Thursday, April 29, 2010

Battle of the Budgets: Barrett Wins, But Barely

A couple of weeks ago, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, and gubernatorial candidate, crowed about coming up with an unconfirmed $9 million surplus in the 2009 budget for Milwaukee County.

Predictably, City of Milwaukee Mayor, and gubernatorial candidate, Tom Barrett announced that the city has a $23 million surplus from last year. Barrett also boasted of having no debt and a fully funded pension, as well as a drop in police overtime.

Now, when Walker made his proclamation, I was critical of his claim and and pointed out that the County actually has a debt in the area of $1 billion. I further pointed out that county has a slew of issues to contend with such as a parks system falling into decay, a courthouse falling apart, and a transit system that is about to be crippled.

The City of Milwaukee has its own issues. Many of the roads are in terrible shape and in desperate need of being resurfaced. The libraries are looking at cut backs in services.

Given all the work that has to be done, I don't see how either Barrett or Walker can really claim that they have a surplus.

That said, the edge in the Battle of the Budget would have to go to Barrett and the City of Milwaukee.

The city doesn't have the outstanding mountain of debt that Walker has bestowed upon the county by his refusal to fully fund the pension fund.

An example would be the two pension funds. Barrett has reported that the city's pension fund is fully funded. Walker took out a risky pension obligation bond scheme to cover more than $300 million, but even that only covered half of what is owned. A study from the Public Policy Forum showed that one of the leading contributions to this deficit is Walker's willful failure to fully meet pension obligations each year.

Furthermore, Barrett sat down with AFSCME and worked out a contract in which the city did get some concession for the unions, including four days of furloughs. Due to this, Barrett was able to present a balanced budget for 2010.

Walker, on the other hand, has refused to meet with the union for twenty months, choosing instead to try to dictate conditions through the media and through the budget, including mandating three different tiers of furloughs, going from eight days up to as high on 22 days. Instead of concessions, Walker has given the county a number of lawsuits that tax payer money is being spent on defending against and a budget with a built in $17 million deficit.

The City Hall just had a major face lift. The County Courthouse is literally falling down around are ears.

The comparisons could go on for a long time, but each one would show the city to be in a better position than the county.

To summarize, neither Tom Barrett nor Scott Walker should be going around boasting about having a surplus when their respective governments have a lot of work that needs to be done. However, it is undeniable that the City of Milwaukee, under Barrett's leadership, is in a much more fiscally secure place than the Walker-led County, which is in an untenable situation, literally bordering on bankruptcy.

At Last, A Call For Accountability At BHD

From Milwaukee County First:
We are all aware that the Behavior Health Division is a train wreck. There have been numerous problems going on out there for years.

Between Scott Walker using the poor and the vulnerable as his stepping stones in his runs for governor and BHD Director John Chianelli’s poor administration, there have been repeated problems at the complex. These problems have ranged from massive overtime and a higher than acceptable number of injuries that can be directly attributed to a severe shortage of staff. The staff shortage was for “money saving” purposes, but not only did not save any money, but put people in harm’s way needlessly.

More recently, we have seen the story on how a patient was allowed to repeatedly sexually assault a young woman who was also a patient. Instead of self-reporting these critical incidents, they were glossed over until they were discovered in an audit. The county faced losing $60 million in Medicare funding due to Walker’s and Chianelli’s poor leadership.

This was quickly followed by another story showing that Walker’s privatized security was not providing much security at all. Patients and staff in the walk-in clinic were regularly put in harm’s way as patients in a crisis were able to bring weapons, including guns, into the clinic.

And who can forget the privatized food service and their insect-infested food?

I have just learned tonight that our complaints are not falling on deaf ears!

I was just notified that on Thursday (April 29) at 11 am, there will be an event at BHD. Present will be County Supervisors Chris Larson and John Weishan, as well as State Representatives Tamara Grigsby, Jon Richards and Sandy Pasch. They will be calling for “major new accountability over the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division.”

We applaud these leaders for showing true leadership in demanding some accountability from Walker and his administration.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Light A Candle


I repeatedly see and hear comments from people who say that the unions aren't needed anymore. They say that everyone makes a great wage already and that unions just suck the fiscal life out of a company. Or they say that we have OSHA to keep workers safe, and that the unions aren't needed to do that anymore.

That is unmitigated bullsh*t.

Just look back at the last month.

West Virginia lost 29 good people in a mine disaster. Not surprisingly, the owner of the mining company is a TEA Party activist. (H/T to Jay for that one.)

Just last week, another West Virginia miner died in an accident, raising the total to 33 just this year alone.

There was also a refinery explosion in Washington that took the lives of seven people.

And there were 11 lost souls in the drilling well explosion just last week.

So, yeah, the unions are still necessary. That is even more so with people actively trying to destroy them, putting profits before people.

Join the millions of others around the world as we continue with Mother Jones' call:
Mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living.

Memorial celebrations will be held at these locations and times:


Madison

Capitol Building

2 East Main Street

Assembly Parlor Room

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Labor Speaks – David Newby (WI State AFL-CIO)

Protecting America 's Workers Act – Jim Schultz (WisCOSH)

Reading of Names of Workers Killed on the Job in 2009

Milwaukee

Location: Zeidler Union Square Park, 5:00 p.m.

Some will be wearing memorial ribbons. Some will hold candles. Some will read the names of those who died on the job last year in Wisconsin , plus the names of our fallen Wisconsin military.

Many will remember the Mother Jones motto: "Mourn for the Dead, But Fight Like Hell for the Living."

The event with speakers, including State Representative Barbara Toles, will take place at Zeidler Union Square Park, the “workers'' park, between 3rd and 4th Sts. on Michigan Ave.

At 5:00 p.m. citizens and speakers will join the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO, WisCOSH (the nonprofit worker health and safety group), and other groups for this special Wedneday, April 28.

A home-made dinner will take place afterward at the nearby American Postal Workers Union Hall, 417 N. 3rd St

La Crosse

Workers killed or injured on the job will be remembered at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the annual Workers Memorial Day observance in Green Island Park .

During the ceremony at the workers memorial monument in the park, Terry Hicks, of the Western WI AFL-CIO, will read the names of fallen workers as labor union members place small wooden crosses into the ground. Each cross bears the name of someone fatally injured on the job. Hicks also will speak about worker safety and the significance of Workers Memorial Day.

Several labor activists will hold signs at the corner of Seventh Street and South Avenue from 5:00 to 5:15 p.m., to announce the event and promote the right of all workers to a safe and healthy workplace, Hicks said.

Stevens Point

April 28, 2010

6:00 p.m.

