Thursday, April 30, 2009

Be Careful, Bloggers!

A faithful reader told me that they were doing a search for Blogging Blue, the home site for my good friend Zachary Wisniewski (don't you just love his work?!).

One of the items that came up was this one:

When I clicked the link, it got even funnier:
At this point, apparently, Tom had dropped out of USF (where Michael still attends school), quit his part time job of waiting tables at the local bar and would rarely ever been seen away from his computer. “He blogged so much, sweat beads would form on his upper lip,” stated Michael. “I mean, dude spoke in XML. He would freak out any friends I invited over when they would try to talk to him. He would always say shit like, ‘You don’t validate as RSS 2.0′ and then try to hurt them.”

Michael found Tom deceased at his computer a few days ago coming home from work. His cold hands still grasped the keyboard after he was pronounced dead. Surely enough, there were 15+ tabs open on Firefox, the bloggers preferred interweb browser. All of the pages open were blog related. The police were baffled and stated that this was the first case of blogging death that they have on record. “I just want people to know that blogging is potentially dangerous. I wish I could have helped Tom before it was too late,” Michael sobbed.

So let that be a warning to all of us.

Go See For Yourself

Upon my request, one of my Monarch butterfly-loving friends, got me a copy of some upcoming events at the county grounds - you know, the area that Scott Walker, UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago and certain County Board members want to pave over so that at they can build a hotel and restaurant, but call it a engineering school. So here goes:


Look for Spring Birds in Migration / Talk to Tadpoles / Travel the Butterfly Trail
All Ages Welcome Experience the fun of discovery with children. Explore hidden treasures within our city. Bring your kids and/or grandkids to Milwaukee County Grounds for short-but-sweet nature walks. Get to know other families who value the preservation of our local fields, woods and ponds; and those who share the desire to pass them on to our children.

May 2nd: Follow the monarch butterfly trail on the Milw. Co. Grounds. See where they roost en route from Mexico. Learn why it's important to preserve a supportive habitat and how you can promote butterflies in your own backyard. Meet at the Co. Parks building, 9480 Watertown Plank Rd.

May 9th: Spot out the tad poles at the County Grounds' ponds. Learn about the metamorphosis of the bull frog and listen for them to croak. Feed some nearby dried berries to the fish.

Heads up: Wear your galoshes! Meet across the street from Wis. Lutheran College at 89th and Wisconsin Ave.

May 16th: Watch in wonder as the cedar waxwings fuel up on fruited shrubs. Look for other birds as they migrate from Central or South America to as far north as Canada. Meet at Wil-O-Way Underwood Recreation Ctr, 10602 Underwood Pkwy, S/W of Hansen golf course. For map click here.

Meet: at 10am on the dates and at the different locations listed above.

Walks are short: (a block to a half mile), and the event will last about an hour.

Dress: comfortably with sturdy shoes or boots and weather-conscious apparel.

Cost: Like the best things in life, these family nature walks are free.

Volunteers: needed to assist with welcoming, guided walks, hand-outs/stamps/snacks.

Pre-register: contact Dianne Dagelen:; 414-771-1505.

Support your local environment.
Go see for yourself what all the hubbub is about, and then go call your County Board Supervisor and tell them to stop this idiocy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PUMA: GOP Edition

From Ben Smith at

The resolution would shift power sharply away from Steele, giving the executive committee power over any spending over $100,000 and all borrowing, and — perhaps most tellingly — inserting a comptroller or chief financial officer at the RNC who would report to the executive committee, not the chairman.

Norcross noted that the resolution replaces a similar — but less stringent — RNC rule that had long been in place giving the executive committee some spending control but that "inexplicably ... slipped 'between the cracks' and was not adopted in Minneapolis."

Steele ally Reince Priebus reportedly responded in an email to members that "this resolution is an attempt to usurp the chairman's authority in a completely unprecedented and historic manner."

Soon they will be eating their own young if they keep up this infighting.

And Here I Thought He Was Kidding

Grumps shows us his creative, satirical genius by highlight Scott Walker's ineptitude at using Twitter. I would like to point the reader's attention to this line:
Feb 12, 2010 It's felt good to be speaking at the Dumptruck County Lincoln Day dinner. The 7 people who showed up were very enthusiastic.
I was laughing hard at that one, until I saw this story on

Republican Scott Walker promised to take the state in a new direction of "limited government, economic growth and personal freedom" during one of five stops he made Tuesday to officially announce his gubernatorial campaign.
Surrounded by about 70 supporters at a farm in rural Dane County, Walker used a message of change to sell his candidacy.
Only 70 people in the entire region made it to his official kickoff? That's not overly impressive. Heck, in Wausau, which is much smaller and less densely populated, he got about 175 people, according to the Wausau Daily Herald.

Make sure you read the comments. Even they know up there what a weasel he is:
This is the same guy that wanted to refuse TARP funds for his district until voter outcry made him change his mind. Sorry, this guy is not the republican for me.
In a related story, it could very well be that Walker's twittering is the cause of the sharp decline in Tweeter users.

Cuz That's The Way I (Blog)Roll

A few notes and updates:

First, a couple of new additions to the blogroll. One is The River Otter, an eco-conscious look at our hometown. The other is the long overdue addition of The Worley Dervish. She doesn't write often, but when she does, it's worth it.

Also a special thanks to James Wigderson. He honors me by being one of the brave conservatives to openly be a friend.

But most importantly, warm wishes, thoughts and prayers to The Reasonable Progressive, who is having one of those moments that we all go through.

Walker's Almost Big Day

Tuesday was supposed to be Scott Walker's big day, as he toured the state to issue his hurried proclamation of war on the State of Wisconsin, er, I mean, Governor Jim Doyle.

Xoff does a pretty good job of rounding things up, including his ham and cheese fisted attempts at twittering (he forgot the -tering part), his first official lie of the campaign, and his plans to campaign on the tax payers dollar. Again.

But there are a couple of things that Xoff missed.

One was that while Walker was traipsing around the state telling the gullible how he was so much better than Doyle, how he was going to run an efficient government, and so forth, the state legislature was passing the law that would allow the state to take over the Income Maintenance programs in Milwaukee County.*

The other was just the vulgarity of Walker finally admitting to his campaigning on Workers Memorial Day. Walker has caused many injuries to county workers at the House of Corrections and at the mental health complex by his willful failure to maintain safe staffing levels. This would be as absurd and inappropriate as Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen stating that everyone should be packing guns on the anniversary of the Columbine Massacre.

Is there something about today's conservatives that they have lost all sense of perspective and respect?

*What the heck was Glenn Grothman smoking when he said this:
Some of the state workers that Milwaukee County were forced to hire to help run public assistance programs had a "work ethic" problem, for example, said Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend).
I checked and the County never hired state workers. On top of that, the state has regularly outperformed the county, probably because they have more staff and better management. Thirdly, it was Walker who willfully refused to fill those empty slots, even though he had the money to do so. Now, the taxpayers are stuck with a $14 million dollar bill due to Walker's malfeasance.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Izzy And The Monarchs

A reader notified me that I am not the only that has been in support of the Izzy, "Butterfly" Barb Agnew, Friends of the Monarch Trail, and, of course, the Monarchs themselves.

