Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Trump/GOP hit on Obama legacy echoes McConnell's opening attack

We're hearing that Trump is likely to remove the US from the very important Barack Obama policy win and international initiative to stem climate change known as the Paris Accord.
Obama standing with his arms folded and smiling
Just as Trump is trying to weaken Obama's sanctions against the Russians for election interference, is still trying to repeal ObamaCare, has been rolling back civil rights, voting rights and transgender protections, is ending EPA clean air and water regulations, weakening public school funding, etc.

In other words, trying to pretend that Obama was never President, just as GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell said his goal was to limit Obama to a single term when he won the 2008 election.

Truth is that the no-drama, scandal-free and detail-attentive Obama administration will be remembered far more favorably than the incoherent, leaking, unspooling, already-scandal-ridden and perhaps very, very brief Trump presidency.

To which only Milwaukee Sheriff and gruesome jail manager David Clarke is vigorously swimming.

Mapping ploy likely moving Kohler golf course to friendlier address

Clever mapping and lawyering - - dare we say, changing the rules to fit the players - - appears closer to putting Kohler's proposed golf course into redrawn City of Sheboygan city limits while repressing concerns in the nearby Town of Wilson where the project's 247 pristine acres of woods, wetlands and rare dunes now sit.

Just another day in Scott Walker's donor-friendly 'chamber of commerce' state of the state he instituted after his 2010 election when he put former developer Cathy Stepp in charge of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which now has the golf course under preliminary permit review.

Ironic, isn't it, that Stepp had publicly ranted prior to her DNR Secretary appointment about last-minute changes by government officials that advantaged certain people at the expense of others. The wording, punctuation and spelling is all hers:

Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads...
Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players.
Shout it with me, now: HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS DEMOCRAT. 

WI budget committee votes to keep DNR mag., cut issues

Grassroots win in WI: 

Per the Cap Times' Jessie Opoien:

  57 minutes ago57 minutes agoMore.: Joint Finance will not cut the magazine. Will support four editions per year.  
Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine cover photo  
We subscribers will get one-third fewer issues annually - - six cut to four. Our subs should be lengthened, but it's a grassroots win with a transparent sop to Walker's ego.

More in the State Journal, here.
Leaders of the Legislature's budget committee said Wednesday the panel's GOP majority will reduce the popular Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine to four issues a year, eliminate the forestry tax, pave the way for higher state park fees, and build more campsites with electrical hookups... 
Committee leaders Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, and Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, told reporters before the session started that their caucus would reject Walker's plan to end publication of the popular, subscriber-supported magazine.
Subscriptions have increased since Walker's proposal was announced and lawmakers from both parties have said opposition from their constituents has generated more contacts to their offices than any other budget topic. 

Missouri Memorial holiday tribute for wage-depressing Walker

[Updated] Great way for this guy 

Read more here:
to honor Wisconsin and celebrate Memorial Day weekend, especially the contributions of veterans in the building trades:
Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday signed legislation banning local governments from giving preferential treatment to union contractors on public construction projects. And sharing the stage with him when he signed it was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker, who was in St. Louis for a fundraiser as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, rose to national prominence after a series of fights with labor unions in Wisconsin and surviving a recall attempt in 2012.
Call it another signature Wisconsin export.
Wisconsin employment in low-wage occupations has increased markedly since 2000, with the growth accelerating since 2010, a new study by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Marc Levine finds...
Levine found that in 2000, low-wage occupations accounted for 24.5% of Wisconsin's jobs, and middle-wage occupations for 52.4.
But by 2013, low-wage occupations made up 30.7% of the state's employment. Middle-wage occupations had shrunk to 45.1%. 
And by 2015, Wisconsin Public Radio reported:

Wisconsin Has Seen Largest Middle-Class Decline Of Any State, Study Finds

Economist Says De-Unionization, Recession, Erosion Of Manufacturing Are Factors
So good luck, Show-me-state-Missouri.  

Lobbyist says WI easy-gun carry bill good for "the blacks"

At the carry-your-gun-into-schools-and-elsewhere hearing in the formerly progressive State of Wisconsin today, the NRA spoke directly to "the blacks" and told them the law was for them.

"The blacks?"

Props to Milwaukee State Sen. Lena Taylor for responding to the lobbyist from the NRA, "don't say that."

