Friday, April 29, 2011

Michigan's People Move To Save Their State

And it's about time:
A longshot effort to recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder began Monday with the filing of proposed petition wording by a group upset about the Republican’s proposals related to the state budget and a new law related to emergency financial managers.

A group called Michigan Citizens United filed its paperwork in Washtenaw County, Snyder’s official county of residence. A hearing on the petition language is scheduled for April 29. If it’s approved by county election officials, recall supporters could begin collecting voter signatures as early as next month.

The group would need 806,522 valid signatures of Michigan voters to make the ballot in November.

The proposed petition language cites a Snyder-approved law that gives broad new powers to emergency managers appointed by the state to run financially struggling local governments and schools. Those powers include the ability to toss out union contracts and strip power from locally elected officials.

The proposed petition also references what it labels “tax increases” on retirees and lower-income Michigan families and “tax cuts” for corporations. Snyder has proposed eliminating tax exemptions for some retiree income and getting rid of an earned income tax credit for low-income working families while seeking lower overall taxes for businesses.

“I believe a lot of people in Michigan are angry at him,” said Tim Kramer, a resident of Oakland County’s Waterford Township and spokesman for Michigan Citizens United. “He wants to come in and do what he wants. That’s not democracy.”
Bully for the people in Michigan. Here's to hoping they succeed and set the precedent as one state after another, and most definitely Wisconsin, take the actions need to take their states back.

Paul Ryan And His Outside Agitator Teahadist Supporters Behaving Badly

My dear friend that had an unanswered question for Paul Ryan did indeed attend on of his non-listening sessions.    The unanswered question went unasked, but another one was offered in its place. My friend's report on the boorish behavior demonstrated by Congressman Bad Hair and his out of state supporters:
I rose to ask Congressman Ryan a question today, about his planned assault on Medicare, wiser than I was a week ago.

Waiting a week for Ryan's Greenfield Town Hall, I studied up.. What I learned was that yes, there would be Insurance companies in Wisconsin ready to take that Medicare voucher. They already operate Medicare D and Medicare Supplemental insurances in Wisconsin. The real catch was the Voucher for Medicare will become a down payment for this care and the rest, including add-on co-pays and deductibles and loss of provider choices will follow. Then I had another thought...

Ryan started his "Listening Session" by asking the crowd to raise their hand if they were over 55, the vast majority did. Then he confidently assured them they were safe from any changes in their Medicare Benefits because" they were promised to you". That was good enough for the crowd that gave him repeated wild standing ovations.

When I rose, I introduced myself as a veteran public employee. As such, I was obliged to tell my clients of any bias or interest I might have.

As I began my next sentence "Congressman Ryan in the interest of public disclosure shouldn't you tell us that three of your biggest donors..." and at this point the crowd began to roar disapproval. Ryan's Aid removed the microphone and Ryan made a large arm signal to direct WTMJ-TV and the Microphone Hogging Aid to the other side of the auditorium. Undaunted, I continued..."in the interest of public disclosure shouldn't you tell us that three of your biggest donors, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and Humana Health Insurance, who already sell Medicare products here, would benefit greatly from this privatization; I was now yelling over hundreds of booing unruly elderly! Ryan seemed amazingly uncomfortable and blew me off saying he has thousands of donors.

Clearly the companies I referred to are part of his top 35 biggest givers and the Medicare-less Generation will be facing very large potential costs and obstacles ( but no matter to the lady next to me who will get to keep her full Medicare coverage down in Winetka, Illinois, where she told me she lives.)
The more that the right complain of supposed bad behavior from the left, the more people are going to just tune them out as the hypocrites they are.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take Some Time Today

Take some time out today to remember those that have lost their lives while on the job and remember why we fight like hell today.

Then take some more time to say a prayer for those in the South who have been ravaged by severe storms and tornadoes.

Oh SNAP, Walker's Cost Cutting Measure Could Be Costly. Again.

Some people just cannot or will not learn from their mistakes.

Scott Walker is one of the most glaring examples of that type of person.

As Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker thought he'd be clever and grossly short staffing the Income Maintenance Program, most notably the call center of said program. Instead of having the thirty workers that the County Board had provided funding for, Walker would have as few as five people trying to do the job of the missing thirty. It should be noted that Walker played this cruel political stunt just as the country was entering the worst recession in the nation's history and unemployment rates soared. Instead of getting the help they needed, many of Milwaukee County's most needy citizens got only busy signals.

By sabotaging the program this way, he was hoping to show that the county workers couldn't do the job and that this would open the door for privatization of the program.  However, things didn't work out the way Walker wanted them to.

Before he could privatize the system, a class action was filed against the county as well as the state.  In order to save tax payers millions of dollars in fines, the state reached an agreement and took over the program from the county. While it saved state tax payers a lot of money by not having to pay for Walker's folly, the move did cost county tax payers more to clean up the mess Walker made.  The cost was more than what Walker said the short staffing would save.  My, how did Walker howl about that!

Now fast forward to today and Walker is now governor.

Instead of wanting to preserve local control like he claimed to value just a few years ago, in his proposed budget, Walker is suggesting taking the FoodShare program from the counties who are administering it and put it strictly as a state function. Walker claims he wants to do this in order to streamline the process (and lay off 270 workers).

The one thing that Walker is consistent on from that time to this one is wanting to privatize the income maintenance services, especially the FoodShare program (otherwise know as food stamps), or as the federal government calls it, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

One problem with that plan -- it's against federal rules.

And the feds know about it.  In a letter from Ollice Holden, regional director of United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, to Dennis Smith, Secretary of Health Services, it is made perfectly clear that the feds won't accept Walker's plan:

As when he was county executive, we see Walker continue with a pattern of acting first and worrying about the legality and viability of his actions later.  If Walker and the Republican legislators follow through with this plan, the state will lose the federal share of the cost to run the program, which is 50% of the total administrative costs.  Considering that the fully federally funded portion, the benefits themselves, is now at a staggering billion dollars, the administrative cost is quite considerable as well.

Also of concern is the Walker's proposal to generally cut the staffing numbers.  In the letter, Holden warns that the feds will not abide with another drop in quality of services or a loss of accuracy.  However, indications are that Walker would also cut back staff whose job is to make sure that money isn't being paid out where is shouldn't be.  And this comes at a time, as Holden pointed out, that the system is wide open and ripe for fraud and abuse.

If Walker and his GOP cohorts do follow through with this plan, and the federal funds are cut, they will have to find that money somewhere without cutting these services or staffing, because that class action lawsuit is still pending.  Failure to meet their end of the agreement would expose all of the state's tax payers to millions or tens of millions of dollars in fines.

Apparently, in Fitzwalkerstan, it's more important to give the appearance of cutting spending than actually being fiscally or socially responsible. Walker's cost cutting actions will cost us much more, in more ways than one, than any savings he could ever hope to claim.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Walker the Fraudulent

You knew it was only a matter of time.

When Scott Walker was campaigning on how he was going to create 250,000 jobs, even though he didn't (and still doesn't) have a plan on how to do this, the only thing getting jobbed was the voters that fell for that crap.

