Sunday, October 4, 2015

Milwaukee County Buildings Have Bed Bug Infestations

As the gentle reader may have seen on the local news, the Coggs Building (where I work), a Milwaukee County-owned facility that houses the county's aging and disability services, has a bedbug problem:
City of Milwaukee inspectors confirmed Friday that a government office building is home to a bedbug problem.

The Marcia P. Coggs Center houses several government agencies. It continues to be business as usual, however, as there was heavy foot traffic during the afternoon.

A food vendor selling brats and sausages set up across the street from the entrance of the Milwaukee County Human Services area. Getting a quick lunch with her kids Andrella Jackson said she has an expectation the facility is clean.

"It should be, knowing that kids and everybody are coming in here," Jackson said.

But doubt has been cast on hygiene following a release from the Department of Neighborhood Services.

Its inspector says an extermination group found a bedbug hotspot in a cubicle. The inspector describes it being near a waiting room.

Full treatment of the building is happening this weekend. Until then pheromone traps have been laid out, according to a press release.
What has not been reported is that there is another infestation at the Vel R. Phillips Children's Court Center.

Now, I don't blame Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele for the infestations per se. There are many different ways that the bugs did get into these buildings.

I have to wonder how much the fact that Abele went with a cut rate cleaning company to do the cleaning has to do with this.  I cannot remember the last time that they even vacuumed.  And even when they do vacuum, it is with an old, beaten up machine that doesn't do a very good job and they definitely don't do the whole building when they clean.

But what I do fault Abele for not telling staff or the public who have to come to these buildings of the risk. Who knows how many people have taken the bed bugs home with them?

Abele also was wrong in the way he handled the situation, as reported by TMJ4:
The I-Team has learned the City of Milwaukee is looking into a complaint of a "severe bed bug outbreak" at the Coggs Center.

The complaint was filed Tuesday. The I-Team has learned since then that the Department of Neighborhood Services has been trying to get inside to investigate the complaint, but according to the DNS, they've been unsuccessful.
Not only does Abele not warn people that there is a bed bug infestation, but then he refuses to allow city inspectors into the building!

One has to question whether Abele's refusal to allow the inspectors in the building, much less his refusal to warn the public and the workers is due to his being nervous about his reelection next year or, as we saw when he presented his budget on Thursday, he just as a general disdain for anyone who is not filthy rich like he and his buddies are.

Demand A Plan

Enough is too much:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Scott Walker To Help RoJoWho's Campaign

Russ Feingold just got the biggest gift of his political career, one that will increase his lead over RoJoWho even more.

Scott Walker said that now that he failed at running for president, he will spend his free time helping Ron Johnson's failing campaign:
With his run for the White House behind him, Gov. Scott Walker says that now he’ll be free to campaign aggressively for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson win re-election to the U.S. Senate in a rematch against Democrat Russ Feingold.

The question for Johnson is whether that’s good or bad news.

A Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showed that Walker’s approval rating has fallen to a new low, Johnson remains unknown to more than a third of registered voters and Feingold — a former U.S. senator — has a 14-point lead in the race that won’t be determined until November 2016.

Wisconsin’s Johnson-Feingold race is critical to Democratic hopes of recapturing majority control of the Senate, and they would seem to have the edge considering the election comes in a presidential year in a state that hasn’t backed a Republican’s White House bid since Ronald Reagan.

Even worse for Johnson: No Republican has won a Senate seat in a presidential election year in Wisconsin since 1980.
So this is going to be a matter of the incompetent leading the inept, or more accurately, the disliked leading the unknown.

And to show that RoJoWho and the other state Republicans are none too bright either, they think that Walker's help will be a good thing:
Johnson backers said Walker’s commitment to being involved in the race can only be a benefit. And whether Walker is campaigning for Johnson or not, the Republican apparatus he helped build the past five years will be in place to spend money on the race and help get out the vote, they said.

“Any time you have the governor back full-time in the state, that’s a good thing for all of us,” said Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke. “Scott Walker has always done a good job getting out the base and getting out our supporters.”

Johnson, who had not endorsed Walker when he was running for president, welcomes his support in his re-election campaign, said the senator’s spokesman Brian Reisinger.
Johnson “has no doubt Gov. Walker’s continued efforts to move Wisconsin forward will benefit our state, as well as Republican chances in 2016,” Reisinger said.
Methinks it's time to pop some popcorn. The circus is about to start.

Wisconsin, AFSCME Mourn The Loss Of A Labor Legend

On Thursday night, Wisconsin and the AFSCME nation lost a legendary labor leader, Marty Beil:
Marty Beil, one of Wisconsin’s most influential and memorable labor leaders, died peacefully last night at his home in Mazomanie.

Beil recently retired after more than 40 years as a prominent leader of AFSCME, the public service employee union that was founded in Wisconsin and has grown to 1.6 million members nationally.

Beil served as executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, since 1985.

“I was one of the fortunate, whose job was really my passion,” Beil wrote in an email to AFSCME members announcing his retirement.

Though seen as a forceful and dynamic leader, Beil wrote that he understood the union’s victories and accomplishments were never his alone.

“All of you and the thousands of workers who went before you were able to make life a little better for themselves and their families through the union, and I like to think that I played some role in that,” Beil wrote.

Beil, who was 68, began his career in 1969 as a Wisconsin probation and parole officer. He quickly became active in the union. In 1973, he became president of his statewide Local and a member of its bargaining team. In 1978 he was elected Council 24 president, a position he held until being selected as the Council’s executive director.

