Friday, July 19, 2019

NY Times explains why Trump may be stronger in WI

The New York Times looks at numbers which suggest Wisconsin is pivotal to the 2020 presidential election.

I'd throw in other things, like, say, addressing climate change, ensuring the survival of US democracy, and more. 

Data wonks weigh in.

Read the entire piece, as it also acknowledges Trump's strength in the reliably loyal GOP Milwaukee suburban counties.

Head shot of Trump smiling in front of an American flag. He is wearing a dark blue suit jacket, white shirt, light blue necktie, and American flag lapel pin.

While it's premature to make predictions, it's never too early to bury complacency:
Trump’s Electoral College Edge Could Grow in 2020, Rewarding Polarizing Campaign 
Wisconsin was the tipping-point state in 2016, and it seems to hold that distinction now, at least based on the president’s approval rating among 2018 midterm voters...  
A closer look at the underlying evidence suggests there’s reason to think the president’s ratings could be higher than estimated in the state... most measures suggest that the president’s rating is higher than 47.1 percent in Wisconsin. 
If you excluded the Votecast data and added the final Marquette poll, the president’s approval rating would rise to 47.6 percent — or a net 4.2 points higher than his nationwide approval. 

Trump owns the WI GOP congressional delegation

Want to see just how deep is the support for Trump's racist remarks in the Wisconsin GOP congressional delegation?

The Washington Post tracks the reactions of the entire GOP congressional delegation.

US Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, offered tepid disapproval of Trump's "mean tweets," principally on policy grounds. 

It was something, but not much.

Mike Gallagher, official portait, 115th Congress (2).jpg T
The rest of our state's Republican members of Congress either endorsed what Trump had said - Duffy and Grothman - - or, like Ron Johnson, Sensenbrenner and Stell, gave Trump their approval by bobbing, weaving or just hiding out. 

I don't see a profile in courage among them.

File under "Party of Lincoln No More."

WI scientists define the groundwater health crisis, solutions

The non-partisan, science-based group Wisconsin's Green Fire has published a blueprint that confronts state groundwater contamination.

Gov. Evers, legislators of both parties, other organizations and Wisconsin citizens in all 72 counties need to cooperatively address these pressing /urban-rural needs:
Wisconsin’s Green Fire Statement on Release of Nitrates in Wisconsin Waters Report 07-16-19 – Download Our Press Statement
WGF Nitrates in Wisconsin Waters Final 07-16-2019 – Download Full Document
Summary
Wisconsin needs to address the sources of nitrate pollution in drinking water, which is a growing problem around the state. End-of-pipe water supply treatment and well replacement can be short term fixes for households and communities with nitrate contaminated water, but they do nothing to address the source of the problem. It will be more cost effective and more beneficial for the health and quality of life of Wisconsin residents if we tackle nitrates at the source.  
Wisconsin needs a drinking water solution equal to the magnitude of the problem. This paper lays out elements of that solution...

