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Walker ups the ante once again on Iran policy

Scott Walker, in an interview Monday on NPR, upped the ante on his Iran policy and said he wouldn’t wait until his inauguration to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal and would instead start acting the day after his presumed election while he is still a private citizen.

The Race to the Bottom Accelerates!

Race to the Bottom

Boom in Academic Poaching Is Fueled by Visions of Economic Development - Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2015

 This is the headline in the current issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  It describes the current activities around the country to enhance economic development by investing in research and higher education.

The lead story in the Chronicle of Higher Education today describes how other states are using investment in research universities as an integral part of their economic development strategies. The leading sentence tells it all,

Art Mirrors our Environment

Kathleen Vinehout
Art Mirrors our Environment
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“If you came to Stockholm today, you came up or over a river,” musician Julie Patchouli told the folks gathered at the 42nd Annual Art Fair. The musical group, known by Julie’s last name, began a rousing river song as part of the celebration of art in the village of Stockholm, Wisconsin.
 
Stockholm is a picturesque Mississippi River town of 66 individuals (not counting the dogs and cats) that swells by many hundreds on art fair day. Most of the art fair is in the scenic village park on the riverbank of Lake Pepin – the widest spot in the Mississippi.

Latest "Leading Index" for Midwest: One of These Kids is Doing His Own Thing

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's latest "Leading Index" forecasts that in the next six months, Wisconsin will have the worst economic growth in the Midwest and the eighth worst overall-- actually predicting that Wisconsin with have negative growth in the near future. 

Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight

Kathleen Vinehout
Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“I object to the infringement on gubernatorial power and duties,” wrote Governor Walker in his veto message. By his budget vetoes he made it clear he did not want legislative oversight.
 
The governor removed at least 15 portions of state law passed by the legislature that provided legislative authority or provided oversight of the executive branch.
 
Remember your 4th grade civics class lessons about the delicate balance of powers between the three branches of government – the governor (and executive agencies,), the legislature, and the judiciary. The power of the people lies in the power of their elected officials. The peoples’ representatives are their most direct line of power. When legislative power is undermined, so is the power of the people.
 
The governor began the budget process by taking away powers given to the people and the legislature. For example, the citizen board members of the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture lost all their policy-making powers in the governor’s budget. The legislature lost its oversight of state building projects in the governor’s changes to the Building Commission. The people lost budget restrictions in the governor’s gutting of the cost-benefit analysis requirements. These powers were all restored in action by the legislature.
 
However, through his vetoes, the governor again limited the power of the people through their legislature. For example, the legislature held onto funds the governor put in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) budget. The very troubled jobs agency was to submit policy changes to the legislature. Presumably, those funds could be released funds if the budget writing committee members were satisfied progress was made. The governor took the funds set aside by the budget committee through his veto pen.
 
The budget writing committee made changes in the requirements for agencies writing budgets – requiring more information be sent to the legislature on budget options. Lawmakers also set executive restrictions on short-term debt. The use of this type of debt (known as ‘commercial paper’) has long been unrestricted by lawmakers and invisible to the public.
 
The governor vetoed both of these common sense budget oversight provisions.

Announcement by twitter?????

Scott Walker is in Twitter

So -- it's not at all clear how this happened, but Scott Walker apparently accidentally announced his candidacy a few days early on Twitter.  According to Politico his team ain't answering questions about it. Just so you know, I'm not voting for him or joining his team.  Maybe they just cannot break the habit of announcing everything late on Friday so's you won't notice.

Dumpster fire budget passes somewhat intact - 11 Republicans just say "no"

Its been fun, I think

SO that happened. The budget got passed. Although in some ways it's a little less egregious than what the governor initally proposed, it's still a "crap budget" as described by at least one Republican legislator. If you want to see a quck rundown of what is going to affect your life in the budget, there's a story at the Star Tribune (and why I keep ending up reading the Minnesota papers to get Wisconsin news is another question). 

Let's just say that a lot of bad policy got passed. And I mean bad policy more than bad budget items. This budget holds what is perhaps a record-breaking amount of state policy.  What ever happened to laws?  You remember laws, don't you?  Those things that the legislators are supposed to pass?  It's become so much easier in the world where Republicans control everything to just put all the goodies into the budget and then kick back to enjoy the next year and a half till the next legislative budget-making session occurs. 

In case you missed it - State Capitol evacuated - All Clear now

Update -- the evacuation of the Capitol just ended as the all-clear has been given and legislators are heading back to the building.

The state capitol was evacuated this afternoon due to a "credible bomb threat".  Many legislators were seen crossing the various streets around the capitol to partake of bipartisan drinking in the meantime.  Latest word on social media seems to be that dogs may be brought in to sniff the building, that the square has been more or less closed for the time being, and that it's likely that the budget debate in the Assembly will have to be moved forward to tomorrow.

This afternoon's Concert on the Square is currently "on hold" due to the threat.

Where did all the comments go?- They're BAAAACCCKKKK!

Well, that was interesting.  You could only not comment on the articles for the last few weeks.  After a little back-and-forth wiht the module developer I now see what the problem is, and it LOOKS like its fixed.  So - feel free to comment away.

You may be asking yourself this question.  I in fact have been asking myself the same question for the last couple of hours. It's not a conspiracy, it's not because we don't want your comments. Simply enough it's because we upgraded the commenting module on the site, and it turns out that it's pretty horribly broken. I'm trying to convince the comments to come back (they still all exist at the Disqus server, I just cannot get them to display properly).  I'm hoping to have this resolved later today.

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