As director, Beil has served as chief negotiator and spokesperson for Council 24 through a period of rapid growth. His high profile as an outspoken advocate for public employees earned him appointments to high-level committees and commissions from governors of both parties, with the notable exception of Wisconsin’s current governor.

Beil noted that AFSCME in Wisconsin, which has recently unified into one Council instead of three, is restructuring for the long haul, a process Beil said he was confident will succeed.

“What excites me is the involvement and commitment of young workers to meet the challenge and assume leadership roles in our new union. These determined, savvy young leaders will re-energize and move our union forward into the future,” he wrote.

Paul Spink, a long time member of Beil’s Local and now president of Council 32, said the following:

“Marty was a fiercely dedicated and passionate activist and leader for public employees and the services they provide for more than 40 years. The labor movement is stronger today because of him. We are all devastated by this loss, but we will carry on and never forget his passion or commitment to the cause of economic justice.”
AFSCME International President Lee Saunders issued the following statement:
We are devastated today at the sudden and tragic loss of Marty Beil, a fierce and courageous advocate for working people in the state of Wisconsin and across our nation. Brother Beil’s work was his passion, and his passion was fighting for workers’ rights and social justice – fighting to ensure that everyone in our nation got a fair shot at the American dream.

Throughout his long and distinguished service, Marty Beil improved the lives of thousands of AFSCME members and their families. By leading AFSCME Council 24 through the darkest days of the attacks on working families in Wisconsin, he helped light a spark that reignited our labor movement. In turn, people across this nation rose up in defense of workers’ rights. He helped change the conversation in this country about what it means to respect the dignity of working men and women.

Brother Beil spoke truth to power. And he backed his words up with actions. He never asked or expected anybody to make sacrifices that he wasn’t willing to make himself. A generation of labor activists learned from him and were inspired by his determination and unwavering courage, and their commitment and passion is his legacy. Today, our union is stronger than ever because of Marty Beil’s dedication and lifetime of service.

The thoughts and prayers of our entire AFSCME family are with Marty’s wife, Susan, his children, Natalie, Audra, and Nick, and his granddaughter, Trinity.
Being an officer in my Local and active with the union, I had the opportunity to meet Marty a few times. He always emanated a powerful presence but treated everyone as equals. Marty could be a very gentle man but would roar like the bear he resembled when angered by injustices done to members and friends of labor.

To show what a leader Marty was, and still is, even while our hearts are breaking from the loss, all of us who loved Marty and was loved by him, are pledging to continue the fight to restore and preserve the economic and social justice that Marty had fought so long and so hard for.

For Marty, we will fight and we will win.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Milwaukee Co. Exec. Chris Abele Puts Bucks Before Blacks

On Thursday, Milwaukee County Emperor Executive Chris Abele presented his proposed 2016 budget to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Let's ignore for the moment the facts that he was a week late and held a sketchy public/private/campaign event the day before, presenting the budget to a select, invite-only group of supporters.

During a question and answer session, Supervisor Khalif Rainey asked Abele what his budget would do to help the African American community, the largest such community in Wisconsin.

Abele's answer would have been worthy of a Fox News panelist, a squawk radio host or a GOP presidential candidate:

Abele proudly replied that in his five year tenure, he increased spending for social programs, such as more programming at the House of Correction (an extension of the county jail), child support enforcement, social services and mental health services.

In other words, Abele apparently thinks that most African Americans are criminals, unwed mothers, welfare queens and/or psychotic.

To add insult on top of insult, near the end of Abele's answer, he finally got to job creation and job training:
"Do I wish that instead of $400,000 on that one [job creation program], it was four million? Yeah."
What makes that statement particularly egregious is the fact that while Abele is claiming that he couldn't find $4 million for a much needed job creation program, he had no problem finding $4 million a year to help his fellow plutocrats build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Piling it on even further, Abele is planning on getting that $4 million by going after the poorest of the poor, including the African American community that he is abandoning.

To further demonstrate his disdain for the African American community, it is also Abele that made a deal with Scott Walker and Republican state legislators to make him the privatization czar for the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Needless to say, when Abele made his tasteless and insensitive comments, the supervisors were taken aback. Shortly after, they expressed their outrage at Abele's comments.

Supervisors Rainey and Martin Weddle issued a joint press release:
“The County Executive all but said he was doing nothing for the African American community in Milwaukee County when he addressed the Board,” Rainey said. “I asked him for specifics, and he came back and said he was increasing funding for social services and the House of Correction, among other things. Is that what he thinks of the African American community? That they need more social services and better accommodations at the House
of Correction?

“Chris Abele has no plan for dealing with the crisis in the African American community, and his comments not only reflect a lack of sensitivity, they reflect complete ignorance as to what is happening in Milwaukee County.”

Milwaukee County’s African American community is the largest in the state, Rainey said, and he added that he was “outraged and deeply discouraged” by Abele’s comments.

“The keys are jobs, equal opportunities and economic development, not social services,” Rainey said. “Does he think social services and the House of Correction only serve African Americans? How can we make progress in this community when leaders such as the County Executive show such ignorance and disrespect to the real needs of African Americans and other minorities?”

Rainey said he was especially angered by Abele’s comments about adding funding for the House of Correction. “Does he think only African Americans are housed there?” Rainey said. “What he said today reflected a prejudice that cannot be tolerated in the leadership of Milwaukee County. Chris Abele should apologize to all Milwaukee County African Americans for his comments, and he should ask himself what he really thinks about an important part of Milwaukee County. He apparently considers the African American community a drain on Milwaukee County. How dare he?”