Thursday, July 18, 2019

WI GOP finds new route for fossilized anti-city bias

State Sen. GOP Majority Leader and leading Milwaukee hater Scott Fitzgerald is extending his party's assault on Gov. Evers' veto powers by targeting money that might be spent on Milwaukee city rail which Republicans have been sand-bagging forever, as I wrote in 2008:
A starter light rail system was recommended for Milwaukee County in a major state-funded regional transportation study in the 1990s that had considerable public and private sector support.
But conservative AM talk radio and opposition in Waukesha County blocked further study of light rail for Milwaukee, even though $241 million in federal funds was set aside specifically for transit improvements in Milwaukee County.
Had plans unfolded on schedule, the starter light rail, with an estimated 21,000 riders on weekdays, would have opened in 2006 and run about 10 miles from the Third Ward to Summerfest, downtown, Miller Park, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the County Grounds
Sounds even more familiar these days, doesn't it, as I wrote two years ago:
And if you are one of these anti-city legislators, what more effective way is there for you to distract attention from your years of transportation planning and fiscal failures?
That even with total control of state government has brought your Cadillac-level highway expansion in the Zoo Interchange to an embarrassing stall - - bad planning and budgeting failures which also took River Hills GOP State Senator Alberta Darling's billion-dollar+-separate-boondoggle near Miller Park off the table - - than meddling with a Milwaukee system that is common across the country as a development tool and transportation method - - but which car-rich people in River Hills or Oconomowoc Lake or Germantown can easily and ideologically ignore.
The GOP suburban far-right has for years been twisting Milwaukee's budgets for political reasons, especially obstructing modern transit which makes the city attractive to residents who want an alternative to suburban isolation and its interstate highway commutes.
By the way, Milwaukeeans routinely contribute to transportation projects statewide, even if many city people with or without cars will never use widened highways in Dane County or past The Dells, or bridges in Green Bay and over the Mississippi River and the Superior-Duluth harbor, or the small town bypasses which have sprung up all over the state.

Including one in Burlington, just a few minutes from WI GOP Assembly Speakers Vos' Rochester base: 11 miles of roadway that cost $118 million dollars.

We're one state. Except when out-state legislators can target and scapegoat Milwaukee.

Republicans, not satisfied with a special law passed in the 50's which froze only Milwaukee's boundaries, stunted its development and help set off suburban and exurban growth, absolutely hate that the new streetcar is off to a documented great start that will spur construction, tourism, entertainment and quality living 



in the state's largest city.


Speaking of transportation arrangements which get public support, taxpayers from Milwaukee are among those who contribute through state budget-provided per diem payments to Fitzgerald for his round trip mileage to and from the Capitol and his residence in rural Dodge County.


Anyway, the GOP wants to make it harder to lay down metal rails in Milwaukee - -  though lead metal residue in the drinking water, well, OK.

At the core of this perverse partisanship is Republican dogma which foolishly sees urban success as a threat to their out-state and suburban base - - foolish because a strong big city helps the entire state succeed.


Attacking the streetcar is just a dog whistle variant with a train horn pitch. 


Sean Duffy is having a 1984 doublespeak moment

The Wisconsin GOP Congressman Sean Duffy - - most of whose PolitiFact ratings are in the false categories - - twice verbalized the phrase "anti-American" in actual words from his mouth organ to describe the four Congresswomen whom Trump is attacking.
Sean Duffy Official Portrait 115th Congress.jpg

After a backlash, and without the courage of his own convictions, Duffy says he's being misinterpreted because he was only quoting Trump.

You decide:
I’ve looked closely at the chain of three tweets sent out by Pres. Trump, and in those tweets, I see nothing that references anybody’s race. Not a thing. I don’t see anyone’s name being referenced in the tweets. But the president’s referring to people, congresswomen, who are anti-American. And lo and behold, everybody in this chamber knows who he’s talking about.  Who are the anti-American members of Congress? He didn’t say their names. He did not say their race, but he commented on how they view America. And we all know who he’s talking about.”
PolitiFact needs a new category for speech which extends beyond routine dishonesty, evasion and stupidity. 

'Full-on Orwellian' or 'Sleazy Double-Talk' would do it. 

Robin Vos & Adam Jarchow went big picture @Brewers

Wherein two @Brewer fans agree that the straw that's breaking their camel's back does not involve Cubs, Cardinals, sleepy bats or leaky bullpens. 

It's an actual straw. Whoa!
------------------------------
8:16 PM - 15 Jul 2019


Dear paper straws suck. C’mon. $15 for a drink and my straw disintegrates. Yuck.
------------------------------
 8:46 p.m. @repvos Jul 15
We were there yesterday and said the same thing!! Please stop virtue signaling and focus on customer satisfaction!
-------------------------------

Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg




Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Walker on nat'l scholars' board? After dissing and axing much WI scholarship?

