Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dirt Roads Return under Scott Walker!!!

Goodbye summer construction jobs, hello gravel roads. I wish I was kidding.

Why Scott Walker's record as Milwaukee County Executive wasn't warning enough, I'll never know. This political cartoon couldn't have made it more obvious.

Scott Walker is taking us back to simpler time. Dirt roads are returning, thanks to the "kick the can down the dirt road" Republican Party and their no tax pledge. Transporting goods and services might get a little bumpy.

This jaw dropping story is too bizarre for words, but it's real and actually happening under the Walker Administration. Think what he could as president. Channel3000:

Town Chairman Larry Harding: "There's 101,000 miles of roads in the state of Wisconsin, and the towns have 61,000 of those miles. Yet we get 33 percent of the transportation aid returned back to fix roads with," he said. "Instead of paving and chip sealing and pothole-filling, we would just take a grader, and the road would be graded just like back in the 30s," he said.

Public Works Director Ben Coopman added the town of Avon has already begun converting its roads to gravel, then putting a thin layer of oil over the rocks, a procedure he said is about two-thirds the cost of paving a road.

Who knew State Republicans commited Copy Cat Howling over UW Surplus, just like in other states.

No new ideas, just attack, attack, attack.

College funding has always been on the chopping block by irresponsible Republican lawmakers, who just hate not just government that works, but the big money they add to the state coffers.  

The phony outrage by Sen. Mike Ellis and Rep. Robin Vos has been exposed. I wonder if the idiot Democratic followers feel just as dirty?
jsonline: Republican leadership in Kansas is calling for a 4% cut in state funding for the public university system because they say a $422 million cash balance the universities are sitting on in various funds could be redirected to pay for other expenses.

The list of states that have wrangled over how much cash their public university systems should keep on hand is growing, as the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin's Republican leadership debate the same thing. The cash balance for the UW System is $648 million, though system officials say that individual campuses have plans for all but $207 million.
Here's the best come back yet about the business aspects of public colleges. 
"I’m confused as to why this keeps being brought up as an option, when it clearly is not," said Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU. "No business would operate as is being suggested by going months without the funds needed to pay its employees and vendors. The university is following sensible and universally accepted business practices,” Caboni said.

Lawsuit Crazy Wisconsin Republicans go after Kids and Parents for Underage Drinking. Tort Reform my Ass.

It's the police and litigation state of Wisconsin. Didn't we just protect corporations from lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise, with tort reform?

Yes. But suing the public, by business…are you getting it yet?

I thought all that legal stuff just got in the way of doing business? This just might be the tip of the lawsuit iceberg where Republicans tip the scales in favor of businesses in the courts.

Police state/litigation state, Republican style. Sadly, a few of our dumbest and apparently punitive Democratic lawmakers bought into the scheme as well. They need challengers and shown the exit.

What other way can we drain Wisconsinites of their hard earned money to benefit business and slow the economy? Don’t worry, Republicans are working on that as we speak. When Rep. Andre Jacque starts looking like a legislative genius, there’s really nothing left to protest.
jsonline: A Wisconsin Assembly committee has passed a bill that would allow bar or liquor store owners to sue minors who use fake IDs to buy alcohol illegally … Under the legislation from Rep. Andre Jacque (R-DePere), those cited for underage drinking would be subject to a small claims court fine of $1,000 to the bar or liquor store owner if they use a fake ID. Retailers must provide notice of the law and immediately report violations.

Parents would be responsible for the $1000 fine when minors are involved. The bill has garnered support from both Democrats and Republicans.
These comments were worth thinking about:

Wait, if you know it's a fake ID then it's illegal to sell the minor the booze. If you do your due diligence and the ID still ends up beings fake, the business isn't on the hook for any fines or liquor licenses suspension. What would they actually be suing for, wasting the employee’s time?

Good idea as long as people are allowed to sue bars that serve intoxicated patrons.

The article says the bar owner or liquor store owner can sue if the minor uses a fake id to buy liquor. Not if the minor attempts to buy liquor. If the id isn't checked before the alcohol is sold, then the bar owner is in trouble. Maybe it is just sloppy reporting which is not uncommon here. Also, will the bar owner or liquor store owner have to prove damages in the amount of $1000? This whole thing is starting to stink.

What Makes Republicans Act this Stupid...part 1,257?

For a party that likes small government, they're sure busy writing rules and regulations centeried around the unnaturally holy and idolized...gun. Can the preservation of a guns life, from inception, be to far behind?

I'm not sure where in the constitution we're guaranteed anonymity? For me, gun assholes just stepped over the line, where they're now just shoving this crap in the face of victims and their families for the fun of it. These people are ghouls.
Brewer signed a second bill on Monday that bans any city, town, or county from collecting or maintaining of any identifying information about a person who owns or sells a firearm.

Leaders? Job Creators? Tax Cutting Republican Governors get the big "F"

Shouldn't we be focusing on the records of all these highly touted Republicans governors mentioned as presidential contenders?

It looks like we’re seeing similar patterns of “job creation” between governors like Scott Walker (45th), John Kasich (27) and Chris Christie (47). See if this isn't a case of déjà vu all over again:
Citybeat: The “economic miracle” often touted by Gov. John Kasich is not really happening.

The right-leaning Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, which supports little government intervention in the economy, released the March “Ohio by the Numbers” report, (which) pointed out the state lost 16,800 private sector jobs in February, ranks No. 27 in the nation for private sector job growth since January 2010 and ranks No. 47 for private sector job growth since January 1990.

Policy Matters’ March report was similarly harsh:  “…growth leveled off in the second half of 2012, and the reported zigzag of the last two months means that Ohio has only added 2,700 jobs over the past year, growing at a very weak 0.1 percent … it is clear that the 2005 tax cuts did not bring about the promised job growth. There is no reason to think that further tax cuts will, either.”

Instead, Policy Matters has focused on austerity, which led to the public sector job cuts outlined in Policy Matters’ March report: “A private-sector gain of 16,900 jobs has been nearly erased by the 14,200 jobs lost in the public sector. Most of those public job losses happened at the local level.”
 And what of Gov. Chris Christie? Bloomberg had this: 
Jobs have emerged as a potential weakness for Christie. An April 10 Rutgers-Eagleton poll (showed) only 42 percent were positive about his handling of employment and the economy. New Jersey’s failure to keep up with its neighbors has Christie defending his job-creation policies, which include tax cuts and less business regulation. New Jersey was one of seven states whose economy shrank in 2011. It ranked 47th in terms of growth in its gross domestic product, according to U.S. Commerce Department statistics. 

