Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Walker Takes Credit For Project He Opposed

Today, they had a ground breaking ceremony for Veteran's Manor, which will be an apartment building for low income veterans.

Scott Walker was there. From what I've heard, he gave a nice speech about how we should do whatever we can for our veterans and was the recipient of many thanks and kudos for getting the building built.

There is a problem with this.

Walker opposed the project because it used stimulus dollars. In fact, if the County Board hadn't pressed the issue and took over the stimulus application process, these apartments would probably never exist and that corner would remain a brownfield for years and years to come.

If anyone should be receiving praise for these apartments, it should be Supervisor Theo Lipscomb and his colleagues on the stimulus task force which he headed. It was this task force that attained the stimulus dollars which made this project happen.

Instead of receiving accolades, Walker should have been offering apologies.

But that would require a certain level of integrity which Walker has yet to exhibit.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is Scott Walker A Liar Or A Swine?

I think I would go with a damn lying pig.

Just How Bad Is BHD?

So bad that it will take the advisory group a full year to complete their review.

Meanwhile, Scott Walker continues to offer bandages for a severed artery.

This is beyond sad, even for Walker.

Monday, June 28, 2010

And They Said I Was Mean...

Once, Fred Dooley at Real Debate Wisconsin called me "King of the Hate Left." Charlie Sykes has been know to say a discouraging word or two about me, even once giving me his coveted "Deep Tunnel Award."

When Patrick McIlheran said that I was a bad person for pointing out that public safety should be number one, I thought it was a continuance of the same old same old.

But as I looked around the Intertubes, I came across some posts regarding the O'Donnell Park incident that alarmed me:
  • Former County Supervisor Jim McGuigan doesn't hold back in dumping on Walker's poor record of maintenance in this post.
  • McGuigan offers up a second dose of butt whupping in this post answering his critics.
  • Young Chris Walker turns up the political heat on his name sake for the years of neglect as well.
  • Then there is the Recess Supervisor, who launches a triad of blows by pointing out Walker's career might have ended with this disaster.
  • RS's second blow is landed when he points out that instead of leading, Walker goes into hiding, no doubt trying to figure out how to do damage control and how to do a cover up.
  • The Sups third blow comes when he points out that Walker is in trouble because he needs the daughter of Walker's Executhug to try to fight for him.
I apologize to the reader for this. I realize now that I have been in error. I vow to do my best to put the edge back into my writing from here on out. Thank you for your understanding.

Where Are The Nuggets On A Chicken Anyway?

And why in the world would anyone eat them?

American McNuggets (190 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat for 4 pieces) contain the chemical preservative tBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleum-based product. They also contain dimethylpolysiloxane, "an anti-foaming agent" also used in Silly Putty.

Milwaukee County Gets A New Judge 3...2...1....

The Fickle Jim Klauser

When the Republican gubernatorial race was still young, Jim Klauser, former Republican power broker in Wisconsin, issued a letter endorsing Mark Neumann and backed Neumann when he finally entered the race.

Not to much after than, Klauser fled the Neumann camp and defected to Scott Walker's camp, where he became not much more than a snark machine.

But Neumann's back isn't the only one that has one of Klauser's knives protruding from it. Terrence Wall's does as well.

When Wall made the allegations that his former opponent, Ron "$ugar Daddy" Johnson, bought the endorsement at Republicanfest last month, Klauser quickly turned on him as well:

Even Wall backers were shocked by his comments.

"I looked into it and I found nothing to support it," said Jim Klauser, Wall's campaign co-chair. "Sadly, I think this is all a part of his imagination. I think he is conjuring it up and demeaning a reputable individual in the process."

It should be interesting to see how many other Republicans will become human knife sheaths and get to ask, "Et tu, Brute Klauser?"

Public Safety vs. Political Spin

As most people are aware, last week a tragic event took place when part of the facade on the O'Donnell Park parking structure fell, killing a fifteen year old boy and injuring two others.

At Milwaukee County First, I discuss the difference in the ways that Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker handled the issue at the very sensitive first few hours.

Sadly, while Holloway was concerned with public safety, Walker made it appear that he was more concerned with how this would impact his gubernatorial campaign, and went into immediate damage control spin mode:

What makes Walker’s accusations even more egregious is that the first thing Walker did was to check in at the courthouse to see if there was any deferred maintenance. At the press conference that occurred shortly after the tragedy, after appropriately expressing his sympathy for the victims, Walker felt it necessary to keep repeating that there was no deferred maintenance that he was aware of. It was as if his first concern was that he didn’t get blamed for this catastrophe.

Regardless of whether this tragedy was caused by poor design, faulty construction, deferred maintenance or something else, the only responsible action would be to inspect all of the county-owned buildings and structures, especially given their history, before anyone else is injured.

For Walker to argue for anything else would make one wonder if he is really concerned about the public safety or if he is just worried about how this might effect his gubernatorial campaign.

Walker's Republican opponent for the Republican nomination (yes, Walker backers, there still is a primary), Mark Neumann did not do himself any favors with the press release he issued:

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.

“Government’s legitimate functions include providing safe infrastructure for its citizens. This concern must be paramount.

“It is clear that along with this latest tragedy, the county courthouse, the Zoo Interchange, and the Hoan Bridge, a number of structures in Milwaukee County are in various stages of disrepair. A full investigation and safety review is absolutely warranted, particularly for structures and facilities that have already been flagged for critical problems.

“This is heartbreaking. Sue and I are deeply sorry to hear of this terrible loss and the families are in our prayers.”

First of all, Neumann could have easily waited until this week before issuing the release. If he wanted to issue a release right away, it would have been much more appropriate to simply express his condolences. To add the jabs at Walker and Tom Barrett was needless and rather boorish at the time of the release.

