Sunday, June 13, 2021

The news gods let us recall Cathy Stepp 'always carries a fake nose.'

As a self-appointed recorder of damage done to Wisconsin by relentless Republicanism - and also as a consumer of news that makes readers flinch - I want to say that this story about a woman posing as a 7th grader to help her daughter navigate high school -

Texas mom arrested after posing as 7th grade daughter in school

- has at least an equally weird antecedent starring Wisconsin's very own designated environmental contaminator and slayer of tiny deer - Cathy Stepp:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Cathy Stepp wore a fake nose and sunglasses to try to help her daughter [Hannah] pass a 2011 Wisconsin driving test after she failed her initial attempt...the Chicago Tribune reported....

...Hannah said her mother wore the fake nose and sunglasses so she could follow someone taking the Wisconsin driver's test. She said she had failed her first test and her mother wanted to learn the route to help her practice for her second attempt, which she passed.  

She told the newspaper that her mom always carries a fake nose around.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

For the record, I had noted Stepp's penchant for parties and props, and also her big game hunting, several times, before she went off to run various EPA offices for the previous President.

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
Wisconsin DNR photo

 

 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Imagining Wisconsin Republicans in a 2020s Q & A

6/13/21 1 p.m., updated. 

If a panel of historians someday held a retrospective 2020s Q & A with Wisconsin GOP officials, I imagine the transcript might read something like this:

Q. 2020 saw high-profile killings of African-Americans by police officers, and Democratic Governor Tony Evers Wisconsin Governor proposed several reforms to address that reality. How did you handle those proposals?

AWe immediately adjourned.

Q. The Governor had also asked you to pass some very popular gun safety measures. How did you deal with his public safety proposals?

A. We adjourned immediately. But we did hold a prayer meeting and news conference first

Q. You had complained loudly about the way Gov. Evers managed the state's unemployment compensation system that he inherited after decades of funding neglect. How did you handle his request for an infusion of funds to upgrade the system.

AWe immediately adjourned.

Q. Overall, how long was your 2020 adjournment?

A. About nine months. Maybe ten. Until the pandemic began to abate.

Q. Did you manage to take or facilitate any actions to address the pandemic?

A. We drove out the State Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

A. Actually, she was only the acting Secretary, because we never gave her a confirmation hearing.

A. Remember, we could outright fire anyone we wanted because we set up the Legislature with a permanent Republican majority even though Democrats get more votes statewide. And just because the Governor appointed someone doesn't mean they get the job. 

A. Unless a different Governor made the appointment; then the appointee got to stay as long as he wanted.

A. Or an elected official who might break a promise about stepping back from another term was free to pull a stay-put maneuver, too.

A. Rules: we make 'em and we break 'em. That's how we owned the libs.

Q. Back to public health actions. Did the pandemic help sway you towards extending Medicaid coverage as Gov. Evers' proposed to 90,000 low-income Wisconsinites residents who continue to lack medical care coverage? After all, the federal government was going to supply more than a billion dollars to cover the costs, so all state taxpayers would benefit, too.

A. No. We adjourned immediately.

Q. Any special motivation for that action?

A. No, because we'd been turning down that kind of welfare for several years. We're the party of personal responsibility and consistency. If people want health insurance, they should get off their couches and get a private sector job. Not like ours.

A. Had you made private sector employment more attractive in Wisconsin by increasing the minimum wage from its long-standing level of $7.25 per hour, or funding childcare or transportation costs which often kept low-income people out of the workforce?

A. No. We weren't liberal, Progressive Marxist socialists here, like that Joe Biden.

Q. Did all of you promote or take the highly-effective COVID19 vaccine?

A. No.

Q. Weren't you afraid of getting the virus, or worse, inadvertently passing it on to a neighbor?

A. Excuse me, but you must have me confused with someone who gives a s**t.

A. I actually put up a video on YouTube with important COVID facts of my own

AI publicly advised my kids to refuse the vaccine.

