Sunday, September 30, 2018

As predicted, Walker wraps himself in Packers, Brewers glory

A few days ago,  I wrote this about Walker's lackluster campaign:
So look for Walker through November 6th to co-opt the pro sports' calenders - - Badger Saturdays, NFL Sundays, the Brewers' post-season chase...   
Today Walker comes through: on his personal Twitter feed, eight Packers-related Tweets, plus a video and post. and on his official state Twitter feed, this 'there-oughta-be-a-law' self-aggrandizement:
 4 hours ago4 hours agoMoreThe Packers are winning, the Brewers are winning, and so is Wisconsin’s tourism industry with a $20.6 billion impact on the state – up from $14.8 billion in 2010!

Give disinterested, self-declared lame duck an earlier quit date

If a bored career politician says he's got leaving on his mind, why not help him call it quits four years earlier?
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker says if he wins third term, it will be his last

Judith Davidoff photo also credited here.

Kavanaugh's sworn recollections fail Johnson's 'false memories' construct

'False memories' are one thing. Evasive, flat out lying is something else.

So consider this about Tea Party Sen. Ron Johnson's repulsive slur of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that she was having "false memories" of being assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh.

He said we should go "read about" the false memory phenomenon.

Since Johnson 

Image of Ronald Harold "Ron" Johnson
linked false memories and doing some research, let me recommend Johnson 'read about' the term "Devil's Triangle," which under oath Kavanaugh said was a drinking game, and "boofed," which Kavanaugh also said under oath referred to adolescent flatulence.

Johnson and others can Google those terms or read this piece on that has done the work for you.

Some free advice: don't use your work computer.

And remember that Kavanaugh is a sitting appellate judge on what is commonly referred to as the second highest court in the land and just one rung below the US Supreme Court where he will sit for the rest of his life if Johnson gets his way.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Ron Johnson adds Christine Ford to his re-victimized victims' list

Reading the repulsive suggestion based on nothing by retired Wisconsin plastics manufacturer and Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a trained clinical psychologist, might be having 'false memories' reminds me of two other occasions when Johnson 'addressed' such issues with his trademark stupidity and callous disregard for victims:
Pressed again on whether Ford's testimony was based on false memories, the second-term senator said: "There are a number of explanations for it. That would be one of them. Again, regardless of exactly — nobody knows what happened 36 years ago."
"Regardless of exactly?" Why how Senatorial of you, sir.

 And for how exactly how he's behaved in such matters before:

* Johnson had actively opposed changes in Wisconsin law that would have made it easier for complaints to be made based on misconduct that had taken place during victims' childhoods.

* He did not notify the authorities when one of his staffers said she had been assaulted at a GOP fundraiser by a Republican state legislative leader. The legislator eventually resigned and pleaded guilty after more assaultive events were documented.

Some holdouts kept their land from Foxconn; the outrages continue

The Mt. Pleasant-for-Foxconn property seizure bluff was called, and the authorities blinked. That's good news, but that whole process continues to reek.

I know it's hard to follow every budgetary, environmental and planning twist, turn and outrage associated with the Foxconn project; the archive I've put together about it now runs to about 260 posts, and there are far more links embedded there within. 

Some of those posts focus on a real travesty - - the use and misuse of eminent domain and the companion abuse of blight designations by the Village of Mount Pleasant to facilitate the taking of people's homes and land to suit the company's plans - - ever-changing as those plans are - - or those of road-builders hired to spend tens of millions of public dollars to build or expand highways also to please the company.

Here's one such archive post:

In Racine County's Village of Mount Pleasant these days, you can't count on your home being your castle anymore.
Because if the government wants to take it for Foxconn and the bulldozers, the Village is closing in on saying it belongs to them - - and they can take it - - because it's blighted.
Does this look blighted to you?
Cabbage fields on the Foxconn site, 2017
The fancy term for what may come along now that "blight" has been officially invoked upon the heads and deeds of residents not interested in being booted out would be "eminent domain," but, in reality, it's property seizure.
Many property owners accepted the company's purchase offers because they got paid a premium, and the timing was good, even fortuitous.