On the Democratic side, Tom Barrett did it the way a political candidate with any level of statesmanship would. His press release was short and simple and had none of the political superfluity of his Republican opponents:
I extend my sincere sympathy to the family of the victim and to the individuals injured in this very tragic accident. The Milwaukee Fire Department and the Milwaukee Police Department have performed admirably at the scene. We also have City engineers at the scene. I’ve directed all City departments to provide Milwaukee County with any assistance necessary.
To further show his class, when he appeared on WTMJ 620-AM radio Friday morning, he repeatedly, and firmly, stated that he would not comment on the incident except that the City of Milwaukee was prepared and willing to offer any assistance needed as the investigation into the tragedy progresses.

It's been said that a person can be judged by how he or she acts in time of distress or crisis. If so, the behaviors of these four elected officials in the hours after this critical incident certainly speak for themselves.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Good Question


Tosa Tax Payers To Pay For UW-Tosa

Now the Wauwatosa Tax Payer can join the Monarch Butterfly on the endangered species list.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Removing Walker's Control Benefits Entire State

A year and a half ago, the State of Wisconsin was forced to take over Milwaukee County's Income Maintenance Program due to Scott Walker's inability and/or refusal to manage the program competently.

Since then, the State has made incredible progress in rectifying the short comings of the programs. Among the reasons that helped the State achieve this accomplishment was the fact that they required the County to keep the program fully staffed, as opposed to Walker only filling a tiny fraction of the positions despite the fact that they had been fully funded by the Board.

The entire State benefits from these improvements as well. Due to the increase in accuracy in Milwaukee County, the overall accuracy rating in the State improved as well. This in turn as led the State to receiving commendation from the feds as well as a nice bit of extra cash:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack announced that Wisconsin will receive nearly $3 million in bonus payments for having one of the highest FoodShare accuracy rates in the nation and making the most dramatic improvement of any state.

A USDA review found that 98.9% of the benefits issued in Wisconsin were for correct amount and that 95.4% of the individuals deemed eligible by the state were indeed eligible.
Proof positive that Milwaukee County, and the entire state, would be better off without Walker in control.

Here's A Good Idea

Why doesn't Representative Don Pridemore move to Arizona.

Both Pridemore and the people of Wisconsin would be much happier that way.

The only downside would be that Arizona would probably want to declare war on us for that.

Wall Accuses RoJo of Being GOP $ugar Daddy

Multimillionaire Terrence Wall, former U.S. Senate candidate, has climbed out of his pumpkin patch and has accused fellow multimillionaire Ron Johnson of bribing his way into getting the GOP endorsement last month.

The premise is that Wall is saying the RoJo had paid for delegates hotel rooms for them if they stayed and voted for him at Republicanfest. Wall doesn't offer any proof except for hearsay from unnamed sources.

That said, Team Johnson has only offered milquetoast defenses, showing some invoices from the hotel, but not stating if those are the only invoices they have from the hotel or any other hotels. To further complicate RoJo's defense team is that fact that their candidate has yet to offer up any financial records, even though he was required by law to do so quite a while ago.

It's not like RoJo needs any help from outside sources to sabotage his campaign. He has already shown that he and his politics are not ready for prime time when he forgot to stick out his pinkie at the proper angle at a TEA Party meeting.

For more information on Johnson's faux pas, Team Blogging Blue has been on top of the Johnson campaign most effectively. Illy-T has also been laying the smack down on RoJo (Illy-T is the one I got the Johnson moniker from) has also been putting the spotlight on Johnson's foibles.

One of my favorite catches by Illy-T is the fact that has less than flattering things to say about RoJo:
While there is not much known about the candidate for Senate on the Republican side in WI, Ron Johnson, there is ONE very shameful and disgusting thing that rises to the top of contemptible behavior for this Conservative. Ron Johnson in his gig as a part of the Green Bay Diocese’s Finance Council lobbied the legislature to stop a bill that would have allowed the length of time for a victim of sexual abuse to sue the Church and as well opened a three year window for older abuse cases. [...]
Illy-T also shoes that RoJo is completely out of step with the majority of Americans, but in sync with Big Oil tycoons by being a BP apologist.

Back to the Wall accusations, I just wonder how the voting conservatives are thinking of their party's candidate of the year and if he is going to survive through the primary, much less have a chance against Russ Feingold.

I would also be remiss if I didn't point out that the GOP, who is always calling for voter suppression, cannot even run an election themselves without it being called into question. Maybe they are onto something with their calls for Voter ID. They need to show their ID and when found to be Republican, they are disqualified from voting.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meanwhile, At Milwaukee County First

My good friend, the outstanding Mr. Jason Rosenzweig (nee Haas) tells the County Board to vote against paving over paradise to put up a parking lot at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

I question the wisdom and the reason behind a resolution to censure Supervisor Lynne De Bruin about her blowing the whistle on the horrors occurring at the mental health complex.

It's Not The Heat, It's The Hypocrisy

One of Scott Walker's most infamous traits is his hypocrisy. The most classic example of this is the way he bad mouths the ARRA, or stimulus, funds, and at the same time boasts about how he is using it to improve Milwaukee County.

On Tuesday, he gave us two more glaring examples of how he has mastered the art of being one of the best hypocrites around.

Whenever his primary opponent, Mark Neumann, shows some example of how he and Walker contrast, and why Neumann would be the better candidate for the governor's race, Walker and his crew go around whining about how Neumann should be focusing on the Democrats, namely Tom Barrett, instead of trying to win the primary. Never mind the fact that Walker has been attacking Neumann since Neumann first announced that he was throwing his hat in the ring.

Walker's complaints are echoed by talk radio and the usual suspects around the Blogosphere and inner Republican circles, who lament that Neumann has "gone negative," even as they go on to attack Neumann.

Today, Rasmussen came out with another meaningless poll which showed Walker and Neumann in a dead heat when paired up versus Tom Barrett. As expected, Team Walker sent out the obligatory press release, but with a twist:
• Walker’s favorable ratings are 51% favorable to 35% unfavorable (32% very favorable) to Barrett’s 42-44% (22% very favorable).

Meanwhile, Neumann is viewed very favorably by only 13%.

• Walker has the highest favorable ratings among GOP voters at 86%. He is viewed very favorably by 63% of GOP voters – only 23% of GOP voters view Neumann very favorably.
So Walker, who whines about "being attacked" by his opponent and how he never would do that, sends out a press release attacking his opponent.

