Thursday, September 30, 2010
I would like to say that it is a good thing that she was able to have her cancer caught so early and that she will have a long time to spend with her husband, children and other loved ones.
It should be noted that Kleefisch's husband is a state legislator, so she is covered by some of the best insurance in the state, at tax payer expense. But instead of being classy about it, she chose to use her personal story to attack health care reform:
"That's scary to me -- rationed health care, lower quality, having government make health care decisions instead of my family," Rebecca Kleefisch said.First off, she is just out right lying about what nationalized health care is like, or would be like if it wasn't for spiteful people like her.
Kleefish slammed the program known as "Obamacare," calling it socialized medicine.
"If we had rationed health care when I went in and had my blood test done, and I had to wait six months to get a colonoscopy or a CT scan, I can't tell you for sure I'd be sitting here doing this interview," Kleefisch said.
Secondly, she is showing her selfishness with this attitude. I would challenge her to sit and think about how she would feel if she was given substandard care, or maybe no care at all, because she was poor and uninsured? How would she feel if she was dumped on a street, even while still slightly disorientated from the painkillers and anaesthesia? Or if she had insurance, but was so poor from the ever-escalating costs of that insurance. that she was afraid to go to the doctor until it was too late?
Unfortunately, it appears that while the doctors were able to remove her tumor, they did not remove her cancer of disdain and disregard towards the disadvantaged and the poor. So much for her vaulted Christian attitudes. I haven't heard of a church yet that teaches it's OK to leave the poor to die, for the simple reason that they are poor.
But what this whole series of events does show, without a doubt, is that she is not fit to be Lt. Dogcatcher, much less second in command of this great state.
History already gave us one Marie Antoinette, we don't need another.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Some of Walker's supporters, like Tom McMahon, have been trying to hammer away at that in effort to derail Barrett's campaign.
And they do have a point. Thirty-four percent unemployment is too high, even in this slowly recovering economy.
But like most of Team Walker's attacking points, this actually has Barrett coming out looking pretty good and Walker even worse.
This unemployment rate number could be a lot worse, as it was just two years ago.
In 2007, the unemployment rate for African American men in the inner city was officially at 51.1%, buy many believe the number was actually closer to 55-60%.
So during the worst economic times seen since the Great Depression, what caused the unemployment rate for African American men to drop by at least a third, maybe up to half?
The answer is simple.
Until 2007, the Private Industry Council, a federally-funded workforce development program aimed to help poor people, was under the auspices of Scott Walker and Milwaukee County. But after years of poor results and many complaints about the dysfunctional quality of PIC, Governor Doyle took the program away from Milwaukee County and Scott Walker and gave it to the City of Milwaukee and its mayor, Tom Barrett.
Barrett, who already had a good reputation for getting people back to work, in horrible economic times, was able to drop the number by a third, maybe more, in just two years.
In other words, Barrett has a proven record of bringing jobs to the area and getting people back to work, even in adverse economic times. Walker, in contrast, has shown himself to be able to do this when the economy was doing better.
Just another reason why Tom Barrett would make a much, much better governor.
Some candidates, like Rebecca Kleefisch, who is tying her self to Scott Walker's coat tails, won't even debate her Democratic counterpart, Tom Nelson.
She has run exactly one ad, but I don't even know if that was run statewide. If it was, it was a waste of money because she included this scene from the ad:
Being endorsed by Sykes, who is only doing so because he thinks she's pretty, and Belling might wow them in Waukesha and Washington Counties, but would be pretty meaningless anywhere else. (Not to mention that Sykes and Belling are both pretty meaningless here as well.)
The people in Southeastern Wisconsin are exposed daily to the miasma that spews out of talk radio, including the constant promotion of Kleefisch, as if their say so should be enough.
However, the people that live west of Waukesha County or north of Washington County, don't have the disadvantage of talk radio's incessant drumbeat and are actually able to decide on their own, relying on their local medias as well as debates to determine who they think would be the best person for any given elected office.
I asked Kleefisch on her Facebook page if she would debate Tom Nelson, but she has refused to answer that simple question. She is either afraid to debate him, or her handlers and/or Walker's campaign are afraid to allow her to debate him.
Either way, she is doing a great disservice to the voters of Wisconsin, especially those that live upstate and outstate of the Milwaukee area. If she shows such disdain for the people now, while she is merely a candidate, what kind of leader would she be? Her actions, or lack thereof, prove that she is not worthy of the position of Lieutenant Governor.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Both of our would be governors responded to the news.
Tom Barrett immediately reached out to Southwest Airlines and urged them to make Milwaukee one of their hubs.
Scott Walker immediately reached out to Southwest Airlines and asked them to continue to sponsor his campaign. He then had Tim Russell run around and hand out Southwest Airlines T-shirts.
There is no way that a decent human being could defend a sexual predator, especially one that preys on children, but Ron Johnson does in this breathless statement.
And the righttry to pretend they have values.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
However, leading into this year's elections, the amount of debates are leaving a lot to be desired. This is not the fault of the Democrats. They have been asking for and challenging their Republican counterparts, but are being left without satisfaction.
In the U.S. Senate race, Feingold offered to debate six times, but Ron Johnson agreed to only three of them. Then again, the GOP has been very selective to what access they allow to their great hyped hope after he met with the TEA Party in Chippewa County and failed miserably. They are probably trying to avoid any further questions regarding RoJo about his defense of BP or his animosity towards sunspots.
In the race for Attorney General, Democrat Scott Hassett has been challenging J.B. Van Hollen to debates, but Van Hollen has refused all but one so far. Perhaps the GOP and Van Hollen aren't prepared to discuss why Van Hollen failed in collecting and keeping the DNA samples from Wisconsin's felons or why he thought it no big deal that Calumet County DA Kenneth Kratz was acting the sexual predator of women coming to him for help.