The Suzy Favor Hamilton story continues...

I love the comment made in the last paragraph below. What a wonderful compliment? I guess it is:
Cap Times; After the Smoking Gun website broke the news back in December about Favor Hamilton's
escort work, the State Journal followed up and quoted Hamilton, via email, saying, "This
is all very much related to my depression, and my psychologist is helping me understand and get a hold of it."

But the Elle article goes deeper … Madison resident Louisa Kamps, contributing editor to Elle magazine,  wrote the 4,200-word article, titled Crash of the Titan. The author also talks of a Madison friend of Favor Hamilton, who still lives in Madison.

"While initially shocked to hear Suzy was working as a call girl, her friend says that
after thinking about it, 'I really wasn’t surprised, because she likes being the center of attention — and not in a bad way.' Suzy had 'a very hard time turning 40,' she adds. 'And for someone who used to draw all this attention,' and suddenly doesn’t get it as often, wouldn’t it be exciting, she says, to 'hear someone saying you are worth $600 per hour?'"

Walker leads the “Kick the can down the road” party. The “No-tax Pledge” Straight Jacket Road to Disaster.

The title says it all. This is called deferred maintenance, and if you’re a home owner, that can only mean big trouble and costly patchwork. This is also the ratcheting down effect Republicans love to see happen to government. But there are philosophical flaws:
1. You can’t raise taxes or fees, even when it pertains to a changing transportation formula adversely affected by fuel efficient cars. Family cut backs in driving have also played a major role since the recession.

2. Only using incoming tax dollars based on economic growth, which may be too slow and too unpredictable. It puts off decision making, resulting in kicking the can down the road again and again.
That’s why Scott Walker and our Republican legislators aren't actual leaders or decision makers. That's just advertising. They’re followers of a philosophy. Strict adherence makes them very happy, even if nothing gets done or things get worse. And failure only proves their point that government doesn't work.

Deferred Maintenance: Here’s what our do nothing Republican Authority plan to put off, knowing they will inevitably have to raise taxes or fees based on the budget office figures:
jsonline-Jason Stein: Delay work on the massive I-94 North-South and Zoo Interchange projects and cut payments for the Hiawatha passenger service to Chicago to help close a $63.4 million shortfall in the state's road fund over the next two years. The current gap showed up after the Legislature's nonpartisan budget office released figures last week showing that lower-than-expected gas taxes and vehicle registrations would leave the state Transportation Fund with $76.1 million less than the Walker administration projected in its February budget bill.

The Ryan Road Interchange within the I-94 widening project would be delayed until the 2015-'17 budget, which would save $19 million. Cut money for repaving and repairing state highways by $12.3 million … Reduce a major highway program by $7.3 million … Cut transportation aid to local governments by $4.3 million … Decrease payments for the Hiawatha passenger trains to Chicago by $1.1 million … Cut routine highway maintenance by $2.5 million.
Making things worse:
Walker's budget proposal already relies on $1 billion in borrowing to fund road projects, as well as large transfers from the state's main account and a petroleum inspection fund.
So all-in-all, things are looking really good when it comes to the Republican goal of fulfilling their philosophical desires:
Joint Finance co-chairman Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) "It would seem on the surface that it delivers on the major goals."
Oh, and that “jobs” thing:
Pat Goss, executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, said "Certainly that means those projects aren't out there for my members to bid on and their people to work on." 
This insightful one sentence observation by reporter Stein is not only rare, but right on the money:
The Republican governor would rely purely on spending cuts to close the funding gap rather than raise taxes or fees, likely delaying, until 2015 at least, the inevitable confrontation between the state's sizable transportation plans and its inadequate ability to fund them. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Minnesota Democrats go on offense, expand unions, hope to increase minimum wage.

I asked State Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Dianne Hesselbein if they could start a trend, go on the offensive for once, and promise to restore so much of what we lost under the Walker Authority. That's all.

I can't remember their answer, and that's what troubles me. These guys are fighters, yet...

Without a strong agenda, backed by an uncompromising philosophy, what alternative do voters have? If they're not happy with Scott Walker's failed policies and lousy jobs record, do they even know what choices are out there? Can they say, "let's see if the Democratic plan will work?"

Fat chance of that. But luckily, Democrats here might be able to take some inspiration from our Minnesota neighbors, who aren't wasting any time:

MPR: Minnesota has emerged as one of the few places where unions are faring well. Democrats hope they're creating a bulwark in a more hostile world. ‘There's been a general war on anyone who is working class and has a union by trying to take union rights away,’ [said] Democratic Rep. Michael Nel. 'Here in Minnesota maybe we're ahead of the curve in pushing back.' But Republicans see dire consequences ahead, including a possible business backlash."

The Legislature may give labor a longtime priority -- the right to organize home day care workers and personal care attendants, which would help rebuild union membership. Lawmakers could make the state's minimum wage the highest in the nation at nearly $10 an hour and are poised to require hospitals to regularly report staffing numbers, a victory for nurses union.

Other bills would cut public subsidies to organizations that engage in lockouts, force companies to pay unemployment for up to three years during lockouts, and would help unions organize hotel workers and those in other buildings erected with public aid. "The war on public workers is finally over,'' said state parks and trails worker Connie Andrews. "You're not being targeted. You're not being blamed.'

Republicans go "Postal" on health benefits for Local Governments. Hey, if it can destroy the Post Office, why not local governments and their employees?

If it worked against the Post Service, it might just do the same to public workers here. Are emergency managers far behind?

