Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mary Burke's character shows why she'll be a better leader for Wisconsin

Walker works to further his own ambitions and to appease his donors; Burke will work to serve out her constituents' wishes and preserve Wisconsin ideals

There are two different paths that the citizens of the state of Wisconsin can choose to take come Election Day.

One option is to take a path already forged by the sitting governor. Scott Walker’s vision for the state is to appease business interests, with less emphasis on actual constituents. Easing regulations that pollute our waterways or make it more difficult to prosecute workplace discrimination, among other items, seems to be the endorsed M.O. for the Walker administration.

But it isn’t just his policies that matter -- how Walker goes about governing is also of importance. His “divide and conquer” strategy is all at once both startling and effective, and it has resulted in an unprecedented era of partisanship that the state has traditionally been unfamiliar with.

His poor managerial style is also worth noting. Has Walker selected only the best and brightest to hold positions in the executive branch, or for other appointments? No -- in fact, Walker has selected political surrogates and sons of campaign contributors to fill these roles over more qualified applicants. For Walker, it’s again about appeasement, using these positions to placate those who support him, furthering his own ambitions while doing so.

A different path is available for us to consider, presented by Walker’s challenger Mary Burke. This vision for the state emphasizes cooperation over division, inclusion over subjugation. Whereas ideas from one singular party is the preference in Walker’s Wisconsin, Burke will seek input from all political corners of the state, be they Republican, Democratic, or other.

To be sure, there will be challenges with this path as well -- cooperation can often mean compromising of some ideals to get things accomplished. But this path, which brings Wisconsin’s politics back to it’s modest origins, is more preferable than the path created by Walker.

For that reason alone, Mary Burke has gained my support, and I endorse her without reservation to become the first female governor in state’s history.

Yes, there are other specific policies held by Burke that are worth pointing out. Her support for a raise in the minimum wage, towards restoring much needed funding for our schools, and to preserve our natural resources for the enjoyment and health of our citizens for generations to come, all deserve praise from voters on the campaign trail. Burke has also stood for empowering women’s rights, marriage equality for all Wisconsin couples, and preserving the right afforded for all citizens to vote.

But it is her commitment toward cooperation and open discussion that warrants serious consideration for her as a candidate for governor. Wisconsin will face several obstacles over the next four years, some of them known to us currently, but others we have yet to discover. For these unknown situations that may come about, no policy position discussed on the campaign trail will describe how one candidate will lead versus another. Rather, it is the character of the candidate which helps us to understand how these individuals will react to these spontaneous situations that come about.

Burke’s character as someone who seeks input from multiple sources sets her apart in a positive way. It is a trait that should be desired by the citizenry in any leader they select, and distances her from Walker, who seems to thrive on divisiveness and partisanship. In short, Walker bases policy decisions on what can further his donors’ needs or his own ambitions; for Burke, the motivations are much deeper and nobler than that.

Wisconsin would be better off without Scott Walker in office. It will move Forward with Burke as governor.

Lunchtime musings: GOP operative makes wild claims we should all ignore

The allegations against Mary Burke, that she was fired from Trek, are completely unfounded and should be ignored. Why the mainstream media is picking this story up is beyond me, and it's irresponsible journalism in my view.

Here's what we know:
Gary Ellerman, the man making the claim, was himself fired from Trek. He is a Republican Party operative, and is known for not necessarily playing by the rules -- he was one of several "fake Democrats" to run against legitimate candidates in the 2012 recall elections; 
The organization that "reported" the claim, Wisconsin Reporter, is hardly neutral. It is founded in major part by the Franklin Center, which itself has major financial dealings with conservative groups like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Koch brothers, and the NRA; 
And Mary Burke's brother, John Burke, the current president of Trek, denies all allegations made against his sister. As the president of the company, who was present at the time of these allegations, he is the best person to consult when it comes to the veracity of these wild claims.
So why are we taking the word of a disgruntled former employee with political motivations, who spoke to a conservative media outlet in order to further his wild story? This is political junk at its worst, one week before the election. It should be ignored, and the Republican Party of Wisconsin should be ashamed of itself for promoting it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wisconsin less safe under Walker's watch, concealed carry

Statistical analysis of crime data exposes crime rise in state during national plateau

In 2010, the year before Gov. Scott Walker took office, there were 97 gun related homicides in the state of Wisconsin.

