Monday, May 31, 2010


Before you go on your picnics or have your cook outs or go to the movies or go to watch a baseball game or whatever else you may have planned, take a few moments to stop and remember what this holiday is all about and those that gave their all so that we can enjoy what we have.

All gave some, some gave all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Going Unplugged

Between the holiday and furlough days, I will be going on a bit of a vacation. I have stuff in the machine loaded to go, not only here but also at Milwaukee County First and Whallah! during the week to keep you entertained while I am away from the keyboard.

Unfortunately, I cannot open the comments yet since my little troll(s) that likes to leave racist remarks, comments about innocent kids and just plain old vulgarities beyond the norm, is still lingering about. Thus, your comments might not appear for a while until I get a chance to look in on them. I do apologize for that, but it is what it is, and unfortunately, Walker's people are continuing their long tradition of trying to win at any cost.

Have a good and safe week.

I Know The Feeling



MJS made a boo-boo:

Actually, it is a very nice story, so I don't know why they didn't want it posted.

Just A Little Question

As expected after Republicanfest, each of the county's GOP groups are sending out endorsements for Scott Walker.

Milwaukee County's GOP sent theirs out a couple of days ago.

The question is who sent it out since Darlene Wink is no longer a county employee?

Barrett's First Commercial

I know that this has been out for a while, but here is Barrett's first commercial:

Notice how Barrett is able to tout his record of bringing jobs here. Compare that to Walker, who promises to help create a lot of jobs, but he has yet to bring any to Milwaukee County. If anything, he has cost us tens of thousands of jobs with his continuous cuts to the transit system and his disregard for our quality of life.

It was also Walker who compared bringing businesses to the area or improving the economy as "putting lipstick on a pig."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Twits Follow Walker

Cory Liebmann started a gimmick last year mocking the campaigns of Scott Walker and Mark Neumann with what he called the "The Twit Off." I joined in the fun for a while as well.

But I just noticed the other day that Team Walker is still taking the whole thing seriously:

You just can't mock them when they are making a mockery of themselves.

But for further fun, you could look at who is following Walker. There are a lot of out of state people which would indicate that they aren't really following him as much as our just looking for followers or spambots. If you take out the out-of-staters, the spambots, the marketing accounts, the media and the lefties looking for faux pas, you probably cut it my more than half.

Walker's Big Mo?

After Republicanfest, I had predicted that Walker would have a small bump in the polls. As usual, I was correct:

The results of the poll from Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports show a strengthening of Walker and Neumann in head-to-head match ups with Barrett.

Walker leads Barrett 48% to 41%; Neumann leads Barrett 44% to 42%. Rasmussen described Walker's advantage over Barrett as "slight."

In another predictable move, Team Walker crowed about it:
Now there can be a lot said about the Rasmussen Poll that Walker is crowing about, such as their tendency to lean to the right. Or one could look at the Ron Johnson numbers to see how far off they really are.

But whether or not the numbers are accurate is not the point that I want to make. For the sake of argument, let's put the accuracy aside and take as a given that Rasmussen at least performs its polls in a consistent manner.

Walker tweeted "Let's keep the momentum going!" Indeed, let us look at what Rasmussen has to say about the momentum (emphasis mine):

Both Republicans have led Barrett in surveys back to the first of the year, with Walker consistently running slightly stronger than Neumann. But until this month support for the Democrat had been increasing steadily.

In the previous surveys, Barrett’s support has risen from 38% in January to 42% in March to 46% in April. Until the latest survey, Walker’s numbers had eroded slightly from a high of 49% in January. Neumann climbed from 42% in January to 46% last month.

Now, as I pointed out last week and again at the beginning of this post, it was expected that Walker would get a small bump in his numbers after Republicanfest. (Please note that I have not talked about how Walker failed to win it all when he was the only candidate on the ballot.)

Likewise, I would expect Barrett to get a bump in the polls after Democratfest in a couple of weeks.

Walker still has a number of millstones around his neck: The ongoing problems at BHD, the deterioration of the parks, questions about his campaign bike ride, his county aides/cronies politicking on county time and illegal campaign donations.

He's not going to be able to sweep all of these things under the rug and hope to keep them there for the next four months, much less six.

So, yes, Team Walker, keep up that momentum, or even increase it. The faster you realize that your chances are quickly landing somewhere between slim and none, the better off the state will be for it.

Honey, I'm Home

If this doesn't pull at your heart, then you don't have one:

My favorite, the dog.

Cartoon of the day: Then and now

From Mike Konopacki, via WisOpinion, from 2005:

And from this year, the ever-talented Stuart Carlson, from Milwaukee News Buzz:

I wouldn't be surprised if we hear more about his campaign bike ride soon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Furlo-ugh Day 8: With A Correction

Today is the second mandatory furlough day set by Scott Walker, and the eighth day of his arbitrarily making me donate to his campaign.

The City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin are also on mandatory furlough days today as well, so if you had any plans of getting business done with any of the governmental bodies, you may as well forget it.

However, I do have a correction to make. I had previously noted that Milwaukee County is losing $600 per day for every day that I am on a furlough. I regret to say that number is inaccurate.

The amount of money that Milwaukee County bills for each hour of my service was not what I thought it was. The actual rate of billing is $17 per hour higher. That means for every day Walker has me on furlough is not $600. It really is more than $700. That means after today, the county will be out $5600 on just me alone.

But no, I am not really angry, since his refusal to fill empty positions has allowed almost anyone who wants it to get overtime. So I am not losing any real money this time around, although Walker is really screwing over the tax payers.

Enjoy your day. The weather is supposed to be beautiful.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wall Sees The Writing On The Wall

I have received word that Terrence Wall has seen the writing on the wall and will be formally announcing that he is dropping out of the race to see who will have the honor of losing to Senator Russ Feingold in November.

At the time of this writing, I do not know what made Wall decide to drop out.

Perhaps he realized that he doesn't have the GOP Machine's support after getting his clock cleaned at last weekend's Republicanfest. (Johnson has said he is willing to drop several millions of his own dollars into the race, which was probably music to the ears of the cash-strapped Republicans.)

Perhaps he realized that if he was going to cost him a lot of pumpkins to run against Ron Johnson.