VFW Area

River Drive, Wausau

Please join us for Labor’s Annual Day of Honor for Workers who gave up their lives on the job.

The Annual Program takes place at 6:00 p.m. at the Workers Memorial Area, next to the VFW on River Drive , Wausau .

Please plan on attending this years event. They will be meeting at the park this year. NO WALK is being scheduled this year.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monkey Business At The Zoo

Scott Walker is again trying to use his anti-Midas touch at the zoo, changing gold to, well, something less.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Faux Walker Blog Under More Fire

Last Friday, I shared the thoughts of a conservative blogger about the faux Team Walker blogsite.

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, the nom de blog of the author of Wisconsin Truth Project, has further thoughts to share on the pseudo-campaign site:

Just last week, Scott4Gov cut loose with a profound pronouncement on… wait for it… the Mark Neumann campaign’s devious plot to amass Facebook friends.

Yep – that’s right. Conservatives are mired in a battle for our survival – and the survival of the principles that have built America – and the Walker campaign is talking about how one of their opponents is getting his Facebook friends.

[...]

Scott4Gov make no bones about the fact that they’re conservatives. Problem is, they rarely argue issues. Their blog seems to be reserved for the usual politically-underhanded vitriol and trashing of opponents – not discussion of issues. Garbage like this is what has made conservatives unappealing to everyday voters.

Worse, their material is insulting to the intelligence of every conservative and feeds the perception that conservatism is dying as a viable, mainstream political ideology in Wisconsin and America. On Scott4Gov, you will see no deep discussion about how to eliminate Wisconsin’s structural budget deficit… no serious detailed policy proposal about revitalizing small business… no honest breakdown of the impact of government regulations on the common man.

In short, blogs like Scott4Gov are part of the problem for conservatism. They only serve to feed the general perception that conservatives are out for power for themselves – instead of the truth that conservatism empowers the individual and creates a pathway to wealth and opportunity for anyone willing to work hard.

It’s sad that so many conservatives have fallen for this crap. Our movement may have a good year at the ballot box in 2010, but we have much deeper long-term issues that need to be addressed. And the red meat being served up by Scott4Gov is part of the problem.

It's sites like ScottforGov.com and the anonymous trolls that have been pestering and sock-puppeting me, as well as other liberal bloggers, that are hurting Walker almost as much as his track record is.

But Walker must be OK with people like this supporting him, because he has done nothing to distance himself from that tripe.

AFTERWORD: Another prime example for Flavius: Biden doing Barrett's biding.[sic] I tell you, if Tom Barrett, as Mayor, can get the Vice-President of the United States to do what he wants, imagine how much he could get done as governor! Meanwhile, Walker can't even keep people working for him unless he pulls them off his campaign staff.

An Illusory Folkbum Production

If Jay Bullock and Tom Foley ever joined forces on a project, I think it would come out looking something like this:


Source

Sunday, April 25, 2010

10 Days Later

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finally gets around to mentioning Milwaukee Police Officer Vidal Colon, a hero who is up for America's Most Wanted, only 10 days after I posted on it.

And I wasn't even the first source in Milwaukee. No one their sales continue to drop.

Those Compassionate Conservatives

They don't hate women, as long as they stay in their place apparently:

It's not just Emily's List that finds this offensive. It's the 21st century, for crying out loud. For Republicans to still talk about forcing women "back in the kitchen" should be insulting to anyone who takes equality seriously.

For the record, Betty Sutton is an accomplished lawmaker and respected attorney -- and does not have a background as a professional chef. In other words, there's nothing about the congresswoman's background that makes "back in the kitchen" appropriate. The Republicans' rhetoric seems predicated entirely on gender.

Medina County GOP Chairman Bill Heck said the mailing was sent to roughly 15,000 Republican households in Ohio, and he "had not received any complaints."

He might think that makes this better. It actually makes it worse -- why don't those GOP households have a problem with this blatant misogyny?

Republicans, they're for the people, you know. As long as those people are white, conservative, over 50 and male.

Teach Your Children Well

Two stories have come out lately showing that people aren't necessarily paying any attention to whom they are voting for when it comes to school boards. And, surprisingly, neither story has to do with MPS.

The first story is from the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, in which they just elected a woman who has a history of problems when she was an attorney:

Edgar, who was representing a woman in a divorce case, withdrew $11,000 from an account that she was given control over. After the husband's attorney discovered the missing funds, Edgar repaid them with interest, the records show.

"It was basically a cry for help," Edgar said of taking the money, noting that the husband in the case was a police officer. "I was absolutely dysfunctional in running a business."

No criminal charges were filed.

Edgar's license was never reinstated, but four years later, in May 2003, the Supreme Court suspended her license again. She failed to provide proper representation in the divorce case and in five other cases, and committed other misconduct, the bar association records show.

The story continues to tell how she still owes $4000 in unpaid restitution on another case. Someone with no business sense and money problems of her own is not a good selection for a school board that is already in financial straits due to questionable investments.

The second story may be even more egregious. It comes from Germantown, where a newly elected school board members has major issues of her own. She apparently feels that if you're not a bully, or at least OK with bullying, you could be homosexual or something:

Kline stated in her e-mail that the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, which sponsors the event, "promotes students and faculty to remain silent during instructional time of the day and/or it promotes teachers to arrange their lesson plans as such to create an environment that allows students and faculty to remain silent during class time."

"I will not allow them (her children) to be exposed to this misguided propaganda in the public school," she wrote.

In her e-mail, she included a link to a Web site created by the American College of Pediatricians "designed to provide policymakers, parents, administrators, teachers and youth with the most current medical and psychological facts about sexual development."

She also urged the administrators and board members to educate themselves "on the facts about the dangers of a homosexual lifestyle."

However, when asked about her views on the Day of Silence, she said declined to comment, adding that she plans to find out what other parents think about it.

There is no confirmation at this time that she moved to Germantown from West Bend, where they also tend to hyperventilate over things they don't understand.

Feingold's First Commercial

What? Walker's A Hypocrite? Imagine My Shock!

As noted by Jay "folkbum" Bullock the other day, Scott Walker opened his mouth and readjusted his foot with yet another grand showing of hypocrisy.

As Jay notes:
A hundred years ago--heck, even fifteen years ago--would have been a great time to pass a law prohibiting legislators from having the kind of middle-of-the-night votes that, if not actually reflect such malice, at least arouse the suspicion thereof. Scott Walker, who of course was a legislator fifteen years ago and participated in his share of end-of-session late-night legislative bacchanalia, never proposed such a restriction when he had the chance or, to my knowledge, voiced his concern over the practice.