In the gubernatorial race, Tom Barrett challenged Scott Walker to seven debates. Walker accepted less than half of that. It's not like Walker hasn't debated before. He did a couple of dozen of them with Senator Lena Taylor when he was running for re-election in 2008 (even though he promised he wasn't going to). Then again, Walker, of all the candidates, has been the most active in avoiding answering questions or having to defend his record, either as county executive or state legislator. He could also be trying to avoid more devastation to his campaign like this clip from last Friday's debate.
Most noticeable by her absence is the GOP's nomination for Lt. Governor. I cannot find anything indicating that she has agreed to debate Tom Nelson in the few weeks remaining before the general election. Not only is she not debating, but she has a much diminished presence on Twitter, including a full two week gap between tweets. I know that she has been getting some flak for her controversial comments that her governor needs to be a "Christian man," apparently feeling that Jews or people of other religions or women are not qualified to be governor or for her extreme anti-homosexual posturing.
No one would buy a car without giving it at least a test drive. Most people even take any possible car to their mechanic for a good vetting and look up the cars history (if it's an used car) to make sure they aren't going to get stuck with a lemon. You also wouldn't agree to buy a car without seeing how it matches up to other cars. A person would compare prices, reliability and other concerns before making that decision.
Why does the GOP think that we would be less careful deciding who is going to represent us in Madison or Washington, D.C.? They are asking us to buy their candidates without seeing how they compare with other models or what their histories are. By the fact that they won't bring their candidates out to be compared and contrasted with their Democratic opponents, or when they do, it is very limited and controlled. Instead, the Republicans give us shiny pamphlets talking about all the nifty features they have, without letting you verify if any of it is true.
If a car salesman tried to pull that stunt with me, I would be walking off the lot without a car, in search of someone who treated me with more respect. I don't believe in buying cars, or voting for candidates, on an act of faith that they might be as good as the pamphlet says.
Reince Priebus needs to make his candidates available for debates, and lots of them, or we should steer clear of them.
As it turns out, I was off the mark. He was worse than being absent.
Van Hollen has since criticized the Office of Lawyer Regulation for dropping the ball in investigating and taking action against Kratz last year when the allegations about Kratz' sexting first was made known to the authorities. However, he should have checked his own office's files before leveling blame at anyone:
The Wisconsin Department of Justice closed its investigation into Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz's sexually charged text messages to a crime victim without interviewing Kratz, according to records of the investigation made public Friday.
DOJ executive assistant Dean Stensberg said his agency's investigation was "absolutely" thorough. He said agents collected all the evidence they needed to determine that a crime had not been committed.
Sadly, it took this public humiliation to get Van Hollen to start doing his job.
Isn't it time to get someone in that office that doesn't play political games with people's lives?
President Barack Obama's health care overhaul has divided the nation, and Republicans believe their call for repeal will help them win elections in November. But the picture's not that clear-cut.
A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1.
"I was disappointed that it didn't provide universal coverage," said Bronwyn Bleakley, 35, a biology professor from Easton, Mass.
More than 30 million people would gain coverage in 2019 when the law is fully phased in, but another 20 million or so would remain uninsured. Bleakley, who was uninsured early in her career, views the overhaul as a work in progress.
The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all.
Spoke 2 a great group of students on the UW campus in Madison. We r not conceding any votes! http://ow.ly/i/486U #wigov #believeinwiWhat votes is he talking about? The ones that his buddies in the Tea Parties, AFP and Republicans are trying to suppress?
Also, I don't know what group he was talking about, but I sincerely doubt it was these kids:
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The expression “wasteful private spending” is one you never hear, even as by millions we regularly pay a buck for a drink of bottled water. “Wasteful government spending” is the old hobby horse to ride to electoral victory again this year. So it’s a good time to have Crocker Stephenson’s look at Milwaukee’s struggling child welfare system. Caseworkers have such a tough job, he says, that it’s a revolving door. We pay investment bankers a hundred times more. Is their work a hundred times tougher? No. Money is about priorities. The depth of our commitment to all children is plain to see.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Spices became a sort of metaphor for his life. Ever the philosopher, Penzey could taste the ancient tangents of thought like a thread of saffron on the tongue. Work was meditation for Penzey, who found plenty of both as he ground and mixed his spice blends, always by hand.
"Bill believed spices were calling us," Ruth Penzey, his wife, once said. "Certainly they called him. He has had a love affair with spices, and he just couldn't know enough about them."
William T. Penzey Sr. died of an apparent heart attack Wednesday evening as he walked home from their little Wauwatosa shop. He was 78.
He became the patriarch and inspiration for the Penzey family spice businesses. His son and daughters continue the family tradition. In separate corporate enterprises, the next generation now runs the downtown Milwaukee location started by their parents and has expanded to new stores in Wisconsin and beyond, and into online sales.
Bill and Ruth opened their transition-into-retirement store at 1244 N. Glenview Ave. in Wauwatosa.
There Penzey did what he called "spice work." The emphasis, as his wife explained, was less on running a business and more on sharing knowledge of the spice trade and philosophy. The smaller operation also allowed them to close, even for a month at a time, if they wanted to.
The former Ruth Ann Burns became his partner in life and in business. They married in 1957.
That same year, they began the William T. Penzey Coffee Co., a coffee and tea store, at N. 33rd and W. Galena streets. Within the next decade, it became The Spice House, specializing in spices and herbs.
I remember when I was but a wee lad, my folks would take me with them on their regular trips to The Spice House. It was one of the few times that I actually enjoyed going shopping with them because as soon as you entered their store, you were transported to a whole new world just by your sense of smell.