Perhaps he saw the footage of Ron Johnson's thuggery and felt intimidated.

Whatever the reason, when Wall hits the wall, that will leave just old man Johnson trying to buy his way to Washington or Dave "Orange T-Shirt" Westlake.

In other words, a rich mad hatter or a poor Republican, going up against Team Feingold.

My money is on Feingold.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is There A Cover Up Going On In Walker's Office?

The same day that Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Darlene Wink, Co-Vice Chair of the Milwaukee County Republicans and Scott Walker's Director of Constituency Services, had been commenting on JSOnline articles in favor of her boss, the very pro-Walker web site, stopped publishing new posts.

Shortly thereafter, it was noted that the blog administrators had removed all of the comments from the site. I speculated if this was part of a cover up and whether the entire blogsite was about to go into the deep black hole of cyberspace.

Now the mystery and the intrigue went up yet another few notches.

Today, County Board Supervisor John Weishan sent a letter to Scott Walker, along with an open records request (pdf), including the following:

(click on picture to embiggen)

Just hours after that ORR was issued, it was first noted by Wisconsin Truth Project that the Twitter Account for was taken down:

Tonight, as I was pondering ways to get more followers on Twitter, I was struck by the sudden extinction of the Scott4Gov Twitter account.

That’s right… this once-prolific bastion of Neumann-hating and Barrett-bashing is gone. Flat out gone. In the words of Ronald Reagan, Scott4Gov on Twitter has been consigned to the ash heap of history.

And apparently, the mother ship,, isn’t too far behind. Or so it would seem.

There are just too many events with such peculiar timing for this to be considered mere coincidence. Someone or someones are trying to do what they can to remove any incriminating evidence. The most logical presumption would be that that person or persons in question are somehow involved with Scott Walker's campaign and/or office.

Scott Walker has a long history of blurring the line between his campaigning and his elected office, as evidenced by Cory Liebmann, who highlights some of the campaign and political cronies to whom Walker has given county jobs. Even more recently is the video showing Tim Russell, sometime campaign worker, sometime county employee, full time Walker lackey, helping on Walker's tax payer-funded bike ride around the state.

Now let me emphasize, without further evidence, there is no way to know if it way to know for sure if it is someone or someones in Walker's office doing this, much less if Walker had any knowledge of this happening. Given this new development, this "digital shredding," perhaps the investigation into it needs to be expanded and made more formal.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to see if Walker's office does its usual stalling tactics on such requests, or if there will be complete and immediate cooperation for a change. Even the slightest delay will only increase people's suspicions regarding this and Walker's campaign in general.

Congratulations Supervisor Elect Nikiya Harris

From Milwaukee County First:

Nikiya Harris has won the special election to represent District 2 on the Milwaukee County Board.

The seat was formerly held by Toni Clark, who resigned just before being convicted of a felony.

Milwaukee County First would like to congratulate Ms. Harris on her victory, coming the first time she ran for public office.

MCF would also like to congratulate Wallace White for a race well run and to the people of District 2 for having two such fine people willing to stand up and represent them on the Board.

Supervisor Elect Harris will be a strong asset to the Milwaukee County Board, her constituents and to all of Milwaukee county. She has expressed a strong desire to restore the transit system, the parks and the social safety net that has been allowed to deteriorate over the past decade.

We look forward to working with her in these efforts and in making Milwaukee County once again a place where people will want to work, to play and to live.

Monday, May 24, 2010

You can take the crony out of the campaign, but you can't take the campaign out of the crony*

From Milwaukee NewsBuzz:

Democrats followed Walker to such Wisconsin landmarks as the Hodag statue (which depicts a mythical monster) in Rhinelander, where Graeme Zielinski, Democratic party spokesman, says Tim Russell, Walker’s housing administrator, was caught on tape being shooed away by a local chamber of commerce official.

Zielinski says the woman objected because the Walker visit was overly political. She’s seen talking to Russell in the video with a firm tone, but it’s difficult to hear what she’s saying. As a worker is packing up a sign, she says to Russell, “I appreciate you understanding.”

A local newspaper reporter is heard chatting on the video. “He’s been doing this for years. I’ve never covered it in the past because it was just promoting Milwaukee County,” he says and explains he’s covering the visit this year because Walker’s running for governor. (see video below)

I contacted another person I know, who happens to be part of the media up north and was told basically the same thing. Their media outlet never covered these trips, but was hoping to see him this time to confront him on the criticism he has been receiving.

So if all the reporters knew it was a thinly-veiled political campaign, why are they not reporting on it?

*Said crony is of course Tim Russel who has been in each of Walker's campaigns. When he is not campaigning, Walker finds him some well paying county job that he proceeds to screw up royally.

I Thought They Said That The Paper Was Liberal

JSOnline has a brief blurb about how state office's will be closed on Friday, due to furlough:
Most state operations will shut down Friday as workers take unpaid furloughs.

Among the offices that will be closed are Division of Motor Vehicles service counters and call centers and unemployment insurance call centers. State parks will remain open and emergency services will be available.

Most state offices will also be closed Monday to observe Memorial Day.

All state employees are required to take 16 unpaid days off over two years to help shore up the state budget.

A full list of closures is available online at

One's first reaction could understandably be a negative one toward's the state, the unions (even though not getting paid is something they never asked for) and Governor Doyle.

I wonder how that reaction would be tempered if the article included the fact that Friday will also be a mandatory furlough day for most of Milwaukee County as well.

Or that this is just one of up to 22 days that Walker has ordered people to take off without pay, while he takes 140 days of "personal time" to go on tax-payer funded campaign bike rides.

And where as the eight days a year for state workers went through all the proper channels, the 22 days for county workers was strictly a decision made by Walker.

Stuart Carlson On Walker's Campaign Gimmick


I still miss seeing Carlson's stuff in the local paper. You just don't get local stuff like this anymore.

Thanks to Scott Ross and the fine people at OWN for this one.

US Senate To Consider "Rosa's Law"

This is good news indeed:

The Senate is expected to consider a measure this week to replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in references throughout federal government.

The bill known as “Rosa’s Law” is scheduled to be considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee on Wednesday.