Supervisor Martin Weddle said: “It’s plain as day to see that not enough is being done to help the African American community get jobs, not just now, but for as long as I can remember,” Weddle said. “As our funding for African American cultural institutions and services continues to decrease, and as job growth in the community continues to lag, we will continue to experience severe difficulties. Chris Abele clearly does not recognize the
needs of a community in crisis.”
Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde also issued a press release expressing how he felt offended by Abele's remarks. Supervisor Michael Mayo, Sr. blasted Abele for being missing in action on African American issues and demanding an apology.

Being the son of billionaire John Abele, the 258th richest man in the world, Chris Abele has never known what it is like to struggle. If he had a problem, he would just throw his daddy's money at it until it went away.

Even though Abele has lived his life atop an ivory tower and is more than a bit of a pompous ass, it is no excuse for his callous disregard for a large part of the population he is supposed to be representing. It does, however, go a long way in explaining why Milwaukee is the most segregated community in the nation.

If the gentle reader wishes to contact Abele to ask him to explain himself and/or demand an apology, you may reach him at 414-278-4211 or via email at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Feingold Widens Lead Over RoJoWho, Walker Sinks Even Lower

The most recent Marquette University Poll came out Wednesday and it's not good news for the Republicans - the people are starting to wake up.

The biggest news is that Russ Feingold expanded his lead over RoJoWho, the unknown senator:
Feingold is up 50 percent to Johnson's 36 percent, in the poll conducted Sept. 24-28.

That's close to the margin shown in April, about a month before Feingold officially announced his candidacy. Feingold then led Johnson 54-38 percent.

Last month, the race tightened slightly, with Feingold still in the lead carrying 47 percent to Johnson's 42 percent.
Pollsters are saying the numbers are bouncing around because they don't know either candidate, despite the fact that Feingold had been a senator for 18 years and RoJoWho for six. I would think the jump is more likely because that now that Scott Walker dropped his doomed presidential bid, and is no longer getting a flood of coverage, people are starting to pay more attention to these other races.

And speaking of Walker, he continues to sink in the polls, dropping from 39% to 37% in just a month:
Gov. Scott Walker's approval ratings took a sharp hit during his short-lived presidential campaign. A little more than a week after exiting the race, he still has a way to go to repair his image with Wisconsin voters.

Walker's approval rating among Wisconsinites is 37 percent, according to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday. The poll is the first since Walker ended his presidential campaign on Sept. 21, conducted Sept. 24-28.

That's a slight decrease from last month, when his approval dipped below 40 percent for the first time in the poll's history. In the only Marquette poll conducted during Walker's official candidacy, Walker's approval rating was 39 percent among Wisconsin voters in the poll released Aug. 20.
Even more significant is the fact that 62% of Wisconsinites are over Walker and don't want him to run again while only 35% would support another run. That comes to just the base Republican core who would vote for a rancid potato as long as it had an (R) after its name.

As for the rest of the GOP clown car, Trump took over the driver's seat in Wisconsin, despite Walker's pointed pleas for other Republicans to drop out so that they can beat Trump.

And while Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 12 points, both Clinton and Sanders destroy the Republicans in a head to head match up:
When including voters' first and second choices, Biden bumps ahead of Sanders into second place. By that measure, Clinton has 69%, Biden 55% and Sanders 51%.

In head-to-head matchups, Clinton leads the best rated Republicans, beating Bush 50%-38%, Rubio 48%-40% and Trump 50%-36%.
It's nice to see that Walker's run for the presidency is starting to pay off by dragging the rest of the Republicans down with him. It's about time Walker did even one useful thing.

The Newfound Racial Sensitivity (?) of the DPW Old Guard

We are giddy!! For the first time ever, we at Data, Facts and Logic are seeing white DPW members-- especially past consultants, staff, and their closest friends-- up in arms about what they saw as a racist video. The video was taken at an event where DPW Chair Martha Laning spoke. She detailed how exciting it had been to be at a speech by President Obama, watching it with a largely African-American audience, imitating what she had heard David say and how he said it.

Never mind that the offense taken was mostly by white people. Never mind that most of these people have had years-- raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars of working people's money over that time-- without doing a thing to improve the lives of people of color who mostly vote a straight DPW ticket. Never mind that these people crying crocodile tears were some of the same who tried to sabotage the Laning/Bowen campaign and even the delegate nomination process in some counties so that their preferred candidate would win. Never mind that when Jason Rae stood up in front of a group of mostly African-American Milwaukeeans and said he knows exactly how they feel because he’s gay and experiences what they experience, none of these born-again crusaders for racial justice corrected him. (The comment did not go unnoticed by attendees. It definitely cost Rae votes.)

Former DPW staffer Graeme Zielinski suggested that the new DPW team should endorse the Black Lives Matter movement. At a safe distance, everybody previously connected with the party became an enlightened keyboard gangster on race, an all-white team advising the only DPW leadership team with an African-American man on it. Whitesplaining is real. Just think of the power these people could have wielded in the cause of challenging racism in Wisconsin if they had given one small damn about it prior to Dan Bice's release of the video (provided by Republicans). Maybe the highest incarceration rate for black men, the worst black infant mortality rate in the nation, the highest segregation rates, and some of the worst urban poverty rates in the nation could have gotten them worked up-- even once-- in the past five or six years? Nope.