Republicans want to dismantle local governments and schools through advanced payments into retirement health care coverage for employees. The strain of such payments will force big cut backs of local communities or the elimination of public schools once and for all.    
WSJ: Republicans who control the state Legislature want local governments and schools to start socking away millions of dollars for employees’ post-retirement health benefits soon after they are hired. But local leaders say their existing “pay-as-you-go” method of budgeting enough each year to cover that year’s costs works just fine, and the proposed new requirements would add crushing costs for decades to come. While Republicans insisted a law is needed to protect workers…
…um, Republicans want to protect workers?
Democrats and local officials said the cost of the GOP proposal would lead to cuts in services while actually forcing the end of such benefits for at least some workers.
The Straw Man Cometh: Solving a problem…where there isn't any. Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, who authored the bill has come up with the biggest line of bullshit yet.
“If the employees were promised this, and it was simply removed, you could make a case for saying these employees were cheated,” Thiesfeldt said. “The ones who were cheated were the employees who put their trust in their union leaders to negotiate well for them.” Thiesfeldt pointed to his hometown as a place where such actions may have occurred, but officials there said benefits were reduced, not removed.
Oh boy. This “postal ploy” doesn't seem to be going over well, which is just fine with me.
Standing legislative committees passed the bills on party-line votes Wednesday over objections from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. “No communities have failed to pay the benefits they promised because of a lack of money,” said Curt Witynski, the league’s assistant director. “The bill is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Pay-as-you-go has been working.” However, the proposed new law could escalate costs enough to force benefit rollbacks for some workers, he said.
Who Cares What it Costs (remember WEDC?). As usual, our bumbling stewards of taxpayer money don't even care how much it costs, because it's a good conservative idea, and because a silly Democrat wanted a cost estimate. That's so funny: 
Thiesfeldt acknowledged that nobody knows how much the bill would cost statewide. Republicans rejected a proposal by Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, for actuarial cost estimates in a few cities. “I believe the goal of this proposed law is to make it so expensive to offer these kinds of retirement benefits that it just won’t be done anymore,” Lassa said.

Republican Lawmaker wants protection from Public Protesters!! Give em prison time. This thing were you have to listen to the voters...?

I’m not exaggerating when I say, “Welcome to our police state!!!”

This was a representative government. Elected officials were accountable to the people. We once thought we could voice disapproval to our politicians if we felt they acted contrary to the public interest.

The Republican Authority does not tolerate dissent! So what did Republicans learn after millions of Wisconsinites turned out to voice anger and opposition to the legislative direction of our state? For Republican Rep. Garey Bies, he would throw em in prison.

Public complaints aren't enough to make a politician think twice. Lock em up, give em a record, and split up families. Derogatory calls at home, shouting, being chase by angry constituents, repeated act of “intimidation,” bumping…lock em up. 

Kevin Wang of the AP reports: “A Wisconsin lawmaker is pushing for tougher laws to deter people who would intimidate or harm members of the Legislature and their families. Under legislation introduced by Rep. Garey Bies, a Republican, acts such as striking, shoving, or kicking a lawmaker or a family member with no legitimate reason would face harsher penalties. Bies said harassment of lawmakers … worsened since Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in 2011 that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers.”
Our poor victimized Republican ruling class can’t be bothered by “the people” anymore:
Opponents of that measure "would stand in your face and bump into you," Bies said. "They chased you down the hallway and all the way to the office." Bies said he has personal experience. During that tumultuous period, he said he got enough derogatory calls at home that he got caller ID. The restroom of his restaurant was vandalized twice within two weeks during September 2011, which he attributed to his status as a legislator.
And as everybody knows, restrooms are never vandalized? But according Bies, it must be because he’s an important member of the elite legislative class. I’m getting the feeling our Republican state and federal lawmakers are treating their positions like an exclusive country club membership.

When Republicans rammed their agenda down our throats, some went as far as making threatening calls, which is never a good thing. Those people were investigated and determined to be harmless. But under Bies bill, prison:
Acts that cause a lawmaker or family member's fear of death would be a Class H felony, meaning up to six years in prison.
And for supposed acts of “intimidation,” or lingering near their private property, up to nine months in prison:
Bies' legislation would create a Class A misdemeanor -- punishable by up to nine months in prison -- for acts of repeated intimidation or use of force to influence a lawmaker's action, or for lingering within 100 yards of his or her private property.
Democratic Rep. Lena Taylor lost all my support with her co-sponsorship of this trashing of the constitution. Here’s a list of reason’s Taylor, Bies and Rep. Samantha Kerkman gave for giving up our First Amendment rights:
Offensive emails, postcards, Facebook posts, broken windows at her house, a piece of mail containing human feces, a person threw firecrackers, honk outside the house in the middle of the night, dumping a glass of beer on the head of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
By the way, it should be legal to pour cheap beer over Vos’ head. But what about the laws currently on the books, haven’t they worked well so far? Sure, but a police state and a compliant electorate is so much easier to control.  

Guess Who's Going to Double Down on Voter Suppression....?

Daily Beast:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Here we go again: Republican Rep. Ott wants to spend $250 million taxpayer dollars year on ineffective tough Drunk Driving Laws & build 17 300 bed facilities costing $236 million. “You’ve got to start somewhere."

You may have heard the conspiracy theory about FEMA prisons being built to house Republicans who dare defy the orders of our imperial president. I'm not making that up. Now we’re finding out the idea itself has roots in the conservative agenda, where crime and dissent is met with harsh mandatory jail and prison time.

Instead of treatment and the recognition of drunk driving as a disease, Republicans want to lock em up.

This is all part of the father figure disciplinary authoritarianism that has characterized the current Republican Party.

The first paragraph of this Wisconsin State Journal story lays out a frightening plan:
Measures that would boost penalties for drunken driving would cost $250 million a year and send thousands more people to jail or prison, according to estimates provided by state agencies that would be charged with implementing the proposals. The state also would need to spend $236 million to build 17 300-bed facilities to house the expected increase in people serving time for drunken driving, the Department of Corrections estimates. Those estimates don’t include the extra costs to counties whose jails would house offenders serving sentences of a year or less.
And the treatment centers relating to the rehabilitation of alcoholism…anything? Republican were outraged over the imagined FEMA detention camps for conservatives because Democrats beat them to the punch, and targeted the wrong people. Republicans want to lock up citizens, starting with alcoholics. To them, Wisconsin drinkers are basically criminals, who need to be captured and punished. It’s that simple, and quite costly.
Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, acknowledged that the cost estimates are daunting. But he said they fail to take into account any reduction in drunken driving that might be spurred by harsher penalties. “The deterrent effect needs to be taken into account; otherwise there’s no point in doing it,” he said.