A. We also sued to get the Governor's anti-virus health orders rescinded.

A. Because he was a dictator, and we recognized only one King

A. We also told everyone it was "incredibly safe to go outside" as the pandemic gained strength.

Q. And did you go outside?

A. Well, sure, with all the right equipment and protections. Because we're the party of personal responsibility - and good connections, so we got the right gear.

Q. But I read that more than 675,000 Wisconsinites had caught the virus and over actually 8,000 died.

A. Well, those weren't necessarily all "regular folks."

A. Or people who'd taken the time to learn our customs, ways and dedication to personal responsibility.

Q. Switching gears, another big issue at the time was climate change. I'm sure you've noticed the increases in greenhouse gas emissions, reduced snowfall, more heat emergencies and ozone warning days. 

A. We added extra registration fees on electric and hybrid vehicles.

Q. Because?

A. Libs who complained about that were free to switch to a traditional gasoline-powered pickup. It's a free country.

A. And we added more fees to home solar energy hookups.

Q. Because?

A. Even state-approved monopoly utility companies deserve a bonus from time to time. Remember, corporations are people, too, my friends. Homeowners who didn't like the fee were free to stick with natural gas or fuel oil. It's a free country.

A. We also cut bus funding by 50% to Wisconsin's two largest cities. 

Q. Because?

A. Hey, this is America, not France. And screw their roundabouts, too. We like our traffic accidents like we like our steaks: T-boned.

AAnd for years we'd fought urban trolleys, killed an Amtrak extension, banned regional transit authorities and blocked a commuter rail line connecting Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha where a Chicago commuter train makes a stop.

A. We also sued the Federal government to weaken clean air standards.

Q. Why?

A. It better matched up with our weakened clean water policies. You can't have one without the other. Along with certainty and personal responsibility, we're the party of predictability, too.

A. Which is why we got the EPA to relax clean air standards over densely-populated southeastern Wisconsin so a major Taiwanese corporation we picked as a winner, and were subsidizing by the multiple billions could build big-screen TV panels for shipment in a special highway lane built for driverless trucks headed for a new export zone at Milwaukee's airport. 

A. Plus, we'd also weakened Wisconsin wetland protections and gave the company special permission to pipe in Lake Michigan water because big-screen-flat-panel production finishing requires millions of gallons of fresh water every day.

Q. So, you gave them water, wetlands, legal exemptions, air pollution permissions and billions in subsidies in exchange for flat-panel screen production. How did that work out?

AThey never built a single one.

A. And the special highway lane for the special trucks to get to the special export zone.

A. None, never, nada. 

Q. Because?

A. C'mon: no one had a crystal ball!

A. But we had a magic piece of paper, so we figured magic beans jobs would grow on the Mt. Pleasant prime ag lands that got bulldozed.

Q. Anything else I've missed? That you're particularly proud of?

A. We're particularly delighted to have encouraged the feds to strip away education dollars we can do without. Why pay teachers to indoctrinate our kids with Critical Race Theory? I'm telling you, Act 10 didn't far enough.

A. We voted to end a $300 per month Federal payment to people who'd lost their jobs during the pandemic because slackers needed to get off their couches and get a job. 

A. Just in case people didn't get that message when we cut off $70 million a month in Federal food aid money.

Q. But when you were on that long 2020 hiatus you collected your full salaries, correct?

A. Of course.

Q. You even got mileage and meal reimbursements without submitting receipts if you drove to and from the Capitol, correct - so isn't your opposition to that $300 payment even more hypocritical?

A. Not at all. Were we expected to drop everything and drive to the Capitol when we're on vacation to vote and then adjourn on empty stomachs?

 


Friday, June 11, 2021

RoJo says needy are lazy. His lazy fact-checking earns YouTube ban.