The message was never clearer to us at DFL than it was when Mike Tate decided to share some words about Jennifer Epps-Addison leaving for California.
"I have to admit we don't know each other well, I don't think either would say we are friends. We've been in a number of meetings together, often on opposite sides of the room. I always sensed she felt I was too ‘establishment’ or that we didn't share the same values or goals. What I have always believed is that in general Jen and I have the same values, vision and hopes for our society. We may share different views on strategy and tactics. I'm not one for protesting in the streets or holding signs. After I gave my last speech as party chair in June Jen came up to me and asked where the Mike Tate had been that spoke that night about Black Lives Matter or the fight for 15. I felt like saying, hey I've always been here. We're fighting for the same things using different tactics.”
How is silence while an unarmed African-American man is gunned down in a public park, or not joining in the fight for a living wage for workers until you use it in your final speech using different "tactics?" How is doing nothing when you hold a position of power a helpful "strategy?" "Protesting in the streets or holding signs" may be something you can't be bothered to do as a white man, but they have given disenfranchised people a voice for decades, a way to confront racist authorities, a way to keep the narrative going. The total silence on these and countless other issues that are life-or-death matters to Wisconsinites of color did not go unnoticed. This trickle-down racial equality theory that the DPW operated under for years is no different than the right wingers passing off tax cuts for corporations as benefiting their lowest ranking employees.

The Martha Laning video will hurt her in these early days. We at DFL can’t excuse or explain Laning’s ignorance about why this imitation shouldn’t have been done. It’s still the first time we’ve seen a Wisconsin DPW leader get publicly enthusiastic about working with the African-American community in Wisconsin. So far, she seems to mean it. Most of us will take a sincere but stilted attempt at working together over no attempt at all. It's not tactics, it's not strategy, it's action. We’ve got work to do. Get out from behind your keyboards and do it, if you mean it, or at least get out of the way.

Grothmann: Planned Parenthood Unnecessary Because I'm A Guy

Just when you thought that when Wisconsin Congressman Glenn Grothmann couldn't get any more misogynous that when he said that pay inequality was all in the pretty little heads of women, he reaches down and gets even more stupid.

From Right Wing Watch:
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., perhaps best encapsulated today’s House hearing grilling Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards when he told Richards that her organization’s services aren’t necessary because “as a guy” he has plenty of health care options in his home state.

Grothman, who presumably receives very good health insurance through his job as a member of Congress, told Richards that “when I look at cities around me that have a Planned Parenthood clinic … usually in those cities, as a guy, I could go to many clinics locally that have all the machines that one would need, all these clinics as far as I know take Medicaid dollars, so you could go to any of those clinics to get any medical service you could.”

“I guess what I’m getting at is if Planned Parenthood disappeared tomorrow in those towns, there would still be three or four or five clinics or hospitals providing all the … medical care you would want,” he said.
Grothman went on to add that Medicaid was better than private insurance because it doesn't have the copays and deductibles that private insurance has (even though Medicaid does have copays).

While I'm sure we are all happy that Grothman isn't pregnant and doesn't need the services of Planned Parenthood, he may still want to get some professional medical attention to get his foot out of his mouth and his head out of his ass.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Real Miracle at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

By Chris Taylor

We all thought it was a miracle when the Badgers beat Kentucky in the Final Four. Legislators – both Republican and Democrat – couldn’t wait to honor the University of Wisconsin basketball team. But, the real miracles are happening in the labs at UW, at the Weisman Center, at Research Park, and across Wisconsin. The same Republicans who clamored to have their picture taken with Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes are now advancing Assembly Bill 305, which would shut down biomedical research and destroy the miracles that will come in curing or treating devastating diseases.
Deadly, debilitating diseases don’t care if you’re liberal or conservative. The hyper-politicization of biomedical research threatens future life-saving medical advancements. We’ve all benefited, or will benefit at some point in our lives, from the advances reaped from this research. The polio vaccine is just one example of this. I for one want my loved ones to be able to access every possible option should they become ill and for scientists to rely on the best research avenues available.
Wisconsin has a long history of innovative research and is an internationally recognized leader in biomedical research. Since its inception, 11 UW faculty members have received the National Medal of Science Award, described as “the nation’s highest honor for achievement and leadership in science and technology.” Right here, James Thompson derived the first human embryonic stem cell line in 1998, and is credited with redefining biomedicine. The current climate in Wisconsin threatens to tarnish that reputation.
The University of Wisconsin attracts top researchers from all over the world, as well as undergraduate and graduate students who are drawn to the university because of its biomedical research. The UW is literally educating the next generation of scientists. We stand to lose some of the best current and future scientists in the world.
But this life-saving research isn’t just being done at the UW. It’s being done in private businesses across the state – bioscience accounts for over 100,000 private sector jobs and has an economic impact of $27 billion a year. It’s also being done at Madison College, which just received a $661,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for their stem cell technology and regenerative medicine program.
We need to treat our scientists as the heroes that they are rather than creating a climate that is not supportive of research. These individuals are entrusted with one of the most important objectives. Advances on treatment for end-stage breast cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, blindness, diabetes, asthma, and immune disorders, multiple sclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases have all been made possible by biomedical research.
I’ve been a state representative for 4 years, and unlike some of my colleagues, it seems, I know when I need to listen to the experts. One such expert is Professor Alta Charo, a leading authority on bioethics who just happens to on the faculty at UW Law School and UW Medical School. Professor Charo had this to say in her recent article in the prominent New England Journal of Medicine: “We have a duty to “tak[e] advantage of avenues of hope for current and future patients…This attack represents a betrayal of the people whose lives could be saved by the research and a violation of that most fundamental duty of medicine and health policy, the duty of care.” And policy makers have the duty to advance policies that give hope to improving people’s lives, not bills like AB 305 that shut down lifesaving research that will save a sick child’s life.

