Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Deanna Alexander Day!

Deanna Alexander is the Milwaukee County Supervisor representing the 18th District.   She is also very conservative.

Being conservative, she holds many of the same values as her other conservatives - bigotry, racism and the love of money, whether it comes from the Koch Brothers or from her buddy, Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele.

Being conservative, Alexander also likes to portray herself as being fiscally conservative and oh so ethical.  Her hypocrisy regarding this has been exemplified by her using tax dollars to commit voter suppression.

She also showed her hypocrisy when she used her office to help raise funds for her father's funeral, even as she voted to deny funding for indigent burials.

As it turns out, Alexander seems to be in the habit of using her office for personal gain.

It was five years ago today that Alexander got fired by the State of Wisconsin when she used her position as an Income Maintenance Worker to try to help her get daycare benefits.

As the gentle reader might remember, due to Scott Walker's refusal to properly administer the Economic Support Program, the state had to take it over to avoid a class action lawsuit.  In a most unusual arrangement, the workers remained county employees but worked under the supervision of the state.

It was during this time that Alexander worked for the program. Not only did she work there, she was a client, utilizing the daycare subsidies.  However, she tried to use her position as an Income Maintenance Worker to gain benefits that were not available to the public.  There was no fighting the accusation since they had the emails to prove it.

In other words, Alexander is a typical, run of the mill conservative Republican.

If the voters in the 18th District have the desire for clean government and good government, that their tax money is being used appropriately and that their interests - as opposed to those of the 1% - are being represented, they need to vote for Martha De La Rosa.

Welcome To Wisconsin!

Image via WISN-TV
Ever since I joined the fabulous crew at Crooks & Liars and started sharing the inanity, insanity evilness and downright stupidity of Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans, there has been a common theme from many commenters, questioning how the hell they got elected much less reelected.

Now, I could point out that Wisconsin is hardly the only state with a large amount of idiots or corporate sockpuppets. There is also Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Texas, just to name a few.

Or I could go on about iffy voting machines, the flood of dark money into the state, the incompetence of the Democratic Party leadership at the time or a number of other reasons, all of which would be true.

But I think these two stories go a long way to helping explaining it too.

Over the weekend, despite an unusually mild winter with many days above freezing, people attending Winterfest in Lake Geneva, WI, thought it would be a good idea to park on the ice above the lake. I think the gentle reader can see what came next. Yup, about a dozen vehicles went through the ice:
About 15 cars fell into the waters of Lake Geneva in Wisconsin Saturday afternoon after a barely-frozen lake was used as a parking lot.

Temperatures were just above freezing in Lake Geneva Saturday, but Wisconsin has seen a fairly mild winter.

More than a dozen cars were parked on the lake as patrons went to view an ice sculpture competition nearby. The first cars started sinking around 2 p.m.

Natural Resources officials say many lakes in southern Wisconsin have poor ice conditions.

Laurie Oberhelman was one of the drivers who parked on the ice. Saturday evening, she watched as crews pulled her SUV to shore.

"As we came down, we saw that people were parked on the ice so we said, 'Heck yeah, let's park on the ice!'" said Oberhelman.

She came to regret the decision when she noticed her car in the water.

"I think it's stupid to park on ice now," she said.
Umm, yeah. When it's been as warm as it has been, I wouldn't want to walk on the ice much less park several tons of metal on it.

But there's more. In Wisconsin, there's always more.

I will present this copy of an unidentified newspaper's police report without further comment:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Walker Puts Wisconsin In The Pink

In Wisconsin, deer hunting is a strong tradition that reaches almost religious levels for some people. Every fall, the woods in Wisconsin would fill with men and women dressed in blaze orange as they hope to bag the big one. It's the only time that Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, is filled with orange instead of green and gold.

But in recent years, the number of hunters - and the number of deer harvested - has been dropping. It could be because Scott Walker and the Republicans have jacked up the cost of hunting licenses. It could be because Walker's hand off approach to the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease isn't working. It could be because of the fact of dropping number of people, it's becoming even more dangerous to be out there.

Ah, but Walker and his buddies have just the solution to cure all our woes!

Walker privately and secretly signed a bill into law which would allow people the option of wearing hot pink instead of blaze orange. When these geniuses first came up with the idea, they tried to sell it as the way to get more women involved in hunting and boost the economy.

No, really:
The bill's authors, Reps. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, and Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, maintain that the measure will encourage more women to take up hunting, give hunters more clothing options and give apparel manufacturers a boost.
Yeah, because I lost count of all the women that have told me that they would love to go out in the woods, maybe get shot or catch a horrible disease, but they just didn't want to get caught in that tacky orange.

I guess it's easier for Walker and company to deal with these kinds of distractions rather than get to work on fixing the economy they've trashed, repairing the damage they've allowed to our environment or, y'know, getting around to creating those 250,000 jobs Walker promised us all those years ago.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Towards Flint

By Representatives Chris Taylor & LaTonya Johnson

Our nation is watching in horror as the Flint water disaster unfolds, a completely avoidable, unnecessary public health crises that threatens an entire town and the health and welfare of its people. A Republican controlled executive and legislative branch authorized unaccountable emergency managers to swoop in, take over municipalities, and engaging in “cost cutting” measures like switching Flint’s drinking water source from Lake Huron to the Flint river, failing to treat the water for corrosive elements at an approximate cost of $100 a day.  This failure resulted in the poisoning of a whole town.

Republican power grabs in Wisconsin have also centered on eroding local control of our most precious natural resource – water.  Specifically, on ways to make it easier for private interests to take it, use it and pollute it, while destroying a community’s ability to do anything about it. The Republicans have bills that allow developers to build on lakebeds, remove local governments’ ability to limit polluting industries, and open the door for private companies to purchase public utilities.