But Scott Walker apparently finds it convenient to complain today, as he's in the middle of a campaign and needs something more than just lunch bags to talk about for a while. And "OMG! They're passing bills in the dead of night!" can be made to sound quite frightening and earn Walker some free media for the day. (None of the media that I saw or heard asked Walker why he didn't push to stop late-night legislating when he was a state rep. Disappointing!)
I didn't have a chance to post on it then, as that I was a wee bit busy with a thing called life, but also because I didn't think we had heard the end of this story yet. Sure enough, I was right. Ryan J. Foley of the Associated Press picked up the story and ran with it:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker voted to allow late-night lawmaking when he was a member of the Assembly even though he rails against the practice now.

Walker joined with the Republican majority in January 1997 to eliminate a rule that required lawmakers to finish their floor sessions at 8 p.m., voting records show. Republican lawmakers had voted to put the rule in place after taking control of the chamber in 1995.

The change allowed the all-night legislative sessions that had long been the Assembly's way of doing business to resume. The sessions are often denounced by lawmakers themselves and government watchdogs for allowing lawmakers to take major action in the middle of the night when few are paying attention — except lobbyists.
To commemorate this event, which I believe just may be Walker's one millionth act of hypocrisy, I have joined Jay and Ordinary Jill in helping Walker out with new slogans for his brown bag:




Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Is It?

Thursday evening, after work, I went over to the county grounds to see for myself whether the branch had really been taken out of the Eschweiler Building. Indeed, it had been removed, after only four months of exposing the interior to the frigid cold, snow, melting snow and rain.

While there, I saw some sort of equipment, but did not know what it was. Here is a picture of it:

I was able to rule out some sort of modernized, if neglected, catapult or trebuchet.

A glance inside the bucket on at the lower end shows an augur inside:



Anyone know what this thing might be?

On a side note, I also saw this in the same area behind the maintenance building on the county grounds:

As I wrote at Milwaukee County First:
With the way that Scott Walker is laying off workers left and right, and more lay offs coming, and the way he is driving businesses away from the region with his lack of foresight and refusal to maintain services and amenities, I found this abandoned Employment Guide box to be rather symbolic of his tenure as county executive.

Freedom Outlawed in Arizona

Bigotry and hatred are now the law in Arizona:
The legislation, sent to the Republican governor by the GOP-led Legislature, makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It also requires local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants, allows lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.
So, what does an undocumented worker look like and how do this differ from the looks of a documented worker?

Zach has more.

Friday, April 23, 2010

ScottforGov.com is really Scott for Gov

Wisconsin Truth Project, which is authored by a distinctly conservative, but anonymous, blogger, has a post up discussing the psuedo-Team Walker blogsite, which turns out to be not so psuedo after all:

You see, most of all, my lack of sympathy stems from Scott4Gov’s now obvious lie – that it is independent of the Walker campaign (which they took the opportunity of the Bice column to reiterate – talk about guts). Every grassroots Republican in southeast Wisconsin knows that Schulze has been a key member of Walker’s inner circle for years. I have no idea if he has been on the payroll in any way, but if it’s supposed to be a secret that he’s been providing political advice to Walker and his campaign team, it’s the most poorly kept secret in Milwaukee County.

That means Scott4Gov is lying to its readers. If you can’t believe their claim to be independent, how can you believe anything they post?

And how can Mark Belling run with anything spoon-fed to him by these people and still trust them as a reliable source? That’s another post for another day.

Personally, I like Scott Walker and believe he would be a fine governor. But I am sick and tired of being treated like an idiot by the Walker campaign. So I’m supposed to believe that Scott4Gov is “independent” of the Walker campaign when one of Walker’s political advisors gets caught red-handed as one of its contributors?

Don’t patronize me.

Stupid unforced errors like this that will cost Walker the election when he’s in the big time this fall.

Walker should show some leadership and do one of two things: 1) Have his aides discontinue Scott4Gov; or 2) Officially annex Scott4Gov into his campaign, where it is apparently already coming from, and have the guts to apply his name to the slash-and-burn spin emanating from it.

Some time ago, I lamented the devolution of conservatism from the classy, intellectual movement of William F. Buckley, Jr. into the teeth-clenching, commercialized movement of Ann Coulter. Scott4Gov is a local embodiment of the angry conservatism that has saturated the Republican base and it’s sad that Walker’s people are trying to exploit the anger of the movement for political gain.

I've been suspicious of the make up of this group for some time, especially when it came to light that they have been receiving special treatment from Walker's administration, as pointed out by Cory Liebmann some time ago*:
Last year even an anonymous request was given preferential treatment from the Walker administration. Some shill for Walker's endless campaign for higher office sent a request directly to his official email. In it they asked for a copy of an email that was sent to Walker's office by our friend Capper. They also asked for any letters of response from the Walker administration. That request was not even signed by an actual person, only by "ScottforGov.com". That request was processed and the documentation sent via email in less than two hours. Not to mention that the Walker administration chose to waive all fees for the extra special service. What makes this even worse is that Walker's cult at "ScottforGov.com" got the response to Capper even before the Walker administration bothered to get it to Capper himself.
Said request was done in my capacity as Chair of Milwaukee County First. ScottforGov.com had their post up before I even received the email from the county executive's office.

I do believe that this is about to become much bigger than even I had anticipated.

*More fun. From Cory's post cited above, I noted this comment:
Interesting theory from the previous anonymous - also incorrect. I'm a poster on Scottforgov.com, and I can assure you the Walker people (unless they have done some extensive digging) don't know who I am. I haven't spoken to anyone in the County Exec's office or campaign in 2 years, to Scott for at least 3. Of course, I don't know everyone who is involved in County government or the campaign, so I could be wrong. ( I know I haven't spoken to Scott)
I also believe I know the lawyer at ATC that you are speaking of, and I can assure you that he/she is NOT a member of scottforgov.com
Perhaps these liars might want to consider posting some retractions on their other lies as well.

Walker's Water-Loos?

It was an admittedly crappy day for progressives in the Milwaukee area.

The State Assembly couldn't seem to get their collective heads out of the sand and just do what the voters told them to do more than eighteen months ago, which was to simply give Milwaukee County to enact a dedicated sales tax for the transit and parks systems, with a corresponding reduction in property taxes.

Instead, we saw the Republicans do whatever they can do to sabotage the bills from happening and the Democrats too spineless to stand up and do what was right, and now the dedicated funding fight is over for now..