I have noted the reflexive and uncaring accusations towards poor, out-of-luck, and powerless citizens which subsidy-laden and professional ingrates like Republicans Scott Walker, Glenn Grothman & Paul Ryan - 

Paul Ryan Claims Black Men Are Lazy And The Cause Of Poverty In This Country

and others regularly throw out to manipulate the basest of their base supporters.

But I want to get on the record that Johnson is such a lazy thinker that he's stooped to channeling Walker's 2014 campaign demagoguery -

In the final month and a half of the campaign, Gov. Scott Walker is making a blunt promise to voters — that he'll ensure jobless workers aren't on drugs, or their recliners."My belief is we shouldn't be paying for them to sit on the couch, watching TV or playing Xbox," Walker told cheering Republican campaign volunteers last week in West Bend.

with an unimaginative and unattributed update of his own his week:  

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): “The Federal Government Has Subsidized Sitting On Your Couch”

The context for Johnson's nastiness is a worker shortage he attributes 

Highly-subsidized Senator seen here perhaps rooting out those getting small payments?

to modest Federal pandemic payments which are temporarily helping lower-income Americans meet pandemic-related rent, childcare, transportation and other burdens.

All of which are exacerbated by the federally-mandated rock-bottom hourly minimum wage of $7.25 which Republicans in Congress and Wisconsin have steadfastly refused to increase.

A bigger, more-informed picture about worker shortages can be found here:

“There are structural factors in our society that have brought us to this point where we have high numbers of unemployed still, especially among low-skilled workers, and now we have a burgeoning demand for qualified workers,” Wisconsin AFL-CIO president Stephanie Bloomingdale said. “To now complain that unemployed workers are getting $300 extra to get us through the pandemic — it falls short.”

But Johnson and other Republicans prefer tossing out resentment-building talking points to trigger donations and votes rather than actually doing anything about income inequality, systematic racism and persistent sexism which all have embedded and expanded America's underclass seemingly forever.

One positive note: Johnson should find himself with a little more productive couch time for a week because Google's YouTube business suspended his account for spreading misinformation.

  • YouTube has suspended Senator Ron Johnson's account for spreading medical misinformation.
  • The company specifically prohibits content that contradicts public health guidance.
  • The Republican routinely holds Senate hearings where he promotes baseless conspiracy theories.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Bottom line: intellectual, arrogant laziness that spreads ideology over facts can get you suspended from a private-sector social media platform; a staffed-up US Senator with free and instant access to facts should know and do better.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

No gratitude in Vos's attitude, so here's a start

It had taken me a while to pinpoint exactly what I find missing in Wisconsin GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos's breezy, cocky and routinely arrogant indifference - 

- to anyone and anything that does not resemble his personal and party identity. 

And then it hit me; we never hear a word, even a hint from Vos of gratitude for the sweet deal the Speakership provides him - though, in fairness, his selflessness did shine through sweetly when, despite some criticism, duty called

Editorial: Sweetheart deal for Foxconn shouldn’t become norm for Wisconsin

But Vos might acknowledge:

* The uninterrupted flow of paychecks the state provided all legislators during their nine-month, COVID-2020 vacation and for other relaxed work habits.

* And the mileage and meal money reimbursements he's permitted to increase without even a vote of his gerrymandered caucus.

* Or the office staff he has boosted on his own to help him exercise the powers he grabbed from Gov. Evers.

* And the private lawyers he'd been hiring willy-nilly at taxpayer expense for at least $8.5 million dollars of partisan purposes until a killjoy judge put a stop to that.

But I realize the commentator-to-public official relationship is a two-way street, so let me express my gratitude to Vos and all the hand-picked Republicans legislative leaders have put on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee for their recent votes that cut Milwaukee and Madison's transit funding  - but no other cities' transit support - by only 50%.

Because they could have cut it all-together - just as Vos proposed in 2014 - and that would that really have put the 'walk' back into Milwaukee where 30% or more of its residents do not have access to a vehicle.