But others sold knowing that the authorities had already declared their acreage and buildings blighted to justify and trigger the seizure power that was in the officials' back pockets.

Others fought back, and this week some won the right to remain in their homes or on their land for at least another year - - which again makes one wonder why Foxconn's plans and needs and intentions are so malleable.

Every time I see pictures of all the highway work going on, I wonder 'are they building roads to nowhere?'

Or to the smaller factory already conceded by Foxconn, or to a less complex complex, despite company P.R. that makes the built out site something of a cross between The Magic Kingdom and Suburbia on Steroids.

But my basic point is that this disrespect for residents goosed along by state power right is out of some Soviet-style playbook, where the government takes what it wants and individuals be damned.

If this is really Wisconsin, circa 2018, then some basic changes have got to be made.

I'd also recommend you Facebook users 'like' the home page of the grassroots group "A Better Mt. Pleasant" if you want to keep abreast of what's really happening there.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Streetcars to roll in Milwaukee on Nov. 2nd. Hop on board.

Election day on Nov. 6th had been that week's big day, but now you can add the inauguration of streetcar service on Nov. 2. 

After years of right-wing/suburban GOP/Scott Jensen-Scott-Walker-Tommy-Thompson obstruction:
A weekend-long event is planned at Cathedral Square Park, near one of the streetcar stops on E. Kilbourn Avenue, starting with a ceremony at noon.
The HOP MKE Streetcar.jpg 

Many ways Walker can Tweet-escape his WisDOT scandal

Walker's war room is probably hashing out right now the best way Walker can Tweet-pivot away from the WisDOT over-billing scandal The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just dropped on his campaign weekend.

And since it's the weekend, Walker can easily default to his many GoPackGo and GoBrewers themes and memes. 

But he's got other tried and true options:

* There's always Sportsman Scott to haul out:
Image result for scott walker photo fishing
Or the half-eaten burrito:
Photo on 2014-06-01 at 21:31.jpg

Followed by a frozen custard 'yumm'.

More than once:

And again:

And again. So I'm guessing custard. Stay tuned.

WisDOT ripoff exposed by Journal Sentinel

Deliberately paying twice for road 'work' 
in Scott Walker's easy-billing administration explains why we have so many Scottholes.

Great scoop by the Journal Sentinel's Raquel Rutledge:

Investigation: Wisconsin DOT knowingly paid twice on stretch of roadwork for Zoo Interchange

And look where the story goes - - to Foxconn: 
Yet nobody sought to recover the funds. And nobody has been held accountable for the waste. 
Instead, some of the same WisDOT workers who signed off on the more than $400,000 overpayment — along with the contractors who demanded the money — are teamed up on the state’s latest mega roadway construction project three years later: I-94 near the Foxconn development.
Several posts in this Foxconn archive about how much state transportation funding has been diverted there.
Foxconn will create more road, transit service shortfalls, planners predict. 
Walker hails partial federal bailout for Foxconn roadwork 
Expect Walker to deny, distract over new $30 mil. Foxconn road 

Another hound thrown to the wolves; Wi check, please.

In Wisconsin, hunting hounds continue to be cash-worthy and disposable, including another 'depredated' Plott hound like this oneL
As noted often on this blog, along with maps, data and how the state reimbursement program works. For the hounders, not their dogs.

09/26/2018Price1 dog killed (Plott, male, 6 years)Price depredation sitePrice depredation location map [PDF]

Even Trump's hollowed-out EPA admits to catastrophic global warming

I think we can say that climate change denial is now a matter of planetarymurder-suicide.
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees by the end of this century. 
A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. 
USDA wildfire photo
Look  for Scott Walker to urge everyone to stockpile frozen custard

WI cheese firm making big solar investment

Remember when people said Wisconsin didn't have enough sunshine for solar energy installations and the Walker administration was downright hostile to renewable energy initiatives?