The only thing remarkable about that piece of hypocrisy is that it isn't even the most egregious one.

Also on Tuesday, Walker sent out this tweet:

Wait a minute here! Walker is attacking someone for bad budgeting?! Our Scott Walker?!

Let's look at the problems that Milwaukee County has faced thanks to Scott Walker's budgeting prowess, or lack thereof:
  • The state had to take over the Income Maintenance Program due to Walker not filling the positions that the Board had funded. He needed the money to pay off for other things. Without the take over, the tax payers were facing having to pay a hefty amount from a class action lawsuit.
  • Female patients at the mental health complex are being sexually assaulted due to their not being enough staff to properly supervise the wards, due to budget problems. Not only did this endanger $60 million in funding, it opened the county to another massive class action lawsuit.
  • The mental health complex is found to be in shoddy condition. Repair costs could run as high as $15 million, but without addressing the problem, the County is facing steep fines.
  • Tax payers will have to foot the bill for nearly $300 million dollars in repairs and maintenance for the parks alone, due to poor budgeting decisions.
  • The transit system has been cut by 20%, keeping over 40,000 jobs away from transit dependent workers.
  • The House of Correction was wracked with excessive overtime and found to be in terrible condition by a federal auditor due to Walker's poor budgeting decisions.
The icing for this piece of hypocrisy is that Walker introduced an illegal budget for 2010, with a $32 million deficit hole in the middle of it. Despite the County Board's best efforts to fix it, the County is currently facing a $7 million deficit and Walker has offered no plans on how to remedy this. The 2011 budget looks to be only more horrific.

For Walker to criticize anyone, and I mean anyone, for bad budgeting shows that he is the master of hypocrisy. Of all time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We are getting a preliminary look at Scott Walker's recommended budget for 2011. Some of the more remarkably irresponsible and insane things he has on his plate:
  • Cutting off the Freeway Flyers
  • Closing the Domes
  • Closing the Wehr Nature Center
  • Closing the outdoor pools
  • Killing and/or giving away some of the animals at the zoo
  • More costly privatization
  • Another illegally deficit budget
Must be an election year. Sigh.

Sensenbrenner Wastes Our Tax Dollars

When I got home tonight and went through the mail, one thing that stood out was this giant flier from Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-BP).

This was a wasteful and questionable use of our tax dollars.

First of all, I am not in his district. My Congresswoman is the energetic and proudly progressive Gwen Moore. I wonder how many other people got his mailer from his office who aren't represented by him.

The first page of the mailer is in letter form, wherein he complains that providing health care for the most needy is downright unAmerican and that the best thing is to get an activist judge to rule it unconstitutional. The bottom of the page is a promotion of his Facebook page, his YouTube videos and a chance to sign up for his e-newsletter.

The second page is a long blathering of how bad immigration is. Page Three is a list of his town hall meetings.

The back page is a list of survey questions that are so partisan that it seems to be almost a campaign flier. Here's an example:
8) What is the greatest domestic threat facing the United States today?

a) Wasteful government spending e) Domestic terrorism
b) Economic instability f) Global Warning
c) Rising debt/deficit g) Other
d) Illegal immigration
One would think that the fact that it's called global warming would indicated that it is not just a domestic issue.

The other questions also sound like a pop quiz given by (or for) a talk radio host.

It is a rather silly and blatantly politically orientated flier, especially considering that the tax payers had to shell out for it.

One of my conservative friends (yes, I have some), Dean Mundy, wrote a few days ago about the fact that Sensenbrenner has an opponent in Todd Kolosso. Dean found it amusing that Kolosso was raising the issue of Sensenbrenner's stock holdings:

I don’t want to tell Democrats how to campaign, but the last few challengers have tried to nail Sensenbrenner because of his stock holdings and it hasn’t taken.

Come to think of it, pretty much any thing any challenger has thrown at him has managed to unseat him.

I don't think it's an issue of what the Democrats, or any other challenger, has tried to use against Sensenbrenner. I think it says much more about the people that have kept voting him in all these years, and how much they tolerate.

Great Minds Think Alike

Either that, or one of us got lucky.

Last night, I wrote a piece criticizing Walker's plan to try to balance a massive deficit he would create by dumping on the state workers. Including in my critique was the fact that Walker would have to actually try to negotiate these concessions:
In reality, it hasn't worked so well for him in Milwaukee County. He has often tried to beat the unions into submission and continuously demanded that they give concessions. This hasn't worked out the way he wanted it to. The unions don't take kindly to being threatened or coerced, and would be much more willing to work with Walker at the negotiating table rather than acquiesce to his demands.

And therein lies the rub. If Walker were to sit at the table with the unions to negotiate for them to concede on paying more for their health care or pensions, the unions would want something in return, such as a pay raise or a no lay off clause, neither of which Walker would want to give them.
I went on to point out that under Walker's administrative style, he not only failed to get his demands met, but has a county falling apart on him even as he is trying to tell us nothing is wrong.

In his weekly column, Bruce Murphy also touches base on Walker's plan. Mr. Murphy touches on many of the same points that I did, plus many more. Here is what Mr. Murphy said about the same issue I cited above:
2. Walker can’t simply do this by fiat but must negotiate with the state employees unions, and that means giving up other things to gain the pension contribution. It’s not a given that this is the most cost-effective measure for the state to bargain for in negotiations.
Mr. Murphy's point #4 is spot on as well.

(I just hope Mr. Murphy doesn't take offense at my tongue in cheek comments at the top.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Because It's Worked So Well Before

Both Republican gubernatorial candidates, Mark Neumann and Scott Walker, have made some grand pie-in-the-sky promises about drastic tax cuts, but neither have explained how they would pay for these tax cuts, whether it would be to double down on the deficit or to deny services to some of the state's most vulnerable citizens.

Bill Christofferson, writing at Uppity Wisconsin, notes that a reporter in Wisconsin, Scott Bauer with the AP, has started asking some of the hard questions regarding these issues.

