On Poor Management, Or, Did You Know There Was Another Deepwater?

It is by now obvious that even after we stop the gentle trickle of oil that’s currently expressing itself into the Gulf of Mexico (thank you so much, BP) we are not going to be able to get that oil out of the water for some considerable length of time--and if you think it could take years, I wouldn’t bet against you.

While BP is the legally responsible party, out on the water it will be up to the Coast Guard to manage the Federal response, and to determine that BP is running things in a way that gets the work done not only correctly and safely, but, in a world of limited resources, efficiently.

Which brings us to the obvious question: can the Coast Guard manage such a complex undertaking?

While we hope they can, you need to know that the Coast Guard has been trying to manage the replacement of their fleet of ships and aircraft for about a decade now...and the results have been so stunningly bad that you and I are now the proud owners of a small flotilla of ships that can never be used, because if they go to sea, they might literally break into pieces.

It’s an awful story, and before we’re done you’ll understand why Deepwater was already an ugly word around Headquarters, years before that oil rig blew up.

Feingold, Barrett invited to the Tea Party

At first blush, the idea sounds ridiculous.  Why would Democrats Tom Barrett and Russ Feingold even consider attending a Tea Party debate?  WisPolitics reports, deadpan:

Tim Dake, of the Milwaukee-based Tea Party group GrandSons of Liberty, said the gubernatorial debate is set for 4 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc. Republican candidates Scott Walker and Mark Neumann have accepted the invitation, though Dem Tom Barrett has not committed to it, Dake said. ..

Dake said the group is trying to iron out a date for a U.S. Senate debate. Republicans Dave Westlake and Ron Johnson have accepted, but Dem U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold hasn't committed, Dake said.

For Barrett, it just might be a chance to steal the limelight and again draw the contrast between himself and two guys who, at that stage, will be crawling farther and farther out on the right-wing limb to try to get Tea Party support in their primary. Barrett just might emerge -- in a televised debate -- as the only reasonable voice in the room, with some actual ideas rather than just rhetoric.

That doesn't mean he'd get the TP endorsement, but he might score some points with Wisconsin voters, which in the end is what really matters.

Then there's the Senate campaign, where Ron Johnson, who either is or is not a Tea Party candidate, depending upon whether the moon is waxing or waning, is giving the TPers fits.

John Kraus, Russ Feingold's senior strategist, told the Journal Sentinel:

...Feingold has cast votes against bank bailouts and the Patriot Act that match up with tea party views. "We're going to fight for every voter in the state," said John Kraus, Feingold's senior campaign strategist. "We have a good record on many of the issues these folks care about."

Ann Althouse, Wisconsin's uber blogger, is intrigued:

Ron Johnson - Oil Fan, Even in the Great Lakes

[img_assist|nid=12955|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=253|height=300]I guess it's consistent that someone who has recently said he's in favor of global warming would also be in favor of oil drilling wherever it might be possible -- but somehow the idea that someone running for senator from a Great Lakes state would be in favor of oil drilling in the Great Lakes seems a bit much -- Ron Johnson interviewed by Wispolitics -

Would you support drilling, like in the Great Lakes for example?


“You know, the bottom line is we are an oil-based economy.  There's nothing we're going to do to get off of that for many years.  I think we have to be realistic and recognize that fact and, you know, I, I think we have to, get the oil where it is, but we have to do it where it is.”

Block, Nixon are not convicted crooks

There, that headline should satisfy the lawyers representing Mark Block, state director of Americans for Prosperity, a Republican front group that does issue advocacy.

The Democratic Party has been calling him a criminal fundraiser, and Block's friends have filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board, as Dan Bice reported.

So Mark Block and Richard Nixon are not crooks. But there doesn't seem to be any question that both were guilty of serious election law violations.

The campaign Block managed for former State Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox still holds the record for paying the most severe election law penalties in Wisconsin history.

Block himself settled a case brought against him by the former State Elections Board for illegal activity in the Wilcox campaign, agreeing to pay a $15,000 fine and stay out of Wisconsin political campaigns for three years.

That's serious stuff -- but not a crime.

What he did do was illegally coordinate $200,000 worth of campaign activity with a group pretending to be operating indepently, which is forbidden for a lot of reasons, including campaign contribution limits.

On Setting Things Straight, Or, An Open Letter To The United Kingdom

Dear The United Kingdom,

I just wanted to take a minute to say hello and to see how things have been for you lately, and to maybe bring you up to date on a bit of news from here.

