Saturday, March 30, 2019

Trump said he had 'the best words.' Actually, AOC, Adam Schiff do.

Donald Trump claimed having "the best words" - - presumably including 'record deepness' and 'bullshit'- - was among his endless list of superlatives, but right now I'd say The Best Words Title is shared by Congresswomen Alexandria Octavio-Cortez and her colleague Adam Schiff.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez standingAdam Schiff official portrait.jpg

Penzeys, 2020 Dem. Nat'l Conv. are a natural match

I have no idea how these things get arranged, but Penzeys ought to be embraced by the DNC. The business and the ownership are among the clever, principled and effective local institutions which we love. From Facebook: 

Free $22.95 Salt & Pepper Time Box w $1 purchase—Mueller Report Not a Nothing Burger Recipe! —
It’s Salt & Pepper time, time to admit what’s clearly on the table before us. In the wake of the Mueller report (even the doctored 4-page Attorney General spin version), the reality we must face going is that our president is a Crook. And the problem for America is that he’s not just a run-of-the-mill crook, but instead one quite skilled at directing others to commit his crimes while pretending his innocence. 

The research says people with cooking in their lives go on to better futures, but the research so far doesn’t quite know why. My thought is that a life surrounded with the goodness that is cooking leaves us better able to see paths that lead towards positive outcomes while avoiding the negative ones. In many ways our time around the dinner table leaves us better able to tell right from wrong. Yes, as Lincoln said, we can all be fooled some of the time, but Cooks, time and again, lead the way into the can’t be fooled all the time category.
Take a Cook’s-eye look at the president’s actual words to the Russians about his opponent’s emails at a point where his campaign already had multiple contacts with the Russians expressing their desire to help make his election a reality. Does he actually say I’m entering into an agreement to commit election interference? No, he is too skilled for that, but it is those very skills that betrays his true nature. What should we make of his actions? As the Voice Of Cooking, let us be the first to say: Crook-Crooked-Crookedly-Crook. 
Please sign up for our Penzeys Voice Of Cooking email list here:
And now that Crook-Crooked-Crookedly-Crook has been said, it’s time to get on to redoubling our efforts to make sure every possible American turns out to vote 11.3.20. As we’ve learned before, a good message travels far, but a good message tied to a really good free offer knows no limits. So through Saturday at midnight, $22.95 Salt & Pepper Time gift boxes free with any purchase. These boxes contain full half-cup-sized jars of our tasty Seasoned Salt and World’s Best Penzeys Pepper. And of course for each jar of Penzeys Pepper sold or given in an offer like this another is given to those who work to feed those in need. 
In addition to the two half-cup jars, the Salt & Pepper Time contains our new Embrace Hope refrigerator/bumper magnet, tip cards, Victory pin and three I Will Vote 11.3.20 Heart stickers—one to keep two to share. This really is a $22.95 value free with any purchase. You can see the Salt & Pepper Time box here:…/salt-pepper-tim…/c-24/p-3189/pd-gb
And please check out our Mueller Report Something Burger with its No Secrets Sauce so worth sharing. You can find the recipe here:…/mueller-something-burger-with-no…/
At a hearty 1/3 of a pound, this is no Nothing Burger by any means. In addition to our Seasoned Salt and Penzeys Pepper, partially inspired by the commenter from our last post, “Flash Gorski,” this recipe calls for a dollop of sour cream seasoned with Marjoram and/or our tasty Krakow Nights Seasoning as a reminder that selling out our allies to please dictators is not a victimless crime. We have both on sale in 1/4-cup jars for just $1 each. And yes, just the purchase of a regularly $2.29 Marjoram or $4.29 Krakow Nights for just $1 qualifies you for your free Salt & Pepper box.
