Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pat Lucey Bio

Patrick Lucey, Wisconsin's 38th governor, was born in La Crosse on March 21, 1918. He attended St. Thomas College and managed his father's grocery store. He joined the army during World War II and reached the rank of Captain. After the war, Lucey managed 14 farms in southwestern Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin. He entered politics in 1948 when elected to the Assembly. Lucey was elected governor in 1970, becoming the first governor elected to a four-year term. He was re-elected in 1974 and served until July 1977 when he resigned to become U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Lucey was the vice-president candidate with John Anderson during the 1980 presidential election.


Pat Lucey Withdraws Prosser Endorsement, And Endorses Kloppenburg

This is tomorrow's headline and it's huge. Former Governor Lucey is a true statesman.

Statement from Patrick J. Lucey
March 31, 2011

For immediate release
contact: Jeff Fleming, 414-559-2497

As a former Governor who appointed to Wisconsin's Supreme Court two quite different but equally principled Justices – Shirley Abrahamson and Roland Day – and who has over the years endorsed several more Justices, I have followed with increasing dismay and now alarm the campaign of Justice David Prosser, whom I endorsed at the outset of his campaign and in whose campaign I serve as the Honorary Co-Chairman.

I can no longer in good conscience lend my name and support to Justice Prosser's candidacy. Too much has come to light that Justice Prosser has lost that most crucial of characteristics for a Supreme Court Justice – as for any judge – even-handed impartiality. Along with that failing has come a disturbing distemper and lack of civility that does not bode well for the High Court in the face of demands that are sure to be placed on it in these times of great political and legal volatility.

At the very same time that my confidence in Justice Prosser has waned, I admire and have continued to be impressed with Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg. She has adhered throughout the campaign to even-handedness and non-partisanship and has exhibited both promising judicial temperament and good grace even in the heat of a fierce campaign.

For these reasons I have today resigned as Honorary Co-Chairman of Justice Prosser's campaign, and I endorse Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg for the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 5, 2011.”

Jeff Fleming
Kingston Crossing, LLC
P.O. Box 1882
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1882

Federal Judge Turns Aside Right's Challenge To Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Financing

The far-right loses a round in its attempt to inject more money directly into State Supreme Court campaigns. The right likes the tilted field, a la Citizens United. No doubt an appeal will follow, but it appears they are stymied in an effort to influence the ongoing Supreme Court race where the conservative candidate, David Prosser, can't shake an attack of Walkeritis.

Journal Sentinel On Walker And Rail

A bit of history and about $800 million of context is missing from this editorial.

DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch, Former Legislator, Said Sumi Decision Left Him Confused

Does this help Huebsch (hat tip, Tom K. inspiration)?

So Jeff Stone Doesn't Follow The Rules; Hmm....

Jeff Stone has hurled plenty of allegations Chris Abele's way about various procedures, requirements, rules, etc. etc.

If Your Name Is Scott Walker, Political Problems Find You

There's another elected official named Scott Walker, and he's really had a problem.

History Made In Wisconsin

Walker administration agrees to follow the law.

Madison Judge States Unequivocally Union-Busting Law Not Yet Law

This is to help Walker administration officials and Republican legislators get over their confusion and step back from more contemptible behaviors.

From the judge today:

"Based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received at the March 29, 2011 evidentiary hearing, it is hereby DECLARED that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published within the meaning of (state statutes), and is therefore not in effect."

I've even made it easier to grasp, here.

My Vote For Chris Abele Is A Vote Against Talk Radio

I listen to a lot of Milwaukee-area talk radio.

The talkers want Jeff Stone for Milwaukee County Executive because he will carry the most water for Scott Walker, and for the Wisconsin Republican Party which has made clear the goal is denying Wisconsin to President Barack Obama in 2012.

If elected, Stone will not make a move, a speech, a decision or an interview remark without calculating, "how will this go over on talk radio?"

He will flip on talk radio first thing in the morning and listen throughout the day, absorbing his talking points over the air, and calling in to reassure the base that he's on the talkers' message.

Talk radio helped create Scott Walker as Milwaukee County Executive, then gave him an open microphone right through the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Do you want a Milwaukee County Executive who will follow in Walker's footsteps, defining that office foremost as an important part of the Republican election machinery?

I don't. Talk radio keeps the community on edge, riled up, fearful - - in other words, stuck.

We have a chance on election day to minimize talk radio's reach, to step out of the miasma it produces and spreads.

And that's why I have already voted for the more independent, innovative, tolerant, inclusive and energetic candidate - - Chris Abele.

Court Testimony, Rightist Firestorm Based On One Sheet Of Paper

You will remember the uproar during the Madison Capitol winter protests over $7.5 million damage to the people's house the Walker administration had said was caused by protesters' tape!

Yes, that was the claim brought before a judge by the administration and blasted across the Internet and talk radio by the Right to attack and demonize the protesters.

At the time, the claim was criticized on this blog, and elsewhere, but now we learn that the documentation in support of the claim was about as flimsy as possible.

