Friday, October 21, 2016

Partner to spouse: Why are out-of-state pols barraging us for $$?


The debt-ridden, perpetual candidate Scott Walker sold them your email address, suckers:
Gov. Scott Walker continues to chip away at his presidential campaign debt a year after dropping out of the race, with almost half of his campaign income coming from renting out his collection of supporter emails.

Shed no tears for the GOP

Media are filled with GOP caterwauling over what Donald Trump and his band of merry alt-right enforcers have done to the Republican Party and its chances of winning the White House and hanging on to the Congress.

You know what? Talk to the hand.

Republicans have no one to blame but themselves - - especially those hyper-loyalist partisans like Scott Walker and Paul Ryan who are sticking with Trump without principle so as to position themselves to pick up the pieces should he be fully ostracized come election day.

But like careless homeowners who let the basement mold get of control and find the entire structure infested and uninhabitable, honest Republicans should take ownership of this self-inflicted disintegration and acknowledge they brought it all on themselves.

They fell hard for Ronald Reagan and his divisive and negative message that government is the problem - - then elevated it into an ideological and self- defeating Holy Grail that favors people at the top and big-money power - - but is at odds with the real world that is about to send Donald Trump and the party which said 'come on in' packing.

They enabled and embraced and patronized a squad of talk radio hosts nationally and locally who amplified Reagan's corrosive, tear-down-the-public-sector message day in and day out, twisting it into an attack on policies aimed at extending democracy and equity more fully to low-income, female and minority citizens who are voting more heavily Democratic.

Republicans and their propagandists stood in unison with GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and similarly obstructionist leaders in the House of Representatives to block from day one every initiative proposed by the nation's first African-American President, and, worse, did nothing to tamp down Donald Trump's long, racist 'birther' assault on Barack Obama's citizenship and legitimacy in office upon which Trump's political career was based.

They morphed that meme of illegitimacy into a web of voter ID and other restrictive laws at the state level to suppress minority voting and make the party and government access even whiter, less-inclusive and more self-rewarding.

They invited in and exploited the Tea Party and the Koch brothers-funded  'grasstops 'movement' - - read local boy-turned-failed RNC chairman Reince Priebus' giddy embrace of the Tea Party on behalf of Scott Walker, here - - so the party cannot honestly be surprised that the monster its leaders helped create moved en masse to a Trump candidacy that overwhelmed the GOP which nurtured it.

Or that Trump has picked up and re-spun in this campaign the GOP's phony voter fraud meme by darkly predicting balloting irregularities in major cities with large urban and traditionally Democratic minority populations - - cementing as the party did with its one-dimensional undermining of President Obama its identity as the party of racial intolerance.

No wonder David Duke finds the Trump-era GOP a welcoming organization.

The GOP loved Trump the TV star at the beginning.

Republicans couldn't get enough of him.

People tuned in to watch the ratings'-smashing GOP debates.

He brought in voters.

He bashed the government.

He said our leaders were stupid.

He ripped President Obama and the Clintons and immigrants and Muslims and nasty women who didn't like the smell of his breath.

Make America Great Again.
Trump's coded, dog-whistling version of We Want Our Country Back (for you know who!).

It was talk radio talk/GOP talking points, tough guy talk, 24/7. 

And Republicans blistered their collective hands applauding Trump The Wonder Attack Dog - - and all his tricks.

But now...the reckoning.

He's gone too far - - surprise, surprise - - for some editorial writers and Republican office holders and millions of moderate, non-ideological, open-minded voters, and it appears as if the piper is about to be paid and the GOP is wringing its sore hands - - save for one finger pointed Trump's way.
Bad Donald. Bad Dog.
Republicans should point that finger at themselves.

Or at least talk to the hand.