Trump's stick-it-to-Wisconsin-and-education appointment of Scott Walker to a national scholarship oversight board would be like naming Col. Sanders to a commission 'studying' heart health and diet.

We know Walker cut science positions from the WI DNR to serve his right-wing allies, leaving the agency without resources and mission, insiders reported.

But did you know he proposed in his 2015-'17 budget - - the one which intended to entice conservatives voters to what became Walker's short, failed presidential run - - the deletion of a broad list of University of Wisconsin programs, the termination of dozens of positions and the blatant overturning of the Wisconsin Idea - - 


- - which, despite his dishonest denial, set his pants on fire.

The budget cuts were too much even for his usually compliant GOP-led Legislature, but there's no way someone with Walker's record of hostility towards science and scholarship should oversight over scientists, scholars, science, scholarship and public agency mission ever again.

Here's Walker's scholarly hit list, just as I posted it:

Walker budget cuts numerous UW/environmental programs, jobs

As if Walker's across-the-board staff and program cuts to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (66 science positions, for example), his removal of policy-making authority from the citizen-attentive Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, exempting the huge system statewide from energy saving goals, his removal of state financing from recycling programs and his 13-year suspension of the popular Knowles-Nelson land stewardship purchase program wasn't enough of a slam at public access to public policy-making, science, land and resources, his proposal to restructure the UW system and slash its budget would also mandate many deep cuts in UW managed and offered environmental activities, including, says the budget document:

[Bill Section: 580, 1029, 1206, and 9448(4)] 

9. DELETE WISCONSIN BIOENERGY INITIATIVE 
Governor: Eliminate funding for the Wisconsin Bioenergy
Initiative ($4,069,100 SEG annually) and 35.20 positions beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding is provided from the environmental fund to the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative to support research into improved plant biomass, improved biomass processing, conversion of biomass into energy products, development of a sustainable energy economy, and development of enabling technology for bioenergy research. 

[Bill Sections: 601 and 9448(1)] 

10. DELETE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION BOARD AND GRANTS
Governor: Eliminate $130,500 annually for environmental education grants from the environmental fund and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. In addition, delete $200,000 in 2016-17 as well as the appropriation for environmental education grants from the conservation fund. 

Delete language related to the Environmental Education Board including provisions requiring the Board to: (a) consult with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction in identifying needs and establishing priorities for environmental education in public schools; (b) consult with other state agencies, including UW-Extension, conservation and environmental groups, youth organizations, and nature and environmental centers in identifying needs and establishing priorities for environmental education; (c) award grants for the development, dissemination, and presentation of environmental education programs; and (d) establish a center for environmental education. In addition, delete the requirement that the Board of Regents seek the advice of the Environmental Education Board on the development of environmental education programs.
[Bill Sections: 228, 598, 599, 1244, 1245, 1301, 3284, 4323 thru 4325, and 9448(1)] 

11. DELETE SOLID WASTE RESEARCH FUNDING 
Governor: Eliminate $156,100 annually for solid waste
research and experiments and 1.0 position beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding is provided from the environmental fund to support research into alternative methods of solid waste management and for administering solid waste experiment centers.
Delete related provisions permitting the Board of Regents to establish one or more solid waste experiment centers for the purpose of developing, demonstrating, promoting, and assessing the costs and environmental effects of alternatives to solid waste disposal; requiring the Board to conduct research into alternatives to solid waste disposal; and requiring the Board to appoint a solid waste research council. 

[Bill Sections: 603, 1218, and 9448(1)] 
12. DELETE EXTENSION RECYCLING EDUCATION FUNDING

Governor: Delete $394,100 annually for UW-Extension recycling education and 4.0 positions beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding from the environmental fund is provided to support UW-Extension education and technical assistance programs in recycling and recycling market development. 
[Bill Sections: 602 and 9448(1)] 

13. DELETE UW PR AND FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS 
Governor: Delete the UW System's program revenue
appropriations for general program operations (-$2,271,680,800), gifts
and nonfederal grants and contracts (-$537,889,600), and general fund interest ($0) and the UW System's appropriation for federal aid (-$1,812,449,300) in 2016-17. 


