Saturday, June 30, 2018

Walker ignores roads, and climate change-linked flooding, except...

When there's a campaign on.

So while he's allowed state roads to be pock-marked statewide with Scottholes, obstructed climate change information, and ignored the advice of his own emergency government managers about climate change and infrastructure adaptations, he can still infer he's doing something about it.
Good to see all of the construction on roads and bridges in northern Wisconsin. Especially after all of the flooding two weeks ago.

If you're blue about blue-green algae...

Consider the sources, along with the consequences.

Swimmers were barred from Pewaukee Lake late last week due to the appearance of blue-green algae that can be toxic to people and pets. 

The emergency has passed, officials have said.

Here's what blue-green algae can look like in bloom, according to EPA photos from Illinois. 
Wisconsin's DNR has posted a lot of information on its web pages about blue-green algae - - I'll get to some of that in a moment - - but no photos so dramatic.

By the way, there was similar news last week about Lake Winnebago

Also in Dane County, where many beaches were forced to close. 

Like I said, the DNR has posted a lot of information about blue-green algae in Wisconsin waters, and this paragraph caught my eye: is possible that the frequency and duration of blooms are increasing in some Wisconsin waters as a result of increased nutrient concentrations. Nutrients, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen, can be carried into water bodies as a result of many human activities, including agriculture, discharge of untreated sewage, and use of phosphorus-based fertilizers and detergents.
The DNR knows that it's more than "possible" that human activity is contributing to algae blooms "in some Wisconsin waters," because: 

*  The agency has been reporting a steep increase in the number of waterways in Wisconsin due to phosphorous-related or other impairment- - I've blogged about it several times, including most recently, here - - and the agency even posted this definitive statement earlier this year:
Every two years, Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to publish a list of all waters that are not meeting water quality standards. In the proposed 2018 list update, DNR proposes to add 242 new water body segments. A majority of the listing additions were waters that exceed total phosphorus criteria. Thirty-five water bodies are proposed to be delisted. A 30-day public comment period was held November 2017 through January 8, 2018. The final documents are listed below and some of the information found can be viewed on the 2018 Water Quality Report to Congress webpage.
*  The agency, even under Walker's environmentally-damaging 'chamber of commerce mentality' management, held a major conference on the matter a few months ago, about which I wrote:
If you ease up on phosphorous discharges, Bucky, you get waterway pollution, algae, studies and meetings.  
Will you get results?  
I'd noted, here, a DNR focus on persistent phosphorous contamination in the Wisconsin River Basin, and have been posting frequently about Wisconsin's spiking waterway pollution, so I want to add this item posted by the DNR to my growing published data base...
* And the result of that conference and its studies: The DNR recommends that one major Wisconsin waterway have its phosphorous load reduced, while two others will be allowed moreLet's keep an eye on this: 
DNR officials say Petenwell and Castle Rock lakes can take more phosphorus without contributing to algae blooms but Lake Wisconsin needs tougher standards to preserve recreation.
* Walker and the DNR have waived through the addition of scores of new or expanding large dairy, animal feeding and manure discharging operations. Is anyone surprised that where the big feedlots are concentrated, the groundwater pollution is severe?

* And don't forget, as I noted, that Walker and the GOP-run legislature weakened phosphorous discharge standards statewide

so no one in state government can be surprised that we now have more impaired waterways - - or summertime beach closings.

And let's not forget all the people who spread fertilizers on their lawns. 

Where do they think that runoff ends up?

Or, for that matter, from golf courses like the one planned in what is now the City of Sheboygan thanks to a sweetheart annexation just at the edge of Lake Michigan after wetlands on the site have been filled, scores of acres of woodlands are to be leveled, and chemical treatments for operations are to be stored or prepared on acreage handed over to the developer inside the adjoining state park.

In a state where heavier rain events are predicted and seem to be happening with serious consequences due to a warming climate, but don't look for that information on the DNR's scrubbed website, or studied by scientists laid off there by Walker and his legislative, partisan GOP allies.

Even though the blissfully-ignorant-and-always-campaigning Scott Walker's own state emergency government managers have posted climate change warnings and have urged actions to acknowledge and mitigate it - - which Walker and his backers blissfully ignore.

As the late iconic writer and cartoonist Walt Kelly wisely advised, 'we have met the enemy, and he is us.'

Though greater responsibility lies with polluter-friendly public officials like Walker, Trump, EPA desecrater-administrator-in-chief Scott Pruitt and others serving corporate interests.