This week, according to Wisconsin Public Radio, we’ve already reached that number for the year, with 65 days still remaining in 2014. If we keep up the current pace we should reach 118 gun homicides by the end of the year.

What has happened to have made Wisconsin (if it keeps this pace) surpass a 20 percent increase in annual gun-related homicides from 2010 to the present? Funding to police departments fell, in large part due to cuts to localities imposed by the Walker administration:
The governor's first budget, passed in 2011, delivered the single largest cut to shared revenue in a decade — $76 million, or 9 percent. Walker also imposed strict limits on local governments' ability to raise property taxes to make up for those cuts.
While not saying he is directly responsible for the crime rate increasing over the years, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association determined that due to those cuts, it could not endorse Walker in this year’s gubernatorial election, opting instead to support Democratic candidate Mary Burke.

There’s another important aspect worth pointing out: homicides from guns have increased as we’ve instituted concealed carry across Wisconsin.

During the concealed carry bill ceremony in 2011, Walker stated, “By signing concealed carry into law today we are making Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens.”

While we can’t definitively say that concealed carry is responsible for these crime increases, we can look closely at the evidence and say that Gov. Walker’s assertion that the state would be safer with the law in place is patently false.

We now see that Wisconsin isn’t safer under Walker’s watch. Having citizens carry guns around didn’t make us safer, either. And cutting funding for municipalities by huge margins may have contributed to lower budgets for law enforcement, making crime a rising problem in the state, at a time when the rest of the nation is seeing relatively unchanged crime stats.

How could anyone who wants a safer Wisconsin support Walker’s re-election bid? It’s time to face reality, and to start fresh with a new governor. Wisconsin’s safety is depending on it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Angry Madison" remarks confirm Walker is ignoring the concerns of many residents

"Divide and conquer" politics still the go-to strategy for embattled governor

Gov. Scott Walker recently talked about the role that the city of Madison will play in the upcoming gubernatorial election:
There are a lot of people who love what we've done across the state. There are many people in Madison who are angry and they're going to vote no matter what. We have got to make sure that people who love what we do understand they have to come out just as strong. If they do, we'll win this election.
Emphasis added.

Describing Madison voters as “angry,” Walker refuses to confront the fact that as governor he’s meant to serve the entire state, not just the “WOW” counties. Rather than do that, however, Walker goes to his trusted strategy of “divide and conquer,” an offensive maneuver to say the least.

By making the conversation into “us-versus-them,” Walker hopes to villainize the people of Madison so that the rest of the state targets Dane County instead of him.

Madison residents are part of this state, too, and they’re entitled to support the policies and candidates they prefer. Calling Madisonians “angry” is a sad attempt to delegitimize those preferences, to make it seem as though blind rage against him, and not Walker’s record, motivates voters.

More importantly, Madison isn’t the only place upset with the governor’s performance over the past four years. It’s just not mathematically possible, and even if you toss Milwaukee in with us, there are still other parts of the state upset with Walker.

The latest Marquette Law School Poll survey sample (PDF), for example, was only 25 percent Dane County and Milwaukee County respondents. Even if you believe that these two jurisdictions are 100 percent anti-Walker (they’re not), that leaves a significant portion of the state still opposed to him and his policies.

The disappointing aspect of Walker’s comments stem from the fact that the “angry” people he’s trying to stigmatize are citizens of the state he’s in charge of. Their concerns, and those of every citizen in Wisconsin, should be his as well.