Because of that, you knew it was only a matter of time before he started to skirting the truth and taking credit for windfalls or for someone else's hard work.

Sure enough, as Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, Walker did that very thing:
Consider it one more hurdle cleared by the first-term Republican governor in his quest to fulfill his campaign promise of creating 250,000 jobs in four years.

But wait a second.

Didn't Doyle announce the creation of 125 new jobs at the same business late last year?< Indeed he did. In a Dec. 16 news release, the Department of Commerce announced the Doyle administration was awarding Curt Manufacturing $400,000 in tax credits and $11 million in tax-free bonds under a program created by the federal government's 2009 stimulus package. In addition, state commerce officials said Altoona was receiving a $256,545 grant to upgrade a city road next to the company.

Doyle said the project would create 125 jobs and result in $12.8 million investment to the community.
To top off Walker's thievery, it should be noted that the funding Governor Doyle used was from President Obama's stimulus packet. You know, the same stimulus that Walker and other right wingnuts told us could not and would not create a single job.

But this was not Walker's only misrepresentation. After starting to catch flak for falsely taking credit for these jobs that Doyle and the stimulus plan had created, Walker tried to change the subject by saying he was only there at the insistence of the business owner. Guess what? Yup. That wasn't true either:
Besides, Jadin said, it's the company's call as to when something is announced publicly.

"Generally, the press releases or press conferences are tied around when the company wants to do something," Jadin said. "Obviously, they want to do it with a governor present. That's probably what occurred here."

Or not.

Company President Curt Tambornino said last week's news conference was initiated by the current governor.

"Walker's office had called and said they wanted to do this final presentation with a press release in front of the media," Tambornino said Friday.

The manufacturing boss said he submitted his applications for state help last summer.
For those of who had to contend with Walker for those eight long years that he was county executive, this is nothing new at all. Walker was continuously misrepresenting himself, claiming to be responsible for anything good, whether he was even aware of it ahead of time or not.

One of the most glaring examples of this was in 2008. They had just finished closing the books for 2007 and found that Milwaukee County had a $7 million surplus.  Walker, as one would suspect, tried to take credit for this.  However, in reality, he took himself out of that game, when he had vetoed that entire budget and washed his hands of it:
Darn right, said three county supervisors, Richard Nyklewicz Jr., Roger Quindel and John Weishan Jr. All pointed out that Walker vetoed the entire 2007 county budget, which was overridden by the County Board. That should deny him any bragging rights for the surplus, the supervisors said separately.

Furthermore, it was a board-led move to recraft the county's health insurance that provided such a windfall in savings that it offset other departmental deficits for '07, said Nyklewicz, the County Board's finance commitee[sic] chairman.
Rick Unger, writing at Forbes , claims that Walker taking credit for the jobs that Doyle had created was using stimulus, nothing short of plagiarism. That's one way to describe it alright.

But for those of us that have been going through this for years, we know it's just another  example of Walker committing plain old fraud.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's All The Unions' Fault! Part III: The Wage Gap

From Milwaukee News Buzz (emphasis mine):
By the time he broke for lunch on his first day of the new work year, Johnson Controls Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer Steven A. Roell had already banked more salary than the average Wisconsin worker would earn all year. Roell earned $17.5 million in compensation in 2010, making him the state’s highest paid CEO, a new report shows.

The gap between executive pay and rank and file wages has never been greater or easier to document than it is today. In fact, the ratio of executive pay to worker salaries must be reported in the proxy statements of publicly traded corporations according to reform legislation passed by Congress in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis.


The report lists CEO compensation at 44 Wisconsin firms and found an average compensation of $3.9 million for them, which is 121 times higher than the median Wisconsin salary of $32,360, while the statewide unemployment rate is 8.5 percent.
It is no accident or coincidence that this wage gap has grown to such an alarming level even as the power and popularity of the unions have been continuously eroded. Without the unions, there is no protection for the middle class and more and more people are forced into poverty.

Imagine what it would be like if Walker and his fellow Koch puppets get their way and finally finish off the unions in Wisconsin.  There will be no middle class left.  Everyone will be driven into poverty or into another state.

Walker's Budget Doesn't Cut Taxes

It just kicks those taxes down the hill onto more responsible people:
Faced with mounting costs and potential cuts in state aid, officials in Kewaunee and Sheboygan counties are considering new countywide sales taxes.

Officials in both counties acknowledge the political risks of dipping further into taxpayers' pockets in the current climate of government austerity.

Critics of the half-cent sales tax concept in Kewaunee County already are considering recalling county board members who support the idea.

But with county budgets being squeezed anew by Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to reduce government spending, some county officials are willing to reach for the previously untouchable option of imposing new taxes.

Mark O'Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association, said he would not be surprised if more counties consider a local sales tax in response to Walker's proposed cuts in state aid, despite widespread public opposition.

"I do think counties will look at it," he said. "They might not have any choice."
Walker's claims of being for the tax payers, like most of his other bragging points, it so much rubbish. He's not against raising your taxes, he's just against being held directly responsible for it.

Your Warming Thought Of The Day

Governor Russ Feingold:
A new statewide, scientific poll, conducted with a random sample of actual Wisconsin voters in the 2010 Governor’s Election (reliable within +/- 4.9 percentage points), finds voters in Wisconsin sharply divided on current issues related to the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit problem. The poll, conducted by veteran polling company, Ethridge & Associates, L.L.C., a Tennessee-based firm, finds voters about evenly divided (within the poll’s margin of error) on collective bargaining for public employees (48% favor / 46% oppose) and on Governor Scott Walker’s plan to end collective bargaining (50% oppose / 47% support).  Additionally, a slight majority, 51%, of voters oppose recalling Governor Scott Walker, with 44% supporting this idea. That is, until they consider a possible candidacy of Senator Russ Feingold, whom some are drafting to run against Walker in a recall election; then, Walker falls below 50% and ties with Feingold, 48% to 48%.
And if Walker keeps on his course of folly, which he is too full of hubris not to, those numbers will continue to grow in favor of the working people of Wisconsin.

H/T James Rowen

Irony: Not Just A Literary Device Anymore

Apparently, it is now also a teaching philosophy.

I'm not sure that I'm exactly comfortable with someone who cannot read or and most definitely cannot write at a third grade level dictating how real third graders are supposed to be taught.

I'm also disappointed that the local paper didn't report whether Scott Walker actually invited LeVar Burton or if they merely spent the meeting watching the Reading Rainbow.

Holy Action Alerts, Batman!

Lots of events and calls to action going on right now, folks.

First up, they're looking for massive amounts of volunteers to help with the Supreme Court recount activities.  If you have any time to volunteer, just email and give them your name, cell phone (or preferred phone) number, your email address, your city/county, the dates you would be available between 4/26 and 5/9, and whether you would be willing to travel.

Then there are the Paul Ryan "listening" sessions.  You can ask Congressman Ryan about his anti-worker, anti-middle class, anti-elderly budget at these sessions, which are all on Thursday, April 28th:

11:15 am to 12:15 pm
Franklin High School gymnasium
8222 S. 51st St
(attendees should park in the lower student parking lot

1:30-2:30 pm
Oak Creek Police Department
301 W. Ryan Rd.

