One Wisconsin Now Blog

February 2011 Archives

There has been justifiable outrage over Gov. Scott Walker's candid and controversial conversation with a blogger he thought was billionaire conservative money-machine David Koch.

In the conversation, Gov. Walker admitted that he was using threatened layoffs as a political cudgel to try and break the will of the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who have mobilized across the state in opposition to the Walker's bill. Walker says:

So, we're trying about 4 or 5 different angles and each day we crank up a little bit more pressure, but the other thing I've got layoff notices ready, we'll put out the at-risk notices, we'll announce Thursday, they'll go out early next week, probably get 5 to 6,000 state workers will get at risk notices of layoffs, we might rachet that up a little bit too.

It was a shocking admission. The governor of the state of Wisconsin using the livelihoods of thousands and thousands as his weapon to defeat his political opponents. And he was willing to brag about it.

To any of us who have watched the way Gov. Walker operates and his willingness to put partisan politics above all else, it had a familiar ring.

Turns out, Walker did a similar thing in November 2009, admitting to Madison radio host Sly that he was threatening pink slips for workers just before the holidays "to get their attention."

Here's the audio clip from that broadcast November 2, 2009:

They got all worked up over announcing layoffs - we don't announce them in a public forum, we actually allow supervisors and managers in their own departments to tell people about those. Somehow, the County Board after seven and a half years of me being here thinks I'm gonna change the process from what we've done every time before. In the end, I actually drew Holloway in and the Finance and Audit Committee Chairman in Friday and said, 'I've got an alternative,' - they went along with it and so, we avoided layoffs for now, and instead may be looking at additional furlough days or other additional things in the future to keep the budget intact.

But I needed to get their attention to show how serious we were about having a balanced budget.

It is appalling that in the midst of unemployment and economic uncertainty, Gov. Walker only cares about serving his Wall Street masters, appeasing donors like Koch and using any and all means necessary to attack the rights of working men and women.

All of this is a reminder about what Gov. Walker's real motivations are.

And why during his 20-minute call with "David," none of the shared sacrifice Walker has professed to want was mentioned.

100,000 strong (PHOTO)

I stitched together shots from a video One Wisconsin Now made, showing the clear public opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker using the government to take away the rights of workers. See the full image here.

 

Ok, go ahead and say it... "This is what democracy looks like!"

The GOP-controlled state Assembly's shameful and possibly illegal action in the middle of the night Thursday to ram through Gov. Scott Walker effort to use the government to take away the rights of Wisconsin workers has hit a number of hurdles -- including hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who continue to rally across the state.

Turns out the biggest hurdle may be that Walker himself, who vowed not to allow legislation to pass between the hours of 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. Since the Assembly quick-gaveled the bill out of their chamber a few moments after 1 a.m., this would seem to violate Walker's policy and force Walker to refuse to sign the bill.

ThinkProgress has more:
http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/25/walker-midnight/

Below are excerpts from U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis regarding the on-going situation in Wisconsin and the efforts to take away the rights of America's workers:


I've been following the developments in Wisconsin, and Ohio, and many other states across the country.

We know that many states are facing tough budget decisions. We know that there's room for shared sacrifice.

And we've seen our brothers and sisters in the public employees unions willing to give their share, and to negotiate in good faith to help their states get through tough times.

But the governors in Wisconsin and Ohio aren't just asking workers to tighten their belts, they're demanding that they give up their uniquely American rights as workers.

These are our neighbors, our friends, our family. They teach our kids and risk their lives to keep us safe.  And all they're asking is to be treated with respect.

All these workers want is the opportunity to sit down at the table, like grown ups, and work together to solve problems.

That's what collective bargaining is all about.

We know that sitting down together and working through problems doesn't cause budget problems.  In fact, that's how we solve budget problems.

In every family in America, that's what they do when times are tough. They talk. They negotiate. And that's what these Governors ought to do.

Wisconsin to Walker: 'Just Say No' to Koch

The nation has found out, the dirty little secret that we in Wisconsin have known for some time. That Governor Scott Walker has a serious Koch problem.

But that's the way it with Koch. Gov. Walker thought, I can handle it. I can quit anytime I want to. Only I don't want to.

So, it's up to us. We have to get Gov. Walker off his Koch bender. We have to keep Koch from affecting the Governor's ability to do his job. We have to and we are staging a statewide intervention to get Gov. Walker to kick his Koch habit once and for all.

