This is why we can't have nice things in Wisconsin

Although we've all understood the management changes at the DNR have changed the attitude of the state toward the environment, it's interesting to see Cathy Stepp explain her disdain for her employees, for the environment, and what the previous attitude of the DNR was. Earth Day --- apparently those old geezers are hippies. Here we see Secretary Stepp explaining that her employees are curmudgeons, discussing once again how she is trying to make the DNR more like the private sector, and that the DNR is now becoming reponsive to everything but the environment. 

Hat tip to James Rowen for pointing this out, but I thought you'd like to see it for yourself. This is how the head of the DNR sees her job and the challenges involved. It also sheds a lot of light on her attitude toward government.

Denison Best Practices Forum - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Contraception Misconception - Chris Taylor

Contraception Misconception

By Representative Chris Taylor

Justice Rebecca Bradley’s consistent and alarming positions on reproductive health care should concern anyone who believes that women have constitutional rights to make child bearing decisions, because she has made it remarkably clear that she does not. This is especially relevant because over the last five years, Governor Walker and Republicans in the legislature have launched an unprecedented attack on access to reproductive health care, causing litigation in Wisconsin over hospital admitting privileges and medication abortion that shows no signs of easing. The only relief from the myriad of abortion restrictions and limits on birth control is our courts.

My Kind - Not My Kind

In last week's post I discussed some of the trials and tribulations of Myron Buchholz trying to mount a campaign for the 3rd Congressional District of Wisconsin as a progressive Demorcat against a long establishment incumbent. In that post titled "MyRon and Not My Ron" I mentioned our struggle in getting changes to the bylaws of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) to allow access to candidates like Myron to the Voter Activation Network (VAN) service that the Democratic Party across the nation subscribes to.

The Next Well that Goes Bad May be Yours

Kathleen Vinehout
March 23, 2016
The Next Well that Goes Bad May be Yours
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“I feel like the state failed to protect the people,” Stacy told me. “Nobody really cares because it’s not affecting them.”
Stacy is one of several Lincoln Township residents in Trempealeau County who lived through two years of well problems. An industrial sand mine and processing plant set up shop in the neighborhood.
Mine owners wanted to avoid county zoning rules. The owners negotiated with the cities of Whitehall and Independence – some say pitting one city against the other – to annex the mine into Whitehall and the processing plant into Independence.
The residents of Lincoln Township were left out. They had no voice in the rules placed on the mine and processing plant by the City Councils.
The mine negotiated with Whitehall to provide water for sand processing. Industrial sand mine processing is a very water intensive process. The city’s pipes were unable to handle the high pressure needed to pump water miles away to the mine. Residents told me the city tried to drill a well just for the mine but couldn’t find water.
The mine needed water to operate. Locals said the mine made a deal to use an old nearby agriculture irrigation high capacity well to supply water to the sand processing plant.

Happy Birthday and Happy Sunshine Week

I'm here at UW Eau Claire at the Open Government Traveling Show, just about to watch the presentation from the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and others. As I was sitting here I looked at my calendar and realized that it is the 10th anniversary of this blog today. Though that makes me feel a little ancient (almost as much as looking at the mirror) - it also is somewhat of an accomplishment to have managed to do this for so long. Join me in celebrating 10 years of progressive talk.

Locals Raise Questions about Railroad Police

Kathleen Vinehout
Locals Raise Questions about Railroad Police
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
It was no wonder the Legislative committee chairperson did not want to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 734, a bill that would return railroad trespassing law to pre-2006, which allowed crossing.
Madison lobbyists lined up against the bill to allow people to cross railroad tracks. The lobbyists represented seven different law enforcement groups, three labor groups, six different railroad groups, the oil industry and the state’s largest business lobby – Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

In Good Standing...

A term that I've become a little confused about in the last few weeks is "In good standing". On February 21, just a couple of weeks ago, Myron Buchholz announced his candidacy for the 3rd Congressional Seat in Wisconsin as a Democrat. Shortly after announcing his candidacy, Myron met with Martha Lanning, chair of the DPW and Myron was told that he would not be given access to the Voter Access Network (VAN) because he was opposing a Democrat "In Good Standing" in the primary, Ron Kind. Mind you Myron was willing to pay for access but no access will be allowed. 

Same as it Ever Was

It's been a while since I have taken to the interwebs to add to the discourse. As a matter of fact, it was about this time in the last presidential race when I put up my last post: "Why I voted for Santorum". I qualified my logic for voting for Santorum. My logic deduced that Santorum was the best choice back in 2012 if you were a progressive and you wanted to use your vote in the presidential primary. 

But this time around we are offered a choice and that is one of the primary (pun intended) reasons why I've decided that early March of 2016 is the time for me to come back out of my blogging hibernation. The choice of Bernie Sanders in this upcoming Wisconsin Primary on April 5 is one of the first times since 2010 that I had a candidate that I could dedicate a substantial amount of my personal time and treasure to help get elected.

Speed and Secrecy versus Deliberative Democracy

Kathleen Vinehout
Speed and Secrecy versus Deliberative Democracy
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“All your work has made a real difference,” Linda, my staffer, told Mrs. Gifford. She and her husband traveled to Madison to personally deliver letters to every Senator.
“Well, aren’t you nice,” Mrs. Gifford responded. “You just made my day!”
Twenty-eight minutes before the vote on a bill that would make significant changes in high capacity well rules, the Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism committee clerk came to my office and said that bill was removed from the list to be voted out of committee.
As he left our office, he passed Barbara Gifford and her husband Jim who came to ask me to vote against the bill. For the moment, it looked like the Giffords were successful.
Senate Bill 239 is one of three bills that would alter the way Wisconsin grants permits to drill a high capacity well – a well that pumps 70 or more gallons per minute of groundwater.  The bill prevents the DNR from reviewing existing high-cap well permits making them approved forever.


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