And I want add a shoutout to Vos & Co. for generously allowing municipalities, whether they have 6,000 people or 600,000. as does Milwaukee, to have up to four ballot drop boxes for voters' convenience. 

Imagine if these Republicans had used the 50% transit-cutting-standard and big cities had to get by with only two! Or even none. Because the framers of the State's Constitution didn't provide for them. 

Those. Elitist. Jerks! Thank you, Robin Vos, for righting that wrong.

Let's also salute Republican legislators for the detailed thought they put into even the design of the boxes, thereby relieving municipal officials of that burden - 

The boxes would also have to be located on municipal property, other than public parks, and be tamper- and moisture-resistant. Some boxes would have to be under continuous video surveillance.

- so let's give credit where it's due for yet another erasure of misplaced local control through noblesse oblige - a win-win for which every single second-class Wisconsinite should give thanks.

Look: you don't have to have a stupid degree in Poli Sci to see where these benign, time-saving efficiencies are heading: justified, professional and permanent GOP statewide rule, and the party's proper ownership of Wisconsin's election map drafting and Electoral College votes - in trade for so many freedoms from choice which one-party rule guarantees state citizens and which could - fingers-crossed - eventually absolve them of the old-timey practice of paying taxes to pay increasingly irrelevant local officials.

I can't say that Wisconsin's Republicans have also made the trains run on time - because they had the foresight to derail that option altogether.

But state Republicans are adding more of this freeing foresight by making sure west side Milwaukee neighborhoods can enjoy fresh vehicle ambiance which various nanny state crybabies and social engineering buttinskies keep threatening here and elsewhere to restrict.

How soon these ingrates have forgotten Ronald Reagan's disclosure that trees are the worst emitters of harmful climate-altering gases.

Which reminds me: a further hat-tip to the Walker-era Natural Resources Board holdout chairperson who despite an expired term is wisely refusing to give up his seat.

From which he can continue to fight for smart public planning - like the clear-cutting of about 50,000 polluting trees - to facilitate the construction of a privately-owned high-end golf course adjacent to and even inside a Lake Michingan shoreline state park.

Land that the board deemed disposable because - as Yogi Berra might have put it - 'no one goes there anymore because it's so popular.'

I'd be the first to thank former WI lead environmental steward turned Keeper of Reagan's Flame Scott Walker were he to lend a hand to the GOP colleagues he left behind when he agreed to shoulder tougher tasks for the greater good in Southern California if he'd more assertively help them better frame these issues back home.

Vos could even show Walker a little gratitude, and that just might be the beginning of something.



Another WI jurisdiction fails Equity 101

Marathon County, (90.8% white) was roasted in The New York Times for some officials and residents' hostility to diversity:

A ‘Community for All’? Not So Fast, This Wisconsin County Says.

WAUSAU, Wis. — A standing-room-only crowd packed a drab courthouse meeting room one recent night and tried to resolve a thorny, yearlong debate over whether Marathon County should declare itself “a community for all....”

In the end, the executive committee of the county board rejected the resolution by a 6-to-2 vote on Thursday night, a result that both sides say is worse than never having considered it in the first place.

But some people in the Elmbrook School District in Waukesha County just showed that resistance to inclusion is not exclusive to Marathon County many miles to the north:

Elmbrook School Board votes to remove equity portion of district strategy plan

BROOKFIELD — The Elmbrook School Board voted to remove part of a plan to promote equity within the district during a meeting Tuesday night.

Dozens of people turned out to voice their opposition to the equity principles included in the plan. Cheers rang out when the board made the vote.

The Elmbrook School District serves Elm Grove (91.3% white), Brookfield (84.7 white), and a portion of New Berlin (92.7% white), and the area votes heavily Republican.

Overall, Trump carried Waukesha County by 21 points after winning it by 27 in 2016. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the county by 35 in 2012. 