Just this week, Assembly Republicans asked the Attorney General for an opinion on high-capacity water wells. Republicans are now saying the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can’t even regulate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), also called factory farms, which harm water quality and quantity. The public has no input on this request and an opinion by the Attorney General on this issue means no legislation would be necessary to further limit the DNR’s power.

Already, the quality of our water is suffering.  One-third of Kewaunee County wells are unsafe for drinking, while other wells around the state are contaminated with nitrate, bacteria, arsenic, atrazine, radium, and molybdenum. Lead pipes like the ones in Flint threaten 70,000 residences in Milwaukee, 10,000 in Racine, 8,000 in West Allis, 6,500 in Manitowoc, 7,000 in Kenosha, almost 2,000 in Green Bay and 3,000 in Shorewood. In fact, the children in the Cities of Milwaukee and Watertown, Racine and Menasha have a greater incidence of lead poisoning than the Flint children, as do our the counties of Buffalo, Green Lake, Pepin, Richland and Rock.

The consequences of lead poisoning for young children can be deadly and lead to a lifetime of cognitive and other ailments. That’s why we are introducing a bill to make sure that when children have lead contamination, their drinking water and paint in their households get tested in state mitigation efforts.

According to a recent poll from the League of Conservation Voters, the public overwhelming supports government action to keep water safe and clean. 84% of people surveyed said that water pollution is an important priority.

But the desires of actual people seems more and more irrelevant to state policy making.  It is telling that several of the bills pending in the Wisconsin legislature that further erode water protections by allowing dredging, pollution, and private development are supported by special interest groups calling the shots – the Koch brother funded Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. These groups have spent millions to maintain a Republican chokehold on all branches of our government. This inundation of unlimited, secret dark money in our elections was recently made worse by the gutting of our state campaign finance laws by Republican policymakers, which the people of this state did not ask for.  Combined with making it harder to vote and some of the worst gerrymandering seen nationally in 40 years, the people of Wisconsin are more and more irrelevant in state policymaking.  And so often, the voices being ignored are from people of color, the poor, and the party not in charge.

And that is the story of Flint. Once democratic government is gone, like clean water, it can be hard to reverse the devastation that follows. The ramifications for people are catastrophic. 

PO Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-5342

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Joe Donald Doesn't Merit Your Support

By Jeff Simpson

We have reported before on the upcoming Supreme Court race (primary on February 16th) especially in terms of the Walker flunky - Rebecca Bradley.  Bradley, who was not even a judge before 2010, has been on the fast track of getting appointed to new positions by Scott Walker.  While Ms. Bradley likes to tell people she is an independent, her works speak louder than her words, and we all know that to be complete bull.

Most people who care about the law, and are not bitter partisans, would be disgusted by this blatant show of partisanship by a Judge.  However there is one prominent person that has supported Ms. Bradley through the years - Joe Donald(her primary opponent).  

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Joe Donald, one of two candidates vying to unseat Justice Rebecca Bradley on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, endorsed Bradley's 2013 campaign to remain on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court and served as a reference for her application to the 1st District Court of Appeals in 2015.

So why would an "impartial" Judge give  glowing recommendation to a bitterly partisan Judge who has not earned her own stripes and is just there to do Scott Walker's bidding?  

The answer from the campaign is probably the worst possible answer they can give:

"Joe usually, unless he has a serious problem with the person, usually supports the incumbents. Left, right, doesn’t matter," Suchorski said. "That was primarily it: as a fellow incumbent judge, he supported her."

Let's look at that again and really let it sink in:

 "Joe usually, unless he has a serious problem with the person, usually supports the incumbents. Left, right, doesn’t matter," Suchorski said. "That was primarily it: as a fellow incumbent judge, he supported her."

The Donald campaign is telling us that Judge Donald's word means absolutely nothing.   That Judge Donald has decided if you have the job of Judge you might as well have it forever and it does not matter how qualified you are (or are not), Judge Donald will write you a recommendation.  

Many positions rely on recommendations in hiring qualified people.  If you recommend people who you feel are not qualified you are doing a great disservice to the people who are being recommended, the people looking to hire and your own reputation?

According to Donald's campaign manager, Mr. Donald does not care about any of the above issues and will just give anyone a standard recommendation that asks.  

How does that laziness, and lack of effort translate into how he will research a tough issue and rule on it according to the law?

That is up to you to decide, but in my mind it is very troubling.

That is why I support Judge Kloppenburg to be our next Supreme Court Justice!!!  


Go Radio-Active!

From the inbox:
As you know, right wing talk radio has been a major political strategy for Wisconsin’s GOP, a major irritant to all of us and a big contributor to the deterioration of Wisconsin quality of life and values. Clearly it has been a force in marshaling right wing voters, not just here but throughout the state.

Here’s what you can do about it

The Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative, “a member-owned coalition of individuals in the greater Milwaukee area committed to empowering more and more Wisconsinites to act in the public sphere to achieve social, economic and environmental justice”. You can learn more at

The Coop membership recently embarked on a new campaign that we’re calling RADIO-ACTIVE.

It’s an effort to take back Milwaukee’s airwaves from the corporatist right wing, and it features two phases:

(1) We plan to monitor local talk radio hosts, and hold them and their corporate sponsors accountable for their deceptive, hate-filled messages, and

(2) we will work towards founding a community-owned radio station that will air commercial progressive talk programming.

This will be a two step process —

Step 1

Raise $20,000 to hire a full-time RADIO-ACTIVE organizer for three months.