While we’re on the subjects of heroes and villains, I want to address a comment I made four years ago, in an open letter to then Governor-elect Scott Walker. I was writing on the subject of the high speed rail project, which then-Gov. Jim Doyle decided to leave in the hands of the governor-elect.

In my closing remarks, I wrote:
I don't view you as a villain, Mr. Walker -- I believe that you truly care about Wisconsin, and though we may disagree on some issues, I know your heart is in the right place.
At the time, I had felt that, even if Walker didn’t share my views, he had the interests of the state in mind. Four years after making those remarks, I’m not so certain I’d write them again today.

I’m not sure Walker’s heart is guiding his actions, or that he cares about Wisconsin anymore. At the very least, his comments on “angry” Madisonians confirms that there are certain parts of the state he’d just as soon ignore.

But I suppose that’s how “divide and conquer” politics works.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lunchtime Musings: Journal Sentinel wrong, Walker's failed jobs pledge matters

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board is downplaying the importance of Scott Walker's promise to create 250,000 jobs during his four years in office:
The Walker critics argue you should care about this. But you shouldn't. It's just not that important. Walker's promise was always more rhetoric than reality, a nice sound bite.
"A nice sound bite?" That's not what the Journal Sentinel called it when they endorsed Walker in 2010, and it's not the standard Walker placed on himself while running back then, calling the number his "floor," the minimum he would accept.

The Journal Sentinel would like you to believe that these pledges didn't matter. They also want you to think that "politicians don't create jobs."

But if politicians don't create jobs, then why was it acceptable in 2010 for the Journal Sentinel to endorse Walker in the first place, in part for his jobs promises? It doesn't add up.

I wrote last month that Gov. Walker's pledge does matter. If it doesn't, then what's stopping him from making it again, or even doubling it? At what point is a politician meant to be held to their promises? And if we say it's no big deal, are other campaign promises fair game for dismissal too? Why make pledges at all?

The Journal Sentinel is wrong -- Walker's jobs promise DOES matter, and it's a failed promise that deserves to be recognized.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

At long last, the Republican Party answers my question: yes, they think we’re stupid.

Co-chair of national party, at an event featuring Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, makes embarrassing comment about state voters' collective intelligence

I’ve asked several times on this blog whether Republicans think we’re stupid.

In August, I asked if Scott Walker and state Republicans thought we were dumb for an ad they ran, in which the governor pinned the loss of 133,000 jobs on Jim Doyle rather than the global economic recession that occurred during his tenure:
[The ad] catches the attention of its viewers, but it also causes anyone with a critical mind to question: just how gullible, how stupid does Gov. Scott Walker think the average voter is?
And when he repeated the line days later, I asked again: does Walker really think we’re stupid?
This campaign of lies isn’t just disingenuous -- it’s also relying on the hope that the people of Wisconsin can’t remember the events of the past ten years. Walker is banking on the average voter -- you, me, your Aunt Irene, and so forth -- of having the memory span of a goldfish in order to win a second term.
In June, I asked if state Republicans thought Wisconsin women were dumb based on the passage of an abortion bill that required, in many cases, transvaginal ultrasounds in order to give those seeking an abortion “a full understanding” of what the procedure entailed:
The law -- as it stands currently, before this atrocious bill was even proposed -- requires [women] to be told what happens, and encourages them to seek other options.

It’s not too extreme to assume that Wisconsin Republicans think that women are dumb. If Republicans can’t trust women to make an informed choice after being counseled, waiting 24 hours, being offered an ultrasound, and generally being hounded by the issue, then it’s no wonder why Mary Lazich and her colleagues think women need more information in the form of an invasive ultrasound.
And again in February, I asked if WISGOP thought we were all dummies for not agreeing with them that the loss of 133,000 jobs during the recession was all Mary Burke’s fault:
Do the Republicans of this state, and moreover the national Republican Governors Association, think we can’t piece together recent history to understand that these losses can’t be blamed on Burke, for not just one but two reasons (the recession, and her being out of office at the time)?
After several months of silence, I figured that my facetious attempts to get the Republican Party to fess up were all ignored. Then, the co-chair of the national Republican Party, in a campaign event alongside Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, made it clear: yes, Virginia Wisconsin, they do think we’re stupid.
Sharon Day, the co-chair, told the audience, “It’s not going to be an easy election, it’s a close election. Like I said, much closer than I can even understand why.