The Unlawful And Disorder Party Courts Contempt; Give Them What They Seek

It's instructive to watch the new breed of Wisconsin Republicans as they run the government - - having faithfully sworn to uphold the laws and the state constitution, so help them God...but then abandon law and order, step on the Open Meetings statute, force the publication of a controversial union-busting law with a made-up process, and openly defy the order of a judge who has warned violators of her order to knock it off, or be sanctioned.

The State Journal reports that the judge's words and order have fallen on deaf elephant ears:

"Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said Wednesday he has a legal obligation to implement all laws passed by the Legislature, signed by Gov. Scott Walker and published into law. Huebsch said the Department of Justice and his own legal counsel, a team of DOA attorneys, agree the measure has met those requirements "and is now effective law."

"'It is my duty to administer that law," he said."
But Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi had said from the bench earlier this week when re-issuing her injunction and spelling it out in plain English:
"Now that I've made my earlier order as clear as it possibly can be, I must state that those who act in open and willful defiance of the court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions, they also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin."
I think DOA Secretary Huebsch, et al, want Judge Maryann Sumi to cite them so they can play the victim card (just the way that Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has painted himself as the ultimate judicial system victim at the hands of the mean Chief Justice whom he cursed and threatened) - - and run out and raise money and tell the tale of the mean activist, Democrat (sic) judge who also eats organic food.

But both the state DOA and Justice Departments are behaving with contemptibly, so Judge Sumi should haul them into her court, cite them and restore order in the court.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let Me Change One Word In This Darling/Hopper Press Release

Just my way, at the strike-through, of saying, "look who's campaigning (read: worrying)!"

Madison - Saving SeniorCare is a top budget re-election priority of two members of Wisconsin’s Joint Committee on Finance.

Committee co-chair Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) today announced their commitment to preserving and fully funding Wisconsin’s popular prescription drug program.The 2011-13 budget introduced by Governor Scott Walker requires eligible seniors to enroll in Medicare Part D, aprovision which has caused concern about the impact on seniors. Darling and Hopper say it’s important that the program be maintained as-is."

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2011

For More Information Contact: Senator Alberta Darling 608/266-5830

Senator Randy Hopper 608/266-5300

Walker's Attack On Wind Energy Kills Jobs, Another Project

Scott Walker's crazed opposition to wind energy has claimed another project, and along with it, jobs for Wisconsin workers. Here are the details (and more information is here, also):

Contact: Keith Reopelle, Clean Wisconsin, 608.251.7020 ext. 11, 608.212.2935 (cell)
Midwest Wind Energy Suspends Calumet County Wind Project
Second Wisconsin wind project to fall victim to regulatory uncertainty in 10 days
CALUMET COUNTY, Wis. – Midwest Wind Energy announced today that it would suspend plans to construct a 75-turbine wind project in southern Calumet County as a result of Wisconsin’s hostile regulatory climate.
“The suspension of the Stony Brook wind project is an unfortunate loss that will cost our state family-supporting jobs and entrench our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization.
Midwest Wind Energy’s (MWE) announcement comes just one day after the Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) introduced a bill to suspend the wind siting rule (PSC 128). Wind energy companies and environmental advocates alike have warned that suspending this important rule would result in canceled projects and lost jobs.
“Most states are clearly open for renewable energy development and the economic development dollars and jobs that come with it,” MWE President Stefan Noe said in a statement released by the company today. “So long as there are states rolling out the welcome mat, it doesn’t make sense to devote significant dollars to a state that is creating unreasonable roadblocks for wind development.”
“Make no mistake, the suspension of this project and the jobs lost are the direct result of the Governor’s and legislative leaders’ hostile actions toward wind farm development,” said Reopelle.
The suspension of the Calumet project follows Invenergy LLC’s announcement earlier this month that it would no longer pursue the development of a Brown County wind farm set to infuse millions of dollars into the local economy.  
“The suspension of the wind siting rule has already killed two wind projects and cost our state hundreds of jobs,” said Reopelle. “We encourage our legislators to open the door to clean energy in Wisconsin by reversing this dangerous course of action.”
Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and polluters accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses. On behalf of its 10,000 members and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. 608-251-7020,,

Clean Wisconsin         
Your environmental voice since 1970.

Walker Administration's Confusion Is What's Confusing

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi has twice enjoined the publication of the Walker union-busting law, but Department of Administration Secretary and Walker-appointee Mike Huebsch says he is "confused" about whether the law, Act 10, is in effect.

Where is the ambiguity or mystery in these words from the judge in her ruling Monday:

"'Now that I've made my earlier order as clear as it possibly can be, I must state that those who act in open and willful defiance of the court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions, they also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin..."

"Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was, ‘the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is enjoined.'"

Walker Shoves Debt Payments Into Future Years

Isn't this what the Republicans have been saying took place in past budgets - - kicking the can down the road, etc?

GOP Attacks On Judge Sumi Get Personal And Ridiculous

Republicans are furious that Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi is doing her job -- issuing rulings on the Walker collective bargaining ban bill - - and because Republicans don't like her decisions they have begun attacking who they think are her friends, and even what kind of food she eats.

Jeff Stone Is Mostly Scott Walker

Mostly bad news for Stone.