Wisconsin's motto is "Forward," and it's printed on the state flag - 

Flag of Wisconsin

- though the word doesn't point to everyone's path. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Local resistance blocks another N. WI water export scheme

You may remember a few years ago that neighbors concerned about local water supply sustainability rose up against a plan in Vilas County to bottle and export local spring water. 

That plan seems to have dried up:

With New Land Purchase, Carlin Lake Water Dispute Seems Finally Over

Another similar proposal surfaced recently in Bayfield County that has run into local government resistance and objections from the Red Cliff Ojibwe nation

Plan to bottle artesian well water from Herbster rejected by Bayfield County committee

A video, here. 

And further information from the Red Cliff nation, here, and here.

At the heart of these controversies is a clash between the treatment of water as a commodity to be controlled and exploited for private gain, and a bigger-picture belief that water's life-and-cultural-sustaining properties require intentional and cooperative conservation that begins by respecting where the water originates.

And informs practices in the public interest that guarantee water is used and managed as close to its source as possible.

An ethic squashed during the last decade by Walkerism, a coordinated offense that continues statewide even though Walker was defeated in November, 2018.

Even when public health is jeopardized:

The bad news is that WI's gerrymandered GOP legislators say they will delete funding from the upcoming state budget to replace lead water pipes; they did the same thing two years ago because too many kids in Milwaukee might have gotten the benefit

And to stay consistent with that embrace of lead-laden household water pipes and their long-standing support of animal waste in well water, Republican legislators are refusing to write statewide standards into the budget that would speed the removal of toxic "forever chemicals" from state waters.

Or when law and public property are abused:

Opponents of the Kohler golf course project won a major round [in late May] when Sheboygan Circuit Court Judge L. Edward Stengel affirmed that the WI DNR had awarded the project its key wetland-fill permit based on incomplete and inaccurate information, as the opponents had argued.

This blog, being called "The Political Environment," has followed these matters since 2007, so stay tuned. 

Related image

 


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

WI GOP budget cuts flush out possible new party logo

The bad news is that WI's gerrymandered GOP legislators say they will delete funding to replace lead water pipes; they did the same thing two years ago because too many kids in Milwaukee might have gotten the benefit

And to stay consistent with that embrace of lead-laden household water pipes and their long-standing support of animal waste in well water, Republican legislators are refusing to write statewide standards into the budget that would speed the removal of toxic "forever chemicals" from state waters.

The good news is that if Wisconsin Republicans need to update their party's logo, their pollution-first/people-last water 'policies' make for an obvious choice:

WI GOP Rep. from Two Rivers flunks Nazi History 101

Gov. Evers six weeks ago signed a bill mandating Holocaust education in state schools, so will GOP State Rep. Shae Sortwell please sign up for a session ASAP -  

Image of Shae Sortwell

- or simply resign and stop embarrassing taxpayers who shouldn't be paying him to 'serve' Wisconsin like this:

Wisconsin lawmaker compares museum's mask policy to Nazis

Sortwell posted on Facebook that "The Gestapo wants to see your papers, please."

Sortwell is the GOP State Rep. who walked into a Democrat's office to display his displeasure with a posted sign - and to display a handgun

A Republican state lawmaker reportedly displayed a holstered firearm to a Democratic aide in an area of the Wisconsin Assembly where weapons are banned, according to State Representative Shelia Stubbs.

State Representative Shae Sortwell is said to have entered Stubbs's office in late March or early February to speak with her aide, Savion Castro, about loosening licensing requirements for barbers in the state.

Sortwell was reportedly dismissive of a sign posted outside Stubbs's office indicating that firearms were not permitted inside. According to local media reporting, once Sortwell pulled back his coat to reveal his defiance of the ban, Castro asked him to leave.

Wisconsin's Republican Party keeps stamping out these bigots and slugs who will keep collecting salaries and benefits while spreading insult and ignorance until fairer districting maps are drawn.