No suspense in WI; GOP cowards stick with Trump

GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump has rampaged through tolerance and decency for more than a year, but even refusing to release his tax returns or agreeing to honor the results of the upcoming election which polls say he will lose is enough to convince Wisconsin's GOP elected leaders - - Walker Ryan, Johnson, Duffy, Fitzgerald, et al - - to display a little backbone as have others across the country and take back their Trump endorsements.
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These party-first, country-second leaders have tossed a few shoulder shrugs and mild words Trump's way - - but it's small talk with no urgency or principle behind them in the face of completely unacceptable behavior and contempt for the democratic process by the nominee of a major tier-two political party.

Oddly, the Journal Sentinel blasts Trump for his refusal to accept the election result, admonishes Paul Ryan for not withdrawing his Trump endorsement but doesn't apply that demand and standard to Trump's other Wisconsin enablers - - Scott Walker, Ron, Johnson, Ryan Duffy and others.

After the GOP's 2012 loss to Barack Obama, the GOP issued an "autopsy" to explain its failure and set a newer, more tolerant and inclusive course for 2016 to match the face and expectations of the nation.

No doubt that drafting is already underway with a working title inspired by the state where the GOP was founded:

Profiles in Cowardice.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Another day and Trump digs in. Walker, too

Last night, The Donald Spectacle was on display at the third and (mercifully) final Presidential debate:
Debates revealed Trump's lack of mental, physical & Presidential fitness
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP" 
Tonight he moved it to the annual Al Smith charity dinner:
Donald Trump just turned a charity dinner into a screed against Hillary Clinton
Oh - - And add another day to Scott Walker's July 20 endorsement of the afore-mentioned Donald Trump.

Many GOP leaders have withdrawn their endorsements as Trump's campaign got darker and meaner and obviously unacceptable.

But Walker has stood by his endorsement for 93 days. By November 8th, he could hit 111.

This was Walker in the last 24 hours:

Walker says he disagrees with Trump on many issues, but the Wisconsin governor says Trump is a better choice than Hillary Clinton.
Stubborn is as stubborn does. Stupidity, too.

Debates revealed Trump's lack of mental, physical & Presidential fitness

I wish I'd taken a freeze frame photo or two at the end of the debate.

There was Trump, inert at his podium, intellectually whipped, pale and physically pooped, reduced ridiculously to a 'I know you are but what am I' retort when correctly called out as a Putin puppet, who then capped off a failed performance by interrupting Hillary Clinton - - and with all his personal and political problems with women and female voters dominating the news for weeks - - whined aloud "what a nasty woman."
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP"
That after insulting numerous women, and every opponent let alone entire national populations and religions for a year and a half, The Donald proved he could dish it out, but couldn't take it.

With so little credibility, he'd have us believe he might challenge the results of the election?

Please. On an election night that is looking like a GOP slaughter and intentional personal rejection, does Trump think he would be entitled to claim and exercise such power?

Then there was  Hillary Clinton when the debate ended: ebullient, smiling, energized - - the obvious winner against an unprepared, unqualified, completely exposed loser who had had tricked himself and many others into believing - - until last night showed otherwise - - that he will always be the winner.

It's so ironic that the rap on Hillary was that she isn't authentic, when last night showed Trump again to be a completely deluded fake - - an artificial, no-there-there candidate, politician, leader, strategist, analyst, thinker who, in reality, could not withstand the rigors of a 990-minute debate, let alone being US President, Commander-in-Chief and national moral leader.

I could swear I felt an earthquake as the debate was ending, but realized it was the sound of reasonable people fleeing the specter of the incompetent Trump and and his un-American Trumpism - - except for Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, Paul Ryan and the other Wisconsin Republicans who are sticking with the Putin puppet and playing an indefensible partisan game.

Walker's endorsement of Donald Trump at three-month mark

Updated from 10/19: 
Blog administrator's question: With Donald Trump refusing in Wednesday night's debate to agree to accept the results of the election, and thus threatening to upend the US electoral and democratic process - - it is imperative that Wisconsin's media press the state's elected GOP leadership on its continuing endorsement of Trump for President. Haven't these leaders heard enough? - - jr

Just a reminder that WI GOP Governor Scott Walker endorsed Donald Trump for President on July 20, spoke for him at the GOP National Convention, and never joined other GOP politicians who withdrew their endorsements after Trump's cleary-disqualifying anti-woman words and assaultive behaviors became front-page, campaign-dominating news.
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A disgraceful endorsement that should have never been made as Trump scatter-shot his insults at women, Muslims, Mexicans, a US judge, reporters doing their jobs, cozied up to Vladimir Putin, and, on a daily basis revealed frighteningly deep and intemperate ignorance about government, governing, the US Constitution, his fellow citizens and the electoral process that keeps the Republic intact.

