Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Walker's Third Commercial = Walker's Third Strike

Scott Walker, feeling the pressure from Mark Neumann's running of commercials and passing him up in the polls in most parts of the state, starting running his own series of commercials, with little benefit to his campaign thus far.

Neumann running these commercials, by the way, was a brilliant move. It helped get his name out there even though the Republican machine was trying to keep him out of the gubernatorial race. It not only got his name out there, but also helped him take the lead over Walker in the entire state outside of the Milwaukee area. It is also causing Walker to spend his money running his own ads now, which is severely depleting his war chest, judging from the flier we received today.

All of Walker's commercials are based on a scheme that he bought, at a fairly steep price, off an advertising firm that first used it for a gubernatorial race in Ohio in the 1990s. This gimmick, using a brown lunch bag as its symbol, is supposed to convince people of his frugality and fiscal responsibility. So far, the only people I've seen really buying into it are the ones that he pays.

In Walker's first commercial, he told people that he cut his pay because he felt his salary was too high. Well, given the amount of time he has actually spent working instead of campaigning, I guess I would have to agree with that. Even when he was here, all Walker could manage to do was muck things up time and time again.

The problem with Walker's first commercial was that he was lying. While he did give back part of his pay, he never did cut his salary. Not only that, but the AP did a story showing that he was quite the spendthrift with his campaign dollars, going to some very expensive restaurants and running up tabs in the thousands of dollars.

Walker's second commercial was also a whiff of the bat. In that commercial, he tried to convince the listener that he is so frugal that he packs his own bag lunch to save money. That might have sold a little better if he was standing in what appeared to be a newly-remodeled kitchen that was huge, bigger than many apartments. Also note that he is not so frugal that he won't buy real butter or leave all the food just laying out on the counter.

His third commercial is his third strike at the frugality charade. In this commercial, he tells us that he is still driving a 1998 Saturn which has over 100,000 miles on it. At first glance, one might say, "Wow!" But when you think about it, it's not all that honest or awesome.

First of all, he is in the middle of his second statewide campaign and was a state legislator for ten years. There is no way he used that car during all this time and only put on 8,000 miles a year. The Walker's obviously own at least one other car, and there is no telling what kind that is or how new it is, or how often they replace it. Then their is his infamous Harley that he uses for his campaign tourism rides around the state each year. And let us not forget the two or three county cars that are always at his beck and call, and the staffer that drives him around.

Then there are the plane rides that he gets, even though his campaign doesn't apparently feel they need to pay full price for the rides.

This commercial was such a swing and miss that the DPW was able to already get their counter-commercial out that nails him on his expensive dining habits:

But all of Walker's act of pretending that he is frugal while he actually spends like there is no tomorrow starting to trigger a memory for me. I knew I saw something like this before. Then it dawned on me. I do believe I know where he is getting his "frugality" talking points from:

Yeah, that does sound a lot like Walker, doesn't it?

That's The Way The Courthouse Crumbles

They've put up scaffolding around the courthouse to protect people from falling concrete.

This is all part of Scott Walker's supposed money saving method of leadership.

Milwaukee County First asks how much longer can we afford his "money saving." No wonder Milwaukee County is in fiscal jeopardy.

Fortunately, MCF's Survival Guide to Scott Walker's Courthouse is still free.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WISGOP Turns To Minnesota For Leadership

WISGOP is going to have their convention coming up in a couple of months.

Scott Walker has already planned on moving his *wink, wink* bike ride to promote Milwaukee County to the week before the convention.

Too bad for Walker he is not deemed sufficiently Republican and/or articulate and/or presentable enough to be one of the main talking heads:
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will headline the Republican Party of Wisconsin's state convention in May.

The news comes as Pawlenty tries to raise his national profile for a potential campaign for the party's nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. He is not running for re-election as governor, a post he captured in 2002.

Pawlenty will be joined by Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville in addressing the state convention in Milwaukee on May 21.

Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus said he can't think of two better Republicans to motivate its members and "spread our message of common sense conservative solutions and fiscal restraint."

But does WISGOP really think we want to be like Minnesota?

Get A License, Get Registered To Vote

This should make more than a few vote-suppressing right wingers go nuts:

Wisconsin residents could soon register to vote in a unique way.

A bill being presented to the state legislature would automatically register you to vote when you receive your drivers license or register your vehicle.

Many states offer that option, but Wisconsin would be the first to
Make it automatic, unless a voter opted out.

But the Wausau City Clerk says it could cause issues and add expenses when it comes to the voter lists, because not everyone who has a license or registers a car intends to vote.

"Those lists are what I use a certain percentage is what I use to order ballets for, so if you swell my list to a larger population that never intend to vote its going to cost not only myself but every municipality in the state more in ordering supplies for elections," said Kelly Michaels, Wausau City Clerk.

The bill has about five weeks to be approved, because the legislature wraps up regular business on April 22nd.

I can just see the Republicans standing in front of the DMV with the papers waving in their hands saying how this proves their is voter fraud and that ACORN* is taking over the world.

*Yes, I know that ACORN is defunct, but there are some on the right already claiming this is a conspiracy to lull people.

Onward Christian Terrorists, Part II

What pillars of the community they are!:
Nine alleged members of a Christian militia group that was girding for battle with the Antichrist were charged Monday with plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral — all in hopes of touching off an uprising against the U.S. government.

Seven men and one woman believed to be part of the Michigan-based Hutaree were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The ninth suspect was arrested Monday night after search in rural southern Michigan.

FBI agents moved quickly against the group because its members were planning an attack sometime in April, prosecutors said. Authorities seized guns in the raids but would not say whether they found any explosives.

I can think of a few locals that might be part of a sister cell.

Earlier: Part I

Monday, March 29, 2010

More Thoughts On Billboards

In my previous post, I reminded the gentle reader about the billboards with the meme "I blame Scott Walker," which ran in the last county executive race two years ago.

As I had mentioned in that post, these billboards had Walker and his supporters besides themselves in anger and frustration.

It wasn't until they learned to embrace and ridicule the billboards did they lose their effectiveness. That is much like the way Green Bay Packer fans embraced the intended slur of "cheeshead," turning it into a badge of honor instead.

Perhaps Team Barrett could do the same thing. Here's a couple, three things to get them started:

Another Day, Another Borrowed And Rehashed Campaign Gimmick From Walker

Has Scott Walker or anyone on his campaign staff ever had an original thought? He does the same one trick pony show of pretending to stop taxes year after year, even though he's raised tax by millions of dollars over his time as Milwaukee County Executive.