I noticed many Republicans are already crowing about their "success" in stopping these bills. I am sure that Walker will use this on his campaign bike ride next month and at the Republican convention.

But did Walker and the Republicans really win? Now Walker has no one to pull his bacon out of the fire and he will be forced to make some very difficult decisions as he tries to put together his 2011 budget. Will he raise taxes, which is against his entire mantra, or will he allow the county to spiral nose first into the ground, which will really show how incompetent and what a sham he really is?

The pros are saying that the transit system, without the dedicated funding, could be cut by as much as 35% by this time next year. That equates to tens of thousands of jobs being lost as workers will not be able to get to work. That won't sit well with Walker's laughable promise to create 250,000 jobs. At the rate he is going, he will have to create 250,000 jobs to just make up for the ones he has caused to go away.

On a local level, the progressives also having a bad day. The County Board woefully failed to take action, misguided as it was, to hold Walker and his administration for the woes that they have caused at the Behavioral Health Division. On the bright side, it appears that this was only a temporary setback and one that can be rectified in a month.

But the real interesting part of today's events is when the Board passed a resolution to oppose Waukesha's plan on using Milwaukee County waterways as the dumping field for their waste water:

The Milwaukee County Board voted Thursday to oppose Waukesha's plan to use county streams to send treated wastewater to Lake Michigan, with concerns raised over potential pollution and flooding damage.

The board's 13-3 vote came after supervisors said waiting to take a stand on the plan was unwise. Waukesha officials had asked Milwaukee County to hold off on a decision for a month so they could make a detailed presentation of a plan to purchase lake water from the City of Milwaukee and pipe back treated effluent to the lake via Underwood Creek.

This vote, which was passed on a veto-proof margin, puts Walker into a very difficult position.

The people in Milwaukee County, especially those in Wauwatosa, where Walker lives, don't want Waukesha's refuse water to come pouring through their streams. On the other hand, the people in Waukesha arrogantly feel that they are the chosen ones and have the right to dump their water any which way they want, without having to participate with any sort of reciprocal regional cooperation.

So who does Walker support? His friends and neighbors in Tosa and his supporters in the suburbs who elected him three times to be county executive or his well-moneyed campaign donors from Waukesha?

It didn't take Walker long to decide where is loyalties lay. As is the usual case with Walker, just follow the money. From the same article (emphasis mine):

County Executive Scott Walker said he would veto the board's move, calling it a "knee-jerk reaction that flies in the face of regional cooperation." Nonetheless, enough supervisors oppose the Waukesha water plan now to override a Walker veto.
So much for Walker, Tosa Ranger.

As I have been saying for a long, long time, Scott Walker doesn't care about Milwaukee County and only saw it as a stepping stone for his goal of becoming governor.

Now that Walker has thrown his neighbors and long-time supporters under the bus, he will be really feeling the pressure to win his perpetual race for governor. With the decisions he has been making lately, I doubt that it will be very long before Walker will be persona non grata in Milwaukee County, much less Wauwatosa.

Heck, he's most of the way there already.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day


Instead of a long spiel, I'll leave it as "Yeah, what he said."

But do enjoy the snark from the conservatives that try to go for the snark/shock value because they're not in the spotlight today. Their attention-seeking is rather funny.

The Business of Government


Aaron Rodriguez, a Walker zealot if there ever was one, wrote a piece claiming that Walker's claim of having a $9 million surplus from the 2009 Milwaukee County budget "was good business."

First of all, one would have to look past all the inaccurate and misleading statements in Rodriguez' post. Such as the question of whether the county has a surplus. I pointed out last week, at Milwaukee County First, that there really is no surplus. Not when there was so much unpaid debt and so many bills that had to be paid. I'm not the only one that caught on to this bit of misdirection. Jim McGuigan, former County Supervisor, also notes that Walker has a pile of bills stacked up, especially with the risky pension obligation bond deal.

Rodriguez also misleads the reader with statements like the one accrediting Walker for the $7 million surplus in 2007. An honest observer would have remembered and noted that the 2007 budget was the one that Walker had vetoed in its entirety, saying it would never work. That year's surplus is completely attributed to the County Board and their hard work in repairing his budget proposal.

An honest observer would also note that Walker is currently still facing a budget with a $17 million hole in it. Said hole was actually much higher, $15 million higher, until the County Board was able to patch some of it up. (As opposed to the balanced budget and funded pension fund that Mayor Tom Barrett gave to City of Milwaukee citizens.)

I will agree with Aaron on one point. Milwaukee County does have a very good bond rating, but where the credit for that can go is obviously an arguable point.

But the main question is Walker providing good government, good business, both or neither?

When one tries to run a government, one is almost guaranteed to have trouble.

The mission statement that is printed on the back of every county-issued business card reads:
"Milwaukee County Government will provide high-quality, responsive services that enhance self-sufficiency, personal safety, economic opportunity and quality of life for all its people."
Anyone that has been paying attention can see where the problem lies.

Due to Walker's ineffective leadership, the state had to take over the Income Maintenance Program, lest all the tax payers in the state have to pay off on a big-money class action lawsuit. The lawsuit stemmed from the majority of people not receiving timely, if any, services regarding food stamps, energy assistance and health care at a time when the nation was facing one of its most severe economic crises and unemployment was soaring into the double digits.

That's not what one would call high-quality or responsive services.

And given the recent events at the Behavioral Health Division, the House of Correction (before Walker abdicated his duties there to Sheriff Clarke), and other issues surrounding programs like the courthouse and the Sheriff's Office being severely underfunded and/or understaffed, I don't see how this meets the personal safety promise.

Economic opportunities are severely hampered in Milwaukee County as well. Since Walker became county executive, there has been a 20% cut in transit, leading to some 40,000 jobs being lost. If the state legislature doesn't pass the transit bill before going on recess, the county is facing another 35% cuts in transit services, costing tens of thousands of more jobs and hurting business owners because customers can't make it to their stores.

Things aren't any better for economic development, since Walker first staffed these positions with unqualified cronies from his campaign, then eliminated the department altogether.

Take all of the above issues, add the problems with the parks being so understaffed and underfunded to the point that there are hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred repairs and maintenance, golf courses being set up for failure, a courthouse crumbling down on our heads, literally, and you can see that our quality of life has drastically dropped under Walker's reign.

