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Come On Gary George!

July 23, 2014

I can not say surprise is the emotion that comes from reading the latest antics from congressional candidate Gary George.

Even though I was taken aback that George would mount a challenge to Congresswoman Moore I also had hoped at some level he might have found some inner compass to better guide him if he indeed did want to venture again into the public arena.  That is the eternal optimist inside that hopefully will never cease to drive me.

Whatever limited hope I had in that regard, however, has simply vanished after the latest news was reported about someone I once admired.

More than a week after convicted felon and former state Sen. Gary George was expected to disclose who is funding his longshot bid for Congress, he has still not done so.

Until George files the report, voters will not find out who, if anyone, is backing his longshot bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, a Milwaukee Democrat.

In an abrupt phone interview Wednesday with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, George declined to explain himself, telling a reporter he had no time to talk and would only take questions by email.

“I’ve got to go,” George said.

By email, George’s campaign was more pointed.

“This is what you want to right (sic) about? Seriously? Keep up the good work, you are so on top of political issues,” an unidentified campaign representative wrote in response to a reporter’s questions.

Tight Race For Wisconsin Governor Says Marquette University Law School Poll

July 23, 2014

If you are a politico in Wisconsin then one thing is most likely true.  You (and I) have been waiting for the latest polling numbers from the Marquette University Law School for quite some time and pondering what they will show.

I was a bit surprised this weekend when one of the women who walks by our home for exercise mentioned her interest in what the poll would show in the race for governor.  She had never been one I would have pegged as overly political but her conversation was just another sign of the heightened level of attentiveness people are giving to an election with real serious consequences.

It is not clear to me if the Trek campaign flap is too new of a topic for the average voter to have absorbed for this poll.  But it seems fair to suggest that internal numbers for  Scott Walker were weak enough that he felt it in his interest to take up the Trek fight that has created more controversy than (one can assume) positive gain for his cause.

While the attack on Trek is pure politics the fact Walker has undertaken such a tactic might very well provide insight into what his campaign fears is jelling among the voters. After all it was Walker’s job creation agency, WEDC, which held Trek up as an example of a good Wisconsin company just a year ago

Marquette’s previous poll was conducted in May. It showed Republican incumbent Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke tied among registered voters.  And with results today there shows a continued slugfest will unfold for every voter across the state as the poll results are tight.

Today’s Marquette Poll Results:  Among registered voters if the 2014 election for Governor were held today, would you vote for Mary Burke or Scott Walker?

Burke 44.8
Walker 45.8

 Among likely voters, Burke led Walker, 47%-46%.


Madison’s Holy Redeemer Not Affordable Housing For Madison–But Property Tax Free For Church

July 22, 2014

As a point of public policy I have long rejected the concept that places such as the former Holy Redeemer Catholic School in downtown Madison that is now named the Lumen House should be allowed to enjoy property tax exemptions while making a great deal of financial gain for a religious organization.

The long story of how this property has come to the place that it will now house 90% of its 60 units for UW-Madison students in order to qualify for a nifty tax exemption that came as a gift from the Republican-controlled legislature is one that can be found with a simple Google search and as such I will not re-churn the butter here.  The short version would be that it was argued by those who bless themselves at every drop of the hat that property tax exemptions would allow for lower rents for students.

Words are mere words, even when coming from those who claim to have moral authority.

Rents in the redeveloped school building range from $975 for a 300-square foot studio to $3,845 for a top floor penthouse unit with 1,545-square feet of space. If this is what now passes as lower rents than I think I need a new Webster dictionary!

Once again someone was getting something for a political purpose that in the end will bite all those who actually pay property taxes.

I have long argued against this type of public policy, and once again I have proven why I hold such views.

Governor Scott Walker Takes A Walk On The Swampy Side

July 21, 2014

One should not wade into the swamp unless one wants to get into the muck.

Seems since last week Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s use of Trek Bicycles for his partisan purposes has backfired.

What I just do not understand when it comes to the Walker campaign thinking this issue was a great idea is that the very Achilles Heel for Walker’s first term is his lack of credibility when it comes to job creation.  So for the Walker campaign to undermine an actual job creator who pays Wisconsin taxes strikes me as most odd.  And politically clumsy.