The reason for Walker's principle-free embrace of Trump while also escaping its consequences and hiding on the sidelines is obvious:

To win re-election, Walker needs Trump's while male voters in the state's rural areas as well as traditional GOP voters clustered in the Southeastern Wisconsin counties surrounding Milwaukee where Trump is said to be weak.

So Walker is having it both ways, and, to date, appears to be getting away with it.

For example, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorially demanded on October 10th that House Speaker Paul Ryan withdraw his Trump endorsement - - but did not call out Walker, or other state GOP figures by name for sticking with their Trump endorsements, including US Senator Ron Johnson or State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Instead the paper's editorial had this italicized deck below the headline that pointed to "other Republican leaders" without naming them:

Ryan and other Republican leaders who still stand by Trump while condemning his statements need to stop dancing and join their braver colleagues.

In fact, the paper had earlier made the same demand of Ryan when Trump so horribly disrespected the family of a fallen US Marine.

Granted he's the House Speaker and the highest-ranking elected GOP leader nationally, but holding him to a higher standard than Walker and the unnamed others is a double-standard.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

At debate, Trump reveals secret plan to win female votes

With all his remarks about and behaviors with women devastating his campaign, and his numbers with swing-state female voters having cratered, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP"
interrupted Hillary Clinton during the nationally-televised debate with this memorable summation:
 "Such a nasty woman."
And for Latino voters - that "Bad hombres" wisecrack? Why? 

Trump's debate nine-word fail leads NY Times tonight

From my post-debate blog reaction to what is leading The New York Times online page right now. 

Trump's self-inflicted fatal wound:

Trump Won’t Say if He Will Accept Election Results

Update: This  is  the  way  the  top  of  the Washington  Post  online sees it:

Trump refuses to say whether he’ll accept election results

Trump will not now agree to accept the election result

"I'll keep you in suspense" is a stupid, inflammatory answer to the debate moderator Chris Wallace's pressing on whether Trump will accept the results of the election, as is the national tradition.

This is the heart of the debate and now the campaign, as it speaks directly to fitness to serve.

Trump claimed that Hillary should not have been allowed to run, but his answer which is at odds with Pence's answer is a big mistake.  Game over.

As The Green Bay Packer's radio voice would say, 'there is your dagger.'

And will Wisconsin's GOP leaders finally speak out  - - after having ample reasons for more than a year?

Heard enough?

Trump misplays the nuclear q. in the debate; the meltdown is underway

Trump has moved off answering a q. about the economy and taxes to 'clarifying' a previous answer on nuclear proliferation that the fact-checkers will crush and is now wandering all over the place.

The meltdown began at about the 40 min. mark.

As WI's roads fall apart, look at where the money is going

Wisconsin cities, towns and villages have had their budgets restricted and their state shared funding savaged, and the state's road network has disintegrated to the fourth-worst nationally - - but fear not - - the allegedly debt-ridden Wisconsin Department of Transportation is pouring millions and millions and millions of dollars into just one segment of one 'freeway' interchange reconstruction project with billions of more dollars budgeted on paper but not financed.

And this is under the guidance of a purportedly-tight-fisted GOP conservative.

Clean water, smart farming emerging as WI issues

I am happy to see that the growing need for strong public water regulatory enforcement and policy commitment is taking hold in Wisconsin - - awareness pushed by the continuing contamination of drinking water and nearby rivers and streams by expanding large-scale animal feeding and manure-producing operations given regulatory passes by Scott Walker's  business-friendly, donor-obeisant 'chamber of commerce mentality Department of Natural Resources.