Phil Cianciola, of 620TMJ's Greenhouse Show, has also posted on his blog his support for this very worthwhile cause:
You may not know it, but there is some big-time wheeling and dealing taking place between Milwaukee County and UWM for some very important natural area out on the county grounds.

It's the home of the migration of the butterflies, and it is a pretty amazing story. We are lucky to have such a special slice of nature in our backyard.

I for one am with "Butterfly" Barb Agnew, who has spearheaded the fight to keep this sacred place as it is, and not cave in to what I am sure is big $$ for a UWM expansion...nothing against UWM, heck, I'm a grad. But when it comes to swallowing up more and more of Mother Nature, enough is enough.
Mr. Cianciola also has a link to this news story done by George Mallet of TMJ4:
Izzy Boudnik floated about the Zoofari Conference Center looking very much like the Monarch butterfly she hoped to emulate. The 9-year-old had fashioned colorful wings and fastened them to her back before attending a meeting of the Milwaukee County Board Committee on Economic and Community Development.

The board was holding a public hearing on the proposed sale of a portion of the Milwaukee County Grounds to the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee for an engineering campus.

Little Izzy wanted the board to know about her beloved butterflies.

“The butterflies migrate here,” she said sincerely. “This is their place for food. This is the place where they rest.”

The group, Friends of the Monarch Trail, is urging the county to create a conservancy to maintain control of the land before any deal goes through with UWM.
It does baffle the mind when the TV and the radio station have people that get it, but the paper's editorial board is again clueless.

Unfortunately, County Executive Scott Walker wants to ignore the agreement and his own promise to keep the land in its natural state and is just looking to get some more political favors to bolster his already failing campaign. To make matters worse, there are some members of the County Board that are either too timid or too lazy or too something to do the right thing and would rather just take the path of least resistance instead of the path of the least harm.

Again, I urge you to call your County Board Supervisor and tell them that this nonsense has to be stopped and stopped now. I, for one, am sick of Walker ruining what's left of Milwaukee County for his own political aspirations.

International Workers Memorial Day

Worker's Memorial Day:

Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions. But the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains enormous. Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more are injured or diseased because of their jobs. The unions of the AFL-CIO remember these workers on April 28, Workers Memorial Day.

The first Workers Memorial Day was observed in 1989. April 28 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada. Every year, people in hundreds of communities and at worksites recognize workers who have been killed or injured on the job. Trade unionists around the world now mark April 28 as an International Day of Mourning.

Where's My Coffee?

It looks like I've got my work cut out for me for the rest of the week.

There's more lies, omissions and hypocrisies in that one post than a man should be allowed to tell in a lifetime.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Izzy And The Monarchs

Last week, I wrote a post about how the Milwaukee County Board appears set to proceed with the foolish plan of razing the County Grounds for UWM's Innovation Park, which should be really put downtown, close to the rest of the campus.

In said post, one of the commenters, Izzy's Mom, stated that her daughter has been very active in trying to get the word out about how important it is to preserve this land. I got in contact with Izzy's Mom and offered this site for her daughter's letter. Izzy and her mom were quick to take me up on that.

Izzy is a nine-year-old little girl who is very deeply invested in preserving this land after having had opportunities to observe one of the miracles of nature. The following is the letter that Izzy had prepared and sent to the paper. The letter is unedited:

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Izzy and I am nine years old. I am here to tell you all about The Monarch Trail and the fight to save the Milwaukee County Grounds.

From what I understand, UWM wants to build on the Milwaukee County Grounds, AKA The Monarch Trail. So once again Barb Agnew and her crew are here to save the day for The Monarch Trail.

First of all, I think that everyone sees this medium sized field, that is pretty blank right now and thinks: “What is this place and why is it important?” But in a few weeks that “blank field” will turn into a ground not just for the monarchs, but also for the bluebirds, foxes, snakes and other animals. They will come to lay their eggs and in 2 weeks they will become caterpillars about to embark on an amazing journey, first to Canada, then Mexico.

Second, think about this. How many Monarch sanctuaries are there in Wisconsin? 1? 2? 3? Even if there are many, what if they are all in one area of Wisconsin?

Here's another way to think about it. You are a Monarch. You know that there is one place you could go to that is near. You fly there, but instead of milkweed you find noisy machines. You see them cut down stalk after stalk of milkweed, the food you need. But because of those noisy machines, there is none left. You know there is another place to go but it is far away. Without milkweed you have no energy, no energy means to milkweed. Without food, you starve to death. Think about it. Either way, you would of died because there is probably no milkweed because nobody knows about it. And because of UWM building, they will only see the destruction of a species, not happy beautiful butterflies. I hope you understand what we mean and the basic message: “DONT BUILD ON THE MONARCH HABITAT!”

Izzy and the Monarchs
It is inspiring to see one so young be so involved and invested in the world around her. At the same time, it is sad that a nine-year-old girl shows more insight, more intelligence and more wisdom that the County Executive, UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago and some County Board members put together.

Along the same lines, it has also come to my attention that all the information is not in yet. From my inbox, an email that has gone out to at least one County Board Supervisor:

As the UWM Foundation and Real Estate Foundation get closer to purchasing the Milwaukee County Grounds my issue has been that we cannot lose another open, green public place to development. It truly is not sound public policy to sell off Milwaukee’s assets in order to cover this year’s budget.

After reading the editorial by Professor Petering in Sundays Journal, It became more apparent that not all of the issues have been properly addressed. I know that the City of Milwaukee is strongly against moving portions of UWM to Tosa but the Faculty and Staff are in the process of doing a survey to gather the input about this location and most are adamant that it not be severed from the other aspects of Engineering.

I have also not heard the reasons that other properties within the research park are not utilized first, why would they ruin the northeast quadrant first? These other parcels already have infrastructure and the project would develop faster and be inherently “green”.

And as Carlos Santiago pursues these wonderful goals for UWM, the success of the Engineering research portion is based on collaboration of mutual interests, Not location.

Can we allow the faculty to speak and be heard on this and re-visit the value of putting the Engineering project in downtown Milwaukee? Location-by-donor may not be what is best for Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. This all needs to be considered.

[Name redacted]

In other words, the County Board is again being asked to make a decision without having all the facts placed in front of them. Given Scott Walker's history, the Board should be painfully aware that they can't trust anything he presents to them with out checking it out thoroughly.

Finally, I also have a copy of a notice being put out by


The Grounds were whittled down to what remains of the Northeast Quadrant, thus the preservation efforts started --
  1. A State Park was envisioned by the citizens and the County Board but was vetoed by then County Executive Tom Ament.
  2. A compromise was drawn allowing some natural space for the public and some for development.
  3. The UWM Foundation's proposal to purchase the land is a much larger footprint than stated in the compromise.
  4. Without permanent preservation this remnant will be eaten away, taking our last unique urban habitat from the following: Owls, Foxes, King Fishers, Whip-poor-Wills, Bobolinks, Bluebirds, Meadowlarks and the migrating Monarch Butterflies and Us
Remember that the vote is set for Monday, May 11th at 9 am. Please contact your County Board Supervisor and ask him or her to enforce this compromise, to protect our natural preserves and to provide an unique and cost free learning environment for our children.