As I grew up, my mom taught me how to cook. Most of the dishes she taught me were basic meals, but whether plain country cooking or something more elegant, she always told me that the best way to make it delicious, healthier and less expensive was to use fresh spices and seasonings like you could get at Penzey's.
After I got married, I thought I'd be frugal and just buy some cheap off the grocery store variety of spices. I did that once. I haven't bought one spice or seasoning or herb that did not have the Penzey label on it in over ten years.
If you haven't already, give them a try. They got stores everywhere. You won't be sorry.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The latest one comes from Scott Walker himself.
Walker has been having to contend all week with the latest stupid stunt from his communications aide Michael Brickman, who put up a blog post on Walker's campaign site mocking the unemployed workers in the state by putting up a 68 page "job plan" full of empty rhetoric in size 58.5 font. This stunt got Team Walker their third round of being Keith Olbermann's "Worst person." Brickman was also the guy responsible for their first appearance as "Worst person" when he sent out a racially-tinged tweet, which was dutifully retweeted by Walker's communication director, Jill Bader.
Today, Walker was quick to throw his faithful campaign aide under the wheels of the Brown Bag Bus:
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker distanced himself Thursday from a mocking posting on his gubernatorial campaign website.Tom Barrett called Walker out on it pretty well, if I say so myself:
"That’s one person who wrote a blog," the Republican said Thursday. "It has nothing to do with me."
Responded Barrett: "The chutzpah to claim that something written by your (campaign staff) and posted on your campaign website has nothing to do with you defies any reasonable reading.
"We're not running for the high school student council. We're not sophomores in high school. This is a very important job and a very important office."
When I first saw this story, my first thought was a cynical "Sheesh! Doesn't this guy take responsibility for anything he does?" But as I thought about it more, I realized he really doesn't. Nor has he for years.
Back in 2003, due to Walker's irresponsible budgeting, the Parks Department had their budget slashed. This caused the Department to run into a $2 million deficit. To address that problem, then Parks Director Sue Baldwin, with the full endorsement of Scott Walker, decided to close the pools. This caused quite the outrage among the people. Walker did a quick about face and threw Baldwin to the wolves as he blamed her for the thing he endorsed.
Over the years, Walker would submit a county budget that he knew was dysfunctional and insufficient. He did this knowing full well that the County Board would fix the budget, which usually included a modest tax hike. When the next year's budget was due, Walker gleefully embraced the higher tax and included it in his new budget, but then would blame the County Board for it.
Another favorite ploy of Walker's, especially during election years, is to refuse to negotiate with the unions for a new contract, then blame them for his budgeting problems.
Despite receiving several warnings about the deteriorating condition of various county buildings, Walker continued with his pattern of deferred maintenance. As we see the inevitable results of such a plan, with buildings falling down or having to be closed due to being unsafe, Walker has blamed everything from ice dams to construction issues. The only thing he hasn't blamed the state of county facilities on is sunspots, apparently leaving that for Ron Johnson to use.
Likewise, Walker has refused to take responsibility for the problems going on at the mental health complex, even though they can be traced directly back to decision that Walker has made regarding those services.
All of this made me wonder if there was one thing that Walker did take responsibility for. The answer came to me pretty quickly.
When wrestling over the 2007 Milwaukee County Budget, Scott Walker made a big stink about how the County Board messed it up so much that he couldn't fix it, so he vetoed the entire budget in one fell swoop. The County Board voted and overrode his veto, effectively taking Walker out of the budgeting process that year. When it turned out that the County had a $7 million surplus that year, Walker tried to claim responsibility for it, even though he had removed himself from the budgeting process for that year.
I reckon it would be pretty safe to assume that one of the planks in Walker's platform as he continues his perpetual run for governor would be personal responsibility.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Through a series of articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reports, we have learned that Walker has created a disaster at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. These issues include:
- Scores of sexual assaults to occur, of which at least one led to a pregnancy
- A doctor who was the treating physician of a patient who was allowed to starve to death was left on staff for four years
- A severe shortage of staff creating an unsafe environment for patients and staff alike
- Nearly $15 million in deferred maintenance which led the physical building to be described as "shoddy"
I have to hand it to Walker. He has taken hypocrisy to a whole new level that I did not think even he could.
He correctly describes the situation as a community problem, but fails to admit his responsibility in creating the problems. He then states that he finds it "unacceptable" if only one person falls through the cracks. And as the topper to it all, he attacks his opponent, Tom Barrett, for playing politics with the mentally ill.
Gosh, where to start...
It was Walker who had repeatedly cut services and staffing at the mental health complex each year of his administration. He continued to duo so even after being warned for years that the staffing shortage was becoming critical and that it was causing unsafe conditions for patients and staff alike.
It was Walker who refused not only eliminated the secure wards that had been at the complex, and then refused to even entertain the notion of reinstating one despite the recommendations of the Director of Psychology.
It was Walker who decided to so drastically reduce the maintenance budget that there was insufficient funding, material or man power to keep the facility from getting into such a state of disrepair that it was described by inspectors as being in "shoddy condition" and would cost up to $15 million to bring it up to snuff.
It should also be noted that it was not just one patient falling through the cracks, but dozens of patients being shoved off the edge, all because Walker wanted to promote his own ideology and his political aspirations.
Walker allowed these problems to go on for years and even worked to exasperate the problems, so how unacceptable could he have found it all?
To his credit, Walker has just announced that he will raise the funding levels for the mental health complex, hire more staff, and increase the security. Unfortunately, the amount he is adding might not be enough to deal with all of the problems that he has allowed to arise out there.