If Trump takes US from climate pact, Putin wins again

Seems there's no stopping Putin's best friend forever:
Donald Trump official portrait.jpg
After partnering with Putin in the 2016 US presidential election, tasking Jared to protect the deals and the oligarchs, insulting Western European leaders, weakening NATO, promoting more import tariffs, leaving ambassadorships unfilled, still pushing that slap at Mexico-southern border wall, and then, finally giving the world a selfish dirty middle air finger by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Accord when we have added the most air pollution over the centuries - - America, First! - - all opens doors for Putin and elevates Russian hegemony as America shrinks away.

Thank you, Comrade Don!

WI DNR magazine fight reveals empty agency rhetoric

The GOP-led Wisconsin Legislature's budget writing committee votes today on whether to shut down a magazine published since 1918 by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which carries no cost to taxpayers and has more than 82,000 paying subscribers.

I have been raising the alarm about this thoughtless and expensive move since early February:
Walker wipes out DNR magazine, keeps killing agency mission
Though its costs were completely covered by subscribers, and the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine had a long and useful run, climate change denier Scott Walker and his "chamber of commerce mentality" DNR mission-saboteur Secretary Cathy Stepp are using the state budget to wipe out the credible, high-quality publication that published items like this no longer wanted by official Wisconsin. 
Noted here, and hat tip to both Madison papers for spreading the word:
The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting a spike in orders for the DNR's venerable, 100% subscriber-supported magazineWisconsin Natural Resources magazine cover photo
which Gov. Walker plans to budgetarily scrap as he continues his ideological war on science and the provision of public information:
Props to the Capital Times for the push.
The nearly 1,400 subscription orders came in during an eight-day period after publication of articles in the Wisconsin State Journal and other newspapers about Walker's plan to cut the magazine. 
At the same time, environmental reporter James Rowen used his blog to urge his readers to subscribe.
Initially, the governor's office explained the budget proposal by saying the state shouldn't duplicate privately owned periodicals, but a spokesman hasn't given examples. But three private, Wisconsin-based publishers last week told the State Journal they don't compete with the DNR magazine and didn't ask Walker to eliminate it.
We hear constantly from Republicans like our anti-science Governor that government should be run like a business that listens to its customers.

No one has been more outspoken using this business/customer relationship construct than Stepp, a former developer and Walker's hand-picked "chamber of commerce mentality" DNR Secretary. 
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR Take a look at how she framed a discussion about the ongoing reorganization of the "customer service agency" she runs:
Like any healthy organization striving to remain relevant and responsive to its customers, we spent more than a year evaluating our assets, liabilities and available human and financial resources...
We are a customer service agency that also regulates our customers. That's a unique challenge. Our customers include everyone who lives, works, plays or makes anything here. They all expect clean air and water, robust wildlife, world-class trout streams and first-class parks and forests. All of our customers, taxpaying citizens, license and permit holders and visitors also deserve the best possible return on their investment that we can provide. This alignment plan sets us on the path to accomplish that.
So all DNR customers if you follow her framing have standing and should be served by the agency - - except apparently 82,000 customers willing to pay for a magazine they want customer-based 'business' to keep providing.

Plus - - it will cost more than twice what the administration first claimed to close down the publication, so they are willing to make something that right now costs nothing to publish as a self-supporting enterprise to a nearly negative $800,000 expense to shutter.

The reason Walker wants to shut the magazine down is because its pages have a habit of showing through gorgeous color and evocative wording Wisconsin's disappearing natural beauty - - wetlands, pristine timber, rare dunes and groundwater which feeds springs, rivers, lakes and streams -- which he and his administration are busy filling, draining, clear-cutting, and otherwise transferring to the very special interests which define that "chamber of commerce" mentality. 

Bottom line, as they say in the business world:

Walker and Stepp don't even believe their own b.s.

Donald Trump is channeling "Twin Peaks"

There are four important things about Trump's now-infamous, Internet-breaking " covfefe" Tweet 
Donald Trump official portrait.jpg
he posted just after midnight this a.m.

*  It stayed up for five hours.

*  He doesn't drink.

*  He has nuclear launch codes which can be implemented in four minutes.

*  He unconsciously channels David Lynch. If you run the Tweet backwards at 33 rpm through a "Twin Peaks" filter it is says " Pence is waiting for the call. Don't wait."
Despite the constant negative press covfefe
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Closing popular DNR magazine will cost twice the 'estimate'

Remember Team Walker's ham-handed surprise plan to extend its anti-science, information-scrubbing campaign by wiping out the DNR's popular, century-old magazine?

A magazine to which people rushed with new subscriptions when the found out Walker targeted its termination.

Turns out that the Walkerites said it would cost $370,000 to unwinded the magazine, but independent state analysts now put the shut-down cost at nearly $800,000.