Step 2

In addition to the campaign’s two main goals, this organizer will also have the goal of raising enough additional funds to make the position permanent, so person can keep fighting the good fight for Milwaukee media.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing

On the evening of Monday, February 8th, we will hold a RADIO-ACTIVE launch party and fundraiser at Karma Bar. A flyer is attached. This will be an exciting kickoff for the campaign and to start signing up new Coop members in an effort to reach our $20,000 goal.

If you can’t make that evening would you consider financially supporting this campaign. It is in an investment not just putting things back, but for moving Wisconsin ahead.

They also included this flyer:

Ryan Takes Swift Inaction On Voting Rights

The Congressional Black Caucus went to Speaker of the House Lyin' Paul Ryan to seek out his help in getting a voting rights protection bill moving through his house, but Ryan declined to do anything, even though he claims to support the bill:
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told black lawmakers Wednesday that he supports new voting rights protections they've championed, but said he won't bypass a committee chairman to move legislation, according to a Democrat who attended the gathering.

"He said it right in front of everybody — he said he supports the [Jim] Sensenbrenner bill," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), said after Ryan met with the group on Capitol Hill.

"So somebody was saying, 'Well, why don't you go tell your committee chair to do it?' " Cleaver added. "And he said, … 'Look, I can't do that.' "
Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), a former chairman of the Judiciary panel, has sponsored bipartisan legislation to update the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in response to a 2013 Supreme Court decision that gutted a central provision of the 1965 law.

But Sensenbrenner's proposal does not have the backing of the current Judiciary chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who maintains the Supreme Court left ample protections in the VRA, thereby making congressional action unnecessary.

Ryan ascended to the speakership last fall following the resignation of former-Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who was nudged out by conservatives who accused him of hoarding power at the expense of the committees.

Ryan, a former chairman of both the Budget and Ways and Means panels, has vowed to return to a bottom-up approach that transfers power back to rank-and-file members.

Ryan told the CBC Wednesday that any voting rights legislation must move by that bottom-up process, Cleaver said.

"He said, 'I told my own conference I'm not going to do it, so I'm not going to come up here and tell you anything differently. … I want it to be the product of the committee,' " Cleaver said.
Ah, so Ryan would love to help, but he left his authority in his other pants.

Something tells me, though, that if the bill was to cut Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare or any other "entitlement" program, he'd waste no time in pressuring whoever he had to to make sure that the bill passed as fast as possible. But when it comes to actually helping people - especially poor people or minorities - well, his hands are tied.

He is only the Speaker of the House, after all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Republicans ponder whether lousy budgeting results in lousy budgets

MADISON – On the heels of yesterday’s statement by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald that, "I think this next state budget is going to be just as rough as this past one,” the two Democratic Assembly members of the Joint Finance Committee, Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), released the following statement: 

“As Majority Leader Fitzgerald acknowledged, with Republicans in control, more cutting and gutting is on the horizon.  We can expect another cut and gut budget that leaves our children behind, perpetuates a transportation mess, and fails to make the investments our state needs to thrive.  The blame game and list of excuses doesn’t work anymore - they have had six years of absolute power and three budgets to get it right,” stated Rep. Taylor.  “Republicans seem intent on continuing their bad choices of huge corporate tax giveaways, which will reduce state revenues by $570 million this biennium, on the backs of our children and our future. If Democrats were in control, we would make the investments in our people we need for our state to truly move forward.”

“Perhaps my Republican colleagues need to be reminded that this budget was only ‘rough’ because of self-inflicted decisions. The Governor’s 15-17 budget actually spent over a billion dollars more than his previous 13-15 budget, so the reason why our public school classrooms and UW System have taken such a hit is no mystery.  Public education is just not a priority for the ruling party,” said Rep. Hintz.  “At the same time, Republicans chose to leave hundreds of millions of federal Medicaid dollars on the table and continue their expansion of ineffective tax cuts. Shortsighted budget decisions combined with the worst economic growth in the upper Midwest is a guaranteed recipe for continued ‘rough’ budgets.”


306 West – (608) 266-5342
PO Box 8953
Madison, WI  53708

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This Day In History

One year ago today, Scott Walker and his dark money masters thought he was well on his way to the White House, having an enormous lead in Iowa:

Today, Walker wouldn't even win in Iowa County.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Scott Walker: Mathing Is Hard!

Failed Wisconsin Governor and Presidential Candidate Has Been Scott Walker's campaign financial situation is a lot worse than previously reported.

When Walker ended his 70-day presidential bid, it was reported that he was a million dollars in the red. So he did what he did best, beg for money.

According to his end of the year campaign finance reports, those reports were wildly inaccurate. Per WaPo, Walker was able raise a half million dollars. This money and a million dollars he had left allowed him to pay $1.4 million towards his debt. But he still owes over another million!
The presidential campaign committee of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spent $1.4 million last quarter paying former staff and vendors and refunding excess contributions, leaving him with $1.2 million in debt from his failed White House bid, new Federal Election Commission filings show.
Ah, but there's more. With all things Walker, there's always more.

Records also indicated that he used his gubernatorial campaign to help out his presidential one - to the tune of $14,682.

On top of that, Walker has decided that Wisconsin taxpayers will also help pay for his failed campaign by refusing to fully reimburse the state for the costs of his security team's travel expenses:
State officials also said Friday that in the future, Walker's political operations will no longer reimburse state taxpayers for his security team's travel expenses.

Walker's political operations have reimbursed state taxpayers $260,000 to cover hotel stays, airfare and other travel expenses last year for his security team. But in the future, taxpayers will have to pay such costs when state troopers accompany Walker on political trips, said Jim Dick, a spokesman for the state Department of Administration.

