Kevin Kennedy Should Not Be Blamed For Heavy Recall Election Politics

I was taken aback over the news from some conservative partisans that Kevin Kennedy, the director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, should step down and resign. SAY WHAT!!   The demand stems from the GAB moving forward with three more recall elections against Republican senators.  At the same time due to lingering unanswered questions the GAB has not made final decisions about recall petitions concerning three Democratic senators.

There is a record number of recall petitions to mull over, but with the same number of staff and the same amount of resources at GAB.  Yet some over-charged conservative partisans are jumping to the conclusion that the GAB is somehow playing a political hand in favor of Democrats.  These partisans calling on Kevin Kennedy to resign are acting as if this were any other typical month of May in Wisconsin.  That thinking is utterly preposterous!

There is a very angry and frustrated electorate that has taken government into their own hands and forced recall elections for at least six state senators.  In a few days that very well may extend to three more across the state.  In the meantime it would seem essential to all that the ground work from the GAB be completed to make sure that the recall petitions were properly filled out and all the rules governing such an exercise was completed properly.  Would anyone really want anything but a through examination to make sure everything was done to the letter of the law?

Several weeks ago many urged that the state legislature provide the needed resources to assist the GAB at this time with their heavy work load.  On April 22nd I posted that the state legislature needed to act on the GAB request.

There is no doubt that the Government Accountability Board is literally swamped in paperwork. As such they are correctly asking for more money to run the operation, and also will request time extensions to complete their work. The Wisconsin State Legislature needs to honor the budgetary request from GAB, and do so in quick fashion. This is not a time to hem and haw when the citizens on both sides of the aisle have spoken and want to force recall elections.

To now have some partisan flunkies demanding Kevin Kennedy step down is just laughable.  Perhaps a more concerted effort weeks back to have the legislature provide adequate funding for the GAB would have been a better use of their time.

But that is not what conservatives really wanted to have happen, now is it?

Letter From Home: 5/31/11 Recipe For Heavenly Orange Fluff

Spring seemed never to make an appearance in Madison for more than a fleeting day here and there over the past weeks.  The weather was too cool, the skies more clouds than sun, and the spirits of people were always dampened.  The flowers seemed to take it all in srtide with blooms lasting longer than the average spring.  But I could tell on some mornings the birds were not at all sure this was the best place to nest for the year.

Then Memorial Day came with temperatures soaring into the mid to upper eighties.  The sun lifted moods as people turned to cookouts and foods that were more suited to summer-like weather.

As such we turned to an old favorite salad recipe from my mom’s kitchen that is light and refreshing when the humidity is high. Better yet, it is easy to make and serve.  Several years back this recipe came to James from my mom.

Folks will think you put lots of effort into the salad, when in truth it almost makes itself.  Still, I need to thank James for the work he always does to make it look easy.

The results are incredible.

Heavenly Orange Fluff

Make the day before serving in a large glass cake pan…

2 pkg. orange gelatin (3 oz. each)

2 cups boiling water

1 small can of frozen orange juice (thawed)

2 (6 oz) cans of mandarin oranges, drained

1 large can of crushed pineapple (not drained)

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and add frozen juice, undiluted.

Add orange sections and pineapple and studd well.

When set, cover with lemon topping:

1 cup milk

1 pkg instant lemon pudding

1 cup (half pint) whipping cream

Add milk to the pudding and meat until thick.

Whip cream and fold in to pudding.

Put on top of set jell-o mixture.

Bill Clinton Presidential Center To Feature Elvis Presley At 21 Exhibit

Thank ya, thank ya very much.

Elvis at 21, Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer will be on display at the Clinton Presidential Center from June 4 – August 21, 2011. The center is the perfect venue for this special exhibit as U.S. President Bill Clinton is himself a big Elvis fan!

Before he was “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Elvis Presley was a young Tennessee man trying to break into the music business, much like the “American Idol” contestants of today.