People who follow this blog know these matters have been covered extensively here - - some examples here and here - - ad infinitum...

But props to activists organizing at the foot of the State Capitol this Saturday their second public display of the problems; below is the publicity they are sending around in advance.
THIS SATURDAY – 2nd Annual ‘Stink-In’ Comes to the Capitol Steps in Madison

20-plus local, state and national groups gather to oppose the impact of industrial animal operations; Call for change targets WI lawmakers

WHAT:   Stink-In on the Steps – A public assembly on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Twenty-seven state-based and nationally recognized organizations will address Wisconsin’s concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) crisis and its damaging impact on public health, water and air quality, natural resources, businesses, property values and rural community life.

WHEN:   Saturday, October 22, 2016 -- 10:00am CT

WHERE:   State Street steps -- Wisconsin State Capital Building, Madison, WI

WHO:   A coalition of community, environmental and agricultural groups, including Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project , Organic Consumer Association, Kewaunee CARES, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Wild Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Family Farm Defenders, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club (John Muir Chapter), Humane Society of the U.S. (Wisconsin Agriculture Advisory Council), Wisconsin Farmers Union South Central and River Alliance of Wisconsin


THE GOAL: A 5-Point Request

The ‘Stink-In’ coalition will call on members of Wisconsin’s State Assembly and State Senate to reverse the longstanding trend of failed CAFO oversight, faulty county and state CAFO permitting processes, and noncompliance with federal law to establish a healthier, more sustainable future for Wisconsin. 

The 5-point request to Wisconsin’s lawmakers is simple:  

1. Raise your awareness on the debilitating community impacts of the CAFO industry, locally and statewide  
2. Ensure that all regulations and safeguards are in place to protect both rural and urban Wisconsin communities from CAFO contamination threats
3. Support enforcement of health and environmental standards violated daily by many of the state’s CAFOs
4. Immediately focus legislation that corrects the flawed DNR rulemaking and lack of enforcement highlighted in the June 2016 Legislative Audit Bureau’s Report on the DNR’s Wastewater and Permitting Program 
5. Introduce and champion new legislation that protects drinking water from CAFO runoff and contamination statewide


Media contacts:

Mary Dougherty, Farms Not Factories

Stacy Harbaugh, Midwest Environmental Advocates608.251.5047, ext 1 | sharbaugh@midwestadvocates .o

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

LA Dodgers' star on higher moral ground than Walker, Johnson

Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, GOP US Senator Ron Johnson and others have chosen to stick with their endorsements of GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump, regardless of his hateful positions and behaviors, but look at what Adrian Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Dodgers star first baseman - - 
Adrian Gonzalez on April 21, 2013.jpg
- - quietly did when presented with a choice involving Trump:
Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez made headlines on Monday, after it was revealed that he had boycotted staying in a Donald Trump-owned hotel with his team during a road trip to Chicago in May.

On one battleground, the loser is obvious

Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in the battleground states, but there's one battleground where the loser has been clear for a while - - the battle within Trump's strategic mind:
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP"
"Donald Trump says Paul Ryan may be trying to harm his chances of being president in 2016 because Ryan wants to run for president in 2020." 
And in his conspiratorial mind:

'Illegal immigrants are voting all over the country.' 

And in his assaultive denying mind: 

'She would not be my first choice' to sexually assault.'

Getting harder to be 'shocked, shocked' at DNR management

[Updated from 10/11] You may remember that a major donor to Scott Walker's GOP political machine was on the fast track to obtain for cash some primo, state-owned lake frontage with the WI DNR's green light until media and public outrage blew the deal up - - though eventually it went through in a property exchange that some felt was more even-handed, but only in a game that the wealthiest among us could play.

Goosed along by eager, business-compliant GOP legislators.

While everyday folks in this state just had their camping and trail and DNR park entry fees raised because Walker believes in a leaner state government - - for the commoners - - and people living near the big feedlots that Walker and his DNR are intentionally under-regulating - - 'no staff,' they say, as they keep cutting staff - - can't get a glass of tap water without a cow pie tang.