If there is some silver lining to all this, it is the very real reminder that America honestly does matter. Why else would Russia go to such lengths or take such risks? I know it’s always trendy to push the idea that America does more harm than good, but that simply isn’t the truth. Our Spice business takes us to the far corners of the globe where we’ve seen first-hand the way America has been able to expand the free world and diminish the power of dictators. For billions of people, America matters. Our president was put in office in part to send the world the message that America can’t be trusted. We must show the world that simply isn’t true.
To get your coupon to use in any of our stores Saturday for your free-with-any-purchase $22.95 Salt & Pepper Time gift box please click this link: This will also put you on our Voice Of Cooking email list that you can opt out of at any time, but don’t because our emailing list is the place to be. Trust me, it’s not like other email lists. We try hard to be good. If you enjoy being on our Voice Of Cooking email list, mentioning why in the comments below would be most helpful. 
No coupon or codes are needed in the stores or online for the regularly $2.29 Marjoram or $4.29 Krakow Nights for just $1 each. These two are automatic for everyone. 
Online at, for your free $22.95 Salt & Pepper Time box, after any spending at all, simply enter “Crook” into the apply code box at checkout. It’s easy and there’s no need to place the box in your cart, the Crook code will do that for you automatically and for free. Additional boxes are available for just $5 each, a price we hope to be able to honor through Sunday, April 7. I like the idea of a “Salt & Pepper week at Penzeys” because this reminder of what the president is needs repeating. But this is a while-supplies-last offer and, though we are well stocked, these offers have a habit of taking off on us. In other words, act now!
In our stores, with the coupon linked to above, Saturday you really can get this $22.95 box free with just a $1 purchase. Online there is still shipping and handling to deal with. To try and help, this weekend we’ve reduced our usually $40 spending minimum for free shipping to just $25. 
And please start talking up the 11.3.20 election now, and any election before then, too. (Tuesday here in Wisconsin we have a Supreme Court race where a Scott “Fox Conn” Walker-appointed judge is up against someone Walker didn’t appoint. Please Vote Your Heart.) I’m guessing, should the real Mueller report ever get released in full, impeachment will very much be back on the table, but we can’t count on that. The obstruction has now spread to the Attorney General and the entire Republican Party. I fear we can no longer count on them to do the right thing.
Please share your extra I will Vote 11.3.20 Heart stickers, ideally with those you know that don’t usually vote. Your encouragement means everything. Cooking is a very cool thing. Taking time to care for those around you honestly does set better futures in motion. If cooking has yet to click for you, you need this box. Cooks know what happily ever after is really like. Yes, it’s exhausting, but it’s also flat-out wonderful. This box really is a giant leap for cooking kindness. Get yours now. 
If you are already a Cook, never doubt your ability to encourage others. You are admired. Your voice counts. Please use your voice to encourage others to make a positive difference in America and the world come 11.3.20. 
Thanks for your support, which keeps us in business even though we say things like: Crook-Crooked-Crookedly-Crook 🙂
p.s. Please help us. Our belief that cooking is what happens when you care about people puts our posts into the political category. You can help offset the extra barriers this brings with it by liking and sharing this post, but equally important are your comments. It’s time for us to be honest about what our president truly is. Please help spread the word. This matters.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Rep. AOC was again impressive; Scott Walker, pathetically stale