“I don’t want to say anything about your Wisconsin voters but, some of them might not be as sharp as a knife.”
Emphasis in bold added.

I honestly didn’t expect a truthful answer from someone so high up in the party. But there it is, out in the open. And more importantly, the second half of the ticket, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, didn’t dispute those words at that event.

They truly think we’re stupid.

Monday, October 20, 2014

For a real conversation on student debt, Mary Burke is the best choice

A tuition freeze is nice, but Walker won’t address student debt problem

On the campaign trail for governor, we often hear so much from candidates that what they really are saying to us doesn’t get the proper attention it deserves. The subject of college loan student debt is one of those issues.

Gov. Scott Walker talks a big game about his record on student loans. He frequently cites the fact that he put into place a tuition freeze across the UW system (although he neglects to point out in his first budget there was an 11 percent tuition hike.

While a freeze is helpful, it doesn’t fix the problem. It’s like turning off the faucet when you have a clogged up sink. Sure, there’s less water in the basin, but you’ve still got a mess to deal with in the pipes.

Tuition freezes are the first step towards fixing the bigger problems associated with the debt crisis. What Walker’s plan for student debt lacks, however, is the next step: finding a way to lower the burden on Wisconsin students so that they won’t be saddled with decades of debt after they graduate.

So who among the gubernatorial candidates is leading the call for student debt reform? Why, Democrat Mary Burke, of course!
The UW tuition freeze was a step in the right direction, but we need to do more to make college affordable for students, including bringing down the cost. That's why I support a plan to refinance student loan debt and would allow middle-class families to deduct more in tuition and fees associated with attending college on their taxes as a way to lessen dependence on costly student loans.
Burke described the tuition freeze as the best policy to be enacted during Walker’s tenure. Yet more needs to be done -- a tuition freeze is a stopgap measure, but it doesn’t make things easier for students in the long-run.

What’s Walker’s plan to help students? Another tuition freeze. Again, that’s a good first step...but it’s not a very effective second or third step. Unless something else is done, what good does a freeze do? Students are still paying huge bills, and the freeze itself doesn’t address that.

Let’s allow students the chance to refinance their debt. Let’s create more tax deductions for education. And let’s have an open conversation about how to really attack student debt, and how to make college more affordable to every Wisconsin family.

We’ll get that conversation with Mary Burke as governor. With Scott Walker...not so much.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Under Walker’s tenure, recovery is STILL at a slower pace than it was under Doyle's last year

Latest jobs numbers represent one month of recovery; during other 44 months, Walker’s average rate of growth has been grudgingly slower

**Note** When I first wrote this post, the job numbers I calculated for Gov. Walker were too generous. This post has been updated with more accurate data

We’re less than one month away from an election featuring Gov. Scott Walker, so it should come as no surprise that a jobs report with positive numbers is being scrutinized.

While the report shows that Wisconsin gained 8,400 private sector jobs in September, we ought to remain skeptical. These types of reports, after all, are misleading, based on a survey of less than 4 percent of businesses, and are terribly unreliable.

But don’t take my word for it: that’s what Gov. Scott Walker and his administration have said in the past about these reports in the months leading up to his recall election.

During the last month of the recall campaign, Walker instead cited the state’s quarterly jobs report, which relied on a higher number of businesses surveyed (more than 19 out of every 20 establishments in the state). That survey was released a whole month before it was originally scheduled, a move that some said was done for political rather than practical reasons.

In response, Walker’s administration began releasing those quarterly jobs reports early from that point forward, to at least carry some semblance of consistency. These reports, after all, were the “gold standard,” much better than those phony monthly numbers.