Scott Walker: Behind the Scenes

By Jeff Simpson

Fond on Facebook, a video of the Mark Hogan interview with Scott Walker. 

Scott Walker:  Mr. Hogan, what will you do when one of my main donors....I mean job creators, comes to you and asking for a loan?

Mark Hogan:


Scott Walker: Excellent answer!! You are hired! 

Two Questions For Rick Esenberg

By Jeff Simpson 

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) recently became the last district in Wisconsin to switch from a union contract to an employee handbook.

The Madison School Board approved an employee handbook Monday that will replace the current union contract when it expires next summer.
The handbook became necessary due to Act 10, the 2011 state law that eliminated most collective bargaining for most public employees.
Madison took a while to get to this point. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards said it knows of no district other than Madison where workers still are covered by a pre-Act 10 union contract.
When the contract expires June 30, 2016, the handbook’s policies and procedures will guide interactions between the district and its roughly 6,000 employees.
While some school boards used Act 10 to dictate major changes in working conditions, cutting costs in the process, Madison took a different approach. The board instructed administrators to work collaboratively with employee representatives on the handbook’s language.

One of the biggest problems in Wisconsin today, is we weigh experts opinions/ observations equally with non experts opinions. We brought you this recently on the anti cure debilitating disease bills, when reporters would weight a doctorate degreed Professors opinion with Julainne Applings.  

We see that again here, when the reporter went to non education expert Rick Esenberg from Milwaukee to get his opinion on the Madison School Districts workings:

While the board was free to take this approach, it didn’t necessarily serve taxpayers well, said conservative lawyer Rick Esenberg.
“Basically, you can have a more effective school district if you don’t have rigid work rules,” said Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

I have two questions for Mr. Esenberg that I doubt were ever asked or that he would be able to answer:

1.  What items specifically in the MMSD new handbook does not serve the taxpayers of Madison?  

2. Can you give us some examples of "rigid work rules" that stand in the way of a school district being effective?  

It is hard to have a public debate when there are so many column inches being devoted to pure unadulterated ignorance.  

The only way that I see hand books hurting taxpayers, is the fact that you have to have School District Professionals put hundreds of hours into drawing them up, that time could have been used much more effectively elsewhere had ACT 10 not taken away so much local control.


"When evil men plot, good men must plan." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as “right-to-work”. It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. …Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are few and there are no civil rights” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Wisconsin DNR Gets Punk'd

A bogus letter, made to look like it came from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, has been making the rounds. The letter tells citizens to hide their concrete deer lawn ornaments so as not to confuse surveyors doing an aerial count of the deer herds:

Most people would probably get a chuckle out of it and move on.

But not in Wisconsin.

Scott Walker's administration is so screwed up and incompetent that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel felt compelled to make sure that it was indeed a joke:
You can keep your ornamental deer in the yard.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says someone is using an official-looking letterhead advising the public to remove concrete deer from their property by Nov. 1.

Otherwise, the reader is told, the DNR might count them as part of a deer census.

The DNR's deer population estimates have been controversial for years, although the agency continues to count deer, including with aerial surveys.

"Obviously, it's a hoax," said Jim Dick, spokesman for the DNR. "We're not asking people to remove their concrete deer ornaments."

The purported memo is dated Aug. 3, but the DNR became aware of it on Monday as it spread over social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
Obviously, the letter isn't the only joke in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Waukesha Reaps What It Sows

By Jeff Simpson 

Waukesha is known for three things, men raping couches, really bad water and voting solidly red.

The land that has given us the likes of Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, Paul Farrow and sent Wild Bill Kramer(who would still be in office if he was not in prison) to Madison, over and over and over, are now starting to face the consequences of their actions.

The free market, anti Government haven is now begging for the Government to step in and let them ruin Lake Michigan the way they have mismanaged their own water.   Getting bailed out by the State of WI and harming Lake Michigan, sure beats those nasty regulations, and having to responsibly govern.

Now Waukesha is taking another hit, this one courtesy of their favorite son Paul Ryan.

Blaming Congress for its failure to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an institution that finances sales of U.S. industrial equipment to overseas customers, General Electric Co. says it will stop manufacturing engines in Waukesha and move that work to Canada.
About 350 jobs will be lost at the Waukesha plant, where GE Power & Water, a division of Fairfield, Conn.-based GE, builds engines used in the petroleum industry.
The company says it will move the production to a new $265 million engine factory to be built in Canada during the next 20 months.
The Waukesha workers amount to collateral damage in what has become a highly politicized fight.
GE and other companies have pleaded with Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which provides loans, credit guarantees and insurance to aid sales by U.S. companies to customers abroad. But many Republicans say the bank amounts to corporate welfare, benefiting large corporations that don't need government assistance.
The bank's charter expired June 30 when Republican members of the House blocked a reauthorization vote.

Yes the Republican leaders in the House(IE Paul Ryan) blocked a reauthorization vote.  Insteado f having the vote and seeing where the rest of Congress fell along this issue(you know democracy), they actually blocked a vote of reauthorization(not democracy).