19. DELETE FERTILIZER RESEARCH FUNDS 
Governor: Delete current law research fees of 27¢ per ton of fertilizer sold or distributed and 10¢ per ton of soil or plant additive distributed and delete the fertilizer research council which recommends projects to be financed by fertilizer research funds. 
Under current law, the soil and plant additive research fee and 17¢ of the fertilizer research fee are forwarded to the UW System to be used for research on soil management, soil, fertility, plant nutrition problems, and for research on surface water and groundwater problems which may be related to fertilizer usage. These funds are also use to fund the dissemination of the results of the research and for other designated activities tending to promote the correct usage of fertilizer materials. The remaining 10¢ of the fertilizer research fee is used to support UW- Extension outreach services. In 2013-14, $280,000 was forwarded to the UW System for research and $166,300 was provided to support UW-Extension outreach services.
[Bill Sections: 133, 484, 2630 thru 2635, and 9448(1)] 

20. DELETE AQUACULTURE DEMONSTRATION FACILITY 

Governor: Delete $417,500 in 2016-17, the requirement that the Board of Regents operate an aquaculture demonstration facility, and the appropriation under the Department of Administration which provides funding for that facility from tribal gaming revenues. Specify that the UW System Authority may, instead of shall under current law, conduct applied and on- site research, outreach activities, and on-site demonstrations relating to commercial aquaculture in this state in cooperation with the commercial aquaculture industry. The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) would also continue to coordinate its aquaculture activities with those of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the UW System Authority and to conduct meetings on a quarterly basis involving DATCP, DNR, and UW System Authority representatives to exchange information regarding the progress of their efforts to promote commercial aquaculture in this state. 
[Bill Sections: 808, 1188, 2626 thru 2628, and 9448(1)] 

21. DELETE ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS 

Governor: Delete $301,600 and 1.0 position in 2016-17 as well as the appropriation for environmental program grants and scholarships. This appropriation funds all of the following: (a) need-based grants totaling $100,000 to students who are members of underrepresented groups and who are enrolled in a program leading to a certificate or a bachelor's degree from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison; (b) annual scholarships totaling $100,000 to students enrolled in the sustainable management degree program through the UW-Extension; and (c) the balance of the appropriation for environmental programs at UW-Steven Point. Base level funding for this appropriation is $301,600 SEG from the normal school fund. 
[Bill Sections: 600, 1297, and 9448(1)] 

22. DELETE DISCOVERY FARM GRANT PROGRAM 

Governor: Delete $249,800 and 1.20 positions in 2016-17
as well as the discovery farm grant program and a related appropriation from the agrichemical management fund. Under current law, the Board of Regents makes grants through UW-
Extension to operators of discovery farms for research and outreach activities under the Wisconsin agricultural stewardship initiative. A discovery farm is an operating commercial farm that conducts on-farm research. 
[Bill Sections: 597, 1262, and 9448(1)] 
24. DELETE CENTER FOR COOPERATIVES 

Governor: Delete $134,500 and 1.0 position in 2016-17 as
well as the requirement that the Board of Regents maintain a center for cooperatives at UW- Madison and the grant program administered by that center. In addition, delete the related grant appropriation from the conservation fund which provides $78,000 for the paper science program at UW-Stevens Point and $56,500 for grants to persons to form forestry cooperatives that consist primarily of private, nonindustrial owners of woodland. 