Walker decided last year to have his political operations pick up some of those costs while he crisscrossed the country and traveled overseas as he explored and launched his presidential campaign.
So, Walker is unable to raise enough money to pay off his reckless spending and now is going to stiff the taxpayers with them. Nice!

It's no wonder that Walker's approval rating is still stuck at 38%. Well, actually, it is. I'm surprised it's not lower.

Outrage Grows Over Abele's Secret Placement Of Sex Offenders

Several weeks ago, I reported that Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele's plan to secretly place sex offenders in a south side home was blowing up in his face.  His hand-chosen appointees on the farcical Mental Health Board rubber stamped his plan without public input.  In fact, when one person, Dennis Hughes, did tried to speak out about it, Abele's people had him arrested.

What makes Abele's actions even more disconcerting is that he is still placed these offenders even though they were telling staff that they had plans to reoffend at the first chance they get.

On Friday, the community again expressed their outrage at Abele secretly placing the offenders in their neighborhood without even the courtesy of a notification.
"Our employees that are telling us that the sex offenders are being placed that when they were in the long-term care facility were openly talking about the fact that intended on assaulting children specifically a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy," said Hughes.

Residents also feel they've been kept in the dark about who is moving in.

"The concern here is we don't know where these mentally ill people have been placed in the community. There are group homes throughout Milwaukee County and we don't know where they are or who is housed in them," said Hughes.

"If we have sex offenders that are entering our neighborhood without our knowledge, the threat for our children has increased tremendously," said Lewis.
One of the neighbors, Karrie Jones, made the reasonable request that their be better notification and public hearings when sex offenders were being placed in neighborhoods.

The Abele administration flat out denied that request, claiming that they "will not hold public hearings ever to let a community know that we're transitioning clients into their neighborhood."

That must be a recent policy change.  I used to help people transition out of the long term care units at the mental health complex.  When a new group home was opening, it was standard practice to hold open houses with the neighbors to inform them about the group home, the type of clients that would be housed there and what precautions and safety plans would be in place.

Then again, we used to also not move the clients until a team of professionals determined that the person was ready to be reintegrated into the community, that an appropriate placement had been identified, that proper service and safety plans were in place and that the client had a chance to visit on numerous occasions to help make the transition smoother.

Those things stopped happening too.

Abele, his imperial self, finally deigned to issue a statement, which as you might have expected, simultaneously dismissed the concerns of the neighbors and blamed the county board for the unpopularity of his plan:
County Executive Chris Abele's office issued a statement to WISN 12 news saying today's committee hearing "is nothing but the board's latest attempt to stop the positive progress we have been making, which unfortunately also perpetuates damaging stigmas about mental illness."
Ah, so in Abele's elitist and arrogant mind, listening to the citizens is simply a political stunt.  Doesn't that say more about Abele than the citizens or the clients?

But there's more.  With all things Abele, there is always more.

Another new concern has arisen.

A year ago, WISN-TV reported how the state found a way around the City of Milwaukee's law regarding placement of sex offenders.  The state simply kept shuffling the sex offenders every three days to new homes so that they were technically not in violation of the law.

Could Abele be doing the same thing?  With Abele's secrecy and disdain for public safety, it's entirely possible.

One place we know that the offenders won't be placed, however, is in the Moderne, the high rise condo building where Abele lives.

One of Mitchell Domes Closed For "Public Safety"

Despite Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele's claims that he is the opposite of Walker, the fact is that he is just as bad, if not worse, than Walker ever could hope to be.  This holds true in many different ways, including deferred maintenance of county buildings and other assets.

When Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, we saw a lot of the negative effects of his willful negligence and deferred maintenance.  Part of the courthouse cornice fell off, parts of Mitchell Airport fell and hit a passenger and most tragic of all, a part of O'Donnell Park fell and killed a teenage boy and seriously injured two other people.

Due to Abele's cutting corners and refusing to replace antiquated and overloaded electrical equipment, the Milwaukee County Courthouse caught on fire and it cost more than $17 million to clean up and fix the mess that could have been avoided for a fraction of that price.

Now we're seeing more of the effects of Abele's so-called fiscal conservatism.

WISN-TV is reporting that one of the domes at Mitchell Park has been indefinitely closed due to falling concrete:
One of the Mitchell Park Domes is closed because of falling concrete.

The Desert Dome in the middle is the one that's closed for public safety.

Signs are posted across the doors of the Desert Dome alerting visitors the exhibit is temporarily closed.

The Milwaukee County parks director made the decision after recent reports that concrete was falling inside.

In a statement to WISN 12 News, Parks Director John Dargle said, "After discovering a piece of fallen concrete at the Arid Dome, the Parks Department consulted with risk management and an independent engineering firm to determine the best course of action to ensure the safety of our employees and the public. Per their recommendation, we have temporarily closed the Arid Dome until further safety evaluations and planning can be completed."
Isn't it nice how Abele can find $4 million to build an arena for billionaires but can't seem to find enough money to properly inspect and maintain county buildings?

What I also find rather disturbing is that his highly paid director of parks needed to consult with risk management and a private company to figure out that falling concrete could be dangerous and that the building should be closed to the public.  But I guess that is the mindset that takes place when your boss is a tyrant that will fire you without just cause just because he was feeling grumpy that day.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Major Milwaukee County Parks Are In Peril

As the gentle reader knows, Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele has been concentrating unprecedented power in his hands to ease his path as he continues to go about dismantling Milwaukee County government.  Abele does this through buy-partisanship -- he pays off Republican state legislators to pass bills that give him these increased powers.