It would take some seriously myopic vision through heavily rose-tinted glasses to see anything but that Scott Walker has been an abject failure as county executive and really has no business being in government.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Too Much Fun With Two Fun Contests And One Great Picture

Contest one, the folks at BagScottWalker.com have a contest where you can enter your own slogan for the next brown bag:
Here is how the contest works:
  • Submit your best Bag Scott Walker slogan by May 3rd, 2010
  • After all the submissions are received, we'll let you vote for your favorite slogan from May 5th to May 17th
  • The winning slogan will be announced on May 21 -- the date of the 2010 Republican State Convention
  • At the 2010 Republican State Convention we will update BagScottWalker.com with the new slogan and pass out new "Bag Scott Walker" brown bags with your slogan printed on them
Just a word of warning, I don't see anything specifically banning me, so it should be a lock.

And Zach at Blogging Blue, via Recess Supervisor, has a fun play at home version where we can make our own photoshopped slogan. If you want to leave one, but can't photoshop or don't blog, leave it in the comments or email me with it, and I'll do my best to get them up. But for heaven's sake, let's not get too vulgar, OK?

And thanks to the artistry of Emily Mills and company, we are able to see just when Team Walker came up with the conclusion that using a rehashed campaign gimmick was a good idea:

Sarah Palin's Kitteh

Sarah Palin's kitteh:


In case you forgot.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Your Tax Dollars Not At Work- Day 6


Just in case anyone else was keeping track, Monday was the sixth furlough day of the year so far. That is already three times the cuts in services that Tom Barrett needed to balance the city's budget and three quarters of what Jim Doyle needed for the state's budget. Plus, the city and the state actually negotiated their days with their unions. (I had a lovely time up north, thanks for asking.)

It is also another $600 dollars that the county lost in revenue, bringing the total to the county running $3600 in the red by these furloughs.

But that is not the only way that Scott Walker has decided to lose revenue for the county. He has also put several golf courses in jeopardy by doing his best to cut their revenue stream as well.

To show that county workers do know how to make the best of a bad situation, zoo workers have named a new baby camel "Furlow." (Pictured above, via CBS 58) Furlow has even made the big time, by making it onto one of the blogsite Cute Overload.

I just wonder if anyone else will pick up on the issue I pointed out at MCF's post:
The other issue is also very telling. As is often the case, when bad news like this breaks, Scott Walker is nowhere to be found. According to his tweets, he spent the majority of the day in the Fox Valley, campaigning. One would think that someone who touts himself as a leader would be here to deal with his self-created budget deficit and the ramifications and consequences stemming from his budget bungling. Instead, we find himself trying to physically distance himself from the mess he has created.

Monday, April 19, 2010

But I Don't Wear Orange...


Jason and the crowd at Drinking Liberally are continuing with their threat of bringing an outsider into our midst.

This came in the mail sometime while I was gone:

Gather round, my lefty folk, come hear the tale of the tea partier who ventured into Milwaukee realm. The one who came, Westlake was his name, and into the land of beer and progressives he roamed. Over taxes and healthcare he groaned, under entitlement and non-discrimination he moaned, when really, there was no threat he'd be disowned. For it's nothing like what he'd been shown(ed).

(Rest assured we don't speak in verse at Drinking Liberally. Or anything remotely like it. And it may be telling that this meesage was composed *without* the aid of beer...)

Let me shove aside my rare (rare?) case of bad writing and give you the details:

Drinking Liberally
Wed. April 21, 7-9PM
@ Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave., Milwaukee

Special guest Dave Westlake, G.O.P./Tea Party candidate for U.S. Senate, who's hoping to challenge U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in November.

*** NOTE: A Republican-Tea Party candidate need to be treated gently. Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to them. Do not taunt the candidate. If the candidate begins to emit smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Failure to do so relieves the organizer of Drinking Liberally Milwaukee, and its parent group, Living Liberally, of any and all liability. ***

Fine print aside, let's give Dave Westlake a warm welcome. I think this will be a good conversation for all of us. Look at his info at www.davewestlake.org, and bring your questions. This will be good!

Your cordial host,

Jason Haas

Ah, well, we welcome Nick Schweitzer to these, and Westlake is not nearly as goofy. Close, but not quite.

Life In Wisconsin


Source

Friday, April 16, 2010

Trouble With A Capital TEA

So yesterday was Tax Day and all the TEA Party aficionados and profiteers were out to take full advantage of it. But there are some things that I wonder about.

First of all, what are they exactly protesting against?

The common understanding is that TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already, which would obviously mean they're against taxes. But then you have self-proclaimed TEA heads, like Dad29, claim that it is about government spending. Others claim it's about the stimulus or about the health care reform. It seems that they just want to complain about something, anything, and the government, especially President Obama, is their favorite target.

Their protests against taxes have a certain amount of irony to it. First of all, unless they were making more than $200,000 they probably got a tax cut. Furthering the irony is that Wisconsin's tax rankings are not nearly anywhere as bad as the TEA people would have one believe.

Another issue is if they are protesting government taxes and/or spending, why would they have Tommy Thompson, one of the most egregious governors of doing both, as one of their speakers? Wouldn't that seem rather hypocritical? Apparently, some of the tea partiers felt that way, since there was a lot of talk of various tea groups boycotting yesterday's event.

And regarding the subject of high costs, why is it that when the government raises taxes by one or two percent, it sends these people into fits of foaming-at-the-mouth rage, but they do not say a word about health insurance companies raising their rates by up to 40% so that their CEOs can take home big pay outs or when the energy companies raise rates for the second time in three months? One would have to think that it might have something to do with the fact that these TEA parties are actually being sponsored by big businesses and right wing groups.

But what might be the most ironic part of yesterday's events would be the way they shot themselves in the foot regarding their own members. Leading up to the events, the Internet was abuzz with stories of how those mean old lefty liberals who were going to go and pretend to be one of them so that they could make them look bad.

That would be quite a feat. It means that the liberals would have had to go back into time and take over some of these movements, like the one in Ohio:

Several weeks ago, during a march supporting immigration reform, Tea Party leader Sonny Thomas had tweeted, "Illegals everywhere today! So many spicks makes me feel like a speck. Grr. Where's my gun?" That original tweet appears to have been scrubbed from Thomas's Twitter feed, although a few retweets calling it "disgusting" can still be found.

"So he's referring to Hispanics with the most offensive word that you can use," Sanchez remarked, "and then he implies that he wishes he could shoot them? Nice."

Thomas's "racially insensitive" remarks have already caused an Ohio state senator to drop out of an event organized by his Springboro Tea Party group. Thomas appears to be known for his racist attitudes, and CNN found a photo on his MySpace page of him wearing a "white pride" t-shirt, although that also now appears to have been removed.