Evidence should guide legislation and there isn’t any that indicates criminalizing the offenses stops the behavior, state Rep. Jill Billings said. “We have to include treatment,” she said. “What we have to do is change behavior, not just punish.” A majority of those caught driving drunk their first time self-correct, said Billings, who helped build La Crosse County’s OWI court when she sat on the county board. Imposing mandatory jail time on offenders could create long-term effects.

“They could lose their job. And what does that do to the family?” she said.
Rep. Jim Ott is unmoved.
Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, the bill’s co-author, recognizes the common addiction to alcohol but notes those people “aren’t addicted to driving.”
That’s Jim Ott, the former weather man and brain trust pushing this public jailing program. 

But would Ott's solution work? Not really, and only temporarily. Read this mid-80's research here, an early 2000's report here, or more recently here, from the Gainesville Sun:
Tougher punishments may not be effective in deterring people from driving drunk, according to a study by University of Florida researchers. Increases in the minimum jail time keep few drunken drivers off the road and don't significantly prevent fatal car crashes, according to the study, researchers wanted to find out if stricter regulations deterred people from drinking and driving and if the number of accidents would drop in the population as a whole. "We found out that's not the case," he said.

In order for stricter penalties to work, people need to believe they will get caught, Wagenaar said. While sentences don't deter drunken drivers … Wagenaar said that doesn't mean jail isn't a useful punishment. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

So we're not supposed to know more about Obamacare...?

Republicans keep saying they don't know what's in Obamacare, yet trash the HHS for trying to tell people about it? This is really one of the dumbest phony issues yet that's caught the interest of the main stream media.

Here's a screenshot from a typical story. Oh no, Obama is telling everybody about getting health care coverage:

Republicans Frivolous Lawsuit Crazy, ignore Tort Reform when Convenient. Personhood Bill birthed by Rep. Andre Jacque.

Republican State Rep. Andre Jacque is tea party crazy, and a fanatical supposed “right to life” warrior who’s legislative idea’s seem geared more for Alabama than Wisconsin.

And it's a twofer: Here's another Republican pushing frivolous lawsuits...(Sen. Frank Lasee wants allow people to sue wind turbine companies and the farmers who lease their land to them). What happened to tort reform?

Jacque says his stealth “personhood” bill isn't what some people think it is. And if Jacque-off just says it isn't, despite the language that indicates otherwise, well that should stand up to a court challenge. This is all part of the eventual challenge to Roe v Wade, where laws like this change our social norm, and treats a fertilized egg as a person. That could do away with the “viability” argument, the crucial point in Roe v Wade.

The written word is 100 percent of the law. This lunacy of “what I really meant” doesn't count for much.

WKOW: A Republican lawmaker wants a fetus at any stage of development to be considered a minor child. But Rep. Andre Jacque (R-DePere) claims it has nothing to do with abortion. 

Under current law, if a minor child dies at the hands of a drunk driver or due to medical malpractice, his family can file a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
 Rep. Jacque thinks that should extend to the loss of an unborn child, beginning at fertilization. But Wisconsin would join only about a dozen other states in using the same standard for civil lawsuits.

"These kinds of bills will all end up before the United State's Supreme Court," predicted Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), who is also an attorney. Rep. Wachs says he cannot imagine the law standing up to constitutional scrutiny, because it is inconsistent with the viability provisions in Roe v. Wade.
Here's were we get to Jacque's "but that's not what I meant:"
But Rep. Jacque says that shouldn't even be a part of the discussion as it relates to this specific bill. "For them to try to link it up to the abortion issue, that's not what we're dealing with here," said Rep. Jacque.

"I think that that connection is clear," said Rep. Wachs.

The Best Argument for Wisconsin's Constitutional Recall Law.

With the Republican Authority firmly in place, and their new gerrymandered districts, recall reform that basically allows elected officials to do anything they want short of breaking the law is on the fast track. We will have to live with the elections, elections Republicans will win despite more Democratic voters turning out.

So I thought it was interesting when I discovered this story out of Albany, NY:
ALBANY — Assembly Republicans backed a plan Wednesday that would let New York voters throw their representatives out of office before their term expires. The bill would amend the state Constitution to permit “recall elections” similar to those allowed in states such as California and Wisconsin, where voters can petition for a vote to remove an elected official at nearly any time.
In the meantime, after reading a number of newspaper editorials from around the state that missed the point of the recall law completely, I thought this piece smoked their whiny efforts to justify locking in a permanent Republican majority (shortened a bit):
Urban Milwaukee: Why Republicans Are Wrong About Recalls, by Bruce Murphy: The bill to restrict recalls is a naked attempt by political officials to protect their jobs.

It was back in 1996 that Racine Republican George Petak became the first state senator in Wisconsin history to be recalled from office. Today, some call him a hero for casting the decisive vote in favor of the legislation to build Miller Park. The deal’s dirtiness was exposed when then Gov. Tommy Thompson campaigned for the legislation and famously said, “All the taxes come from Waukesha and Milwaukee. Stick it to em.” Deepening the outrage, Petak had promised to vote against the tax and then changed his vote. Petak would still be in office today if a new measure proposed by Republican legislators is passed: it would greatly restrict recalls, allowing them only if an elected official is charged with a criminal or civil ethics charge.

This law would have also prevented the recall effort against Milwaukee County Executive F. Thomas Ament, who engineered passage of infamous pension plan, and the seven county supervisors who were thrown out of office.

Of course, the real goal here is to prevent something like the recent recall action against Gov. Scott Walker. But the effort was unsuccessful. And was the attempt so unjustified? Walker ran for governor saying he would not touch the benefits of teachers and local government workers and would cut benefits only for state employees. And he never hinted at something as revolutionary as eliminating all public unions. Some one million people objected to Walker’s law; should such a democratic uprising be prevented?

Yes, says state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, who has now re-introduced a proposal to amend the state constitution, so it must be passed by two successive sessions of the legislature and by voters in a statewide election before it becomes law.

Harsdorf was among the Republican legislators targeted for recall in 2011 (she survived). “It is a very dangerous road to go down to allow recalls when there’s a disagreement on an issue,”she declared. “You don’t want to discourage elected officials from making those tough decisions.”

Actually, declared an editorial in the Beloit Daily News:  “it’s a more dangerous road to go down to allow the political class — stung recently by recalls — to define what is or is not acceptable — — to them — in the exercise of citizens’ constitutional rights.”