Under the proposed law, there would be no change to the rights of individuals with disabilities, but the terminology used in federal health, education and labor policy would be altered.

Several states have already passed similar laws and some federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already use the term intellectual disability, according to Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who introduced the bill last fall. What’s more, recommendations for the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders released earlier this year also call for the term “mental retardation” to be done away with in the medical field.

This bill is long overdue, but I can't help but wonder if they couldn't find something better than "intellectual disability."

For the record, the State of Wisconsin still uses the old "mental retardation" language. Milwaukee County even has positions with that term incorporated into them (Qualified Mental Retardation Professional).

Cause And Effect

WISGOP had their state convention here in Milwaukee over the weekend. That meant that a lot of Republican politicians, activists and bloggers were in one building, spewing their vitriol out into the air.

The convention ended Sunday, but they left behind a memento of their time here:



So, the Weather Service says we should reduce driving or other activities that could worsen the air condition. Guess who decides to go on an around-the-state campaign jaunt (like the tax payer funded one wasn't enough).

Grandstanding DA Faces Recall

Heh. Scott Southworth, the grandstanding DA who put his ideology before his duties to the public, is now facing a possible recall:

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth, who made national headlines for his warning that teachers who taught about birth control in sex education classes could face criminal prosecution, has become the subject of a recall campaign.

A small group of residents filed papers Wednesday in Madison to allow them to begin trying to meet a 60 day deadline to collect the more than 2,000 signatures they’ll need to force a recall election. Southworth’s term doesn’t expire until 2012.

One of the recall organizers, Jennifer Specht, said the flap over sex education “was the last straw,” but that some residents had other concerns that Southworth was too slow about prosecuting some crimes, too soft on some criminals, and too busy promoting a personal agenda.

“He needs to stop proselytizing and start prosecuting,” said Specht, who said she owns a small motel in Necedah.

Mmm. An elected official puts his personal agenda before doing his job. Sounds a lot like a County Executive and an Attorney General I've heard about.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nikiya Harris For County Supervisor

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a fairly decent article up about the race for District 2 County Supervisor.

The race comes down to Nikiya Harris and Wallace White.

I have had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Harris on a number of occasions. She is very proactive on many of the issues and is ready to start putting Milwaukee County back on the right track.

While she might not have raised as much money as her opponent, that only reflects Mr. White's ties to the business community. But for what she doesn't have in money, she has more than made up with energy. She has been actively campaigning day in and day out, going out and knocking on doors and talking to people to see what is important to them. That is a refreshing change than our current county executive and his supporters who dismiss the concerns and needs of the people for their campaign donors.

As mentioned above, I've had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Harris on a number of occasions. I asked her about the three big topics of importance to the county right now; BHD, transit and the parks.

Regarding BHD, Ms. Harris points out that there just isn't enough staff or services to meet the needs of the community. She also said that a large part of the problem is the constant privatization of services, which ends up being more expensive and less effective than county workers.

Ms. Harris also told me that she strongly supports the dedicated sales tax to support the parks and the transit system. She correctly points out that a healthy transit system is needed for a healthy economy and that people need to get to their jobs if the economy is ever to improve.

Regarding the parks, she pointed out her career with the Urban Ecology Center and her understanding of how important it is to maintain our natural areas. She said she found it very sad and upsetting that people were using the parks as dumping grounds to get rid of all of their garbage.

She said that she would like to get people out to the parks more to revitalize their value and importance to the community, which in turn would help put more pressure on our elected leaders in Madison to start paying attention to the people and not the special interests. She said that she would work closely with the Park People to develop more friends of the parks groups in her district.

Ms. Harris has the support of many of the County Board Supervisors, most notably Chris Larson and Marina Dimitrijevic, two of the most active, progressive and popular members of the Board.

She also has the endorsement from the Milwaukee Courier, who wrote:

Nikiya is called to public service to stand up for the needs of the people of her district. She is a dedicated leader who will be a full-time representative in a way that is honest, dependable.

In April’s 11-way primary, Nikiya Harris worked hard to distinguish herself in a crowded field. Her strong grassroots campaign hit the doors, winning the primary with a dominating 27 percent of the total vote. Now, she’s gearing up for the general election and working even harder, pledging to support secure funding for public transit for job access, to make our parks safe and clean, and to be a full-time Supervisor.

With all due respect to Mr. White, I concur and would say that Ms. Harris would make an excellent Supervisor for District 2 and would be a voice on the Board that is desperately needed right now.

Nikiya Harris' website can be found here.

BHD Needs a Thorough Vetting

Scott Walker says that a state audit of BHD (mental health complex) isn't necessary.

Milwaukee County First says that one is most definitely needed and spells out why.

It seems more and more like Walker is trying to hide something. He really needs to start paying attention to his real job. Of course, that won't happen tomorrow, as he goes on a statewide fund-begging spree.

Nice to see he still puts his politics before the people.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

RPW 2010: Man vs. Machine

There is really nothing really exciting to report from Republicanfest.

As expected, Scott Walker's butt-kissing for the past eight years got him the anointment as the Chosen One, for all the good it will do him. Oh sure, it might give him a slight bump in the polls for a week or so, but then he will continue his downward spiral with greater velocity.

First, it will be very difficult, probably impossible for him to overcome the anti-establishment feeling out there, especially when he has spent the better part of the last decade to get the blessing of said establishment.

Secondly, even though Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling won't dare discuss it, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is hit and miss on covering things, the rest of the state is beginning to take greater notice of all of Walker's problems, both in his full time job and the job that tax payers pay him to do.

Walker's campaign is a mess with illegal contributions. And I really doubt that we've heard the last about his tax payer funded campaign bike ride.

Walker will also have to still face the music about BHD, and that song is far from over. There are the crumbling parks and the transit system that he is killing. Also, don't forget the illegal budget he passed. There will be lots of ramifications coming down the pike on that one.

In other words, Walker is guaranteed to shoot himself in the foot. Multiple times.

The one thing I thought the most significant and telling is the fact that Mark Neumann's supporters were barred from entering. I doubt the event will get much play locally, but it will get around the state sooner or later. This will only enhance Walker's image as the establishment candidate, as if his chumming with the Bush brothers, Karl Rove, and the rest wouldn't be enough in itself.