In fact, the tea bangers got them so worked up that they were turning on their own (as well as their own paranoid thinking):
Paranoia about infiltrators has led some activists to become wary of fellow protesters who don’t fit the profile of a typical Tea Partier. At the rally, I met two heavily pierced and tattooed young activists, dressed head-to-toe in Goth-style clothes and carrying a black version of the ubiquitous "Don’t Tread on Me" sign. "Due to the way that many in the Tea Party have been wrongfully stereotyped, they don't think that I fit that mold," said Mario Jones, 27, vice president of a Tea Party group in West Virginia's Marion County. His 20-year-old companion agreed. "A lot of people are like, you don't look like you belong here. This is my freedom—this is how I dress every day," said Amanda Chatham, an unemployed mother from Philadelphia. She noted that she'd been spurred to protest by concerns about "getting [monitoring] chips put into our hands" as part of health care reform.
And I think that the gentle reader can make their own conclusions about how FOX News, who has long been pushing these things, pulled Sean Hannity from one of the TEA Events because they were afraid someone else might make money off of it.

I don't know which bothers me more. They fact that some of these people are feeding into some seriously deranged thinking or that there are so many people willing to take advantage of them.

Your Tax Dollars Not At Work - Day 5

Well, Milwaukee County citizens just saw another $600 of revenue go up in smoke.

That's an extra $3000 worth of brown bag lunches for the rest of us who have to pick up the slack for Walker's incompetence in budgeting.

Actually, it appears that Scott Walker is going to cost us a lot more money.

From today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's privatization of courthouse security drew fire Thursday, with disclosures of much smaller savings than had been announced and a criminal history of the former head of the newly hired private security force.

The savings, pegged by Walker's staff last fall at more than $750,000 a year, now are estimated at $411,000.

I wonder how much longer people will put up with what can only be described as utterly incompetent budgeting or flat out lying from Walker and his administration.

And later in the same article:

The board's finance committee on Thursday also voted 4-2 to rescind Walker's layoffs of nine airport employees, a move that a county lawyer said the County Board lacked the authority to do. Walker was within the scope of his emergency budget authority in making the airport layoffs, said Deputy Corporation Counsel Mary Ann Grimes.

Supervisor John Weishan Jr. rejected that interpretation and said the board should go to court to press the point. The airport layoffs don't save the county any money and were aimed at punishing county unions, Weishan charged.

Word coming from the courthouse is that the people are pointing their fingers directly at Walker's administration, telling them that they had to do this even though it did not save any money.

Also, remember how Walker said he fixed the pension fiasco. Wait for the news to break about the long (and I do mean long) time employee who is considering pulling the retirement trigger. Word is that his pension backdrop will hit seven digits.

There's more, but I'll let them come as a surprise for you. Trust me on this though, Walker will have a hard time explaining to the tea party buddies on how the county has to pay county workers for those furlough days.

I want to get on with my weekend.

Pay Now Or Pay Even More Later

A few days ago, JSOnline posted a short editorial from one of its Reader Advisory Committee members regarding fiscal responsibility:
To use a Milwaukee County transit bus, people will need to be wise by paying the weekly or monthly pass upfront. Stella, a senior citizen, in a tight squeeze with her Social Security monthly pension, who several times a week visits her friend across town will have to pay two fares to ride the buses needed. Our County leaders want to save now. What they do not see is that maybe Stella will visit her friend less, or not at all. Maybe Stella or her friend might develop what long ago was call “melancholy” which fully developed will debilitate their health. Maybe in this saving process we the county residents will end up paying more because the end result might be that Stella, or her friend will end up using medical services they will not be able to pay. The same can be said for not spending in children’ art, music, sports programs in our school resulting in the residents of Milwaukee County having to spend more for jails.
I was disappointed to see that my friend, Nick Schweitzer, left a rather rude and wildly tasteless comment which was made only worse because he couldn't be any further off base from the truth:
Maybe by eating that extra Twinkie as you type out a weird post, you will
increase your cholesterol and extra point, causing a heart attack in a few
years which will increase the insurance premiums the rest of us pay.

Maybe by flapping its wings, a butterfly will disturb the air in Africa enough
to cause a devastating hurricane in Florida which will cost millions of dollars
in property damage.

Its bad enough when we try to make public policy based off of bad statistics that are politically motived. Do we also have to make public policy
based off of a Rube Goldberg litany of things which might link together to
create some ill effect later down the line?
Sadly, Nick and the other detractors are missing the real point, which is often it is smarter and more fiscally responsible to spend a little money now to address a problem then to wait until it gets really bad it and soaks up more of your money.

The classic analogy to exemplify this is the car maintenance versus car repair argument. It is clearly more fiscally responsible to pay the $25 for an oil change four or five times a year than it is to pay thousands for a new engine block or tens of thousands of dollars for a new car.

There have been many real life examples of this locally.

The whole thing with the zoo interchange is one example. It would obviously have been more advisable to replace the bridges before they got to the point where tax payers now have to pay for emergency temporary bridges until they can replace the old ones.

Another example is the maintenance that has been put off by Scott Walker regarding the county's roads, parks or infrastructure. It would have been much cheaper to perform proper maintenance of these assets than it will be now that we have to repair, if not completely replace, the things that are breaking down.

But to his credit, Walker did get it right on one occasion. He was able to recognize that it was cheaper to spend a few thousand dollars now and putting troubled adolescents in a first offenders type of program, like Wraparound, instead of spending tens, if not hundreds, of thousands on the same kids by putting them in Wales or Lincoln Hills.

So, you see, Nick, it's not some kind of Goldberg type of complex theorem. It is a financially sound idea to spend a little now on the necessary services than to spend millions and billions of dollars later on something that was more likely than not to be completely avoidable.

Yoo Hoo, Tea Party People!

So, yesterday, thousands of angry Tea Nuts went to their state capitals, the major cities and Washington, D.C. to protest, well, who knows what? They complain that they are getting taxed to death and that they don't want their hard earned tax money to go to help poor people, disabled people or the elderly. My God, that would be just pure socialism to ask people to act in a socially responsible manner.

But enough snark.

My question is this: How many went to West Allis to protest outside UnitedHealthcare?
UnitedHealth Group Inc. CEO Stephen Hemsley received nearly $9 million in compensation for 2009, an increase of almost $6 million from the previous year.

Hemsley’s salary remained unchanged from a year ago, standing at $1.3 million. However, he received more than $5 million combined from stock-award and stock appreciation reward (SAR) compensation in 2009. He didn’t receive either SAR or stock-award pay in 2008.

In 2009, Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth awarded Hemsley nearly $2 million in non-equity plan compensation, up from $1.8 million in 2008. Non-equity compensation pay is tied to a company’s performance.