What is really shameful is that it took all of this public attention and outrage, during a big election year, before Walker thought it fit to start reversing the damage he had created. But then again, we went through the same thing four years ago, during Walker's first unsuccessful run for governor, when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a whole series of articles about the horrible, and sometimes fatal, housing conditions that the mentally ill have to contend with in the community. Even then, he had to reach out for help from Tom Barrett and the City of Milwaukee to help fix the problems he had created.
Which brings us to the one thing I fully agree with Walker on. The leadership, or lack thereof, which he has displayed for the past eight years is in desperate need of reform.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
First it was his communications director, Jill Bader, and her faithful henchman, Michael "Rich the salesman" Brick, who decided to blast our racially-tinged tweets.
Then it was Walker, donning boxing gloves, threatening to beat up Tom Barrett just weeks after the Courts sentenced the man who had severely beaten Barrett up a year before when Barrett intervened to protect a little baby and his grandmother.
Now Walker's made it again. This time he got nailed for his sophomoric "jobs plan"
As Olbermann so correctly points out: At least with Walker, you can see his crap from a mile away.
One Wisconsin Now did some amazing work and discovered that the Republicans were in collaboration with the Tea Partiers as well as the right wing front group Americans for Prosperity to commit the illegal act of voter suppression by using voter caging.
At their site, you can find the outline of how they were going to control the vote, denying students and minorities their Constitutional right to vote, the transcript of Tim Dake of the Grandsons of Liberty and other discussing this openly, as well as a pretty clear explanation of just what voter caging means.
And here I thought that Scott Walker and Ron Johnson were supposed to be the anointed ones, not the appointed ones.
Just remember this when the right wing starts their meme about this being a conservative tsunami: Tsunamis are actually bad things that can cause massive amounts of damage.
See also: McIlheran Should Return His AFP Award
Monday, September 20, 2010
This jackass has gone the gamut of trying to minimize his wrong doings to saying he was the victim of a smear campaign to apologizing and saying he was going on medical leave to get help. The only thing he didn't do was take responsibility and resign like everyone and their uncle has been calling for.
In another example of a Democrat cleaning up a mess that the Republicans can't, Governor Jim Doyle announced that he would start the process of removing Kratz from office, once he gets a complaint from a tax payer in Calumet County. Given that his press conference was about 3:30 this afternoon, I would expect that he had about 100 by the time he got back to the office, and that's just in his email inbox.
So all's good, right?
Not yet. There's still one question that has to be answered.
Where the hell was Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on all of this? He was informed of this almost a full year ago, yet has done nothing about it. He needs to answer for aiding this atrocity to go on as long as it has.
Can you imagine what a laughing stock the state would become if he gets elected?
Sunday, September 19, 2010
You thought our local, home grown version of politicos were a bunch of goofs, look at the Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate Christine O'Donnell from the great State of Delaware.
TPM reported last week that O'Donnell had some views regarding stem cell research, which took a most peculiar twist:
Of course, this is completely plausible, as noted at Open Left:
We previously noted that O'Donnell had attacked her primary opponent, Congressman Mike Castle, based on his support for stem-cell research. But it turns out that her interest in the subject goes back much further. As Little Green Footballs has spotted, O'Donnell appeared in 2007 on The O'Reilly Factor, to speak out against such research in response to the cloning of some monkeys. Then came her warning on human-mouse hybrids."They are -- they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they're already into this experiment."
Well, she's a human with a mouse brain, so why not the reverse?What I really find disturbing is that there are people who have heard her say this, and were nodding in complete agreement.
If Pretty Boy Duffy, star of reality TV, can't handle these lobs from friendlies, I would pack a lunch to watch him in a debate with Julie Lassa.
But really, millionaires couldn't live without their $800 bucks a month? Even though they don't pay into based on 100% of their salary like regular folks have to?
After FEMA had completed their initial survey, they had only granted aid to the local governments, but nothing for the individual home owners, some of who had to have their homes razed due to all of the damage.
After that ruling, Tom Barrett went to work and collected surveys from affected home owners in preparations for an appeal.
Scott Walker basically shrugged it off, said he told people not to get their hopes up, and went back out on the campaign trail.
The choice in November gets clearer and clearer each day. On one hand, you have someone like Tom Barrett who keeps on fighting for the people, whether they are his constituents or not. On the other hand, you have someone like Scott Walker, who got his and said, "It sucks to be you" to his constituents and put his political aspirations first.
Dan Cody took the job plan and copied and pasted it to Microsoft Word and converted it to normal font size and found that it took up a whole three and half pages! Dan also reported that it has all of 1,018 words. Many of my blog posts are longer than that.
If you downsize it, it becomes easier to read, but then again, it doesn't say much.
It is mostly his same old drivel about lower taxes and lower regulations that he has been pushing for months now. What he does not say is just what services he would cut to make up for those lower taxes or what the actual costs that further deregulation would be on the individual. He doesn't say these things because he knows then that his garbage wouldn't sell.
He also has a bullet point that he calls "stopping frivolous lawsuits." Or in other words, stop protecting the little people so that CEOs can make a bigger killing in bonuses and other pay outs.
Even as intellectually insulting the plan over all is, trying to make three and half pages of fluff seem like 68 pages of substance, it is not he only foolish part of this.
The last bullet point of Walker's plan is to "invest in infrastructure."
While I agree with the importance of investing into infrastructure, there is a question that needs to be asked. If Walker does indeed believe that investing in the infrastructure is so important to job creation, why hasn't he been doing that for the last eight years?