The Truth About Walker's Flip On High-Speed Rail

Four things about Scott Walker's decision to apply for at least $150 million from the evil President Barack Obama's Socialistic high-speed federal stimulus pot of money stolen from taxpayers and their impoverished grand-children:

1. Walker stands for nothing. That's the easy takeaway. He rode opposition to high-speed rail and federal spending to victory. Even had a website devoted to killing rail. What a hypocrite.

2. He caved to the Milwaukee business community, whose lawyers and brokers ride the train to Chicago and like it.

3. He knows he needs the infusion of big federal spending to help jump-start the state economy and hit his goal of 250,000 new jobs. Honest people will put the rail construction and assembly jobs in the Obama column.

4. But still, for Madison - - no rail for you, Capitol city, home to too many Democrats. He still gets to starve deeply-Democratic Madison of rail's potentialities by applying for funding only for the Milwaukee-Chicago line.  So he still gets to shrink someone's economy and drown it in a bathtub.

Looks Like WisDOT Is Sneaking Eventual Fourth I-94 Lane Into Zoo Interchange Scheme

WisDOT has claimed it has downsized the Zoo Interchange project, but Gretchen Schuldt finds that not everything in the plan is fully disclosed.

Disturbing on several levels.

Walker Budget Cuts Assistance To Sexual Assault Victims

Walker's war on Wisconsin women continues.

$396,000 Cut from Sexual Assault Services Grant Program in Budget Bill

Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. 600 Williamson St., Suite N2, Madison, Wisconsin, 53703.

(Contact: Jeanie Kurka Reimer (608) 257-1516)

Madison,  March 29, 2011

“Helping victims of sexual assault needs to be a priority, even in tight budgets,” states Jeanie Kurka Reimer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA).

“Cutting funding to those who provide direct services to victims is not what we need to be doing at a time when the demand for those services is rising.”

A review of Sexual Assault Service Provider (SASP) data in 2010 revealed that many of them have experienced increases of over 100 percent in the number of victims coming through their doors in just the last few years.

The Executive Budget Bill would impact the provision of sexual assault services in Wisconsin through the Sexual Assault Victim Services grant program (SAVS), administered by the Department of Justice.

The budget bill allocates $1,815,100 in program revenue per year toward the SAVS program – with $1,782,000 of that amount for local assistance grants to local agencies.

By contrast, $2,069,500 was awarded to 43 agencies in calendar year 2010 according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Informational Paper #62, Crime Victim and Witness Rights and Services, January, 2011.

SAVS is the program which provides state funds to local agencies to assist victims of sexual assault by providing services such as 24-hour crisis intervention and ongoing support and counseling to sexual assault victims as well as family members who are also impacted by this horrific crime.

They also play a key role by helping victims maneuver the health care and criminal justice systems. By helping victims directly they also play a large part in the reporting and eventual prosecution of sexual assault crimes – important since an estimated 60 to 80 percent of sexual assaults go unreported every year. In addition, these funds help support prevention efforts in schools and the community and law enforcement training.

The reduced funding of SAVS would be especially damaging at this time since the demand for sexual assault victim services is rising rapidly.

Kurka Reimer added:

“This is not an extravagant grant program, but it is one that is critical to maintaining SASPs around the state that are helping victims of sexual assault every day. We look forward to the day when we can talk about increasing funding of SAVS in order to at least partially meet the rising demand for sexual assault services and not merely trying to keep the doors open, but for now we hope legislators are able to prioritize this public safety investment and maintain the program at last year’s funding level.”

Voice/TTY (608) 257-1516 • Fax (608) 257-2150 •


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pesky Law, Democracy Alert; Which Walker Lackey Wants A Contempt Citation?

Legislators and Walker administration officials have been told where they should not tread, the Wisconsin State Journal reports:

"If it wasn't clear last time, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi made it clear on Tuesday: Any further implementation of Gov. Scott Walker's law limiting public employee unions is barred, and anyone who violates her order risks sanctions.

"Sumi made her ruling at the end of a day of testimony in the open meetings lawsuit brought by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. The hearing is scheduled to conclude on Friday.
"'Now that I've made my earlier order as clear as it possibly can be, I must state that those who act in open and willful defiance of the court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions, they also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin," Sumi said.
"Her statement appeared to be a warning to state agencies, such as the state Department of Administration, that have begun implementing the collective bargaining bill despite a temporary restraining order that Sumi issued on March 18 and the unsettled question about whether publication of the law by the Legislative Reference Bureau on Friday was enough to satisfy state law."
 Any questions?

Flavor Of Madison Court Hearing On Walker Bill Live-Tweeted

The ACLU Madison had been live-Tweeting the proceedings Tuesday in Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi's courtroom as she decided at the end of the day to extend the temporary restraining order she had laid down March 18th against the implementation of the Walker union-busting bill.

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, (R-Juneau), pressured the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish the law last Friday, and though Fitzgerald and Gov. Walker are treating the law implemented, Sumi's order says otherwise.

Here are the final Tweeted entries undedited to give you a flavor of how it ended today, Tuesday.

