Today is

Friday, April 30, 2010

Woodman's Angry Over Radio Jock's Remarks

Earlier in the week, Woodman's Food Markets announced they will no longer co-sponsor a Fourth of July fireworks show in Madison because ...a radio talk show host, John "Sly" Sylvester WTDY-AM (1670), criticized and ridiculed them for dropping mental health care coverage for their employees. Woodman's coincidentally, dropped the mental health coverage soon after employees voted to de-commission union representation.
Wisconsin State Journal Excerpt:
Clint Woodman, vice president of the Janesville-based grocery company, on Wednesday said Mid-West erred in failing to rein in the talk show host.
We can expect plenty more of this kind of pressure from the business establishment to shut down honest opinion and dissent. Particularly against opposition towards the growing trend allowing businesses to extort tax revenue and credits from local and state governments for jobs creation.

To be fair, while on the air last year the radio talker made a personal poke about Phil Woodman's pants wearing style. Yesterday however, Sly stated on his show he will apologize for "Woodman's pants up too tight" comment if necessary, but not about his position or statements he made about Woodman's dropping the insurance coverage.

The feud threatened the fireworks show, but it came out later yesterday that Woodman's has agreed to stay on as a sponsor and that the show will go on.


"Sly in the morning" original audio, Woodman's Christmas Gift to Their Employees

Wisconsin State Journal Fireworks Show Uncertain

Sly's Response To Woodman's Brinkmanship
with audio.

Capital Times, Is Woodman's feeling the heat over mental health coverage?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Newspaper: Policy Attacks Bad - Personal Attacks Good?

Wednesday's (April 28th) Janesville Gazette contained a letter from a Walworth County resident claiming the health care reform bill is exactly what we should expect from a "slumlord enabler" and a former drug user. The letter writer, who actually began his diatribe by complaining that recent letters praising the health care reform bill were always short on details and perspective, proceeded to lay out a series of distortions based on irrelevant assumptions whose only intention was to demonize Obama and supporters of the health care reform bill, even aligning the Obama Administration with Adolph Hitler's views. The writer also covered for many of his attacks by constructing them as questions.
Letter Excerpt:
Will old people frightened into voting for Obama get to meet Terry Schiavo sooner rather than later?
No big deal really. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I for one thought the author expressed his thoughts quite well, as imbalanced, mean-spirited and short on details as they were.

But last week, the Gazette opinion editor felt it was necessary to contradict a letter writer who thought Rep. Paul Ryan wanted to take Social Security checks and "invest" them with some of his banker friends on Wall Street. That particular letter did not devolve into a name-calling personal attack against Ryan. Yet, it was followed by an "editor's note" regurgitating one of Ryan's talking points from his roadmap plan. In a later blog post, the editor explained he thought it was appropriate to post Ryan’s policy statements "to balance the letter writer's right to express himself with our desire to provide accurate information and perspective."


Not to rehash this into something it's not, but the editor was apparently satisfied with the nasty name-calling trash talk letter against Obama. There was no "editor's note" to provide accurate information or balance.

In my view, the op-ed editor made poor judgment calls on both letters. Although both were strongly worded personal viewpoints, the Ryan/policy letter should have been left to stand on it's own accord without an editor's rebuttal, while the Obama/personal letter should have not been allowed to stand at all. It should have never been published.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Email Shows Van Hollen Linked With Party For Health Care Direction

The Links.

The Smoking Gun - One Wisconsin

The Email. - One Wisconsin

The Collusion - Think Progress

More AG's involved - Crooks and Liars

The MSM Blog - JS Online

A Tea Party Truther

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Opinions Matter... Unless I Don't lIke Your Opinion

Last week Wednesday, the Janesville Gazette posted a letter from a fellow in Edgerton who offered his perspective about the obvious and common hypocrisies held by Tea Party activists. Among them, the letter writer who I'll refer here to as R.T., felt that senior tea partiers should turn in their Medicare cards to Congressman Ryan's office and have him arrange a private insurance plan for $96.50 a month. Afterall, that would be the right thing to do if they intend to stand with their convictions. R.T. then followed suit with Ryan's Social Security plan as little more than a Wall street investment scheme, he wrote...
Letter Excerpt:
...he also wants to take your Social Security checks and "invest" them with some of his banker friends on Wall Street.
A fair if not conservative assessment I thought with just the right amount of crony capitalism tossed in for good measure. However, the opinion expressed in the letter didn't sit too well with the opinion editor at the Gazette because he followed the letter with an editor's note, it began...
Editor's Note:
Regarding Social Security, as Ryan explains in his "Roadmap" proposal: "Individuals 55 and older will remain in the current system and will not be effected by this proposal in any way...etc, etc..
The editor essentially cut and paste an excerpt from Ryan's roadmap in rebuttal to the letter better explain Ryan's idea.