In all three cases I mentioned, concentrated political power was at work: a stadium bailout that frustrated voter’s wishes, a cabal of self-dealing county insiders, and a never-discussed bill that a Republican governor, senate and assembly sought to quickly pass while refusing to negotiate with Democrats. Some may disagree with the recall of Petak or the attempt against Walker. But in all cases there were vital issues at stake where a wave of citizens had erupted with objections. Why curtail this exercise of their constitutional rights?

When I noted some of this history in a past column, I was met with some strange objections by conservatives Christian Schneider and James Wigderson.

Schneider made the bizarre claim that since some citizens felt Ament had committed misconduct in office, that would have been enough to allow a recall. In fact, there was a legal investigation launched and no proof could be found that Ament did anything illegal. Under Harsdorf’s proposal, as the bill’s language makes clear, no recall is allowed unless a criminal or civil complaint has been filed against the official. 

As for Wigderson, he argued that the county pension scandal represented “extraordinary circumstances under which most of us would support having recall elections.” If so, I would assume he will oppose the Harsdorf bill. If not, his argument makes no sense.

The reality is the recall against county officials was led by conservatives, as were many local recalls assisted by the Citizens for Responsible Government. I don’t agree with every recall ever launched in this state. Nor do many members of both parties. But that’s not a reason to all but ban them from Wisconsin.

Nestle CEO admits, Water not a free basic human right!!!

What do corporate CEO's really think of people, and do they really need us at all? This amazingly candid insight into corporation thinking should trigger a defensive mechanism in all of us.
Nestle CEO Peter Brabek: "...water is a foodstuff like any other, and like any other foodstuff, it should have a market value. Personally I believe it's better to give foodstuff a value so that we're all aware that it has its price."

Is water a free and basic human right, or should all the water on the planet belong to major corporations and be treated as a product? Should the poor who cannot afford to pay these said corporations suffer from starvation due to their lack of financial wealth? According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, corporations should own every drop of water on the planet — and you’re not getting any unless you pay up.-True Activist 

The way in which this sociopath clearly has zero regard for the human race outside of his own wealth and the development of Nestle, can be witnessed when watching and listening to his talk on the issue. Nestle has a long history of disregarding public health and abusing the environment to take part in the profit of an astounding $35 billion in annual profit from water bottle sales alone. 

Republicans come to the Rescue over Republican plan to Rob the Poor in Rent-to-Own Scheme.

It’s now become painfully obvious Gov. Scott Walker is a sociopath. His droopy eyed calmness isn't due to a bad case of misplaced confidence, it’s a symptom of a callous disregard for others…preachers son or not.

That never became clearer, if you don’t count the million plus protesters Walker ignored, than his rent-to-own proposal. It’s important to look at his original plan and his original intent when judging Walker’s competence. With this one issue, the air has been cleared:
jsonline: Rent-to-own stores would be able to sell customers high-cost financing plans for televisions, appliances and other goods without disclosing their interest rates … In addition to exempting the industry from state consumer protection laws, the measure would cap how much wronged customers could get if they sued rent-to-own stores. The stores typically sell products under plans that cost buyers two or three times prices they would pay elsewhere.
No one would think that’s a good idea, except Scott Walker. Even misogynist hillbilly Sen. Glenn Grothman knows a bad deal when he sees one:
Sen. Glenn Grothman … said at the news conference the rent-to-own plan was harmful to the poor and would amount to "bleeding millions of dollars each year from our most vulnerable citizens. During this economic downturn to further punish the economically illiterate is scandalous," he said in an interview.
It’s comforting to know that the poor, or as Grothman calls them “economically illiterate,” have his support.
Rent-to-own stores could not charge more than twice as much under their rental agreements as what they charge customers to buy products outright, under the budget proposal. Consumer advocates say that offers no protection because the stores set their shelf prices much higher than other retailers. The law change would also limit how much customers could get in damages from stores that violated the law. "What you're paying for is embedded value," Rent-A-Center spokesman Xavier Dominicis said. "This is a transaction that is very unique. It's deserving of its own regulatory framework. . . . 
You’ll notice only Republican responses are worthy enough to pursue and quote, since as the myth goes, they’re “fiscally conservative.” These are the same great watch dogs of taxpayer money now borrowing and mismanaging the state's economy due to their “no tax” pledge straight jacket. Their unfiltered criticisms, and not the wishy-washy Democratic statements, are probably more entertaining to print:
"Rent-to-own is a pig," said Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah). "It is legal thievery. . . . They are nothing more than usury. It's like the old Al Capone movie."

"I think that whole industry is preying on poor people, absolutely, and we need not facilitate that," said Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Allouez).

The Wisconsin Public Interest Group found rent-to-own stores there on average charged customers an effective annual interest rate of 221%. The rates ranged from 138% to 370%, its survey found. For instance, area rent-to-own stores charged $936 on average for a 32-inch television set that cost $333 on average elsewhere, the report said.
Again, not one Democrat was interviewed for this article. 

Republicans in Washington State seek Exemption to Non-Discrimination Law.

The “conscience clause” scheme by bigots, racist and religious zealots has always fascinated me.

We’re seeing this unfold now over Obamacare’s requirement to provide free birth control to women.

Businesses are trying to use the conscience clause to deny coverage for religious or just about any other reason.

The trouble is, your First Amendment rights can't infringe on, or take away someone else's.  

Republicans have a way of standing up for the Constitution, all the while redefining it and twisting into knots. Have you ever seen so court challenges?  

Here comes another amazing down-the-rabbit-hole shredding:
News Tribune: Bill seeks exemption to non-discrimination law: Several Republican lawmakers filed a bill Thursday seeking an exemption to the state's anti-discrimination laws just weeks after legal action was taken against a Richland florist who denied service to a gay couple for their upcoming wedding.

The bill introduced by Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, would allow businesses the right to deny services or goods if they felt doing so was contrary to their "sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, or matters of conscience."
And Brown see’s nothing wrong with this. Of course this would open the flood gates of discrimination. Just as bizarre, Brown is willing to give up “matters of conscience” if it’s already a federal law.
The measure would not apply to the denial of services to people under a protected class under federal law, such as race, religion or disability.
I’m pretty sure “denial” can’t be used as evidence in a court of law:
Brown argued that the bill is not intended to undermine the law or the rights of gays and lesbians in the state and isn't a commentary on same-sex marriage. "The citizens of the state clearly weighed in on that issue," she said. "It's intended to protect religious freedoms."