What Mr. Bauer found was not very surprising.

Neumann had nothing:
Neumann said he would limit state agency's annual spending increases to no more than 1 percent less than the rate of inflation, but he hasn't said which ones would be exempt from the reductions or what exactly would be cut.
Scott Walker's wasn't any better. As Bill pointed out, it was nothing more than "a work in progress." Or in other words, "We're making this up as we go along."

Even worse is who he has in his camp acting as his brain trust. One of these trusted allies is Representative Robin "I'm Batman" Vos (R-Crazydonia) who's most recently claim to fame is a letter to the feds saying that he is opposed to jobs coming to Southeastern Wisconsin.

Another one of Walker's advisers is Senator Alberta Darling (R-the nearest golf course), who brought us, and continued to have oversight of the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. The new child welfare system is costing tax payers tens of millions of dollars more every year and the only things that ever change are the names of the children being abused or killed while in the state's care.

Walker did manage to come up with one specific action plan, which is to attack the unions. But much like his brown bag campaign, it is a much used and reused piece. Walker can't very well run too much on his record in Milwaukee County with things falling apart and a ballooning structural deficit, so he takes the attention off of that by feeding into the hate of unions and public workers, fanned by the raw spewage of talk radio.

In a nutshell, Walker said that he is going to make the public employees pay for part of his tax cuts. On the surface, it sounds like a reasonable plan, and one that would play well in a populist sort of way, especially if the population being targeted are the TEA Party people.

In reality, it hasn't worked so well for him in Milwaukee County. He has often tried to beat the unions into submission and continuously demanded that they give concessions. This hasn't worked out the way he wanted it to. The unions don't take kindly to being threatened or coerced, and would be much more willing to work with Walker at the negotiating table rather than acquiesce to his demands.

And therein lies the rub. If Walker were to sit at the table with the unions to negotiate for them to concede on paying more for their health care or pensions, the unions would want something in return, such as a pay raise or a no lay off clause, neither of which Walker would want to give them.

The only other option for Walker would then be to lay off workers, as he has done in Milwaukee County. One Wisconsin Now states that the number of workers needed to balance a state budget under Walker would be 29,000 jobs, or 42% of the current work force. Even I can't believe Walker would be so foolish as to lay off that many people, but he has laid off so many county workers that it has caused some major problems:
  • Due to being so short-handed, the call center for the Income Maintenance Program couldn't come anywhere near handling the calls coming in. The end result was that the state had to take over the program in order to save tax payers from a class action lawsuit.
  • There has been a regular flood of reports coming from the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division that shows the results of being understaffed, including patients being sexually assaulted by other patients.
  • Likewise, the House of Correction had severe problems with staffing shortages, which led to budget-busting amounts of overtime, burn out, unneeded injuries and at least one death. Things were so bad that HOC was slammed in a federal report and did not show signs of improvement until handed over to the sheriff's office.
The list goes on and on.

Only a fool would deny that taxes are going to play a big part in this falls elections, not only in the state, but across the country. Everyone is for lower taxes.

But when it comes to severe cuts to services, people lose a lot of their enthusiasm. I would think that the winning approach to the tax and spend issue is one that takes a realistic look at how to get things under control, such as cutting frivolous programs and positions, and negotiating real cost cutting contracts with the unions.

We'll see if Neumann and Walker can pick up on that before it's too late for them.

The Longest (Furlo-ugh) Day

Today was furlough day #10. It is kind of ironic that it also happens to be the summer solstice, making today the longest day of the year.

I got a lot done. I got my haircut and ran some errands, including the much-dreaded grocery shopping. Although I have found that the shopping isn't nearly as bad when you go during the day on a weekday. It's not nearly as crowded, the lines at the checkout are shorter, and people are less crabby since they are not in a hurry. My wife and I also got some bigger projects out of the way.

The only thing I missed doing was my afternoon nap. Oh well.

Anyway, just to keep track, under the new numbers, this has meant that Milwaukee County missed out on another $700 of revenue, bring the year to date total to an even $7,000. And keep in mind, that is just me. There are many more people taking furloughs during the year, each racking up the same losses in revenue.

As for the week ahead, well, the rest of the week is the usual day to day, with some overtime to boot. Not too bad, considering that this was a furlough day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

For Those Following Along

I will be out in the field doing home visits all day, and then taking a mental health break away from the keyboard as soon as I'm done with work.

I will be trying to approve comments as I can tonight and over the weekend, but don't know how often I will get to it, so please be patient.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Food For Thought

No, I'm still not commenting on, well, you know.

But here is some more food for thought, with the following chefs:
ADDENDUM: Another entree served up by James Arndt

For the gentle reader looking for something a little different, Steve Jagler of has a piece on it as well. I would point to the comment done by Jim Brooks.

Again, I would like to thank all of my friends who have offered their support and concern.

And as noted yesterday, donations to the Capper Defense Fund are accepted with great gratitude and heartfelt thanks.

Ron Johnson and His Not Ready For Prime Time Politics

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Ron Johnson, who can't decide if he is a TEA Partier, a Republican, or both, has pulled out of two meetings with TEA Party groups. Johnson is claiming a scheduling conflict, but there are some who think that it is because he bombed out during a vetting session in Chippewa County.

According to the report, Johnson got several of the nuttier positions down pat, such as denying global warming and showing disdain for the United Nations.

But in other areas, he proved to be not quite loony enough for the Mad Hatters, such as questioning the Patriot Act and showing an unwillingness to just outright abolish the IRS.

The one thing that should alarm any sane person, whether they are on the right or the left, is this (emphasis mine):
A video of Johnson's 45-minute vetting Friday by the Rock River group shows the Oshkosh businessman alternately at ease and somewhat defensive. He explained he is not a scholar of the Constitution, adding that it "is not an easy document" and is "hard to study unless you do it in detail."
If he were to win, his job would include following and defending the Constitution. Not only that, but he would be expected to propose and vote on laws that are Constitutional or even to alter the Constitution. How in the world can he do that if he does understand the thing in the first place?