Santiago Stays In Milwaukee

From the Business Journal (emphasis mine):

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee chancellor Carlos Santiago passed up an opportunity to get a hefty raise at Florida International University because he believes he can have a greater impact in Milwaukee.

Santiago, who withdrew Saturday from the running to become the next president of FIU in Miami at the last minute, made his comments in a letter to his UWM colleagues released by the university Monday.

"Exploration is what we do every day at research universities like UW-Milwaukee," Santiago said in the letter. "Over the past several days, I was searching for answers about my own future by exploring the presidency at Florida International University. In the end, I decided I can make the biggest difference in service to others at this time by remaining right here at UWM."

The biggest difference is of course actually having the job, which he has in Milwaukee, but didn't have the votes to get one in Florida.


From the Quality of Life Alliance, a group to which I have ties:

This Thursday, Joint Finance will be taking up the issue of the Regional Transit Authority for Southeastern Wisconsin. It is widely speculated that there are not enough votes for it to pass as proposed by Governor Doyle. Instead of leaving out
all hope of an RTA in this budget, Quality of Life Alliance urges members of Joint Finance to allow for the start of a single County RTA in Milwaukee.

“Instituting the 1% sales tax for Milwaukee County that passed by referendum in November would provide the source of funding needed for a Milwaukee County RTA and could easily accommodate a broader RTA when it is created,” commented County Supervisor Chris Larson, Quality of Life Alliance spokesperson. “Please give us something we can build off of.”

“For the sake of our future, we are asking the Joint Finance Committee to include in the next State budget what the citizens of Milwaukee County have already approved: a one percent sales tax increase that will provide property tax relief and sustainable, dedicated funding for Parks, Transit and EMS,” added Jim Goulee, QLA member.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Is The GOP Primary Over Before It Begins?

Even though not one of the major GOP candidates have formally announced that they are in the race for governor, it is already becoming a highly debated race, with a lot of jockeying for position between Scott Walker and Mark Neumann.

It all started years ago, when Walker was forced out of the primaries when he couldn't gain enough traction to even get close to Mark Green. Walker started out shortly after that laying the groundwork to get an early jump on the 2010 elections so that he would have enough money to run a more effective campaign. Unfortunately for him, the most recent finance statements show that he has about a quarter of the money that Governor Jim Doyle has. And a lot of that money has come from only southeastern Wisconsin.

The race really picked up early last week when James Klauser wrote an open letter showing his support for Neumann. Klauser was one of Tommy Thompson's main guys and is still considered to be a major player in WISGOP, especially when one is following the money.

Walker responded by issuing his own special announcement that he would be having a special announcement this coming Tuesday. Neumann then responded with confirming that he will run, and that he would be making his formal announcement some time between now and the fall.

Walker responded by filing his papers late on Friday afternoon, and then making his announcement via Twitter.

I will readily admit that I don't care for Scott Walker's type of leadership, or lack thereof. But even as I look at this past week as objectively as I can, it already doesn't seem to bode well for Walker. I get the impression that he was caught off guard by the Klauser letter and the fervor it created. Walker was again knocked off stride in what he was hoping to be his big breakout week by Neumann's understated confirmation of his intent to run, and then issued that Twitter announcement which made him look kind of desperate. While a number of bloggers and news sourced did mention it, it doesn't seem like he was getting quite the draw he was hoping too.

Looking at where these two stack up against each other, one would have to admit that it appears that Neumann is already coming out with a distinct if somewhat small advantage.

The most important comparison would be money. Walker, who has been actively fundraising, doesn't even have half a million dollars yet. While I have not seen any reports on Neumann's war chest, he is a former U.S. Congressman and I would not be surprised if he still has a bundle in the bank. Add to that Klauser is well-known amongst the well-monied, and the fact that Neumann has considerable personal wealth, it is easy to believe that the money advantage goes to Neumann.

Other important factors are name recognition and location. As I said, Neumann is a former U.S. Congressman and came darn close to beating Senator Russ Feingold when they faced off a decade ago. Walker, who has done years of taxpayer-funded bike rides around the state, on the pretense of promoting Milwaukee County, still doesn't have the same recognition. To make things worse for Walker, there are many people that live west of Waukesha County or north of Washington County that want as little to do with Milwaukee as possible. Even when Walker is able to get his name out there, he is often forgotten when it is also found out that he is from Milwaukee. Nuemann, who hails from Nashotah, doesn't have that problem. Both advantages go to Nuemann.

The one area where Walker should outdo Neumann is activity, but it also appears to be another liability. Walker has stayed in politics, doing the job of County Executive and making sure he does regular political showboating events to keep his name out there. Neumann dropped out of the public eye after losing to Feingold. But Neumann has been working behind the scenes to be sure, but probably not much that anyone in the general public could readily read off.

Unfortunately for Walker, where he should be shining, a recent poll, from a right wing group nonetheless, shows that Walker and Neumann are at a statistical tie when they were compared one on one against Doyle.

I think a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that Walker has been putting himself out there, but not always in a positive manner. He has had some serious blunders along the road and they have hurt his reputations. Some of these blunders include still not resolving the pension scandal (in fact he has made things worse); initially stating that he would refuse to take stimulus dollars, then applying for them, then twisting his stance so much that not even he knows what it is anymore; having almost all parts of the county, most notably the transit system and the infrastructure, going to rot directly due to his decisions; and having the state need to come in and take over the Income Maintenance program. I think more and more people will become disenfranchised with him when they realize that there taxes will go up due directly to his grandstanding and personal aspirations.

The final point is the overall package that each candidate presents. Walker has his one-plank platform regarding taxes. He has done a pretty good job of making people think he hasn't raised their taxes, and perception is the reality all too often in politics. But outside of that, Walker doesn't have a lot to fall back on. People will quickly grow bored with him when they ask him questions about equal rights for homosexuals, abortion, CCW or anything else and all he answers are no more taxes. I also can't help but think that Walker did hurt himself a lot when he pulled out of the last primary against Green. People will remember that Walker was having problems with raising sufficient money and getting his message out there in an effective manner.

Neumann on the other hand, has been actively participating in private schools and in many of the conservative social values, including denying equal rights to gays, anti-abortion, etc. And as James Wigderson points out, Neumann also has a reputation for being tough on taxes when he was a congressman.

In summary, I would say Neumann offers to be a more attractive candidate to most of the GOP voters. On top of that, I also think that Neumann would have the better chance to beat Doyle in a general election. Even with how bad Doyle has been screwing up on some things, Walker has managed to make himself look worse.

And it should go without saying that this is still way too early to make any kind of guarantees about this race. Many strange things can and will occur between now and September 2010.