ACLU Madison
Will continue at 8:30am Friday. Will try to live-tweet if possible, but Friday is packed. Will defer to other rockstar tweeters. Stay tuned!
ACLU Madison
Sumi chastises anyone acting in "willful defiance" of a TRO. Could face punishments. Further implementation of Act 10 is enjoined.
ACLU Madison
Sumi says she dismayed that even with simple fix for this conflict (open mtgs issue), parties are pursuing litigation at taxpayers' expense.
ACLU Madison
Sumi: language on stopping publication was either misunderstood or ignored, further implementation of Act 10 is enjoined for now.

Madison Judge Enjoins Union-Busting Bill

Clearly ticked off, A Dane County Circuit Court judge firmly and unequivocally enjoins the Walker Gang from implementing a law [sic] that she had said should not be published.

Could there be contempt citations coming Scott Fitzgerald's way?

La Follette Gets Sage Representation; GOP Still Listening To Scott Fitzgerald

True facts.

Even truer.

Scott Fitzgerald, Again, Shows The "Budget-Repair" Bill Was Political, Not Fiscal

Thanks to Scott Fitzgerald for setting the record straight and explaining that the 'budget-repair' bill was about breaking unions.

As he did earlier when explaining that the 'budget-repair' bill was all about getting Wisconsin away from Barack Obama in 2012.

Milwaukee REGION Again Rated As Most Segregated In America

As I've said before about our region's appalling segregation, well done, Milwaukee suburbs, regional planners - - and, as this new article quoting UW-M development specialist Marc Levine notes - - Scott Walker, too.

And, also again, I'll ask: Why should the City of Milwaukee sell one teaspoon of water to the City of Waukesha - - largest community in Waukesha County - - when official policies throughout the county reinforce these regional population and economic disparities?

So blatantly that federal spending on housing and other basic services is under legal attack?

The article in also offers this pretty stunning map.

No. 1: Milwaukee

How Desperate Is Jeff Stone?

He plays class warfare - - one of the right and talk radio's incessant complaints against liberals - - and touts his career in government, though the right and the Tea Party have labeled incumbents' insider status sinful 'public trough feeding.'


Why Sustainability Activists Should Fight For Effective Unions

There is a compelling explanation on this AFL-CIO website about why sustainability activists should stand with strong unions.

The heart of the argument is reproduced below, and it certainly resonates in Wisconsin, where collective bargaining is being reduced in the public sector the same time that transit funding, wetlands preservation, and clean air and water programs will be cut in the proposed 2011-2013 budget, by separate legislation in a coordinated and ideological push towards privatization:

"1. Organized labor is the most powerful force for fighting conservative ideology. If unions “melt away,” American politics will be totally dominated by a combination of corporate greed, right-wing media and tea party extremism.
"2. Despite occasional elements of discord, the alliance of labor, environmental and sustainability movements has been crucial ever since the first Earth Day in supporting and passing environmental legislation. It will continue to be crucial in the future.
"3. The right-wing strategy is to divide progressive groups that should be natural allies and play them off against each other. For example, they are attempting to drive a wedge between private-sector and public-sector workers. Similarly, they constantly harp on the theory that environmental protection will destroy workers’ jobs — while implying that workers have no interest in protecting the environment.
"4. The most promising strategy for reviving popular support for sustainability policies is a program to create full employment by creating millions of green jobs protecting the climate and the environment. Organized labor has been a major supporter of green jobs. If unions “melt away,” so will a major pillar of support for environmental policies that create jobs.
"5. Unions are far more likely to support sustainability policies if in their hour of need they receive support from sustainability activists. The support of groups like the Sierra Club for right-to-organize legislation played a significant role in encouraging unions to support climate legislation, for example. It helped to persuade the Teamster’s to reverse its position on Arctic drilling and pull out of the coalition that supports it.
"6. Even when they differ on particular issues, unions are the most important allies of sustainability activists in the political arena. Unions recently spent more than $200 million to defeat candidates who are threatening to break the labor movement. In virtually all cases they are the very same candidates who are trying to gut environmental protection policies and who claim global warming is a myth. Even on the minimal basis of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” sustainability activists should be try to keep organized labor from being “cut off at their knees.'”

Strategies? Walkerites Making Them Up As They Go

Gov. Walker now reapplies for millions in Amtrak money he already rejected. Oops.

Attorney General Van Hollen tries (unsuccessfully) to withdraw his appeal of the Dane County judge's order blocking the union-busting bill from being published.

Oops - - the appeal was already moved on to the State Supreme Court, where, as one wag suggests, Justice David Prosser could be forced rather quickly to show whether he's as independent as he claims.

Brought on by State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, (R-Juneau), and his rush pell-mell to pass and publish (see live-Tweeting of today's court proceedings citing Fitzgerald's insistence) Walker's anti-union bill.

All of which brings home the observation about some politicians' strategies in the State Capitol I posted the other day from a Madison Capital Times interview with UW-Madison law professor Howard Schewber:

"I do not understand what strategy the Republican leadership is pursuing here," he says. "I have to think there isn't one." 

Madison Court Hearing Live-Tweeted On Union-Busting Bill's Publication

Nice work by the ACLU at this site.

Walker's Budget Cuts Zero Positions From Walker, Kleefisch Office

Government must be too big everywhere else: Budget documents posted online show cuts to office supply accounts, but no cuts to the major expense - - the Governor's staff of 37.25 enjoyed by former Gov. Jim Doyle, and no cuts to the Lt. Governor's staff, remaining at the four allotted to former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton.