One of the more recent power purchases made by Abele was Act 55, which allows Abele to sell off any county-owned land - except for parks - without public notice, public hearing or legislative oversight.  It was because of this law that Abele was able to sell tens of millions of dollars of Park East land for a dollar.

Per a press release from County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, they have identified 43 parks that have not been properly zoned as parkland and could be sold off by Abele without any say from anyone else.  Some of the parks on that list are simply jaw-dropping.  These include the following parks:
  •  Chippewa Park; 
  • Red Arrow Park; 
  • Cathedral Square Park; 
  • Zeidler Union Square; 
  • Mitchell Boulevard Park; 
  • Mitchell Airport Park; 
  • Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum; 
  • Grobschmidt Park; 
  • Franklin Park; 
  • Oakwood Park; 
  • Whitnall Park; 
  • Sheridan Park; 
  • Brown Deer Park; 
  • Greene Park; 
  • Estabrook Park; 
  • Pere Marquette Park; 
  • Froemming Park; 
  • Lincoln Park; 
  • Rawson Park; 
  • Melody View Preserve; 
  • Riverside Park; 
  • Bay View Park; 
  • Grant Park; 
  • Kohl Park; 
  • Lake Park; 
  • Armour Park; 
  • Runway Dog Park; 
  • Servite Park Reserve; 
  • Wilson Recreation Center; 
  • Joseph-Lichter Park; 
  • Juneau Park; 
  • St. Martins Park; 
  • Algonquin Park; 
  • Doctors Park; 
  • Hanson Park, 
  • A.C.; Southwood Glen; 
  • Baran Park; 
  • County Grounds Park; 
  • Kletzsch Park; 
  • Falk Park; 
  • Rover West; 
  • Scout Lake Park; and 
  • Big Bay Park.
A resolution has been introduced that would prevent Abele from selling these parks by correcting their zoning status.  The concern is whether it can be passed quickly enough to keep Abele honest, which is a tall order in itself.

What could prove interesting is the fact that polling numbers show that the bulk of Abele's support in the upcoming election  come from conservatives and Republicans, most of whom live in the suburbs.  I wonder if they will be reconsidering their support for Abele knowing that he could sell their community parks from right out under their noses and there isn't a damn thing they could do about it.

At least Chris Larson has made a commitment to Milwaukee County and its parks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Walker Agenda Still Isn't Working! Part CCXLVII

As Scott Walker is hinting at running for a third term, we get a reminder of just how good of a job he isn't doing:
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Inc. has informed state of Wisconsin officials that it is closing its Chase mortgage banking customer assistance operations at its downtown Milwaukee offices, resulting in the loss of 135 jobs.

The New York City-based bank said in a mass layoff notice filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development that it informed employees Tuesday of its intent to exit the business at 111 E. Wisconsin Ave. The expected date of terminations is March 26 to comply with the state's 60-day notification requirement in mass layoff situations.

Chase said the employees are not represented by a union and that the job losses will be permanent. The Department of Workforce Development will work with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board to provide rapid response services to the affected workers, which includes pre-layoff workshops on a variety of topics such as resume writing, interviewing and job search strategies.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Terrorists Arrested, Murder And Mayhem Averted

No, I'm not talking about the crackpot that the local media is over-sensationalizing.

What I am talking about are the real terrorists who have plotted and acted against the American people, destroying public property and putting everyone at risk - the Bundy nutjobs:
Seven people involved in the armed occupation of a central Ore. wildlife refuge were arrested after a traffic stop during which shots were fired. Another unnamed individual was killed during the confrontation, the FBI and Oregon State Police announced Tuesday.

Authorities said that shots were exchanged during a traffic stop along Highway 395 around 4:25 p.m. local time. Police were carrying out a federal probable cause arrest for a number of people involved in the armed standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, which has been occupied since Jan. 2.

The Oregon State Police said Tuesday night that an incident team has been dispatched to investigate the officer-involved shooting. No law enforcement personnel were injured in the confrontation about 15 miles north of Burns, Ore.

Five people were arrested at that time, including occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy. One person was killed during the exchange of gunfire; police said information about that person will not be released until they can be identified by the medical examiner’s office. Another of the arrested individuals was injured and taken to a local hospital, but has since been arrested and taken into custody.

A sixth person involved in the occupation, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy of Cottonwood, Ariz., was arrested about an hour and a half after the initial confrontation. Shortly after that, a seventh person — broadcaster Peter Santilli of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is known for live streaming refuge events — was arrested in Burns.

All of people arrested face federal felony charges for impeding federal officers.
Another one of these fools was arrested in Arizona after he turned tail and abandoned his fellow "patriots."

It is worth noting that these "patriots" think that just because they have a couple of guns, they would be able to fend off the "tyrannical" government.  They were apprehended by FBI agents and police officers.  What did they think they would do against a highly trained tactical squad much less military personnel?

It is also worth noting that none of the local right wingers that beat their jingoistic drums have said a word about these terrorists.  Nothing from Scott Walker, Bob Gannon, Ron Johnson (who is the chair of the national security committee).  I guess the Bundy clan didn't meet their terrorist color charts because they weren't people of color.

I'm just thankful that these subhuman assholes are behind bars and that no good guys were hurt or killed in the process.

White Trash Walker

By Jeff Simpson 

Capper pointed out recently that Scott Walker is selling his house in Wauwatosa.  The Walker family, paid $310,000 for the house in 2007 and now have it on the market with a slight uptick at $338,000.   Mr. Walker was never one to truly understand economics as his house is assessed at $359,900.