But something happened in the meantime, long after the recall: we were able to compare those quarterly reports to other states’ reports. Wisconsin wasn’t faring too well compared to the rest of the country, nor in the Midwest specifically.

In fact, Wisconsin is dead last in the Midwest in these quarterly reports under Walker’s watch. Despite an errant report from a supposedly neutral news source, from December 2010 to December 2013, Wisconsin grew 93,395 jobs, a four-year rate of growth of 4.11 percent. For comparison, here’s a chart of the states that border Wisconsin, and their rate of growth during the same three years:

As you can see, Wisconsin did not do so well in the first three years, falling behind our border states, and indeed the Midwest region overall.

So what about this latest month? We supposedly gained 8,400 new jobs in September (PDF), and that IS good news. But looking at the bigger picture shows we’re still facing problems.

From the start of this year to the month of this latest jobs report, Wisconsin grew 23,400 jobs. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind, if we stay at this pace, we’ll create around 31,200 jobs for the year. That’s a slower rate than the last year of former Gov. Jim Doyle’s tenure, when the state created around 33,658 jobs.

In fact, the entirety of Walker’s tenure -- the supposed “Wisconsin Comeback” -- is a slower pace than the Doyle year of recovery. In Gov. Jim Doyle’s last year in office, Wisconsin grew jobs at a rate of about 2,805 jobs per month. In the 45 months since he’s taken office, Wisconsin under Scott Walker’s watch has grown jobs at about 2,473 jobs per month. It might not seem like much, but job growth under Walker is nearly a tenth slower than it was under the first year of recovery under Doyle.

(Chart reflects average monthly job creation from Jan 2010 to present)

Remember that Gov. Walker consistently derides Democratic candidate Mary Burke for proposing that we go back to the way we did things under Doyle, whose administration she briefly served as Commerce secretary for. But maybe we’d be better off under those policies.

We had a faster rate of job recovery, after all, when Doyle’s policies were still in play. And while we can’t necessarily attribute job growth to those policies, we can at least say they didn’t deter a faster recovery than what we’ve seen so far under Walker’s watch.


One more thing to watch out for: these monthly jobs numbers are subject to significant revisions; in some cases they’re altered by several thousands of jobs in the opposite direction. The Walker administration used to point that fact out in their releases. Now that they’re showing positive numbers, that disclaimer is no longer prominently featured in the report.

Next month will be the first revision of those numbers. It will come, however, too late, after the election for governor will have already taken place.

Funny how that works out.

Monday, October 13, 2014

WMC leaves out corporate-employee tax gap in misleading propaganda campaign

Other claims in videos, including that lower corporate taxes create jobs, are also misleading

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the campaign arm of the Chamber of Commerce-like organization in Wisconsin, is hoping to “educate” the workers of this state.
Wisconsin’s Chamber of Commerce (WMC) is urging employers to educate their employees about how government policies affect their employees’ livelihood in an innovative series of animated videos, WMC announced Monday.

“We are launching a series of animations that employers can email to their workers or post on their company social media sites to help workers understand the importance of good public policy,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC President/CEO.
In other words, through a series of whiteboard animations, the WMC is launching a propaganda campaign meant to misinform the typical Wisconsin worker.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Burke/Walker debate recap: thoughts on voter ID, the minimum wage and abortion

A commentary on three items from Friday night’s gubernatorial debate

The first gubernatorial debate is past us now, and while many have offered their opinions already on the several topics discussed between Mary Burke and Scott Walker, I figured I should throw my two cents in as well.

I’m not going to go line-by-line about the debate, though I certainly could. Burke gave some great answers to questions and held her own against the incumbent Walker. That in itself is a victory, but she did more than just debate well: she offered a concrete vision of what kind of governor she would be should she win election on November 4.