3-4:15 pm
Whitnall High School auditorium
5000 S. 116th St.


Also on Thursday, April 28th, from 5-6 pm, there will be a Worker's Memorial Day Event at Zeilder Union Square Park (310 Michigan St).  This event will be immediately followed by the Fight Like Hell for the Living Fundraiser for WisCOSH Inc. This will be held at the APWU Hall, 417 N.3rd St. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.


Also Thursday, at 6:30 pm, will be the Democratic Budget Hearing, which will be at the West Allis Library, 7421 W. National Ave.


On Saturday, April 30th, there will be the Thunda around the Rotunda Rally at Madison.  Details can be found here.


Sunday, May 1, will be the Mayday Solidarity March  The march begins at 1:30 at the Voces de la Frontera, located at 1027 S. 5th St and end up in Veterans Park for the rally which starts at 3 pm. 

Sen. Miller, Rep. Barca Joint Statement about Emerge Wisconsin

In a press release today, Senator Mark Miller and Representative Peter Barca issued a joint statement regarding Emerge Wisconsin, which is standing up to now to meet the the need in 2012 for having a greater balance by helping progressive women seek and attain elected office.
Last week, Emerge Wisconsin announced that their training program has been “fast-tracked and moved up from 2012 to September 2011” in order to make sure women who want to run in 2012 are trained and ready to run next fall. Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller (D – SD 16) and Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D – AD 64) made the following statements:

Senator Mark Miller:

“Emerge Wisconsin has a successful reputation of training Democratic women to run for and win elected office including alumna Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King. With the announcement that they are moving their training up, I am confident we will see more Emerge Alumnae join us in the State Senate in the next few years.“

Peter Barca:

“It is exciting that Emerge Wisconsin is moving its training to this fall to accommodate Democratic women who plan to run for office next Fall.  With their help, we will be able to meet two important goals: We can take back the legislature and increase the number of women in elected office in Wisconsin.  I look forward to working with this important group so we will have more Emerge alumnae serving in elected office in our legislature next session and throughout Wisconsin.”

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scott Walker and Fiscal Martial Law: Should He? Would He? Could He?

Last weekend, Ed Garvey made an astounding claim that Scott Walker was planning to introduce a bill that would bring Fiscal Martial Law to Wisconsin, much akin to the one that Michigan is currently dealing with.

I will admit that I was rather skeptical and considered it to be alarmist to say the least.  This feeling was fortified by his claim that the GMC front group "My Milwaukee" was behind it all, which I found even more unlikely.

Scott Walker denied this, of course, which, given my experience with him, raised the first red flag.  There have also been other citizen journalists, aka bloggers, who have reported things that would contradict Walker's claim.

UPDATE: It does not appear that the GMC/Martial Law issue is so clear after all.

But the whole specter of Fiscal Martial Law possibly coming to Wisconsin brings up three natural questions:

  1. Should Walker try to pass such a law in Wisconsin?
  2. Would Walker try to pass such a law in Wisconsin?
  3. Could Walker pass such a law in Wisconsin?
Let's take a look at these separately:

Should he?

The answer to that is a resounding NO!  In fact, the answer should be HELL NO!

Let's be honest about it. This has nothing to do with fiscal issues. These types of maneuvers are nothing but pure power grabs.  They are attempts to gain permanent control of the country through economic, societal and yes, even racial, means. 

This law is about as unAmerican as one could imagine.  As evidenced in Benton Harbor, MI, the governor can single-handedly decide that a municipality or a county is in dire fiscal shape and decide to put in a "manager." Said manager would then come in and strip the duly elected leaders of all their authority and duties and unilaterally start making decrees about everything from what services are provided, how said services are provided.  (I highly doubt that the fact that the first town they launch this offensive against a town whose population is 92% African American.)  Not to mention that this would be taking a political maul to the unions in the state, further denying people their workers rights.

This is a complete violation of everything this country stands for and belies all of the typical conservative talking points.   It completely denies the citizens of  their basic rights by denying their votes and their rights to be represented by whomever they choose to represent them.  And if you thought I was being over the top with my claims of it being a power control issue, look at what they did in Detroit. They closed the only school for pregnant teens, with an amazingly high graduation level, and then arrested the pregnant teens and other peaceful protesters for exercising their constitutional freedoms.  They're also expecting to close their school for the deaf soon.  

Basically, this law would violate almost everyone's rights.  It is unfathomable that this thing would stand up in court, but it would rack up a mountain of unnecessary legal bills in trying to defend it, burning up any savings that might have occurred, which is questionable to begin with, and them some. In the interim, it would also run the real risk of spur a general strike and/or set off riots.

Would he?

There is no doubt in my mind that Walker would actively pursue this if he thought it had a chance of passing.  

His first four months in office has been nothing but one power grab after another.  Walker and his allies in the legislature have passed laws that eliminate much of the legislature's power in setting policy for the state.  He has also managed to have dozens of positions taken out of the auspices of civil service code and made into purely political positions in which he and he alone controls who fills in said positions.

Given his proneness to overreaching, disregarding the law (including the Constitution itself) and favoring profits over people, there is little doubt that Walker would want to do this in a heartbeat.

Could he?

This is the most significant question and the one that we need to pay the most attention to.

As recently as two and a half months ago or earlier, I think this bill might have passed easily.  Instead, the Republicans decided to go with the Budget Disrepair Bill, aka the Union Busting Bill.  This bill was so foul that they couldn't even pass it under normal means, and had to violate open meeting rules to ram it through.

This bill set off a firestorm never before seen in Wisconsin, in which hundreds of thousands of people marched to the Capitol and demanded that they be heard.  When the Republicans refused to pay attention to the people, the people decided that it was high time to replace them with people that wanted to be their representatives, not the special interests'.

This has created a different dynamic than before, when the Republicans thought they could do whatever they wanted unilaterally.  Now you can see that some of them are starting to, rather belatedly, realize that it is the people who control Wisconsin.  You can see this by the way Senators Alberta Darling and Randy Hooper, who have pushed for Walker to drop his proposed cuts to SeniorCare.  Republican senators are also trying to distant themselves from other bills of Walker's, such as the cutting the funding for the state's recycling program.

Assuredly, if Walker were to try to ram such a bill though now, there would be some die hard politicians who would still stand with Walker no matter what. But I question if Walker would have enough votes to get such a polarizing bill through.  Every politician that would vote for this bill would recognize that they would be ending their political careers with a vote for such a monstrous bill. 

The thought of that possibility should be all the incentive anyone needs to do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's All The Unions' Fault! Part II - The MJS Edition

As part of an ongoing series, let's take another look at the anti-union hypocrisy.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has been backing Scott Walker's assault on the working class since day one.  They are constantly parroting the false meme that "we all have to share in the pain" and call for public sector workers to basically pay twice for their benefits.  The other subsidiaries of Journal Communications have suffered similar fates.