All in all, I would say that Neumann talking to his supporters outside of the convention was a shrewd move, if he can get the word out that the conservatives were shunned by the GOP.

Walker might have one the hearts of 1,000 or so cogs of the Republican machine, but he is far from winning the votes of the people, and those are the ones he should have been worrying about.

WISGOP Concedes Gubernatorial Race

Congratulations, Governor Barrett!

Another Attack on Civil Rights

I saw this story about another attack on a person's right to comment on events anonymously. The catch is that the comments in question were not on a blog, but through Twitter:

An anonymous blogger critical of Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett plans to challenge a grand jury subpoena ordering Twitter to reveal the blogger’s identity.

“It doesn’t really matter why we are criticizing him,” said ”Signor Ferrari,” one of the two Twitter users targeted in the subpoena from Corbett, who won the Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday. ”It’s our First Amendment right to criticize him no matter who we are,” Signor Ferrari said in a telephone interview Wednesday. Signor Ferrari uses that pen name on the CasablancaPA blog.


While those efforts involved civil subpoenas, Corbett is apparently treating his online critics as potential criminals, using his power as the state’s top law enforcement official to issue a grand jury subpoena. The subpoena does not state what kind of crime the grand jury is investigating.

The subpoena to Twitter was dated May 6 and required Twitter to respond by May 14 with all identifying information it has on the Twitter accounts of bfbarbie andCasablancaPA, which is also Signor Ferrari’s handle on Twitter. The deadline had been extended, Signor Ferrari said.

“We have a constitutionally protected right to speak anonymously,” Signor Ferarri said.

So much for the garbage about how the right wingers are all about freedom. They're all about trying to take away our freedoms.

Fortunately for those microbloggers, the ACLU is getting involved to protect their rights.

Friday, May 21, 2010

GOP Too Extreme For Former GOPer

You might remember the story of Lora Rae Anderson, the young woman who was the Chair of the Wisconsin College Republicans. As she was stepping down from her Chair, she gave it to the GOP with both barrels for their extremism and unwillingness to work with moderates or young people.

Well, she was really fed up with their racism, their sexism and their elitism, and has not seen the light and became a Democrat. Here is a video from their announcement today:

And click here to see the WISDEM's press release on the event.

One has to wonder when, or even if, the others that remain with the GOP will ever figure out that their message of hate will never be more than a flash in the pan.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anyone Notice Something Missing?

In the last few weeks, the news has been filled with stories of Scott Walker having as a hard time running his campaign as he has running the county.

There was the story of Darlene Wink, his Director of Constituent Services (aka Complaint Department), who was using county time to make several comments on JSOnline and who knows where else.

And who could forget the just-ended tax payer-funded campaign bike ride?

Then there was the illegal donations that came into Walker's campaign.

But all these things makes one thing extremely noticeable in its absence.

Where the hell is CRG?

Is Pro-Walker Blog About To Disappear?

A couple of days ago, I pointed out that the blogsite for the pseudo-Team Walker had gone mysteriously silent, just after one of Scott Walker's aides got busted for using county time to leave scores of comments on JSOnline and who knows where else.

Now it's been almost a full week and there is still no post. We know at least one of them is alive, however.

Due to the keen, observant eye of one of my readers, it was noted that all of the comments at have been removed. Not only did they remove the comments, you can't even leave one now if you wanted to do so.

This is obviously a cover up. They have removed the comments to keep people from comparing notes to see if any comments were left by Wink or other people that shouldn't be posting and/or commenting during the day.

It just makes me wonder what other secrets these people are hiding...

Rolling Blunder Comes Back Home

Scott Walker ends his annual five-day campaign bike ride today. Normally, Walker holds it in June, but after several years, he thought June is just too darn warm to go on a motorcycle ride. I wonder how many true Harley riders are still laughing at that blatant lie.

The truth is he moved his bike ride to May not to promote tourism in Milwaukee, but to promote himself during the week leading up to the WISGOP convention, which is being held in Milwaukee this year. It is at this convention that he is expected to received the official coronation of the Republican machine, for all the good that will do him, considering how the electorate is veering sharply away from establishment candidates like Walker.

Whether you believe Walker's cover story of promoting tourism or the truth that he was promoting himself, it sure wasn't too successful. I have yet to come across one article or news story saying, "Wow, you should go visit Milwaukee!" The few articles that do mention Walker's bike ride are focused on the gubernatorial race, and Walker's many blunders along the way, including his performance of the Arizona Two-Step.

During his tax payer-funded campaign jaunt, several of my esteemed colleagues have pointed out the many benefits that the stimulus package delivered to the places he stopped at. Of course, one can't help but remember how Walker took to the national stage to come out against the stimulus package, before he was for it, before he was against it again, before he was for it again, before he was against it again and so on and so forth.

Check out Zach Wisniewski's site, Blogging Blue, which gave not just one, but two days worth of stimulus benefits. Also throwing in their contributions are Jim Arndt and Cory Liebmann.

But now Walker is leading his band of not-so-merry bikers and county staff back home to Milwaukee County, I would like to add my contribution to the stimulus list.

Perhaps Walker could take a bike ride around with some of the GOP delegates and show them things like the construction going on at 35th and Wisconsin, where construction crews are already hard at work building an apartment building for homeless veterans. Of course, since Walker said that the stimulus won't benefit "real people", he'll have to explain why he thinks that the men and women who bravely served our country aren't "real people."

Or maybe he can lead the group to Oklahoma Avenue or Sherman Boulevard or any of the other roads that are receiving long overdue repairs thanks to the stimulus money. It shouldn't be hard for even Walker to figure out, since they have the big signs acknowledging ARRA funds for making the repairs, and the jobs, possible.

He could take them out to the site of the old Tower Automotive plant and tell his friends how stimulus dollars are going to be used to clean up that site and make room for a job-producing company. Oh wait, that was Tom Barrett that is bringing jobs to the area. Never mind that one.

He could take them to Mitchell International Airport and tell them about the millions of dollars of stimulus funds being invested into the airport.

Or maybe he can take the group to MCTS and tell them about the 45 new buses Milwaukee County will be getting, thanks to the ARRA funds.