Someone should clue the Republicans that it takes more than just a big bank roll to be a good candidate, much less someone able to adequately represent the people of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just A Dog?

A friend sent me this video today. It was a much needed reminder of what's important. If you're a dog lover, that is:

Um, Yeah. About That.

I am sure most of you have heard or seen the allegations that have been leveled against me.

I'm not going to comment about them. I'm sure you can understand why.

But I do want to say a heart-felt thank you to those that have expressed concern, consideration, and support. It does mean a lot to me.

I would also just suggest that the gentle reader might want to read the post done by my friend, Jay "folkbum" Bullock (including the comments). The Brew City Brawler also has something worth reading.

ADDENDUM: My friends and colleagues, Tom Foley and Jason Haas, have each also put up some words of thought worth the time to take a look at.

And, of course, any donations to the Capper Defense Fund are always appreciated.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ron Johnson Finds Solutions To Asian Carp Problem

It's simple really:

On Monday, WisPolitics asked Johnson:

“Would you support drilling, like in the Great Lakes for example?”

Johnson replied:

“You know, the bottom line is we are an oil-based economy. There's nothing we're going to do to get off of that for many years. I think we have to be realistic and recognize that fact and, you know, I, I think we have to, get the oil where it is, but we have to do it where it is.”

He then can open a seafood restaurant where the only dish is blackened carp.

Of course, there will be some other minor problems, like killing all the other fish and ruining our ecosystem, but what the heck, he doesn't care. He's rich and will just fly off to somewhere else.

Scott Walker Has Failed Us

Scott Walker, putting his political and personal aspirations before the taxpayers and before the public good, as failed us, especially when it comes to providing services for the mentally ill.

First, he let mentally ill people living in the community live in squalid conditions where many became ill and some died. He only took action to remedy the problem when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a series of hard-hitting articles putting a light onto this problem.

Other problems have arisen at the mental health complex over the years, including spikes in violent behaviors from patients towards staff and towards other patients.

Four years ago, a patient was allowed to starve to death while a patient at BHD.

This year, it was reported that female patients at the hospital were being sexually assaulted by other patients. It was revealed that John Chianelli, Director of BHD, called it a "trade off" to keep down violence between male patients.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I learned that Scott Walker could have prevented much, if not all, of this three years ago, if he had only approved a secure ward which had been proposed and in the recommended budget.

Today, we learned that the physical structure of the complex is "in shoddy condition" and that due to staff shortages, things like record keeping and notifying guardians have fallen to unacceptable levels.

Touching on some of the problems that Walker will leave us as a legacy, WISDEMS have come out with an ad:

The thing that bothers me the most is the fact that when Ament's pension scandal was exposed, people went ballistic. Now that we are seeing that not only is Walker squandering our tax dollars, but is putting people's very lives and well being in harm's way, the same people are cheering him on. It says a lot about them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Republicans Endorse Neumann, Westlake

Today, Team Neumann issued a press release claiming that they received the endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus of Wisconsin. Following the link in the press release, one sees that they RLC-WI also endorsed Dave Westlake for Senate.

At best, they could be considered backhanded endorsements, especially when one considers this blurb:
In our view, neither of these two candidates is perfect. In fact, neither would likely be comfortable calling themselves libertarian Republicans. Perhaps they would consider themselves Constitutionalists. In any case, these are the best candidates Wisconsin has to offer for U.S. Senate and for Governor in 2010. We think our slate of candidates will radically reduce government waste and increase freedom in the state of Wisconsin. If you agree, please consider becoming a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus.
But even has tempered an endorsement as these might be, they also picked up on the machinations of the power brokers of the Republican Party:

First, in principle we oppose the Republican Party of Wisconsin making pre-emptive endorsements prior to the primary. They did so in both the Gubernatorial race and the U.S. Senate race. The Wisconsin Republican Party’s pre-primary endorsements were inappropriate for several reasons:

  • They are directing money and resources to candidates prior to allowing primary voters to weigh in;
  • The state GOP clearly picked its favorites and was working to help their favorites even before the state GOP Convention;
  • Winning is not as important as vigorously protecting free and fair elections. Selling out on principle to win has not yielded positive results for the Republican Party in the past;
  • Pre-primary endorsements discourage Republicans from donating to the Republican Party of Wisconsin; after all, if you donated to them to help build the Republican Party and they are funding the candidate you did not want them to fund, it doesn’t appear that your money is being put to good use.
This kind of takes away from Team Walker trying to gainsay the legitimacy of Neumann's campaign and puts his own in the shadow of doubt.

When one considers that this group claims to be part of the forces that brought in the Republican wave in 1994 with the Contract on for America, the fact that they are not very keen on either Scott Walker or Ron Johnson should put a trickle of concern down their backs, as well as those of the would be king makers.

That's Gonna Hurt

Now Scott Walker can't go after that long-desired Ziegler/Gableman endorsement after all.

Man vs. Machine: The GOP Race Goes To Another Level

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice obtained an email which was sent by Bill McCoshen, another one of the bigger cogs in the Republican Machine of Wisconsin. Said email has an ominous ring to it:

A private e-mail obtained by No Quarter shows Bill McCoshen, a top Wisconsin Republican, urging his party to take steps to knock the former congressman out of the race pronto.

McCoshen, a lobbyist and former top aide to ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson, sent the note to dozens of prominent Republicans - mainly, his fellow Thompson acolytes - last week. It came after GOP stalwart Jim Klauser, Thompson's campaign architect, sent a public letter to Neumann calling on him to drop out of the race.

"Well done, Jim," wrote McCoshen. "There are a couple more steps the party needs to take to end this nonsense."

Bice's article goes on to point out that McCoshen, like his buddy Jim Klauser, is one of those fickle people that supported Neumann before they were against him.

What is interesting is that Walker's campaign and WISGOP can't even get their talking points straight as they rush to cover what appears to be a semi-organized effort to ignore what the voters want in order to push their own particular agenda, much as we saw at Republicanfest last month.