Let's see: Where can we cut positions in an office run a Democrat?

How about the Secretary of State's Office (that would be Democratic Secretary of State Douglas LaFollette)?

Let's cut his staff staff to four from 7.5, and move those positions and duties to offices Walker controls, including the Department of Administration.

Scott ("We're Broke") Walker Has Already Spent $42,000 On State Airplanes

So says a report based on a records request.

I was interested in this item because a month ago, I raised the question on this blog after noticing reports that Walker was flying around the state pitching his anti-union agenda.

Walker hasn't been in office for three months, and assuming a bit of a delay in filling the request, as well as converting it to a posting, it may be that Walker has run up that cost in roughly eight-to-ten weeks.

Another report has more information, including the predictable, robotic jobs-creation PR frame from the one-note spokesman Cullen Werwie that accompanies every Walker release.

"It's extremely important for Gov. Walker to travel to all parts of Wisconsin to speak directly to the people and job creators that will help ensure 250,000 new jobs are created by 2015," said spokesman Cullen Werwie in the statement."

Monday, March 28, 2011

In Prosser's Analysis, Too Much Prosser

Oh, dear. Tuesday can't come fast enough.

Hey, Jeff Stone: Sykes Is Calling/Tweeting For Ya'

It's lonely up there at 620 on the AM dial.

Charles Sykes
I actually almost never hear from Jeff Stone's campaign. No releases, no response to news stories. Oddly oassive. Probably not a good sign.
4 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone"

Top Water Regulator Leaving DNR: Cathy Stepp Will Take Over Waukesha Application Process

Bruce Baker, the top, veteran water regulator at the DNR, is leaving the agency, and with his departure, the management of Waukesha's application for a Lake Michigan diversion is being taken over by the department's new Secretary, Cathy Stepp, insiders report.

Scott Fitzgerald Said Absent Democrats Caused "Constitutional Crisis," But Look Who's Talking

PolitiFact rated the claim "barely true."

But there's probably more truth to Fitzgerald creating a constitutional crisis, or certainly a boatload of confusion through legal chicanery, by a) pushing through the union-busting bill so sloppily that its publication by the Secretary of State was blocked by a Dane County Circuit Court Judge - - then exacerbated, by b) goosing the Legislative Reference Bureau to end-run the Court's order and publishing the bill without the Secretary of State's normal participation.

Team Arrogant Implementing A Law That Isn't A Law

This seals Scott Walker's recall.

Good-bye Alberta Darling and all the Walker's allies who support ignoring a court order, and by their actions, are negating the State Constitution and the rule of law.

Without the Wisconsin Secretary of State's approval, the 'law' Walker is implementing to bust unions and enhance the political power of the GOP is just a piece of photocopied paper.

Only the fact that impeachment trials are approved in Wisconsin by a majority of the State Assembly - - currently in Republican hands by a strong majority - - saves Walker from that pre-recall fate.

More Agreement That GOP Tactics Hurt Prosser Re-Election Bid Next Week

Not sure, but always thinking: Now there's a GOP bumper-sticker in the making!

Let me explain their strategery.

The Capital Times rounds up some professorial observations about the political impact of publishing Scott Walker union-busting bill - - with a pending court order forbidding it - -  but I doubt that an already nervous Charlie Sykes or national conservative polling operations will find Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's response very reassuring: 

"Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, says he is not sure what impact publication of the law would have on Prosser's campaign. He says he and his colleagues are "always thinking" about electoral strategies..."

Howard Schweber, a UW professor of law and political science, tells the Cap Times that the GOP's moves are politically puzzling:

"I do not understand what strategy the Republican leadership is pursuing here," he says. "I have to think there isn't one." 

Sykes, Worried About Prosser, Criticizes GOP Legislative Leadership Tactics

That makes the Right's worry about the Walker backlash Official, as Charlie Sykes opined this morning on his AM 620 WTMJ talk show that getting the Walker union-busting bill published Friday left the impression that something sneaky had happened. He called it a tactical mistake - - he was not criticizing the bill's content, he stressed - - that "gave the left more talking points."

Sykes' biggest concern - -  evident by his repeated attacks on State Supreme Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg - - - - is that conservative incumbent State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser could be swept away in the anti-Walker riptide.

Take a look at what Sykes had to say on the conservative website National Review Online - - in an article about current politics in Wisconsin:

"If Prosser falls, it will be a heavy blow to Republicans, especially for the backbenchers who stood with Walker, many of whom had hoped to emerge from the fiery budget debate with their careers intact. State lawmakers will also soon redraw legislative districts based upon updated Census data. Republicans control both chambers and the governor’s office, making liberal challenges to reapportionment decisions all the more likely.

“This is for all the marbles,” says Charlie Sykes, a prominent conservative talk-radio host in Milwaukee. “Scott Walker could survive losing the state senate. But it would be devastating if he were to lose in the supreme court. If Prosser loses, almost everything that Walker enacted could be overturned.” The high court, he worries, has a long history of activism, especially when liberals hold the majority."

Sykes told his radio audience Monday morning that he was quoted accurately.

"For all the marbles."

