Hat tip, Dave Dempsey.
David Dempsey @greatlakescribe
Copper mining in New Mexico, fyi:
Hat tip, Dave Dempsey.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:08 PM
Help solve Wisconsin's coming labor shortage by rehabilitating prisoners
Today, I take great pride in sharing the credit for what we accomplished on key issues including welfare reform and school choice, successful policy innovations in which Wisconsin created a blueprint adopted across the nation.
But...I presided over the largest expansion of our state’s prison system, believing our families are safer as a result. But I've also come to believe that our corrections system and incarceration practices are both financially unsustainable and provide questionable outcomes worthy of strenuous review...
Today, 22% of Wisconsin adults have criminal records. Setting aside those within the walls of our prisons who have so seriously violated the public trust that freedom is no longer an option, there remains an even larger population for which institutional constraint may one day come to an end.
Looking back, I regret not spending more time considering, “What does tomorrow look like for that parolee, and can we work together to help provide the necessary tools to reap a new opportunity?”Let's insert his new-found more thoughtful attention to the same sort of people that he'd earlier used to solidify his 'tough-on-crime' ballot box persona into the analysis this blog has provided when people were re-writing Tommy history on transportation.
|Thompson, circa 2001|
...consistently advocated stronger punishment for crime, abolishing mandatory parole, and allowing children as young as 10 to be tried as adults. During his tenure he doubled the state’s prison capacity and initiated construction of “Super Max” prisons for the most violent offenders.And where, in his "Super Max prison:
Prisoners were on permanent lockdown in tiny cells, with a light that shone at full brightness 24 hours a day. They were prohibited from using their blankets to cover their eyes at night. Their three hours of weekly out-of-cell time were spent alone in a cement room without so much as a tennis ball. The only human interaction came when guards dropped off meal trays.
Cell temperatures have climbed into the triple digits during summer. Inmates were required to sleep with their heads toward their toilets, which flushed intermittently and often backed up. Clocks were prohibited, so inmates lost all sense of time. Even guards weren't allowed to wear watches. These conditions, said one expert, were 'an incubator for psychosis....'
The biggest spur [to change] was a federal class-action lawsuit filed against the prison in 2000. Inmates alleged that conditions inside the $47 million prison violated constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.
A settlement agreement reached in 2002 ended the extreme isolation and sensory deprivation that once underpinned Supermax's correctional philosophy. Among other things, the agreement prohibited mentally ill inmates from being housed there.Let's remember that while Thompson was building a career on the backs of prisoners, another budding careerist politician in 1997 was singing from the same hymnal:
Posted by James Rowen at 2:32 PM
You might have imagined the State of Wisconsin would have done such research before undertaking a deal with Foxconn, following the fundamental principle of commerce: Caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware.”
Instead the administration of Gov. Scott Walker has signed a contract awarding the largest subsidy ever paid by American government to a foreign company, without ever doing its due diligence to protect the interest of taxpayers who will pay this $4.1 billion subsidy.
The city report is heavily footnoted and filled with fascinating details, but it is Foxconn’s treatment of workers that really jumps out. “I thought, ‘my God, this is awful,’” Bauman says. “I’m re-reading (Upton Sinclair’s famous expose) of a hundred years ago. The same company towns, the low pay, the worker injuries, the suicides.”I will a links about the Legislative Reference Bureau report to an archive I have maintained on this blog about Foxconn since July and which now contains 150+ posts and scores of additional links.
New Berlin is seeking to bring Lake Michigan water over the subcontinental divide for the western portion of the city - - the physical divide splits the city - - and getting a diversion over the divide needs the approval of all eight US Great Lakes governors under current US law and a US-Canadian agreement...
Some City of Milwaukee officials, principally Ald. Michael Murphy, have long argued that diverted water helps encourage businesses to locate beyond Milwaukee's city limits; City of Milwaukee records show that about a quarter of the companies in New Berlin's Industrial Park had relocated there from Milwaukee.And the information in the report found its way into a 2007 posting about the City of Waukesha's diversion request, too.
Though some suburban officials have said 'over-our dead-bodies,' one prominent consultant paid by the Waukesha Water Utility proposed a while ago that the key to water sales to the suburbs west of the Great Lakes Basin was sharing new property tax revenues with Milwaukee.
The story is reprinted below intact from a guest posting I wrote last year for Bill Christofferson's Xoff Files blog - - in a simpler time when I had no blog of my own...
It all involves a memo, dated June 10, 2004, "Arguments For and Against the City of Milwaukee Selling Water to the City of New Berlin," found, oddly enough, in the files of the Waukesha Water Utility...
Citing City of Milwaukee records and analyses, the memo indicated that 42 businesses from Milwaukee had migrated to New Berlin's Industrial Park when it opened, suggesting both that more industrial flight could follow water diversions and sharing tax resources as part of a diversion package could minimize Milwaukee's revenue losses.
"The losses had a negative impact on Milwaukee's industrial assessment and resulting property tax revenues," said the memo. "The sale of water to New Berlin could have a similar negative impact on Milwaukee industry during the decade."Interesting, isn't it, that many basic public policy questions about regional cooperation, water management, job creation, land use and transit which were central to New Berlin and Waukesha's water-diversion-and-planning schemes arise again as Foxconn needs Lake Michigan water to change the face of Racine County to Milwaukee's south.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:12 AM
Oblivious to his 26 unbroken years on public payrolls, the state-paid mansion he lives in and state-paid car and airplane fleet he can access 24/7, Walker does everything except conjure 'welfare queens.'
Our welfare reforms also set common sense asset limits on public assistance so people with big mansions and fancy cars don’t get welfare checks while hard-working taxpayers have to pay the bills.
Wisconsin is the GOP model for ‘welfare reform.’ But as work requirements grow, so does one family’s desperation.Yes, read all about it. Restrictions, evictions, struggle, anxiety, and fear, as the Post notes:
Since Walker put work requirements into place, the Health Services Department said it has cut spending on food stamps by 28 percent, from $1.2 billion in 2013 to around $867 million in 2017. Officials said 25,000 food stamp recipients — out of a statewide total of 700,000 — have found work.
State officials also said that more than 86,000 people have lost their ability to get food stamps and did not report getting new jobs.
There’s been no government study examining what happened to them.
Posted by James Rowen at 9:02 PM
Happy Earth Day!
We were all fortunate to have lived in Wisconsin when Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day's originating inspiration, served the people as Governor and US Senator, and left additional legacies as varied as the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and a strengthened Wilderness Society.
The contrast with how far away from his legacies and through how much toxic and partisan mud we've been dragged - - and for whom - - is as obvious as is the need to begin repairing all that on election day, November 6th, 2018, or what we in Wisconsin should be calling Earth Day 2018 2.0.
Walker said he spoke with Trump Monday and Tuesday about the dairy crisis.
Editor's note: Emoji spelling corrected in headline.“It was great to talk to you this morning,” Walker told Trump on Twitter after the conversation. “Thanks for supporting WI dairy farmers!!!”
Posted by James Rowen at 2:25 PM
Idealizing a distant wilderness too often means not idealizing the environment in which we actually live, the landscape that for better or worse we call home...
That is why, when I think of the times I myself have come closest to experiencing what I might call the sacred in nature, I often find myself remembering wild places much closer to home...the wildness in our own backyards, of the nature that is all around us if only we have eyes to see it.Part of why that "if only we have eyes to see it" stays with me is that my late friend and Milwaukee Journal newsroom colleague Tim Cuprisin had said much the same thing when he found out in 2010 that he had the cancer which took his life the next year at age 53.
Posted by James Rowen at 2:20 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 9:19 PM