Then he brought out a rehashed version of the brown bag gimmick that he borrowed from a governor's race in Ohio.

Now he is dredging up another old campaign gimmick, this time one that was used against him.

Not having anything that is both positive and factual to say for himself or his track record, Walker is still trying to milk the Zoo Interchange construction for all its worth.

Today, his campaign announced that he had put up two billboards regarding the interchange. I have no idea what they look like. Even though his press release on it says that a photo is included, there is no photo. There is nothing on any of his or his campaign staff tweets that I could see. And at the time of this writing, there is no photos of them on his facebook page. (Although there are some crude pictures dealing with President Obama - what that has to do with his campaign is anyone's guess. At least they removed the porno spam pictures.)

His personal press release amplifier, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has a story on it, with a link on the word "billboards," but the link only takes you to his campaign site that also fails to have a picture of the billboards.

In fact, the closest I found was his campaign's new website, which they call Barrett's Bypass, which has a photoshopped picture of a construction sign that reads "Blame Barrett."

According to the MJS story, one of the billboards reads "Tired of Traffic? Blame Barrett."

This is more than slightly reminiscent of the beginning of the county executive race from two years ago, when Walker was challenged by State Senator Lena Taylor.

In that race, some "shadow group" posted a series of billboards around the county. The billboards each pointed out to an area where Walker was failing in his leadership and added the tag line, "I blame Walker." Here is a video of said billboards, which I might add, are even more true than they were then:

These billboards got Team Walker in a real snit over them. So much so that he had his pet attack dog, Charlie Sykes, snarling about it on his show for days and on his blog. Walker and his echo chamber of sycophants attacked the ads as sleazy and as a sign of how desperate Taylor was supposed to be.

So what does Walker's blame billboards say about him?

Creativity Or Having Too Much Time On One's Hands?

My guess is both.


Why Walker Brown Bags His Lunch

Because he's eating ours:

Also, the perfect way to describe how Scott Walker views negotiations with AFSCME.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

In Search Of Wisconsin's Top Chef

Joel McNally's take on Walker's hypocritical brown bag nonsense:

Politicians who feast in glass restaurants shouldn’t throw hard rolls.
McNally hits it right on with this:

But there is something particularly jarring about Walker presenting himself as your average working guy carrying a bag lunch.

It’s all those average working guys with bag lunches employed by Milwaukee County who have been laid off or had their wages and benefits slashed with unpaid furloughs and other contractual givebacks.

Walker has claimed the right to refuse to live up to county contracts negotiated with unions under special “emergency powers” as county executive. The emergency was that Walker was running for governor and did not want to raise taxes enough to pay the county’s bills.

Walker, who has eliminated jobs throughout his tenure as county executive and heads a government on the brink of bankruptcy, now claims to have the power to create -- citing a totally made-up number -- 250,000 jobs as governor of Wisconsin.

A whole lot of Milwaukee County workers believe job creation should begin at home.

A working class hero Walker is not. His lack of respect for the basic principles of labor relations was demonstrated when Walker submitted a county budget that included drastic wage and benefit reductions that had never been negotiated with county unions.

Rather than bargaining in good faith with unions to reach a mutually beneficial agreement through a process of give and take, Walker expects union leaders to enter into sham negotiations where working people do all the giving and Walker does all the taking.

Working people in Milwaukee County who really do have to eat bag lunches saw their family-supporting jobs disappear as Walker outsourced their work to private, profit-making companies operated by wealthy campaign contributors.

McNally once said that he doesn't read blogs, but one's got to wonder...

Tim John

In case the gentle reader was not aware, there is another candidate running on the Democratic side. This fellow's name is Tim John. I can't say I know much about him, but if your interested, you can find his website by clicking here.

Here is a snippet from an email I received from his campaign:
Our campaign looks for long-term meaningful change, even though our depressed economy often draws our attention to short-term solutions. My great grandfather, Fred Miller, the founder of the Miller Brewing Company, now MillerCoors, always used long-term solutions. He never cheapened his beer to make greater short-term profits

Long-term vision is what keeps MillerCoors successful and is exactly what will put our campaign in the State House.

We will bring Wisconsinites to the “table”, who have never been there. For instance, many unemployed black men have never been allowed to participate in the direction our state is headed. We miss out on their viable solutions to improve the climate for unemployment, low educational test scores, and taxes.

Also, our campaign supports ways to combine healthy living and sustainable local businesses. In this way, we can better buffer ourselves against problems coming from outside of Wisconsin. Our campaign also supports the legal right of Wisconsin's dairy farmers to sell raw (unpasteurized) milk and related products.

We also support our right to buy these products. Our legislature is moving forward on this matter, so let's support them.

Please enjoy our newest YouTube video on raw milk at Spill it around to your family and friends!

Let's send Wisconsin rocketing towards greatness.
Before the usual suspects go off their rockers again. I am not endorsing Tim John, or anyone else for that matter, for governor or any other race. Not yet anyway.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Breaking News: Man In Glass House Throws Stones

By now, almost everyone in the Milwaukee area, if not the entire Midwest, knows about the State closing down one of the bridges in the Zoo Interchange.

Being ever the opportunist, Scott Walker jumped all over the news and quickly attacked, blaming the whole thing on Governor Jim Doyle and Mayor Tom Barrett. I'll give his team credit, they moved fast and the "Barrett Bypass" does kind of work for them.

Barrett's campaign came back swinging, pointing out that Walker had cut millions of dollars from the funding for roads while he was in the state legislature.

WISN-TV has pretty good coverage of the sniping and counter-sniping that is going on, with this interesting bit:
Walker is calling the interchange the "Barrett Bypass," putting blame on the Milwaukee mayor.

"To me this bypass from this point forward should be the 'Barrett Bypass' because he and Jim Doyle put political pressure ahead of engineering and now we're suffering from that," said Walker.

"It's going to cost us jobs, certainly headaches for commuters, but it's one that's really about commerce here and across the state of Wisconsin," said Walker.

"I understand he wants to play political games with this," Barrett said. "I understand how that works."

Barrett says he's always supported reconstruction of the zoo interchange, but had to consider the possibility of ripping up neighborhoods.

"I think what he doesn't point out is that he voted against transportation funding, but I've always supported reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange. I support it now and I've supported it years ago," Barrett said.
The piece goes on to say that Walker is adding the money that is being spent on the high speed rail could've gone to the interchange instead. That line of attack is rather weak since the money is coming from the federal government for the purpose of high rail, not just general transportation costs.