For other views, I would recommend Wigderson's piece from above, as well as James Rowen, Cory Liebmann and Zach Wisnieski.

As The Gun Controversy Wages On...

The whole argument regarding the right to carry a firearm versus the right to having a peaceful neighborhood carries on and on and on.

Last week, on the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy nonetheless, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen tried to score some political points with the more extreme of the right wingers by issuing an unofficial opinion regarding open carry of firearms. Unfortunately, this opinion did very little, if anything at all, to clarify things.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn responded by ordering his officers to uphold the peace, which of course led him to be attacked by most of the Posse Comatose. Some also tried to twist this into some kind of validation for concealed carry, like people are jumpy enough now.

Meanwhile, in the states that do allow all sort of uninfringed gun rights, we have a professor in Georgia who shot his estranged wife and two other men. The professor is currently missing and the police have found no trace of him whatsoever, which makes me believe that either this was very carefully thought out ahead of time or the professor went off somewhere and killed himself as well.

Even more tragic, in Florida, we have a National Guard soldier that shot and killed two sheriff's deputies before being killed himself in another gun fight with law enforcement officers. The soldier has a criminal record of domestic violence and the slain deputies were responding to a call regarding another episode of the soldier beating his wife. There is no rationale reason for this guy to be allowed to have guns.

These two horrific stories, I am sad to say, do not appear to be the exception to the rule. I have already related some other modern day horror stories here and here, to cite just a couple.

The esteemed Elliot Stearns made a bold statement awhile back, regarding this latest escalation of the gun controversy:
But, as far as I’m concerned, Jim Doyle is responsible for the death or injury of any law abiding citizen who was kept from defending him or herself because he twice vetoed conceal carry in Wisconsin.
In response, I would like to point out that, using this sort of logic, anyone who is part of the NRA or any other group that advocates for and works towards the undermining of any sort of restriction on gun ownership, should be held responsible for every death or injury that occurs by a shooter that shouldn't have had access to a gun.

100 Days Of The Party Of No

See also Cory Liebmann's Eye On Wisconsin for a similar video.

Republicans Lying About Cap And Trade? I'm Shocked!

Just shocked, I tell you!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

RIP, Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur passed away at the age of 86 years:
Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" and who won a Tony Award for the musical "Mame," died Saturday. She was 86.

Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, Watt said, declining to give further details.
And from her classic show, Maude, this classic (and rather timely) clip:

The Chances Are High... get a contact high at Summerfest this year.

Quadgraphics Shows Up Milwaukee County

From the Business Journal:

Quad/Graphics Inc. has donated a conservation easement on its 325-acre Camp/Quad parcel in the town of Erin to Tall Pines Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving natural areas in and adjoining northwestern Waukesha County.

“When we purchased the land in 1997 we always intended for it to remain in its pristine condition,” Quad/Graphics president and CEO Joel Quadracci said. “Designating Camp/Quad as a conservancy is an ironclad way to ensure the land can never be developed commercially, residentially or otherwise and that it will continue to serve as an environmental showpiece and education center for generations to come.”

Scott Walker, and certain members of the County Board, could learn a lot from QG about keeping their promises of a similar nature to protect nature, instead of selling the last of the county grounds for a school that doesn't belong there.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Get Help If You Need It

This article from the Leader-Telegram caught my eye today. It is about how more and more people in the Chippewa Falls area are seeking professional counseling. The reason? The crappy economy:

Ahmed, a psychiatrist, sees patients at Marshfield Clinic in Eau Claire and at Sacred Heart Hospital. He is seeing a sharp increase in people coming through the doors with mental health concerns. Ahmed said the economy is having a direct effect on mental health issues.

"For the last two or three years, the number is increasing," Ahmed said. "But in the last two or three months, we are seeing a lot more."

Between 40 and 60 percent of the patients checking into Sacred Heart Hospital's mental commitment area are experiencing financial difficulties, he said.

With unemployment in the area hovering around 9 percent - and higher in Chippewa and Rusk counties - Ahmed said some people struggle emotionally and mentally after they are laid off.

"It's a blow to the self-esteem, especially for people who put the building blocks of their life on their success," he said.

If more people did this, maybe we wouldn't be seeing all of the senseless tragedies like this story or this story.

If you live in the Milwaukee area, and you are feeling stressed out, whether due to money problems or something else, and wanting to hurt yourself or anyone else, call the 257-7222 for the Milwaukee County Crisis Line or call 911 immediately.

Time To Get Busy

Unfortunately, not in a good way.

I have about 200 emails and cached posts in my reader that need attending to. I also have a couple of special projects that need to be done ASAP.

In between, I have grocery shopping, laundry, getting a hair cut, and hopefully get in to see the optometrist.

And if I'm real lucky, maybe I'll get to eat and sleep too.

So please forgive the flurry of activity coming from me. Thanks.

Is There A Lawyer In The House?

Is it even possible to sue someone for doing something you asked them to do?

But this made me giggle:
Walker also complained about a letter from state Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake announcing the takeover, saying he found it insulting. He objected to Timberlake's remark that the county's subpar performance in the program hurt the poor.
Um, Scott, that is old news. Get over your hypocritical self, why don't you?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Like The Academy Awards

It was announced today that the Milwaukee County Parks System is one of the finalists for an award with a rather lengthy name: "2009 National Gold Medal for Excellence in the Park and Recreation Management Program."

The echo chamber, including, but not limited to, Charlie Sykes, Preview McIlheran, Kevin Fischer, Patrick Dorwin, Owen Robinson, and Cindy Kilkenny (who had to go and make it personal), all chipped in declaring that this put to rest the stories that the parks were a shambles. Walker couldn't resist saying so himself either.

Appropriately enough, Parks Director described it as the "parks equivalent of an Academy Awards." I say that she described it accurately, since there seems to be some kind of story line going on. But this is a very poorly written story, full of holes in the plot.

The first point is really a minor one, but the easiest to point out. Walker and Black both say this is in high praise of the park workers. That is swell. But if the park workers are so darn good (which, of course, they are), why does Walker keep trying to lay them off each year?

But now the story gets a little more complex.

Some eighteen months ago, Gretchen Schuldt and Brew City Brawler, here, here and here, gave us picture proof that the parks were not in very good shape. Last summer, Gretchen showed us that the parks not only hadn't improved, and that Walker had proposed to slash maintenance funding by some 72%, which belies the claim by whoever filled out the application for the award.

Something just wasn't adding up, and it was about to get weirder.

In the article on JSOnline, they quote County Board Supervisor as stating that there was still a $276 million dollar backlog in repairs due. With all due respect, I would suggest that the good Supervisor check his numbers again.

Just last July, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story telling us how Milwaukee County was lagging behind the rest of the nation in parks spending, and boy, did it show. Just a week later, the paper ran another story telling us that 32 park bathrooms received a D grade and 11 of them failed outright. It was so bad that to fix the 11 failing bathrooms, it would cost the County $862,000. However, the 2009 budget didn't include nearly enough money to cover either of these totals. This, of course, doesn't mention that Walker now wants to cut the budget by another 6% for the rest of the year.