First-term Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was prepared, engaged, persuasive spontaneous and during a one-hour town hall sit-down with MSNBC's Chris Hayes Friday night.

She never punted on a single question, unlike our defeated Scott Walker who made a career out it - - here and here - - yet obsessively trolls AOC and even today tweeted proof of his overwhelming ignorance and relative inferiority:
.: “I hope they realize that we could propose having a ham sandwich for lunch and they are going to call it socialist.”  , I’ve eaten them for years. It’s your ideas to raise taxes to Carter-era levels, ban airplanes & farting cows, etc. that make you a socialist.

Foxconn diversion would be #5 for environmental outlier Wisconsin

[Updated from 3/11/17 and 3/12/18] Before Foxconn, there was Waukesha, New Berlin, Menomonee Falls and Pleasant Prairie.

*  I'm adding to this posting a key insight from the challenge to the Racine/Foxconn diversion - - the full text is here - - that one diversion can lead to an another and another, thus upending the Great Lakes Compact's goal of limited water diversions and overall water conservation:

Thus, DNR’s approval of the Racine diversion establishes a misguided and dangerous precedent with far-reaching implications for the Great Lakes region. This precedent opens the door to diversions throughout the Great Lakes basin—to any customer and for any purpose—as long as the in-basin community supplying and receiving back the returned water does so through a public water system. Respondents’ blatant misinterpretation of the public water supply purposes requirement will lead to comparable attempts by other municipalities to advance diversions that serve purposes entirely unrelated to “largely residential customers.” It follows that in-basin communities and their public water supply systems could serve as ready conduits to any number of water-intensive industries, mining operations, or power plants located outside the basin. This result controverts a central tenet of the Great Lakes Compact:Exceptions to the ban on diversions are to be strictly limited. p.16.
So don't let the Foxconn diversion divert you - - a complete archive about Foxconn is here - - from our state's greedy, arrogant and even slippery connections to Great Lakes water which only enhance our fast-growing identity as an environmental outlier:
Wisconsin is light years away from the nationally-leading environmental state bequeathed to us by John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Gaylord Nelson and generations of preservationist activism.
The decline and fall of Wisconsin's environmental stature is due to Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' and pro-polluter record that intentionally turned Wisconsin into a donor-driven and special-interest-favor dispensing and pollution-enabling environmental outlier...
That the Walker-controlled-and-debased and-corporatized WI DNR has the sole vote on whether the Walker-driven Foxconn project wins its jaw-dropping demand for 7 million gallons daily of Lake Michigan water shouldn't be seen as Wisconsin suddenly deciding to grab Great Lakes access and take the water - - literally - - for granted.
Lake Michigan 
If approved, the diversion for Foxconn will be the fifth diversion of Great Lakes water to a Wisconsin community under, and sometimes around whatever were the rules at any given time - - making Wisconsin a more pronounced outlier on environmental issues, particularly under Walker, his GOP-led legislature, an equally-partisan and environmentally-dismissive GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel and the big business interests they serve without question.

So don't lose sight of our state's history and its additional diversions:

* The City of Waukesha won the first diversion of water to a community completely outside the Great Lakes basin under current law - - a 2008 water sharing agreement (Compact) among eight US states and two Canadian provinces - - but not before a lengthy battle that was extended by the DNR's insistence at Waukesha's behest that diverted water be allowed to flow through Waukesha to open land beyond its borders and into neighboring communities which not applied for a diversion.

Update - - No other such diversion has been applied for, or approved by, the Compact states since, official records show. And the Foxconn diversion is only the second - - Waukesha's being the first - - in the eight-state region to raise any issues that bring the Compact into play, even for just one state, since the Compact was ratified and implemented in 2008.

*  While the Great Lakes Compact was under review by the Great Lakes states prior to its 2008 ratification, the DNR approved a diversion from the City of Milwaukee to a portion of the City of New Berlin that is outside of the Great Lakes basin.

The approval for New Berlin was delayed by a rewrite following harsh objections by environmental groups - - and other Great Lakes states to which the DNR had sent the application as a courtesy.

As I'd noted:

...raising objections were the state of Illinois, and, in an advisory capacity, the Canadian province of Ontario, plus a long list of environmental and conservation organizations that raised significant questions of New Berlin and the DNR about the application's adequacy, accuracy, and completeness.
The State of New York's criticisms were brutal: I summarized them this way in a Capital Times column last year, quoting from the New York document provided through Open Records from the DNR:  
"New York officials said the application was without key studies, complete data, adequate water supply descriptions, enough system and geological maps and "descriptions of the situation and feasible options." 
"New York," I wrote, "opined that there was "no evidence that the applicant is aware of or familiar with the full range of applicable state and national regulations, laws, agreements or treaties," and cited other deficiencies or possible inaccuracies. 
"Additionally, New York observed that "the statement of no cumulative impacts is unsupported by any data in the document and does not address potential cumulative impacts to Lake Michigan water levels, shoreline, other users, water-dependent natural resources, etc.'"
*  In 1986, Wisconsin GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson unilaterally approved a diversion of Lake Michigan water to Pleasant Prairie - - a community in Kenosha County close to, but outside of, the Great Lakes basin. The law in place at the time which governed diversions of Great Lakes water said all eight Great States governors would have to approve such diversions; Thompson received only five approvals and looked past three responses which never came, deciding without any firm rejections he had all the approvals he needed. 

And no other state challenged him.

*  In 1999, the Wisconsin DNR on its own opened the diversion spigot from the City of Milwaukee - - an in-basin community - - to Menomonee Falls, an out-of-basin community in Waukesha County - - and, again, no other state challenged the move.