Well, right off the bat, we hear you have a new Conservative Prime Minister and that his Party and Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are in partnership, which I’m sure will be interesting; you probably heard that us Colonials are again having Tea Parties, which has also been very interesting.

I have a Godson who’s getting married this September, so we’re all talking about that, and I hear Graham Norton was even better than last year at hosting Eurovision, despite the fact that it’s...frankly, it’s Eurovision.

Oh, yeah...we also had a bit of an oil spill recently that you may have heard about—and hoo, boy; you should see how the Company that spilled the oil has been acting.

Who won the straw poll? Who cares?

This is being written before any straw poll results from the state Democratic convention are announced. We don't know yet who won, and I don't care.

But before any of the winners begin trumpeting the results -- or thinking they mean anything at all -- a little walk down memory lane might be in order.

The first straw poll most Wisconsin Democrats remember was done in 1983 at the state convention, to test support for presidential candidates for the 1984 race.

The winner: Callifornia Sen. Alan Cranston, who beat Walter Mondale and Gary Hart, was elected president in 1984 and served two terms, until turning over the White House to Bill Clinton in 1993.

OK, you're right. Cranston didn't win the nomination, and Mondale, who did, lost the election to some other guy from California.

For years afterward, the party not only didn't take straw polls but actively discouraged them.

Asking Johnson the wrong question

WisPolitics.com, in a report to subscribers about an interview with Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson:

 Johnson said his daughter’s medical difficulties as a young girl are a particular motivator for him on the issue. She was born with a heart defect that required surgery right after she was born and again when she was 8 months old. Johnson said he sought out the best care available for his daughter and complained the health care law pushed through by Dems will restrict that freedom for Americans.

Some critics in the blogosphere have seized on that story to question whether others would actually have that freedom under the old system or only the well off.

But Johnson said he had the same insurance available to other employees at his company, Pacur. His daughter is now 27 and working as a nurse in a neonatal care unit.

“I had nothing special,” Johnson said of his insurance coverage.

The real question is what evidence does Johnson have that the new health care system would prevent anyone from doing the exact same thing he did, with the same coverage?

Athletic conferences don't add up

According to the Omaha World Herald, Nebraska officials have accepted an invitation to apply for membership to the Big Ten Conference.  The Nebraska Board of Regents is meeting Friday and school officials have scheduled a news conference for 4:45 p.m., presumably to announce the school's decision to leave the Big 12 and join the Big Ten.

At the risk of being a nitpicker, won't there be 12 teams in the Big Ten (already misnamed) and 10 teams in the Big Twelve? 

I demand a recount.


Let the Walker-Neumann debates begin

One thing missing from the Republican primaries so far -- a demand for debates by one of the candidates, which the other tries to duck. Maybe that's about to change.

Apprently, Mark Neumann, the target of scorn from Charlie Sykes because of Charlie's long-standing man crush on Scott Walker, has offered to debate Charlie's pal on the show, Brew City Brawler reports.

Why limit it to the Sykes show? How about a series of debates, with independent moderators, all across the state?

Media outlets are missing a good bet for some real pie-in-the-face entertainment, or maybe a cage match.

While we're at it, how about a double bill with Ron Johnson v. Dave Westlake as the undercard?

All kidding aside, it would be a public service to let the voters see these guys, unscripted, side by side, up close and personal.

Let the games begin!

Good news, bad news in Plale district

The good news: State Sen. Jeff Plale is being challenged in the Democratic primary by County Supervisor Chris Larson, left, a much more progressive Democrat.

The bad news: Two liberal Democratic state reps from the district, Chris Sinicki and Jon Richards, back Plale.

Incumbency is thicker than ideology, apparently, and that's disappointing.

Larson's bid is an uphill one in the distict, which includes Milwaukee's East Side and Bay View and the suburbs of St, Francis, Cudahy, South Milwaukee and Oak Creek.

In previous liberal-conservative Dem primary matchups when the seat was open (Rosemary Potter v. Dick Grobschmitt and Joel Brennan v. Plale), the liberals won the city of Milwaukee portion of the district, but the conservatives (Grobschmidt and Plale) won by big enough margins in the suburbs, which also had a higher turnout, to win the elections.

The dynamic could change this year, with a hot Republican primary for governor that could mean only hard core Democrats vote in the Dem primary.


Subscribe to Uppity Wisconsin RSS