There is no way that all of these repairs were done in nine months with insufficient funds.

But we're not done yet. This mystery is about to turn into a murder mystery. Besides the obvious disconnect from reality in thinking that the park fairies came and fixed everything, something was not adding up. There seemed to be three different story lines.

We have the JSOnline article (which I expect to appear in tomorrow morning's paper) and we have the press release from Walker. These two don't seem to fit together too well, but not enough to raise any eyebrows. But there is a third story.

Thanks to Owen Robinson's unique blogging style, in which he links to the story and then copies and pastes a paragraph or three, we see this:

Judges have named the Milwaukee County Parks Department a finalist in a competition for the best managed park program in the nation.

The county parks system is one of the top four contenders for the 2009 National Gold Medal for Excellence in the Park and Recreation Management Program. Leaders from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association choose the top candidates each year based on a review of their master plans and a 12-minute video featuring the department’s programs.

Now that just doesn't fit either of the other two. Well, Lady Luck was smiling on me while I was getting all the different sites up. While combing through MJS's archives, I noticed that this story was originally done this morning, by a different reporter altogether:

I then went back and reread Owen's post, and things became clearer. This award isn't about having the best parks. It is about the "best managed" parks which was being decided by a 12-minute video and a "master plan."

In other words, they can take some footage of the beach from last summer, the Domes, a couple of golf courses and put it in a video. Then they can come up with the whatever wish list they want to have and submit that with the video. It doesn't meant that the plan has to be actually implemented or even be that it be even close to being realistic.

And those are the kinds of things that Walker is very, very good at.

It still doesn't explain why the paper decided to kill the first story. Maybe they are planning on a sequel.

But I wish Mr. Walker all the best in this contest. If he wins, there is a good chance he could parlay that into another victory in 2010. No, not the gubernatorial election. I still don't think he will even make it to the primary election. The victory I was referring to happens in Burlington.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

County Board Members Forget What Day It Was

I met some new friends today. They are really some wonderful people. And how apropos it was to meet these defenders of the Monarch Butterfly on Earth Day.

My new friends had seen my post regarding Walker breaking yet another promise he made and wanting to pave over the last of the undeveloped land on the county grounds. They asked for a boon from me.

They have been striving to reach a goal, but did not feel that the County Board was hearing them. They also told me that when they reached out to the local paper to get their word out, either by story or by letter to the editor, but have been repeatedly shunned. They asked me to help them get their word out. How could I refuse? Us monarchs have to stick together.

My new friends are very concerned about this plan of Walker's, which would sell off this land to UWM for their engineering school. They are concerned because this last parcel of land, which was supposed to have become a state forest, is also very unique as that it is part of the migration route of the Monarch Butterfly. This would be obviously lost forever if were to be developed.

The loss of this land would be devastating. In the words of Professor Lincoln P. Brower, Research Professor of Biology, Sweet Briar College, and Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus, University of Florida (pdf):
Having heard about the potential loss of a Monarch butterfly migration route on the Milwaukee County Grounds, as well as the sincere and concerted effort by the community to save this superb area from development, I would like to explain how important preserving such specific habitats as this has become. Monarch populations require space with milkweed plants for reproduction and numerous wildflower species for maintaining their lipid reserves that fuel their lives. Habitat quality is enhanced by geographical complexity, including streams, ponds and topographic diversity, as well as stands of trees for wind and storm protection. All of these parameters contribute to the success of the monarch's incredible 2500 mile migration to Mexico, and in the spring, another 1200 mile return journey. Milwaukee County Grounds exemplifies such a constellation of habitat quality features, and unless we can, one by one, save recognized areas, the local and migratory populations of monarch butterflies, and indeed many other species, will begin an inexorable decline.

I know that you are aware of the value this land holds for the human community, for education, and to provide open, natural space in an urban area. I trust that my note may help to underscore the scientific importance of its preservation; such rich biological areas cannot be moved, recreated, or replaced. If this educated effort in your county, and others nationwide, cannot succeed in saving areas such as these, we will soon begin to see, among other biodiversity disasters, the unraveling of the great migration of the monarch butterfly, truly one of this planet's greatest wildlife spectacles.
This would also eliminate a valuable learning experience for the children of Milwaukee County. Many groups, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, as expressed in this letter(pdf) take their children to this land for the unique experience that they would otherwise never receive.

So you can understand my disconcertion when I learned that some County Supervisors, like James "Luigi" Schmitt, were fully on board with destroying this land, and that other supervisors, like Lynne De Bruin and Gerry Broderick, were actually touring the land today, giving it serious consideration.

This really ought to be a no brainer.

First of all, the board should have learned to check and double check and even triple check everything, and I do mean everything, that Walker and his people tell them. They are supposed to vote on this on May 11, but haven't even gotten all of the impact studies on this yet.

Secondly, as I pointed out in my previously mentioned post, there are a lot of people that don't want this campus built on the county grounds, but would much rather see it downtown where it belongs.

Thirdly, in these difficult economic times, do they want to be the people to take away this free, yet invaluable, learning experience for our children. It would cost them nothing to preserve the land, but would cost us all dearly if they allowed it to be unnecessarily ruined.

I urge the County Board to at least table this proposal until they have had the opportunity to read and evaluate ALL of the reports and studies. Then they can reject this foolish proposal and allow the school to be built downtown, like it should be.

And I ask you, gentle reader, to also contact your supervisor and bug them (pun intended) to preserve this cost-free and extremely important land.

Weasels On Wheels

I received the PM Update there is a story about Scott Walker's tax payer funded campaign bike ride. The gist of the article is that Walker is claiming that he will not be doing any campaigning during his "Executive's Ride":
But Walker said that if “something else that might be happening” helps attract coverage, he would see that as a bonus, yet keep the conversation on tourism.

“If that makes people want to come out and hear what I have to say about tourism, so be it,” Walker said. “I try to keep a fairly good firewall.”

Walker said promotion of the trip has come from Visit Milwaukee and Summerfest in the past, while expenses such as his hotel rooms, food and gas for his Harley-Davidson motorcycle will come from his county travel budget. Those who join the ride pay their own expenses. He pegged the county cost at a “couple thousand dollars.”

But Walker said a Visit Milwaukee analysis of the publicity generated last year showed it was equivalent to $85,000 in advertising.
There are some serious problems with that.

First, there is absolutely no reason to believe him. This is especially true when one considers what happened four years ago.

Even more galling is his hypocrisy.

In January, when County Board Supervisors Toni Clark and Elizabeth Coggs went to Washington, D.C. to lobby for Milwaukee County, it "happened" to be at the time of the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Yet they've helped to bring in not mere thousands, but hundreds of millions of dollars of stimulus funds to the Milwaukee County area. But at that time, Walker called their actions "mind-boggling."