The Right is worried. Their own polling data shows the strength of the Walker backlash.

Even Prosser's home town paper in conservative Appleton has endorsed Kloppenburg.

I think these people know that it's more than a matter of tactics: Walker & Co. have overreached. Walker and his legislative allies took away people's rights in a move without warning - - we "dropped the bomb" was how Walker described the unexpected wipe out of collective bargaining to the fake David Koch.

Walker and his pals are extremists who are outside the mainstream, outside of Wisconsin tradition, and are soon going to be outside of their elective offices, looking in.

Sykes' remarks today will motivate Walker's opponents to elect Kloppenburg, Chris Abele in Milwaukee County and garner recall signatures statewide now, with Walker's recall looming.

In the end, Walker will have recalled himself.

Wauwatosa, A Dim Memory, Grabbed

Tom Held and the graphics people at Journal Sentinel do a masterful job showing how the Zoo Interchange plan favored by Scott Walker's DOT grabs a lot of land for an LA-Freeway worthy expansion for the intersection of Blue Mound Rd. and Mayfair Rd. that is just north of the core of the I-94.894/Highway 45 interchange in Wauwatosa.

Some of that land is on or near the Milwaukee County Grounds - - or should I say the fast-disappearing County Grounds - -  where a scheme cooked up by UWM, area business leaders, the Milwaukee County Board and then-County Executive Walker will also pave over 80-some acres on the County Grounds for an engineering school and research center that will bring more pavement and traffic and 'development' to the area.

I find it interesting that the Wisconsin Historical Society says there are several possible meanings for the name "Wauwatosa," among them "the great walker, "or "dim of memory," or "I grabbed something." 

I'd go with "Walker, dim of memory, grabbed something."

With Weak Walker Polling Data, Conservatives Question GOP Strategies

Posted on Tucker Carlon's conservative news and commentary website The Daily Caller by Heather Huggins, President and CEO of Independent Women's Voice.

Key paragraphs:

"Independent Women’s Voice retained The Polling Company to conduct a statewide survey of 400 frequent voters in Wisconsin on March 13-14, followed by an in-depth focus group on March 16 to assess if the traditional red-state messaging being used was backfiring with critical independents in traditionally blue-state Wisconsin, as well as if other messaging approaches had more resonance.

"Gov. Walker and others have assured colleagues that support will grow for their efforts as the immediate controversy fades from memory. As Pat Caddell pointed out, that’s eerily reminiscent of predictions made by President Obama and the Democrats about health care reform a year ago. Walker may be right, but the current facts point otherwise for the near term.

"An astonishing 95% of the survey respondents described themselves as paying close attention to the issue, 71% saying “very” closely. Respondents strongly identified with one or the other side of the budget conflict, and this identification fell along ideological lines. Independents now largely lock arms with the union members and protestors.

"As a result, Gov. Walker is now viewed unfavorably by a 53% majority, and with vehemence: only 3% say “somewhat” unfavorable while 50% say “very.” In contrast, the “Gang of 14,” the 14 Democratic state senators who fled to Illinois, were viewed favorably by a majority of respondents, 51% to 47%, even though a majority thought it was wrong of them to run away. The real winner? Government employee unions in Wisconsin, scoring 55% favorable and only 40% unfavorable."
In a separate posting, Higgins writes:
"What did Wisconsinites react to? First, while those who sided with the governor cited as primary reasons fiscal responsibility (32%) and disagreeing with the present benefits system (24%), those who sided with the unions and protestors by a large margin first and foremost (38%) opposed Gov. Walker himself. (“Protect collective bargaining for government worker unions” trailed at a mere 18%.) Walker’s approach was described by this cohort as “dictatorial” and “radical.” Indeed the entire issue has become intensely polarized and politically charged, which has worked to the advantage of the unions.
"We tested whether three pro-Walker/anti-union ads that ran in Wisconsinreinforced this polarization. These ads focused more on personalities and political sides than on facts and issues. None of the clips were seen as particularly influential and drew mostly critical or dismissive comments, mainly because they included the controversial “players” in this unfolding drama. These ads may have appealed to donors and supporters, but in Wisconsin they added to the unfortunate effect of moving this from a right-wrong fight to a right-left fight...
"The current instinct in Republican and conservative circles is to use partisan, sledgehammer ads and talk to the converted. This is a limited strategy overall, but in an until-recently blue state like Wisconsin, it’s no way to win. There is still a chance to turn this debate around — the question is: Will Republican supporters be willing to use a new playbook?"