Governor Walker took forty-three thousand dollars in Koch money. Worse, one million dollars of Koch-fueled mayhem went to the Republican Governors Association. The Republican Governors Association spent five million dollars to elect Scott Walker our Governor. And now the Koch's personal front group, Americans for Petroleum...er, Prosperity, is running hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads on teevee trying to convince Wisconsin that Gov. Walker is right. But, we know - you and I and people across this state - Gov. Walker's budget deal is wrong for workers, wrong for families, wrong for taxpayers and wrong for Wisconsin.

And I guess it's no surprise, when Gov. Walker thought his main Koch dealer was on the phone the other day - he picked it up to get another fix. You heard the call. Talking about sending in goon squads disrupt our mission, and using the economic livelihoods of 5,000 working men and women and political chess pieces to "rachet things up." Well, it's Gov. Walker, so maybe it's not something as intellectual as chess. How about checkers?

So, this is where we're at Wisconsin. And here's what we're going to do about it.

When it comes to the Koch money or this Koch fueled undemocratic plan, we need to send a three word message.

Just Say No.

In every corner of Wisconsin. In every city and every town and every village, Wisconsinites are standing up, speaking loud and saying three simple words: Just Say No.

Just Say No.

When Governor Walker puts Wall Street ahead of Working Families, Just Say No.

When Gov. Walker attacks health care for one million Wisconsinites and jacks the price of prescription drug costs for seniors, Just Say No.

When Gov. Walker threatens the quality of our schools and our kids' education by taking away the voice of teachers serving in the classrooms everyday when it comes to class sizes, curriculum and other school quality issues, Just Say No.

When Gov. Walker refuses to sit down with working men and women after they gave him the financial tools to solve our budget shortfall, Just Say No.

And when Gov. Walker's tries to send in the government to seize the rights of working men and women across the magnificent state, my friends what are going to scream as loud and as long as necessary until he stops this attack on our way of life in Wisconsin, in a united voice, Just Say No.

Now is the time

Friends,

One Wisconsin Now has been fully deployed in the unprecedented battle for the rights of working families since the moment Scott Walker attacked working families and our way of life.

All of our skills, talents and time have been devoted as never before to a single-minded purpose: Stopping Scott Walker’s assault on working families.

We’re not alone in the fight, and we need your help. This fight costs money. Can you help us during this extraordinary time with the most-generous contribution you are able? If you can support us with $50, please do. If you can help with $500, now is the time. I promise we will put every dime to use. Click the link below to help us fight for you:

https://secure3.convio.net/pn/site/Donation2?df_id=1464&1464.donation=form1

Fight for Wisconsin! Donate.

I don’t want to ask you for money. But for me this fight is personal. It’s why I’ve been in the Capitol, every single day with tens of thousands of my fellow Wisconsinites in solidarity against this hideous bill.

See, when my dad lost his job because the country’s collapsing manufacturing base, it was my mom’s union teaching job that kept us from losing our home and losing our hope.

It’s as simple as that.

So, I’ll be damned if the organization I run isn’t going to spend every waking moment digging up information, getting it to the public and convincing the people what you and I know -- that Walker’s bill is a nightmare. A disaster. A fraud. For ALL working families.

Working men and women have agreed to Walker’s financial demands. But he won’t negotiate. He wants capitulation. He wants surrender.

Scott Walker wants to reward Wall Street and he wants working families to pay for it. We need jobs and Scott Walker simply doesn't care about Wisconsin's middle class. Pure and simple.

We have stood every day with our allies in labor, our progressive partners and hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites. We haven’t flinched. We won’t back down. And we know we're not alone in this fight. You've helped us collect over 20,000 petitions telling local legislators to kill this bill. Let's keep fighting. Please click this link to help us fight for you:

https://secure3.convio.net/pn/site/Donation2?df_id=1464&1464.donation=form1

Your support will make sure we keep fighting. Together.

scot

PS: Please keep coming to speak out during this indefinite mobilization, in Madison and at events and rallies that continue in places all across Wisconsin. Your voice is critical. These are extraordinary times and your investment in our fight is critical.

Morning Must-Read: 2/24/2011

Don't believe everything you hear. Today's must-read stories all involve misleading or false statements from Republican Gov. Scott Walker about his extreme attempt to take away workers' rights.