Capper pointed out that Mr. Walker might be selling his house because he was so far in debt. However, Mr. Walker has made it clear that the money he makes selling his house will not be going to pay off debts he has run up.

Skipping out on his bills, has become one thing Scott Walker is well known for.

As we always say, "but wait there is more" and boy is there more telling information about Scott Walker regarding his house for sale.

We know that Mr. Walker completed, the minimum amount of work/upgrades on this house while living there for 8 years.

It appears the home on N. 68th St., which was built in 1924, was listed on Saturday. Since purchasing it in March 2007 for $310,000, Walker has painted the home's exterior, rebuilt the chimney and replaced the pool liner. Walker's home features 2 1/2 baths and a full basement on a quarter-acre. Assessed at $359,900, the home's tax bill in 2013 was $8,381.
If you remember, Scott Walker moved his parents into his house to hide behind them when people protested his home.   While Mr. Walker used his parents as a prop, the $144,000/yr+ that Walker makes, not a penny of that was put into upgrades to make the house comfortable for his elderly parents.  

That is NOT all:

Mr. Walker is showing the same ignorance in selling his house as he showed in creating jobs.

Two minutes on Google, and you see there are basic generic rules to follow when selling your home.    As we found out with the secret router, rules in Scott Walker's world are made to be ignored.

Two of the major rules are as follows:

Spruce up the outside. Add a new doormat, new house numbers and maybe a new mailbox. Paint the front door. The little stuff matters here.
Refresh your landscape. Clean up flower beds, add fresh mulch and plant flowers. Make sure bushes are trimmed and neat.

But an inspection of the photos show that Governors’ teenage sons are apparently exempted from the domestic responsibilities typical of their peers. Here a tottering wooden fence begs to be whitewashed before rot overcomes it; there a line of Hostas remains un-deadheaded weeks after their blooms have expired; shrubs and trees are untrained, potted flowers languish, the lawn turns to dust and the whole begs for water to pour forth from the neglected hose.
Yet for all of this, the bureaucrats at the Wauwatosa City Hall rate the landscape as “Same as Neighboring.” This is an affront to the neighbors!
In front of the home, a pole light fixture attempts to provide decorative illumination, yet only one of its three branches glows, while the other two have burnt out.
Question: How many governor’s sons does it take to change a lightbulb?
In 8 years of home ownership, Mr. Walker also never touched the basement:

The first family of Wisconsin have a full, “unfinished” basement of 816 square feet underpinning their home. The subterranean level includes a half-bath and shower in the basement. 

Here is a picture of the ancient rotting fence outside the Walker abode:

 Scott Walker\'s Home

Here is a picture of the two burned out light bulbs.  Apparently its beyond the Walker family capabilities to change a light bulb!

Scott Walker\'s Home

Anyone spot what is missing in Mr. Walker's yard?


 A natural wood fireplace helps the gas-fired, hot-water heating system keep the governor’s home toasty through the chilly winter,

If no one in the Walker family can take the time, energy or intelligence to change a light bulb, I doubt very much that they would spend the time cutting wood(or even buying it).  

Except for the brand new Wisconsin taxpayer funded squad car, perpetually in his driveway, the rest of the house is pretty trashy.  The only thing the Walker family appears to be missing is blankets for curtains and a confederate flag flying proudly in the lawn.   

The big question we need answered now, is there a separate beer fridge in the Governors Mansion? 


By Jeff Simpson

Historically Accurate Western Illinois Mock Election predicts Senator Bernie Sanders as our next president.



Monday, January 25, 2016

Facing Crippling Debt, Scott Walker Puts House Up For Sale

Scott Walker is facing a mountain of debt.

His failed presidential campaign is a million dollars in the hole. Personally, he has tens of thousands of credit card debt. Even worse he must've missed some payments because he is paying 27% interest on that debt. Most of his debt probably came from the time he was privately paying silk-stockinged lawyers to defend him during the John Doe investigations - before he set up a legal defense fund and before the Kochs started picking up the tab.

On top of all that, he is helping his two unemployed sons with their student debt after sending them to Marquette University. (Apparently Walker recognizes that he's ruined the University of Wisconsin system and didn't want his boys to go there.)

Despite the fact that Walker has sent out numerous emails begging for money and makes $140,000 a year, he still can't make ends meet.

So what does he do?

He sends his parents packing out of his house and puts the place up for sale:
Gov. Scott Walker has put his home — the one in Wauwatosa, not the governor's mansion — up for sale.

The two-story, three-bedroom house has been listed by Delafield real estate agent Premar LLC for $338,000. The listing calls the home an "exceptional colonial!" that boasts "quintessential Tosa charm!" and mentions the in-ground swimming pool, bright white modern kitchen with Corian countertops and a front-entry sunroom.

Walker tweeted Sunday night about his sons: "Matt graduates from Marquette in May. Alex from UW next May. Like many empty nesters, we are looking to downsize our home."

It appears the home on N. 68th St., which was built in 1924, was listed on Saturday. Since purchasing it in March 2007 for $310,000, Walker has painted the home's exterior, rebuilt the chimney and replaced the pool liner. Walker's home features 2 1/2 baths and a full basement on a quarter-acre. Assessed at $359,900, the home's tax bill in 2013 was $8,381.

No open houses are scheduled, but prospective buyers can request a private showing. When reached by phone Sunday, Realtor Cathy Priem said she had no comment before hanging up.
I'm so glad that the local media clarified that it was his personal house and not the governor's mansion. We all know he sold the mansion to the Kochs and Bradley Foundation as soon as he took office.