I also have to say it is kind of funny how all sides, Mark Neumann included, have already started it in their Google ad wars.

But I have to wonder if this is the smartest hill for Walker to fight over.

Walker's record on maintenance, on roads and on transportation is not exactly a strong suit for him.

Milwaukee County's infrastructure is literally falling down around us and the parks alone have $238 million in needed repairs and maintenance. Valuable assets like the greenhouses and historic landmarks like the Eschweiler Buildings show the obvious results of Walker's neglect.

Walker's records on maintaining county roads is not any better. In fact, his track record on that is so bad that even one of his main supporters, Orville Seymour of CRG fame, was complaining about how bad the roads were.

Transportation is not one of Walker's high points either. In his 2010 budget, like he has done every other year, Walker continued his pattern of slashing routes and raising fares for the Milwaukee County Transit System. This has had the predictable outcome of causing ridership to drop like a rock and twice the national average.

I wonder how many commuters facing a north-south commute would have considered taking a bus instead of being rerouted all over the place or getting stuck in Hwy 100 traffic which was very heavy before the interchange closed.

See also Illy-T, who has some sound advice for commuters.

Maybe We Should Hold A Bake Sale

It has been very well documented by many people that, thanks to Tom Ament's pension scandal and Scott Walker's ineptitude, Milwaukee County is in a severe fiscal crisis.

But not even I realized how bad it was until today.

If one goes to the home page of Milwaukee County's website, you will see this picture of Scott Walker (enlarged for the reader's ease):

I've seen it literally hundreds, if not thousands, of times, while looking up this or that piece of information, but did never recognized the problem until it was pointed out to me.

Look closely at the flag in the background. See how nicely the stripes are in their rows and columns? That's the problem. There shouldn't be columns. Compare the flag in Walker's official county photo to the way the current American flag looks:

No nice, orderly columns. That's because we have 50 states, not 48.

But it does explain a lot. Walker is so backward in his thinking since he obviously thinks it's still 1958. Either that or he really hates Hawaii and Alaska for some irrational reason.

But for crying out loud, can't Milwaukee county even afford to have a current flag?

H/T Michael Horne via facebook

Man Cannot Live By Ham And Cheese Sammiches Alone

We all know how Scott Walker has been going on and on and on and on about how "frugal" he is, using that recycled and rehashed brown bag nonsense.

Unless he is talking about his campaign food habits, of course.

Apparently it does not applied to his dinners either.

Walker tweeted how he went out with his wife and some friends for some pizza. (Pizza on Fish Fry Friday, the week before Good Friday? Unheard of in Milwaukee!)

He even included a nice photo.

As you can see in the photo, they went to the Riverfront Pizzeria Bar and Grill. Looks like a nice place, but I've never been there. Out of curiosity, I Googled them and found their website.

My first reaction was "Wow! That pizza better be pretty damn good for those prices."

If he wanted to be really frugal, he would have gotten twice as many pizzas at Papa Murphy's for the same price. Then again, If he wanted to be really truly frugal, he would have just stopped at Aldi's and picked up a couple of frozen pizzas.

Maybe they went out because their friends are tired of having to bring their own toilet paper.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Unreliable Sources Are, Well, Unreliable

In an alleged rebuttal to my post from last night, Bruce Redenz of Badger Blogger infamy issued his own post.

At first, I wasn't even going to respond to it. Why should I? I don't see much credibility in any of the sources. Bruce Redenz was the one feeding into the whole sock puppetry thing that was occurring over there last fall. And before that was the whole Ned Yost affair.

If that wasn't enough, Bruce cites as his source of information as none other than Tim Russell himself. Shockingly, Russell denies anything untoward regarding his salary or how he attained his fourth position (between campaigns) under Walker's administration.
Mmm. I wonder if I called and spoke to Governor Doyle and Mayor Barrett and they both said that they had absolutely nothing to do with the decay of the zoo interchange, that the fellows at Badger Blogger would just accept that. Something makes me think that they wouldn't.

Another reason I wasn't really keen on paying attention to it was that apparently there is some literacy issues and I didn't want to embarrass anyone. For if one read what I wrote (emphasis mine for this post, not the original):
But even those raises would pale in comparison to the bump in pay that Russell recently received. I have just learned today, that on this past Friday, Walker promoted Russell to the position of Administrator of the Division of Housing. Now, I don't know exactly what Russell's new salary is, but I would think it reasonable to presume that it is somewhere in the range of his predecessor, James Hill, who had retired last fall. According to JSOnline's Data on Demand, in 2008, James Hill received a salary of $110,571...
one would see that I was making a presumption, not stating hard facts. But apparently that was too subtle a point for Bruce or the others that jumped on his bandwagon.

But for kicks and giggles, since I am this far already, let's finish the job.

Bruce has two main arguments: That I was off on the money and that I was off on the reason for the appointment.

As for the money, Bruce wrote (in bold nonetheless):

Russell tells BadgerBlogger that his Director of Housing salary, $75,866.13 – a full $37,201.00 less than that of his predecessor – dealt him a raise of $2,496.13 over his previous county exec’s office salary of $73,370.00.

That’s a raise of about 3.4%. A nice raise, but not exactly “huge,” and significantly less than the “raise in the neighborhood of $50,000.00″ that Liebenthal alleges.

Now, again, for all I know right now, this might be accurate. I hope to find out more next week.

But even if accurate, it does raise a couple of interesting questions.

One was that if you go to JSOnline's Data on Demand, it lists Russell's salary as being $21,280:

Now, that is obviously a typo, which is why I did not include it in my original post. But what is the correct number. If one goes with $51, 280, which was close to what I was told yesterday, it would be understandable since the 2 and the 5 are directly next to each other on a keypad. But if one goes with $71,280 that would be harder to explain, unless you say he did get a $50,000 raise when he was promoted to Assistant Chief of Staff.

But then again, there is another error with that strip. It lists Russell's start date as August 2008, but we know that Russell was in Walker's administration for six years already, excluding campaign times.

Another thing that doesn't make much sense is that Russell's alleged salary, if you believe him, is almost the same as that of his immediate superior, Tom Nardelli, who made $75,386:

While not impossible, it is extremely rare, especially in government, where one makes nearly as much as ones supervisor. Again, this may be explained if Russell was a beneficiary of the exorbitant raises Walker gave his cronies in 2008.

Again, I hope to have accurate, reliable numbers some time next week.

Bruce's other argument was that Russell deserved this promotion/raise:

BadgerBlogger asked Russell whether he believed that his work history and previous county government assignments afforded him proper qualifications for his new position. Russell defended his qualifications.