County roads are in such a mess, that even a leading member of misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government was complaining about how bad they are. County buildings are so poorly maintained that pieces are falling off them and some have been closed to the public due to safety concerns. The mental health facility was neglected so much that it literally has gotten to the point where it is cheaper to build a new facility than try to fully repair the old one. Milwaukee County's infrastructure also includes the transit system, which Walker has cut down by 20%, costing tens of thousands of jobs for people.
If infrastructure is so important for job creation, Walker needs to answer why he has refused to do it as county executive.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
However, it's written in what the WPPA has calculated to be a font size of 58.5. In other words, you could read this from a plane at 36,000 feet.
Not only is the Walker campaign short on ideas, but it's apparently run by a bunch of asshats who think it's funny that they don't have any ideas. Stay classy, guys.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tom Barrett's message was short and to the point:
"The choice before voters this November is crystal clear. I am running for Wisconsin governor to fight for jobs, put state government on a diet, and bring adult leadership to the capitol focused on getting things done. Scott Walker has never showed any interest in growing our economy. And time and time again, Walker has shown he will say or do anything to try to get elected. Wisconsin families need a governor they can trust to create jobs and get Madison’s fiscal house in order. They can’t trust a record of massive borrowing and chronic flip-flops for political gain."His speech, which can be seen here, was also very clear and positive.
The statement from his opponent wasn't so clear.
In Scott Walker's prepared statement, it left people wondering if Barrett would be running against Walker or someone else.
First, one would think that the Republican nominee was a magician:
We have a real plan to get this state working again. Our plan to create 250,000 new jobs helps employers by lowering taxes, cutting through red tape and stopping lawsuit abuse. It also improves our workforce through reforms in education, lowers the cost of health care and invests in our infrastructure. Our plan is a blue print for economic prosperity.Again with this pie-in-the-sky promise with no actual plan behind it. It's even more ironic when one takes into account that Walker lost control of the Private Industry Council, which is supposed to help people get jobs, because he wasn't producing any progress in the area. It was given to Tom Barrett and the City of Milwaukee due to their much better track record of actually getting people working again.
After this, Walker starts morphing his identity:
Our county airport is now the fastest growing airport in America, attracting nearly a thousand new jobs.The improvements at the airport that allowed it to grow was created by the millions of dollars coming in from President Obama's stimulus funds, which the County Board pursued over Walker's resistance. By taking credit for this, apparently he thinks he's Obama and/or the County Board.
But it goes on with Walker mistaking himself for a former governor:
And before I took office, there was a waiting list of 3,000 older adults needing help with long term care. Today, not one senior is on a waiting list.He did do that, through the state's Family Care Program. Of course, it was then Governor Tommy Thompson that ordered it in 1998, four years before Walker was ever elected as county executive. Even when he took over, he laid off the accountants, and the program quickly ran into a huge deficit.
Bill Christofferson notes that the tag line at the end of Walker's statement, "Help is on the way," is one he took from Governor Jim Doyle.
It may stem from all the flip flops and acts of hypocrisy that Walker is famous for, but I would find it hard to throw my support behind someone who doesn't even know who he is anymore because of them.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
For the race for governor, Tom Barrett was the first declared winner. In all likelihood, the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor will be Tom Nelson. (Any guesses on how long it is before some wag on the right side will say "We'll beat the Tom-Toms like a drum" or some such nonsense?)
On the Republican side, they nominated Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch for their ticket. Oh, this will be delicious.
On one hand, you have two moderate Democrats. Barrett has a balanced budget and the 2011 budget looks like it will be mostly harmless to his campaign. He also has a solid record on bringing jobs to the area and the ability to make tough decisions. The city is in pretty good shape and he is a genuinely likable person who actually listens to the people. Barrett also has a pretty decently sized war chest amassed.
I can't say I know much about Nelson, except that he is from the Fox Valley area and has held office for six years, working his way up to Majority Leader last year. For a Democrat to win so many elections in GOP country shows that there is a vulnerability for the Walker/Kleefisch ticket in their own heartland.
On the Republican side, you have Walker with enough baggage to fill every car on the high speed rail that is coming. There is the O'Donnell Park tragedy, the other county buildings crumbling, the horrors at the mental health complex, borrowing $400 million and still not fixing the pension problems, the gaping hole in this year's budget, a gaping hole in next year's budget, diminished transit services costing tens of thousands of jobs, losing control of the income maintenance program, losing control of the Private Industry Council (because he doesn't know how to create jobs), and that's just the stuff out there now. There are also investigations going on with at least two of his staffers and other stuff that he is trying to squelch until after the election, when it will be too late for the state.
On top of all that, Walker had to go through a boatload of cash to win the primary by a much narrower margin than he was hoping. And let's not forget his campaign staff, who is almost as damaging to his campaign as his track record.
To further bog Walker down, he gets saddled with Rebecca Kleefisch, Wisconsin's own Sarah Palin wannabe, as his Lt. Governor. She's the one that lives in a house worth a third of a million dollars, is married to a state legislator, and is claiming to be just like us. She also has said that she would go by her religious teaching as opposed to things like the Constitution or the law.
Like I said, this will be delicious. And you know I will be writing more on this race in the next six weeks.
Also, congratulations goes out to Senator Feingold for his re-election, since the Republicans have chosen to go with Ron "Sunspot" Johnson. I firmly believe the only reason he won is because his opponent, Dave Westlake, couldn't match RoJo's $15 milllion, and thus was drowned out by all the ads and other nonsense.
In other news, Chris Larson and his amazing staff has put an end to Plale's ineffectiveness in Madison. Although it will be a great blow for Milwaukee County, perhaps we can find another person who can step up to keep Walker from trashing it in his vainglorious pursuit of the governor's chair. I just wonder who it could be. Jason?
Also winning their primaries was Elizabeth Coggs and JoCasta Zamarripa. Congratulations to both of them.