Friday, April 26, 2013

UW justified in Huge Surplus; Walker Republicans Created "Uncertainty" over Future Funding.

Why is this one BIG detail being left out?

In the last biennial budget go round, Scott Walker and his gang of legislative pirates cut $300 million from the UW system.

That’s a lot right? And you might have noticed how a few attempts by Republicans to break up the UW, to penalize it for being too liberal, for shutting down a Walker protest poster art show by students, continued massive funding cuts, etc.

THE CUTS-Kevin Reilly wrote in October of 2011: “In the midst of a crushing economic downturn, our elected state leaders crafted a two-year budget that reflected tough choices, including $250 million in reduced state funding for the University of Wisconsin System.”

By December 2011, the Journal Sentinel wrote: “….including an additional $46.1 million cut in funds for the University of Wisconsin System.”

So after putting away $648 million in reserve funds, with plans for spending $441 million of that, that leaves just $206 million. That seems dangerously risky, if history is any indicator.

According to another story, the cuts were no big deal:
Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), co-chairman of the Joint Finance Committee, said he believes the UW System will be able to weather the cuts. "I think they will be able to do it in a way that doesn't dramatically affect the university or dramatically affect the state. . . . Everyone - Democrat or Republican - would agree the budget must be balanced," Vos said.
The cuts amounted to just about half of the surplus Republicans are whining about now. Here's coverage from WKOW's Capitol City Sunday:

So just to be clear, the UW wasn't justified in hedging their bets against any future cuts by the anti-UW Republican legislators? I think not.

Members of Congress Refund Air Travel Cuts under Sequester. Leave seniors without food, kids without Head Start, veterans without care....

Our millionaire members of congress took care of themselves today, leaving Head Start, Cancer care and research, Meals on Wheels and Veterans care to the sequester cuts. Here's a compilation of cuts showing the outrage and arrogance of our elected "servants."

The only representative from Wisconsin doing his job, and standing with voters is listed below:
WSJ: AIR TRAVEL, SEQUESTRATION: Voting 361 for and 41 against, the House on Friday passed a bill (HR 1765) to end furloughs of air traffic controllers made necessary by the blind, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration that are now in force. The bill reallocates $253 million in the Federal Aviation Administration budget in order to return controllers to full work schedules and end flight delays clogging U.S. air travel. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Paul Ryan, R-1, Ron Kind, D-3, Gwen Moore, D-4, James Sensenbrenner, R-5, Tom Petri, R-6, Sean Duffy, R-7, Reid Ribble, R-8 
Drum roll....
Voting no: Mark Pocan, D-2
Followed with this press release:
“The verdict on the sequester is as clear as it was predictable: these are mindless, reckless, and harmful cuts that are slowing economic growth and taking away valuable resources for our families and communities,” said Pocan, a member of the House Budget Committee. “Yet instead of working on a comprehensive, balanced solution that will allow us to protect 36,000 Wisconsin jobs, close to 1,000 Wisconsin children in Head Start, nearly 4 million meals for American seniors, and vital other services and programs, Congress continues to defy logic and try to fix the sequester in a piecemeal fashion that preserves cuts to some of our most vulnerable citizens. 

This “solution” is irresponsible and inadequate, and it’s offensive to hardworking Wisconsinites who don’t deserve to get caught in the political crossfires of Washington. I continue to urge my Republican colleagues to appoint budget conferees immediately so we can pass a budget that replaces the sequester cuts—all of the sequester cuts—for once and for all.”

The Great George Jones...

...passed away at the age of 81.

Still a big fan of real country music, I thought Jones was the best. At first it took awhile to get used to his early, more nasal voice. I remember thinking how Jones' style of sing was so unusual, where he seemed to projected inward every incredible lyric and slurred aside. A nice piece from AP follows this great Hee Haw appearance I recorded off the RFDTV channel:

Jones died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He had been hospitalized with fever and irregular blood pressure, forcing him to postpone two shows.

"If we all could sound like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones," Waylon Jennings once sang. "The greatest voice to ever grace country music will never die," Garth Brooks said in an email to The Associated Press. Ronnie Dunn added: "The greatest country blues singer to ever live."

Jones survived long battles with alcoholism and drug addiction, brawls, accidents and close encounters with death, including bypass surgery and a tour bus crash that he only avoided by deciding at the last moment to take a plane. His failure to appear for concerts left him with the nickname "No Show Jones." He was in the midst of a yearlong farewell tour when he passed away.

Jones was a purist who lamented the transformation of country music from the family feeling of the 1950s to the hit factory of the early 21st century. He was so caught up in country, old country, that when a record company executive suggested he record with James Taylor, Jones insisted he had never heard of the million selling singer-songwriter. He was equally unimpressed when told that Neil Young had come to visit backstage and declined to see him, saying he didn't know who he was. He did listen to the Rolling Stones, only because of the guitar playing of Keith Richards, a country fan who would eventually record with Jones.

Asked about what he thought about Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and other young stars, Jones said they were good but they weren't making traditional country music. "What they need to do really, I think, is find their own title," he said.

Jones said in a 1991 AP interview: "My fans and real true country music fans know I'm not a phony. I just sing it the way it is and put feeling in it if I can and try to live the song." 

Despite Nations Debt Load, 2.2 percent Growth Rate, not 0.1 percent Decline like Paul Ryan predicted.

Not only did Paul Ryan’s lose the argument for his economic austerity agenda, along with his predictions the US was on the verge of collapsing, but this morning’s paper offered up proof he was really wrong.

Here’s what happened first, along with the new projected growth numbers:
The Nation: The paper the House Budget Committee chairman has used as the
When debt levels didn't matter....Remember?
intellectual and statistical underpinning for his austerity agenda has been significantly discredited … Ryan went all in … preaching an economic gospel based on his absolute certainty that when a country’s debt level tops 90 percent of its gross domestic product, it’s economy will decline and crisis will ensue.