So the veteran, Wisconsin-born conservation writer Bill Stokes gets the last word on this matter here, as it was his Facebook posting today speaking through his persona and medium, Kickass the doorstop dog, that directed me to my keyboard:
Kickass, the doorstop dog, says there is an over-the-top irony that on this miserably hot summer day, those members of the tribe who have managed to climb the economic diving board high enough to live on lake-shore property cannot jump in the lake to cool off. The irony applies as well to those who own boats or even just a swimming suit because nobody wants anything to do with the pools of poisoned, stinking gruel that were once beautiful, clear-water lakes. 
So the lake-shore mansion owners with the manicured lawns and the crop growers in the upstream watershed go on about their chemical-use business, and even if they were somehow deterred it would take decades for the lakes to clear up because the bottom silt is so poisoned. 
Kickass would love to go for a swim today, but he can’t because there is no clean water. Most creatures—including pigs, know not to befoul their nests. Only humans don’t seem to get it, and they think they are way up there on the top step of the evolutionary diving board.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Walker teases Bucks arena opening. Remember what he'd said earlier

You have to remember Walker's tepid support for the Bucks arena back when he was pitching himself to national audiences as a small government (way before his billions and favors for Foxconn) fiscal conservative.
Walker sells Bucks deal with underwhelming optics

Sign on  podium prior to  arena news conference
I'm posting the reminder because Walker was busy on Twitter Thursday teasing where no doubt you'll see him next promoting his persistent corporate welfare.
 21 hours ago
Yet another great project going up in Wisconsin!  

For Foxconn, Walker bulldozes the language, too

Walker's twitter feeds have been almost non-stop Foxconn-fawning for the last two days (I know, much longer.)

And this tweeted phrase of his a few hours ago that lauded his subsidy-drenched-Foxconn-deal as an historic "corporate attraction project" caught my eye.

That's today's contortion of 'corporate welfare' after it went through the GOP propaganda scrubber, because, you know, 'welfare' is only for those who'd use it as a 'hammock, not a trampoline.' (Shhhh, hear the dog whistle?)

A few more Foxconn-related slogans for the Walker re-election voter and donor attraction project come to mind:

* Don't fret about increased air and water pollution, or the misuse of Lake Michigan approved by Walker and state 'regulators. Think of the the 'Asthma inhaler and metallic-contaminate enhancer attractions.'

* When questioned about potholed state roads and aging bridges he's ignored, Walker can pitch them as his 'auto repair shop attraction project.'

* Similarly, the groundwater pollution he's enabled near large-scale dairy and animal feeding operations can be recast as 'bottled water industry attraction projects, or 'brown water dilution development opportunities.'

* Not to mention Walker's giveaway of public land, and green-lit destruction of rare dunes, vital wildlife habitat, water rights and other vital resources now to be called the 'State Park paving attraction program'

* People being forced from their with homes and farms on the Foxconn site by Walker's 'corporate attraction project, or imaginary 'blight,' or big government declarations of eminent domain can be hailed as pioneers in 'a real estate agent attraction project.'

Cabbage fields on the 'blighted' Foxconn site, 2017
* The flood-mitigating wetlands on the site and in a flood-prone county exempted by the Walker deal from draining and filling protections sahllled be now identified as as 'underutilized water attracting acreage.'

* And the Wisconsin taxpayers being soaked by $4.5 billion in subsidies must be reminded they are funding an 'Illinois millennial attraction project.'

Feel free to add any more new language 'attractions' in the comment section.

And I have added today's post to my continuing Foxconn archive, here.

Scottholes? How about highway's un-repaired "dangerous...buckling of asphalt"

We've all hit the Scottholes.

and read about a rural Wisconsin road that crumbled to gravel during the Walker years, but the condition of Highway 78 heading into Prairie du Sac might be one for the record books
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has no immediate plans to make improvements on the portion of Highway 78 leading into the village of Prairie du Sac, village administrator Alan Wildman said during a board meeting June 26. 
The Prairie du Sac Village Board passed a resolution in Feb. regarding the deteriorated condition of Highway 78 imploring the DOT and Gov. Scott Walker to remedy the dangerous driving conditions caused by buckling of asphalt.
Hey, sorry. You know, Foxconn. 