He could take them to the courthouse (don't forget your hardhats!) and tell them about his Milwaukee Works plan which uses stimulus funds to produce jobs. While he's at it, he could also tell his fiscally conservative buds how the stimulus funds allowed him to pile on three years of spending into one.

In fact, the benefits from the stimulus that Walker and Milwaukee County are enjoying, even though he changes his position on it more than he changes socks, are so numerous that he really should consult with the report written by his chief money cruncher, Steve Kreklow, to find most of the areas in Milwaukee County. Although to be accurate, that list is incomplete, since it does not include the extra $6 million that the County Board was able to bring in that Walker wasn't going to bother with.

It's just a shame that Milwaukee County couldn't get stimulus funds to help with the nearly $300 million in repairs needed to the parks, to repair the rest of the infrastructure, build a new mental health complex (with a competent director this time, please) or cover any of the other problems Walker has given us over the years.

Neumann Turns Up The Heat

I think he really should have called the video "Walker does the Arizona Two-Step."

H/T Politico Macchiato

Why Walker Will Lose

From one of my favorite conservative bloggers (emphasis mine)

What I don’t get is the Walker campaign’s shameful sloppiness as Mark Neumann turns up the heat. First it was a long-time Walker associate and well-connected corporate lawyer getting busted with his hands in the cookie jar over at my favorite blog,

Then it was Darlene Wink, a staffer in Walker’s official Milwaukee County Executive Office, campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime – posting swooning pro-Walker comments on news websites. (Some are now speculating that Wink doubles as Mom4Scott on Scott4Gov, which may explain its going dark for the better part of a week.)

Then there was Walker’s humiliating and potentially catastrophic flip-flop on the Arizona immigration law. This issue alone is ripe for a post of its own. With immigration still a nuclear issue in the GOP base, Walker’s gaffe is a potential game changer that sows the type of doubt amongst Republican faithful that may bring Neumann into the race to stay. These people all remember Neumann as a man of his word, and Walker’s egregious error plays right into Neumann’s strength.

All of these things are glaring signs of a flagging Walker campaign plagued by poor staff work, careless mistakes, a lack of team discipline and a brewing paranoia about Neumann’s candidacy and Greater Wisconsin Committee’s attack ads.

All of these things point to a Walker campaign that is almost certain to lose – if not in September, certainly in November.

Music to my ears, I tell you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Here We Go Again

The farm and fish hatchery again are being jeopardized, and the only person who can save it is Walker. Of course, Walker has tried to kill these programs every year he's been office, so I doubt he will do the right thing this time.

A smart politician would embrace a chance to promote such programs, which have so many benefits for such a little cost, especially while we are still struggling out of the economic mess that people like Walker created.

But no one has ever accused Walker of being smart. He'll probably continue his habit of using the poor as political pawns.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Team Walker: MIA

The semi-mysterious pseudo-Team Walker appears to be missing in action. Their last post was on May 14, the day that the story of Darlene Wink, the Walker aide that was caught commenting on county time, was published.

The new, equally enigmatic Political Macchiato has more on this issue:
Then there was this post in the comments section after the article.
jonaswilkerson - May 14, 2010 9:55 AM
Well, now I wonder if Darlene Wink was posting as Mom4scott on I've heard that a Republican staffer in the State Assembly is also blogging for It will be interesting once that comes out.
Interesting. Certainly, we already know that at least one Scott Walker confidant was involved in blogging at

Perhaps Friday's story is why is on hiatus. I think the worst kept secret in political circles is that the rabid attacks against Mark Neumann and Tom Barrett on are coming directly from agents of the Walker campaign.

This is going to be an embarassing story.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Analyzing the "Results"

Scott Walker finally put up another commercial as he continues his downward slide in the polls. He calls this one "Results." I first saw it up north over the past weekend, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. After being able to look at it again, I do believe the only thing he said that was honest is that his name is Scott Walker.

Here's a break down of his claims and the truth that shows he is lying.
"In 2002, a pension scandal rocked Milwaukee County. The guy who had the job before me tried to grab millions for himself and his friends."
Obviously, he is referring to Tom Ament. But if it was a pure money grab by Ament et alia, why did he sue and win a settlement from Mercer, the actuary company, for not providing accurate numbers? Was it Mercer's fault or was it a money grab by Ament? His actions do not support his words.
"We had enough. We took back our government."
Meh. He rode in on the coat tails of special interest, but I won't quibble over those two lines.
"In fact, the first thing I did was give part of my salary back to the tax payers. $370,000 over eight years."
Well, there is no denying he gave back that money. However, that is not what he promised. What he did promise to do was to "Voluntarily reduce own salary to $78,850, within 30 days." He did not reduce it. His salary is still around $130,000. If anything it went up because he does get an automatic raise every year.

On top of that, the cut he promised was about $50,000 a year. Over eight years, that would have been $400,000. In his commercial, he tells us he is $30,000 short of that. Even the promised reduction would be insufficient, considering how much time he has actually put in the office over the last two years.
"I cut the government workforce by 20%."
Yes he did. Again, the devil is in the details he is not telling you. Do to his cuts, the Income Maintenance Program was taken over the state, in order to save tax payers from having to pay for a multimillion dollar class action lawsuit. There was also issues of massive overtime and problems at both the House of Correction and the continuing problems at the mental health complex that are related to these cuts in workers and thus in services.

Whatever money Walker thinks he was saving was squandered, and even worse, people were hurt and killed because of his putting politics before the people.
"And I introduced eight budgets without raising the property tax levy from the previous year."
I've already discussed this. Simply by the act of accepting the previous year's budget as a starting point, Walker is tacitly accepting and approving of that tax raise. Or to be more accurate, if you compare apples to apples, in this case proposal to proposal from one year to the next, Walker has always included an increase of at least two or three per cent.
"While Washington and Madison run up big budget deficits, we had an $8.9 million surplus."
Surplus? What surplus? Actually, it's almost $1 billion dollars in the red.
"They say you can’t cut waste without sacrificing services; they’re wrong."
See above, about the 20% work force cuts. Also note the hundreds of millions in deferred maintenance and repair of our parks and infrastructure, in which facilities have to be closed. Also, the delays at the courthouse due to the staffing shortages and furloughs, where things are not moving as smoothly as they should or could be. And I most certainly hope that he does not consider what is going on at BHD as being an acceptable level of service.
"We invested in our airport and today it’s one of the fastest growing in America – adding nearly 1,000 new jobs."
What Walker forgets to tell us is that the money that was invested in the airport was stimulus funds that he did not want to accept. It was only the leadership on the County Board and from our Democratic leaders in the state and the federal governments that got the money here in the first place.
"We eliminated the waiting list for long-term care for our seniors."
That would be through Family Care which was ordered by Governor Thompson while Walker was still in the state legislature. And when Walker took office one of the first things he did was cut their accounting staff which led to a multimillion dollar deficit which threatened the budget as well as the program itself.
"We even won the gold medal for the best parks in the country."
Actually, not quite. It was for a video based on the management and vision of Sue Black. Not the parks themselves.
"Want less government and lower taxes?