The average growth rate of nations with a 90 per cent debt load does not decline by 0.1 percent … Rather, the growth rate is a positive 2.2 per cent. Reinhart acknowledged to the CBC News business reporting team that “Herndon, Ash and Pollin have written a useful paper, finding a significant mistake in one of our figures.”
Notice below the positive growth rate for the last quarter. How’s that for a fact based economic prediction:
AP: U.S. economic growth accelerated to an annual rate of 2.5 percent from January through March, buoyed by the strongest consumer spending in more than two years. Government spending fell, though, and tax increases (SS increase) and federal budget cuts (sequester) could slow growth later this year. Government spending sank at a 4.1 percent annual rate, led by another deep cut in defense spending. The decline kept last quarter's increase in economic growth below expectations of a 3 percent rate or more.
The forced austerity measures allowed by the Republicans in the sequester will result in a slower growth rate. I’m sure they’ll blame Obama for it because...they just hate Obama. 

Conservative Rep. Kooyenga's F-150 Envy the real reason to Discipline UW.

He's a conservative, that's why.

Ask any conservative about their motivation for Act 10, food stamps, cuts to unemployment, cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit, etc....and you'll get story after story of undeserved benefits, freeloading poor people buying something they shouldn't. It's called envy.

Here's an example given to me by my conservative friend in Milwaukee; he was filled with outrage and envy when someone bought shrimp with food stamps. He never asked that person why. So he fumed about how he couldn't do that on his measly income.

Envy is behind everything these guys do. Remember when conservatives were beating up on poor people because they had refrigerators, microwave ovens, air conditioning, cable TV, phones...never mind that generally speaking, apartments now come with those basic amenities.

State Republican Rep. Dale Kooyenga, another conservative accountant turned know-it-all politician recently proved envy was at the heart of his attack on the UW; a UW F-150 "I have an F-150, you know a modest F-150. I passed a University of Wisconsin  F-150 that had like every single bell and whistle I've seen on a truck."- Rep. Dale Kooyenga. Petty and typical. It was something Kooyenga couldn't get out of his head. It bothered him so much, that he gave that as reason to lash out at our elitist and liberal university. WPT:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Republicans Block Bailing Out Pre-Existing Condition Fund for Politics, not Lives.

How cruel and inhumane are Republicans? They would deny patients with pre-existing lifesaving, pain saving and disease preventing treatments and programs just so they could stick to their bizarre ideological belief system of small government. To hell with American lives. Wonderful:
Modern Health: An effort by House Republicans to highlight problems with President Barack Obama's healthcare law by bailing out a program for people with pre-existing medical conditions appeared to backfire … the measure met strong opposition from conservative groups resistant to any federal role in healthcare … The money for the plan would come from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, (what) Republicans (call) a slush fund. Republicans are also critical of the use of some $300 million from that fund to publicize the new health insurance markets coming this fall under the healthcare law. "We want to stop Obamacare and that's why we're going to the fund, the slush fund" House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said.
Yes, Republicans would prefer not telling the public about their health care options, or at least keep them in a state of confusion. Not only that, the “slush fund” was a critical element of prevention:
The White House said the legislation would effectively eliminate funding for three years for a program that "supports critical investments such as tobacco use reduction and programs to reduce health-care-associated infections and the national burden of chronic disease."
All so the Republicans could stay true to their belief system, oh, and their sugar daddy lobbyists:
But groups such as Club for Growth and Heritage Action said, "Fiscal conservatives should be squarely focused on repealing Obamacare, not strengthening it by supporting the parts that are politically attractive.”
Politically attractive? Oh, you mean the parts Americans would love to have. This is sociopathic behavior isn't it?

ALEC gets Government Stamp of Approval in Wisconsin and South Dakota!!!

ALEC is not only the single most powerful legislative body in the country, getting more done than congress, but they're now able to influence Republican politicians in broad daylight while voters take a back seat to corporate power.

Deep down inside you know somethings terribly wrong when big corporate money gets this official stamp of approval:
WSJ: A gift is not an illegal gift — if it comes from your good friend ALEC. That’s what Republican lawmakers have been told by the Government Accountability Board.

The ethics police have determined that “scholarships” financing pricey vacations — er, seminars — attended by state lawmakers held by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council do not fall under the ban on giving gifts to state elected officials. GAB found that the legislators’ reimbursement of lodging, food and travel expenses to ALEC seminars does not constitute a gift, even though the grants are funded by corporations.

“What they said is the fact that corporations give to a slush fund for legislative scholarships is OK, so long as they don’t earmark it for a certain lawmaker,” Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy’s Brendan Fischer said. “It doesn’t strike me as in keeping with the intent or the letter of the state’s ethics law.”
Over at Tax Analysts, David Cay Johnston coincidentally picked up on this jaw dropping expansion of ALEC’s influence:
When it comes to picking taxpayer pockets, few organizations display as much chutzpa
h as the American Legislative Exchange Council. It is a rich person’s anti-tax lobby, hating paying the price of civilization and in love with the idea of weak tax law enforcement. Now taxpayers, at least in South Dakota, will pay for legislators to belong to ALEC. The Legislature’s Executive Board fully embraced the American Legislative Exchange Council for the first time Tuesday.
AberdeenNews: The Republican-dominated board decided the state treasury should pay for the $100, two-year memberships for all 105 South Dakota lawmakers and for unlimited out-of-state trips to ALEC meetings by legislators who are members of ALEC committees.
 Apparently, Iowa already uses state funds for ALEC memberships.

Even Conservative Wisconsin State Journal editorial board Puzzled by Republican Outrage over UW Surplus

This may be difficult to write, but for once, I’m 100% on board with the Wisconsin State Journal’s editorial. You know I've been rather harsh in the past, deservedly so. But, their position not only questions the intent and reaction of the state's Republican lawmakers, but makes the Democrats look outright right wing. Again, this is the very conservative Wisconsin State Journal editorial board position, and not a Democratic Party of Wisconsin press release, which it should have been:
The University of Wisconsin System has made this state proud a lot more than it has embarrassed. And we can’t say the same thing for the state Legislature.

So Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his legislative colleagues should stop the pot shots at UW System over its high reserves and figure out what’s a reasonable level. Lawmakers also should remember they failed to build up the state’s own reserves before the recession. The state’s rainy day fund sat empty for decades. Having too much money to fall back on during tough times is better than consistently having none.