On the down side, Chris Moews failed to oust David Clarke. Clarke had the edge with a much war chest 30 times the size of Moews' and the name recognition. It looks like I'll be voting for Steven Duckhorn. If I have to vote for a Republican, I'll vote for the honest one. I just hope he has his site fixed.
The other bad news is that Scot Dettman didn't oust the job-killing Peggy Krusick. Aw, well. I might just be skipping that one in November, or doing a write in.
In 2002, Scott Walker made a promise about the county grounds, including the Monarch Trail:
Oppose development of the northeast quadrant of County Grounds for anything other than state forest.
Anyone who has been a regular reader of Cog Dis or Milwaukee County First knows that this was a big lie.
Walker pushed to have the county grounds sold at a discount rate to a group of private land developers on the pretense of building an engineering school for UW-Milwaukee.
Now to make matters worse, to get this done, it looks increasingly likely that the tax payers will have to shell out more than $12 million to subsidize the private land speculators.
If Walker had hired competent economic development staffers, before he abolished the department, they could have greatly altered the outcome. They could've steered the school to be built in the Innovation Research Park, or even better yet, in the Park East Corridor.
Tally so far for Walker: Six promised made, zero promises kept.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Aaron Rodriguez, who used to occasionally post at Fairly Conservative, is now going after his former BFF, Cindy Kilkenny, who had shown the truth behind another one of Scott Walker's whisper campaign lies, this one being that Neumann is tapped out of cash. The meme that Team Walker is trying to spread is that Neumann is no longer investing in his campaign (even though it is Election Day Eve) and thus wouldn't have the money to run against Tom Barrett if he were to win Tuesday's primary.
Aaron is quite perturbed with this, to the point of originally titling his post "Kilkennys a political operative":
Okay, where do I begin. First, how telling is it that Neumann was crunching finance numbers with his campaign manager in front of Cindy? How stable is a campaign if they have Cindy sitting at the table during inside strategy discussions? Eeeks!
How desperate does Neumann look when he befriends the only blogger in Wisconsin that supported him? I suppose if Neumann wins, Cindy could become his 4th campaign manager. Perhaps someone should tell him that Cindy almost voted for Barrett because he looked her in the eye when he spoke. Never-mind the minor details that he's a tax and spend liberal that supports partial-birth abortion.
One thing is for certain, I cannot wait until the primaries are over. Although I'm fearful that Cindy and Capper will have a serious meltdown, at least they can still comfort each other when it's all over.
Eeeks? I never knew that Eeek could be pluralized.
Anyway, this is not the first, and I suspect it won't be the last, time that Rodriguez has played fast and loose with the truth. Kilkenny is not the only blogger supporting Neumann. A repeated critic of Walker's, the pseudonymous author of Wisconsin Truth Project just wrote this tonight:
One of the reasons I started this blog last year was because I wanted to point out some issues with the Walker campaign that I knew I could not do with my name attached. Personally, I wish for a future in Wisconsin conservative politics but, if you live in Wisconsin’s Republican political sphere, you cannot afford to suggest anything but that Mark Neumann is out of line in challenging Scott Walker and must be stopped.
Ever wonder why no currently-elected Wisconsin political figure has endorsed Neumann? Or why he had to another state to find a campaign staff?
Because you can forget about getting a job in the Walker Administration – or anywhere near the Wisconsin GOP – if you support Mark Neumann.
Well, Mark Neumann DOES have a right to run for governor – and I have a right to vote for him. And it just so happens that Walker’s baggage from the Milwaukee County Health Complex has compromised his own electability and signified Neumann’s emergence as the biggest threat to Tom Barrett.
I’m voting against Reince Priebus and the Republican establishment – and FOR Mark Neumann.
There have been numerous other bloggers that have also been critical of Walker and the many negative issues connected to both the way he has mismanaged the county and the way he has mismanaged his campaign.
But it isn't Kilkenny or any other blogger that Walker and his faithful blogger needs to worry about. It's the regular voters who can see for themselves what a failure Walker has been, and are tired of the machine of either major political party that will decided Walker's fate. For now.
For example, the following is the front and back of a flier that was floating around the UW-Milwaukee campus today. As you can see, he is touting some really liberal positions, including contraceptive equality, equal pay, and clean energy.
In fact, Plale is posturing himself as being so liberal that he has a "100% Planned Parenthood Voting Record":
If he is so liberal, and has a 100% voting record for Planned Parenthood, how does he jive it with these, which is the front and back of his literature from 2003 where is touting getting endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life and being strongly anti-abortion:
I personally don't have a qualm with whether he is pro-life or pro-choice. I do have a problem with him trying to pass himself off as both. Either he is being completely disingenuous or he is the most wishy-washy person in the state senate.
And while he is answering questions, why is he getting so much last minute donations from Illinois and West Virginia?
Just another reason why people would be better off going with Chris Larson, who has and will work hard for them.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Barrett's wife, Kris, tells us what it was like to get that phone call:
Compare Barrett's courage and concern for another person should be contrasted with Walker's lack of these attributes, as most clearly identified when he bailed out of Milwaukee County as people were in crisis after the big flood.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Today, Walker takes it beyond the pale with this tweet:
Can you imagine that!
On the ninth anniversary of 9/11, the day terrorists hijacked four planes killing thousands of people at the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington DC, and a field in rural Pennsylvania, Walker feels its fine to banter the word "hijack" around to make an inane campaign statement.
In attacking working men and women, he shows a complete disregard for the victims of 9/11, their families, and the entire nation which still grieves this horrible attack on our great nation.
Scott Walker needs to publicly apologize to the entire nation for his insensitivity and the complete inappropriateness of this vulgar campaign stunt.