“My background includes significant experience with the programs and functions of the [Housing] Division, including Section 8 Voucher, Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs, and in addition, I have worked in the housing and mortgage industries for more than 20 years.”
(What is it with referring to himself in that weird context? Is he avoiding personal responsibility or is he being an elitist?)

Oh, I know all about Russell's current and past experience in real estate and mortgages. That alone raises some other interesting questions that will have to wait for another time.

But that doesn't explain away the stench of cronyism and all the other positions Russell has had under Walker's administration. And just because he has been in a business a long time, that doesn't necessarily mean he is very good at it.

After all, he did not put his years of experience to good use when he was in the Economic Development Division (emphasis mine from the original):
Walker’s last two choices to lead the county economic development office, Bob Dennik and Tim Russell, came from his campaign and lacked depth in the development business, Clark said. Dennik left the post this week to become an executive with a Pewaukee construction company. Russell is now Walker’s community relations director.

Walker chooses folks who don’t have (the necessary) experience,” she said. Dennik came under repeated fire from the board the last two years over disappointing land sales results that put the county budget in a jam. He didn’t return several phone calls seeking comment.

Only about $226,000 of the $7.2 million in budgeted land sales revenue for this year has materialized, contributing to a projected multimillion-dollar, year-end deficit. The land-sales budgets have been off $1 million or more in four of the last seven years, county figures show.
I'm sorry, but I just don't see how an unreliable source interviewing another unreliable source disproves the fact that there are still some unanswered questions regarding Russell's pay and his positions, unless you accept the simple fact that Walker, despite his promise not to, is playing heavily with cronyism.

Oh, and Aaron, it is spelled Liebenthal. Thanks for correcting it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scott Walker Gives Long Time Crony Huge Pay Raise

Milwaukee County Executive and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Walker is a very generous man to his friends.

One of his long time pals, Tim Russell, can attest to that.

The friendship between Walker and Russell go back many years. According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article from 2002, Russell is "an old friend" of Walker's (emphasis mine):
For the exec's race, Dennik hired Tim Russell, a 38-year-old South Sider who is an old friend of Walker's and used to run Tommy Thompson's Milwaukee office. He also brought on Jim Villa, a 30-year-old former top aide to Republican state Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills, to work with the electronic media and coordinate direct mail.

Another article appeared two weeks later, this one written by Cary Spivak and Dan Bice, which indicated just how well Walker was willing to reward Russell, even then:
Two other Walker cronies expected to snag jobs in the third-floor county exec office: Bob Dennik, a former lobbyist who managed Walker's election effort, and Tim Russell, who used to run former Gov. Tommy Thompson's Milwaukee office. Russell, active in the group that represents gays in the Republican Party, was soundly defeated in a bid for an Assembly seat in 2000 but is said to be eyeing another run for a Capitol slot.
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Walker has rewards in mind for backers" May 9,2002
As noted in the above snippet, Walker took good care of Russell between campaigns. Walker appointed Russell as the successor to Robert Dennik as interim Director of Economic Development. When Russell failed in that position, the County Board refused to confirm him and Walker then named him as his community relations director:

Walker’s last two choices to lead the county economic development office, Bob Dennik and Tim Russell, came from his campaign and lacked depth in the development business, Clark said. Dennik left the post this week to become an executive with a Pewaukee construction company. Russell is now Walker’s community relations director.

After that, Walker appointed Russell as his Assistant Chief of Staff, where Russell was reportedly bringing in more than $50,000 per year. I'm not sure if Russell was included or not regarding the exorbitant raises that Walker gave to other members of his top staff in 2008, but I think the safe bet would be that he was indeed one of the beneficiaries.

But even those raises would pale in comparison to the bump in pay that Russell recently received. I have just learned today, that on this past Friday, Walker promoted Russell to the position of Administrator of the Division of Housing. Now, I don't know exactly what Russell's new salary is, but I would think it reasonable to presume that it is somewhere in the range of his predecessor, James Hill, who had retired last fall. According to JSOnline's Data on Demand, in 2008, James Hill received a salary of $110,571:

(click on picture to enlarge)

That would mean that Walker has just given his long time crony and former campaign staffer a raise in the neighbor hood of $50,000 doubling his salary. That is just like the raise he gave himself two years ago.

We are in a time of history when the entire nation is trying to pull itself out of a deep recession and unemployment is still very high. Many people in Milwaukee County, as well as the entire state and country, have lost their jobs and their homes.

At the same time, Walker, claiming a fiscal crisis in Milwaukee County (even though it is one that he intentionally created) has laid off scores of county workers and has demanded large concessions from the remaining workers. He has also cut, if not eliminated, many of the services on which our most vulnerable citizens depend. On top of that, Walker has also cut many services that all citizens enjoy, like the parks and the transit systems.

For Walker to now give himself and his cronies raises so exorbitant that they are bigger than most people's entire annual salaries is simply scandalous and should not be tolerated.

Cross posted at Milwaukee County First.

Walker Continues To Slide In The Polls

JSOnline is reporting that Public Policy Polling is showing that the race for governor is a tight one indeed:
A new poll puts the two Republican candidates ahead in the race for governor, but within the poll's margin of error.

The weekend poll of 700 likely voters by Public Policy Polling showed Republican Mark Neumann with 43% and Democrat Tom Barrett with 38%. Republican Scott Walker topped Barrett 42%-39%.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. In both match-ups, 19% of voters were undecided.

One thing that I've learned from my esteemed colleagues like Jay Bullock and Bill Christofferson is that the numbers in themselves aren't as important as the trends of the numbers.

Not too long ago, another poll was showing Walker with a comfortable 10 point lead over Barrett, and an even bigger one over Neumann.

Now you can see that Walker's lead is down to three percentage points which makes it a statistical tie between the two. Even more interesting is when the Walker/Barrett numbers is compared to the Neumann/Barrett numbers, Walker is actually faring worse that Neumann is at the moment.

That is a major shift for the primary race.

Of course, it was reported just a week or two ago that Neumann actually leads Walker everywhere in the state but the Southeastern region. It appears that the momentum is definitely in Nuemann's favor, for the moment anyway. We mustn't forget that the primary is still over five months away.

There are a number of reasons why Walker is continuing to slide in the polls.

First, Walker's been running for governor for the past eight years. He has become stale and just another perpetual candidate. Neumann is fresher and doesn't have that old politician smell about him like Walker does.

Secondly, as many pundits have pointed out time and time again, Neumann doesn't have the negative stigma that many upstate voters attach to anything doing with Milwaukee.