Vos opened a hearing Tuesday on the System’s $648 million in reserves by insulting top university officials seated before him. “Continually, time after time after time, you have embarrassed the state of Wisconsin,” Vos said.

We won’t list all of the ways state lawmakers have embarrassed Wisconsin, from their secret meetings, nasty campaigns, personal scandals and criminal convictions. But surely that list is many times longer than UW’s foibles.
Are you getting this? Keep it coming….
State leaders and the public deserve more answers on why the university’s reserves … are so high. A big portion of the money comes from tuition, a state audit found. Yet a lot of the tuition surplus is destined for technology purchases, financial aid and other investments in student programs and services, the audit found. About $200 million has no specific destination … many peer universities keep larger financial cushions than UW.
Here’s a point I made awhile back:
Some of the legislative outrage seems feigned, given that reserve amounts have been listed in the university’s public financial statements for years, albeit not in a prominent or simple way.

Let’s turn down the heat and increase the light on the System’s books.
I can’t disagree with anything in this editorial. I wish more Democrats would have stood up for our state college system, instead of again, reacting to the phony Republican outrage and taking their pot shots. Democrats have no agenda and stand up for nothing.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Holy Crap, Congress tries to leave Obamacare, Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare exemption? They wouldn't Dare.

It always seemed so unfair that our public servants got us to pay for their health care, while many of us went without it. Some even went bankrupt. It seemed so wrong.

Now that everybody is finally going to be on a level playing field with Obamacare, maybe congress will act quicker when they need to adjust and fix things, for their own selfish reasons.

WTF Moment: The political elite in congress may have insulted the public for the very last time:
Politico: Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said. A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”
Potential fallout…you bet. I’m stunned. Like the story says…
Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office. There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn't revised, could lead to a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks put it.
“Brain drain” on Capitol Hill? That’s already happened on the Republican side of the aisle. But get this, those poor aides might have to get a second or third job like the rest of us:
Low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere. Older, more senior staffers could also retire or jump to the private sector rather than face a big financial penalty. One proposal exempts lawmakers and aides; the other exempts aides alone.
I’m crying alligator tears. As Rep. Henry Waxman put it:
“I think the law is pretty clear,” Waxman told POLITICO. “Members and their staffs should get their health insurance through the exchange; the federal government will offer them health insurance coverage that they obtained through the exchanges because we want to get the same health care coverage everybody else has available to them.”
Always remember; 
During the 2009-10 battle over what’s now dubbed Obamacare, Republicans insisted that Capitol Hill hands must have the same health care as the rest of the American people. The measure was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The Rise of Guns and Mass Shootings still not enough to protect life. Instead, we protect guns.

Mother Jones has done a great job following the gun issue, including this recent story, along with charts:
The research confirms that: Public shooting rampages have spiked in particular over the last few years … Many of the attackers were heavily armed … None of the shootings was stopped by an ordinary citizen using a gun.

Author of the study, Pete Blair, advises law enforcement officials … gathered data on 84 "active shooter events" (ASEs) between 2000 and 2010 in which the killer's primary motive appeared to be mass murder. Notably, the jump in attacks in 2009 and 2010 was prior to the massacres in Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, and numerous other locations during the last two years. Although Blair's research does not cover 2011 and 2012, he concludes that "our tracking indicates that the increased number of attacks continued in those years." As our own investigation showed, there were a record number of mass shootings in 2012.
Does the rise in gun ownership and the loosening of state laws over the last four years effect increase the carnage? Of course:
The unprecedented spike in these shootings came during the same four-year period, from 2009-12, that saw a wave of nearly 100 state laws making it easier to obtain, carry, and conceal firearms. (We mapped those laws here.)
And do armed citizens come to our rescue now that concealed carry is so common? No.
While our study examined cases in which four or more people were murdered, Blair's dataset includes less lethal rampages in which the median number of victims shot was four and the median number of those killed was two. Blair found that at least 41 percent of the attackers carried multiple weapons. We found that a majority of mass shooters carried multiple weapons, and that more than half of them used assault weapons and high-capacity magazines

Moreover, our investigation made clear that so-called "good guys with guns" do not stop public shooting rampages. Likewise, Blair's data couldn't be any clearer when it comes to the National Rifle Association's favorite myth: He found just 3 cases out of 84 in which an armed individual who had been on the scene used a firearm to stop the shooter. And none of the three were ordinary citizens.

Republicans set up Divide and Conquer Strategy against Chippewa Tribes over Spear Fishing.

Republicans are dead set on targeting their enemies. Like the tribes who opposed the mining bill:
WKOW: The state Building Commission plans to talk about revoking a $250,000 grant that would help the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa build a cultural center on Wednesday. Republican Rep. Dean Kaufert is the one who has proposed taking back the money.  He asked for reconsideration of the grants after the tribe and other Chippewa bands dramatically increased their spring walleye spear fishing goals.
Republicans are undoubtedly trying to gin up racial tensions, as another way to "divide and conquer,” a strategy borrowed from Scott Walker. The unnecessary one fish limit was the shot over the bow. From WPR, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission offered this scientific data proving the DNR didn't have to lower the bag limit, or that the tribes used increased spear fishing as "pay back:" 

...or how about a little monetary hostage taking before "negotiations:"
The move is prompting the state to impose a one-fish limit for other anglers on nearly 200 northern Wisconsin lakes to protect the fishery. Kaufert says he will delay voting on the cultural center funding until May if progress is made with Gov. Scott Walker's office to find a compromise.
Here's Kaufert at his petty best, infuriated anyone would stand in the Republicans way, has decided to use a little hostage taking.

WPR: A member of the Lac Du Flambeau Tribal, Ruben Santiesteban, says linking funds for the cultural center to tribal spearing rights does not qualify as an olive branch.

"We should be able to balance tourism and our treaty rights in the state of Wisconsin, [that] being our heritage. Now today to defer those meetings to a meeting to see what happens at a spearing and treaty rights meeting — not only do I not appreciate it, but it shouldn't be happening."

 From Upfront with Mike Gousha:

From WPT's Here and Now, a section of Lac Coutre's Chairman Gordon Thayer's speech to the legislature, along with the detailed facts from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission's James Zorn that trash the DNR's transparent attempt to turn Wisconsinites against the tribes: