Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Postpone the WI April 7th election

Good that the City of Madison is now seeking the postponement of the April 7th election.

Nothing about a postponement should be seen or defined as partisan.

It's only a pandemic best-practice in the face of official projections finally coming from The White House showing that infection and death rates nationally will skyrocket in the next two weeks. April 7th is in the bulls-eye.
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Americans to brace for a "rough two-week period" ahead as the White House released new projections that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained....Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said the numbers are "sobering" and called on Americans to "step on the accelerator" with their collective mitigation efforts.
So let's do that right here, now.

Voters, poll workers and other involved in on-site balloting and then absentee ballot sorting and tallying should not put their own lives and those of people inadvertently infected later by the Covid-19 virus at risk to hold to a schedule set up in normal times.

And the good news about the election calendar is that the Supreme Court election on the April 7th ballot is not actually implemented should there be a change in incumbency until August, and that leaves ample time for a doable transition if one is needed.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that demands temporary, rational, life-saving personal and public responses.

Absentee voting has no doubt surged because of the threat, but not everyone has access to a computer to download the application. Broadband limitations are another dis-equalizing fact of life. Both circumstances will force some voters to take their chances at a polling place, jeopardizing their own health and others in the room. 

And no one at a polling place on April 7th needs become an ER patient a few days later.

Wisconsin needs to act to save lives, and to ensure a smooth, safe and smartly effective election process.

Official seal of Wisconsin

Monday, March 30, 2020

Ron Johnson extends business 'creative destruction' coldness to something more chilling

You may remember that Ron Johnson had said business failure was just the inevitable hand of the free market picking winners and losers. He called it "creative destruction."

Noted on this blog in 2010.

Businesses are created. Many die. And while Mitt Romney famously said  "corporations are people, my friends," that's not really true.

Ask someone who's sat with a loved one in hospice. 

Fast forward to today, amidst a pandemic killing people from Milwaukee to Manhattan to the Middle East, and here comes Our Ghoulish Marketplace Champion (and hypocrite) - - whom you and I pay to represent us - - urging people be put at risk of dying for business reasons because death is an inevitable part of life.

A GOP senator calls on Trump to reopen parts of the coronavirus-stricken economy because 'death is an unavoidable part of life'
What is the appetite or audience for these words? 

Well, not these people:
Breaking news: US Death toll surpasses 3,000
This isn't leadership. It's taxpayer-paid ghoulishness. There's a certain percentage of the population already in dire psychological straits whose diminishing peace of mind just took an unwanted hit.

From a guy who is freshly in soothing, free-market money heaven.

Johnson has done what I hadn't thought possible: Leap-frog Trump in the Worst Public Official Sweepstakes.

Botched virus response just 1 way Trump will damage your lungs

More and more, it feels like Trump
Darth Vader.jpg
is running the Death Star.

Because on top of his careless self-absorption and botching of pandemic preparedness that has left countless patients suffering and dying from lung congestion, you can add his big-business-serving intentional release of more tailpipe emissions into the air - 
The new rule, which is expected to be implemented by late spring, will roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers’ fleets to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025. - - 
- on top of his even more sweeping suspension of clean air and water oversight and enforcement that will put pollutants into everyone's air, water, lungs and food supplies: 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a freeze on enforcing environmental regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic that is so sweeping in scope that critics have begun to argue the change is actually a bid to advance the Trump administration’s long-standing deregulatory agenda.
Under the new directive, announced Thursday, the EPA says it does “not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that Covid-19 was the cause of the noncompliance.” 
The rule, which will remain in place indefinitely, means factories, power plants, and other major polluters have tremendous discretion in deciding whether or not they think the coronavirus will prevent them from meeting legal requirements on air and water pollution and hazardous waste management. The EPA will not be fining companies for violating certain requirements on limiting pollution during this time.
Other power-hungry leaders are exploiting the pandemic for personal or ideological reasons, so Trump figures, since it's always about him, 'why not me?'

Everyone knows - - other than Trump and his Death Star lieutenants - - that pollution is measurable, and, unchecked is bad for people, as I wrote in 2018
There's widespread mercury pollution in WI. Trump would add to it. Smoke stacks from a factory. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Repurposing Foxconn's flat-screen factory could help flatten virus curve

So Foxconn's main Mt. Pleasant building is up; here's an innovative plan for the structure and the company's 'innovation centers' around the state that are idle or under-utilized:

With the help of the Wisconsin National Guard, repurpose those properties into the kind of temporary emergency Covid-19 treatment centers that New York City is opening.

Javits Center expected to open as field hospital on Monday
The military knows how to do this. If our troops could quickly set up fast-response medical facilities in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak, they can do it here and take the pressure off established hospitals in Milwaukee, Chicago - - where McCormick Place is being turned into a hospital - - and elsewhere in the region which are going to be overrun with patients.

Two local businesses in SE Wisconsin have already shown the way. Let's think even bigger.

So prioritize the completion of utility hookups, bring in local food preparation personel, get some immediate benefit for the people from the millions in taxpayer dollars already invested in site acquisition, infrastructure and other services and show the world that it's Marshall Plan time in SE Wisconsin.

And marshal the resources and opportunities we might be overlooking.

And think of the goodwill it would engender for Foxconn in Wisconsin if the company made the offer and funded the transition, as it would put a positive spin on the title of my Foxconn archive:

A Foxconn Fever primer
Not to mention re-imaging the new I-94 lanes between Milwaukee and the Illinois state line from the death trap into a life line.
From NBC Nightly News, 7/21/19

Friday, March 27, 2020

Should Vos object to Evers' no-evictions/foreclosure order...