I’m Scott Walker and I know how to get the job done. "
The only job that Walker has been able to get done is pulling a snow job on those that still believe that he can run the county, much less the state.

Drinking Liberally: Now With More Liberals

'Tis that time again in which liberals from near and far gather to share good drink and good conversation. Last month, a conservative, and not just any conservative, but a tea party type of conservative, Dave Westlake, infiltrated the gathering.

This month, there is another surprise guest, per our host, Jason Haas:

Hi folks, sudden change of course! We will indeed have a special guest this Wednesday, in the form of Democratic Congressional candidate Paul Morel. Mr. Morel is running in the 4th CD race against incumbent Rep. Gwen Moore. I will try to arrange for Rep. Moore to come to a future Drinking Liberally. In the meantime, Mr. Morel will looks forward to meeting you, and talking about why he's running against Rep. Moore.

Note: This does not represent the endorsement of either candidate.

Paul Morel's site:
Rep. Moore's campaign site:

Details remain the same: 7PM onward at Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave., Milwaukee.

Jason & the Milwaukee DL crew

Yeah, I know, me too. I didn't know that anyone was running against Representative Moore either.

Walker Gains More National Attention

This time it is from TPM:

Scott Walker, a Republican candidate for governor in Wisconsin, may have set the record for fastest flip-flop on the Arizona immigration law yet.

In a story first published Friday, Walker told the AP, "In America, we don't want our citizens getting pulled over because of how they look."

Throughout the day Friday, Walker's campaign Facebook page was deluged with comments, many from people threatening not to vote for him.

Well, of course, Walker flip flopped on the issue the very next day (more on that later).

But fastest flip flop record breaker...I think that would be a great slogan for Walker, don't you?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Now They Want The Keys Back

I know that a few others have already posted this, but I didn't see it until tonight and I liked it, so I'll post it anyway:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mark Neumann's Lemonade Stand

This past week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann announced that he is not going to pursue the WISGOP nomination at next weekend's Republican convention.

He stated that the reason was because he thought the voters "should determine the outcome" as opposed to the Republican Machine. That is much like the argument xoff used against the choosing of David Obey's heir apparent.

Walker has been actively campaigning within the Republican inner circles ever since he was forced out of the 2006 race. His efforts in that regards appears to have paid off, since he has gained most of the endorsements from these people. This week, he and his campaign staff has been hooting and hollering as ABC mentioned him in a story and they stuck his mug on the Drudge Report.

However, the cost of wooing these would-be king-makers has cost him a lot in his popularity among the public. You know, the people that actually vote.

Neumann is jumping on that, which is probably a very wise thing to do, since there is a growing sentiment that is not trending well for incumbents of either party.

With this anti-incumbent trend growing, Walker's own problems in his failure to competently run Milwaukee County, and the faux pas of his supporters, I would say that Neumann might have been dealt some lemons with the GOP nomination, but he is sure turning it into what could be some popular lemonade.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Dan Bice has a story in today's paper about Darlene Wink, one of Scott Walker's county staffers, who got busted leaving comments on JSOnline.

I am not going into a lot of discussion into this, but did want to make a few observations.

One is this is not a one sided thing. This site has gotten a lot of hits from all levels of government, from the City of Milwaukee to the County to the State and even hits from the feds.

Sometimes these people would leave comments, but more often they don't.

I wouldn't classify what Wink did as campaigning per se. It is not like she was trolling for campaign donations or coordinating campaign events, at least not that we are aware of.

There would be room for suspicion on that though, considering that it was Wink that was involved in the incident in which the pseudo-non-official campaign site actually got a response to a question I had asked before I got the response.

Walker has a long history of paying fast and loose with campaign laws, often pushing the envelope to the line and even beyond, but carefully as not to leave a paper trail. He has slipped up a few times, and has gotten slapped for it.

But the thing I found most interesting was the reactions to this.

Many on the left predictably tried to tie this to Walker. I'll go on the record as saying that I don't think Walker told her to do this, or anything else that she did. Being an officer in the Republican Party, she probably did this on her own. Secondly, Walker is never around to tell anyone to do anything, as that he has been missing from his real job for at least two years as he campaigns.

Many on the right chose instead to just attack the messenger, tearing into Dan Bice and/or the paper as being partisan or being a hack. I lost track of how many people were whining that he didn't do this type of investigation into Tom Barrett's administration. I don't see Bice being particularly partisan, seeing how he dug into the trip that Supervisors Coggs and Clark took to President Obama's inauguration.

In summary, both sides do this sort of thing, often without notice. The only thing that made this story noteworthy was Wink's standing in the Republican Party. But either way, with all the other things going wrong for Walker, it's no wonder that he and his people seem to be a little more histrionic that usual lately.

The Deforestation of Grant Park

UPDATE: Well, apparently we were given some inaccurate information. It appears the park in question is not Grant Park, but is Warimont Park, as many commenters pointed out. I don't know if we will ever have a clearly definitive answer on the amount of cutting as that is rather subjective, but the Parks Department is apparently insisting that they will not be doing excessive cutting.

I apologize for the undue alarm and misinformation.

Scott Walker is at it again. He doesn't have enough money to pay for the parks workers who cut the grass, but he has enough to pay a private company to pull out five and a half acres of trees in Grant Park.

How is this being a responsible steward of our precious resources?