Leaving No Stone Unturned, Milwaukee County Exec Candidate Turns To A Key Mike McGee Supporter

I am sure that Milwaukee talk radio will, for the remaining eight days of the campaign for Milwaukee County Executive, absolutely and righteously blast the candidate who has hired a community organizer who led demonstrations in support of the now-imprisoned former Milwaukee alderman Michael McGee.
McGee, the long-time talk radio punching bag, was charged with multiple crimes, including buying votes and other election subversion offenses.
[The County Executive candidate's organizer - - an ex-felon named LaMonte Harris - -  led demonstrations for McGee, but had no connection to the charges McGee faced.] 
Milwaukee County Executive candidate Jeff Stone is a high-profile election crime fighter. A suburban Republican Assemblyman, Stone has taken leadership on this Republican concern by proposing a Voter ID bill to combat the reality of election fraud proven by the McGee case, according to what a Google search finds this Republican official had said in 2008.
"...Bob Spindell, chair of the 4th District Republican Party and a City of Milwaukee election commissioner, told WisPolitics following a strategy session for Sen. John McCain's presidential bid that voter fraud is a reality in Milwaukee. "Spindell said the case involving former Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee's recall election in which two people were convicted of paying people to vote illustrates the reality of election fraud in the city. He also pointed to a Milwaukee Police Department report of voter fraud in the city in the 2004 election. “It proves without a doubt that there is obviously a bunch of fraud going on here in Wisconsin,” Spindell said, adding that much of it could be prevented by cleaning up voter registration lists. 
I'll be listening to Sykes, Wagner, Belling. et al., on Monday to hear them shower abuse on...Jeff Stone...the County Executive candidate who has brought a prominent public supporter of Mike McGee into the County Executive's campaign, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice.

Prosser's Home Town Paper - - Remembering The Scott Jensen Case - - Endorses Challenger Kloppenberg

Talk about a blockbuster rejection for a candidate by the home town paper:

The Appleton-Post Crescent rejects sitting Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and endorses challenger JoAnne Kloppenberg, citing Prosser's admission that as a State Assembly leader prior to his appointment to the Court he condoned what Scott Jensen, a former Assembly leader, Scott Jensen was convicted of doing - - misusing his office and state resources for partisan political purpose

Here are the relevant paragraphs from the paper's Sunday endorsement editorial:

In 2006, Prosser said that while he was a legislative leader, staffers who worked under his direction did campaign work. He also acknowledged that in his interview with The P-C on March 18.

Here's a member of the highest court in Wisconsin, whose judges are expected to possess unimpeachable integrity, admitting he condoned illegal activity as an elected official.
In a brief filed by the attorney of former state Rep. Scott Jensen, a Prosser protege who was charged with three felony counts of misconduct in office (in a December 2010 plea deal, Jensen pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor charge), Prosser said he basically did the same thing that caused Jensen to be charged.

In the brief, after outlining how his leadership role involved getting more Republicans elected to the Assembly, Prosser said:

"During my term as a legislator and as a speaker, there were caucus members and caucus directors who participated in activities including but not limited to the following: Campaign and political meetings in the Capitol office; assisting the speaker and the elected leadership by recruiting candidates; gathering voting lists and target lists; setting up, attending and staffing fundraisers; and assisting legislators in creating and implementing office plans."
Prosser's statement was presented in Jensen's defense. He's saying, as others said, that's the way business is done in Madison. That's what Jensen's job was about, too.
It's illegal. It was illegal when Prosser was in charge and it was illegal when Jensen was in charge.

In his statement, Prosser saw it differently. He said, "Every activity that could be characterized as a campaign activity can be conceivably construed to be an act that furthers the legislative process."

So, campaigns and legislative work are so intertwined that it's all part of the same process.
As a taxpayer, what do you think? Should your tax dollars, which were used to fund the caucuses until they were disbanded in the wake of a scandal, have gone toward campaigning?

Only someone who works — or worked — in the Capitol would think taxpayers would go for that.

Again, it was against the law. You'd think Prosser would acknowledge that, even if he didn't agree. But he told The P-C that "it was a different era and public expectations were quite different."

Prosser said that the law "had never been interpreted that way."
So, what do we do? Let bygones be bygones?

We can't. The Post-Crescent endorses JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Basic Wisconsin Recall Information Below

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has posted important information about Senate recalls, and also an explanation about when Walker petitions can be circulated and submitted:

"Like all other public officials, the Governor of Wisconsin is not eligible for recall until he or she has served at least one year in the current term of office.  Recall petitions cannot be circulated until early November, 2011, and cannot be offered for filing until January 3, 2012.
"The number of signatures required to trigger a recall election for Governor is 540,208, or one-quarter of the 2,160,832 votes cast for Governor in the November 2010 General Election."

Wisconsin Is Open For Criminality

Scott Walker's budget disconnects the coppers from one another.


Madison Day Trip - - Going Home Again

A visit to Madison - - like yesterday's trip to see a fascinating dance interpretation of old pal David Maraniss' Vietnam war book They Marched Into Sunlight - - is a journey down Memory Lane for this former, long-time Madisonian, so I pass on a few observations:

* There are orange barrels, lane closures and congestion for most of the trip on I-94 between Milwaukee and Madison. In this stressed financial climate, it's nice to see that some government spending has no limits. And you sure wouldn't want to run a train between those two cities.

* The chicken soup is as good as ever at Ella's Deli, which is on E. Washington Ave. just after you turn towards the State Capitol from the Highway 30 off-ramp. If you haven't taken the kids or grand kids there to learn the mysteries of the #1, a hot-fudge pound-cake sundae, and to see the overhead motorized toys or ride the outdoor carousel, you're guilty of child abuse.

*  The wind off Lake Mendota is still a nasty winter phenomenon. We ran for the car after leaving the Memorial Union Theater the way we used to run to class between University buildings. When we got back to Milwaukee late last night, it was ten degrees warmer than it was when we left Madison.