Walker: Claim on health insurance savings for public schools. FALSE.

Walker: Absent state senators violating ethics. FALSE.

Walker: "Almost all" of the protesters are now from out of state. FALSE.

Walker: I campaigned on eliminating collective bargaining. FALSE.

The Complete Scott Walker-'David Koch' Transcript

While Gov. Scott Walker hasn't been willing with, or even talk to, Wisconsin's workers, he was more than willing to take a call from someone he thought was gazillionaire David Koch.

Of course, Gov. Walker would take the call. Koch Industries gave Walker's campaign $43,000 and now Koch propaganda machine, Americans for Prosperity, is spending $320,000 to support Walker's effort to use the government to take away the rights of working families.

Well, here's the transcript. Read for yourself how Walker brags about using layoff threats to bully and intimidate working families into submission.

Working families have offered to meet Walker on all of his financial demands. But they aren't willing to lose their rights.

This call confirms everything the 74 percent of Wisconsinites who oppose Walker's plan already know: Walker doesn't care at all about our Wisconsin values. He's just a pawn of Wall Street interests and the Koch fiends.

And he's gullible to boot.

Morning Must-Read: 2/23/2011

Scott Walker's nasty Koch habit. Turns out, Republican Gov. Scott Walker's extreme attempt to take away the rights or workers in Wisconsin is all apart of the billionaire Koch brothers corporate, upper-class agenda. Read more in today's must-read stories:

Koch brothers quietly open lobbying office in downtown Madison

Billionaire Brothers' Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute

"David Koch" calls Scott Walker

Walker Rhetoric: "Our measure asks for a 5.8% contribution to the pension, and a 12.6% contribution for health insurance premiums."

Reality: "In fast-moving events Friday: Leaders of the state's biggest public worker unions said they would give in to the governor's demand for concessions on workers' benefits if Walker would give up his bid to repeal nearly all public union bargaining rights; Walker rejected that offer, saying government needed more flexibility in dealing with its employees; and the governor's address on the next two-year budget was delayed by a week." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/19/11]

Reality: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said today he won't accept a compromise that would make the removal of collective bargaining rights for public workers temporary. Walker told MSNBC that every Republican other than Sen. Dale Schultz, who is proposing the compromise, will vote for Walker's original plan. Walker wants to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights for everything except salary increases higher than the Consumer Price Index." [USA Today, 2/21/11]

Reality: "Although union leaders and Wisconsin Democratic Senators are offering to accept the wage and benefit concessions Gov. Scott Walker is demanding, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said today a bill taking away collective bargaining rights from public employees is not negotiable.
Democrats and union leaders said they're willing to agree to the parts of Walker's budget repair bill that would double their health insurance contributions and require them to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary to their pensions." [Milwaukee BizTimes, 2/18/11]

Walker Rhetoric: "It's about Wisconsin families trying to make ends meet and help their children."

Reality: "Walker's Department of Health Services could unilaterally change state laws dealing with the programs, which affect more than a million state residents from infants to the elderly and include a spectrum of BadgerCare plans, FamilyCare, and SeniorCare." [Capital Times, 2/14/11]

Reality: "Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill would give his administration sweeping powers to reshape state health programs covering more than 1 million state residents." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/14/11]

Reality: "The Walker Administration wants sweeping new power over the state's Medicaid program known as BadgerCare. Joe Muellenberg opposes such a change; he's a nutrition educator who is concerned about poor families not getting benefits they need. Muellenberg says, 'I work with many low income children, many of them who are supported by Medicaid; families that need that help and with the proposed legislation in the bill its giving the governor unprecedented rights.'" [Wisconsin Public Radio, 2/22/11]

Walker Rhetoric: "The legislation I put forward is about one thing: It's about balancing our budget. Now, and in the future. Wisconsin faces a $137 million deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year. And a $3.6 billion deficit for the upcoming budget."

Reality: In less than one month, Gov. Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature added $140 million in new special interest spending that increases the deficit and will not create jobs.