Perhaps Walker is just tired and not thinking straight since he has so much attention directed at his Potomac Fever.

But regardless of the cause of his lack of attention to his campaign for election this fall there is one thing that is certain.  More and more names can be added to those who think the Trek Bicycles ploy was wrong and fell flat.

The Wall Street Journal also thinks Governor Scott Walker is on the wrong side when it comes to Trek Bicycles.

A writer for the conservative Wall Street Journal’s opinion page has published a piece criticizing GOP Gov. Scott Walker for his TV ad accusing his Democratic foe, Mary Burke, of profiting from Trek Bicycles’ outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to the low-wage nation of China. Burke is a former Trek executive whose family started and runs the company. 

Allysia Finley, an assistant editor of, accuses Walker’s campaign of channeling Team Obama for the president’s attacks on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on outsourcing in the 2012 election. 

“We normally associate criticism of outsourcing with Democrats, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a reminder that Republicans aren’t above playing the ‘Benedict Arnold CEO’ card themselves to fan populist furies,” Finley writes.

Russian President Putin And Maskirovka

July 20, 2014

There is nothing new to be said when it comes to Russian President Putin that has not already been stated on this blog,  Plainly put he is an international thug.

Last weekend as the Sunday morning news shows were broadcast the main story at that time was the crisis that was unfolding in the Middle East.  Israel and Gaza were again at each other’s throats and missiles were being lobbed at Israel while there was growing concern that a land invasion into one of the most populous places in the world would take place.    What no one could predict was that a jetliner would be shot out of the sky with nearly 300 causalities as a result of Russian action that would soon become the biggest story of the week–and that is saying a great deal given the content of any front page newspaper in the country.

But that is precisely what occurred.

This morning in a series of interviews Secretary of State John Kerry connected the dots that have become well known concerning this international crime.  There is no way to spin away the facts that point to SAM missiles being brought into Eastern Ukraine and used by rebel forces with the knowledge and backing of Russia.   The links to Russia over this crime is so air-tight that it would take a lunatic theory-conspirator to concoct something else to rival the facts as we now know them.

Central to this whole horrific story is Putin, perhaps the most craven and power-hungry person on the world stage today.  When I was growing up there were a few Russian words that the West came to know from their use over and over in the press.  One of them was maskirovka.  (Knowing this stuff was one reason I did not fit in with college freshman while auditing a UW-Madison Russian history course some years back.)

Maskirovka was a tool that the USSR used to undermine places around the globe and all the time look like they had nothing at all in the world to do with the chaos that was unfolding.  Complete deniability was how you or I might have termed it, but at the end of the day it was the same old rot.  Use proxies to do the dirty work while the thugs swill vodka in the Kremlin.

I was struck, as I am sure many were, with the words from a woman I much admire, Samantha Power who serves as  the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.  This past week she said a great deal with only five words.

“Russia can end this war.”

Cutting those words down to the bone means exactly what the most uninformed person in Oklahoma might conclude it to mean.  Simply put the rebel separatists in Eastern Ukraine are under the control and in the pocket of Putin and the Russian government and as such this whole mess is indeed controllable from Moscow.

Serious international hardball will need to be employed this week to deal with this matter.

There is no way a tepid response can be offered as a way to deal with what has occurred.

Partisan Wisconsin Makes For Topic On PBS Newshour

July 19, 2014

Friday night PBS’ Newshour had an insightful segment on Milwaukee and partisan nature of our politics.  Those of us who have lived here for decades and have followed the politics of this state know that it was not so long ago that Republican Governor Thompson and Democratic Senator Kohl were winning in places that today could not garner the votes for the other party given the severe partisan lines. This is truly a segment to watch so to better appreciate the political divide that is deep and growing deeper.

The residents of metropolitan Milwaukee, Wisconsin are increasingly split by race, political party and geography. A major fight over Gov. Scott Walker in 2012 helped widen the divide. Gwen Ifill talks to residents and local politicians about the fractured political landscape and what the polarization means on a national level, and Mark Shields and David Brooks weigh in with analysis.

Simple Question About Gaza

July 19, 2014

As of Friday there were 300 deaths in Gaza. 3/4ths of those were civilians and of that number 1/4th of those were children. Once again lack of proportionally from Israel is clear for all to see. Is it any wonder why there is hate in this region?


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