 


 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

More disrespect heaped on Wisconsin minorities by the GOP

Because it happens in Wisconsin so often, I take the time to memorialize the racism and related insensitivities displayed by certain Republicans who hold public office, at public expense and at the expense of public civility.

Which brings me to last week's 'charade put on by GOP Assembly members chosen by Speaker Robin Vos where they pretended to address issues of racial justice while deliberately never setting foot in Milwaukee, the state's largest city, where people of color are in the majority and no doubt would have packed a public hearing and given GOP legislators a deserved earfull:

'Dog & pony show': Milwaukee Black activists scoff at Task Force bypassing Wisconsin’s Blackest city in creating police reform 

[Milwaukee activist Kamila] Ahmed’s point of view was struck down during the first public hearing on these bills at the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety....So she took her time, during the public hearing section, to voice those demands and why they should be included in the bills being discussed.

However, Chair John Spiros abruptly cut her off.

“This has nothing to do with the bills,” Spiros said. “You’re giving demands that this committee doesn’t need to listen to. What we need to do, is get back to the bill.”

“The demands from the people, we are asking you as legislators, whatever else, to listen to the people. We have marched in the streets”

“We’re adjourned,” Spiros said, slamming the gavel before Ahmed could finish.

Now I'll be honest with you; I'd never heard of the aforementioned GOP State Rep. John Spiros -

Image of John Spiros
Marshfield GOP State Rep. John Spiros

- (and where might he have learned to the quick gavel that stifles debate when it threatens to bring out inconvenient facts and truths?) - so I Googled "Spiros and black and race" to see if there was any history to be found, and this is what popped up

Marshfield City Council member Rebecca Spiros criticized for 'tone deaf' Facebook post about race 
MARSHFIELD - City Council member Rebecca Spiros is facing criticism for comments she made in a Facebook post about race. 
Spiros, who represents Marshfield's District 8, questioned in the post whether people could still order black coffee, say "black olives" or if a black crayon should be renamed. 
In the post, Spiros, who is married to State Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield), asked whether those questions have legitimacy in a country that considers the children's television show "PAW Patrol" to be offensive. 

Granted, the sins of family members can't be affixed to kith and kin, and Council member Spiros did offer an apology of sorts - 

"'I want to be clear that I represent only myself on my page and while I had intended to put out a message about the over-stretch of political correctness my message was poorly phrased and perceived by some as something other than what I had intended," Spiros said...'"

Her ugly remarks and subsequent clarification reminded me of another ignorant and gratuitous slam by a presumably-educated adult Republican politician who had a smear at the ready:

GOP candidate, Rebecca Kleefisch, in Wisconsin: Sorry for comparing gay marriage to marrying a dog  
...at what point are we going to OK marrying inanimate objects? Can I marry this table, or this, you know, clock? Can we marry dogs? This is ridiculous." 
After being slammed by gay rights organizations and bloggers who recently turned up the interview from earlier in the year, the 35-year-old apologized on Thursday.  
"My comments were meant to relay my concern with redefining marriage," Kleefisch said in the statement, according to The Associated Press. "I never intended to sound insensitive, and have the utmost respect for all people. I apologize for my poor choice of words."

But again, I am stunned at the willingness of so many Wisconsin Republicans and conservative officeholders to so easily and routinely speak and behave publicly with so much arrogance and so little tolerance, empathy and common courtesy.  

 


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Unhealthy air over much of E. WI through Sunday p.m.

Before you head outdoors today in these 16 counties this weekend... 


Friday, June 4, 2021

EPA rolls back smog increases linked to Scotts Walker & Pruitt

Just as a WI DNR smog alert for these Wisconsin counties expired Thursday evening - 

Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Calumet, Kewaunee, Brown, & Door - 

we all got even more welcome news

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expanding the list of areas that will need to meet federal smog regulations along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The revised air quality designations are a win for environmental groups, but the state’s largest business lobby argues the move will harm economic development.