US DOE photo

is looking pretty mainstream these days:
Focusing on reducing their carbon footprint, Emmi Roth, a Fitchburg, Wis., specialty cheese operation, will add 1,600 solar panels to its Platteville, Wis., plant. 
Installed on the roof of the facility, the panels will supply 15% of the electricity and will reduce the company’s carbon footprint by eliminating 14,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the environment.

Scott Pruitt is gone; coal lobbyist who replaced him may be worse

Hence, stories about actions like this:
E.P.A. to Eliminate Office That Advises Agency Chief on Science
Which means if you think the EPA is going to crack the whip and push hard for clean water in the Central Sands, or keep the air clean downwind from Foxconn, forget it, because industry and corporate donors shall be served. 

Brace yourselves & grab the grandkids: the McConnell Court is in view

The Senate's master technician's masterpiece is a horror movie. Sound track by "Access Hollywood."

If Brett ("I like beer") Kavanaugh is made a US Supreme Court Justice, Trump will no doubt take immediate possession of Kavanaugh as 'my Justice,' a la 'my African-American...' and whomever else can satisfy this egomaniac's penchant for self-generated validation.

But the truth is we'll all be living with the Mitch McConnell court - - not the Trump court or the John Roberts court, or anyone else's court.

Because it was McConnell as GOP Senate Majority leader

Mitch McConnell portrait 2016.jpg
who, after failing to make Obama a one-term President, effectively compensated for having let down all those GOP donors by denying Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland the courtesy of a hearing, let alone an up or down vote.

That unprecedented obstruction paved the way for Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation a year later.

Bringing us to the cusp of yet another odiously partisan push engineered by the now six-term Senator McConnell to make Kavanaugh the fifth ultra-conservative in a solid 5-4 right-wing, corporatist high court majority.

Kavanaugh's ascension to the Supreme Court from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit would be a final stick in Garland's eye, as he is the Chief Judge of that court and outranks the more junior and juvenile Judge Kavanaugh.

There is a chance that GOP Senators alleged to be moderates like Jeff Flake, or Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins could miraculously grow spines and stop McConnell from adding the ruination of the Supreme Court to his trashing of the Senate on display today as McConnell lieutenants, like Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley managed to make the Judiciary Committee look even worse than its iteration which slimed Anita Hill twenty-seven years ago.

The odds are against any 11th hour Resurrection of Reasonable Republicans, and I feel like we are trapped in a theater showing over and over again on a loop the same horror movie starring Trump and Putin with the "Access Hollywood" soundtrack.

I would love to be proven wrong - - though no doubt Mitch and Trump would simply write a payback sequel even scarier.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Barrett responds to changing climate

Good to see Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett 
Tom Barrett (politician).jpg
better aligning Milwaukee development, planning and spending with climate change that is damaging property and budgets right now.

Madison and Dane County will be spending more money on flooding issues, too.

I've noted before that Milwaukee and other municipalities are going to have to take the lead on these issues statewide because Walker and his DNR are ideologically unwilling to address climate change or maintain the science and expertise needed to confront it.

And I recently wrote, after the summer's historic flooding began to recede:
Local governments (when they can catch their breath). grassroots organizations and other groups need to get coordinated, grab flood control, stormwater mitigation and inter-connected scientific issues and take over the planning and the narratives on climate change which a disinterested Walker and his donor-compliant and equally-compromised legislative allies have abandoned.