It is also demonstrative on how nervous Team Walker and WISGOP are apparently feeling, at least in regards to this particular race. With these two candidates so similar in many aspects, it's a shame that they don't trust the voters any more than the Democrats appear to.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yoo Hoo, AFSCME!

The Governor of New York tried to impose mandatory furloughs on all the workers due to their fiscal situation. However, he went about it all wrong, and the unions sued for an injunction.

Sounds familiar, no?

Anyway, the unions prevailed. The Court ruled that government can't just impose changes that would cause irreparable harm without proving the need and that all other options had been exhausted.

While the circumstances are a bit different from New York and Milwaukee County, there may be something of use in the ruling, I would think.

Drinking Liberally This Wednesday

It's that time already for this month's rendition of drinking liberally. Per our gracious host, Helmut Sr., er, Jason:

Dear friends,

We are happy to welcome Henry Sanders, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, to the next Drinking Liberally! (And that's at 7PM on June 16 at Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave.)

Mr. Sanders will be facing Milwaukee's state Senator Spencer Coggs in the primary. To be fair, we'll try to get Sen. Coggs at a future DL. (Senator, you're welcome to make a surprise appearance at this one.)

Drinking Liberally cannot endorse any candidate. Instead, we seek to bring them to you in the friendly confines of our fine drinking establishment so we can have a more personal conversation with them.

Future guests at Drinking Liberally include Lieutenant Chris Moews, who is challenging Sheriff Clarke in the primary, and state senate candidate and primary challenger Chris Larson. (Will we get Rep. Chris Sinicki? Find out!)

To get more info on Henry Sanders, please visit his web site at . As always, we meet at 7PM onward at Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave. in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. See you there! And be sure to bring your questions for Henry Sanders, ad anyone else who shows up.

Jason & the Milwaukee DL crew

Who knows, I might even make this one.

TEA Party Goats

U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was holding a press event to lambaste the subsidy that that the federal government is paying to Angora goat farmers in Texas, a practice that dates back some fifty to sixty years when there was concern about having enough wool for military uniforms.

The goats apparently don't like having their money cut off. From the Fox station in New York:
Lawmaker Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) was hurt by a goat Thursday during a press conference in Washington to highlight subsidies to the mohair industry, according to The Hill website.

The young male mohair goat drew blood after it nicked Weiner's right hand with one of its pointy, foot-long horns.

Exactly which of the two goats that had been brought along to the Rayburn House Office Building was responsible for the injury was not clear however.

Both animals, "Lancelot" and "Arthur," were apparently remaining tight-lipped.

It kind of reminds me of the TEA Partiers who want government to keep its hands off of their Medicare.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Poor Leadership Causes More Problems With MPS

JSOnline is reporting that MPS has sent out lay off notices to 482 teachers as well as hundreds of educational assistants. MPS officials are saying that the lay offs stem from the teachers union not accepting a less expensive health plan.

But there are two problems with their claim.

One is that the change had not been properly introduced:

Union spokeswoman Kristen Collett said the administration never presented that option during negotiations for a new contract.

"The district has been engaged in public bargaining, but it never came up at the table," Collett said when reached by telephone Friday evening.

The last contract between MPS and the teachers expired June 30, 2009, Collett said.

The other problem is that the claim that this other health plan would be less expensive is rather dubious. From Jay Bullock, liberal blogger and teacher extraordinaire:
And here's the kicker: Changing the health plan from PPO to HMO isn't going to save much money at all: The district offered an estimate a while ago, noted by the editorial board here: "An estimated $47 million in health care savings could spare 400 teaching jobs." Their math is right on how much teachers cost, but the "estimated" savings is nowhere near accurate. The way MPS arrived at the number was to take the average cost of an employee on the HMO and subtract that from the average cost of an employee on the PPO, multiplied by the number of employees on the PPO. Problem is, the average cost of an employee on the HMO will shoot right up if all of us are on that plan. Why? Because the costs are based on actual utilization, and employees who choose the PPO do so generally because they have higher-cost or more challenging needs. Those health issues will not magically go away under the HMO, and MPS will still find itself paying for that care. In addition, the HMO requires no annual deductible or co-insurance or cop-pays.
Jay goes on to explain where the real problems are coming from.

But now, due to the state, the feds, and the MPS leadership, there will be hundreds of less teachers to try keep a struggling school system from completely failing. Nowhere have I seen any explanation on how fewer teachers are going to help raise the reading and math abilities of struggling students.

I completely sympathize with Jay and his fellow teachers, as well as the students who will ultimately pay the price for MPS leadership's failure. After all, Milwaukee County government has the same issue with its leadership.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Neumann Draws A Bead, Walker Shoots Blanks*

So the big hubbub of the day in the race going into the September primary (yes, Jim Klauser, there really is a primary), is that Mark Neumann tripped up Scott Walker on another one of his flip flops, this time dealing with concealed carry.

Neumann even had the audacity to create a web commercial and buy ad space on the Drudge Report. Here is the ad:

Walker, instead of arguing the point of why he voted the way he did, simply ran out and had a couple of the cogs of the Republican machine tell us to ignore the actual votes and listen to their political panderings that Walker really, really does like guns. He even had his picture taken once holding a gun. (Rumor is that they also took a second picture of hims holding said gun in the correct manner.) The usual suspects are besides themselves, spitting with frustration, and claiming that the words of these two party Republicans should settle the matter.

The real answer to whether Neumann is just running a smear campaign or is running a primary race should and could be answered by one simple thing: Did or did not Walker vote against the concealed carry bill twice.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides that answer in their coverage of Neumann's assertions:

In February 2002, Walker voted against a bill to allow concealed weapons bill that was overwhelmingly supported by Republicans. The vote was held at 3:51 a.m.

Two months later, during his run for county executive, Walker told the Journal Sentinel: "My main gripe with that piece of legislation wasn't the bill itself, but the fact that it was voted on at 4 o'clock in the morning without any drafting attorneys or other staff around without the public even knowing about it."