Thirdly, Walker's track record is catching up to him. Even if the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn't report what is going on in Milwaukee, don't believe for a second that the other news sources in the state are about to start to cover up for him. This includes the chunks falling off the courthouse to the fact that Walker cannot run his own departments worth a hill of beans, having the state take over the Income Maintenance Program and now threatening to do the same about the mental health complex.

As a commenter pointed out in a previous post:
I spend a lot of weekends in the northwoods and it ain't clicking for him up there. They seem to know a fair amount about Neumann, and he'll probably do well there.
People don't like to hear about someone laying off workers in these tough times. When I tell them that he's gunning on jobs here most people shake their heads.
All of this is bad enough for any candidate, but Walker's negativity and the negativity and abusiveness of his followers are also turning people off. I've been personally attacked time and time again by his supporters, from Charlie Sykes down to the anonymous blog that deny having any sort of official ties with Walker or his campaign (oh yeah, nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

All of the negativity is even turning off Walker's fellow conservatives, as exemplified in yet another anonymous blog:

Sorry to be such a jerk about it, but we still live in a republic, do we not? We elect our leaders here, do we not? Last I checked, there are still primary elections to nominate candidates, right?

Of course there are. But apparently, that bit of news has yet to reach the cult-like followers of the Milwaukee County Executive.

In fact, to suggest to a Walker supporter that you are not yet entirely on board is, to them, tantamount to treason. If you plan to vote in the Republican primary and discuss openly the fact that you may not support Walker, get ready for an attack on your personal integrity and/or your commitment to conservatism.

Trust me – I’ve had this happen simply for suggesting that Neumann’s business experience and unassailable record in Congress makes him qualified to be Wisconsin governor.

This same site also gives the other negative trait shared by Walker and his acolytes - their rank hypocrisy:

What I can’t respect, however, is rank hypocrisy. Take, for example, this recent tweet from the good folks over at the ScottforGov blog.

StrongWisconsin.Our Latest Commercial:“Insiders” NOW Neumann is trying to tie Walker to Bailouts, big spending/Stimulus?More negativity!

Big deal, you say. So Walker’s people are complaining about Neumann’s ad that doesn’t even mention Walker. He’s “going negative”. Well, here’s the deal. Out of one side of their mouth, Walker’s people cry about Neumann going negative (even though Neumann’s ads don’t mention Walker) while, out of the other side, these same people pour out their own constant barrage of petty, unending attacks on Neumann.

One could conceivably say that Walker's continuous slide down the polls is a good thing for Wisconsin, since it would indicated that he is becoming increasingly less likely to become governor this election cycle either.

However, it does cause me a fair level of concern. Judging from his past track record, whenever Walker and his team feel that they are having a problem, they tend to react in a knee-jerk fashion. I could easily see Walker hitting the panic button in the near future and doing something drastic, like laying off hundreds of workers and slashing, if not completely shutting down, a lot of needed and necessary services. Not that this would help him any in the polls. In fact, it would probably just the opposite effect and turn the decline in his standings into a full-fledged nosedive. But that won't stop him from doing it anyway, since he is bereft of any new and/or positive ideas.

Then it is up to us, the tax payers, to clean up another one of Walker's massive messes.

As a final thought, for those that are sure to want to snark on Tom Barrett being behind either of the Republicans in the polling, let me point out a couple of things. One, the polls show Barrett at a statistical tie with either candidate, so it's not like he's getting whooped on.

Secondly, both Neumann and Walker have been running for months longer than Barrett, and have run a half dozen TV ads between them. Neumann has also had at least one radio ad and Walker's been on the air with Charlie Sykes and Vicki McKenna more times than anyone can remember. Barrett hasn't run any sort of ad yet. And yet he's still tied with either one of them. Now, to be fair, Barrett has been receiving a lot of positive press for the jobs he has been bringing to Milwaukee and for being the hero last summer.

But can you imagine how Barrett's numbers are going to soar once he starts advertising as well?

No wonder Team Walker is running so scared right now. They should be.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waupaca County Sends Their Respects to Scott Walker

I was at the northern castle last weekend and had to catch up with an old friend, Don Schmidt.

He asked me to forward his respects to Scott Walker, so I shall let Don do it himself:

OK, maybe respect wasn't the right word...

Desperation from the UWM Foundation?

The profiteers that would build their strip mall and Lord only knows what else must be feeling pretty nervous about their chances. Why else would they have cranked up the hype machine a month before the Tosa Common Council's public hearing?

More at Milwaukee County First.

Also see the erudite James Rowen's thoughts on this.

Second Verse, Same As The First

Yesterday, Scott Walker's campaign touted that they came out with their second TV commercial.

If you must see it, you can find it by clicking here, but trust me, it's not much different than his first commercial.

The good news for me is that I've already covered it, even before it was filmed:
Scott Walker has started a newly rehashed campaign gimmick that he is calling the Brown Bag Movement in which he has three talking points:
  • Don't spend more than you have
  • Smaller government is better government
  • People create jobs, not government
While the County is supposed to be leading is crumbling down around our ears, Walker jumped to action by going on yet another state-wide campaign promoting this silly and hypocritical campaign gimmick.

He started this tour de farce in Green Bay, where you can see in his campaign picture, the crowd is less than enthused:

In fact, they look like they are bored out of their skulls and are only sitting through Walker's spiel because they were told to by their boss. Even more telling is the news video that his campaign has commandeered for their purposes. In it you will see there are empty seats and that many of the workers just aren't buying the stuff he is trying to sell them:

But let us look at his three points and how hypocritical he really is.

Don't Spend More Than You Have

This is really an ironic point for Walker to start out with, considering that his most recent budget for Milwaukee County has three years worth of capital spending in it, based on money that the County is getting from the ARRA funding that he has said he was against.

It is even more ironic considering that the 2010 County budget he proposed was based on $32 million that he didn't have and was not likely to get.

Smaller Government Is Better Government

This is another talking point Walker would have been smarter to have left alone. While there is no doubt that Walker has fully pledged himself to the Grover Norquist theory of ineffective leadership, Walker is a walking, breathing example of pure ineptness.

Walker had shrunk the Income Maintenance Program, during the beginning of the recession, to the point that the state had to come in and take over to save the tax payers from a Walker-induced class action lawsuit.

Then there is also the fact that Walker had abolished the Economic Development Division in his administration, and then wondered why the County was unable to sell any of its properties and had to call on Tom Barrett and the City of Milwaukee to help them out with places like the Park East Corridor. Walker's administration got so bad that even the Walker-friendly Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had to call him out on his utter failure.