Updated: Or as a recent report disclosed, toxic atrazine in their well water.

Well, the same big-donor folks are at it again - - this time getting some speedy DNR approvals for miles of permanent trail and bridge building near their properties - - in a state where you can't get a pothole filled - - but this time the DNR's Secretary, private sector cheerleader and high-profile Donald Trump supporter Cathy Stepp insisted she didn't order up any favors for the Walker donor, Elizabeth Uihlein, who also is a major Trump fundraiser

"Never came up with Liz and I," Stepp said. "None of her representatives. Have never had conversations with anybody.'"
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
Reminds me of Captain Renault in "Casablanca" who was "shocked, shocked" to discover that gambling was taking place in a casino.

Imagine if Walker said, 'What - -  Club for Growth? Campaign donations? Isn't that the McDonald's morning bunch that exchanges gardening tips?'

And, also: "Liz and I..." Really?

That there are two tracks for access to government officials or state power under donor-friendly Walker and his handpicked 'chamber of commerce mentality" administrators like Stepp began in Walker's first days in office.

How many everyday Wisconsinites can get the Governor to waive a DNR review of their plan to construct a building and parking lot on a wetland, then have the Governor sign a special bill rushed through the Legislature to make the DNR review go away forever?

Look at the so-called DNR 'review process' underway adjacent to Kohler-Andrae State Park just south of Sheboygan where Walker $40,000 donor and powerful corporate figure Herbert Kohler, Jr wants to flatten and otherwise remake into a high-end golf course a water-rich nature preserve where rare dunes, native artifacts, and scores of acres of woodlands sit at the edge of Lake Michigan.

And the proposal also seeks the right to build into the adjacent state park.

What do you think would happen to you if you walked into your nearest state park and set up your own taco or T-shirt stand on four acres because, like the golf course developer, your considered those acres underused surplus property for the taking.

The DNR has a group of staffers working on the concept as drawn up by consultants, but without requiring the submission of a formal permit application that would subject actual details to closer citizen review and perhaps legal challenges.

In other words, the developer gets free project consultation from the very state agency that will ultimately have to approve or deny the plan.

How do you think that will go? As senior staff are either dispirited on the job, or leaving.

Consider this comment from the website of the Friends of the Black River Forest, the leading citizens' group opposing the plan. Said the group's attorney after reviewing the DNR's draft environmental impact statement - - released without a formal permit application:

"Thus we disagree, with the DEIS from its very first sentence, i.e. that it "fulfills" the DNR's legal duties..." If and when it receives sufficient information from Kohler, the DNR must redraft the DEIS and renotice the draft for public hearing, before finalizing the EIS. Otherwise, the DNR will have allowed Kohler to complete a significant regulatory hurdle, in a premature fashion that is virtually without precedent, in a way that defies the purpose and requirements of the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act."  8/24/16

And is the US EPA interested? It should be, as many of these big-ticket projects under DNR control have an impact on the US Clean Water Act the DNR under Walker has ignored.

Trump and a Canadian baseball team have a lot in common

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Toronto Blue Jays are both on the brink of elimination, and, like Trump, the Jays see a conspiracy afoot to deny them a win.

The ball club's leading conspiracy theorist is nicknamed "Bats," while Trump is just plain batty.

Admittedly, the analogy is a little shaky, because Trump isn't usually this aligned with foreigners who aren't named Putin or Assange.

The circle will be complete if Cleveland closes out the American League championship series and can win the World Series, with Hillary taking Ohio, and the presidency.

Something of a win-win for the people and the American pastime.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Backers of Walker's Pres. pick pillory Paul Ryan - in WI

And a great Badger State shout out down of Wisconsin Congressman and US House Speaker Paul Ryan arose from a Green Bay crowd gathered to hear GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump - - whom Gov. Scott Walker, US Senator Ron Johnson, US Rep. Sean Duffy, along with a far more reluctant Paul Ryan continue to endorse:
Donald Trump rally crowd breaks out into 'Paul Ryan sucks' chant
A portrait shot of Paul Ryan, looking straight ahead. He has short brown hair, and is wearing a dark navy blazer with a red and blue striped tie over a light blue collared shirt. In the background is the American flag.
What a crowd and crew, doing our state 'proud.'

