-harm' COVID-19 obstruction, what is lamentable true today was also true May thanks to the same conservative cohort of the complicit:


Blase, science-averse WI's pols overlook Covid-19 facts

Bad news Wednesday: Record number of Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin reported:
The percentage of positive tests jumped back to 8%, the second straight day of increase after it fell to 2.9% on Sunday. A 14-day downward trend of positive test rate is a key metric in the Badger Bounce Back guidelines that many businesses are following as they make plans to reopen.
4:45 p.m. update - And I now see this alarming news at Urban Milwaukee:
State Sees Biggest Hike In New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions In 30 Days

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

More WI bear hounds killed by wolves

More WI hounds were thrown to the wolves during the first weeks of the 2020 bear hunting season.

These recent incidents were reported in a Tuesday DNR email using USDA data, and are included with maps and additional detains on the agency's website:
September 18, 2020, wolves killed (2) trailing hound dogs in the Town of Fifield, Price County. 
September 20, 2020, wolves killed one trailing hound dog and injured another trailing hound dog in the Town of Dunbar, Marinette County. 
September 20, 2020, wolves killed a trailing hound dog in the Town of St. Germain, Vilas County. 
September 21, 2020, wolves killed a trailing hound dog in the Town of Draper, Sawyer County. 
September 21, 2020, wolves killed (2) trailing hound dogs in the Town of Big Falls, Rusk County. 
Here is final, fatal tally of hunting dogs released by so-called hounders for bear hunt training into encounters with protective, predatory wolves during a two-month state-approved free-for-all in the WI Northwoods which ended August 31: 

16 dogs were killed & four injured, $50,000 ($2,500 per depredated hound) in likely state reimbursement payments to be claimed, DNR records show - available even to repeat collectors, or hunting law scofflaws.

The reimbursement system began in 1985, extends to depredated live stock and pets, and is a testament to the power of hunting lobbies in Wisconsin.

Many of the hunting dogs thrown to the wolves during these state-sanctioned training periods were Plott hounds, probably like this one.

More information, here and here and here.

Ignore Romney. Vote vs. Trump, more GOP seats. Wear a mask.

Look: Romney is an upper-class Republican a tick less reprehensible than his cult-following and hypocritical GOP colleagues.

And while Romney's done an occasional but ineffective good thing, remember - he's no friend of Democrats and is certainly no progressive, so don't waste an ounce of your energy over his predictable cave-in on the Supreme Court.

Instead, honor Justice Ginsberg's life of service during the next six weeks by:

* Getting an absentee ballot, filling it in carefully to avoid its unintended invalidation and returning it to a designated drop-off spot.

* Giving time and money to voter registration campaigns in Wisconsin;

* Donating money in Wisconsin to Democratic candidates to prevent Republicans from attaining bigger, veto-proof Legislative majorities - or they will ram through another GOP gerrymander after the 2020 census and the little dictators' power grabbing, tax breaks for their donor class, environmental depredation and strangulation of public services

will extend in Wisconsin for another decade.

* Sending money to Democratic Senate candidates in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona - and others if I'm forgetting them. Peruse ActBlue for options like this one.

* Wearing a mask and supporting Gov. Evers' latest effort to beat back the pandemic that is running wild in Wisconsin with nearly 2,000 news cases daily in the last week thanks to official GOP legislative and State Supreme Court complicity

Trump has politicized mask-wearing, and rewards his virus-enabling worshippers with rallies, irresponsibilities and feel-good-even-though-it-might-kill them snark, so it's important to make an opposing statement while doing the right thing for public health.

Just because these contemptibly spineless and reckless GOP 'leaders' want you to feel put down and powerless doesn't mean you let them whether your challenge is defeating the virus or leaving fascism in the history books.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Another legal win erases a Walker environmental stain

Today's reversal of a Walker-era DNR permit approval to fill a rare Monroe County wetland sought by an out-of-state sand mine operation comes just days after a separate ruling last week granted conservationists in Sheboygan Court the right to contest an approved Walker-era transfer of prime public acreage inside Kohler-Andrae State Park to a private golf course developer.

Both of these planned, state-approved depredations of valuable, even rare lands were covered extensively on this blog - here, and here - 

*  A Georgia frac sand company is fighting a recent DNR decision revoking a permit to fill high-quality wetlands in Monroe County about the size of 14 football fields.
*  Kohler interests intend to appeal a similar wetlands-fill permit revocation for a high-end golf course along Lake Michigan; opponents are continuing their David vs. Goliath preservation effort.
These wetland losses - - capped off with the removal of state protections from 100,000 acres - - a round number pulled out of a special-interests' lobbied hat - - were set in motion when Walker was Governor; he began authorizing wetland filling in the first hours and in the earliest moves by his administration and define his horrible environmental legacy - - explained in detail, here.

And the golf course issue was featured in a 2018 multi-part series on Walker's ugly environmental record in this installment, here.