[Bill Sections: 596, 1016, 1192, 1303, 2095, and 9448(1)] 

25. DELETE OUTDOOR SKILLS TRAINING AGREEMENT AND RELATED FUNDING 

Governor: Delete $53,700 in 2016-17 as well as the requirement that the Board of Regents and the Department of Natural Resources enter into an agreement with an established national organization to provide training to persons interested in learning about the outdoor skills needed by women to hunt, fish, camp, canoe, and undertake other outdoor recreational activities. Delete language requiring DNR to transfer $53,700 annually to the UW System from its general program operations appropriation for land and forestry for outdoor skills training provided under the agreement. 
[Bill Sections: 621, 1056, and 9448(1)] 

26. DELETE FUNDING FOR GREAT LAKES FISH STUDIES 

Governor: Delete $51,900 in 2016-17 as well as language requiring DNR to transfer $51,900 annually to the UW System from its general program operations appropriation for water

for studies of Great Lakes fish.
[Bill Sections: 628 and 9448(1)] 

Corporate WI opposes tougher groundwater protection rules

Some of the same groups like the WMC - - along with fresh partners - - which helped push through environmental waivers for Foxconn, heavily funded pro-business, rightwing Supreme Court candidacies and wrote the Court's no-fault, no-conflict-of-interest 'ethics' rule are at it again.



This time a coalition including the WMC, paper, dairy and other special interests are organizing against proposed strengthened public health standards designed to keep long-lasting chemical pollutants out of Wisconsin groundwater.

More, here.

Back in the Walker-era, when he guaranteed that the gravy train made more stops in Wisconsin than Amtrak, groups that wanted a environmentally-friendly rule buried only had to call up Walker and have a chat
Dairy group uses behind-the-scenes influence with Gov. Scott Walker to shift regulation of large livestock farms
Evers' election means they'll have to do a bit of organizing and p.r. before they work their way through the judicial system, but in the interim, public servants will have a chance to do public service.

Wisconsin, 2019! How novel. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

University system budget slasher gets prestigious Trump scholarly position

Trump always manages to find the worst appointee:
Trump appoints disgraced ex-GOP Gov Scott Walker to oversee scholars at the Smithsonian Institution
Read more, and weep:
Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, gets a presidential appointment

On the other hand, someone has to fund the climate change deniers. 

Here's a list with links and documentation of at least 33 times Walker and his appointees dissed or dismissed science during his eight-reign of ignorance.

Update: The more I read about the Wilson/World Affairs arm of the Smithsonian to which Walker will share his expertise and advance its scholarship, the more I am remembering this:
Walker, in London, declines to talk about world affairs, evolution
And remember how Walker's peculiar brand of scholarship included deleting the true, public service  mission of UW scholarship, then lying about having put the deletion into hs budget.

Trump's words are appalling. So are his actions.

Actions also speak pretty loudly, too.

Trump's racist remarks imperil four members of Congress and ideals about equality and the better purposes of the founding of the nation.

But don't look past his slurs to what his cabinet agencies have done in the last 24 hours which also defile the country:

* His Environmental Protection Agency is moving to prevent local communities from appealing pollution permits. So much for a clean, healthy environment and a democracy which serves the people.



* His Department of Justice said it did not believe it could prove Eric Garner's federal rights were violated when he was choked to death over selling individual cigarettes on a New York City street by police. Could not prove...or couldn't tick off Barr's boss and try?

* His Interior and Agricultural Departments are intentionally downgrading the  science of their career staffs by breaking up their teams and forcing hundreds of scientists - - and their families - - to move half way across the country. 

* And Trump himself is decreeing that Central Americans may not directly seek asylum at the southern border without applying first for asylum in Mexico - - so why doesn't he edit the wording on the Statue of Liberty while he's at it.

Yes, Trump is a racist. And he's got a team of high-powered democracy wreckers to do his bidding.

Trump's white identity card played by WI GOP pols

Before Trump, Walker and Grothman and Ryan weighed in.

Which is why this headline in The Washington Post today caught my eye: 
White identity politics drives Trump, and the Republican Party under him
And haven't Wisconsin Republicans shown him the way, albeit sometimes - - but not always - - a wee bit more slyly?

