Saturday, February 2, 2019

About this blog, 12 years in, and moving forward

This is the 12th anniversary of my first blog post here. It raised questions about whether a proposed water park in New Berlin was the kind of public purpose envisioned by the parties which had created the Great Lakes Compact. 

The diversion went through, the water park never happened. And there have been other diversions approved for Waukesha, Racine/Foxconn, Menomonee Falls and Pleasant Prairie, so the issues remain.

I want to thank people for their readership, comments, suggestions, emails, documents and other support over the years.

Google Analytics tells me you live for the most part in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago and across Wisconsin, but last week, for example, there were also readers in 789 other locations from New Berlin to New York City to Los Angeles to Australia, Slovakia and Vietnam.

I've put up 18,993 items on this blog - - some short, some voluminous - - and drafted another 1,100 I never finished.

Yet when people ask me if I have a favorite, I can say, "yes, I do," because it told me everything in early 2011 I'd need to know for the next eight years about Walker's punitive paternalism towards the poor, and the GOP's special-interest servitude to the already-privileged, right up to the day he was driven from office but managed to hang the Republicans' power grab bill around the state's neck.

And everything about what has to replace his policies.
This very grove of trees inside Kohler Andrae State Park has been awarded by the state for private, upscale golf course development. The coordination by several taxpayer-supported state and local agencies at the expense of the environment to serve a Walker donor is emblematic of what went wrong the last eight years and what has to be repaired and turned around in the public interest now.
I've reposted this Walkerite-self-defining item: here one's example from 2015:
The $20 Scott Walker primer
...let's review one telling Walker action which never got the broad attention it deserved, though it spoke volumes about his hard-edged Tea Party modus operandi and willingness to tilt the playing field through Big Government power and hammer people who are generally without the means to fight back.
I am referring to an item buried in his first budget - - an across-the-board $20 per month cut from W-2 recipients.
I'd written about it here, with language taken directly from the budget's text, on page 65, in the "Health and Human Services" section:
"To further encourage W-2 recipients to recognize that the goal of W-2 is for participants to secure unsubsidized employment, reduce the monthly benefit check by $20."  
And the negative impact was multiplied by other Walker budget changes that reduced the value of two tax credits that helped low-income families stay in their homes and on a payroll.
There's a straight line from that kind of thinking and arbitrary punishment by government action - - the loss of a few boxes of disposable diapers, or maybe seven or eight gallons or milk, or bus fares to a job, a day care or the pediatrician  - - to Walker's more recent slams at the poor - - a refusal to increase the minimum wage of $7.25/hr., and his stated plan to mandate urine testing for food stamp recipients.

Another key item for me was my discovery that Walker's anti-science DNR had scrubbed climate change information from a public website. I also put it into context - - and, again, it points the way to what the Evers administration can repair:
Documenting WI Gov. Walker's attacks on science, climate change
Here are a few other Issue and personality summaries I think are useful both as records made and blueprints suggested:
In case Walker runs again, or just keeps...
In case Vos runs for Governor, or just keeps talking... 
When Trump returns to Wisconsin... 
Insiders, experts, tally Walker's damage to the WI DNR, land, water and air
SE WI segregation fueled by governments which need to address it
Along with some more relatively-structured archival posts: 
Foxconn Fever: A primer
Walker's eight-year war on the WI environment. 21 parts, in one post 
For you [iron] mining archivists - - some 2012 posts
And - - don't forget where to send your checks and help our allies:
"Sue the bast*rds!" Agreed. Now pitch in, Bucky 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for every one of the posts. I have learned so much from you and your commenters over the years.

Minnesconsin Tom said...

Happy anniversary, James. Although I didn’t have the guts to officially create my blogspot profile account until last April, I cannot overstate how much your blog helped get me through the Walker years. You and “Jake’s Wisconsin Funhouse” are the only two blogs I read. Thanks for everything and please keep up the great work!

James Rowen said...

Thank you very much, Minnesconsin Tom. I read Jake’s blog, too. Hoping we all have better news to share this year.

Chris said...

I'd also like to add my congratulations, and sincere thanks for all you've done to keep us informed on so many important topics. Your in-depth analysis and insights are very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Jim. A lot to be said for consistent, high quality writing and reporting.
Well Done.

James Rowen said...

Thank you, Patrick.

Joy said...

Same for me: you do a great service bringing to light and explaining policies, proposals and actions that would otherwise surely happen in darkness. Keep it up!

James Rowen said...

Thank you, Joy.