Reality: Walker is spending $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation that still has $73 million due to a lack of job creation. Walker is creating a $25 million hole which will not create or retain jobs. If it had created any jobs, they would already have applied for and received the tax credits, because there's plenty of money already in the program. [Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 1/7/11]

Reality: Walker is spending $48 million for private health savings accounts, which primarily benefit the wealthy. A study from the federal Governmental Accountability Office showed the average adjusted gross income of HSA participants was $139,000 and nearly half of HSA participants reported withdrawing nothing from their HSA, evidence that it is serving as a tax shelter for wealthy participants. [Government Accountability Office, 4/1/08; Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 1/11/11]

Reality: Walker is spending $67 million for a tax shift plan, so ill-conceived that at-best the benefit provided to job creators would be less than a dollar a day per new job, and may be as little as 30 cents a day. This is hardly an incentive that will lead to new family-supporting jobs being created in Wisconsin. [Associated Press, 1/28/01]

Walker Rhetoric: "The bill I put forward isn't aimed at state workers. And it certainly isn't a battle with unions. If it was, we would eliminated collective bargaining entirely."

Reality: "Public employees were reeling Friday trying to figure out what to do after Gov. Scott Walker asked the Legislature to remove nearly all collective bargaining rights for teachers, prison guards and other government workers across Wisconsin." [WISN-TV, 2/11/11]

Reality: "Wisconsin is poised to strip collective bargaining rights from most of the state's 175,000 public employees in the boldest step by a new Republican governor and Legislature to solve budget problems by confronting organized labor." [Associated Press, 2/15/11]

Reality: "If Walker gets his way, state workers will lose virtually all power to negotiate over compensation and the unions themselves will become far weaker." [The New Republic, 2/22/11]

Morning Must-Read: 2/22/2011

This is what a real grassroots movement looks like. Wisconsin's hard-working middle class continues to make history as its effort to stop extreme Republican Gov. Scott Walker from taking the way the rights of workers is felt across the country... and world.

Wisconsin protests spill into Ohio

Indiana House Democrats leave state, Wisconsin style

Protesters in North Carolina call for collective bargaining

West Virginia workers rally to support Wisconsin

Leader Of Egyptian Unions To Wisconsin Protesters: 'We Stand With You As You Stood With Us'

 

Breitbart wrong: Wisconsinites making history

Over the last week, literally hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites have flooded our state's capital city to show support for the rights of workers. Union, non-union, public sector, private sector, students, teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, and every middle-class Wisconsinite in between has shown up in numbers that dwarf the Koch brother-financed gatherings we encountered the last two years.

But that isn't stopping professional blogger Andrew Breitbart from flying 1,600 miles from his home in Los Angeles, California to make the inaccurate assertion to Wisconsin's floundering tea party fringe that those staked out in the Capitol are nothing more than outsiders.

Never one to rely on credible sources anyway, Breitbart's fabrication is nothing more than political rhetoric that has no basis in fact. The truth is: hard-working folks from every corner and every single legislative district in our state has been alerted the huge injustice Republican Gov. Scott Walker is trying to shove into his so-called "Budget Repair Bill."

Make no mistake: the whole world is watching our historic fight against corporate America's assault on working men and women, but it's the men and women of Wisconsin who have stormed the Capitol for the last six days, united in this fight to protect our rights and our way of life. 

Morning Must-Read: 2/18/2011

Today's stories are all about the growing consensus among Wisconsin's leaders that Gov. Scott Walker's "Budget Repair Bill" does nothing substantially to address the budget.

Kind urges Walker to withdraw budget proposal

Report: Wisconsin Public Employees are NOT Over-compensated

Editorial: Budget bill anything but repair for Wisconsin

Legislature giving up too much on rules to governor

Morning Must-Read: 2/16/2011

Today's top stories are videos from the ongoing rally at the Capitol to stop Gov. Scott Walker's unprecedented power grab.

Kill the Bill - Stop Gov. Walker's Budget Repair Bill

SOLIDARITY at the rally

Stop the Budget Repair Bill - Early Morning Edition

Morning Must-Read: 2/15/2011

Today's stories are all about the rally from thousands and thousands and thousands of Wisconsinites from all across the state, urging local legislators to vote against Gov. Scott Walker's radical attempt to use government to take away the rights of middle-class workers.

Thousands rally against Scott Walker using gov't to take away workers' rights

Wisconsin fight over union power trickles down to city level in Appleton

Stoughton students walk out of class to protest Walker's moves

Viroqua students walk out in opposition to Walker bill

Another suprise buried in Walker's undemocratic, unbalanced and potentially unconstitutional budget adjustment bill is the return of a $23 million federal grant for installation of high speed internet in 380 communities areas across Wisconsin. The reason given for returning the money: the requirements of the federal grant were too "burdensome."

State Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) said Walker's administration was hurting the state.

"Not only is he turning away construction jobs that would have come with the federal grant to expand broadband fiber to schools and libraries across Wisconsin, but he's closing off potential to business growth that comes with bridging the digital divide," Pocan said. "What's worse, the root of his decision wasn't what was in the best interest of Wisconsin, rather the best interest of his big telecommunications campaign donors."

Employees of AT&T Inc. and its political action committee donated more than $20,000 to Walker's campaign, nearly three times more than the $7,600 they donated to his opponent, Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

School and library associations said they were disappointed in the decision since many rural communities, especially, lack fast broadband connections.

For the immediate future, libraries will probably be able to increase their bandwidth with the existing infrastructure. But long term, not having the additional fiber-optic cable is a loss, said Lisa Strand, executive director of the Wisconsin Library Association.

"This really could have been a boon for the state," Strand said.

See OWN's full release here.

Walker campaigned on cutting state spending on BadgerCare, he hired a budget director who has advocated states should opt out of the federal Medicaid program, and now he buries in the budget adjustment bill (after saying he wouldn't put "policy" items into fiscal budget bills) a policy that would allow him to make substantial changes to BadgerCare without legislative approval. He could change eligibility, cut procedures covered, raise co-pays and fees, whatever he wants, to cut adults and children from receiving affordable health care.

He's chasing jobs out of the state that don't suit his social agenda or WMC cronies (high speed rail, wind energy, rural broadband), increasing our long-term debt to pay for tax cuts to his CEO campaign donors, and making unprecedented power grabs: taking over the rule-making process from the legislature, eliminating the rights of state workers, teachers and nurses to negotiate fair wages, benefits and terms of employment, and pushing legislators out of their role of determining who deserves adequate affordable health care in this state.

Oh, and lets not forget the money he's spending to create new jobs in every agency for his political cronies. Does state government really need $3 million more in press secretaries and political attorneys?

If you're as outraged as we are by Walker's undemocratic and unhinged power grab, sign this petition, ask your friends to sign this petition, and call your state legislators pronto to urge them to vote No on Walker's power grab.

Morning Must-Read: 2/14/2011

Is political payback Walker's motive?

"Walker wants to make sure just about everyone who works for the government can't negotiate their working conditions -- except for local police, firefighters and state troopers. "

 

Veterans object to governor's threatened use of national guard in union dispute

Veterans are strongly objecting to Governor Scott Walker's inappropriate threat to activate the National Guard to intimidate state workers, as his administration moves forward with plans to break up workers' unions

Scott Walker has done the unthinkable.

Friday, Gov. Walker made the shocking announcement that he plans to use the government to strip away the rights workers in Wisconsin. And he's willing to call out the National Guard to enforce his unprecedented power grab.

Stand with workers, right now, and sign our petition demanding your legislator vote against Gov. Walker's proposal to take away rights from working Wisconsinites.

http://onewisconsinnow.pnstate.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=825

We need to send a message to our representatives at the Capitol that Wisconsin is united against Gov. Walker's assault on workers in our state. Gov. Walker refused to even meet with public employees, something which Republican and Democratic governors have done in good faith for the past half century. Public employees offered $100 million in concessions and Walker responded by refusing to even meet with them.

Gov. Walker has shoved these abhorrent proposals - such as ending collective bargaining, raiding health programs, and selling state assets to benefit business - in a so-called budget repair bill, but make no mistake: this plan does not create jobs and it will increase our long-term debt.

Why, when unemployment in Wisconsin is so high, would Gov. Walker propose a plan that would use government to take away the rights of people that still are working? Why, after he increased the deficit with a $140 million special interest giveaway, would Gov. Walker propose a budget repair bill that does nothing to repair the budget?

Tell your legislator you oppose this government scheme to take away rights in Wisconsin.

http://onewisconsinnow.pnstate.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=825

With this bill, Gov. Walker puts himself in charge of independent agencies, he strips away collective bargaining rights so he can personally dictate winners and losers and give himself the power to unilaterally cut people from BadgerCare and SeniorCare without a vote of the full legislature.

It's unthinkable. But he's trying to do it. And we have to stop him.