People Create Jobs, Not Government

Walker claims that government does not create jobs, but that was only mere months after he bragged about using stimulus money to create jobs in his "Milwaukee Works" program.

And speaking of stimulus, Michael Rosen had recently pointed out how Walker and the Walker-friendly daily paper were dead wrong in claiming that the stimulus was not working in improving the job situation.

Again, reality comes up to repeated smack Walker in the face.

Even to the casual observer, Walker's hypocrisy and out-right lying is no surprise. He has been that way since he was at Marquette University. It is the way of the beast with Walker.

I just wonder how much longer the media is going to continue to give him a pass before they call him out on his antics.
Meanwhile, his main primary opponent, Mark Neumann has come out with his second ad just this month, and I think it is his fourth overall. Plus Neumann has a radio ad that is even playing on 620TMJ during Charlie Sykes' show, which makes it all the more fun.

While Nuemann is running commercial circles around him, we are still waiting for Walker to give us one original idea that is based in reality. I wouldn't advise holding one's breath while they wait for this to happen.

There's A Right Way And There's A Wrong Way

From JSOnline:

A Milwaukee police sergeant has been suspended 20 days without pay for sending a text message to other supervisors urging them to tell officers to stop making traffic stops until problems with the department's new digital radio system are addressed, according to police documents.

Sgt. Willie O. Murphy is scheduled to begin serving his suspension April 15, according to a police department personnel order.

Murphy sent the text message to 33 other supervisors Sept. 23, according to a complaint filed against him. Murphy was off-duty and used his personal cell phone to send the text message, the complaint says.

Murphy sent the message "in an attempt to initiate a protest related to the slow transition to the digital radio system" and wanted to "force the administration to immediately address concerns related to the radios and officers' safety," the complaint says.

I don't have a problem with the sergeant trying to bring attention to what appears to be a faulty communications system. He was simply trying to point out what he felt to be a serious danger to his fellow officers.

Besides, it would be hypocritical of me to criticize him when one considers the multitude of posts that I have written about how screwed up Milwaukee County can be.

The problem lies in the way he did it. There are better channels that he could have chosen than to text his peers encouraging them to basically put the public in harm's way by having the police not do their jobs, even if it is hindered by a poor system.

A very interesting side note to this story is how this can make some conservatives finally realize that taking twenty days unpaid leave is hard for a family and that unions aren't all bad after all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Betrayed Trusts

Back in the early 1990s, I worked in a private agency group home which took care of teenagers who had been diagnosed with a mental illness and an alcohol and/or drug abuse issue.

One of the kids I was assigned to as a primary counselor was a teenage girl who had been savagely sexually abused by a relative. To deal with the pain and trauma from her horrendous experiences, she chose to self-medicate with street drugs.

One summer, the company hired a man to work with me on the second shift. He seemed like an alright enough fellow, and what the heck, he had to pass a background check and have certain qualifications to work there, so I figured he was OK. Not only that, but in that line of work, you have to work as a team, so you need to trust your coworkers since you cannot be there 24-7.

On his first night alone with the kids, it was Halloween. He was supposed to take the kids to an AA dance that night. Sadly, he chose to first go to a drug house and by some crack cocaine. Then when the other kids were at the dance, he took my young client out to the van and sexually assaulted her. He then gave her the crack cocaine to keep her quiet.

The next day when I came back to work, I and the woman I was working with quickly unraveled the story. Besides trying to help this young lady deal with what happened, we were busy trying to help each other cope with this betrayal of our trust.

I cannot describe the anger and the revulsion I felt. Here was someone we were supposed to trust explicitly, and he stabbed us all in the back. This anger was supplanted by the anger we felt when we considered what he did to one of the kids in our care, and the way he betrayed her trust, which was exponentially worse.

When he went to court for what he did, I spent that week driving between Milwaukee, Burlington and Racine, usually through a series of late season snow storms, to wait to give my one hour of testimony. I take no shame in admitting a certain amount of satisfaction when he was convicted and sent to prison for ten years.

So why did I tell you that story?

All of that hurt and anger returned when I read about the Sheriff's Captain from the House of Correction that had been charged with multiple counts of sexually abusing and assaulting four children, the oldest one age ten.

I knew Salsbury when I was a correction officer at HOC. At that time, he was Lt. Salsbury. I remember his homecoming from Iraq and how everyone lauded him for his service to this country. I remember him to be a fair, but strict, lieutenant. Although I was never buddies with him, I would not have imagined that he was doing this kind of perverted, disgusting crap.

After all, he was a commanding officer, a war hero, and had done a lot of things in the community outside of his job. Why wouldn't anyone trust him?

But now he has not betrayed all of the officers that have ever served under him. He has also betrayed the other commanding officers that work side by side with him. He has betrayed the public who was paying him with their tax dollars. He betrayed the brave men and women that have served with him in Iraq.

But the most egregious of all, he has betrayed these poor, innocent children.

If he is convicted, I know what kind of life he will have in the state prison system. A correction officer and a child molester? He will be lucky not to get the Christopher Scarver treatment in short order. This might make people think less of me, but truth be told, I don't imagine I would shed a tear if he did get it.

And if he doesn't get killed, Salsbury will know that someone will want to do it to him, and that will make the rest of his life very long indeed as he is continuously afraid for his life. And that is no more or less than he deserves.

WTMJ4, Fox6Milwaukee and WISN-12 all have pretty good stories that cover different angles of this guy's first hearing today.

Picture is from TMJ4's story.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monarch Park?

The Monarch's population is at its lowest in decades, and Milwaukee County thinks now is a good time to sell of one of their major migratory stops in favor of a strip mall?

Go to the public input session being held Tuesday night and tell them that they should be trying to fix and preserve the trail, not find new ways to break their promise to preserve it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Point To Ponder

Why is it that most people that oppose assisted suicide are adamant about people having guns, even though the majority of suicides are committed using a firearm? Aren't they defeating their own position?

Reprehensible Conduct

In a story by Reuters, they report on the court proceedings against Assurant Health, who targeted a young man who had just been diagnosed with HIV and dropped his insurance coverage because they wanted to "contain costs":

Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis, revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that.

So he hired an attorney -- not because he wanted to sue anyone; on the contrary, the shy African-American teenager expected his insurance was canceled by mistake and would be reinstated once he set the company straight.

But Fortis, now known as Assurant Health, ignored his attorney's letters, as they had earlier inquiries from a case worker at a local clinic who was helping him. So Mitchell sued.