I would love to hear how Walker would explain why he thinks it is OK for him to campaign on the tax payers dollar, but criticize two supervisors who weren't campaigning, but still helped bring in hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars. Unfortunately, I'm at work when he goes on Charlie Sykes' show to try to defend himself.

To show that there are no hard feelings even though he is a lying hypocrite and a hypocritical liar, I have ordered up a special bike for him to ride, instead of the used bike that he claims was a gift from his wife. Since he wants to ride a bike so bad while he goes a-campaigning, I thought that he could use a practical one, since he is so full of sh*t:

Washington State Condemns Kids

JSOnline is reporting that the State of Washington just hired Susan Dreyfus to head up their Department of Social and Health Services.

That is the same Susan Dreyfus that headed up the Wisconsin's Division of Children and Family Services. She's the one that hired Denise Revels Robinson and she's the one that picked the program for BMCW.

And we all know how well THAT worked out.

Pray for the children in Washington State. They're gonna need all the help they can get.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Need For Transit Help

From the inbox, a letter from a non-Milwaukeean regarding MCTS:
Dear Senator Lehman:

Please support Milwaukee's initiative to fix its transit system. Commuters will either sit alone in their car, burning expensive gas inefficiently, or ride mass transit while reading a book, listening to their iPod, or getting to know each other. Mass transit builds community while being environmentally responsible. It will also make the inner city more attractive for businesses, workers, and residents.

You and I don't live in Milwaukee. My home is Port Washington. To my mind having Milwaukee strengthened by enhancing the social and economic fabric benefits all of us. It will build the tax base, encourage tourism, reduce the social service burden, and more. I would be "pound foolish" to stand in the way. That's why I am asking you to support making Milwaukee County a Regional Transit Authority and allow a sales tax to provide dedicated funding for parks and transit.

By doing so you will be speaking up for local control. The citizens who will benefit most directly from this tax have already given it their seal of approval. It will have no negative impact on Racine or any other county.

Plus support for mass transit will serve to stimulate our sagging transportation industry, shifting it squarely into the green economy sector. There is no downside

Thank you for you service,

Name redacted

USS Bus-terprize

Crown tip to Walker's Point

Just For Dan And Other Side (And Anon)

This made me think of this:

Walker's First Campaign Talking Points

Now that Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is finally gearing up to tell us something that we already knew more bad news comes from the courthouse.

The reader already knows that Walker used the poor as pawns, refusing to fill the authorized, funded positions in the public assistance call center, as he established his one plank campaign platform. We also already know that due to his willful neglect and his showboating when he challenged the State to take over the program has led the State to in fact taking over the program.

This morning, we are starting to get a clearer picture of the cost of Walker's arrogance, hypocrisy and incompetence: $14 million.

Most of that $14 million comes directly from Walker's inability and/or refusal to do his job as County Executive, just so he can waste his time, and our tax money, on his futile run for governor:

Kreklow told the panel that the state takeover would cost the county up to $6 million in 2010, including loss of money the county gets for computer services linked to the assistance programs. The county also will lose about $1 million by vacating about two-thirds of the office space in the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center at 1242 W. Vliet St., where many of the assistance programs are now housed, Kreklow's report says. The county gets partly reimbursed for the space by the federal government.

A portion of a second county building housing public assistance offices also is expected to be vacated.

The county also will have a small loss of revenue this year linked to the state takeover of public assistance programs, Kreklow said. The state announced the takeover in February, saying chronic mistakes by the county had caused many poor families to be unfairly denied or delayed food, medical and child care benefits.

Walker sent his lackey to the County Board yesterday to give them the bad news and state that he wants to cut the county budget by 6%.

Walker's idea to make up for his incompetence is to cut services and county employees. I would sure like him to offer more details on that one. But given that the county and its unions are in contract talks, it appears that this is more likely campaign bluster than anything else. Otherwise, he just sold the tax payers up the river, again.

Another thing that makes me wonder how serious Walker is about the budget deficit is that he is still touting his tax payer-funded campaign bike ride. One would think that someone that is supposed to be on the tax payers side, as Walker claims to be, would have canceled that already. But we already know that Walker is one of the biggest hypocrites around.

You got to give the guy credit though. Just one day after he announces that he will announce, he has some talking points already. I can just hear him now:

"Hi, I'm Scott Walker. I'm incompetent and a hypocrite. Vote for me, and I will do to you what I've done to Milwaukee."

Call your county board supervisor today, and tell them you're tired of sponsoring Walker's campaign with your tax dollars.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Weasel That Squeaked

They say that, in comedy, timing is everything. The same could be said for politics. Time something poorly, and you come off looking like a fool or worse.

Over the past several weeks, I've pointed out some of the several examples of lying, hypocrisy and ineptitude Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has shown. Everything from lying to his own hometown constituents to losing control of the Income Maintenance program due to his inability and/or incapability to do his job to flip flopping so much that even he doesn't know where he stands regarding stimulus funding, to name but a few.

Today, James Klauser, one of Wisconsin's most prominent and influential conservative power brokers and strategists, came out with an open letter endorsing Mark Neumann for governor:
Mark Neumann, a former Congressman who nearly defeated Russ Feingold, is a potential candidate. Mark is a successful business man from Waukesha County (a growing county). He and his family are involved in choice and charter school reforms. He is involved in his community and church. While a Congressman, Mark worked with Speaker Newt Gingrich to develop a no tax increase alternative to Bill Clinton’s spend, spend, and spend.

Mark understands Wisconsin’s future is in growing jobs (in the private sector); encouraging business and investment. He understands we need the educational and transportation infrastructure to make that happen. He is sensitive to the environmental issues that concern us. He knows that high oppressive taxes can stifle initiative and growth.

I have been heavily involved in four successful Republican gubernatorial campaigns. Based on that experience I have concluded that of the prospective candidates, Mark Neumann is best able to win and govern well. I encourage you to consider Mark Neumann for Governor.
I would say that it would be safe to consider this to be an unofficial announcement of an official announcement of making the formal announcement that Neumann is going to run. And given the people I've heard of getting ready to back Neumann, it will be a who's who of the WISGOP.

Realizing that he was again being outmaneuvered, and not wanting to be left further behind, even though he has been campaigning for six years, Walker announced today that he will have a "special announcement" next Tuesday. Given that he has yet to do the responsible thing, and the fact that he will be jetting around the state to make this "special announcement," I doubt that it is he finally will admit he is incapable of being a good leader and will be immediately resigning.

More likely, the announcement will be what we already know. He wants to be governor in the worst way (and if he would be governor, it would be in the worst way), and is willing to lie, cheat or steal his way into the governor's election.

As one would expect, his announcement of an announcement was met with something quite a bit less than enthusiasm from the left. A little more surprising is the fact that there are some on the right that are in the "anyone but Walker" camp.

In fact, almost the only people that seem to be excited about this non-announcement is Journal Communications and Kevin Fischer, and Fischer isn't the dream endorsement that Walker would wish for.

I really can't wait to see what Walker will run on. So far, he appears to be rather limited in his vision and has only a one trick pony in his campaign circus, that of being anti-tax (even though he isn't really - he just tries to get others to do his dirty work). Odds are that even his one-trick pony will come up lame after he has to come up with his 2010 budget.