On the Democratic side, there are two main candidates. One, of course is Tom Barrett, the Mayor of the City of Milwaukee. The other is Tim John.
It is pretty safe to assume that Barrett will overwhelming win this primary. He has the support of the Democratic Party and has been getting all of the media attention. Barrett's record as mayor has been decent. He brought in Ed Flynn to head the police department and crime is down. His budgets have been balanced and he showed true leadership in a crisis, like this summer's floods.
On the downside, some people will criticize him for raising taxes, but these are the usual suspects that feel they should receive services like snow plowing or police protection without having to actually pay for them.
His primary opponent, Tim John, seems to be an affable fellow, and did raise the important issue of the intolerably high level of unemployment of African American men in Milwaukee. However, outside of that one issue, it was hard to take his campaign seriously. He tried to make one of his issues the sale of unpasteurized milk. Outside of some dairy farmers and those that want to drink the raw milk, it was not a big point among most Wisconsinites. To make it even more irrelevant, Governor Doyle resolved the issue during the year, making it a non-issue.
The Republican gubernatorial primary is most definitely the most heated in the state, and for yours truly, the most fun to watch.
On one hand, you have the party-anointed boy king, Scott Walker. Walker ran in 2006, but dropped out of the race when the party support went to Mark Green. But he never stopped campaigning, and spent the next four years making the circuit, attending functions and using his bogus bike ride to keep his name out there. Because of this, the party arbitrarily appointed him as their great hope.
His opponent, Mark Neumann, was a U.S. Congressman until he left that seat to run against Russ Feingold. He lost that race, but only barely. After that, he went on to run a successful home building business and started three private schools.
This race is too close to call, despite what the party faithful would have you to believe. If Walker wins the primary, the Republicans lose the advantage of having a non-Milwaukeean running against the mayor of Milwaukee. Walker also has a lot of baggage to carry all the way to the finish line that makes him an easy target for the Democrats. Some of Walker's baggage includes, but is in no way limited to:
- The O'Donnell Park tragedy, where a concrete facade fell and killed a teenage boy and left a woman with a life-altering injury.
- The mental health complex, where years of budget cuts and staffing shortages allowed the facility to become run down and unsafe. Even more alarming is the fact that poor management and short staffing allowed female patients to be repeatedly sexually assaulted, ending up in at least one pregnancy.
- Walker's poor management forced the state to take over the Income Maintenance Program, spreading another Milwaukee County burden among all of the state's tax payers.
- Walker's inability to create jobs allowed the Private Industry Council to be moved from the County's control to the City of Milwaukee.
- Walker's budget cuts to the transit system has cost up to 40,000 people losing access to their jobs.
- Walker's current budget is deep in the hole, and that hole is only getting deeper.
- The multiple gaffes committed by his campaign, including racially-tainted tweets, insensitivity to the victims of the O'Donnell Park tragedy, and being found to be lying in his commercials
- A $400 million debt in the form of pension obligation bonds, which still doesn't cover the shortfall the county faces.
However, due to having the party support, Walker will most likely have a much more effective GOTV system, which gives him that edge, but it is questionable whether even that will be sufficient to make up for all of Walker's deficiencies.
In a way, I hope that Walker wins. It will make it easier for Barrett to win the governorship. It will also give this lowly site a few more weeks to enjoy some mild popularity. On the other hand, I don't know if Milwaukee County, its tax payers, or its most vulnerable citizens can afford, much less survive, much more of his campaign stunts and poor management.
First she sends out a press release touting the endorsement of "15 of Wisconsin's best known bloggers." The problem she comes in is when she starts listing them.
The first on the list is the infamous Badger Blogger, home of trolls and sockpoppets, who recently has this doozy on their claim to fame.
Next up was Peter "I want to assassinate the President" DiGuadio (see comment #12), which is actually one of the milder things that Peter has ever said.
Also on the list is Fred "Pain Medication" Dooley and James "Faux Outrage" Wigderson.
Rounding off this who's who is Dad29, famous for his "female soldiers desrerve to get raped" attitude.
Yeah, these are not exactly folks I would be proud of having in my corner.
After this list of who's who, she goes on Facebook to brag about all the people making their own campaign signs and printing off their own literature. I sure hope she's itemizing these for her campaign finance reports.
Of course, she might not be so desperate for respect if she'd only stop going into silly mode.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Walker's supporters are chewing on some real sour grapes by pointing out that only 21 people responded to the poll.
Before they get their indignant undies in a bundle, perhaps they should remember that they not only celebrated, but endorsed Walker, on straw polls with only 39 people responding.
Just remember, sour grapes make for a bitter whine.
The POB was put to a referendum and the voters flat out rejected the idea. But that did not slow down Walker. Despite words of warning on how risky his plan was, Walker was finally able to get a POB scheme rammed through.
Now Milwaukee County tax payers are on the hook for $400 million, and it was still not enough to cover the pension debt.
Meanwhile, the City of Milwaukee was also facing their own fiscal crisis around their pension fund. Unlike Walker, Mayor Barrett took the problem head on and resolved their problems and still produced balanced budgets.
Needless to say, the contrast between the two is now a talking point for Team Barrett:
With a track record like his, it's no wonder that Walker is feeling pretty nervous about Tuesday.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
He started out with a smear campaign of sending out mailers comparing his opponent, Mark Neumann, to Nancy Pelosi because they voted for the same transportation bill in 1990s. He then flooded the airwaves on both TV and radio echoing the same charges.
But it turns out that Walker actually praised the bill when it was passed:
. . . Originally, $241 million of federal funds was set aside for use on the East-West Corridor. Specifically, the money could be used for a light rail system along the corridor or for the widening of I-94 to insert car pool and bus lanes…So, when Walker was comparing Neumann to Nancy Pelosi, maybe he actually meant it has a compliment.