Those who had been skeptical of Burke in the past ought to re-examine their concerns with her as a candidate following her performance on Friday night. Despite no huge news-making statements from herself or blows to Walker, Burke was stellar on the debate stage, touting progressive ideals and appealing to voters across the state.

While I won’t talk about every issue that was brought up I do want to give my opinion on three topics that caught my attention during the debate: voter ID, the minimum wage, and abortion.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

DWD says "public aid" helps those on minimum wage, but Walker diminished aid for thousands

Two parents on minimum wage no longer qualify for BadgerCare

Gov. Scott Walker's administration stated this week that they determined $7.25 an hour was a livable wage. They cited, among other things, that state "public aid" helps make it so.

Two parents working minimum wage jobs earn around $30,160 a year. Before Walker, their family would have indeed qualified for BadgerCare coverage. 

But now, because of Walker's health care "reforms" and refusal to accept federal Medicaid funds, they no longer qualify. They're on their own.

So the "public aid" that supposedly makes $7.25 a livable wage is, in many cases, gone because of Walker.

The minimum wage, even with help from the state, is a challenge to survive on. But shame on both the Department of Workforce Development and on Walker himself for saying aid makes it easier, especially after this very administration took said aid away.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Does marriage equality still play a role in this year's election? Two words: Rebecca Kleefisch

Past comments from the current Lt. Gov. should cause some to question whether she would be a good governor, should Walker pursue the presidency

With the recent decision of the Supreme Court to not review appeals on bans of same-sex marriage from Wisconsin and several other states, one has to wonder: does marriage equality matter anymore in state politics, or more specifically in this year's elections?

You bet it does. Gov. Scott Walker may not be vocal about his stance on marriage equality anymore, but his Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has said quite a bit on it in the past. These comments are truly worrisome, and indicate that Kleefisch might not be a responsible leader should she assume the post of governor in the future.

While running in 2010, Kleefisch was vocal about the same-sex marriage issue, comparing the practice to that of bestiality and other relationships.

“At what point are we going to OK marrying inanimate objects?” Kleefisch once asked rhetorically in a radio interview. “Can I marry this table, or this, you know, clock? Can we marry dogs? This is ridiculous.”

Kleefisch survived that controversy four years ago, and remains on the gubernatorial ticket today. As lieutenant governor, she would become governor herself should Scott Walker choose to resign his office.

Since Gov. Walker probably intends to run for president, his resignation is a real possibility, meaning “Can I marry this table” Rebecca Kleefisch could very well become governor if he’s re-elected this fall.

It would probably not affect the marriage equality decision much, but having someone in office that understands the difference between marriage among two consenting adults and marriage between animals and furniture would be a good thing. For starters, it would put more maturity into the office. But more importantly, it would put someone respectable, on this issue and on many others, in the position of governor.

If you want to avoid a Kleefisch governorship, you need to support Mary Burke for governor. It’s clear that Walker will run for president at this point, but only if he wins another term in his current position. Let’s hope, for the sake of thousands of families across the state, that doesn’t happen.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS LAW! Supreme Court refuses WI appeal on same-sex marriage

Appeals court decisions in five states brings equality across the nation closer to reality

UPDATE 10:29 AM >>> A couple of reactions from the gubernatorial candidates:

UPDATE 10:10 AM >>> Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruling was issued today: "Based on the Supreme Court’s denial of Cert and advise of the Dane County Corporation Counsel’s office, my office will again be issuing same sex marriage licenses today. Our hours will be the normal 8 to 4pm for licenses."

The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected hearing a slew of cases on same-sex marriage, effectively allowing appeals court decisions in several states to become the rule of law.

That means in Wisconsin, gay and lesbian couples can now wed. Previously, a week-long period of marriages occurred when Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that denying same-sex couples marriage licenses was a violation of the Equal Protection clause in the U.S. Constitution. Crabb later put a stay on her decision, leaving in doubt the validity of marriage licenses for over 500 couples in the state.

Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen sought to appeal that decision in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a three-judge decision, that court determined that Crabb’s initial ruling was proper, and reaffirmed that same-sex marriages should be allowed in the state.

Judge Richard Prosner, an appointee of Ronald Reagan, questioned why the law was needed in the first place, calling it ridiculous and absurd in the decision he wrote.
”These people and their adopted children are harmed by your law,” Judge Richard Posner said of gay and lesbian couples who are barred from getting married. “The question is, what is the offsetting benefit of your law. Who is being helped?”
Rather than accepting that opinion, JB Van Hollen further appealed the decision to the Supreme Court late this past summer. Today, the High Court determined it would not hear his, nor any other state’s, appeal currently on the docket.


This decision is welcomed news for the state of Wisconsin. For too many years, gay and lesbian couples have been treated as second-class citizens when it came to their unions. Domestic partnerships provided some relief, but on other issues -- such as adoption rights, tax benefits, hospital visitations, and more -- couples were denied essential rights necessary for families to function in the real world. The ban essentially created a separate AND unequal status to these couples and to their children.

Both Gov. Scott Walker and AG Van Hollen stood in the way of marriage equality in the state in recent months. Walker took an indirect role in the whole matter, stating that his hands were tied since the law was a state constitutional amendment.

He easily could have swayed his attorney general’s decision to appeal by stating his support for letting go of the ban. Instead, in an election year where the governor wants to appear both conservative and moderate, Walker took a cowardly position of trying to seem like he held none at all.

While Wisconsin now has marriage equality, several states across the nation are still lagging behind. The decision by SCOTUS means that only those states that have appealed to them will receive marriage equality status, meaning only five additional states will see equality realized today.

But that’s a step in the right direction. As “the arc of the moral universe” bends towards justice, so too will marriage equality be realized across all fifty states of our union. It will remain a long and arduous path to take, but today’s declaration is a step closer towards equality for all couples, all families across the nation.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

PolitiFact Wisconsin's latest rating on Mary Burke is "Mostly Bunk"

Fact-checking site misrepresents candidate Mary Burke with its latest rating

I have mixed feelings when it comes to PolitiFact, the fact-checking site that makes rulings based on statements made by politicians, pundits, and candidates for office.

I’ve cited PolitiFact on this site several times. I’ve also come to understand that, while their articles usually contain a good measure of information in them, reading only their ratings on statements is a good way to remain misinformed on issues. The ratings, in fact, are largely subjective to whoever is making them, and in many cases they ignore the very rating system that they have set up in the first place.

The PolitiFact Wisconsin site recently commented on Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke’s assertion that Wisconsin has “fallen to dead last in Midwest job growth” under Gov. Scott Walker.

They rated that statement as “False.” And they're wrong.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lunchtime musings: Burke didn't proofread, but Walker's scandals are truly worrisome

Let's examine Scott Walker's record, specifically his scandals,  and compare him to Mary Burke.

He's sending state workers to political events, a violation of the necessar separation between state and electoral spheres.

There was improper coordination between his campaign and third party groups, in an apparent effort to hide campaign cash during his recall.

He has consistently hired and promoted political allies, not to mention family members of high-paying donors, over more qualified employees in state government jobs.

Finally, let's not forget the secret email router system that linked government workers mere steps from his desk to his 2010 campaign activities, a clear violation of campaign ethics and rules.

In spite of all of these scandals, and then some, Gov. Walker has the nerve to call Mary Burke untrustworthy?

Burke's biggest "crime" is that she didn't proofread a document. We can't say the same for Walker, who's biggest crime may turn out to be a real one.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Scott Walker: A Failure in Job Creation (Video)

Latest "Video Heat" showcases how much we've struggled to create jobs under Gov. Walker's watch

Here's my latest "Video Heat" video, examining the job creation record under current Gov. Scott Walker.

With a little more than three months to go until his first term is up, Walker is barely 40 percent of the way towards fulfilling his 2010 jobs pledge. This, and more failures in the video.