Someone might want to check out the Madison area pawn shops to make sure that Walker hasn't hocked the mansion silverware.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Deanna Alexander's Epic Temper Tantrum

A couple of weeks ago, candidates for the spring election needed to submit their nomination papers.  To keep our elections fair and just, opponents have the right to challenge those papers.  These challenges are reviewed by an election board to see if they have any merit to them.  In Milwaukee County, that entity is the Milwaukee County Election Commission.

In Milwaukee County's 18th Supervisory District, incumbent Deanna Alexander exercised her right by challenging the papers of one of her opponents, Martha De La Rosa.  It should be noted that Alexander's challenge came in after the time was up but the Election Commission decided to accept it anyway.

Alexander's challenge was based on the spaghetti principle - throwing everything she could and seeing if anything stuck.  While some of her challenges were accepted, De La Rosa had enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Poor old Alexander must be feeling pretty damn nervous about De La Rosa, because she went to her campaign website and threw an epic temper tantrum:
The Milwaukee County Election Commission (MCEC) deliberated in closed session for several hours Tuesday after Deanna Alexander brought a legal challenge that the second 18th district candidate seeking election to the County Board in April’s Election did not fulfill the necessary filing requirements.

The MCEC partially affirmed Alexander’s case, recognizing that the other candidate submitted signatures from people that did not reside in the district or who provided fictitious, non-existent addresses.

However, when Alexander showed that the other candidate had put the wrong election date on nomination papers, had circulated papers with two different district numbers on them, and had failed to file a current Declaration of Candidacy or a signed and current Campaign Registration Statement by the filing deadline, the Election Commission chose the most loose and lenient possible interpretations of the law and dismissed the challenge.

The Election Commission also ignored evidence that someone in the Election Director’s office had altered original documents just before the hearing.

“Under the guidance of the Government Accountability Board, the Milwaukee County Election Commission has made it clear that it sees its role as allowing as many people on the ballot as possible, rather than to properly maintain the integrity of the election process by following both the intent and the letter of the law,” said Alexander.
It's one thing to be upset that her last-minute shenanigans didn't work, but to accuse the Election Commission of cheating and altering official documents? That's definitely a sign of going over the deep end in desperation.

Then again, Alexander has every right to feel a little panicky.  She is not very popular with her racist and bigoted actions.  Furthermore, not many of her fellow conservatives like her very much either and have been quietly distancing themselves from her.

Wal-Mart Loses To Labor Rights. Again.

Wal-Mart was once again found guilty of violating workers' rights when they disciplined workers who were exercising their rights by going on strike:
A National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unlawfully disciplined workers who staged protests in May and June of 2013 and ordered the retailer to reinstate 16 former employees, as well as give them back pay.

Judge Geoffrey Carter ruled that the employee actions were protected under the National Labor Relations Act and that Wal-Mart violated labor laws by "disciplining or discharging several associates because they were absent from work while on strike."

The judge also ordered Wal-Mart to hold a meeting in 29 stores throughout the country to inform employees of their right to strike, and to promise not to threaten or discipline employees for doing so.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the labor-backed group "Our Walmart," which called it a huge victory.
Even though they keep losing these fights, Wal-Mart keeps doing it because they are counting on the workers that don't know their rights or, because of their craptastically low wages, can't afford to fight for their rights.

Is it any wonder why they are one of the biggest funders in the war on unions?

Abele Sandbags Public School Takeover Because Elections

In Milwaukee County, there is a classic battle going on for the seat of Milwaukee County Executive. On one side is the well-moneyed rich, spoiled brat who thinks he can just buy his reelection. On the other side is a wildly popular state senator who is actually progressive and has one helluva grassroots campaign going on.

The incumbent is Chris Abele, son of billionaire John Abele, who feels that because his daddy is rich, he's better than the rest of us. Abele's five years in office has led to the dismantling of civil service protections, repeated efforts to bust the unions (both public and private), the removal of checks and balances in county government by concentrating power in his hands and the takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Abele was rather proud of his working with the Republicans in the state legislature to make sure that he would become the education privatization czar in Milwaukee. For years, Abele and fellow millionaire, Sheldon Lubar, openly said that they were targeting the Milwaukee Public School Board in an effort to privatize the school system. Now that the Republicans gave him what he wanted, he couldn't stop bragging about how great he would make things.

What Abele didn't count on was how unpopular his takeover plans would be. In the face of increasing criticism, Abele is trying to downplay his takeover agenda. Sadly for him, Abele and his allies keep committing gaffes that reveal that he has no intention of scaling back his plans.

His hand-picked Commissioner for Decommissioning Public Schools, Demond Means, scheduled his first "listening" session at a private charter school. After an immediate and large amount of blow back, Abele and his commissioner rescheduled the session for a Milwaukee Public Park. (In what I am sure is pure coincidence that about the same time, Abele's head of corporation counsel said it was OK to have political events at county parks.)

The real giveaway came from Abele's friend, Republican State Senator Alberta Darling, who coauthored the bill giving Abele the power to privatize the Milwaukee school system. In the video below, she came out and said that Abele is waiting until after the April election before fulfilling his role in the takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools:

On the other side of this takeover his Abele's opponent, State Senator Chris Larson, who, as seen in the video at top) is not only standing with the Milwaukee teachers and parents, but is willing to lead the way to taking it to Abele, delivering petitions with over 800 signatures opposing Abele's takeover.

As the gentle reader can see, this race is much, much more than just an election about good government versus a corrupt plutocracy. It is also about the future of our children.

