Category Archives: Politics

Pro-Child Bills Pass Legislature

My State Senator was on the right side of history.

Madison, WI – Today, the Wisconsin Senate passed a package of bills aimed at protecting human life and ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not subsidize abortion clinics. Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) authored Assembly Bill 183, which directs the state Department of Health Services to exclude abortion clinics from the state’s Medicaid program, better known as BadgerCare.

State and federal law prohibit taxpayer funds from directly paying for abortions, but under Medicaid, abortion clinics may be reimbursed for non-abortion services provided to consumers.

After the vote, Stroebel made the following statement:

“This bill ensures that taxpayer funds do not subsidize the operations of any abortion clinic, it does not reduce funding for women’s care by a single penny. The killing of unborn children is wrong, and no taxpayer dollars should go to clinics that engage in this practice. Unfortunately, Wisconsin taxpayers gave the state’s largest abortion provider $94 million between 2011 and 2018. This bill ends that subsidy while preserving the funds for use by other women’s care providers.

“Pro-life legislative majorities have previously redirected state and federal family planning dollars away from abortion clinics, and this bill continues that theme. Additionally, a number of other states, including Iowa, Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri have enacted legislation to this effect.

“It is important to note that there are more federally qualified health centers in Wisconsin than there are abortion clinics, and the $94 million previously sent to abortion clinics will now be able to flow to these other providers to provide true women’s healthcare.”

Stroebel also voted in favor of legislation requiring physicians to provide care to children who survive an abortion attempt, prohibit abortions based on the sex or genetic condition of a child, and enhance informed consent and reporting requirements related to abortion procedures.

Yes, Evers will veto these bills in his quest to kill more babies, but at least he will have to act on it.

Mexico’s Porous Southern Border

This is a big part of the problem. If Mexico wants to let them in, then fine. Keep them there.

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (AP) — About 400 Central American migrants crossed into Mexico on Tuesday with the aim of reaching the U.S. border to request asylum.

Mexican police looked on as about half the migrants crossed the Suchiate River on inner-tube rafts. The mainly Honduran migrants then walked into the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo to rest in the main plaza.

“The federal police asked us where we were from, or if we had any ties to gangs,” said one Honduran, who didn’t want to give his name for fear of reprisals.

The other half of the migrants walked over the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala and waited to register at a Mexican immigration office. They included many women and children.

No Smoking Pot in Public

Wait. What? Isn’t smoking marijuana illegal anywhere?

In 2009, the state assembly passed a law that made smoking tobacco products illegal in public places, at work or in any enclosed space with two or more “substantial” walls. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers introduced legislation last week to add vapor products and marijuana to that ban.

Don and Don Jr. Are Not the Same Person

I love how the media jumps on things like this to try to create controversy. Don and Don Jr. are not the same person. Nor are they required to agree on every issue just because one sired the other.

As he departed for England, President Trump was asked if he favored restricting silencers such as the one  reportedly used by the killer in the mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left 12 dead.

“I don’t like them at all,” Trump responded.

Trump was perhaps unaware that both his elder son and the NRA have in the recent past opposed any regulation of silencers, also called suppressors.

Wisconsin Dems Seek to Lure FIBs to Vote

Remember my column last week about rights and responsibilities? Having to prove that you are eligible to vote is not an unreasonable burden. Be responsible for your vote.

Dem delegates on Sunday narrowly approved a resolution 39-36 that “no ‘proof of physical address’ other than spoken or written” should be “required for any voter registration or voting.”

The resolution was among several passed at the at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin state convention held this past weekend at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee.

The resolution also would allow voters to complete a change of address online or by phone.

Not Enough Scientists?

Sooo… riddle me this

Skepticism about climate change-related research led the Legislature’s budget committee last week to water down Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to restore a Department of Natural Resources science bureau, according to a top Republican senator.

The Republican majority on the Legislature’s budget committee agreed to restore two of the 18 researchers cut in 2015 by then-Gov. Scott Walker and his GOP allies in the state Assembly and Senate.

Evers administration officials said the two positions won’t be enough to research new ways to reduce damage done to lakes, streams and drinking water by climate change, invasive species and contaminated sewage.

Climate change is being studied by thousands and thousands of people all over the world. Why does Wisconsin need even more people to study it? Is one more DNR scientist going to figure out a better way to prevent lakeshore erosion (or whatever) that nobody else in the world could figure out? Let’s save the money and piggyback on other people’s work.

Student Loan Crisis

Solved.

Abele Wants to Tear House Down

It’s his house. He owns it. He can do what he wants with it and all of these other folks can butt the heck out.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has always been one to do his own thing.

And he’s doing it again with his plans to tear down a historic mansion at 3534 N. Lake Drive in Shorewood — over the objections of the family that sold him the house late last year for $2.6 million.

“This was not shared with us in any way,” said Sarah Hambrook, whose parents, George W. and J. Ann Hambrook, moved out Dec. 31 after Abele purchased the 9,762-square-foot home on a 2.5-acre site along Lake Michigan.