Noting Evers' ordering a temporary halt to foreclosures and evictions - - which does not erase obligations:

Should persistent and reflexive Evers' critic Robin Vos 

offer an ideological gripe about the order, will reporters, news editors and others please remind viewers and readers that Vos is a landlord of some significance.
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is landlord of 23 properties in a college town — and reviews are mixed
In all, Vos' company owns 23 properties worth about $3.8 million in Whitewater. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Walker proved he should never hold public officials again, by...

Beginning a column for his right-wing outlet with a lede so bogus -   
President Trump has made a concerted effort over the past few weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19 and ease the minds of families. -  
 - that even FoxNews prefers accumulating facts over sycophany
US overtakes China, Italy in total confirmed coronavirus cases, researchers say
As the U.S. surged up to 82,404 confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday, it took the number-one spot from China, which has 81,782 cases, followed by Italy with 80,589 cases.  The U.S. now has accounted for about 14.9 percent of cases worldwide.
12/11/18, following his election loss. 
Imagine if he were still Governor, or won another public office, and had to make decisions or implement policies to save lives.

Update, 11:00 p.m. And while artists and entertainers and others are using their Twitter feeds and celebrity to raise money for equipment-strapped hospitals or hungry kids, Walker's is using his Twitter account to self-indulge with his signature, useless simplicity:

Our emperor wears no clothes, so US docs and nurses have no gowns and masks

It occurs to me that living out the real-time downside of Hans Christian Anderson's story-telling about an insufferably vain and comedic leader 

helps explain why we're in this ridiculously dangerous situation
The lack of proper masks, gowns and eye gear is imperiling the ability of medical workers to fight the coronavirus — and putting their own lives at risk.

About stimulus checks & delays: Quick-loan stores must not take advantage

A quick post about quick attention to stop quick-loan shops from making money off life-saving checks that may be in the mail soon:

Let's not allow usurious quick-lending firms from luring in unsophisticated borrowers whose delayed stimulus check 

Seal of the United States Department of the Treasury.svg

could become become worthless - - or the course of a bad, burdensome new debt - -  if hard-pressed borrowers essentially mortgage them in advance.

Current Wisconsin law allows inters rates on the loans to exceed 500%. 

And, yes, I get the advertisers;-free speech protections - - so Wisconsin legislators involved in these issues - - editorial boards and other policy-makers: can you at least raise awareness even though GOP-led scheduled sessions are nearly done with scheduled sessions for the year - - before vital federal government intentions in the form of checks-in-the-mail get canceled by predatory lending?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

WI's GOP US Reps can again be "No" votes on a virus aid bill

[11 p.m. update: The Senate's vote was 96-0 in favor, so it looks like our state's "no" streak by Republican members of Congress is broken.]
Our state's cold-hearted rightwing Republican Members of Congress went five-for-five against a virus aid bill before, as I wrote a week ago - -
WI GOP Congress reps hit 100% "No" tally. We apologize, world. 
Glenn Grothman official congressional photo.jpg
US 6th Dist. Cong. Glenn Grothman, (R-#Ivegotminejack)
- - so why should they suddenly flip from their one-note anti-government ideology and extend help from the government (We, the people) which, like clockwork, pays their salaries and benefits?

A possible hang-up: The special $17 billion sweetener for Boeing which recently squandered its Trump-engineered tax reform windfall and crashed two poorly-designed 737-Max aircraft killing more than 300 people might not be generous enough.

Also, there's a lot of socialism in this bill which showers about $1.2 billion, or a

whopping 0.0006% of the $2 trillion package on people who won't pull themselves up by their own bootstraps while assembling ventilator home-kits by themselves at the same time.
The bill provides $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which supplies food banks, which are expected to see more clients as job losses mount. Some $350 million would buy additional food, and $100 million would be used for distribution. 
The package also provides $200 million for food assistance for Puerto Rico and other US territories, as well as $100 million for food distribution on American Indian reservations.
And the bill singles out one of America's most generous and revered families and their mom-and-pop firms for special, discriminatory treatment.
Trump business can't get money 

Overplaying their hand vs. Evers, GOP leaders back down

I'd written a post this morning this morning about GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos's empty, partisan whining aimed at Gov. Evers for being, well, gubernatorial in his exercise of emergency powers to save lives during the pandemic.
Vos has nothing to say, but says it anyway.
Nobody in the middle of an historic crisis with lives on the line wants to hear the Assembly Speaker now on a nine-month, fully-paid recess whine about not getting ample notice - - based on no known criteria - - of what the Governor was implementing 
On a timely and legal basis. 
If Vos were really interested in improving communications statewide, he'd turn off the party's talking point printing press, and shelter in place.
So call this afternoon's new statement their tactical retreat, it's hastily jumbled mumble-jumble made more noticeable by GOP Senate Majority Leader Blurty's Von Harrumphitude's 

Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg\

magnificent double negative: 
Republican leaders are deferring to Gov. Tony Evers — for now — over coronavirus response
The GOP leaders of Wisconsin’s Legislature said Wednesday they were deferring to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for now on how to respond to the coronavirus crisis but signaled they would not have limitless patience...
"We should not tolerate this for no good reason and we certainly should not tolerate it for a long period of time unless it’s in the public’s best interest," Fitzgerald said.