Walker's Foxconn Fever infects state road repair budget 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ground broken for a down-sized Foxconn plant

[An updated post]  Denied earlier, but more-widely confirmed today, so send in the clowns because the ground-breaking for Foxconn which took place Thursday following the GOP's big fundraiser at the Pfister Hotel
is for a smaller, less-costly-factory. 
While two economic-impact analyses prepared last year and the state’s contract with Foxconn say the company will build a type of factory that carves display panels out of immense sheets of wafer-thin glass, Foxconn now says it first will erect a plant that uses much smaller sheets of glass. 
Such factories typically are much smaller and less-expensive than the sort of plant Foxconn originally planned, industry observers say. 
Suckers, punched, though many will gush along with Walker and Trump over the big trucks and other shiny objects moving now-not-so-much dirt around.

Proving that you can’t sell a Rube Goldberg machine unless you’ve got a rube on your line.

Update: There were protests: 
About 200 protesters assembled...before the groundbreaking to decry Walker’s giveaways to Foxconn and to air grievances about the project...
Protesters, including activists affiliated with NextGen WisconsinGaia Coalition Network, and One Wisconsin Now, planned continued demonstrating throughout the afternoon. They voiced objections to the massive amount of taxpayer dollars promised to Foxconn, the environmental dangers posed by the plant, and the forced relocation of long-time residents in the area who had to sell their homes to make way for the project.
A year's posts about Foxconn, here.

Props to BizTimes for initially confirming the story and to the Journal Sentinel for giving it a ride today. 

Walker & WI: Baited, switched, outfoxed and conned

Denied earlier, but more-widely confirmed today, so send in the clowns because the ground-breaking for Foxconn taking place Thursday following the GOP's big morning fundraiser at the Pfister Hotel
is for a smaller, less-costly-factory. 
While two economic-impact analyses prepared last year and the state’s contract with Foxconn say the company will build a type of factory that carves display panels out of immense sheets of wafer-thin glass, Foxconn now says it first will erect a plant that uses much smaller sheets of glass. 
Such factories typically are much smaller and less-expensive than the sort of plant Foxconn originally planned, industry observers say. 
Suckers, punched, though many will gush along with Walker and Trump over the big trucks and other shiny objects moving now-not-so-much dirt around. 

Proving that you can’t sell a Rube Goldberg machine unless you’ve got a rube on your line.

A year's posts about Foxconn, here

Props to BizTimes for initially confirming the story and to the Journal Sentinel for giving it a ride today. 

Why WI AG Schimel can't probe devolving Foxconn deal

Your head may be spinning over the news today that Foxconn won't - - at least initially, whatever that truly means - - build out the giant plant it and Walker have been hyper-ventilating about for a year.

Which is about how long ago I said the numbers being thrown around about the project needed to be investigated.
Every Wisconsin legislator and local official sworn to protecting honest and open government, environmental law and taxpayer money absolutely should slow down the Foxconn deal until they know know they are getting a straight story, forthcoming advice, accurate data and unfiltered facts.
So the spinning about the plant I'd noted eleven months ago by our super-partisan GOP Attorney General rules him out as the official to begin asking who knew what, and when, about this potentially multi-billion-dollar flip:
  Jul 27
Workers succeed and the economy thrives when we value individual freedom and opportunity above over-regulation and big government.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Holding Baldwin's seat, flipping Congress, now super-crucial

If Trump makes another Supreme Court selection through the Congress before the November elections and the Dems can't outwit Majority Leader McConnell and slow it down, his authoritarian right-wing attack on democracy will not be restrained.

So organize for the November elections like your life depends on it. Because this makes clear why:
Justice Kennedy, sometime swing vote, retiring July 31
Anthony Kennedy official SCOTUS portrait.jpg

People in Wisconsin under the Scott Walker-Koch brothers' alliance have seen what one-party, hard-right control of all three branches of government has meant for voting rights, local control, environmental protection, women's health, collective bargaining, Medicaid restrictions, public education, tax policy, the minimum wage, food aid and more.

But this is a thousand times more serious. Immediately at risk with another far right Justice: Roe v. Wade. sanctuary cities, civil rights enforcement, eased absentee voting, clean energy, affirmative action. You might as well have Rush Limbaugh running things.

Foxconn project undermines surviving WI climate change information, policy

Turns out that our-corporately-directed Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's  infamous campaign against climate science failed to erase all the state's conclusions about climate change or actions pledged to combat it.

Because state road planners who know all about fossil fuel emissions and energy efficiencies and clean air and climate change had written a lot about it all in the state's transportation master plan, "Connections 2030," here, and I'll get to it in a moment.