In 2004, a jury in Florence County, South Carolina, ordered Assurant Health, part of Assurant Inc, to pay Mitchell $15 million for wrongly revoking his heath insurance policy.

In September 2009, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the lower court's verdict, although the court reduced the amount to be paid him to $10 million.

By winning the verdict against Fortis, Mitchell not only obtained a measure of justice for himself; he also helped expose wrongdoing on the part of Fortis that could have repercussions for the entire health insurance industry.

Previously undisclosed records from Mitchell's case reveal that Fortis had a company policy of targeting policyholders with HIV. A computer program and algorithm targeted every policyholder recently diagnosed with HIV for an automatic fraud investigation, as the company searched for any pretext to revoke their policy. As was the case with Mitchell, their insurance policies often were canceled on erroneous information, the flimsiest of evidence, or for no good reason at all, according to the court documents and interviews with state and federal investigators.

And talk about some tough talk:

In affirming the trial verdict and Nettles' order, Toal was as harsh in her criticism of the company as Judge Nettles had been. "We find ample support in the record that Fortis' conduct was reprehensible," she wrote. "Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell's life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety."

Fortis canceled Mitchell's health insurance based on a single erroneous note from a nurse in his medical records that indicated that he might have been diagnosed prior to his obtaining his insurance policy. When the company's investigators discovered the note, they ceased further review of Mitchell's records for evidence to the contrary, including the records containing the doctor's diagnosis.

Nettles also suggested that Fortis should have realized the date in the note was incorrect: "Not only did Fortis choose to rely on one false and unreliable snippet of information containing an erroneous date to the exclusion of other information which would have revealed that date to be erroneous, Fortis refused to conduct any further investigation even after it was on notice the evidence which aroused its suspicion to be false," the judge noted.

Fortis "gambled" with Mitchell's life, Nettles wrote.

Their motive, according to the judge, was obvious: "The court finds that Fortis wrongfully elevated its concerns for maximizing profits over the rights and interest of its customer." In upholding Nettles' verdict, the South Carolina Supreme Court similarly ruled that "Fortis was motivated to avoid the losses it would undoubtedly incur in supporting Mitchell's costly medical condition."

Anyone who says that the system isn't broke and just needs "some tweaking" needs to avail themselves of psychiatric treatment, if they are lucky enough to have insurance that covers it and doesn't drop them right away.

Best. Title. Evah.

Call a podiatrist, Scott Walker's been shot

County Grounds, Pension Battles And A Question

Over at Milwaukee County First, you'll find:
  • Information about a very important meeting where you can have a chance in helping save a corner of paradise before they put up a parking lot, and
  • The Battle of the County Pension, where you have Walker and his acolytes pushing for a sound bite policy versus the Supervisors who actually want to permanently fix the county's pension problem. Can you guess which side we come down on?
While doing the pension battle story, I was reminded of this blurb buried way down near the bottom where they don't want you to read:
Also Thursday, county budget director Steven Kreklow said the county should wind up closing out the 2009 budget with a surplus in excess of $3.3 million. He said lower-than-expected health insurance claims could drive the surplus higher.
Again, this raises the question of how much of the current fiscal crisis that the question is facing is genuine and how much of it is something that Walker conjured up to help him take a grandstanding posture to enhance his flop of a campaign?

Another question is: When do we get our money back for the furloughs and being overtaxed by Walker?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Walker: How Dare They Spend Money On Jobs And Not CEOs!

In what just may be the biggest blunder of his campaign so far (which is saying a lot since there has been so many biggies), Scott Walker took to the grandstands to stand up for Fred Luber, a big time Republican campaign donor and former campaign staffer who is not going to make as many millions of dollars as he could have.

Trying to stomach the obvious cronyism and pandering to his fat cat campaign donors is hard enough. But Walker is so desperate that he and his very rich sympathizer have resorted to flat out lies, as shown in this story from the BizTimes Milwaukee:
Luber said Super Steel sought assistance from the city in its efforts to land the Talgo contract.

“Going back to last summer, Super Steel took Talgo to the city of Milwaukee and asked for help,” he said. “On the first of February, Rocky (Marcoux, commissioner of the Department of City Development) told us what he was going to do with Talgo. Instead of funding us, (the city) was going to fund the Tower (Automotive) facility with millions to rebuild the building, free rent for a year and then no taxes and all utilities and the other things including job training. At 84 years old I never thought I’d live long enough to have the city take business from us. We have the only train manufacturing plant in the state of Wisconsin. Now there’s going to be another one at the Tower site built by the city with our taxpayer money.”

However, Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming said city officials originally pushed for Super Steel to get the Talgo contract and only offered the Tower Automotive site to Talgo after the company told city officials that the Super Steel facility would not meet its needs.

Talgo spokeswoman Nora Friend said Super Steel first wanted to be a subcontractor to build the trains. Talgo turned that offer down because it was too expensive, she said. Super Steel then submitted a bid to provide space for Talgo, but the space did not meet the company's needs, she said.

After the Tower Automotive site, the runner-up sites were in Racine and Janesville, Friend said.
Talgo will lease the space at the Tower Automotive site from the city at market rates, for $2.59 per square foot, or $344,470 a year, Fleming said. The city is not providing free rent or utilities, he said.

“What Scott Walker and Fred Luber are saying is false,” Fleming said.

"This is just political talk," Friend said. "We are not getting any subsidy at all."
Did you catch what Luber is really complaining about? It's not that his company didn't get the deal with Talgo, it is simply that he now has to actually compete with another business. Luber apparently is just like Walker, in that he feels things should just come to him because of who he thinks he is, and not have to actually earn it. If that doesn't smack of elitism, I don't know what does.

The tax money that Luber is whining about is actually ARRA funding that Tom Barrett and Jim Doyle went out and actively pursued. Walker could have done the same thing, but once again chose to put his political campaign before the common good, and tried to refuse the stimulus funding, until he got smacked down by the County Board.

What makes this even more repulsive on Luber's part is the simple fact that Tom Barrett actually stood up for Luber's company, Super Steel, and asked Talgo to reconsider their rejection of Super Steel. The question is: Where was Walker at the time he was supposed to be helping his good chum out?

Apparently, Walker was busy with his campaign to get all the addresses and other information from his incomplete campaign finance report and out hitting up other wealthy donors around the state.

For Luber to attack the man that tried to help him, while kissing up to the one that didn't lift a finger to help is rather telling of what kind of person he really is. Walker really knows how to pick his friends, doesn't he?