Two years earlier, Walker voted against a similar bill in a procedural vote. In that vote, Republicans were nearly united in voting against it.

They even provide the actual voting record, confirming what Neumann had asserted. I don't know what is so shocking about this. By now, almost anyone paying attention and who is honest with themselves already knows that Walker is a creature of convenience, and will say whatever he thinks the listener wants to hear.

I don't know if any, including Walker himself, really knows where he stands on any given issue.

That said, we also have to give Walker the benefit of the doubt. In fact, Cog Dis is pleased to show a handgun that was designed to specifically match Walker's own style of campaigning:

*Not the original title I wanted to use, because Illy-T had already used it.

It Was Bound To Happen

From JSOnline:

Milwaukee police are investigating a robbery in which a man took a handgun from another man who was openly carrying the gun in a holster on his hip, a department spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The robbery occurred Friday on a sidewalk in the 7000 block of N. Teutonia Ave., police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said.

The robber approached the 34-year-old victim and asked for a cigarette, Schwartz said. The victim gave the robber a cigarette, but the robber then pointed a handgun at the victim and took the victim's gun from his holster, she said.

So now because of this wannabe Lone Ranger, we have a criminal thug with not just one, but two guns. Lovely.

Odds are that the guy had a false sense of security because he was packing heat. Who would mess with him, right? After all, he had a gun.

But what good does the gun do if you don't have the common sense to be aware of your surroundings and are that unaware of what's going on around you?

The Chief has more, based on WTMJ's radio news report on the incident.

The thing that amazes me is how this gun donor and commenters on JSOnline think this proves the need for concealed carry. The only way that would have made anything better is that the perpetrator might not have been aware that the fool had a gun and so wouldn't have stolen it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Walker Wants To Cut Businesses Down

Subtitle: Why Politicians Shouldn't Tweet

Scott Walker sent out this tweet the other day:

There are two major problems with it.

One, why is he working on ideas to cut the business climate. Is he that jealous of Tom Barrett's success in bringing jobs to the area and growing our economy again?

Secondly, and more seriously, why in the world is he allowed to do a campaign tweet from his county office? Isn't that some sort of major no-no?

Walker's Brown Bag of Bad Leadership

I know that this came out last week, but I still like it, and so I'm posting it:

Actually, it would be funnier if it wasn't so damn true...

But How Will They Pay For Them?

We all know how both Mark Neumann and Scott Walker are making big promises about extravagant tax cuts for the rich, but they never mention who will be paying for them. One Wisconsin Now takes it to them, calling for answers:

I really love the looks on Neumann's and Walker's faces after the first question.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Walker's Pension FAIL

While I was gone, the Democrats did a little fact checking on Scott Walker's most recent commercial. What they found was that (gasp!) Walker was being less than perfectly honest in it. They even put together this video regarding it:

And you can find their press release regarding it by clicking here.

I would also remind the gentle reader that I had already did my own fact checking on this particular ad. I pointed out that Walker made the duplicitous claim that his predecessor, Tom Ament, made a money grab, but then turned around and sued Mercer for the money, claiming that they gave the County bad advice on the pension deal.

It's bad enough that Walker flip flops on every single issue, but does he really have to flip flop on who he is blaming for things as well?

Heeee's Back

As most of you already knew, I was up north for the past week, enjoying the peace and quiet that goes with the northern castle.

It was a lovely time away from the hustle and bustle of city living. I wish it hadn't rained as much, but it's been so dry up there that the need was very much needed, plus it gave me a chance to catch up on some also much-needed sleep.

As far as news up there, we saw lots of animals, including about 40-50 goldfinches, baby robins, and a family of ruby-throated hummingbirds, like the one pictured. They have the most amazing coloring, when the lights it it right, the red color is iridescent and seems to be shining on its own.

Also did some outside stuff, like cutting the grass (twice), putting up another bluebird house, and planting some milkweed plants and seeds that my friends at the Friends of the Monarch Trail gave to me. And I did all that work without having the slightest urge to carry a gun around. Amazing isn't it?

The sad part was we found out the hard way that deer do indeed find young milkweed plants to be rather edible. Only two of ten seedlings survived. The more mature plants seem to be thriving and had escaped the attention of the deer.

I was also a little disappointed (and a little relieved) not to have seen the female bear and her two cubs that has been spotted about a mile away, or the cougar that the neighbors said was seen a couple, three miles away.

On the political front, there still isn't much interest in politics, but what there is seems to be either going for Tom Barrett or Mark Neumann, depending on which way they tended to vote. I couldn't find one person that said that they were supporting Scott Walker, even among the GOP faithful in the Fox Valley area. When Walker's name was brought up, the most common comments dealt with either not trusting him or saying he was not s"mart enough". And that was without them knowing who I was or what I did, either for work or blogging-wise. No wonder Walker seems to be a bit more panicky than when I left.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pets Get To Visit Vets Again

Now this is some good news:
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) announced today that dogs and cats are once again welcome at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes at King and Union Grove, provided their owners comply with new policy guidelines. A temporary moratorium on animal visits had been put in place less than two weeks ago, while policies were drafted and approved.

“Without some commonsense guidelines in place, we had concerns about member safety and liability,” says Sara Stinski, a spokesperson for WDVA. “We recognize the important role these animals play in enhancing the quality of life for many members.”

Two new policies have been instituted. One policy, approved last week, applies to so-called “therapy animals,” which are typically dogs brought in by volunteers to interact with members and provide opportunities for motivation, education or recreation. A separate policy, approved today, applies to “pets,” or non-therapeutic animals.
I'm a strong believer in the healing and calming affect that animals have on people. And since these men and women so bravely served our country, they deserve to have this much, at the very least.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't Look For Your Newsletters Today

If you do like I do, and subscribe to E-Notify services, you can get the Barrett Report and the Executive Update, the electronic newsletters sent out each Friday by Tom Barrett and Scott Walker. But don't hold your breath waiting for the next one to come:

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker are suspending their online newsletters to comply with state election rules.