So while Walker and his anti-science legislative and bureaucratic allies thought they had taken Wisconsin out of the fight against climate change by scrubbing a Department of Natural Resources website, they overlooked a separate strong official Wisconsin document approved by the Department of Transportation which includes plenty of information about about clean air and climate change. 

A master plan document that discusses climate change's human causes and suggests mitigation and solutions related to alternative energy, transit and land use planning.

All of which Team Walker has undermined consistently budgetary since taking control after the 2010 elections, and is explicitly accelerating through its multi-billion-dollar subsidies to Foxconn which are financing large-scale wetland-and-farmland paving and road-building.

With substantial air polluting impacts. 796 tons worth annually, according to the state's rubber-stamping permit procedure.
Smoke stacks from a factory. 
(A full, year-long archive of posts about Foxconn ihere.)

Along with the hits to clean air that will arrive after pouring hundreds of millions of public dollars into more roads for Foxconn to induce thousands more polluting car and truck trips there daily.

After having intentionally blocked transit services to and through the Foxconn site in Racine County.

So now lets make more of the planning deficit/climate change connections in the Foxconn project by taking a closer look at Connections 2030, the state's long-range plan that acknowledges the realities of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Connections 2030 is the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT) long-range transportation plan for the state. This plan addresses all forms of transportation over a 20-year planning horizon: highways, local roads, air, water, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and transit. WisDOT officially adopted Connections 2030 in October 2009.
In the report's Chapter 14 we are told that:
The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, are the largest contributors to the human causes of climate change.
And later in the same chapter, (and repeated elsewhere) we learn that: 
The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions - particularly carbon dioxide, but also methane and nitrous oxide - trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and are the largest contributors to climate change. 
Carbon dioxide emissions resulting from transportation sources account for one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions. In Wisconsin, the transportation sector contributes about 24 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.10 
In general, alternative modes of transportation such as rail, intercity bus, transit, and biking and walking are more fuel-eff􏰀icient and typically emit fewer carbon emissions per passenger mile than single- occupancy private automobiles, trucks and airplanes. See Tables 14-10 and 14-11 for more information.
Improved vehicle fuel eff􏰀iciency and emissions, congestion mitigation, and reductions in vehicle miles traveled resulting from increased availability of modal choices, such as intercity passenger rail, intercity bus, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, may reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector and help achieve future greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. 
The increase in alternative mode choices may reduce the number of single occupant vehicles.  
In addition, all of the alternative modes mentioned are more energy eff􏰀icient and emit signi􏰀icantly fewer carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile than the auto and air modes...
As a policy-based plan, Connections 2030 positions WisDOT to respond to, track and adapt to new climate change initiatives as they are introduced. 
In addition, the draft plan addresses climate change and energy independence by recommending increases in the state’s investment in alternative modes of transportation beyond the base case, as detailed in Chapter 8, Provide Mobility and Transportation Choice... 
But the reverse is being foisted on residents in Racine County, and downwind, as a political favor to the Scott Walker who ideologically ignores all the evidence:
The Trump administration on Tuesday exempted most of southeast Wisconsin from the latest federal limits on lung-damaging smog pollution, delivering a political victory to Gov. Scott Walker as he makes a new Foxconn Technology Group factory the centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
By dramatically reducing the size of the areas required to crack down on smog, Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt overruled the agency’s career staff, a move that will save Foxconn from having to make expensive improvements as it builds a sprawling new electronics plant in Racine County, just north of the Illinois border in an area with some of the state’s dirtiest air.
Which is why Illinois is taking the issue to court: 
Lisa Madigan, Illinois' Democratic attorney general, announced late Friday she will challenge the EPA's decision in federal appeals court, citing decisions for Wisconsin that she said will allow Foxconn Technology Group to avoid using the most stringent air pollution equipment in Racine County.
The announcement comes after the EPA on May 1 identified regions of the United States that fail to meet new, stricter ozone standards. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a Republican, exempted much of southeastern Wisconsin, including Racine County, from the latest limits.  
Because Madigan, organizations opposing the Foxconn project and others all understand the realities Walker ignores and which Pruitt will worsen for Foxconn - - a foreign firm with a checkered labor and environmental history at its Chinese operations - - whose ground-breaking Trump will officially bless Thursday after a big partisan political fundraiser for Walker and the GOP:
The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions - particularly carbon dioxide, but also methane and nitrous oxide - trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and are the largest contributors to climate change.  

Trump's visit requires a David Clarke rewind

I'm not suggesting that Trump bring our ex-sheriff to town today.