He can't run on his management skills, seeing how he has driven almost every aspect of Milwaukee County into the ground. He doesn't have much in the way of name recognition outside of southeast Wisconsin, and even where he does, it's usually not positive. On top of that, he will have the albatross of being from Milwaukee around his neck, which is never a boost to a state wide race. He is a college drop out, and he does not have great interpersonal skills, or so I am told.

Not only that, but Walker has a very small war chest when compared to those of Governor Jim Doyle or Mark Neumann. To make things worse for Walker, Neumann does have the state wide recognition and popularity that Walker was unable to garner, even after six years of campaigning. And Neumann doesn't have all the Milwaukee County related, self-induced problems that Walker has.

Some people feel that Walker will bow out of the primary early, like he did against Green in 2006. I am not so sure about that. This is his only real chance to move ahead, and if he quits this race like he did in 2006, it could spell the end of his political career. Then again, if he stays in it, and blows his campaign war chest on a failed run, that could very well end his political career.

Either way, I think I'd better pop some popcorn. This could be fun to watch.

ADDENDUM: While I do find a fair amount of cynical humor in watching Walker setting himself up to fail again, there is one thing that really does tick me off. Walker, who has a long history of being against the working men and women of Milwaukee County, has the audacity and the gall to be making his official campaign kickoff on Workers Memorial Day, which commemorates the thousands of workers who are killed and the many, many more that are injured or otherwise hurt by their jobs. That would be like David Duke announcing on Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday.

Awwww! Ain't They Cute?!

From lolcats:

Thank You For Your Support

As many of you already know, I am the Wisconsin Editor for The job is really nothing big, simply adding new political blogs as I come across them and removing the dead ones.

One of the big draws for BNN is their influence index. The index is supposed to be based on some mysterious algorithm that takes into account a variety of things, that as far as I can figure out, include the number of posts on a site, the number of hits, the number of comments, the number of links to and from the site, how many "Rs" are in the month, if your check to David Mastio bounced, and if you are getting the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B-6.

The index, in my humble opinion, is more of a point of interest rather than something to be taken to seriously. It is of questionable accuracy and at best could serve like a bellwether of how one is doing. An analogy of it would be trying to figure out the weather in Fond du Lac based on the weather report in Milwaukee.

All that said, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that Cognitive Dissidence had somehow slipped into the number one spot in the index:

Trust me when I say that I am sure Mr. Mastio has been having his crack tech people working on it to make sure this doesn't happen again. :)

But just in case it is genuine, I must say a most heartfelt thank you to you, gentle readers. After all, without you, I would be just talking to myself. What makes me even more humbled is when I look at the list of people that signed up to be Friends of the Realm. I've only met six of those people, and some I had to beg and guilt trip into joining. The far majority are people that I've never met and don't know, yet they were kind enough to be willing to be my friends. Publicly even. Everyday, that astonishes me and gives me the energy to carry on.

Equally humbling are the people that I know that come to this site on at least a somewhat semi regular basis. Some because they often agree, some because they often disagree. But the ones that disagree are just as valuable as my friends, if not more so, since that is where genuine dialogue and conversation and progress comes from. And that is what my humble site is all about. To promote the betterment of the world, or at least our little corner of it, through intelligent discourse and hopefully mutual understanding.

Whatever motivates you to come here, whether it is to read and agree with my sage words, to read and get upset when I challenge your worldview, or to see cute pictures of caffeine-addicted squirrels (one of the more common google searches of late), thank you. And keep coming back. I enjoy the company.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's Hard To Keep A Good Fascist Down

Jody Harding was a candidate for the mayor of Racine. Her claim to infamy was that she wanted to deny legal rights to anyone that didn't meet her qualifications.

In the primary election, she was soundly defeated, garnering on 7% of the vote.

Not willing to take reality for an answer, she is now running again in the general election as a write-in candidate. She also is bringing a really, um, unique approach to things:
Harding, who was one of eleven contenders for the mayor’s seat in the primary held April 7th, says she believes her message got lost amid the noise of so many, predominantly Liberal, candidates.

“People were confused,” Harding says. “They were overloaded with information and given almost no time to sift through it. Many voters gave up and just marked the name they recognized, which is how we wound up with Dickert and Turner on the ballot. Politically, there is almost no difference between them, but they are both well known.”


Harding claims she is not trying to draw votes from either remaining candidate. “Many people don’t consider either candidate an acceptable choice for mayor. My goal is to give them a better option.”

As a registered write-in candidate, Harding says her supporters don’t even have to spell her name correctly. “The vote-counters will be on the lookout for any variation of ‘Jody Harding’ or just ‘Jody’,” she says. “They’ll know that’s me.”
Harding goes on to say how she was inspired by the teabaggers.

It is obviously Harding's right to run again as a write-in candidate, but it would scare me to vote for some one so out of touch with reality. If the majority of the voters chose two liberal candidates, that according to her, are similar politically, I would call that a pretty obvious refusal of whatever her message might have been.

Guns: Keeping The Peace

From WSAW-TV (emphasis mine):

Two people are in custody after a shooting incident in the Township of Plover at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Lieutenant Frank Hanousek with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department says the incident began as a dispute among four people in a home. Eventually things got physical between the two suspects and a shot was fired.

The suspects involved in the shooting were arrested two hours later in the City of Wausau.

"Initially they are being held on first degree attempted reckless homicide, aggravated battery, burglary with use of a dangerous weapon and going armed while intoxicated," said Lieutenant Frank Hanousek.

Newschannel 7 also spoke to a neighbor today who's lived in the area for more than thirty years. He said he was surprised to hear the news of this happening overnight, where the area is usually a very safe and quiet neighborhood.

And yet, if we believe the gun lovers, we are supposed to be just hunky-dory with people walking around armed, even if when we don't know who they are.

Another example of guns protecting us. This time, protecting children from growing up.

Scott Walker: Tosa Deranger

In 2002, shortly after Scott Walker won the special election for Milwaukee County Executive, following the recall of Tom Ament, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was kind enough to publish a list of Scott Walker's promises. Some are his own, some are he agreed to based on the platform of his pay for play buddies at CRG.

Since then, Walker has systematically gone about breaking each and every one of them, just has he has systematically gone about destroying Milwaukee County, all in the vain pursuit of the unattainable goal of being called Governor Walker.

The most recent broken promise affects the town he lives in, Wauwatosa. In 2002, Walker made this promise:
Oppose development of northeast quadrant of County Grounds for anything other than state forest.
Yet in the speech that was the unofficial kick off to the latest version of his perpetual run for governor, a speech he euphemistically called his "State of the County" address, Walker urged for the sale of the very land he said he would oppose:
Building a new School of Engineering for the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee on
the County Grounds is another project that will truly help stimulate the economy. We
negotiated a reasonable price for the land and now, we need to approve the deal and letUWM get on with their work.
I can hear my detractors now, "But, capper, the county grounds are so big. Obviously, he meant another part of them."

