Wisconsin Congressional Delegation Finds Agreement Over This!

 

Everywhere we look government is trying to find ways to limit spending, and find ways to save money.

Recently Madison Mayor Paul Soglin asked departments to plan on formulating budgets to save dollars.  State legislators have undertaken controversial policy ideas to help the bottom line for taxpayers.  Congressional cries about budget deficits, and the need to rein in spending seem to be on a repeating loop in news interviews.

I mention all this so to underscore that we are told everyday how government must be more fiscally responsible.  Which is why I had to smirk at a story this weekend concerning a navy project at Marinette.

At issue is the littoral combat ship, which is built in Marinette, Wisconsin and Mobile, Alabama. Obama (and the Defense Department) has proposed cutting a scheduled order of four littoral combat ships during the 2015 fiscal year to three of the ships. Doing so would mean that one of the cities would lose a ship order for that year.

It should also be noted that Defense Secretary Hagel has already ordered a review of the ship’s firepower and ability to withstand enemy attack.

In addition the costs ballooned for this program from a projected $220 million per ship in fiscal year 2006 to $480 million per ship in fiscal year 2010. Is it just me or does it make no fiscal sense for several hundred million  dollars to be spent in this fashion before the Navy settles on a long-term plan regarding the program?

Should the ship not be constructed at the same number would mean that perhaps 2,000 jobs at Marinette would in some way be impacted, as they are tied to the program.  As such, the state congressional delegation has rallied around a project the Defense Department has voiced concerns about, and as a result requested a reduction in spending for the program.

Consider all the times that congressional bipartisanship would actually be important in Washington.   But no, it takes the wasteful use of national resources to finally bring our state delegation in line with the professional working relationship many want them to have all year long.

I understand the political call on this one.  I get what Speaker Tip O’Neill meant when he stated “all politics is local”.

But we send our representatives to Washington to be leaders and take positions that are in the best interest of the nation, even if we are not the direct beneficiaries of the decision on the local end. 

There is never going to be a time to pare down defense spending–even on questionable projects–if we are never going to accept the fact that it will put some people out of work.   It is clear from this episode that we are far from being serious about fiscal responsibility, and that our congressional delegation is not  forward-thinking.

Paul Fanlund Nails Scott Walker On Damaging Wisconsin’s Political Climate

Without doubt one of the best–and essential–reads from the past week was Paul Fanlund’s article in The Capital Times.  I post a few select paragraphs that really are just perfectly stated.

More precisely, he is a small, divisive, narrow-minded career politician who always has and always will put his political self-interest first, a man who has been running for something even before he dropped out of college and regards a second term as governor as merely a catapult into the 2016 presidential competition.

He always acts on behalf of the privileged while telling the middle class that government is their real enemy.

No, Walker’s legacy will not be what he accomplished, which is negligible, but how badly he has divided us. Sadly, there is no longer a bipartisan or independent quality to Wisconsin; Walker can claim that as his most enduring handiwork.

Walker’s ideological agenda has ignored our history and our traditions, the kind reflected in the names of leaders through the decades: Lucey, Nelson, Proxmire, Dreyfus, Earl, Thompson, Feingold, Doyle and Kohl.

Some were liberal, some conservative.

I knew them all and wrote extensively about several. What they all had in common, what drove each, was trying to do a good job for all of the people of Wisconsin. They disagreed on how, but they worked across party lines, governing as if they actually cared about and represented all of us. 

 

Former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey Dies, Aged 96

Breaking news this afternoon.

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Former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey, a hard-nosed Democratic politician who later became the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has died. He was 96.

Lucey, who also ran for vice president of the United States as an independent in 1980, died Saturday night at the Milwaukee Catholic Home after a brief Illness, said his son, Paul Lucey, of Milwaukee.

Patrick Lucey was elected governor in 1970 and won re-election in 1974, but left midway through his second term to serve as then-President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to Mexico.

In Wisconsin, he will perhaps be remembered most for pushing to merge the University of Wisconsin in Madison with the state college system, a fierce battle that created today’s system of 13 four-year state colleges.

Here are a couple things that make me smile about former Wisconsin Gov. Pat Lucey as reported by AP.

He continued to remain active in politics and every bit as opinionated well into his 90s. He briefly served with former Gov. Tommy Thompson as honorary co-chairmen for Justice David Prosser’s contentious campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2011 but withdrew his support just before the election because of what he called “a disturbing distemper and lack of civility” in Prosser, though he did not cite specifics.

Lucey, in fact, was responsible for breaking the all-male dominance of dominance of the state’s high court when he appointed now Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to it in 1976

Miami Dolphins Need To Talk To Don Jones About Anti-Gay Comment Concerning Michael Sam

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Don Jones

UPDATE–The Dolphins responded quickly, ordering Jones to pay an undisclosed fine and barring him from team activities until he finishes “training for his recent comments made on social media.”

Jones issued a mea culpa for his remarks.

“I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media,” he said in a statement Sunday.

“I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment. I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team and I wish him all the best in his NFL career.”

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There seems to be universal reaction of the positive kind to the news from yesterday regarding the football draft pick of Michael Sam.  He was the first openly gay player to enter the draft.

Sam’s selection at No. 249 by the Rams, and the nationally televised kiss he shared with boyfriend shortly thereafter, immediately set off a wave of reaction on social media. As one might expect there had to be one screw-ball in the bunch of tweets to muck it up.  In this case it was Miami Dolphins second-year defensive back Don Jones.

Before I venture further it might be noted that the Dolphins were not a very powerful presence on the field in 2013, so one might think any member of that organization might just keep his head low and do some more push-ups in preparation for the up-coming season.

But that is not what Jones did.

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Immediately after the airing of the video of the kiss Jones tweeted out “omg”, and then to underscore his red-neck quality when someone asked if he was referring to the embrace, he responded: “horrible.”

First this attitude is exactly why the NFL is needing to bring itself into the 21st century, and get in line with the rest of society.  There need to be more men like Sam who will come out of the closet, and shame the likes of Jones to be quiet.

Second, I find it troubling that Jones is not more in line with the civil rights fight for gay people.  He might be reminded what the history books say about the broad coalition of society that gathered to fight for and expand the rights of his race over the decades.  It is time now for Jones and all other African-Americans to lend their voice to the cause of removing injustices for gay people.