MKE-Chicago Amtrak service can expand; weigh in now

It's not widely known, but Amtrak could add more scheduled trips - - perhaps three additional trains daily - - on the often-jam-packed Hiawatha line between Milwaukee and Chicago.
Public input is already being taken, with hearings kicking off next week, including one in Milwaukee on Thursday, October 27, 4 to 7 p.m., at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee, WI.

It's always important to back transit, and, in Wisconsin, to send a message opposite to what Scott Walker has done to rail service in our state.

Here is everything that Wisconsin transportation officials have posted about it, so take notice of the hearings, methods of submitting comment, deadlines and help get the service expanded:

Three public meetings will be held for the project, including one public hearing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a public involvement meeting in Chicago, Illinois, and a public involvement meeting in Glenview, Illinois. Specific meeting dates, times, and locations are scheduled as follows:
The meetings will provide an opportunity to learn more about the project, provide comments, and ask questions of members of the project team. The Environmental Assessment indicates that no significant environmental impacts are anticipated to occur as a result of this proposal.
Input encouraged
The official comment period is from October 6, 2016 to November 15, 2016. In addition to the meetings listed above, comments or questions about the study can be submitted at any time during the Environmental Assessment process by: 
  • Email:
  • Mail:    Arun Rao
               Passenger Rail Manager
               Wisconsin Department of Transportation
               4802 Sheboygan Ave. Rm 701
               Madison, WI 53707
  • Phone: (608) 261-6123
Hard copies available
The Environmental Assessment is available for inspection and copying at the following locations:
Wisconsin Department of Transportation Library 
Office of Policy, Finance and Improvement
4802 Sheboygan Ave. Room 100A
Madison, WI 53707
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706
Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
1 East Main Street, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703
Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
W239 N1812 Rockwood Drive
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607
Milwaukee Public Library
814 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Racine Public Library
Reference Desk
75 Seventh Street
Racine, WI 53403
Kenosha Public Library
Reference Services Desk
812 56th Street
Kenosha, WI 53140
Harold Washington Library Center
400 State St.
Chicago, IL 60605
Glenview Public Library
1930 Glenview Rd
Glenview, IL 60025
Illinois Department of Transportation
69 W. Washington St
Chicago, IL 60605
Agency stakeholder meetings
An agency stakeholder meeting was conducted via webinar on December 2, 2014.
An agency stakeholder meeting was conducted via webinar on November 19, 2012.

Is five Tommy G. Thompson monuments in WI enough?

I knew we had the Tommy G. Thompson Commerce WHEDA Center in downtown Madison - - where once was housed the state's Department of Commerce which Scott Walker remade into the scandal-plagued and mission-failing Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

That's just the biggest and most visible building named for former four-term GOP Governor - - 
- - but is by no means the sole structure or complex bearing his name, as there is also:

*  The Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center on the Wisconsin State Fair Park grounds.

*  And the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership on the UW-Madison campus.

*  And the Governor Tommy G. Thompson Fish Hatchery, operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Governor Tommy Thompson hatchery
*  And Governor Thompson State Park, featured today in a DNR list of out-of-the-way gems
Governor Thompson State Park, Crivitz, Marinette County. Launch a boat on the Caldron Falls Reservoir for a selfie with a view of the changing leaves from the water, or hike the more than 16 miles of trails for various backdrops, from the rock outcroppings scattered throughout the park to stretches of prairie with blooming purple and pink aster in the fall.
Is five enough?

Historical note: Thompson had been a big booster of Amtrak - - before he fell into line with Scott Walker and opposed Amtrak extension in Wisconsin he'd long championed - - and served as Amtrak's Board President which earned him a named locomotive.