Though anything is possible with this President, as Clarke works for a pro-Trump PAC. But his failed chase after a Trump appointment got messy,

his relationship with Walker - - today's second-banana - - got messy, too, and showcasing a law enforcement official who had four inmate deaths in his facility seems a poor choice for a President buffeted by his own incarceration scandal unfolding right now.

But I'm reminded, as the city makes the detailed security adjustments which a Presidential visit entails - complicated by the Summerfest music extravaganza  opening night shows kicking off just blocks from Trump’s Wednesday sleepover at the Pfister Hotel - that Clarke actually pique-pulled his deputies from their share of traffic control when President Barack Obama came to Milwaukee in 2012, so for the record, this:
Milwaukee's Self-Important Sheriff Cuts Back On Obama Visit Security
It would take some imagination to upstage the President of the United States and temporarily supplant Wisconsin governor Scott Walker as the state's worst political ambassador to the nation - - but Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke - - you've done it.
On the eve of President Obama's visit to Milwaukee's Master Lock factory Wednesday, Clarke let it be known in the Journal Sentinel that because he lost some funding (and a bit of ego) in a budget battle with County Executive Chris Abele, the Sheriff's department just doesn't have the resources to fully staff the County's end of the presidential security detail when Obama is in town.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

About Trump & Walker's major Milwaukee fundraiser

The Journal Sentinel says it's at the Pfister. Too bad, given Trump's bizzaro war against Harley-Davidson enabled by our politically-paralyzed Governor, that their GOP donor extravaganza wasn't scheduled at the Harley museum, seen here today, below. Irony is dead, they say, and karma had the day off.

Trump further savages Harley. Nowhere man Walker completely intimidated

If Walker were a true friend of Wisconsin workers and a real steward of our economy, he'd stop using Harley-Davidson motorcycles as campaign props and tell Donald Trump and his anti-Wisconsin 'policies' 

to take a hike over this crazy anti-Harley escalation
Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with taxes ‘like never before’ and predicts its eventual collapse
But because Walker is neither a friend to labor or anything resembling a leader - - let alone a representative of Wisconsin values and history - - he'll be Trump's lap dog with all the other one-dimensional Wisconsin GOP careerist place-holders at the Foxconn photo-op and fundraiser with the $100,000-top-ticket later this week

Walker bobs, weaves and bows before the Tariff King

Faced with the embarrassing announcement Monday that Trump's tariffs will reduce work at Harley-Davidson US plants
though Trump will arrive in Wisconsin for Walker-boosting Foxconn photo ops and major GOP fundraising in two days, our Governor responded with some nonsensical, nonresponsive but distracting word-salad:
 "The ultimate goal if we can get there would be no tariffs or if anything few tariffs on anything," Walker told reporters at a stop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 
 "Because it’s not just the tariffs the present administration has brought up, it’s tariffs for years. … That’s what I’m going to push for. If we can get to a level playing field, then we don’t have this tit for tat on any number of products out there.”
It's as if you came home from school having been beaten by the principal. And you say, 'Dad, the principal gave me a beating for no reason. What are you going to do about it.'

Dad is busy making ham and cheese sandwiches for tomorrow's brown bag lunch, but says, 'the ultimate goal is there will no more beatings, or if anything, maybe only a few. That's what I'm going to do push for.'

And you say, 'But I didn't tilt the playing field. I didn't do anything! You told us since the principal was hired last year that he was our friend. I got beaten. What are you going to do about it?'

And he says, 'I'm going to suck up to him, invite him over to dinner, then show him the town. That's what being Midwest Nice is all about.'

Dad then opens up his laptop and begins uploading pictures of half-eaten frozen custard cups and a bag of fries to Twitter and Facebook. 'And when you go back to school, don't you dare bring up those other kids he's got locked in the basement. I've got zero tolerance for that kind of tit for tat.'

Monday, June 25, 2018

Walker says he only comments on issues effecting WI. Oh, really?

Walker is right. It's not like he's intimidated by Trump or wants to risk this week's fund-raising/Foxconn extravaganza.

The Guv is silent on immigrant kids being seized because, as says, he never comments on anything that doesn't directly effect Wisconsin.

There must be another Scott Walker on Twitter putting up stuff like this:

  1.  @ScottWalker Apr 9
    Remembering when I visited Winston Churchill’s grave – a great leader.

It’s about time! Glad to see the stopping the disrespect of our flag and those who have fought to defend our country.