GE then took their ball and went to Canada, costing WI and Waukesha 350 family sustaining jobs and a solid piece of tax base.   All gone in an instant.   For the economically challenged Republicans in WI(of which there are many) there is so much more:

GE says the Waukesha plant has more than 400 U.S. suppliers and, in Wisconsin alone, suppliers receive millions of dollars in revenue from the plant.
"We know these announcements will have regrettable impact not only on our employees but on the hundreds of U.S. suppliers we work with that cannot move their facilities, but we cannot walk away from our customers," Rice said.
Let's check the scorecard, 350 jobs lost (minimum), millions of dollars to surrounding businesses and huge tax base for the county.  Gone.

$174,000/yr + Cadillac Benefits and sweet pensioned Paul Ryan (R-Wall St.), remains unbowed by the devastation he is helping create in his home district:

Opponents of the Ex-Im Bank include some of the nation's highest-profile lawmakers, among them U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican from Janesville.
Ryan has said he opposes the bank in principle, calling it a "strange collusion of big business and big government."
"Congressman Ryan remains opposed to the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. He feels there are better ways Congress can promote economic growth. Rather than continue with corporate welfare, we should be focused on fixing our tax code and reducing burdensome regulations, which are long-term solutions to our economic woes," Ryan's office said in a statement.

Probably the worst part of this, the US Senate actually passed a bill reauthorizing the bank,  But the House felt it more important to go on vacation.
At the end of July, the U.S. Senate passed legislation reauthorizing the bank, as part of a long-term transportation bill. However, the House adjourned for the August recess without reauthorizing the bank and hasn't taken action on the issue since.

Paul Ryan is excited, now that so many of his good friends in Waukesha will no longer be working, they have more time to join him and his wife at the beach.

You can even grab your Paul Ryan political robot beach towel to sit with him:

In case you are wondering, the failed presidential candidate and former "open for business" guy, Scott Walker also opposed the reauthorization of the bank:

This time around, Republican opponents of the bank have a lot more friends — as in, nearly every GOP 2016 presidential candidate.

These new opponents join with what The Washington Post's Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger describe as a fierce lobbying campaign by tea party-aligned groups such as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth and mega-GOP donors Charles and David Koch to get rid of the bank.

This camp includes three of the four senators running for president, as well as most governors in the race: Bush, Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and former Texas governor Rick Perry.
Why would they oppose it?  Their boss told them to:

Even more surprising than the rare event of a government program being wound down was the force behind the shutdown: the billionaire Koch brothers. Their network of groups turned what was once routine reauthorization of a lesser-known financing entity into a litmus test for conservatives — and they scored a major victory.
The ability to make the bank a Capitol Hill priority and even a presidential campaign issue highlights the growing power of the Koch network within the GOP. It also spotlights some of the internal divisions complicating the Republican effort to recapture the White House in 2016.

While I feel bad that these 350 fellow Wisconsinites will no longer be employed at a company they have worked for generations, I highly recommend that the good folks in Waukesha do what they do best!

NO, get away from that sofa!

I was referring to, grab a Waukesha Freeman, run a bath and think of ways that you can blame Obama and see how you can bring other Wisconsinites down with you!

PS:  Don't forget to pull the Paul Ryan Shower curtain or you will have a bigger water mess than you do now!

Romney Ryan Shower Curtain

Abele Takes Credit For Pay Raise He Twice Rejected

Word came out about how Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele's proposed 2016 budget would affect county workers.

As expected, workers are taking yet another hit with reduced benefits and higher pension contributions.

But the real kicker is when Abele proudly announced that his proposed budget will include a 2.5% increase in wages for county workers over his 2015 budget.

However, a majority of that raise Abele is "giving" to workers is the 1.5% COLA raise that AFSCME had won for the workers earlier this year.  This is the same increase that Abele had vetoed and then refused to give when his veto was overridden by the Milwaukee County Board.  Abele only allowed the increase to go through when Corp Counsel told him that he had to do it.

It should also be pointed out that that 1.5% increase is really part of this year's budget, even though Abele doesn't want to admit to it.

Abele Plays Budget Games. Again.

It is common knowledge that Chris Abele finds it difficult to do his job, much less do it well.  This is especially true when it comes to the county budget.  Almost every year, Abele presents his budget a week late and in desperate need of repairs, not only for his misplaced priorities but for the simple math errors that a professional would have caught.

Unfortunately, this year proved to be no different.  Well, actually, even worse than normal for Abele.

Once again, Abele claimed he would not have his budget ready in a timely fashion.  Maybe he was too busy giving away county assets to his fellow plutocrats.  Maybe he was too busy plotting his takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools.  Maybe he was too busy setting up his gubernatorial campaign.

One thing he wasn't busy doing was bargaining in good faith with the transit drivers union.

But there's more.  There's always more.

It appears that the boy prince is morphing more and more into his mentor, Scott Walker, by adding all sorts of unethical stunts to the budget process, as outlined by this open letter by Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb:

So not only is Abele again presenting the budget a week late and several million dollars short, he is actually presenting it first - before the public gets to see it - in a private, invitation only affair, which just happens to be in the same building that houses his privately owned companies. And on top of that, he is going to have campaign staff there?!

 Methinks Abele is trying to go for the world's record for the most ethical lapses at once!

Lipscomb is correct that it does show just how much disdain Abele has for the citizens of Milwaukee County.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Will WILL Stop Filing Frivolous Lawsuits Now?