Au contraire, mon frere. We see in this article from UWM's own website that he is specifically targeting the area he promised to protect (emphasis mine):
One of the first steps is with the County Board Economic & Community Development Standing Committee, which has on its Monday, June 11, agenda, “discussions with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, or its designee, regarding their interest in a portion of the Northeast Quadrant of the County Grounds in the City of Wauwatosa for the development of a school of engineering, and biomedical and advanced automation research and teaching campus.”
Not only did Walker break one of his promises, again, he tried to shortchange the people of Milwaukee County by trying to sell the land for millions of dollars less than it's worth:

Last fall, the board approved negotiating a sale of the tract, which is on the Milwaukee County Grounds, east of U.S. Highway 45 and north of Watertown Plank Road. A UWM affiliate made the $11.8 million offer of privately raised funds for 89 acres.

The board's Economic & Community Development Committee voted unanimously Monday to hold the item until some changes, including an increase in the sale price, can be made. The proposal could return to the committee later this month.

UWM would pay $13.55 million for the land under an amendment proposed by Supervisors Jim Schmitt, whose district includes the County Grounds; Toni Clark, committee chairman; and Lee Holloway, board president.

Once again, the County Board had to come in and rescue the tax payers from Walker's ineptitude.

On top of all that, learned and/or invested people, such as James Rowen, Dave Reid and the Park People, all are opposed to building the new campus in Tosa, but would rather see it in downtown Milwaukee.

In fact, about the only people in favor of it are the land developers, Walker (who has benefited greatly in campaign contributions from said developers) and UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago, who is looking to get out of Milwaukee anyway.

I will readily admit that I have not been overly fond of some of the things Governor Jim Doyle has done, but really, he stills appears to a prince when compared to the ever-lying Walker: Tosa Deranger.

Addendum: Don't expect the local paper to point this out. They think that "he's been honest and he's maintained his principles." That alone says something about the local paper, doesn't it.

*Credit for the picture goes to Jay Bullock.

Life Is Sacred, Unless There's Taxes Involved

From last week's 60 Minutes episode on CBS:
Recently thousands of letters went out across Las Vegas telling cancer patients that the only public hospital in the state was closing its outpatient clinic for chemotherapy.

It's the next thing in the recession - communities cutting back on services like schools or cops or public hospitals because tax revenues have fallen with the economy.

One of the charity patients who got that letter in Las Vegas is Helen Sharp, who didn't realize how a crash on Wall Street might threaten her life.


Silver told 60 Minutes she had to defend her unique services like the trauma center, so she chose to sacrifice services that are duplicated at private hospitals, even though patients may not be able to afford them.

Asked what services she had closed, Silver said, "We no longer provide prenatal services. We closed the outpatient oncology program. We cancelled a contract for outpatient dialysis. We closed the dedicated high risk obstetrical unit that we had. And we stopped doing outpatient mammography."
I wonder how often scenarios like this are being played out around the country. How many people are being handed death sentences, just because a small group of loudmouths don't want to pay taxes.

I wonder if these selfish, greedy egocentrics even thought of these people that they were giving a death sentence to while they gathered to hurl insults at their local and state politicians or at President Obama.

I wonder if any of the mad hatters would even stop to explain to the people, like the woman in the story, that they're sorry they had to die, but they think that they can spend their $20 in a better way.

And to think they call themselves the moral ones. Bah!

Homophobes Unite!

Some right wing extremist group, falling back on their usual tactics of fear and smear, are trying to prevent equality from spreading across the land. They produced a video some time ago, called it "Gathering Storm," and hoped that it would scare all the rational people away, or something.

What it did do is produce a great number of spoofs. One of my favorites is this one:

My favorite line - "If gays and lesbians are allowed to marry, we will have no choice but to switch to digital TV."

Tip of the crown to Caffeinated Politics.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Joint Finance Committee Asked to Include 1% Sales Tax For Milwaukee County in Budget

As previously posted by Dan Cody and Jason Haas, the Quality of Life Alliance, another group I have ties to, have released the following press release:

The Quality of Life Alliance, a group I’m a part of, released the following press release today asking for the Joint Finance Committee to include the voter approved 1% sales tax for Milwaukee County in the upcoming budget.

For the sake of our Park System, Transit, and Emergency Medical Systems, we are asking the Joint Finance Committee to include in the next State budget what the citizens of Milwaukee County have already approved: a one percent sales tax increase that will provide sustainable, dedicated funding for Parks, Transit and EMS.

“Please don?t continue to allow the voices of the 400,000 people who voted in November?s referendum to be ignored”, remarked Cheri Briscoe of Sierra Club-Great Waters Group and Quality of Life Alliance member. The referendum was advisory and requires action from the state to be enacted.

“Our Milwaukee County Park System, once proud and strong, is now limping along with an ever decreasing staff to perform daily maintenance and a log of deferred maintenance for its facilities of nearly $275 million,” added Jim Goulee, a QLA member who is also on the Board of Directors for Preserve our Parks.

This group’s attempt to gain local legislative support for enabling legislation from our state legislators was unfortunately, a tough sell. The Governor instead inserted the creation of RTA for Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Racine and funded by a sales and use tax in his proposed budget, leaving out any support for Milwaukee County Parks.

It is now becoming apparent that the proposal for the creation of the Southeastern Wisconsin RTA is not finding the necessary support from the Joint Finance Committee and may not be included in their version of the state budget. Instituting the sales tax increase in Milwaukee County would, in fact, provide the source of funding needed for a Milwaukee County RTA and could easily accommodate a broader RTA if and when it is created.

“Milwaukee County needs property tax relief and we need a solution to our looming transit and parks crisis,” commented County Supervisor Chris Larson, Quality of Life Alliance spokesperson. “Milwaukee County needs the 1% sales tax that was passed in referendum nearly months ago. Property tax payers can?t wait any longer, transit riders can?t wait, any longer, and all our neighbors who love our parks shouldn?t have to wait any longer to see these problems fixed.”

Quality of Life Alliance (QLA) is a grassroots organization made up of representing a wide swatch of Milwaukee County?s concerned citizens set out to improve our community for a stronger future. Members of the Quality of Life Alliance include transit riders, union leaders, parks supporters, and business men and women, and everyday citizens who are deeply concerned about the future of Milwaukee County and all of Southeastern Wisconsin. Quality of Life Alliance provided the advocacy effort that led to the passage of the sales tax/property tax relief referendum last November. The Quality of Life Alliance is a registered political action committee based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It’s important the members of the Joint Finance Committee understand the importance of this dedicated funding source to the regions well being for decades to come. All we’re asking is to let the voices of the people of Milwaukee County be heard on this issue.

If you know any of the members of the JFC from the Milwaukee area like Rep. Tamara Grigsby, Rep. Pedro Colon, Sen. Lena Taylor or Sen. Alberta Darling, please contact them to voice your support.

Crossposted at Whallah!, folkbum's, and Uppity Wisconsin.