Deliberate low-balling?

We'll know soon if the Legislature in a budgetary decision Wednesday buys the shutdown and the bad math.

Though we now know that the administration's inability to keep highway spending in line is not an isolated phenomenon.

WI about to lose its mind over guns

The alarm about this bill is being raised by State Rep. Chris Taylor, (D-Madison):
Chris Taylor.jpg
The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety is holding a public hearing TOMORROW on SB 169 which allows people to carry concealed guns in public without a permit or any training, ends Wisconsin’s ban on tasers, and removes age restrictions for carrying a concealed weapon. Additionally, it expands the ability of people to carry guns in schools by eliminating Wisconsin’s gun free school zones law
PLEASE stop by Room 411 South tomorrow (Wednesday, May 31) and register your opposition – it only takes five minutes! 

WI no longer recognizes climate change & its heavier storms...

Yeah, who needs to study climate change and apply it to the real world, Bucky?

Like this view in SW Wisconsin right now:

2016 was Walker's worst yet for WI job creation

No wonder right-wing Wisconsin GOP governor and fake job-creator Scott Walker 
is still more than 75,000 jobs short of the 250,000 new jobs he promised repeatedly during his 2010 and 2012 campaigns that he'd bring about after just four years in office.

Data from the federal source Walker tout as the gold standard for such accounting when he likes the numbers showed that 2016 was a job-creating disaster for Walker and the state:

*  Less than 12,000 jobs were netted in Wisconsin during the entire year.

*  A rate only one-third of the already-paltry annual average for his first five years in office.

Basically, Wisconsin under Walker missed the recovery engineered by former President Barack Obama.

In fact, the same federal data also shows a decline in wages statewide for 2016, too.

And the state numbers would have been worse for 2016 if Walker's budget attack on the UW-Madison and its students through suppressionist ballot-box legislation had depressed strong growth in Dane County that takes place despite Walker, not to his credit.

You put that together with his dead-in-the-water proposed budget, the second-worst-in-the-nation rating for road repairs and dead-last position three years in a row for business startup activity - - details, here - - and there is nothing that recommends him for a third term except a campaign treasury fattened by special interest donors who like his business tax cuts and easy WEDC loans that come with little accounting for jobs actually created.

Walker wants Legislative rescue from his road-building excess

Six years of costly, special interest-driven Wisconsin big project highway overspending that Walker set in motion in 2003 

while disregarding pressing local needs like transit and repair now requires a legislative policy and fiscal bailout.

The state isn't moving in the right direction, as Walker claims.

It's stalled.

In a congested, potholed policy breakdown that should render him unelectable in 2018.

Monday, May 29, 2017

How to throw away $10,000 on Paul Ryan

[Updated] The pride of Janesville later this week will be far away from home, his day job in DC cutting rich people's taxes and poor people's health care, and dealing with pesky little truth-tellers

And remember when he said he'd take the Speakership if he didn't have to run around the country raising money? 

Well, hello, Tennessee, though your ten grand max pales next to one of his recent fundraisers in Chicago, where the top tickets went for $50,000.

Must-read local voice from CAFO-damaged rural WI

I've tried to follow the multiple political and environmental land and water issues forced on Wisconsin by big special interests
but I haven't read a better summary from ground zero than this account from The Kewaunee County Comet: 
A 1,000-cow herd addition requires spreading the untreated waste equivalent to 20,000 humans over land that may be unsuited to accept this amount of untreated manure. 
The herd size increases of just the first few months of 2017 in Door and Kewaunee County will add the human waste equivalent of the entire population of Green Bay to the hundreds of millions of gallons of liquid manure already being applied here... 
For those living in here with concerns about health, property values, and overall quality of life, the further expansion of large-scale farms did not seem like much of a win...
For those who value Wisconsin’s waterways, the continued approval of more and more high-capacity wells and more and more herd expansions in vulnerable areas, the resulting dry lakes and compromised water quality probably won’t feel like a big win.
I also signed up for the publication's weekly email, here

My thanks to the writer and publisher.

One simple sentence shows what climate change needs

Or a single word:


The lede on this New York Times Sunday story gets to the heart of climate change issue: 

Global warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases is having clear effects in the physical world: more heat waves, heavier rainstorms and higher sea levels, to cite a few.
Smoke stacks from a factory.
As do the next few simple sentences which take readers into deeper content:
In recent years, though, social scientists have been wrestling with a murkier question: What will climate change mean for human welfare...?
Now comes another entry in this literature: a prediction that in a hotter world, people will get less sleep.
It's an interesting report, to be sure - - but I was struck by the clear and factual approach to climate change without the doubts and even outright hostility intentionally injected into the issue by ideological partisans obeisant to the very corporate interests actively undermining the discussion, including:

*  The 'chamber of commerce mentality' managers whom GOP Gov. Scott Walker has running the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and who scrubbed climate change language, science and facts from the agency's key climate change page.