Demand your legislator vote against the appalling budget repair bill Gov. Walker has proposed, and get your friends and family to do the same. Don't wait. Wisconsin's workers need you to take action right now.

http://onewisconsinnow.pnstate.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=825

Thank you for all you do,

scot

PS: A massive mobilization is being planned at the State Capitol this Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are able, please come and show your support for the rights of working Wisconsinites. The events begin at 11a.m. both days. Together, we must stop Gov. Walker's plan dead in its tracks.

Morning Must-Read: 2/11/2011

Walker says National Guard ready to strike down workers

Following his announcement that he and the government would be taking away the rights of thousands and thousands workers, Scott Walker said the National Guard is on standby should there be any unrest.

 

Walker creates jobs... in Illinois 

Scott Walker gave away high speed rail money to other states, now trainmaker Talgo is deciding to move its factory from Wisconsin to Illinois.

 

Walker administration trying to kill health, health care law

Gov. Scott Walkers insurance commissioner turned away health care money that would, among other things, "help people choose among public and private insurance options and appeal denials of care."

Morning Must-Read: 2/10/2011

Walker budget repair plan: more long-term debt, working families under attack?
Following his revenue-reducing special interest giveaway, Scott Walker prepares to make huge cuts to health care, education, and other middle-class priorities.

Prosser-ally Gableman under attack by court candidates
The controversy surrounding Mike Gableman isn't fading, as his ally on the bench, David Prosser, enters the limelight.

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune. Voter ID bill sparks concerns 
Growing consensus says Voter ID is unnecessary, harmful to our right to vote.

Early last week Wisconsin Family Action made a thrilling announcement: Republican Gov. Scott Walker had issued a National Marriage Week proclamation! While many view the week as nothing more than a thinly-veiled attack on same-sex couples and the voices in the LGBT community, the GOP often jumps at the chance to appease their ultra-conservative base by, y'know, issuing proclamations and such.

Well, as chance would have it, two pieces of news come to us today -- hump day -- right in the middle of "National Marriage Week."

First, this, from Gawker:

Rep. Christopher Lee is a married Republican congressman serving the 26th District of New York. But when he trolls Craigslist's "Women Seeking Men" forum, he's Christopher Lee, "divorced" "lobbyist" and "fit fun classy guy."

Uh oh. Hypocritical GOPer -1 : National Marriage Week - 0.

And now, this, from our friends at Progress Michigan:

Enter state Rep. Paul Scott, who has called himself the Tiger Woods of the GOP.

Turns out the two have more in common than a good smile.

Scott announced yesterday that he is expecting a child with a former staffer, Mandy Grove. He calls impending fatherhood "the greatest thing that's ever happened to me."

So, the hypocrisy level on the right-wing is high this week, but as those on the left know, it's actually not too uncommon. (See: Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Charlie Sykes, Ted Haggard, Mark Sanford.)

Look, it's one thing to have a few marriages or a few affairs. It's another thing to court the extreme right-wing base hellbent on denying the right of same-sex couples to be recognized by their own government as a married, all while posting hawt pix of your married self on Craigslist for "Women Seeking Men."

Morning Must-Read: 2/9/2011

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have a lot in common. Both are Republicans. Both put corporate interests before the interests of people. And heck, when I went to google a pic of Rick Scott, I found this:

The similarities are uncanny I tell yas. But here is where they ARE different:

"Walker is expected this week to sign legislation abolishing the State's Commerce Department and replacing it with the Wisconsin  Economic Development Corporation, a public-private agency that will market the state to outside companies.

Last week, Scott unveiled plans to do just the opposite: Restore his state's Department of Commerce, 15 years after it was axed to make way for a public-private hybrid criticized for failing to bring enough business to the state. Scott has said returning the economic development job to the Commerce Department will allow him to better respond to the state's business needs."

Apparently, for as much as Wisconsin's Scott talks about what other states are doing, he's not taking a hint from Florida's Scott on privatization of the Commerce Department.

Perhaps Scott Walker should read about other states' experiences with said privatization plan:

"In Texas, state leaders have gone after officials with TexasOne for making stock deals that cross the line into conflicts of interest. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation got in trouble last year after awarding $9.1 million in tax credits to a convicted embezzler. And recently, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation came under intense scrutiny for inflating job creation numbers and resisting efforts to open its books to the public."