Let's hope Judiciary Committee debacle is GOP's final insult

After watching the horrifying Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today in its entirety - - from the clownish behavior of chairman Chuck Grassley to the 11 white male Republican members in Donald Trump''s death grip to the Lindsey Graham hysterical 'the world is ending' call to arms - -  I can only repeat and hope to hear more of what some Republicans like the writer and pundit Max Boot
Boot in 2007
have said and done recently: 
I left the Republican Party. Now I want Democrats to take over.
Veteran strategist Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, is the latest Republican to say “no more....” 
Schmidt follows in the illustrious footsteps of Post columnist George F. Will, former senator Gordon Humphrey, former representative (and Post columnist) Joe Scarborough, Reagan and Bush (both) aide Peter Wehner, and other Republicans who have left the party. 
I’m with them. After a lifetime as a Republican, I re-registered as an independent on the day after Donald Trump’s election. 
Wisconsin Republicans - - your move

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Are polls influencing GOP state rep who rebuffed Walker's 'quit now' demand?

Been live-blogging a mess within the Wisconsin GOP Walker didn't create but doesn't seems strong enough to manage. 

Makes you wonder if the whiffs of Walker's weakness that pollsters keep tracking have worked their way down the party's food chain.

Today's fast-moving timetable:

*  First a GOP legislator and Assembly official admitted to have severely disrespected three colleagues.

*  Then Walker, belatedly, demanded on Twitter that the state representative should quit the legislature now.
He should resign from office, period.
'No.' said State Rep. Rob Brooks:
A top Republican lawmaker stepped down from his leadership post but rejected a call from Gov. Scott Walker to resign from his Assembly seat after it was reported the legislator had made racist and sexist comments to his colleagues.
Suggesting that Walker doesn't have the same sway over the party and Legislature he once had.

Could it be that people in his own party don't feel compelled to follow Walker into the quicksand which pollsters keep mapping?
Evers leads Walker in new MU poll

Walker's tweets show delayed call for GOP legislator's resignation

Another volunteer's flub or staff drafting error, perhaps?

To the record being made this morning about the offensive behavior of the Wisconsin Assembly GOP Assistant Majority Leader Rob Brooks, read Walker's official tweets carefully to see that it took him an extra hour and a second, edited tweet to later call for Brooks' resignation:
  1. Representative Brooks' comments are offensive and disrespectful. They have no place in our society and are inconsistent with the high standards that must be held by those in public office. He should resign from office, period.
  2.  2 hours ago
    Representative Rob Brooks' comments are offensive and disrespectful. They have no place in our society and are inconsistent with the high standards that must be held by those in public office.

WI GOP legislator so done w/ that big tent 'Party of Lincoln' sh**

With mid-term early voting just underway, Wisconsin Assistant GOP Assembly Majority Leader Bob Brooks, (R-Saukville)
Image of Robert Brooks
just registered a rare trifecta in the Trump-led rebranding of the GOP as the classy, all-white guys party:

Wisconsin Assembly Republican leader apologizes for making racial, sexual comments to female lawmakers

MADISON - A top Assembly Republican made sexual comments to two female state lawmakers and a racial remark to a Latina legislator at a July event, prompting a review by the house's chief human resources official. 
Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville) directed a racial remark at fellow GOP Rep. Jessie Rodriguez of Oak Creek — the only Hispanic Republican in the Assembly — at a restaurant after an Assembly GOP caucus event in Wisconsin Dells, according to sources familiar with the incident. 
A bit of a Bill Kramer echo, no? 

Walker's WI DNR dissed climate change; UW researcher is go-to climate source

You can laugh or cry at the irony:

Cathy Stepp, an ultra-partisan pol without a science background was tapped by GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to run the state's Department of Natural Resources with "a chamber of commerce mentality."

She rewarded Walker and his corporate donor base by deleting climate change information and materials from the agency's climate change web page.

On Tuesday it was Jack Williams, a University of Wisconsin scientist working on the Madison campus about a mile from the DNR's offices who explained to readers of The Washington Post how real is the climate change threat:

Climate change is destroying our national parks at an alarming rate, study finds
Jack Williams, a climate researcher at the University of Wisconsin, told The Post Glacier National Park in Montana, which draws admirers for its snowy peaks and mirror-like lakes, may lose its namesake because of rising temperatures and glaciers already in retreat. 
“It’s very likely under the highest rates [of warming] that the glaciers would melt,” he said. 
Further north, in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, the once enormous Muir Glacier has melted hundreds of meters from the 1950s to 2010. 
At Yellowstone, drought and wildfires have thinned towering forests, and scientific projections point to fires that burn more frequently. It could turn the region into rolling grasslands, Williams said.
Makes you wonder what Stepp and Walker know that the UW's Williams has missed. 