. . . At that time, a group of Milwaukee County lawmakers objected to both proposals. Fast forward to May 1998. The same Milwaukee County lawmakers -- three Democrats and three Republicans -- applauded the change in the use of the $241 million and asked that the funds be used on local projects, including the reconstruction of the Marquette Interchange, the Zoo Interchange and on expanding support for the Milwaukee County Transit System.
In our opinion, supporting these projects is a better use of the funds and will ultimately save Milwaukee County taxpayers money.
Rep. Scott Walker
Well, at least he waited more than 24 hours before flip-flopping this time.
I have seen many right wing pundits and their commenters trash Neumann for being hypocritical and negative. These same people say that they support Walker because he would run the government the same way he runs his campaign.
It must be true.
Give the recent events from his campaign, including all of the hypocrisy, the racially-tinged tweets and the insensitivity, and if he runs a government the same way he campaigns, is it any real wonder that Milwaukee County is in such a mess?
Now we find that his mentor and spirit guide, Dick Morris, was in Sheboygan for a TEA Party or some such group, when he had this clever witticism:
Nationally known multi-faceted political commentator/analyst/writer Dick Morris dove right into the Wisconsin scene. “For Russ Feingold to pose as a moderate, as an independent…my goodness, it shows how far we’ve come when Russ Feingold tries to dress up like us. But that act of transvestitism[sic] is going a little far even for Greenwich Village and San Francisco – or Madison.”Nice way to have your hero come in to call your opponent a cross-dresser.
RoJo is just not a class act, is he?
H/T The Chief
I have to admit, I'm going to enjoy this one.
In 2002, as part of the CRG platform that Scott Walker voluntarily agreed to, one of the promises had to do with cronyism:
Implement a program to eliminate cronyism and nepotism in county government, including a review of all management and supervisory functions under the executive. Within 60 days.Not only did Walker fail to keep this promise, he flagrantly went in the exact opposite direction.
For some of the names, we will depend on Cory Liebmann, who has already done a fantastic job of pointing out a number of Walker's cronies, to whom he has given cushy positions to, whether they were qualified or not:
Consider some of the following:
- Jim Villa worked for Walker's campaigns bouncing between them and taxpayer financed county jobs.
- Robert Dennik, a former lobbyist and Walker campaign manager was appointed as head of the now nonexistent Milwaukee County Division of Economic and Community Development. Let's just say that his time there didn't go so well for him or for Milwaukee County.
- Tim Russell has repeatedly bounced back and forth between Walker campaigns and taxpayer funded positions (including a recent promotion). At one point he even took over the train wreck that was the Economic Development job (with not much more success).
- Walker wanted to give a county job to Chuck Grapentine even though he didn't even want to move to Milwaukee County. Chuck is the father of a former Walker aide.
- Cynthia Archer was appointed as head of Administrative Services in 2007. She was previously a top administrator for Walker's former Republican colleague in the State Assembly, Carol Kelso.
- David Bradley Carr had not been out of law school very long before Walker replaced a veteran member of the Ethics Board with him. It was reported at the time that a partner at a law firm suggested Carr to Walker. Several partners and members of that same law firm have also been big campaign contributors to Walker. But I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.
I think the title of a May 9, 2002 MJS story had it right when it said that "Walker has rewards in mind for backers".
It is worth noting that Tim Russell is currently under investigation for blurring the lines between his roles as county official and campaign staffer.
Added to this list, I would also point out Darlene Wink, who is the Co-Vice Chair of the Milwaukee County Republicans, and until caught politicking from Walker's office, was his Director of Constituent Services.
I would also be lax if I omitted mentioning the many contracts that Walker has given out, usually on a no-bid basis, to friends of his campaign. People like Chris Kujawa or Edward Aprahamian to name but two of them.
Tally so far: Five promises made, zero promises kept.
In 2002, Scott Walker made two promises regarding the length of his term and term limits in general.
One of these promises, he made on his own, which reads:
Will not serve more than one full term (no longer than 2008)The other promise is one he signed on to as part of the CRG platform:
Introduce a referendum calling for term limits for the position of executive and county supervisor during 2002.Last I checked, this is 2010, and Walker is in the middle of his second full term as county executive.
He also never introduced that referendum for term limits.
In fact, even now he has subtly switched from endorsing two term limits and is up to three.
Tally so far is: Four promises made, zero promises kept.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
In 2002, Scott Walker made two promises regarding his salary as county executive.
One, which was one of his own, read:
Voluntarily reduce own salary to $78,850, within 30 days.The other, which was part of the CRG platform:
Immediately sign a waiver of all salary and benefit increases that were enacted after Jan. 1, 2000.First one of the bat and we find that he did not keep these promises.
As we had discussed earlier this year, Walker's first commercial bragged about giving some of his salary back, which he did do. But he did not reduce his salary.
In fact, due to a law written into the County Code of Ordinances, the county executive receives a raise every year as a cost of living adjustment.
So in reality, his salary has actually increased by a few thousand dollars while he has been county executive.
To make this false promise even more egregious, for the last two years, while people are losing their jobs and their homes, including the county workers that Walker laid off, he forewent his habit of giving his salary back, effectively giving himself a $50,000 a year raise.
He promptly used that money to buy a new house and a large swimming pool. Nice way to throw it in the face of the people losing their homes.
Now, to be fair, Walker couldn't legally cut his salary in the middle of a term. However, there was nothing preventing him from making a push to have it cut back at the beginning of his next term, which would have been only two years later.
End result: Two promises made, zero promises kept.