There is ample discussion of these lesser-known Pleasant Prairie and Menomonee Falls diversion.

*  In an opinion by the Wisconsin Attorney General.

*  On this blog - - here, and here:

For a year, I have posted items on this blog about a crucial document ignored by the state's traditional media - - a heavily annotated opinion about Great Lakes water diversion law written in 2006 by then-Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.
The opinion lays out what the law says Wisconsin officials can and cannot do, and should and should not do when reviewing or approving diversions of water out of the the Great Lakes basin.
You can read the opinion in full, here.
In a nutshell, the opinion says that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the State of Wisconsin cannot open the spigots and move water beyond the boundaries of the Great Lakes basin without the approval of the other Great Lakes states.
Yet that very thing has happened twice in Wisconsin: once in 1989 for Pleasant Prairie, and again in 1999 for Menomonee Falls, facilitated by Wisconsin state officials.
*  On the website of the Village of Pleasant Prairie.

*  In the Journal Sentinel as far back as 2003:

Water cannot be taken outside the Great Lakes basin without the approval of the eight Great Lakes states' governors, and as close as it is to the shoreline, about half of Pleasant Prairie actually is outside the basin. 
The governors had never approved a diversion from one of the Great Lakes, but most were willing to go along.... Michigan broke the logjam, sending a letter to Wisconsin officials saying it would not object to letting Pleasant Prairie turn on the Lake Michigan faucet
*  In a book by noted Great Lakes authority and author Dave Dempsey.

*  In a powerpoint by noted Great Lakes authority and author Peter Annin.

And Annin went out of his way the other day to note what I've been calling Wisconsin's outlier status on environmental and water issues.
“A lot of people are upset with the hubris with which Wisconsin has been dismissing environmental laws in order to grease the wheels for Foxconn,” said Annin, who incorporates the company’s bid for Lake Michigan water in an upcoming edition of his book. “The compact language does appear to provide an opportunity for opponents to trip things up. The fact that Walker is up for re-election this year makes the geopolitical dynamic here even more intriguing.”
Wisconsin will continue to do whatever it wants to do for whomever asks to move around Great Lakes water until the other states say enough is enough.

[Editor's note: headline word drop corrected 3/11.]

Clean, available water is a legal right. Your birthright, too

This is the right time in Wisconsin to stand up for water rights.

So let's take note of the work on behalf of Wisconsin's abused environment to right wrongs, protect rights and preserve natural legacies we are obligated to pass along to our children and grandchildren free of depletion or contamination.

* Groups allied for the protection of the Great Lakes through Midwest Environmental Advocates are making a strong legal argument against siphoning off millions of gallons of Lake Michigan water to enable the already-heavily subsidized Foxconn project to build flat screen devices.

The advocates' brief looks to the future:

The Great Lakes Compact is the celebrated, historic culmination of decades-long efforts to create a legally-enforceable framework to protect the magnificent Great Lakes for present and future generations against increasing demands for water. 
Central to its structure and purpose is the explicit prohibition of all new or increased diversions of Great Lakes water. There are three narrow exceptions—subject to stringent requirements—for intra-basin transfers and for the public water supply needs of communities along the basin line, communities within counties along the basin line, and for intra-basin transfers. Respondents’ lenient and unsupported interpretation of the public water supply purposes requirement and the straddling community exception plainly controverts the stated purpose, structure, and language of the Compact andWisconsin’s implementing legislation. 
It is this failure on the part of DNR to satisfy a core provision of the Great Lakes Compact that compelled Petitioners to challenge DNR’s approval of the Racine Diversion. The Compact is simply too important to the protection of the Great Lakes and the future of our region to place at risk for the perceived benefit of any one state or any one sought-after industrial project. And yet, DNR’s strained interpretation of the public water supply purposes requirement risks the Compact in exactly this manner by disregarding the agreement’s express language and intent. DNR’s approval threatens the viability of the Compact and exposes the Great Lakes to an incalculable number of straddling community diversion requests designed to meet the needs of new industrial facilities built outside the basin, rather than limiting the resource to existing water needs of largely residential customers. 
More on the permits approved by the DNR for Foxconn, and, more fully, about the project's history.