Here's what another Scott, Scott Spector from AFT-Wisconsin, had to say about the plan: "You find me one state where this idea has been a rousing success... You can't do it."

There you have it, a tale of two (three, I guess) Scotts.

[Wisconsin State Journal]

Morning Must-Read: 2/8/2011

Nepotism Alert: During sticky negotiations, Walker gives Fitzgeralds' fathers six-figure job
"Members of the Fitzgerald family now hold key positions in the state Senate, Assembly and law enforcement. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, holds the position of Senate Majority Leader and his younger brother, Jeff, is Assembly Speaker."

Walker Commerce privatizing plan has failed around the country
While Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker looks to privatize the Commerce Dept., Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott looks to restore Florida's after years of failed privatization

GOP repealing insurance bill meant to protect consumers
The GOP's not-creating-jobs agenda includes repealing an insurance bill that protects consumers

Implementation of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law has not stopped in Wisconsin, even though Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen declared the law dead earlier this week.

...

But Van Hollen is not able to order an end to implementation and he said Thursday that he has not advised fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker to halt it.

...

In addition to requiring the exchanges, the federal law bars insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, eliminates lifetime caps on coverage and allows families to keep children on their policies until age 26.

 

[AP via Green Bay Press-Gazette]

Morning Must-Read: 2/7/2011

Neuenfeldt, Abelson: Workers concerned about quality
"Rhetoric that demonizes public workers, seeking deep cuts without recognizing the reality of deep consequences, does little to balance the books and even less to make sure that vital services are delivered consistently and well."

How about people first?
"Business first really means people first? Not necessarily. Besides, the state constitution begins: We, the people."

Appleton Alderman, others weigh in against voter ID
Opposition to the 21st Century poll tax -- a.k.a. Voter ID -- continues to mount.

Morning Must-Read: 2/4/2011

La Crosse Tribune tells Walker "it's time for details"
"But it's time for Walker to be upfront with the people of Wisconsin about where it's going to hurt -- and how much. You can't fix a $258 million deficit this year -- and a projected $3.2 billion shortfall by 2013 -- without making some painful, unpopular cuts if you're not planning to raise revenue."

Paul Ryan comes up short on keeping promise
Ryan's plan only makes $74 billion in disastrous cuts, well below $100 billion the GOP promised.

Walker ignored "education" in State of the State address
Does that surprise anyone?

Rep. Joel Herbert Hoover Kleefisch

Mercifully, GOP Gov. Scott Walker's "special interest" session is coming to an expensive end.

Taking away rights for victims, less accountability for tens of millions of dollars in taxpayers funds, paybacks to corporate contributors and a $140 million spending spree that will likely create zero jobs have been the GOP's offerings to deal with rampant job loss and a $3.3 billion deficit.

Leave it to Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) to channel Herbert Hoover in the midst of Republicans offering the same failied schemes of rich guy and big business tax cuts-n-massive deregulation to rig non-free market.

During debate yesterday, here's what Kleefisch had to say:

There is a mom and a dad in the Green Bay area eating mac and cheese (with their children). And they wish they could put some hot dogs in the mac and cheese but they can't afford it.'

So, if you're keeping score...

Herbert Hoover 1928: A CHICKEN IN EVERY POT

Joel Kleefisch 2011: A HOT DOG IN EVERY MAC-N-CHEESE

The same old, same old, conservative failure. You can't make this stuff up.



Morning Must-Read: 2/3/2011

Emerging technologies threatened under Walker bad decisions
"Some are wondering whether Gov. Scott Walker, despite his "open for business" mantra, and the new Legislature share the same enthusiasm for emerging technologies and the promise of high-paying jobs."

JB Van Hollen clueless on law regarding health care denial lawsuit
Supporters of health reform accused Van Hollen of jumping to conclusions about the health care law

Jeff Stone's Self Serving Use of Referendums
"Apparently it is only important to hear from voters when it either aids his political ambitions or when they agree with his already established positions."

 

Morning Must-Read: 2/1/2011

Will Walker pull the plug on BadgerCare programs in State of the State?
Stayed tuned tonight to find out

Sheboygan Press raises red flag
GOP overstepping authority, setting bad precedent

Black History Month: Help create a more harmonious society
"[W]e're encouraging readers to commemorate and celebrate Black History Month this February, we also hope the lessons of these four weeks can carry on throughout the year."