What Leadership Means To Scott Walker

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Can Van Hollen Be Charged For Party To Crime In Homicide?

It was bound to happen.
A Milwaukee man who filed a civil rights lawsuit over his arrests for openly carrying a gun into stores has been charged with fatally shooting one man and wounding another outside his south side home over the weekend.

After the shooting, Jesus C. Gonzalez immediately called 911 to report the incident. He was wearing his empty holster as he surrendered to police when they arrived moments later, according to a criminal complaint. His gun was sitting nearby.

Gonzalez, 23, was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Danny John and the wounding of his nephew, Jered Corn. Gonzalez is being held at the Milwaukee County Jail on $100,000 bail, according to jail and court records.

Coincidentally, a federal judge had dismissed his civil suit Tuesday.

Knowing the gun nuts, they will totally blow off that their hero murdered someone and tried to murder a second person. The will instead focus their outrage at U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman who dismissed Gonzalez's frivolous lawsuit, and offered some clairvoyant thoughts:

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman dismissed Gonzalez's civil rights complaint, saying police officers indeed had probable cause to arrest him in each instance, and that even if they had not, the officers had qualified immunity from claims such as the one Gonzalez had filed. He had alleged privacy and due process violations.

Adelman also rejected Gonzalez's claim that because police in West Milwaukee and Chilton held his gun for months before returning it, they violated his rights against illegal search and seizure.

His order may likely anger open carry proponents.

"No reasonable person would dispute that walking into a retail store openly carrying a firearm is highly disruptive conduct which is virtually certain to create a disturbance.

"This is so because when employees and shoppers in retail stores see a person carrying a lethal weapon, they are likely to be frightened and possibly even panicky. Many employees and shoppers are likely to think that the person with the gun is either deranged or about to commit a felony or both.

"Further, it is almost certain that someone will call the police. And when police respond to a 'man with a gun' call, they have no idea what the armed individual's intentions are. The volatility inherent in such a situation could easily lead to someone being seriously injured or killed," Adelman wrote.

Of course, all of this was triggered by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who had issued an opinion that it's just okey-dokey to do the open carry thing. Way to put politics before people. But can we possibly charge Van Hollen for Party to the Crime of Murder, or at least aiding and abetting?

See also: Bearing Arms and Pallbearers

WISDEMS Stole My Thunder

In advance of Scott Walker's tax payer-funded and corporate-sponsored campaign bike ride, the DPW issued a press release that stole what I was going to say:
As Scott Walker this weekend begins his taxpayer- and corporate-funded campaign junket across Wisconsin, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate on Thursday demanded that Walker be forbidden from discussing his race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination along the trip and questioned just how Walker could leave Milwaukee County unattended as it faces a flurry of crises caused by directly by the ineptness of the failed county executive.

Walker, who has no jurisdiction outside Milwaukee County, moved his week-long junket up a month so that it coincides with the Republican Party of Wisconsin Convention, where party bosses are expected to endorse him next week over rival Mark Neumann.

At an appearance earlier this week, Walker said, "I don't answer my phone," when he's riding motorcycles, meaning that, in the face of budget, transit, mental health services, public safety, parks system and pension plan crises, Milwaukee County will go without a leader.

"In one sense, that's okay, because Milwaukee County has been pretty much leaderless during Scott Walker's inept rule anyway," Tate said Thursday. "Voters in Wisconsin can easily see through the shady ethics of this corporate- and taxpayer-funded joyride. We hope as Scott Walker rides through the state, he gives a more truthful account of how he has failed Milwaukee County."
I would just add one thing. I would suggest that somewhere between the Air Tran stickers and the "Walker for Governor" flags, Walker add this onto his bike somewhere:

Most Hypocritical Statement OF ALL TIME!

Walker said Barrett's criticism was playing politics with the issue and putting patients' safety at risk. - Scott Walker, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

And if that wasn't enough, from the same article (emphasis mine):
"Any and all violence is unacceptable, which is why we are conducting a thorough review," Walker said in an e-mail reply. "It is clear the mayor is not familiar with the facts or he would know that every public psychiatric hospital in our state - including those run by Gov. Doyle - have mixed-gender units."
Apparently, Walker has a major identity problem going on (again, emphasis, me):
The audit was ordered by County Board Chairman Lee Holloway after reports of multiple patient sexual assaults at the county's psychiatric hospital in Wauwatosa, according to a letter dated Friday.
The other problem is Walker fails to admit that every other public psychiatric hospital is also adequately funded and staffed, where Milwaukee County's is not, thanks to Walker putting his politics before the people.

Walker Could Have Avoided BHD Problems Three Years Ago

At Milwaukee County First, I write that I have found out that Walker had a proposal for a secure unit at BHD that would have prevented much of the problems we are watching unveil today. Walker rejected it out of hand.

Basically, it comes down to this:

But even more important than Chianelli’s future with the County is that Scott Walker needs to be held accountable for again putting his political aspirations before the best interests of the county that he is supposed to be leading. He also needs to come up with a plan on how he is going to fix these problems he has created with his ideological short-sightedness.

When Tom Ament had put his own interests before the County’s, at least that only cost us money. Lots of money to be sure, but still, only money.

When Scott Walker puts his interests before the County’s, not only does it cost us a lot of money, but people, our most vulnerable citizens, get hurt and even die because of it. That is simply unacceptable.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Up Or Down Are Relative Terms

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (emphasis mine):
Appleton Papers Inc. reported a fiscal first-quarter loss, amid higher-than-expected raw material costs and expenses tied to the company's debt refinancing.
From the Business Journal of Milwaukee (again, emphasis mine)
Appleton Papers Inc. reported Monday that sales increased 9 percent in the first quarter on market share gains and increased demand.

Both articles report pretty much the same thing, but isn't it amazing how differently they present it?

Parity Finally Comes to Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced that in accordance with the requirements of the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that they are removing artifical dollar and visit limits for mental health and substance abuse treatment services provided through the BadgerCare Plus Benchmark Plan. This change will ensure that the 14,000+ enrollees will have access to equitable treatment for these disorders.