Indeed, one could even say that MJS has led by example by laying off or forcing out many of its staff, including key reporters, columnists and editorial staff (but keeping the calumnist) and forcing the remaining staff to take considerable pay cuts.  (As one might expect, there has been a significant drop in quality of their product because of their choice, but that is another subject altogether.)

But not everyone at the daily paper has been sharing the pain. Not by a long shot.
Steven Smith, CEO and president of Journal Communications isn't quite sharing, either in the pain or in the ill-gotten loot he has amassed:

Steven J. Smith, the chairman, chief executive and president of Journal Communications Inc., received total compensation of more than $2 million last year, according to a regulatory document filed Thursday.

Smith received a salary of $752,000, bonus of $97,760, stock awards valued at $452,500, non-equity incentive plan compensation of $391,040, change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings of $312,211 and other compensation of $13,442 for a total of $2,018,953, the company's proxy statement shows.

That's up 39.7% from 2009, when Smith made $1,445,492. The biggest increase in overall pay for Smith came in the non-equity incentive plan compensation category, which was zero in 2009.
It should be noted that Smith is good buds with Scott Walker and was very supportive of first his campaign and now his attempts to tear the state apart and selling it off to the lowest bidder.

Just why should we listen to a hypocrite like Smith? And is it November yet?

Right Wing Hate Keeping It Classy

Who are the thugs again?

Happy Easter!

Hoping that the Easter Beagle was good to you.

It's All The Unions' Fault!

In the first of an ongoing series of posts, in which I will point out the ridiculousness of the right wing's attack on unions has being the problem with the economy, I would just point out Fred Robertson, TomoTherapy's exiting CEO:
Robertson received a pay package that totaled $2.13 million, including $462,600 in salary, a $623,000 bonus paid in March 2011, and restricted stock valued at $1 million.

That's a 46.7 percent increase over 2009, when Robertson's package was $1.45 million, including a $450,000 salary, $138,000 bonus and $850,000 worth of stock.

Under terms of his severance agreement, if Robertson's job ends as a result of a change in ownership of TomoTherapy, he will get three times his current $475,200 salary, or $1,425,600, and three times his bonus, also $1,425,600. He will be covered for three years of health insurance, receive $10,000 for outplacement services and his stock options will be vested, which means he will be able to use them right away to buy stock in the company. TomoTherapy's SEC filing says the package is worth $4,720,193, as of Dec. 31, 2010.
But this concentration of wealth is not an issue according to the right. The real problem is the guy making $12 an hour making sure the parks are clean, the grass mowed and the bathrooms are usable.

At least Robertson would be able to afford a $6400 toilet, if he was into that sort of thing.  Meanwhile the parks worker is probably wondering if he'll be able to meet that month's rent.

And you know that Robertson isn't an isolated case.

I some times have a hard time that they even believe the garbage they are trying to feed us.

The Feds Could Stop Walker's Assault On The Elderly

We already know that Scott Walker and his Republican cronies in the legislature want to put the screws to the elderly by screwing with their SeniorCare.

For the uninitiated, SeniorCare is a program unique to Wisconsin, in which they use a combination of state and federal funds to provide coverage for medication for eligible participants.  Walker wants to change this in such a way that seniors would have to first buy private insurance through George Bush's Medicare Part D gift to Big Pharma.  Senior Care would become the secondary insurance.

However, due to the coercive language of Part D, seniors could end up paying not only the hundreds of dollars more for the private insurance, but have to pay even more as a punishment for not signing up immediately with one of the private sector companies when they first started Part D.  Then, and only then, would they be eligible to pay for SeniorCare to pay the co-payments.

In other words, Scott Walker wants to deliver the last state's seniors to Big Pharma as a way to curry favor for the national run he is planning on making.

However, any such move would have to be first approved by the federal government, per an article by Milwaukee NewsBuzz:
“When asked, Secretary Sebelius confirmed that the changes to SeniorCare envisioned by your budget would not be permissible during this waiver period without federal approval,” the letter says.

Asked to confirm this claim, Mary Kahn, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in an e-mail, “Any changes that the state wants to make to the currently approved terms and conditions would require federal approval as the Secretary said.  That would typically be in the form of a waiver amendment.”

Kahn declined to comment on whether the department would approve the changes proposed by Walker.

Wisconsin could also pursue a new waiver including the governor’s changes after the current one expires at the end of 2012, according to Kahn, but that would also be subject to the department’s approval.

“We would not comment on how we might act on a waiver at that time,” she said.
The Wisconsin Democratic delegation in Washington, D.C. has been actively attempting to influence Walker and plan on speaking with Federal Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to stop this reckless and unwise part of the budget.(The fact that the entirety of Walker's proposed budget is reckless and unwise is not lost on me, and hopefully not on you, Gentle Reader.)

It should be also noted that some of Walker's most staunch Republican supporters, namely Senators Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper and Alberta "Less Jobs" Darling are turning on him and are saying they're against it.

In the most overly ironic statement of the year, Darling, who during the budget hearings refused to listen to the people, is quoted in the article as saying "We need to be sensitive to (seniors') needs, and preserving SeniorCare is something seniors tell me they need."  Is it any great wonder why 30,000 people signed the petitions to recall her?

Sadly, even if the powers that be are able to salvage SeniorCare, Walker's Health Secretary Dennis Smith has indicated that it only means someone else is going to feel the ax.

We can't get rid of these people soon enough.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Unanswered Question For Paul Ryan

From my inbox, from one of my dearest friends:
When insurance companies in Wisconsin begin balking at taking on the new Medicare-less generation waving their $15,000.00 there will likely be cries that Wisconsin needs to open flood gates to less desirable insurers - Wisconsin has a long history of fending off such companies. Would this likely happen -oh, yes- medical costs in Milwaukee, for example, are probably the highest in the Midwest. If you recall during Obama's Health Care Plan debate the Republicans wanted out of state insurance companies to be able to move interstate and Wisconsin then was no fan of that idea, as Wisconsin's Insurance Commissioner has always held companies to a high standard. 
I am a constituent of Ryan's and he hasn't explained what the Feds response to areas with higher medical costs and therefore higher costs to Insurers would be. I think I'll ask him at a town hall on Thursday.

Emerge Stepping Up Programming To Help Women With Political Aspirations

From an old friend, Wendy Strout, who is now the executive director for Emerge Wisconsin, and who is up to great things:
Emerge Wisconsin Moves Program to Address 2012 Election Needs
Madison – In direct response to the ongoing divisive overreach of Scott Walker and his Republican rubber-stamp Legislature, the Emerge Wisconsin training program for women Democratic candidates has been fast-tracked and moved up from 2012 to September 2011.

The program, which has graduated such figures as Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King, who is running against recalled Senator Randy Hopper, gives women the tools, the networks and the confidence to compete in local and state elections.

Moving up the program to 2011, will allow Emerge graduates extra time to construct the foundation for winning campaigns.

“We want to capture the enthusiasm of women motivated to run for office by the shameful policies of the Scott Walker administration. We want to make sure that those women not only have the training, but also the time to be successful when they run against the Republicans in their district.” Emerge Wisconsin Chair Sharon Corrigan said Monday.