Hemsley received $86,913 in compensation under the “all-other” category, which covers various executive perks. That’s down from $119,023 in 2008.

UnitedHealth, parent of UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin in West Allis, reported a profit of $3.8 billion in 2009, up 27 percent from $2.98 billion in 2008. The health insurer's revenue rose to $87 billion, up from $81 billion in the previous year.

There is no way on earth to justify holding a mass protest because you think your taxes went up (which they didn't unless you make a bazillion dollars) to give a poor person health care coverage, but are perfectly fine with one health care executive walking away with $9 million of your money to benefit only himself.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Any guesses if this guy is one of Walker's brown baggers?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vote For Vidal!

Yesterday I told you about Milwaukee Police Officer Vidal Colon, who showed his heroism by dealing with an armed thug even though he had been shot three times.

I have just found out that America's Most Wanted is now taking votes.

Please vote for one of our own hometown heroes and vote for Vidal!

Barrett Smokes Walker in Downtown Q & A Session

Brought to you from OnMilwaukee.com. A snippet:

OMC: Favorite restaurant in Downtown?

TB: Like a proud father, I'm not picking a favorite, but here are a few locations where I've had good meals recently: Mason Street Grill, Ouzo Café, The Red Accordion and Historic Turner Restaurant.

SW: Real Chili.

I thought Walker only brown bagged it. Oh...yeah, that's right.

Told Ya So.

TOMMY!! tells a crowd of approximately 3,5327,429,683,015,476,251,487 people (their estimate - actual count 3 plus a sleeping hobo) that he would not be running against Feingold.

Told you so.

I also heard that Scott Walker, who was there instead of doing his job, fainted at the news, believing that this would mean that TOMMY!! would be running for governor.

Anyway, congratulations to Senator Russ Feingold on his fourth term.

I Don't Know If I Would Stop Laughing...

This morning the news was that TOMMY!!! wasn't going to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Russ Feingold. That quickly morphed back into the normal status of no one knowing for sure what he is going to do.

I think I would not be able to stop laughing if he took advantage of his appearance at tomorrow's TEA party in Madison to announce his candidacy....for Governor of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And Never Shall They Meet

Bruce Murphy points out in this week's version of his "Murphy's Law" column that it has been the Democratic governors that have lowered taxes in Wisconsin and the Republican governors, like TOMMY!!! "I can't make up my mind" Thompson that have been spending like drunken sailors (no offense to drunken sailors).

He ends that part of his topic with the money quote:
So now Scott Walker is running for governor, arguing that Doyle has been a big spender. The reality is that Doyle has been considerably more frugal than Thompson, and Walker as a legislator voted for Thompson’s budgets. But reality doesn’t always have a lot to do with political campaigns.
With all due respect to Mr. Murphy, whatever Walker says doesn't always have a lot to do with reality.

Thank You And Good Luck, Vidal!


As many of my regular readers know, I used to work at the House of Correction. After going through the probationary period, I applied and was accepted into the Special Management Team (SMT), which was a dorm that held inmates that suffered from a serious mental illness.

One of the many admirable people that I had the pleasure and honor to serve with was SMT Correctional Officer Vidal Colon. Unfortunately, I only served with him for a very short time, as he was soon to become a member of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Last year, Milwaukee Police Officer Vidal Colon, showed the world that he is truly one of Milwaukee's finest:
The officer responded to a domestic disturbance complaint Saturday night. The suspect ran. The officer chased. According to the police chief, the confrontation ended in moments in a blast of gunfire.

Fresh from a spring vacation, Milwaukee's police chief took time out Monday morning to survey the scene of Saturday's shootout.

"It's really quite startling to look at it first hand and see what an extraordinarily brave act our officer committed and the extraordinarily intimate surroundings in which this occurred," Milwaukee police Chief Ed Flynn said.

Flynn said Officer Vidal Colon was chasing the suspect through a gangway when the 45-year-old man opened fire."The officer was wounded and went down. (He) continued to exchange fire with a suspect who went down, and both were on the ground shooting at each other before this gun battle ended. Mercifully, without the loss of our officer's life," Flynn said.

The officer shot the suspect five times. The suspect hit Colon twice in the legs and once in the stomach. The officer wasn't wearing a bullet-proof vest. They're not required to.

"I spoke to him yesterday (Sunday)and he had already gotten the stern lecture from his lovely wife, Tina, that he's never leaving the house again for the rest of his career without his body armor on. He did not have it on," Flynn said.

Colon is home recovering. His wife told WISN 12 News reporter Colleen Henry he has no comment.
The reason I'm bringing it up now, a year after the fact, is that I just learned tonight that Vidal is one of the eight finalists for America's Most Wanted 2010 All-Stars.

According to the AMW website, voting for the grand winner is supposed to start today, but apparently they haven't set up the program yet. I will update this when I find out how to vote.

But I would still like to thank Vidal Colon for his service and sacrifice for the betterment of the community, and wish him the best of luck in the contest.

The Problem With Trolls


Like many of the other progressive bloggers, I am having an issue dealing with some right wing trolls that have thought they would be clever by insulting me, my family or my readers.

I am pondering to turn on comment moderation, even though I am loathe to do so. I feel free speech is one of the greatest things about our country, and wish to honor that right to the fullest.

But while I agree everyone has a right to express themselves and their thoughts, I don't agree that this means that they can resort to personal attacks and gross vulgarities. After all, this is "my place" and I would expect my guests to show the same respect that they would if they were at someone's home in real life.

If you don't like what I have to say, you don't have to read it. If you want to argue the points, please, feel free. But if you insist on boorish behaviors, don't be surprised if your comment goes down the rabbit hole forever.

And if it becomes too bothersome, I will switch over to moderating the comments. If I have to take it to that level, I apologize in advance to the reasonable readers and commenters, on both sides of the political aisle. It's not me, it's not you, it's the trolls.

Thompson Not Running For US Senate

WTMJ 620-AM is reporting that TOMMY!!! is not going to run for Senator Feingold's seat.

I am not surprised.

Baby-Faced Killer

Just to start your morning out with a smile, I hope:


Source

I Could Have Told Them That. In Fact, I Do Believe I Did.

One Wisconsin Now let the cat out of the cellophane bag today, when they pointed out that Scott Walker would cut health care for the most vulnerable citizens to pay for his tax cuts to the wealthy:
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s budget-busting tax giveaway to the rich and big business is under a new assault after Walker offered cutting seniors, people with disabilities and working families and children from health care coverage as a way to pay for his much-maligned plan to double Wisconsin’s projected $2-billion state budget deficit with a series of tax breaks that mostly benefit corporations and high-income people.