[…]

Robert Dean, head of the Shorewood Historical Society, said the house is considered an extremely important residence in his community. The property was advertised last year as having eight bedrooms, five full bathrooms and a four-car garage

“This is a bombshell,” Dean said of the demolition permit application. “I don’t think this is going to fly well in Shorewood.”

Obama Still Doesn’t Know How Gun Laws Work (or Don’t Work)

Wha!?!? You can buy a machine gun online without any regulations? Where? Perhaps if Obama knew our nation’s actual gun laws he wouldn’t be so hellbent on passing more.

Former president Barack Obama has claimed US gun laws ‘don’t make sense’.

[…]

He added: ‘We know that in some states we have gun laws that do not make sense. It’s even possible to buy even machine guns online without any regulation.’

Obama’s comments come just months after Brazil passed laws making it easier for people to buy and carry guns.

Only One Agency Complies with Law

Appropriately, it’s the Ethics Commission.

Ahead of an approaching July 1 deadline and in the midst of legal uncertainty surrounding the Wisconsin Legislature’s lame-duck laws, just eight out of an estimated thousands of guidance documents across the state’s agencies have been submitted for publication as required.

Those eight guidance documents, which instruct individuals or entities how to comply with state agency rules, all came from the state Ethics Commission, a body that oversees campaign finance and lobbying laws, among other things.

The December laws, in addition to targeting the authority of the incoming governor and attorney general, required each guidance document to receive a public hearing and undergo certification by agency heads. The documents also have to be reviewed by the Legislative Reference Bureau and placed in the Administrative Register under the laws.

But provisions surrounding guidance documents and other parts of the laws are still on hold stemming from a suit brought by five different unions that alleges the changes unlawfully limited incoming Gov. Tony Evers’ and AG Josh Kaul’s powers.

The state Supreme Court has taken over an appeal that was filed in that case, and it’s poised to rule on a second case from the League of Women Voters that also challenged the constitutionality of the laws.

As the state awaits decisions in those cases, many agencies have adopted a wait-and-see approach in terms of implementing the guidance document provisions of the laws.

Gas Tax Increase DOA

This would be welcome news indeed.

MADISON, Wis. — A gas tax hike now appears to be dead on arrival. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos apparently put the final nail in the gasoline tax increase earlier this week, telling a group of conservatives an increase to the state’s gas tax to fund Wisconsin’s transportation projects is off the table.

Legislature Gives UW Spending by $58 Million

But it’s never “enough,” of course. Here was one reaction from a spender:

“It’s beyond disappointing,” Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, told Republicans. “It’s perplexing. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s negligent. And what you’re guaranteeing is that campuses will close.”

GOOD. We all see the demographic trends and the declines in enrollment coming. We SHOULD be consolidating campuses. Throwing more money into a system to keep underutilized buildings open is not responsible budgeting.

Government Violates the Rules. Taxpayers Pay.

No accountability whatsoever and the taxpayers get the bill.

LODI, Wis. – Water utility customers in the city of Lodi will see their water bills increase by 35 percent in the next month or so.

This is happening because the City of Lodi went through with plans to build a $1.8 million project that was never properly approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, which resulted in a reprimand from the PSC and a referral to the Department of Justice. Now, water utility customers are left to foot the bill.

[…]

When asked why the rules existed if the board can just override them later, Esser said the PSC has asked the City of Lodi to follow the rules in the future and that they increased the approval rate from $299,000 to $364,000 for any new applications in the future.

China Threatens US Over Rare Earth Metals

It is not impossible, but it is very difficult to win a trade war against a totalitarian regime. Their leaders can withstand decades of a down economy because they never have to stand for election. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for vbetter terms and look for alternative trade partners. China only controls about a third of the known rare earth metal deposits, but that’s mainly because they are willing to take on the high cost and negative environmental consequences to mine them. If China pulls back, it opens the market for other countries to get in. Unfortunately, that will take years.

A Chinese state-run newspaper has warned the U.S. not to underestimate Beijing’s capabilities with its resources of rare earth minerals during a trade war between the two countries.

People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China‘s ruling Communist Party, hinted serious consequences to the Trump Administration using a diplomatic term usually reserved by Beijing to signal the start of an armed warfare.

‘Don’t say we didn’t warn you!’ The newspaper said in a commentary today as it commented on the possibility of China suspending its exports of rare earths to the U.S.

Texas Senate Approves Gun Carrying for Week After Disaster

Interesting.

The Texas Senate on Sunday approved a bill that would allow any Texan who can legally own a firearm to be able to carry it either open or concealed for seven days after the state declares a natural disaster, The Dallas Morning News reported.

[…]

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dade Phelan, a Republican, said earlier that he doesn’t “want someone to feel like they have to leave their firearms back in an unsecured home for a week or longer, and we all know how looting occurs in storms. Entire neighborhoods are empty and these people can just go shopping, and one of the things they’re looking for is firearms.”