The recall movement was only the start. Emerge Wisconsin has the opportunity to build on the momentum that’s out there to stand up to Scott Walker and translate it into electoral success for a strong bench of Democratic women. The program, designed to train women candidates at all levels, will also continue to recruit and train women for this upcoming 2012 class that are planning to run for local office in 2013 and 2014.

The new schedule for the 2012 class is:
July 1 – July 29:                       Applications accepted for 2012 program
August 2011:                           Interviews/acceptance of 2012 class members
Sept. 2011 – March 2012:       Emerge WI’s 2012 Program
Launched in 2007, Emerge is the only organization in Wisconsin that provides Democratic women with the comprehensive training they need to achieve their political aspirations. Emerge Wisconsin is part of Emerge America, a national movement and premier training program that addresses the under-representation of women in office at the local, state, and federal level. There are Emerge affiliates in nine states: Arizona, California, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts,
New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Emerge was founded to create a legion of Democratic women leaders for generations to come.

Walker's Cronyism Runs Amok Again

Is Scott Walker and his administration totally incapable of learning anything? It appears so:
In picking a new register of deeds for Marinette County, Gov. Scott Walker picked a Republican campaign worker with no experience with land records and vital records.

He passed over three candidates with detailed knowledge of how the office of the register of deeds works, including two deputies who have worked in the office for years.

The appointment comes after the GOP governor faced criticism because the son of a campaign supporter landed a top job at the state Department of Commerce.

Renee Miller started as Marinette County register of deeds on Wednesday, after being appointed to it earlier this month. Miller is a friend of Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), has worked on his campaigns for five years and is married to Nygren's campaign treasurer, Paul Miller.

The appointment has upset employees in the register of deeds office who applied for the job. One of the three employees in the office transferred to another county job, and another said she was considering doing the same, which would leave Miller without an experienced staff as she gets to know the office.
This is only the latest in a long string of cronies that he has given jobs for which they are particularly unqualified for or just don't deserve.

In fact, Walker's cronyism and pay-for-play favoritism is already so severe that in just a few months in office, there is already a call for a federal investigation.

The gales of November can't come soon enough for those of us that still love this state.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Walker's Budget Isn't All Budget

I'm sure the conservatives will get around to criticizing the fact that Scott Walker's proposed budget is just full of non-fiscal items, sooner or later. Probably later. Much later.  Not going to hold my breath though.

Document is courtesy of Representative Tamara Grigsby.

How Will You Pay?

I know this is a serious message, but it cracks me up every time:

Outrage From The Right: Justified, Selective And Hypocritical

Several of the conservatives have their outrage going on regarding a truly reprehensible post from Wonkette, in which they are demeaning Trig Palin. Their outrage is justified in that there is no excuse whatsoever to attack an innocent child like that.

However, it is also a rather selective outrage. The same people that are condemning this post are the same ones that support Scott Walker and the GOP legislators in cutting benefits that would aid thousands of special needs children across the state.  How can they be so concerned over one child, living thousands of miles away, and be well taken care of, but be so calloused to similar children in their own community both baffles and sickens me.

And to top it off, they are being quite hypocritical about how they are addressing this.  There are many who are advocating a boycott of the companies that advertise on the Wonkette site, regardless of the fact that they are using blogads which randomly put up different advertisements.  However, when the unions and pro-worker advocates chose to boycott companies that supported the Walker regime, they were called thugs and worse.

Then again, cognitive dissonance from the right is nothing new.

Koch Brothers Tell Employees Whom To Vote For

This is NOT what democracy looks like!

A High Speed Train Walker Could Get On Board With

Just change Sen. Snork to Gov. Walker and it's ten times as true:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mayday! Solidarity March

How Not To Retain Your Seat: Steps One Through Four

Soon to be former State Senator Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper is really showing he knows how to make friends and influence people.  He could seriously write a how  to book on not to keep ones seat, starting with these steps:
First he votes for bills that will strip working people of their rights and takes their tax dollars, and instead of reinvesting it in Wisconsin, gives it away to businesses and CEOs. 
Secondly, he gets his pregnant mistress a cushy state job
Third step is to hold a town hall meeting, but treat your constituents with disrespect and make it clear that you're not listening. 
Fourth, issue a newsletter to your constituents, but instead of giving them your real phone number, give them the number to a sex chat line.
Then all you have to do is sit back, wait for the recall process and check the want ads for your next job.  It's so easy that a Republican can do it!

The Recall Lazich Effort Needs Your Help

Received a press release from the group gathering signatures for the recall of  State Senator Mary Lazich. They report that they are well over halfway there, but need thousands of signatures yet and time is running out.  They are asking for our help:

Residents of the 28th State Senate District who desire to do so are advised to sign the recall petition as soon as possible to ensure that their voices are heard. Recall petitions are currently available at:--Kingstad Law Firm, 8081 W. Layton Avenue, Suite C, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.--IBEW Local 494 Union Hall, 3303 S 103rd St, at the dead end behind the Knights of Columbus, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.--Painters and Allied Trades Council, S68 W22665 National Avenue, Big Bend, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
In addition, opportunities to sign at other locations throughout the district are kept up to date on the recall drive's website. For the latest information, please click on the "Events" tab at
If you need further incentive than the fact that she voted to take away your rights, remember that she is one of the worst legislators in the state, according to a Milwaukee Magazine poll done a couple of years ago, and was described by one GOP activist as being "totally nuts" and that "there may be no legislator taken less seriously."

Like the rest, she's got to go.

WEAC Makes More Choices Regarding Who To Hop In Bed With

Back in February, WEAC made a last ditch effort to appease the Fitzwalkerstan regime by surrendering just about everything.  As one could imagine, that didn't quite sit well with its members.  Judging from my Twitter feed, the teachers still aren't too thrilled.

I think they'll be even less pleased with their union when they find out that, in preparation of the possibility of Scott Walker's union busting bill ever making to enactment, might have contracted with Bank of America to collect and  deposit the dues from its members.

I can understand there concern about how to collect the dues. That's a given. I can sort of understand their need to contract out for this service, although I would have thought the Educators Credit Union would've been the natural choice, unless they weren't equipped to do this job.

But what I don't understand is why WEAC would pick such an obviously poor corporate member of society to do with business with. Was it because Halliburton and Wackenhut weren't interested?

It is my understanding that BoA was the least expensive but that doesn't justify giving its members money to this organization when they are part of the problem.

Perhaps it's time for the members of WEAC to take a hard look at that leadership as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The United States of Austerity?

In the 1950s, America enjoyed a healthy middle class that kept the economy moving. People were buying cars, those new-fangled TV sets and other items of "modern technology."  They were buying homes with white picket fences and having families.

Not coincidentally, the unions were strong then, too. They made sure that the workers were treated decently, got a fair shake, and made a sustainable wage that allowed them to buy things like houses, cars and TVs. This is what kept the economy rolling.

Then, as time passed, the companies started cutting back a little here and a little there. Maybe it was a smaller wage. Maybe it was a higher cost to a benefit or a change to overtime rules. The unions, grown complacent with the long string of successes, readily made the concessions, figuring it wouldn't really hurt, since everything was going so well. Right?

Over the years, the unions were gradually weakened, either by concessions or by changes in the law or non-union shops, much like a river eats away at its banks.  Now we find ourselves with only a small part of the population still in unions.  Wages are stagnant or even getting cut, cost of benefits such as health care have been allowed to skyrocket.

Unsurprisingly, we also find that the middle class has shrunk in a similar manner. And with the shrinking of the middle class comes the economy on the teeter of collapse. Progressives want to get the economy going again by having the rich and the companies start to carry their fair share of the load by having some of the money they're hoarding flow back into the economy. Conservatives scream like stuck pigs at the very notion and instead demand that we through the poor, the elderly and the disabled to the proverbial wolves, or in other words, austerity.

This insidious, irresponsible and unethical approach has already been creeping into our great nation.  We have seen in Colorado Springs (ironically, Scott Walker's hometown - well, maybe not so ironically) the first results of this "I've got mine, screw you" mentality:
This tax-averse city is about to learn what it looks and feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric.
More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled.
The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter.
Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that.
Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; the flower and fertilizer budget is zero.
City recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and a handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding to stay open. Buses no longer run on evenings and weekends. The city won't pay for any street paving, relying instead on a regional authority that can meet only about 10 percent of the need.
And that was from more than a year ago! I can't imagine what it's like now.  And they're not the only ones. Michigan's quality of life is going down faster than Scott Walker's popularity ratings.

In Flint, Michigan, a city with more than 100,000 people, they have one of the highest murder rates in the country, yet they can only find the money to pay for one third of their police force. On a Saturday night, there might be only six patrol officers working. And if they arrest someone, they can't even hold them, unless it's for weapons or murder, in which case they go to the county jail.

As bad a shape that Flint is in, it is a garden center compared to Benton Harbor, Michigan.  Benton Harbor is the first victim of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's new law allowing the state to disregard all elections and the Constitution by declaring financial martial law. As we have seen for the past 62 days in Wisconsin, the good people are in an uproar over this egregious stripping of their rights.  There are numerous complaints about this being a union-busting measure.  (In fact, the "controller" for the Detroit Public School System has already stated he will use this law to hammer the unions there.)  This is very well probably true, but I can't help but note that coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, the population of Benton Harbor happens to be more than 92% African American, making me wonder if this could also be the rebirth of Jim Crow.

Our future, if these austerity measures are allowed to continue, could hold even more unimaginable terrors that are already occurring overseas.  Ireland, which put into place their own austerity measures, are having the predictable results of people losing everything, including hope:
THERE IS A “strong link” between Ireland’s rising rate of suicide and the economic problems the country is facing, according to the Minister for Health Mary Harney.

Harney said that the age-group of people dying by suicide has changed, with more older people who are experiencing financial problems now taking their own lives.

She said:
Clearly there has to be a strong link between our economic circumstances and suicide.
Suicide as we know has increased dramatically over the past 12 months, it is up 25 per cent, which is incredible. The profile of those dying by suicide is also changing.&
Ironically, these "cost saving" austerity measures is requiring Ireland to spend millions of Euros on suicide prevention programs. Yet, despite these drastic actions, things are no better there, but are predictably worse.

The course that the Republicans, under the heavy influence of their Big Business supporters, would lead us is clear. It is also clearly unacceptable.  If they want us all to share the pain, it is damn well beyond time for those that can best afford to do some sharing start doing so.

And if our current leaders are unable or unwilling to do the proper thing, it is up to us to remove them and elect those that will, with all due haste.

Braley Calls For Investigation Into Walker's Hiring Practices

If the gentle reader recalls, on Thursday, Scott Walker did his best imitation of the ill-fated RMS Titanic by going full speed into hazardous waters while not equipped to do so. One of the congressional icebergs that caught Walker was Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) who questioned Walker about the questionable hiring of Brian Deschane, the unqualified, two-time drunk driver, son of a wealthy lobbyist.

On the very same day that Walker was grilled about his practice of cronyism, Rep. Braley called for the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to do a full investigation into this:
Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) called for a Congressional investigation of the hiring practices of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s administration. Rep. Braley, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, questioned Governor Walker on recent news reports that indicate Walker might have used his official, taxpayer-funded office to benefit campaign donors.

“I’d like to know, and I think the people of Wisconsin have a right to know, why Government Walker chose to hire a 27-year-old with no education and little experience aside from his father’s campaign contribution to Governor Walker’s campaign over two highly-qualified candidates for a well-paid administrative post,” said Rep. Braley. “If the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is truly focused on good government practices, we need to investigate answers to questions like this.”
The gentle reader can see a copy of Braley's letter to the Committee by clicking here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cog Dis Excusive: Video of Sarah Palin Preparing to Appear in Madison

From what I understand, her actual speech was just like this, too.

The Real Reason Palin Will Be In Madison

If she does indeed show up. You never can tell given Sarah Palin's record for no shows, no calls, but if she does show up in Madison today, we already know why:


Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Furlough Friday!

RMS Scott Walker

On April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic ran into an iceberg. In the early hours of the next day, the Titanic went below the waves forever, taking the lives of 1,517 people with it.  The real tragedy behind the Titanic's sinking is that the whole thing could have been utterly avoidable at so many junctures.

If they hadn't tried to cut corners, they might have used a better grade iron for the rivets. If the company wasn't trying to cut corners, they might have had enough lifeboats on the ship.  If it wasn't for their hubris, they might not have been going too fast or ignored the warnings from other ships that icebergs were in the area. The list goes on and on of things that could have been done differently, done smarter, which could have kept this from happening.

Instead, out of greed, corporate hubris and the overwhelming desire to cater to the upper (richer) passengers, the ship barreled ahead regardless of the dangers, and the completely unnecessary tragedy unfolded.

Ironically, on April 14, 2011, 99 years later, Scott Walker ran into the US Congress.The results to Walker's career and future political aspirations will not be known for a while, but it doesn't look that much better.

Like the fabled ship, RMS Walker went to sail with less that quality ideas, insufficient forethought, but enough hubris to fill ten Titanics.  The results of Walker's folly was utterly predictable and utterly preventable.  However, unlike the horrors of more than 1,500 people losing their lives, on this fateful ego trip, the only lost by Walker was whatever credibility he might have had, much less any chance at a national office.

Now, I admit I did not get to witness the repeated rectal reamings that Walker received, but I have seen some of the YouTube clips and read some of the stories.  So please forgive me if I don't lay them out in the chronological order of their occurrences, but here are some of the more exceptional moments of the day.  In each clip, pay close attention to Walker's expressions has his day just keeps getting worse and worse.

The first one is our own Congresswoman Gwen Moore who lays out the hypocrisy of Walker's claims of there being a fiscal crisis while he is giving money hand over fist to his buddies, the road builders, as well as some of his other lies regarding the budget, including pension plans:

Next up is Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) who hammers Walker on the hiring of Brian Deschane, the 20-something year old with no college degree, little experience and two DWI who landed an $81,000 a year job due to his lobbyist daddy buying it for him:

Noteworthy from that clip is that Walker claimed that Deschane's hiring was "five steps below" him. Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is quick to point out that this isn't exactly true, since it was Walker's Chief of Staff that was involved in it, at Walker's bidding no doubt.