Climate change censors driven by science denial and obeisance to polluters these days at the GOP-managed, Scott Walker-redefined "chamber of commerce mentality" Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are at it again.
Not content with having already stripped content and links from an agency webpage about climate change - - deletions I documented some years ago and which I have frequently referenced - - the ideologues intent on scrubbing science off these pages and sowing doubt and confusion about the consensus view of experts worldwide about climate change have edited, deleted and otherwise compressed to whitewash long-standing concepts and facts off a climate change page about the Great Lakes - - the same way, I will add, that Walker edited and watered-down the Wisconsin Idea, which has for decades had been the University system's historic mission statement

And, for the record, just as I predicted in 2015 they'd do:
Its [the key DNR] website is still noting that there are indeed present-tense impacts of climate change and "Human activities that increase heat–trapping ("green house") gases are the main cause."
So look for more heads to roll at the agency, and since the Walker DNR deleted most of what the Doyle administration left on the agency's climate change pages, don't be surprised if this current language about climate change and Wisconsin gets edited or deleted because it lists what "scientists agree" about:
Climate Change and Wisconsin's Great Lakes
Earth´s climate is changing. Human activities that increase heat–trapping ("green house") gases are the main cause. 
Earth's average temperature has increased 1.4 °F since 1850 and the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. 
Increasing temperatures have led to changes in rainfall patterns and snow and ice cover. These changes could have severe effects on the Great Lakes and the plants, wildlife and people who depend on them. While no one can predict exactly what climate change will mean for our Great Lakes, scientists agree that the following changes are likely if climate change patterns continue.
  • Increased summer and winter temperatures will cause increased evaporation, lower lake water levels and warmer water, resulting in reduced habitat for cold water species and a loss of critical wetland areas.
  • Decreased winter ice cover will also contribute to increased evaporation and lower lake water levels which could have severe economic consequences for our valuable shipping industry, lakeshore recreation, and coastal businesses.
  • Changes in rain and snowfall patterns (including more frequent and severe storms) could change water flow in streams and rivers and increase stream bank erosion and runoff pollution.
  • The good news is that we can all work to slow climate change and lessen its effects. To find out more about climate change and how we can all help, please visit the following links.
That scrubbing of crucial climate change information in the face of known facts was carried out to backstop Walker's disbelief in a warming climate, his efforts to keep greenhouse gases flowing, and openly juvenile behavior when asked on national stages to address these of globally-significant matters:
“I’m an Eagle Scout. We were taught a long time ago, your campsite should be cleaner when you leave than when you find it,” Walker said.
*  Our new Climate Change Denier-in-Chief who campaigned on this famous Tweet:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
*  The fossil fuel industry ally now in charge of the US science agency with the expert staff to address climate change now facing massive budget cuts: 
Scott Pruitt, the nation’s top environmental official, strongly rejected the established science of climate change on Thursday, outraging scientists, environmentalists, and even his immediate predecessor at the Environmental Protection Agency.
We'd go long way towards cleaning the atmosphere cleaner and leaving a healthier planet to our grandchildren if these Republicans would end their self-interested obstruction to climate change science, but it looks like we're being led in the opposite direction: 

In the Trump White House, the momentum is against the Paris climate agreement

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wisconsin Gov. tweets unique holiday weekend photo

School kids gave Paul "Atlas Shrugged" Ryan shrug of their own

[Updated] The Pride of Janesville finds out that being Speaker of the US House of Representatives isn't an automatic win, The Washington Post reported:
...a group from South Orange Middle School in New Jersey may remember their trip to the nation’s capital last week for another reason: It was the occasion for a pointed snub of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).
Dozens of the 218 students on the trip refused to have their photo taken with Ryan when he briefly joined them outside the capitol Thursday, students on the trip said...
Matthew Malespina, one of the students who stayed away, said in an interview Sunday that he chose not to be photographed with Ryan because he disagreed with the policies the speaker and his party are pushing on health care, among other things. He called Ryan “a man who puts his party before his country.”
Update: These kids walked from a photo op that rich Tennessee Republican suckers will pay $10,000 for later this week.