“Scott Walker is finally telling us who will be paying for his $2 billion in tax cuts for the rich and big business and it’s our seniors, people with disabilities, working families and our children,” said Scot Ross. “It is irresponsible for one senior or one person with disabilities or one child to go without health care so that he can give an income tax cut exclusively to those making more than $225,000. Has he no decency?”

Walker offered the health care cut proposal in an interview published Tuesday. If Walker were to cut eligibility, Wisconsin would have to repay hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding provided under the Recovery Act and put at risk hundreds of millions of additional Medicaid dollars planned at the federal level. Currently, more than 1.1 million Wisconsinites rely on Medicaid.

Gee, Walker targeting the elderly, the disabled and the poor. Who'd a thunk it possible? Oh wait, that would have been me.

And if one doubts the importance of health care, imagine what it would be like for xoff, who probably damned near had a heart attack when the local paper showed that they're still willing to ask questions of Walker's grandiose and irresponsible campaign promises. (I'm sure xoff is OK, but one worries when talking about calcified radicals, y'know.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fred Dooley Goes 0 for 2

Boy, it's a tough night for the faux outraged conservatives. First the wannabe Team Walker's error in judgment.

Now, old Fred Dooley does his own whiff.

Dooley, the master of faux outrage and hypocrisy, snarks about an alleged liberal-on-conservative attack, supposedly because said conservatives were wearing his and hers Sarah Palin pledge pins.

The problem is, as the diva of conservative women, Michele Malkin, points out, they weren't actually wearing Palin pins. To her credit, she also points out that this might not even been anything more than "an old-fashioned New Orleans brawl."

Malkin is also correct in pointing out that the young couple deserves wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery, whatever the cause.

But the whole incident does remind me of another alleged liberal-on-conservative attack that was nothing but a hoax: The Case of the Backward B Attack.

But the whole Palin pin thing is Dooley's second boo-boo of the day. Zach at Blogging Blue has his first miss, which is good actually good advice for us all: Don't get your news from the Daily Nazi Digest.

Walker Supporters: Walker will raise taxes

The pseudo-Team Walker, aka ScottforGov.com, puts up their second strike in three days with a post titled "Tom Barrett = Walter Mondale":
Let me translate that..."I will not raise taxes for 2 years, and the Republicans are lying to you when they say different."

I seem to remember another Democratic nominee saying something similar in 1984. In fact Walter Mondale's exact words were:

"Let's tell the truth. It must be done. It must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did."

The difference is in words, not substance.

Based on this line of argument, the logical argument would be they then consider Scott Walker to be the equivalent of Ronald Reagan.
But, if they were truly politically savvy, they would realize that they just shot themselves, and their candidate, in the foot.

Via Brew City Brawler, we see an outline of Reagan's stance on taxes as Governor of California:
But how high is enough? The level of state and local taxes paid by Californians is just about the same as it was in 1970: 11.5 percent of income now, compared with 11.1 percent. The first big budget deficit in the last half a century was inherited by Reagan in 1967. He grandly declared “we will squeeze, cut and trim” state government and proclaimed a 10 percent across-the-board whack. But as Reagan learned then, and Schwarzenegger is learning now, across-the-board cuts — as simple and fair as they may sound — just don’t work. They fall unfairly on some crucial programs. No one would seriously suggest cutting the California Highway Patrol by 10 percent, for example. And the state Constitution and federal law prohibit other cuts, including some welfare programs.

Reagan ended up approving a $1 billion tax increase on a $6 billion annual budget, which was, proportionately, the biggest tax increase in state history. It left a fat treasury for his successor, Jerry Brown, but much of that was doled out to cities and counties to make up for property taxes slashed by Proposition 13. (The state got that back later by grabbing more than $1 billion of local revenues. The locals, of course, raised their own taxes to make up for the loss.)

Now I can just hear my anonymous trolls from Walker's campaign trying to argue, "But capper, they meant Reagan the President, not Governor."

Fine by me. Via the Brawler again, let's look at Reagan the President:

Reagan may have resisted calls for tax increases, but he ultimately supported them. In 1982 alone, he signed into law not one but two major tax increases. The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act raised taxes by $37.5 billion per year, and the Highway Revenue Act of 1982 raised the gasoline tax by another $3.3 billion.

According to a recent Treasury Department study, TEFRA alone raised taxes by almost 1 percent of the gross domestic product, making it the largest peacetime tax increase in American history. An increase of similar magnitude today would raise more than $100 billion per year.

In 1983, Reagan signed legislation raising the Social Security tax rate. This is a tax increase that lives with us still, since it initiated automatic increases in the taxable wage base. As a consequence, those with moderately high earnings see their payroll taxes rise every single year.

The following year, Reagan signed another big tax increase in the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984. This raised taxes by $18 billion per year or 0.4 percent of GDP. A similar sized tax increase today would be about $44 billion.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 raised taxes yet again. Even the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which was designed to be revenue-neutral, contained a net tax increase in its first two years. And the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 raised taxes still more.

To put in a logic based argument:

If Tom Barrett = Walter Mondale, then Scott Walker = Ronald Reagan.

If Walker = Reagan, and Reagan raised taxes (by record amounts), then Walker will raise taxes (by record amounts).

Why they think it's a good idea to support a candidate who is supposedly anti-tax by pointing out that he will raise taxes is beyond me. But then again, why they believe Walker at all is also beyond me.

Strike One: No Concept of Irony

Walker Claims $8.9 Million Surplus

A few questions pop into mind:

  • Where do I go to get my money back?
  • Should Walker really be bragging when he has a lot more than $9 million in problems to answer for?
  • Why are the Teapublicans celebrating this news when it only means that we were either overtaxed or under-served or both?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sex And The Grandstanding DA

This is a little old already, but I have to get my two cents in on it.

In Juneau County, the District Attorney, Scott Southworth, threatened to prosecute any teacher that followed state law and taught sex education that was not purely abstinence-based.

In other words, Southworth threatened to charge the teachers with following the law.

He made some kind of cockamamie excuse saying it would promote underage sex. If Southworth really believes that the kids aren't already having sex, he is deluding himself.

Illy-T has some ideas on whether that would be even a doable thing.

Now it looks like the DA was just looking for some attention instead of trying to make a point.

Whether or not the DA meant what he said, or he was just attention seeking, there is something the teachers should do. Since they are mandated reporters for child abuse and/or neglect per state law, I believe that it is their responsibility to report the DA for attempting to withhold state mandated education from the kids.