As fun as those were, they were just the warm ups. The third clip is Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) who had to repeatedly redirect Walker's evasive answers until Walker had to finally admit that he did not indeed mention attacking workers' rights during his campaign, contrary to his previous statements:

But it was Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who took away Walker's bag lunch and ate both of his ham and cheese sammiches in front of him, by cornering the elusive Walker into admitting that his union-busting bill doesn't do one darn thing for correcting the state budget, whatsoever:

The similarities between the Titanic doesn't end with the entirely avoidable collision and eventual sinking of both of these symbols of hubris.

After the sinking of the Titanic, there was an investigation into the cause. The surviving crew members testified, usually in order to point the finger at the deceased officers, or anywhere but themselves.  Likewise, after he was in an environment he controlled instead of the harsh reality of the world, Walker used both of his twitter accounts to blame the media and to blame Governor Jim Doyle or the bipartisanship of the legislature.

There is a huge difference between the Titanic and Walker which is relatively simple to see.

As mentioned above, when the Titanic went down, more than 1,500 people lost their lives.

However, if we don't get the floating piece of hubris known as Walker to go down, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will suffer for it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Scott Walker Postal Stamp

Swiped from Facebook:
The US Postal Service designed a stamp with a picture of Governor Scott Walker on it. However, the stamp was not sticking to the envelopes.  This outraged the Governor and he demanded an immediate and full investigation into this. 
After a month of testing and research, a special legislative committee presented the following findings: 
1)  The stamp is in perfect order 
2)  There's nothing wrong with the applied adhesive. 
3)  People are spitting on the wrong non-adhesive side.

Sounds About Right

Genius Grant Or Political Payback?

Wonkette observes that the Bradley Foundation recently gave Jeb Bush a "genius grant" worth a cool $250,000.  The grant was allegedly for his work in destroying Florida's school system while he was governor there.  Wonkette expressed the opinion that this grant was done in order to keep him on the straight and narrow:
Writes Wonkette operative “Steven G.”:
Seriously, couldn’t they have given him a plaque and donated the prize money to some actual poor kids in Florida for their education? Oh, never mind.
Privatizing education is what’s important, not educating kids, silly!

The Bradley Foundation hopes the money will help Jeb Bush continue to be a guy who once did something they liked. It’s tough work and very expensive being somebody who once had an impact on public policy, so we’re sure Bush will put this money to good use. If there’s one thing his poor family needs, it’s handouts from a charity. And if they have to murder a few hundred thou to get it, who cares?
The Wonkette article also mention that it was Bradley Foundation president and CEO, Michael Grebe, who was singing Bush's praises.

But for the gentle reader and/or anyone who paid attention, they would also be aware of the fact that Grebe was also the campaign chair for Scott Walker's gubernatorial race.  

The reader may also recollect that during said gubernatorial race, Jeb Bush came to Wisconsin and endorsed Scott Walker.

Indubitably, Wonkette is correct that this money, at least in part, was meant to provide incentive to stay on their side.  But one has to wonder, given this administrations already abundantly clear message that there is no level too low for them to stoop in corrupted behaviors, including paying back campaign donors and other cronies in big ways.  But one has to wonder how much the money had to do with returning a favor for stumping with Walker during the election.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Koch Brothers Investment In Walker Pays Off... phosphorous green.

Anatomy of a Republican Brain

Via Facebook

We Are One!

Doesn't matter if it's Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Florida or anywhere else, we are one:

Includes cameo of our own Koch puppet.

Walker's Not Against All Rights

He just signed the bill that allows us to become bankrupt when hit by an uninsured motorist.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Medicare Is The Problem?

If you pay attention to Congressman Paul Ryan, U.S. Representative to the part of the state with one of, if not, the highest unemployment rates, to fix the national fiscal situation, you apparently need to pull your poorly coifed hair out, scream "We're broke!" and through the elderly and the disabled out for the wolves to eat, by attacking Medicare.

To me, we'd be far better off by just stopping the big CEOs from defrauding the system.

Of course, I have a superior anterior cingulate cortex compared to Ryan's.

Baby, I've Got A Huge Anterior Cingulate Cortex!

A tip from an alert twitterati:
Using data from MRI scans, researchers at the University College London found that self-described liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex--a gray matter of the brain associated with understanding complexity. Meanwhile, self-described conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala, an almond-shaped area that is associated with fear and anxiety.

"Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual's political orientation," lead researcher Ryota Kanai writes of the study in the latest issue of Current Biology. "Our study now links personality traits with specific brain structure."
If you don't believe the part about conservatives being strong in fear and anxiety, just walk up to one and say, "Taxes."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Is Scott Walker About To Have A Very Bad Monday?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that there will be a joint press conference between the Government Accountability Board and the Milwaukee County district attorney's office.

A lot of people have speculated that this might have to do with the Brookfield Blunder in last week's elections. This, however, makes no sense whatsoever, since the Milwaukee County DA's office would have nothing to do with it, unless brought in as a special prosecutor. But such an event would have made big news and it is really too early for something like that to happen, even if there was a reason to, which has not yet been ascertained to be the case.

It is far more likely that the announcement will have to do with the ongoing John Doe investigation into possible illegal campaigning and Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign.

To refresh the reader's memory, there was quite the scandal last May, when Darlene Wink, who was one of Walker's aides as well as an officer in the Milwaukee County Republicans, was caught leaving comments on JSOnline during work hours.  She immediately resigned and has since lawyered up pretty heavily, from what I've been told.

Three months later, another Walker staffer, Tim Russell, had his office literally raided and rifled through by Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputies. They took his computer, his cell phone and who knows what else.  Presumably this stemmed from a complaint by WISDEMS that Russell was helping Walker campaign on county time.  Russell has a long history of helping Walker on his campaigns, but had previously taken time off to do so, to the best of my knowledge.

By the end of the year, these events led to a formal John Doe investigation being conducted, presumably about these two people and their alleged activities.  I haven't heard much about Wink, but I have heard from a number of reliable sources that Russell could be in real big trouble.

Just a few weeks after the John Doe was revealed, it was learned that a lot of high profile attorneys were being retained by various players and possible players. The lawyers include Steven Biskupic, Frank Gimbel and Paul Bucher.  The possible defendants which I've heard of include Wink, Russell, Walker's campaign itself and Tom Nardelli.

It would be interesting if Nardelli is indeed part of this, since Walker had taken him along to Madison with him.

Another aspect of the probe includes the illegal campaign donations from William E. Gardner, president and CEO of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co.

I've also heard rumor that the probe might have included Walker compliance, or lack thereof, with open records requests.

The timing of this press conference is interesting as well, coming so shortly after the election. It is entirely feasible that it was decided to hold off making any statements in order not to influence any of the elections being held.

I would also point out that the timing of this announcement also reinforces my suspicion that I may again become the target of a vicious smear campaign.