* Walker did his part, what with his repetitive resentment-triggering dog whistles about hard-working people paying others to loaf in hammocks and on the couch playing Xbox?   



Walker signing one of his hammock-flipping measures in Milwaukee
(That from a guy routinely dispensing corporate welfare from his taxpayer-provided lakefront mansion and enjoying cushy benefits for decades.)

And remember Walker's warning near the end of the 2012 recall election tossed out to a crowd in an upscale, essentially all-white Waukesha County exurban community about Wisconsin becoming "another Milwaukee" should he have lost that election?


That was less a Trumpian 'go back to where you came from' slur and more of a 'keep them in the inner city where they are now' directive.


*  And speaking of inner city critiques - - before he became US House Speaker, Paul Ryan said in a radio interview that inner city men were so lazy they didn't even think about working:

 ”We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.
This was before he was elevated by his party to House Speaker. where he could count on support from Badger state US Rep. and resentment champion Glenn Grothman.

* And speaking of Grothman, let's not forget his gratuitous race-baiting hostility towards Kwanzaa expressed as a State Senator:

In his press release, Grothman says "almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa -- just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people's throats in an effort to divide Americans," and called for the holiday to be "slapped down."
This took place before Grothman moved to a safely-gerrymandered congressional district where Wisconsin voters continue to send him to the House of Representatives.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Foxconn, not a career-maker. Again.

In this White House photo, we see, among others, the defeated Scott Walker, second from left, and Paul Ryan, ex-House Speaker and high-profile quitter, appropriately on the far right. Foxconn did little for their careers.

On June 28, 2018, the first Wisconsin Foxconn employee C.P. "Tank" Murdoch, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, President Donald Trump, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan conducted the ceremonial groundbreaking at the Foxconn campus in Mount Pleasant. Photo from The White House.

Now former Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou's, standing between Trump and Ryan, takes his turn in the loser's circle: 
Ex-Foxconn chairman Terry Gou loses Taiwan presidential primary
May Trump be next. 

Along with Vos The Sprawling King.

And various local officials who saddled property taxpayers with mountains of debt, or forced them off their land.

Full story, archive, here.

Walker's soft landing in the heart of the welfare state

About Walker's announced punt out of Wisconsin politics in 2021 leaves him plenty of time to change his mind - - but he says he's off to run a youth-oriented right wing foundation in suburban Virginia near DC and turn America's young people away from socialism.

Snort.

Like Ron Johnson, Walker's just another hypocrite selling another fossilized red herring to foment another red scare; it's no mystery why younger Americans want an equitable and functioning public sphere which these dishonest, place-holding Republicans are twisting and using by reviving the ghost of Joe McCarthy.

Younger people are rejecting a status quo which routinely subsidizes the Johnsons, Walkers and their donors at various payout windows while leaving millions of Americans in their 20's and 30's and 40's with crushing student loan debt, a fresh share of Trump-Ryan tax-breaks-for-the rich deficits, unaffordable medical care, shrinking job opportunities, an opiate epidemic and a polluted planet. 

But set aside whether young people really want to take direction from a defeated politician like Walker who is in his mid-50's and who lost to a guy who will be 70 in 2021, and note that:

*  Walker is quitting Wisconsin politics because he knows Tony Evers would beat him in a rematch and voters would bounce him in a Senate run. 

Wisconsin voters think of Walker every time they hit a pothole. And confront contaminated drinking water. Or see an algae-polluted trout stream - - all legacies of Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' and ideologically-driven, special-interest governance. 

And certainly when they see Foxconn with its insincere 'plans' and employment-killing robots at the ready while already benefiting from billions of dollars in distorted, public spending - - the kind of big government benefits Walker personally enjoyed for decades, loved handing out to favorites and traded to the company with dubious data and thin promises for photo ops and campaign commercials so obviously self-serving they ensured his defeat.