* Separately, grassroots activists working to save a wetland/timber/rare-dune nature preserve - - and adjoining state parkland, too - -  at the edge of Lake Michigan from high-end, privately-owned golf course construction prevailed before a judge on behalf of the land and water:
In the decision, the judge found that the project will require deforesting over half the site and significant regrading, resulting in changes to wetland and site hydrology. 
He concluded, “the Department’s determination that these adverse impacts will be significant mandate that the permit application must be denied.” 
* The point I have made at times briefly, on this blog , and in greater detail, is that it's your park, too:
I've visited the site, publicized the opposition organized by Friends of the Black River Forest, and written about it often since 2014...
Here is one early post about the developer's donations to Walker's campaign, and something of a more recent summary, below.
And I try to remind people that the Black River which runs through site's current 247-acre nature preserve, and Lake Michigan literally yards to the east, are public trust waters which the DNR is obligated to manage for the people so they are not lost as public resources, as the State Supreme Court has warned.
And ditto for the adjoining park: 
By the way, that's your park, too
* The same goes for the rivers,  which are as much a part of our birthright as are the lakes and public lands, but which have been abused for private gain and profit:
What does the official data show, culled from reports the DNR posted on its website and filed with the federal government?
There are now twice the number of polluted lakes, rivers and streams in Wisconsin, and the principals culprit is algae-promoting phosphorous being released with greater ease after Walker led the effort to roll back phosphorous-dumping restrictions.
Waterway pollution skyrockets in Wisconsin during Walker, GOP reign
* Which is what the battle over the Walker-secretly-induced iron mine in Northwestern Wisconsin was all about:
Ojibwe tribal member Paul DeMain says tailings from the mine would have harmed thousands of species of plants and animals in the Penokee Range and destroyed the Ojibwe tribe’s livelihood by tainting its water supply. Ojibwe members who live on the Bad River Reservation just south of the proposed mine site rely on water from the Penokee Hills, which flows down the lower basin of Lake Superior and the Bad River.
* And what is likely to happen on the Menominee River, where Michigan 'regulators' are rolling over to enable toxic mining and where the WI DNR under Walker had raised no objection though the river borders Wisconsin and supplies drinking water to the Badger state, too:
An important communication and action plan from a friend about a toxic sulfide mining proposal headed for the Menominee RiverMenominee River | Tom Young
at the Michigan-Wisconsin border just arrived.  
Since the Walkerites just opened the Wisconsin to this kind of toxic mining, what is playing out just across the border in Michigan will be coming to a freshly-contaminated Wisconsin wetland or stream or watershed near you.
* It's good news that Gov. Evers has pledged to use his budget to make 2019 a year for water respect and renewal in Wisconsin.

The foundation for what will have to be a massive, multi-year effort is still spelled out on the DNR website as a matter of constitutional and common-sense right at The Public Trust Doctrine:

Wisconsin's Waters Belong to Everyone

Wisconsin lakes and rivers are public resources, owned in common by all Wisconsin citizens under the state's Public Trust Doctrine. Based on the state constitution, this doctrine has been further defined by case law and statute. It declares that all navigable waters are "common highways and forever free", and held in trust by the Department of Natural Resources...
As a result, the public interest, once primarily interpreted to protect public rights to transportation on navigable waters, has been broadened to include protected public rights to water quality and quantity, recreational activities, and scenic beauty.(1) 
All Wisconsin citizens have the right to boat, fish, hunt, ice skate, and swim on navigable waters, as well as enjoy the natural scenic beauty of navigable waters, and enjoy the quality and quantity of water that supports those uses.(2)
Wisconsin law recognizes that owners of lands bordering lakes and rivers - "riparian" owners - hold rights in the water next to their property. These riparian rights include the use of the shoreline, reasonable use of the water, and a right to access the water. 

However, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has ruled that when conflicts occur between the rights of riparian owners and public rights, the public's rights are primary and the riparian owner's secondary.(1)

What are Wisconsin's stream and lake access laws?
Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to intervene to protect public rights in the commercial or recreational use of navigable waters. The DNR, as the state agent charged with this responsibility, can do so through permitting requirements for water projects, through court action to stop nuisances in navigable waters, and through statutes authorizing local zoning ordinances that limit development along navigable waterways.