By Jeff Simpson

A few months ago, righty blogger Dave Blaska, was enlisted as the patsy, by Wisconsin Law and Liberty and Scott Walker's campaign chairman Michael Grebe(whose son was the crony appointed to the UW-Madison Board of Regents).  

They filed a frivolous lawsuit against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for negotiating a one year contract extension with their teachers while ACT 10 was stayed.  In an era where our Governor's only strength is dividing the state, having labor peace is a successfully negotiated contract does not sit very well with Scott.

So failed Presidential candidate Scott Walker did what he does best, sicced his minions on them.   NOT that our friends on the right ever coordinate, but everyone on the far right, showed the same giddiness at the exact same time, thinking that the Shark would really punish the MMSD for giving teachers a 0.75% wage increase after having salaries frozen for years(for those scoring at home, Esenberg as head of his "nonprofit" makes $210,000/yr and is suing teachers for negotiating an approx $382 raise).    

The Madison School Board and Metropolitan School District (“MMSD”) are forcing their teachers to abide by – and taxpayers to pay for – an illegal labor contract with terms violating Act 10 based upon unlawful collective bargaining with Madison Teachers, Inc. (“MTI”).  Today, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (“WILL”), on behalf of David Blaska, a Madison taxpayer, filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison School Board, MMSD, and MTI requesting a declaration that the contract is unlawful and a permanent injunction on its usage.
“The Madison School Board can choose not to utilize the Act 10 tools that would better serve their children and taxpayers, but they cannot enter into a contract containing terms prohibited by Act 10,” said Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel of WILL.  “In every case in which Act 10 has been challenged, the courts have held that it is constitutional.  Labor contracts, such as the one between the School Board and MTI, that violate state law are invalid and unenforceable.”  

All fine and good, and it is nice to know that the Shark is at Scott Walker's beck and call.  It is however unfortunate that the children of MMSD must suffer, by having to defend this frivolous lawsuit, because Scotty Walker threw a temper tantrum.  

Luckily for all involved, the Honorable Judge Richard Niess just threw this silly lawsuit out.

  A Dane County judge dismissed a lawsuit Monday by a conservative blogger that sought to void teacher contracts in the Madison School District.Judge Richard Niess rejected the lawsuit on procedural grounds, saying blogger David Blaska did not follow the required legal steps.
Specifically, the judge said Blaska, a taxpayer in the district, failed to first serve the district with a notice of claim before filing the lawsuit, a requirement that would have given the district 120 days to respond.

Maybe now someone can serve Blaska, Esenberg, Grebe with papers asking for our taxpayer money back, we had to waste in defending this twaddle.  

How much more taxpayer money will WILL cost the fine people of WI before they stop filing frivolous lawsuits?

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

By Jeff Simpson 

We brought you the story this morning, that over the weekend, the Family Research council, led by Tony Perkins had a "ValuesVoters" summit to showcase the Republicans running for President.  The Canadian Cowboy, Ted Cruz, won the straw poll on the platform of arresting President Obama and assassinating world leaders he does not like.

To Compare/Contrast, our President spent the weekend speaking at the U.N. Summit where he spoke of his desire to end Poverty and Hunger.  

President Barack Obama on Sunday committed the U.S. to a new blueprint to eliminate poverty and hunger around the world, telling a global summit that a sweeping new development agenda is "not charity but instead is one of the smartest investments we can make in our own future."
It was the first of two addresses Obama is making at the United Nations. His second on Monday morning, to the annual U.N. General Assembly of world leaders, will be a broader examination of world issues, especially the ever-more complicated conflict in Syria.
Obama offered a powerful defense of a 15-year development agenda and will require trillions of dollars of effort from countries, companies and civil society.
He told delegates that 800 million men, women and children scrape by on less than $1.25 a day and that billions of people are at risk of dying from preventable diseases. He called it a "moral outrage" that many children are just one mosquito bite away from death.
Obama said the goals are ambitious but can be achieved if governments work together.

Still think the two parties are the same?  

Republican Values On Display

By Jeff Simpson

Don Trump is the crazy one they say.  Both sides are just as bad they say.  There is no difference if you elect a Democrat or a Republican they say.....

Then Ted Cruz spoke at the Republican "ValueVoters" Summit.

Ted Cruz after this speech, won the straw poll at this poorly named event.  As we see, while Cruz preaches the Constitution, he specifically tells us how he will break it(starting around the 6:30 mark):

Ted Cruz has screamed about Obama being a tyrant and a dictator who was “lawless” and didn’t obey the Constitution, but these things Ted said were blatantly unconstitutional, probably illegal, and definitely ‘tyrannical’.

If anyone thinks that the country could survive a Presidential term of any of the crazies running for President on the Republican side, then heaven help us.   The Canadian Cowboy is example #1 that American exceptional-ism no longer exists.  

Take the ten minutes to vote in EVERY election.  Please our kids are counting on it!  

The "Compassionate" Free Market

Christian Schneider, calumnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other corporate media propaganda sites, is struggling with what to do with himself ever since Scott Walker drove himself out of the presidential race even faster than most people had guessed.  Apparently, Schneider, has decided to take up shark jumping to fill his time.

In Sunday's paper, Schneider has his regular submission of bovine excretement in which he laments the phrase "compassionate conservatism." Schneider's faux outrage stems from the fact that Ohio Governor John Kasich accepted federal funding to expand Obamacare.

The horror! Making sure tens of thousands of vulnerable people get affordable health care coverage! How absolutely cold-blooded!