Photos here, though apparently the nameplate has been removed in routine upgrading.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

NC feedlot flooding a cautionary tale for WI

Hurricane Matthew flooded North Carolina's industrial-scale animal feeding operations, and now torrents of dead animals and toxic manure are washing across the state, down rivers, into the water table and eventually to the sea: 
Hundreds of hog and poultry farms may have been inundated last week as the Neuse, Lumber and Tar rivers roared over their banks, a rampage powered by the deluge of Hurricane Matthew. 
The carcasses of several thousand drowned hogs and several million drowned chickens and turkeys were left behind. 
An incalculable amount of animal waste was carried toward the ocean. Along the way, it could be contaminating the groundwater for the many people who rely on wells in this part of the state, as well as threatening the delicate ecosystems of tidal estuaries and bays.
Is Wisconsin, with a warming climate marked by more severe rain events, an exploding number of large-scale animal feeding operations (CAFOs): here is the data from the DNR - - 
CAFO Graph
WPDES CAFO Permits 1985 – July 2014 [PDF]

- - and a state government intentionally easing back on environmental protection and enforcement paying attention to or learning anything from North Carolina's plight?

It was just a few months ago that heavy rains flooded the very area in Northwestern Wisconsin where Iowa hog breeders want to build a 26,000 hog feeding operation, and this is what the region looked like when the rain stopped:
these brief paragraphs towards the end of a news story summarizing the damage and deaths from last week's heavy rains in Northwest Wisconsin - -

- - underscore the madness of proposing to Scott Walker's "chamber-of-commerce-mentality" Department of Natural Resources the approval for a 26,000-hog feeding and manure storage operation within smelling and polluting distance of Lake Superior, Chequamegon Bay and numerous wells providing drinking water and economic life to the entire Northwoods region:
The Department of Health Services issued a warning on Friday to residents and cleanup crews in the affected area to use extreme caution while assessing damage or removing debris, because of the many health risks. 
Flood waters can contain raw sewage, fertilizer, gasoline, pesticides and other harmful substances, so people should not swim, bathe or wade in lakes, streams or any other waters affected by the flooding...
Water wells could also be contaminated, so well owners with flooding near the well should assume the well is contaminated and not use water from it until the floodwaters recede and the well had been disinfected and tested.
How many warnings do we need?

How much faith can we put into Scott Walker's DNR to do the logical, reasonable right thing? 

The evidence to date suggests nothing.

Imagine if Trump were on "The Apprentice"...

And complained and whined and postured that he was going to be fired because the competition was rigged.

You know what the outcome would have been?

He'd have been fired because advance complaining and whining and posturing about being booted from any competition is a loser's self-fulfilling tactic.

Which tells me Trump - - pictured below with his leading Wisconsin endorser - - 
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- - knows he is losing, but that his devotees can't or won't see through the  charade.

NY Times Ryan/Trump piece has extra WI angle

I recommend the Times piece - -  
A portrait shot of Paul Ryan, looking straight ahead. He has short brown hair, and is wearing a dark navy blazer with a red and blue striped tie over a light blue collared shirt. In the background is the American flag.
- - because it pulls back the curtain a bit on the GOP's self-inflicted failure to cope with Donald Trump's ascension.

Regardless of whether Trump wins or loses the Presidency, Ryan has leadership troubles ahead with House Republicans and its Trumpian Freedom Caucus.

Also not coming out of the Times piece without a smudge or two is GOP chairman Reince Priebus.

Wisconsin readers will find the story especially interesting because it includes a denial that Priebus had been crying over the party's Trump FUBAR - - though credit the Times for asking - - and that the source for the 'in tears' anecdote was Charlie Sykes: 
Mr. Sykes let Mr. Priebus know via text that Mr. Trump was no longer welcome in Wisconsin. Mr. Sykes said Mr. Priebus responded: “I am the guy trying to fix this! I am in tears over this.’” (A spokeswoman for Mr. Priebus acknowledged that he was upset, but denied any tears.)
The piece also identifies Sykes as a former talk show host, but his station has said he is leaving at the end of December.