* Walker says he'll have a residence in the DC area and maintain one in Wisconsin, too. The organization hiring Walker, Young America's Foundation, pays well - - six-figure salaries all around, according to its IRS filing - - but unless Walker's deal includes a housing stipend, he'll discover that homes in the Virginia suburbs, and in Maryland and DC, are pretty pricey.

* I also don't think Walker will like living there. It's about as far from his base in exurban Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties as the moon.

The whole region is very Democratic. Northern Virginia is now solidly blue. Walker's new employer has its headquarters in Fairfax County, represented in Congress by a very liberal Democrat. Walker might as well be moving to Madison's west side or Milwaukee's east side.

And since we're talking about government priorities and spending and who gets the benefits, know that the region into which Walker says he's relocating relies on all sorts of government subsidies, including publicly-supported rail transit - - Washington Metro - - because the region's already-jammed roads would simply gridlock without it. 

And the area doesn't want any more tailpipe smog in its routinely-sticky air.

* And the reason the roads are so congested is because the population there continues to sprawl and swell - - and why, you ask? 

* Because the MD-DC-VA metroplex is heavily a creation of big government planning and spending - - socialism, if you will - - whether by Federal agencies, or through government-supported consulting and contracting dependencies. And nowhere is that more visible than in Northern Virginia, home to the Pentagon - - true driver of the US economy - - and an entire public spending-fed zone which includes a massive complex of roads, Dulles Airport, office parks and towers, residential high-rises and subdivisions for mile after mile after mile.

Throw in decades of government-provided home mortgage interest and property tax perks that supercharged development, suburbanization and farmland conversion sprawl and you've got people commuting over distances, county and even state lines unimaginable not that long ago.

I knew a man who car-pooled to downtown DC from just outside Annapolis, Maryland - - a round trip of more than 90 miles. 

He had a co-worker who came in daily from Harper's Ferry, West Virginia - - a round-trip of about 140 miles.

I know two people who commuted into downtown DC daily from communities in Delaware.

So Walker says he's headed for an right wing, socialism-fighting organization which enjoys government-conferred tax-exempt status, is surrounded by and connected to a vast network of similar groups and government-related programs, in a region where its vital rail cog is the kind of popular-government-created-road-congestion-battling-cleaner-air providing system Walker spent years in Wisconsin killing.

And he's there to fight socialism?

Unless he gets a chauffeur, or finds a residence within walking distance of his closet-to-DC/VA headquarters, or goes exurban and takes his chances on the California-style DC-area Beltline, I can imagine Walker riding Metro with his little brown bag of ham-on-wheat sammies - - 'ummmm' - - oblivious of the contradictions that have put him there.



Sunday, July 14, 2019

WI DNR adds conservation credibility, public service to top team

Gov. Evers and DNR Secretary Preston Cole have added a knowledgable administrator and stewardship policy voice to the agency's senior management team. During the Walker-Stepp years, this position was filled by people who shared and implemented Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality.'

From the DNR website:

---------------------------

MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary-designee Preston Cole today announced that Beth Bier will serve as DNR Deputy Secretary beginning August 5...
Beth began her career at the DNR in 2001 in the Secretary's Office. That experience led to several years as the Outreach & Policy Coordinator at Gathering Waters Conservancy as well as an Assistant Policy Advisor for former DNR Secretary Scott Hassett...
Prior to her return to the DNR, Beth spent the last 12 years in the office of State Senator Mark Miller, first as Committee Clerk for the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee and then as Chief of Staff. In these roles, she has had the privilege to work on and advocate for the Great Lakes Compact, Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, wetland and groundwater protection and most recently PFAS standards and remediation.
--------------------

Note that Bier worked on the Great Lakes Compact, while Matt Moroney, a pro-private sector ideologue who served as DNR Deputy Secretary for four years until he joined Walker's staff and eventually was the administration's point person on Foxconn, had unsuccessfully opposed the Compact when he was working in the building industry.
On the shoreline