Cross posted from Crooks and Liars

Debunking Governor Walker’s SOTS Claims


MADISON- This evening, Governor Walker is scheduled to give his 2016 State of the State Address in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol at 7:00 p.m.  In advance of the occasion, Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released a useful primer to assist in interpreting the Governor’s most commonly-used statements made during the last few weeks leading up to the address.

1.     The truth behind Wisconsin’s workforce numbers

CLAIM: "We have at least according to two of the statistics from the federal government, the highest number of people last year working in the last 20 years."

In May of 2010, Wisconsin had 3,074,000 people in the labor force (BLS).  In May of 2015, Wisconsin had 3,076,000 people in the labor force. The labor force growth rate over the past 5 years is an anemic 0.01%. Compare that to the growth of Indiana (.41%), Iowa (.31%), and Minnesota (.61%) over the same time period.

CLAIM: "We're one of the top 10 states in terms of the percentage of people in the work force."( 1/17/16

This is not significant or new in any meaningful way. Wisconsin has typically had a higher labor participation rate than the rest of the U.S. going back to 1990. And it was higher than it is now under Governor Jim Doyle. Regionally, it has been higher than all neighboring states except Iowa and Minnesota. 


What is significant is that Wisconsin’s labor participation rate has dropped nearly 6 percentage points since 1995, exceeding all but Indiana and Michigan. This reflects that Wisconsin’s labor force as a percentage of population appears to be shrinking faster than most of our neighboring states.

2.     Low unemployment + slow job growth ≠ successful economic measure

CLAIM: “A recent revised report from the federal government shows that the unemployment rate in Wisconsin is the lowest it has been since the spring of 2001.”

Wisconsin does have low unemployment by almost any measure, although not as low as 15 other states.

So how can our unemployment rate be so low if our job creation rate is so bad?

The answer is that Wisconsin is losing workers at nearly every age level over the prime working years, with more people moving out of the state than are moving in. And the people who are moving out are predominantly 20-to-50 year olds. Had Wisconsin’s population growth stayed at the level consistent with our neighboring states growth rates, we would have had an additional 46,000 state residents 16 and over.  Our low unemployment rate is in part the product of workers who are choosing to leave the state for work.                         (

3.     Job numbers need context

CLAIM: “The 16,600 new jobs created in the month of October is the best monthly jobs gain since April of 1992 and the best October since at least 1990.” And the 45,100 new private sector jobs added October over October is statistically significant.”

It is interesting that the Governor chose to tout October jobs in December, after the newer November numbers had been released.  The 12-month growth in November was nearly 13,000 jobs less than October's 32,400 and trailed neighboring states. A classic example of cherry-picking.

4.     “New businesses” that don’t actually exist.

CLAIM: “There has also been a net increase of over 43,000 new businesses.”

Governor Walker is referencing the number of newly registered "business entities". However, many of these entities have no employees at all, and never will.  According to Politifact, that is because the Governor’s numbers also include non-profits such as youth groups, recreational athletic leagues, and home associations. It also includes thousands of limited-liability companies only set up to function as holding companies, startups, and out-of-state companies that register as a placeholder in case they were to do business in Wisconsin in the future.

5.     “Chief Executive” Magazine

CLAIM: “Chief Executive Magazine today ranked Wisconsin the “12th Best State for Business” in its annual survey of CEOs, an increase of two spots over the 2014 ranking, and a significant increase since 2010, when the state ranked 41st.”

Business leaders were asked to grade states with which they are familiar on a variety of competitive metrics that CEOs themselves regard as critical. These include: 1) taxation and regulation; 2) quality of workforce; and 3) living environment. The tax and regulatory grade includes a measure of how CEOs grade a state’s attitude toward business, a key indicator. “

One of the State Advocate CEOs for Chief Executive.Net Magazine is none other than Diane Hendricks, Chairman of Hendricks Holding, Beloit, WI.  Forbes Magazine estimated Hendricks' March net worth at $2.8 billion. Hendricks and her husband, Kenneth, built ABC Supply. She became chairman of the company after her husband died in 2007. The company posts annual revenue of more than $4 billion.

She was also Scott Walker’s largest donor, and yet owed no state income tax in 2010.

In Summary, the rankings include “a measure of how CEOs grade a state’s attitude toward business, a key indicator.” In this case, how Diane Hendricks, Governor Walker’s largest donor perceives things to be in Wisconsin.

6.     K-12 education: taking credit from decades of investment

CLAIM:   “Schools are doing better.”            
  “High school graduation rates are up again — now ranking third in the nation.”                       
  “Reading/Math scores are up in fourth and eighth grades.”
  “ACT scores are second best in the nation.”

Most 2015 Wisconsin high school graduates started school in 2000 or 2001. Fourth graders started school in 2008 or 2009.  Eighth graders started school in 2004 or 2005.  The point is that the achievement at any of these levels is not a snapshot of momentary success.  It is the product of investments made in public education in our state over time.

Under Governor Walker and Republicans, K-12 GPR School Aids have lost more than $1 Billion ($1.05 Billion).  Recent cuts in state education spending, no matter how damaging, take years to work their way through the system as students moved from grade to grade.

Wisconsin is just beginning to feel the effects of Act 10 as there are fewer teachers, fewer students enrolling in teaching programs and a reduction in education licensing. 

7.     The UW System: When less is actually less.

CLAIM: “For the first time in University of Wisconsin history, in-state tuition is frozen at all UW campuses for four years in a row. That makes college more affordable for our students and working families.”

The UW System has lost $795 million in state aid since Governor Walker became Governor. In the strongest national economy in a decade, Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature cut $250 million in the most recent budget from our UW system. These cuts will lead to fewer courses offered and longer graduation times.  And the low morale is leading to high faculty turnover as talented professors leave for other states.