The revisions are the result of legal challenges to the agency’s 2018 list of areas that weren’t meeting tougher standards for ozone pollution or smog that were put in place by the Obama administration in 2015.  

Clean Wisconsin was among environmental groups who sued the EPA over a pared-down list of areas that weren’t meeting those standards. As part of a federal court ruling last July, the EPA reviewed designations impacting 16 counties in seven states that included Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the list of areas that weren’t meeting federal smog regulations included lakeshore areas of Kenosha, Door, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, northern Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties.

To refresh your memories, the Federal air quality standards were weakened when former EPA administrator and climate change enabler Scott Pruitt 

Scott Pruitt official portrait.jpg

took time away from his other priorities, like obtaining a used mattress from a certain DC hotel, to hand Scott Walker the win for dirtier air he needed so Foxconn could legally belch out the air pollution tonnage that Walker's DNR had quickly legalized

Hey, good news, Racine County asthmatics, seniors, and kids:

The DNR waited a whole eight days after the comment period closed to approve all four, very detailed air emission permits for Foxconn:
Foxconn is applying for at least four permits to emit large tonnages of air pollutants annually. 
Those emission have been compared to the operation of a large paper mill, and the state is busy trying to weaken air quality standards and monitoring in the area.

Side note: After Pruitt's fixation on a mattress connected to The Former guy, and then the goofier and longer-lasting allegiance show by the MyPillow guy, I am compelled to ask:

Why does The Strongman of Mar-a-Lago attract such strange bedfellows? 

Anyway - the DNR's award of those permits and its separate, fast-tracked grant of a Lake Michigan water diversion for production of big glass panels Foxconn now says it no longer will manufacture at its Mt. Pleasant facility should also be reviewed and withdrawn by the agency. 

The sacrifice of environmental principles to get billions of dollars in public subsidies approved for Foxconn stunk from the beginning, like the political and financial shenanigans that gave the entire debacle life; the DNR's permitting 'process' for Foxconn set precedents which need to be fully exposed, then overturned, so they cannot be cited or duplicated later.

A Foxconn archive begun four years ago and updated continuously is here.

The scandalous, abusive trade of public health and clean air for profit-driven air pollution when we know how big the impacts will be makes for a case study of the dangerous breadth of special-interest governance.

It also shows - as do the refusal of Walker's hand-picked Natural Resources Board chairman to step down after his term has ended and the lingering power of the GOP's gerrymandered legislators swept into office on Walker's tea party coattails - that much of Walker's literally toxic legacy remains in place even though he was defeated in 2018:

...in a mirror of the 2018 lame duck session in which legislative Republicans took power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, the state’s Republicans are finding ways to thwart the will of Wisconsin voters more than three years after Walker was voted out. (Wisconsin governors serve a four year term.)

“You’ve got what is essentially a coup to maintain the last governor’s control of the board, they’re basically stealing power,” Jeff Mandell, co-founder of progressive legal outfit Law Forward, says. “They’ve found sort of a back door way to perpetuate the legacy, power and policies of Gov. Walker — who the voters chose to get rid of.” 






Thursday, June 3, 2021

On Critical Race Theory, WI has deep pool of white GOP experts

What luck!

A gaggle of white Wisconsin Republican legislators interested in blowing up Critical Race Theory Instruction -

Wisconsin GOP Introduces Bills Barring Critical Race Theory

- can supplement their first-hand ignorance with team teaching assistance by proven experts Ron Johnson, Tom Tiffany and Glenn Grothman

Robin Vos can sub in for any of them.

Paul Ryan can bring his unique, 'smartest guy in the room' wisdom to the conversation.

And State Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack can add to the debate - should the notably-do-nothing/always-adjourning GOP-led Legislature actually conduct a debate - her special anthropological expertise on minority living in Wisconsin which she'd already shared from the bench when she was Chief Justice.

On, Wisconsin!