Ah, but Schneider was just warming up. He went on to actually try to argue that the free market system - aka plantation economics - is actually compassionate. No, really!
Actual conservatives already understand that their ideology is intrinsically compassionate.

It is compassionate, for instance, to allow parents to choose where and how their children are being educated, rather than sentencing them to failing government schools.
So, according to Schneider, instead of allowing kids to get a good education from the best teachers, it's more compassionate to send our children to private schools that close nine days into the school year, leaving families scrambling to get their kids into underfunded public schools.

Apparently, Republicans feel so much compassion for our children that they would go along with Chris Abele's scheme to privatize all the schools, regardless of the fact that the parents don't want it. What was that about free markets and choice?

Schneider continues along his flight of fancy with this:
It is compassionate to allow taxpayers to keep more of their own money to run their families as they see fit.
Hmm, my taxes went up by nearly 150% of what they were before Walker took over and installed his plantation economic agenda. And that's not even mentioning the tens of thousands of dollars that was cut from my take home pay. And let's not forget that the same economic agenda that Schneider is praising led Wisconsin to have the biggest drop in middle class families. Aren't you feeling all warm and tingly from all that compassion?
Then there's this:
It is compassionate to allow small businesses to be free of regulation and taxation so they can hire more employees and pay them better wages.
Ooh, we're already repeating ourselves here, but Wisconsinites, under the plantation economics agenda Schneider is pushing, is not better, hence that shrinking middle class. But hey, surely it's compassionate to allow companies like Menards to just dump hazardous wastes into our drinking water, right? Giving people cancer and other health problems is compassionate, right?

What says "I care about you" more than a wealthy CEO exploiting his workers by cutting their pay and benefits and making their worksites less safe?

Then Schneider gets to the best one yet:
And compassion isn't just economic. It is charitable to allow individuals to carry weapons to protect themselves if they feel they are in danger from an uncompassionate convict.
And if there aren't any uncompassionate convicts around, one could just shoot two year olds or revictimize victims that one is compassionately trying to help.

And to point out that homes with guns are actually less safe, well, that's just plain unfeeling and hard-hearted.

One shouldn't blame Schneider for being overly zealous in promoting the plantation economic agenda of his dark money overlords. I'm sure that Schneider, like his fallen hero Walker, simply cares too much.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Scott Didn't Do It

Image result for scott walker not guilty

By Jeff Simpson 

In his failed run for President, or even for his whole career, it is hard to find a story that does not talk about how Scott Walker is a political control freak.  Walker is well known for having very few trusted advisers and running his campaigns basically by himself.

                         Mr. Walker’s hands-on approach to his political operation in                                      Wisconsin bordered on the obsessive, judging from a trove of                                    emails from his time as Milwaukee county executive, and as a                                    candidate for governor, that was released as part of a lawsuit.
He recommended a news leak for a fall weekend in which the Green Bay Packers were idle, to maximize news media coverage. He sent a Saturday morning order to three aides to “divide reactive and proactive communications” operations in his press office. And he advised a talk-radio host to file a public records request to his office for the sole purpose of unearthing the excessive number of public records requests being filed at the time by his opponents.

Mr. Walker’s strategic talents can be an asset. His ability to formulate and convey an effective message helped him win three hard-fought elections for governor in four years, including a 2012 recall election, in an extraordinarily competitive state. And he is doing much the same now: It was Mr. Walker who came up with the best-of-both-worlds formulation he has recently woven into his stump speech — that his hard-charging Senate opponents are “fighters,” and his rival governors who have won difficult elections are “winners,” but he is the rare breed who has done both.

Asked about Mr. Walker’s hands-on approach, a Republican close to him who requested anonymity to discuss the candidate’s political style said: “It’s clear that he’s engaged. He knows what he wants, knows what he believes in and is not being told what to say.”
Actually I found a place where Scott Walker has no control over his campaign, when he gets in trouble or does something stupid.

 The Green Bay Packers contacted Gov. Scott Walkers's presidential campaign, noting one of its fundraising campaign letters violated team policy on use of the team's name in promotional materials, FOX 11 has learned.In a Sept. 10 email, the campaign offered two 50-yard line tickets and transportation to the game in exchange for a donation.
It reads, in part:
"On Monday, September 28 Wisconsin's own Green Bay Packers will be playing the Chiefs at historic Lambeau Field and I want you to be there with me.There is no better place to catch the excitement of a professional football game and no more electric crowd than what you'll encounter at Lambeau Field. Our campaign is going to provide round trip transportation for you and a friend to Wisconsin for the game and give you two tickets on the 50 yard line.Go ahead and chip in $4 or more for you and a friend to be automatically entered for the tickets.I look forward to meeting you at Lambeau, Friend.Scott Walker"

The person who pretty much any embedded political reporter in the country has written almost obsessively micromanages his campaign, uses the Green Bay Packers to fund raise against the Packer's own policies and definitely without permission(think this is not a big deal? ask Dominicks grocery) .  

Did Scott Walker take responsibility for his mistake, own up to it, and apologize?

In a word NO

The team did not authorize this use, and called the campaign informing it of the policy, a team spokesman told FOX 11.
FOX 11's emails to the campaign have not been answered. At an event Friday, Gov. Walker said he "wasn't involved in that process."

How long can Scott Walker keep getting free passes for using the State of Wisconsin for his own personal ambitions and then thowing anything/anyone under the bus that is no longer needed.