 Let's face it. If my suspicions are anywhere near accurate, even if it doesn't touch Walker directly, it will still be very damaging for him. Many people will wonder what Walker knew and when did he know about any of the investigated activities.

It would be very typical of Walker and his supporters to decide to take some sort of action in an effort to distract people, as they had already done last June by attacking me, right after the Wink news broke.  I certainly hope nothing like this happens again, but in case it does, whether it's an assault on me or someone else, it should be taken with a grand of salt and healthy dash of skepticism.

But no matter what, this is already shaping up to be another very interesting week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Regardless of one's philosophy, political leaning or theology, I would think that everyone can agree that one of the worst things a person could do is use a religion to commit horrible atrocities against other people.

Senator Shilling Has Such A Nice Ring To It

If the gentle reader remembers, State Senator Dan Kapanke was the first of the Republican Senators to have recall papers filed against them, beating out even Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper.

Today, Representative Jennifer Shilling announced that she will be running to fill that seat. From her press release:
“When the working families of the Coulee region needed Senator Kapanke the most, he turned his back on them," said Rep. Shilling. "Senator Kapanke stopped listening to the people he was elected to serve, and it's time to move in a new direction."

Shilling noted that the citizens of Western Wisconsin have clearly rejected Governor Walker's attack on the rights of workers as well as his attempt to slash millions in vital education and health care funding.  Despite this overwhelming opposition, she noted, Sen. Kapanke has continued to toe the party line.

"We don't need more politicians to stand with the Governor," Shilling concluded, "We need leaders to stand up to the Governor!"

If elected, Shilling said her number one goal will be creating good local jobs and putting Wisconsin's government back on the side of working families.

"I'm running because I want our children to grow up in a state that values good jobs, quality education, affordable health care, and respects working people and their families," concluded Shilling.  "Together, we can keep the Wisconsin dream alive, and put our government back on the side of the hardworking men and women who make this such a great place to live and raise a family."
Methinks that Shilling has more than a decent shot of winning this race, too. Not has she only shown herself to be courageous during the ordeal of the Fitzwalkerstan campaign against Wisconsin, but Kapanke is exceptionally vulnerable.

He won his last election for the state senate by 2800 votes, or only 3% of the total votes. The latest poll numbers I saw on him were pretty low and that was before they tried to illegally ram through the unethical and misnamed "Budget Repair Bill."

And I would be surprised if Shilling didn't bring up Kapanke's legal problems, when he was caught, not just once, but twice, for illegally using charity funds for personal gain.  There was also the violation of the open records law that he was found guilty of in 2009.  That one cost tax payers $38,000 to pay for his legal defense fund.  I can't imagine that one will sit well with either side.

You can get help taking our great state back by helping Shilling in her race by donating here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Because The Revolution Was Only In Madison...

Scott Walker and his right winger apologists would have you think that the only reason that JoAnne Kloppenburg won Tuesday's election was because of those radicals in Madison.

Funny thing is, I always was led to believe that Madison was in Dane County.  Turns out, according to their skewed view of the world, Madison must really be in Outagamie County.

Congratulations to Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

Walker's Wisconsin: Redistricting Walker Style

From JSOnline:
"I think it’s pretty clear that you have two very different worlds in this state. You have a world driven by Madison and a world driven by everybody else in the state of Wisconsin," Walker said.
In other words, or to be more accurate, this is the way that Scott Walker sees Wisconsin:

 In addition, Walker is apparently trying to change the name of de Wisconsin River to De Nial, Walker game up with doozy of a quote:
Walker said that the results said nothing about looming recall elections of state senators stemming from the controversy over his recent union bargaining measure.

"Those Senate recall elections both on the Democrat and Republican side are not being held in Madison and not being held in Milwaukee. They’re being held in other parts of the state," Walker said.
Either Walker is the best liar in the state or he has gone utterly, stark-raving mad.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kloppenburg Recount Volunteers Needed!

While David Prosser is out sucking up GOP and Koch Brother dollars for his "all-star" lawyer team, Team Kloppenburg needs some recount volunteers to keep the manipulative GOP suits honest.

To volunteer, you can either go to her facebook site or go to We Are Wisconsin's website.

Don't let the Republicans steal our state from us again!

Walker Expounds On De Same Deschane Shame

Yesterday, we learned that Scott Walker was continuing his long time practice of rewarding cronies and/or campaign donors (or their relatives).  In this most recent incident, Walker had promoted a highly unqualified young man to a lofty position in his administration worth more than $81,000 a year.  The young man's only redeeming factor, it appears, is that his daddy is a wealthy lobbyist that gave more than $100,000 to Walker's gubernatorial campaign.

This morning, Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel again brings us news of the Deschane shame.  This time, Walker ripped this unearned promotion from the young man, demoting him to his previous position.  Which still pays him more than $62,000 a year and still without any proof that, other than his daddy's money, he has any qualifications for this job either.

In fact, Bice points out the two people that were passed over to give the lobbyist's son the position, both of which were much more qualified:

But check out the two candidates Deschane beat out to get the position as head of environmental and regulatory affairs in the state Department of Commerce:
The first,Oscar Herrera, is a former state cabinet secretary under Republican Gov. Scott McCallumwith a doctoral degree and eight years' experience overseeing the cleanup of petroleum-contaminated sites.

The second,Bernice Mattsson, is a professional engineer who served since 2003 in the post to which Deschane was appointed.

By contrast, Deschane has no college degree, little management experience and a couple of drunken-driving convictions. His father represents a trade group that gave more than $121,000 to Walker and his running mate.

Herrera and Mattsson didn't get far in the process.

"Neither candidate was interviewed," said agency spokesmanTony Hozeny.
And if you're not sick to your stomach yet, remember that this is only the latest in a long string of similar behaviors from Walker.

And for an added kick of irony to start your day, commenter Jim Spice reminds us of this doozy, an op ed piece from the paper in which Big Daddy Deschane, the guy who bankrolled his son's job, pointing out how "tough decisions" need to be made and how state workers need to feel their fair share of the pain that his family is not not.  The most sickening part is Daddy Deschane's last line:
While benefit reductions are something no one cheers about, these private-sector workers understand the pain that public-sector workers feel but also recognize that these painful decisions are necessary.
Is it November yet? I am so ready to start collecting those signatures...if Walker is still in office by then.

Walker Clone Dropped Like A Rock

In case you somehow missed it, Milwaukee County voters rejected Scott Walker a second time by kicking his clone, Jeff Stone, out the door and elected Chris Abele in a 61-39 margin, very close to the 62-38 margin Tom Barrett had won Milwaukee by in the November gubernatorial race this past November.

Obviously, Milwaukeeans are more than ready and able to start the healing caused under eight years of Walker's negligence and abuse.

But adding the cherry to the top of this local race was the typical display of cluelessness that his campaign had shown throughout the race when his campaign manager had called current county executive Marvin Pratt and asked if she could come in and measure the office windows for new curtains before the voting polls were close to shutting down.

Congratulations are also due to the two newest supervisors, Eyon Biddle and my personal friend, Jason Haas. Both men won their races handedly and will make fine additions to the County Board.