The state bars elected officials from using taxpayer dollars to distribute newsletters in the months leading up to an election. Barrett is the only major candidate in September's Democratic gubernatorial primary, while Walker is vying with U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann for the Republican nomination. The primary winners will face off in November to succeed Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, who is not seeking a third term.

Thursday marked the last edition before the hiatus for both "The Barrett Report" and "Executive Update."

It's sad that the citizenry will not get to know what's going on in their community. Then again, it is probably for the better since Walker has already been abusing the system anyway.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Desperate Are Walker's Backers?

They're so desperate that they'll throw away any credibility they might have had.

Misleading Headlines

Last week, the Business Journal published a report which had a headline of:
DOT fines Delta, AirTran for false advertising
Naturally, I presumed that the AirTran part had to do with their funding of Scott Walker's campaign bike ride, but I wasn't sure what Delta had to do with it.

It turned out that the story was about something totally different, meaning no media outlet has picked up on the big story yet.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Well, Mr. CEO, Was It Worth It?

An interesting story appeared last week in the Wall Street Journal. The basic gist of the story was that as the economy recovers, more and more people are telling their bosses to take their job and shove it as they move on to greener pastures.

One of the reasons they give is that people are looking for that step up on their climb to success. Another reason is that people were getting tired of being treated like garbage:

Another factor making it harder for companies to retain employees is the effect of the heavy cost-cutting and downsizing during the downturn on workers' morale. A survey conducted last summer for the Conference Board, a management research organization, found that the drivers of the drop in job fulfillment included less satisfaction with wages and less interest in work. In 2009, 34.6% of workers were satisfied with their wages, down more than seven percentage points from 1987. About 51% in 2009 said they were interested in work, down 19 percentage points from 1987.

"Employees feel disengaged with their jobs, which is going to lead to a lot of churn as we come out of the recession," says Brett Good, a district president of Southern California for Robert Half International, an executive recruiting firm.

There's an old saying that you can kick a dog only so many times before it turns on you. People are having to go through furloughs, pay cuts and lay offs, all the while the CEOs and members of the Board of Directors are still taking home their millions of dollars. Understandably, people get tired of being treated like a dirty shirt, and will go where they feel they are wanted and not just used.

The companies are going to have to pay heavily for the short-term gain that their CEOs pursued:
An increase in turnover can be costly for companies. It typically costs a company about half of the position's annual salary to recruit a person for that job, but the cost can run up to several times that if the position requires rare skills, says Right Management's Mr. Haid. Convincing employees to stay might not be cheap either. Nearly 5,400 members of, a job board for positions that pay $100,000 or more, responded to an April survey that asked how much more money it would take to convince them to stay if they wanted to leave. More than 20% said it would take a raise of more than $25,000. In all, about 50% of respondents said it would take more than $15,000.
This refusal of delayed gratification can also be used to explain why their is a lot of animosity towards union workers, especially public sector workers. Most people only look at the immediate pay and whether they get certain health benefits. Union workers, especially in the public sector, tend to take a longer look down the road, and try to get the best deal they can, balancing the immediate needs of their workers with their long term needs.

When the country faces economic hardships, like the one we are trying to climb out of, the short-term benefits evaporate into the air. Then those that sought out the quick fix become jealous and angry with those that looked further ahead. And even though this has happened many times before, people seem to have such short memories that the pattern keeps being repeated.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Furlo-Ugh Day 9

Today is my ninth day of involuntarily contributing to Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign. This is the day that I go beyond any city worker or state worker, who only have four or eight days of furlough per year, respectively. And I still have 13 more to go. And he still has a deficit to boot.

If that doesn't give you an idea of what an inept and ineffective administration Walker has, I don't know what will.

Anyway, I'm up north relaxing by the river as you read this. How's your day going?

Wait, before you answer, let me remind you that today, with the corrected numbers, means the county is out another $700 of revenue for a total of $6,300. Next time some bad news comes out of BHD, the courthouse, or the parks, remember how he is squandering resources, running for governor on your back.

As for me, well this is the day after Thanksgiving, since I worked that day and kept the holiday. So I am losing no money at all.

Remind me again, how is this being fiscally responsible?

GOP Vs. Tea Party

It appears that in North Carolina, the GOP have their hands full with a TEA Party whacko who actually won their May 4th primary:

[Tim] D'Annunzio finished first in the May 4 primary. But his party has since gone to increasing lengths to portray him as unelectable.

"By my personal observation of his behavior, and by acquaintance with his record and background, I consider Mr. D'Annunzio unfit for public office at any level," said [North Carolina GOP Chairman Tom] Fetzer. "What he could do to the party as our nominee is secondary in my view to what he could do to the country if he got elected. If he got elected, for crying out loud, that would be a disaster."

Court documents portray D'Annunzio as "a self-described religious zealot" who once called the U.S. government the Antichrist and told his ex-wife that he'd found the Ark of the Covenant.

The records are part of a contentious child-custody case, which included a 1995 psychiatric evaluation. The attending doctor said he couldn't say for sure that D'Annunzio suffered from any emotional disorders.

However, Dr. Rodolfo de los Santos Ongjoco wrote that D'Annunzio told him he once entered a drug program for heroin dependence and was jailed three times for offenses including burglary and assaulting a police officer.


On a blog called "Christ's War," D'Annunzio has acknowledged teenage arrests, jail time and a 1995 conviction for criminal trespassing stemming from a domestic dispute.[...]

D'Annunzio has said that for much of his life he was not particularly religious or political. That changed in 1994 as he sat in his yard under a partial solar eclipse.

"When everything is falling apart around you, you have to look at why it's happening," he once said. "The conclusion I had come to was you have to return to your foundation."

Anne D'Annunzio alluded to her ex-husband's conversion in a 1995 court document.

She claimed he told her, among other things, that "God was going to drop a 1,000-mile high pyramid" on Greenland and that he had found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona.

But we in Wisconsin shouldn't laugh too loudly. Look what happened a couple weeks ago when the GOP machine decided to go with Scott Walker and Ron Johnson as their standard bearers.

Insanity knows no geographical boundaries.