Note that Walker began his assault on state wetlands in the first hours of his first term.

*  January 4, 2011:

Right on schedule, Walker wants certain wetlands protections eliminated
I had been calling Scott Walker's radical environmental approach the Cut It, Gut It, Pave It, Fill It Plan.
[Update: Walker has signed a special wetland-filling bill for one of his donors after he'd already suspended the DNR's permit review which had held up the development.] 

Bottom line: public parks and wetlands

a wetland in May

WI DNR photo

need protection from special-interest destruction. And elections have consequences!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Ignored warnings and science give WI stupidly high COVID caseloads

Aided and abetted by poor personal choices, willful GOP ignorance and allied judicial misbehavior, the pandemic's infuriatingly yet needless grip on Wisconsin remains on sickening display here:

Record-setting positive COVID-19 caseload increases are being reported in Wisconsin despite six months of education, experience, sacrifice, sadness and death:

Saturday's reported rise in cases is the second-highest, single-day total to date and the third consecutive day that new cases have surpassed 2,000. A record single-day rise was reported on Friday, with 2,533 new cases confirmed.

* UW-Madison students and the Dane County community at-large are now paying a heavy price for that share of that outbreak, according to health officials' accompanying "data notes."

As we reported last week, three key strategies are in effect to help slow the spread of the virus. On September 4, we issued quarantine notices  to over 400 UW fraternity and sorority members due to outbreaks within their chapter houses. On September 7, UW directed undergraduate students to restrict movement for 14 days , and on September 9, UW shifted to two weeks of remote instruction  and placed two residence halls under quarantine. 

* Republican-hosted events in Wisconsin continue to ignore best pandemic-avoidance practices and the President just invited the unmasked to gather and praise him publicly in Marathon County -  

where there were 165 new COVID-19 positive cases last week. 

 * Data also show positive cases in Wisconsin last week jumping by a noteworthy 1,033 in Brown County where COVID-19 hotspot status had been achieved and noted months earlier in July.

...Brown County is ranked #2 in confirmed Covid-19 cases among Wisconsin's 72 counties.

So let's hope that organized partying on an NFL Gameday Sunday in Brown County does not add to the caseloads:

“All the calls we’ve been getting, we are definitely gearing up and putting on our normal huge tailgate party,” said Ronda Konschake, general manager of Stadium View Bar & Grille, 1963 Holmgren Way. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

WI could tip election blue If McConnell sets lame duck session

Ron Johnson's brazen-corruption of a Senatorial committee in service to an openly fascistic GOP President gives swing-state Wisconsin Democrats extra incentive to vote Trump out of office.

But no motivator could top that boost for the Biden-Harris ticket than a move by US GOP Senate Majority Leader to call a post-Trump-defeat-lame-duck session to steal another Supreme Court seat and install a right-wing justice who will spend the rest of her life tearing down the human rights legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Wisconsinites know that 'lame-duck' is code for unethical, ultra-partisan and back-door GOP election-nullifying maneuvering to allow a sore-losing party and their jilted, spiteful rejects - 

to heist power from the winners and wield it from the political grave.

Topped off in the Budget State by the losers' shame-free follow-up musings that their power grab hadn't gone far enough.

You want to motivate every possible Democratic and fair-minded voter in battleground  Wisconsin to brave a pandemic and/or bad weather to vote in the Biden-Harris team and vote out every down-ballot Republican?

Keep scheming to reward an election loser with another shame-free power grab.

That's the ticket.

Friday, September 18, 2020

RBG's death sets progressive voters' agendas to & through Nov. 3

After we grieve and properly celebrate her grit, work and legacies, Democrats and anyone else dedicated to the survival of American democracy can honor the memories of Cong. Elijah Cummings, Cong. John Lewis and now Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Ginsburg seated in her robe

with a righteous rejection of Trump, Mitch McConnell and all Trump’s corrupt enablers. 

There are 45 days to go. I pledge to do more than one thing every day - volunteer, organize, give money, whatever it takes - until Nov. 3 to honor these fallen heroes who dedicated their lives to decency, fair play and human rights.

The very things that brought my grandparents and their parents to this country and lives of hard, honest work here, giving back.

The alternatives are to lapse into despair and let the right and Trump's cult continue their enthusiastic obeisance to international dictators, intensely self-interested commitment to obstruction of women and minorities' advancement and corruption of American democracy.   

One more thing: as someone whose family has been repeatedly damaged by cancers, I want to make sure we salute Justice Ginsberg's multiple battles with cancers and her unwillingness to let her treatments and pain impede her work and spirit.

The phrase is misused and overused, but the pioneering Ruth Bader Ginsberg was one-of-a-kind, and, along with Congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Lewis deserve our most-respectful best responses now that they have left the fight and responsibility to us.