Those early years were captured on film by photographer Alfred Wertheimer, who spent a few days with Presley in 1956 at the request of RCA Victor Records to start the company’s photo file on the 21-year-old singer.

For those 10 days in March 1956, Wertheimer snapped shots of Presley in everyday life at that time — spending time with family, performing, napping, reading letters and papers, combing his hair and greeting adoring fans. And he provided a private look into the life of Presley, who was on the cusp of international superstardom.

Wisconsin Was Warned About State Senator Luther Olsen And His Brothers David Olson And Paul Olsen Regarding Ethanol Production

Over the years, thanks to a friend inside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, I have had more than enough information about David and Paul Olsen.  Not only did their ethanol production dream become a bust, but worse still the Olsen brothers had run afoul of state regulations.  The Olsen brothers worked over-time to deny any wrong-doing but ended up paying large fines to the state for the conduct they had engaged in.

So the news this weekend concerning David and Paul Olsen was no earth-shaking moment, but instead something that everyone knew was coming at some point.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports that brothers David and Paul Olsen owe cash to the state, attorneys, banks and relatives. (The Wisconsin State Journal reports the Olsen brothers even owe money to their mom!) They pioneered ethanol production in Wisconsin, but ran into financial woes when the price of ethanol went down and corn prices rose. 

Their ethanol plant filed for bankruptcy in 2009 – just two years after it opened in Jefferson. Now, the brothers are filing for personal bankruptcy, the Northwestern reports.

The fact is that this ethanol boondoggle operation and the forces that tried to make it work were all on public display for years.  Even tough-minded conservatives  back in early 2009 were calling this for what it was.

The Olsens are rather notorious in central Wisconsin. Their company pleaded
guilty to a federal felony for falsifying data in a pollution probe. At least
six of their firms have received sanctions or are accused of stiffing creditors.
One of the companies has been hit with two separate $75,000 DNR pollution fines.
Their pet political hack is the disappointing Bob Welch, the former Republican
legislator who decided to become a political insider after losing a U.S. Senate
bid. Welch, who represented the district now held by Luther Olsen, ran the state
ethanol association and pushed for all the subsidies and mandates. There was a
time Bob Welch was a sincere guy, but there’s something about ethanol that
brings out the worst in every politician.

Bob Welch’s involvement in the Olsen brother deal making group never surprised me.   I was never surprised that Bob Welch was not able to make the ethanol pig fly.  It does however underscore what I have always known about Welch, and alerted the readers of the Waushara Argus, my hometown newspaper, about for years when Welch served in the State Legislature.  Bob Welch was always more partisan-minded than intellectually capable.

State Senator Luther Olsen came under attack for his involvement in the ethanol mess too, and it seems this weekend’s headlines will not carry favor with voters in his upcoming recall election.

Here’s the background. When Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Legislature were
whoring out to the ethanol interests, they not only pushed for state mandates
for ethanol use but gave tax breaks to developers who wanted to build ethanol
plants. The prime spots at the feeding trough were held by central Wisconsin’s
ethanol hustler, Paul Olsen, and his brother, Republican state Sen. Luther Olsen
of Ripon. The subsidies resulted in massive overbuilding of ethanol plants – a
major problem since the only demand for ethanol comes from the mandates. No sane
motorists want the watered-down corn mash in their car.

And who pushed the hardest for these mandates? None other than Paul Olsen’s
brother Luther. Talk about conflicts of interest. The biggest legislative backer
for mandating the use of ethanol was a guy whose family owns a major ethanol
plant!

What might be the harshest news of all is that the Olsen brothers owe their mother money.  So at the end of a long hard day of legal woes and financial shortcomings there may not even be a hot cup of coffee and slice of pie at the old homestead for these brothers.

But there is always a pipe dream to recall with fondness, and the days when flouting state regulations brought smiles and laughs and visions of grain bins full of cash.