* Despite the music and the din, kids still study in the Union Rathskeller. 

* The weekly paper Isthmus is still a solid read. The paper is set fearlessly in rather small type to handle all the content.

* I always run into people I haven't seen in decades. I realize I need to do a better job marketing this blog, because someone always asks me what I'm doing these days.

* So to acknowledge how indeed I spend some of my time these days, I should offer some political commentary:

The scene there is white hot.

And not just because of Walker's union-busting treachery and Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald's tin-horned dictator impersonation.

There is an intense City Hall contest on the April 5th ballot between incumbent Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and former Mayor Paul Soglin. Both are progressives, both have been Mayors, so no pundit is confidently picking a winner. Paul won the primary in something of an upset.

[Disclaimers: I had worked for Paul, supported Dave in his 2003 win - -  (long explanation: As founder of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, Dave was a New Urbanist and environmental ally of Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist's, my boss at the time) - - and I like and respect them both. I've stayed out of this one and, mercifully, both wised up and neither asked me for an endorsement. Which is appropriate, since I moved to away for a job with the old Milwaukee Journal in 1983.] 

There is agreement that the turnout will be huge because there is also an open Dane County Executive seat in play, but mainly because the Walker backlash centered in Madison will produce a giant vote for liberal State Supreme Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg against incumbent conservative David Prosser.

The Kloppenburg vote statewide, but especially in Madison, will produce a marker for the depth and breadth of the Walker backlash - - a matter of no small interest to the eight State Senate Republican Walker allies facing recall drives, and certainly to Walker and organizers already planning his recall, too.

* Final observations: The sprawling fast-food-and-chain-store development that has overrun Western Waukesha County near Highway 83 is really a blot on a once-pretty landscape. And you can see the preliminary road work for a $23.1 million, full diamond Interchange to Nowhere to serve the Pabst Farms' Upscale Mall that was never built.

As I said, it's comforting know that government spending is still going on somewhere like it was in the good old days.

No Partisan Without Judicial Experience Should Ever Serve On Wisconsin Supreme Court

That's the message the Prosser people are spreading about his challenger, JoAnne Kloppenberg, a civil servant and prosecutor in the Attorney General's office.

One exception, as Xoff reminds us: a former Republican state legislator with no prior judicial experience - - David Prosser. Read more.

State Budget Hearings Scheduled: The Venues May Be Too Small

The Kohl Center or The Bradley Center might better than some of these.

Does the legislature remember the size of the protest crowds, and not just in Madison?

Ricardo Pimentel Lays Out the Discrimination Case Against Waukesha County

Glad to see former Journal Sentinel editorial page editor Ricardo Pimentel weighing in.

"Mostly white on purpose" is a headline that says it all. I'd suggest it be must-reading at the regional planning commission, which has institutionally avoided the subject as best it could.

A link to an earlier Journal Sentinel editorial and blog posts on the subject - - a favorite at The Political Environment - - is here.

And here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jeff Stone Further Explains His Flip-Floping On Union-Busting: 'Everyone Else Made Me Do It'

I guess the question is: can you point fingers and do a half-back-flip at the same time?

Pass the mustard, please. This pretzel is a mouthful.

Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow

Scott Walker, the Fitzgeralds and their network of extremist handlers expect that short memories, summer vacation and outrage fatigue will protect Walker from recall in 2012 and preserve his Tea Party, John Birch-inspired takeover of state government.

They are acting as if a 52%-48% political win in November gave them 100% political certitude and freedom to dictate through 2014 - - an arrogant calculus that surely fires upright-wing think tanks, and energizes the game-players in the legislature and across Walker's expanding coterie of at-will sycophants - - but which also turns off the mainstream and motivates the opposition.

In short, abusing power is the surest way to lose it.

Their intentional disrespect for established law and fair procedure, and for transparent governance - - whether by closing the State Capitol building, trampling academic freedom, selling off and selling out the environment, and ending for partisan purposes 50 years of collective bargaining (read: workplace democracy) exposes their radical isolation and justifies their coming recall.

They may be "winning" in the Charlie Sheen way, but they are going to loose their show because their tin-horn mentality, and the calendar, work against them:

* Unfolding Senate recalls will run well into the summer.

* The months-long state budget process will overlap the recalls, with each and all validating the need to throw the bums out.

(And yes, we have to make sure they don't monkey with schedules and procedures, from open budget meetings to clean redistricting, as they have already shown contempt for citizen rights, Open Meetings, Open legislating and legitimate publication of laws.)

* The state budget realities in Madison will lead to months of controversial local-level school and municipal budget-writing and planning - - all of which will continue to garner media coverage.

*  That is followed by grassroots budget hearings, debate and publicity through Thanksgiving as the full weight of Walker's assault on services and local control through The New Big Government In Madison will be fully revealed.

*  And then implemented at the neighborhood level and in households across the state beginning on January 1, 2012 - - 48 before Walker recall petitions can be signed.

So: steady as it goes, with lawyers ready to pounce on any Walker-directed, Fitzgeralds'-led tfresh manipulations to stack the deck and save their over-played hand.

They want to be the hare.

The tortoise prevails.