Five images frame WI's need for a massive Nov. blue wave

I've distilled into a few images and links the need for a corrective landslide in Wisconsin come November to help dispatch Trump from the White House and blunt the impact of Wisconsin's GOP-engineered gerrymandered nightmare that has distorted and hamstrung the people's needs since 2011. 

The labels are interchangeable, and feel free to supplement them.


Getting ready to throw away based on one-page sketeched-out sketchy deal more than $4 billion public dollars plus under farmland, bury wetlands, boost Walker's re-election and flatter Trump's ego.



GOP Assembly Speaker at an April polling place after declaring it was "incredibly safe" to go out in the pandemic.


Screenshot of Sen. Majority Leader Fitzgerald walking out of a special session on gun safety after a few seconds of 'consideration.' He later did the same thing at a special session on police and judicial reforms. He's also headed for Congress. Imagine.


Clear and present danger
This week's west coast fire smog polluting the skies as seen from Lake Park on Milwaukee'e east side.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Great Lakes managers expanding public involvement processes

Given the years of uproar over Waukesha's plans to divert Lake Michigan water

Lake Michigan gale 

out of the Great Lakes basin - not to mention Wisconsin's diversion-happy record while the six other Great Lakes states have managed to live with the water that have - and the fresh attention to Waukesha's related infrastructure planning that had raised opposition in neighboring New Berlin, it's worth noting that the multi-state policy-makers in charge of Great Lakes diversions and other regional water matters are open to procedural changes and are looking for public input.

Especially in these areas: "...dispute resolution and arbitration, and enforcement."

And what a sad commentary it is that that many of these issues were raised earlier, and also nearly ten years ago to the day:

Waukesha Residents Call For Authentic Citizen Involvement In Water Issue

Let's hope this is a sincere effort to give citizens a greater say in how the world's largest supply of fresh surface water is managed as a warming climate depletes water globally, produce heavier rains and damaging water levels in the Great Lakes region and drive more people towards the Great Lakes.

Background information from the DNR is posted on its Waukesha Water Diversion webpage.

Links to a comment period ending October 15 on the proposed regional water management procedures is included in the DNR's email which is reproduced in full below. If I get a link to the same text, I will post that in coding I can better control.

More to come, so stay tuned:



The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Council) and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Regional Body (Regional Body).  

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers serves as the Secretariat to the Council and Regional Body.


Notice of: Council’s proposed Rules of Practice and Procedure; Council’s proposed Council Guidance; and, Regional Body’s proposed Regional Body Procedures.


The Council under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (“Compact”) is proposing to modify its Rules of Practice and Procedure and to amend its Guidance, and the Regional Body under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (“Agreement”) is proposing to amend its Procedures guidance as described below:

  1. Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact Rules of Practice and Procedures.  This document, proposed to be modified by Council as a regulation, includes proposed revisions addressing alternative dispute resolution and arbitration, and enforcement.  Comments are being accepted on proposed revisions to the Rules of Practice and Procedure.
  2. Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact Guidance. This guidance document mirrors the Regional Body Procedures through Parts I and II with respect to review of a diversion subject to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, and also includes certain provisions applicable only to the Council.  The Compact Council proposes amending the Guidance adopted on December 6, 2018.  Comments are being accepted on proposed revisions to the Compact Guidance in Sections 200.2; 200.3; 200.4; and 200.5.
  3. Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Water Resources Regional Body Procedures. This guidance document contains the procedures that the Regional Body will follow during the review of a diversion subject to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement through the issuance of its Declaration of Finding. This document mirrors the Compact Guidance for Parts I and II.  The Regional Body proposes amending Interim Procedures adopted on December 6, 2018.  Comments are being accepted on proposed revisions to the Regional Body Procedures in Sections 200.2; 200.3; 200.4; and 200.5.

All materials are available for review at and  

Copies may also be obtained by contacting the office of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers at the address noted under “For Further Information Contact” below.


Anyone wishing to comment on the proposed revised Rules of Practice and Procedure; proposed revised Council Guidance; and proposed revised Regional Body Procedures; must file such comments at the addresses noted below no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT October 15, 2020.

Due to Covid-19, a virtual-only Public Hearing will be held on the proposed revised Rules of Practice and Procedure; proposed revised Council Guidance; and proposed revised Regional Body Procedures on October 13, 2020 beginning no sooner than 2:00 p.m. EDT, and will end when all present have had an opportunity to provide comments.  

Participation is available by registering at  


Comments should be submitted to the Council and/or Regional Body electronically at 

Comments may also be submitted at:

Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Water Resources Council

Great Lakes St. Lawrence Water Resources Regional Body

c/o Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers

20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2700

Chicago, Illinois 60606


Peter Johnson, Deputy Director

Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers

20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2700

Chicago, Illinois 60606

Tel:      312/305-4133


Responsible Official:  Peter R. Johnson, Deputy Director, is the official responsible for the development of the Council’s Rules of Practice and Procedure and the guidance documents discussed herein.

The Full Notice, Including Supplementary Information, May be Downloaded at