ADDENDUM: I almost forgot this. Another reason Walker didn't help his fat cat sugar daddy out was because Walker had already abolished the Department of Economic Development. It shows how important Walker really thinks it is to brings jobs here, much less anywhere else.

Bill Christofferson really hits the L'Affaire de Walker et Luber right between their weaselly eyes.

One Wisconsin Now has more on how much Luber has pumped into Walker's and other Republican campaigns.

James Rowen brings us to how Barrett's team also slams Walker's weaselly ways.

Between Walker's continuing and escalating campaign gaffes, the fact that his mismanagement of Milwaukee County is going to be very noticeable in the near future, that he still has a messy 2011 budget to contend with and still no contract with the largest unions to help ease the matter, and that Mark Neumann is leading him in every corner of the state but the southeastern corner, it would not be at all surprising that he drops out of the race before the primary. Again.

Your Tax Dollars Not At Work - Erin Go Broke Edition

Yes, kids, today was day three of 22 furlough days Scott Walker has given me.

At least the weather was nice and I got to play in the sun before the big, or not so big, snow comes over the weekend. I also got the grocery shopping done and did some packing for a work related trip. Also did some shopping for a new toy that I'll tell you about at a later date.

So while I got to enjoy the nice weather, the tax payers are now out about $1,800 for the year and counting. What fiscal responsibility that is!

Of course, this could all have been avoided if Walker only acted like a true leader instead of an attention-seeking boy. If he sat down with the unions 18 months ago, like a leader would have, there would be no budget holes (except for the ones he artificially creates), people would still have gotten services unhindered, and there would be no concerns about the state having to take over more programs or risking having the County fined for tens of millions of dollars.

But Walker is either not that smart and/or not that honest with the tax payers.

Walker is starting to realize that this is a game he shouldn't be playing and one that he can't win. This is evidenced by the fact that he has finally learned that he can get concessions by sitting down with the unions and actually negotiating with them instead of trying to be a showboating little bully.

Too bad that it took him eight years and will cost him his second run at the governor's seat, as well as costing the tax payers millions of dollars before he learned that lesson.

Same Stuff, Different Election Campaign

The AP did some real journalism and found that Scott Walker's Brown Bag Movement isn't an original idea. In fact, Mr. Frugality spent some $336,000 dollars for these recycled bags:

Both Walker and Voinovich's fundraising letters, signed by the candidates' wives and mailed in a brown bag, were devised by the same New Hampshire-based direct mail consulting firm, SCM Associates. Voinovich's brown bag letter, used in his first race for U.S. Senate in 1998, netted SCM an American Association of Political Consultants' Pollie Award that year for best campaign fundraiser.

SCM isn't running from the fact that it came up with both campaigns. It even bragged about it on its Facebook page in a Feb. 26 posting: "Brown bag movement takes off in Wisconsin. Our client, Scott Walker, running for Governor starts a movement based on an SCM Associates mailing. But Walker is the real deal, he brown bags two ham and cheese sandwiches on wheat every day."

Staying true to their nature, Team Walker then tries to spin their way out of this by doing what they do best - lying:

Walker campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader said the brown bag theme idea for Walker didn't come from SCM but was devised during a brainstorming session with campaign staff in Wisconsin. Bader said when the campaign discussed its ideas with direct mailer SCM, the firm mentioned it had done a similar ad for Voinovich.

She said the campaign was looking for ways to express to voters how fiscally conservative Walker is and settled on the brown bag image.

"It touched people because it was incredibly genuine," she said. "Scott is the person who he says he is."

This fine piece of investigative journalism stems from another fine piece which showed that Team Walker wasn't exactly telling the truth about his frugality. Despite the Walker apologists who claim that Walker's claim is that he would be frugal with the tax payers money and not his own, that is not in sync with the brown bag mailer that my wife had gotten months ago or with his whole premise that he would spend our money like it was his own.

If that was true, where Walker spent big bucks on his house with the giant cement pond, then the County wouldn't have a crumbling infrastructure or have its parks and pools in such disrepair. Not only that, but I and my fellow county workers would get a 40% raise like the one he gave himself.

The original AP story showed that Walker was quite the spendthrift with his campaign finances:

But campaign finance records show Walker's campaign had no problem affording multiple meals for the candidate, his aides, their supporters and others at restaurants and events across the state.

Walker campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader broadly defended the campaign's spending as appropriate and denied any hypocrisy. At the same time, she would not answer questions about specific bills, such as why the campaign spent $2,182 for "meeting expenses" at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Middleton in October or $805 at Timmer's in West Bend the same month.

The campaign rang up bills of $244 at the Bay City Smokehouse in Green Bay, $230 and $193 at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Greenfield, $230 at the Capital Grille in Washington, D.C., and $149 at the Waterfront in La Crosse, among others. The campaign also paid bills of more than $30 apiece seven times at the Ambassador Hotel in Milwaukee.

The campaign also paid for Walker's meals at Subway locations 15 times in a four-month span, and spent a total of $1,070 at Johnny V's Classic Cafe in West Allis over 30 separate occasions, records show.

As a friend had pointed out, "Why would a race for Wisconsin's governor go through the Capital Grille in Washington, D.C.?"

But sad to say, this is not the only time Walker has used recycled material and recycled hypocrisy.

The whole "Believe in Wisconsin" meme is also recycled, at least a couple of times.

In 1998, when Walker was running for his third term as county executive (even though he promised he wasn't going to) his campaign meme was "I believe in Scott Walker." Remember this commercial?:

It tuns out that his "I believe in Scott Walker" meme was a remake of Mayor John Norquist's "I believe in Milwaukee" campaign:

In the wake of the new TV ad from Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, with a mantra of "I believe in Milwaukee," a longtime political observer notes the ad picks up a theme used in past local political campaigns, including the 2000 re-election campaign of then-Mayor John O. Norquist.

That race, in which Norquist won a fourth term over downtown businessman George Watts, included a "We believe in Milwaukee" theme in TV ads and campaign literature.

It should also be noted that Walker's then campaign manager, Tim Russell, who is now Walker's Assistant Chief of Staff (and former Economic Development Director, between campaigns), said that the people in Walker's commercial were "real people."

Well, they were. They were real actors portraying real people, as Bill Christofferson pointed out, catching that at least one of the actors had appeared in another commercial (TV spot #2).

This, of course, makes one wonder about those "real people" that appear on Walker's campaign web site and if they are also paid talent.

One thing is for certain. Whether you are talking about Walker's recycling of other people's campaigns, his hypocrisy or his overall dishonesty, you have to give him a certain amount of credit...he sure is consistent at it.