Mental Health America of Wisconsin (MHA) would like to recognize the DHS for showing tremendous leadership in adopting these new requirements. MHA’s Director of Public Policy, Shel Gross, had this to say: “Following on the heels of the recent passage of the Wisconsin Parity Act, this news keeps Wisconsin in the forefront of efforts to improve access to mental health and addiction treatment services. DHS clearly recognizes that parity is a bottom line issue: you can’t have good health care without good mental health and addiction treatment.”

The Badger Care Plus population can particulary benefit from this change. Postpartum depression alone affects 12-15% of women, but up to 28% of women living in poverty. Although treatment is effective and failure to treat can have significant negative effects on children, about half of women with postpartum depression are untreated. Access to services for youth is also critical since half of all cases of mental disorders begin by age 14 and can significantly impact a child’s school and social functioning. Youth with emotional disorders are less likely to complete high school than any other group of chilren with disabilities.
About time, too.

How Is That Working Out For You?

From the very talented Stuart Carlson:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Growing Call To Fix BHD

The problems at BHD are gaining more attention as things start to reach a boiling point. Now three supervisors and some community advocates are calling for these problems to be fixed, including removing BHD Director John Chianelli from his duties.

As James Rowen points out, why were there only three supervisors calling for action to be taken?

I should mention that Milwaukee County First has been calling for that for a while. Speaking of MCF, see the real reasons for the problems listed in our latest posting.

Also, since I've bashed on the paper plenty of times, I would like to commend and recognize Steve Schultze and Meg Kissinger of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for doing a great job covering this developing story.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Best Move For Cash-Strapped States

Via Dean Mundy on Twitter, the best way for cash-strapped states to dig their way out is through progressive taxes, not budget cuts:

Budget cuts deepen the recession and stifle recovery by immediately putting people out of work, reducing public and private investment, and abandoning residents in their hour of need. The long-term economic consequences are also damaging, including lost productivity, a less-skilled workforce, and reduced competitiveness.

The key to the twin goals of budget repair and economic recovery is significantly increasing progressive taxes.


While naysayers claim that increasing taxes during a recession is unwise and counterproductive, it will work if you pick the right taxes.

Progressive taxation raises revenue, underwrites critical public investment, stimulates additional private investment, and maximizes job retention and creation. In the long run, progressive taxes are among the most sustainable revenue sources and result in more widely shared prosperity.

And how does Scott Walker's plan compare to the best way? Not so good, actually.

Walker Offers Bandaid For Buses

From Milwaukee County First:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Scott Walker is promising to put additional funding into the Milwaukee County Transit System.

While I think almost everyone can agree that this is good news overall, it is not reason to celebrate yet. There are still several questions that need to be answered and problems that need to be fixed.

Read the rest here.


From Milwaukee County First:


That is the word that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes County Board Supervisors and mental health advocates having used to describe Behavioral Health Division Director John Chianelli’s excuses for how a female patient at BHD was allowed to be repeatedly sexually assaulted and impregnated.

From the article:

Milwaukee County’s top mental health administrator intentionally houses female patients with men known to be dangerous “because the presence of women reduces the likelihood of the men being violent,” according to a county supervisor’s letter obtained by the Journal Sentinel.

John Chianelli, administrator of the county’s Behavioral Health Division, told county supervisors during a closed-door session last month that segregating men and women would result in more violence.

“It’s a trade-off,” he said. “Putting 24 aggressive male patients into a male-only unit would increase the level of violence in the unit.”

These comments were made in a closed session in which members of the County Board questioned Chianelli regarding the reports of repeated sexual assaults being allowed to happen.

The Board apparently thinks that the main reason for these sexual assaults are simply because patients are in co-ed units. Chianelli is feeding into these perceptions by trying to say that sexual assaults of female patients is an acceptable trade off for a higher level of physical aggressions if they were housed in an single-gender unit.

They are both wrong.

Read the rest here.

RIP Lena Horne

Lena Horne passed away at the age of 92:
Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress who reviled the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, slowing her rise to Broadway superstardom, died Sunday. She was 92.

Horne died at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin. Chin would not release any other details.

Horne, whose striking beauty and magnetic sex appeal often overshadowed her sultry voice, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success.

"I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept," she once said. "I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sean Duffy's Fear of Public Toilets

With a tip of the hat to Illusory Tenant, who saw this gem from a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel love piece on former reality TV pretty boy, brawler and Republican congressional candidate Sean Duffy:
"I don't know what it is about gay people. I don't know if they're born gay or if they go out to L.A. or San Francisco and they catch a disease and they become gay. I'm not sure. They have so many free thoughts out there in L.A., that you can be whatever you want to be. ... Gay people encourage gayness."
As Illy-T points out, it could be satire. It could also be real, which would explain any irrational phobia regarding toilets, if he has one. You can never be too careful.

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mother's out there, as well as the single fathers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The 2nd Annual Gathering of the Paranoid Sociopaths Picnic

Lance Burri* posts that the nutters in La Crosse County are going to again show that they are tougher than chipmunks by holding an open carry picnic in a low-crime, rural area.

Hopefully, if they can keep this going successfully, it might help diminish the stigma attached to mental illnesses.

That weekend, I will be cutting grass, moving brush, cooking out and other assorted activities, all without a gun on my person, showing that I am even tougher and smarter than that whole group combined.

*Burri gets demerit points for the unintentional pun: "Free drawings for prizes"

Is Scott Walker Really Concerned About MCTS?

Two words: Not really.

Friday, May 7, 2010

True Irony - BP Style

Via WBAY-TV (Green Bay), AP is reporting the latest on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blast (emphasis mine):
The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation.

While the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, the sequence of events described in the interviews provides the most detailed account of the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers and touched off the underwater gusher that has poured more than 3 million gallons of crude into the Gulf.

Portions of the interviews, two written and one taped, were described in detail to an Associated Press reporter by Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor who serves on a National Academy of Engineering panel on oil pipeline safety and worked for BP PLC as a risk assessment consultant during the 1990s. He received them from industry friends seeking his expert opinion.

Seven BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record, according to the transcripts. Meanwhile, far below, the rig was being converted from an exploration well to a production well.

As the workers removed pressure from the drilling column and introduced heat to set the cement seal around the wellhead, the chemical reaction created heat, destabilizing the seal and allowing a gas bubble to form inside the pipe.