Here's something Stepp claimed she had missed: that she had campaigned for Donald Trump (Stepp is now director of the US EPA's Great Lakes regional office) without knowing Trump had said climate change was a hoax.
Morse Muir Glaciers 1994.jpg
Muir Glacier, 1994

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

By the way, that's your park, too

Friends of the Black River Forest, already suing for wetland protection, water quality and Lake Michigan integrity are taking their fights up a notch.

Walker's '18 run: creepy, conflicted, inane

Six weeks until election day, and a lifeless Walker '18 campaign is marked by creepy, R-rated ads, strangulating contradictions, 'Go Pack Go' and a frozen custard fetish.

Childish Twitter photos aside, the Governor of the Dairy State really can't run as the dairy industry's friend, as farms are closing at the rate of two a day --
Another 47 dairy farms close in WI; 101 since July
-- and some in the industry he has de-regulated are delivering brown water to their neighbors' spigots.

Can't run on fiscal responsibility: He's throwing last-ditch money at roads he hasn't fixed, schools he's underfunded and health care he's trying to destroy. On that score, the contradiction is brutally obvious: the pre-existing condition coverages he's pretending to guarantee are only at risk because he's backing litigation to eliminate them.

In fact, Walker has cost the state many billions of dollars separate from the billions of dollars he's sent to and triggered for Foxconn.

Can't run on property rights: Speaking of Foxconn, Walker's local allies in Mount Pleasant have embraced government-mandated seizure of land and homes preposterously declared blighted so that Foxconn, a foreign corporation, can put enough shovels in the ground to meet Walker's election timetables. 

One local resident at a hearing in Mount Pleasant last night said the Village was snatching people's hearts out. Now there's a platform to run on.

This perversion of local authority is about the only exercise of local control which Walker has backed in the last eight years - - so feel free to toss that one-time GOP 'principle' into history's ash can, too.

Can't run on letting the marketplace guide the economy: He and the legislature Republicans run have committed about $4 billion of money from the people Walker likes to call the 'hard-working taxpayers statewide to the Foxconn project - - full archive, here; GOP state senators are so worried about correctly being seen as the Reckless Spending Party that they are refusing to come into special session so Walker can throw another $117 million in taxpayer subsidies to the quite-well-off-multi-national behemoth Kimberly Clark.

Can't run as the Adults in the Room: Poor planning, obeisance to special interests, and climate change denial have left the state and everyday homeowners vulnerable to everything from congested and crummy roads to costly, repetitive flooding - - don't bet on full federal flood reimbursements, given Hurricane Florence billing - - to contaminated drinking water.

Look to the DNR and the regional US EPA office run by former DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp to back away from strong drinking water guarantees in Wood and Juneau Counties.

And a lack of transportation planning and rational funding will extend, transit-free road congestion from the Marquette Interchange through the Zoo Interchange through 20-whatever.

Can't cozy up to Trump, the GOP's leader: The closer Walker and Vukmir get to Trump, the faster that independent and female voters run the other way. 

Ditto for businesses that grow, import, make and export things, from grain to ginseng, milk to motorcycles. Tariff King Trump's moves will add the equivalent of new taxes on companies and consumers alike, and kiss your little sales tax holiday checkout line pocket change and fractional play Everypaycheck boosts good-bye, Bucky.

So look for Walker through November 6th to co-opt the pro sports' calenders - - Badger Saturdays, NFL Sundays, the Brewers' post-season chase and NBA pre-season, - - lay out the right caps and jerseys, and fuel up the state planes!

Along with these inanities:

Adrian’s Frozen Custard in Burlington. Mmmmmm!