Shapeshifter Walker

Scott Walker

The Republican Presidential Debate season has started. The question in my mind is which of the two Scott Walkers will show up for the debates.

The mythology of many societies includes the concept of a shapeshifter – a person or animal who can change form at will. Walker has proved himself to be adept at shifting shape, most spectacularly right after taking the oath of office. Candidate Walker is often a completely different animal from office-holder Walker.

County Fairs: Time for Creativity and Critters, Friends and Family

Kathleen Vinehout
County Fairs: Time for Creativity and Critters, Friends and Family
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“We were working on a peach pie at 11:00 pm last night,” a 4-H mom whispered. “We were working on brownies at 2:00 am,” said another mom who overhead the conversation.
We were outside the 4-H food judging at the Pepin County Fair. You could have heard a pin drop inside the room as the judges sampled the entries. “What a great job,” I thought. “Dessert judge at the county fair.”
County fairs have a deep tradition in our state. Thousands of families, FFA members, 4-Hers and other youth poured their time, energy, talent and creativity into projects exhibited at Wisconsin’s many county fairs.
“Did you see the chicken made of egg shells?” the superintendent of crafts and woodworking at the Trempealeau County Fair asked as I walked through the craft building. He led me over to the top prizewinners on special display.
Indeed, there was a chicken made of broken brown eggshells. Each flawlessly placed shell piece matched the shade and shape of the shells around it and covered the perfectly shaped chicken.
“How did she get the beak to fit together?” I wondered out loud. “It’s a Styrofoam mold underneath that she carved,” the superintendent explained. I very much admired her amazingly detailed work.

Bad Ideas Never Die in Wisconsin

Return of the Bad Men

Just when we thought that perhaps the Gogebic Taconite mine was dead and buried, we find out that there is some chance it will return in a slightly different form.   This is bad news because even though rumor has it that the possible new mine operator has run iron mines before (which at least is an improvement) the fact of the matter is that we're talking about a mine in the same area, with the same political and environmental liabilities. There's clearly no way that this area can be mined in an environmentally responsible way, even when the state legislature has redefined "responsible" through legislation.

Let's hope that this bad idea shall pass as quickly and thoroughly as the last mine proposal.

Wisconsin business feels effects of new budget

Wisconsin Open For Business

Wisconsin Small Businesses Feeling Worse After New State Budget Releases Monthly Economic Sentiment Survey of 10,000 Small Businesses in the
United States

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- August 4, 2015 -- Wisconsin's small businesses reported a significant dip in July just days after the new state budget was signed, according to the Small Business Sentiment Survey, a monthly survey of independent local service businesses in the U.S., including 116 responses in Wisconsin. Designed with Bloomberg, the survey is housed and integrated into the economic functions of the Bloomberg Professional service.

Key findings for Wisconsin include:

  • While small businesses nationally reported a decline in July, Wisconsin's dip was much larger.
  • The biggest declines for small businesses were in credit conditions, and in financial conditions.
  • This is a new low point for Wisconsin small businesses in 2015.

Wisconsin Working Families Party launches to promote progressive values and candidates

Marina Dimitrijevic

Wisconsin Working Families Party launches to promote progressive values and candidates

Marina Dimitrijevic announced as founding executive director


For immediate release. 

For more information, contact:

Marina Dmitrijevic at [email protected] or

Joe Dinkin at [email protected]

MILWAUKEE— A diverse array of progressive labor and community groups announced today the formation of the Wisconsin Working Families Party. The new organization will build progressive power by launching aggressive campaigns and by recruiting, training and electing progressive candidates. Also announced was the hiring of former Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic as executive director.


Rep. Taylor on Planned Parenthood

When I went to work for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) in 2003 as their
legislative director, I was unprepared for the attacks this organization experiences
on a routine basis. There are organizations solely dedicated to shutting Planned
Parenthood down, and more pop up every day. Even before the 2010 tea party
takeover in state Capitols around the country, including ours, the relentless legal
and political attacks on Planned Parenthood were unending.

I thought I knew something about courage, but what I learned at PPWI was that I
knew nothing about it. The staff and physicians who walk into a health center every
day, who are targeted and harassed while their workplace is sometimes vandalized
and threatened, are the heroes. And they do it every day because there are
thousands of women in our state who simply wouldn’t have access to birth control,
cervical and breast cancer screens or testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted
Diseases without PPWI. Even though abortion is only a tiny piece of the services
PPWI provides, it is a critical service. And there are people in our state who risk
their lives every day to provide it.

Dana Milbank - Why Scott Walker is so dangerous

— “First off,” Scott Walker proclaimed, “we took on the unions, and we won. We won!”

Taking on the unions is usually first off for Walker, the Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate. It is the very rationale for his candidacy. And on Thursday, he took a detour from the campaign trail to appear here before the annual meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of state legislators dedicated in large part to defeating unions.

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
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.


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