Texas’ carry laws are actually a bit more restrictive than Wisconsin’s and a bit nonsensical, at times. Generally, open carry is not legal in Texas like it is in Wisconsin. Many years ago when Texas passed concealed carry, it was actually a big deal that a CHL holder would get in big trouble for “brandishing” if anyone saw their weapon. It was a goofy restriction that Texas lifted 2016. So now a Texan CHL holder can carry openly or concealed.

What this law would do is say that anyone who can legally own a gun – no felons, etc. – to transport that weapon, concealed or open, for a week after a natural disaster. The rationale is that it would enable people to protect their property and to legally transport their weapons away so that they don’t get stolen. The downside is that police won’t be able to easily tell who can legally carry a weapon or not, but they can’t do that today. The police would have to do what they do anyway… react to behavior instead of just randomly checking people.

Leftist Judicial Candidate Pledges to Be an Activist Leftist Judge

LOL.

Judge Jill Karofsky announced her candidacy Thursday. She said she feels America is on the “wrong track” because the judiciary is becoming increasingly politicized and the rule of the law is being ignored for partisan reasons.

“The American judicial system is built on independent judges, not a system in which you decide what political team you’re on,” Karofsky wrote in the announcement. “We can see the corroding effect of big money on our judicial system, and it’s time to restore a sense of justice and honor to our legal system. I will follow the law, and I will protect our Wisconsin values.”

So she decries the politicization of the judiciary and vows to follow the law, but in the SAME STORY we get this:

 “We will serve the needs of crime victims, we will stand up for racial justice and civil rights, we will protect the right to marriage equality, and we will never allow for the rights of women to be rolled back,” Karofsky wrote.

Um, I thought the courts were about following the law? Where is all of this “stand up for [insert liberal cause here]” stuff come from?

Nobody Wants a Surveillance State

Agree

A rare show of bipartisan unity broke out in Washington Wednesday as Republicans and Democrats on the House Oversight Committee expressed concerns over the rapid spread of facial recognition software used by technology companies.

“I don’t want to see an authoritarian surveillance state, whether it’s run by a government or whether it’s run by five corporations,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said in reference to Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook.

Assembly Republicans Agree to Waste Slightly Less Money than Evers

Ugh. Remember that throwing more tax dollars into the government school system isn’t about improving education. It’s about appeasing politicians’ egos.

Assembly Republicans say they support an education budget that would spend an additional $500 million on schools, an amount about $900 million less than Gov. Tony Evers proposed.

Evers called for a $1.4 billion increase in state spending on K-12 education, driven in large part by a $606 million increase in special education funding.

The budget unveiled Wednesday by Assembly Republicans would spend considerably less, setting aside an additional $50 million for special education over the next two years.

Republicans said that was still substantial, noting the state had not increased special education funding for more than a decade.

They also said under the Assembly GOP plan, the state would fund two-thirds of the cost of K-12 education statewide, a benchmark that was written into law in the 1990s but repealed in the 2000s.

“I don’t do cover-ups”

If I were a Democrat, I’d be pretty ticked at the stupidity of my own party. Perhaps more than any other modern president, Trump loves to make a deal and isn’t guided by an overriding ideology. The Democrats could actually isolate the Republican Senate and push some of their own initiatives through if they would actually try to work with the president. Instead, they crap all over him and don’t get anywhere.

President Donald Trump abruptly walked out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at the White House on Wednesday, telling reporters moments later that he would not negotiate on legislation with Democrats while he was still under investigation by several committees.

Wednesday’s meeting was supposed to be the second official sit-down between the president and Democratic congressional leadership specifically focused on infrastructure.

“I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure’ … but we can’t do it under these circumstances,” Trump said at a last-minute Rose Garden event.

Trump’s anger appears to have been sparked by comments Pelosi made earlier in the day when she said, “We believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up” by blocking White House aides from giving testimony and responding to document requests from ongoing congressional investigations.

“I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump insisted Wednesday.

Downsizing

Mark Belling has a good column today about the generational decline in the birth rate and its impact on schools.

Downsizing a school district shouldn’t be difficult. You just reduce administrators, teachers and buildings in the same proportion as your enrollment declines. The problems are: The administrators don’t want to downsize themselves, the teachers are overly specialized and parents go ballistic when somebody proposes to close their kids’ school. One local district even decided to keep an elementary school open for one more year even though its enrollment is down to 50 (for the entire school!).

Districts got overbuilt when my generation’s parents were spitting out kids like rabbits (thus, the baby “boom”). Then my huge generation and the Gen Xers decided to sprawl out to the suburbs, creating need for more buildings in the Brookfields, Mequons and Burlingtons of the world. Along came the millennials and all of their idiosyncrasies, including an evident dislike of large families (or any families). What we have are massively overbuilt school systems with ridiculously bloated staffs of specialists, counselors, directors of this, that and the other thing, and in-house custodians, groundskeepers and nurses.

The only way out of this mess is to: a.) force the millennials to have kids (you can’t do that); b.) hope the incoming Generation Z kids revert back to wanting kids (unlikely); or c.) downsizing. The worst option of all is to borrow globs of money, increase your spending and put up even more buildings. That disastrous option is exactly the one most Wisconsin districts are taking.