It's no secret Paul Ryan was handpicked by George W to write up a plan to initiate the phasing out of Social Security through privatization. Over the course of recent years however, Wall Street nearly collapsed from their own greed and the Big Banks were found to be little more than a legalized criminal operation. That didn't faze Ryan. His roadmap throws out a poisoned T-Bone for workers to bite on under the guise of false "choice" and creates another layer of government bureaucracy to manage private capital investments. Instead of writing up preventive maintenance legislation to regulate and oversee the capital markets, Ryan plods on and merely re-adjusts his Wall Street investment trap he's set up for Social Security. After the crash, he now refers to his novel as the Roadmap - 2.0. So whose friend is he anyways?

But back to the editor's note. This wasn't the first time the Gazette defended Ryan's position against a letter writing citizen. They did so previously to "correct" another writer's criticism of free trade agreements and the adverse effects they can have on the Janesville GM Plant. Again the editor posted a note in what amounted to an opinion from Ryan's office to contradict the writer's position. Of course the rest is history.

Yesterday, the Gazette's opinion editor blogged about meeting a person at a Janesville store who verbally expressed his opinion about the editor's note on R.T.s' letter, calling it "totally inappropriate." A very astute observation respectfully verbalized. But from the editor's blog entry, it sounds like he thinks it was rude to be confronted "off the clock" and not being given a chance to explain. Apparently, after making his statement, the person just turned and walked away.

From all accounts it didn't look like the person cared for an explanation. Anyways, what would be the point? But if he did, should've he called the editor before or after publication? Ironically, the editor's blog is named "Opinions Matter."

Note: This posting is the sole opinion and perspective of its' writer and is in no way associated with any of the persons described.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Did Glenn Beck Gasp "Holy Cow" At Janesville?

After thinking about the Paul Ryan/Glenn Beck "progressivism is a cancer" radio interview from last week, I couldn't help but return to an old post I wrote in 2007 on why there continues to be a common misconception that Janesville city government is progressive or by extension, its demographic majority. Clearly, it's not.
Rock Netroots Excerpt:
However, none of this should be confused with whatever Janesville city government happens to be based on today because in retrospect, they never "progressed" past the first movement. The establishment right-wing refused to accept the second movement and abandoned the movement altogether but not before using it to disempower the growing political influence of the GM labor worker in the city. Progressivism became the perfect foil for the establishment to keep control of the city's leadership while simultaneously politically neuter and malign any action by the working majority as a power grab. In my view, Janesville became sort of a "safe haven" for those renegade republicans. This is why many progressives today feel it is important to describe themselves as "modern" or "contemporary" progressives, to distinguish themselves from the "ancient" progressives (actually, regressives) that still roam today.
During Beck's radio interview, the rodeo clown gasped "Holy Cow" after Ryan merely stated that he's calling from his hometown Janesville - as if Janesville is Progressive Central.

It's also doubly interesting how several right-wing blogs including Beck felt Ryan spoke too kindly about the early days of progressivism.
Capital Times Excerpt:
Early progressives wanted to empower and engage the people. They fought for populist reforms like initiative and referendum, recalls, judicial elections, the breakup of monopoly corporations, and the elimination of vote buying and urban patronage. -- Paul Ryan
So who could blame the regressive Beck for thinking that Ryan might be a bleeding heart and remorseful progressive? But Ryan continued on to say progressivism turned away from popular control toward central government planning and that it lost most Americans and consumed itself in paternalism, arrogance and snobbish condescension. Actually it was quite the opposite. Progressivism turned to decentralization often enough to be abandoned by the arrogant and snobbish right-wing establishment. Progressivism was evolving by not allowing itself to be used as a tool by wealthy authoritarians.

Clearly, this is one subject about Janesville that deserves far more attention and circumspection than I have given it. Particularly how Janesville's organized business base continue to hold the reins of power by riding on the coattails of early progressivism while never allowing it to evolve, and how Ryan's self-described "classic liberalism" and early environment may have imprinted him as a typical Janesville abuser of the early progressive movement and a misguided rejectionist of the modern progressive movement - a true regressive.

Highly Recommended John Nichols on Ryan's history of Progressivism.

Beck/Ryan Cancer Interview

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Leinenkugel Owned By Local Corporatists?

Lienenkugel's campaign flyer for his announcement to challenge Russ Feingold carries the notation, "A Helgesen Development Corp Property."

What better time to plug for corporation than on a campaign flyer for high government office? Right out of the "never let a good crisis go to waste when a dollar can be turned" corporate hack's political playbook. At least they're unabashed about it.

So far, the folks with the heaviest financial support challenging Feingold for the "peoples" senate seat are representatives of corporate interests. They want their country back.

It truly is a testament to Feingold's integrity and public service when he can wear his opponents as a badge of honor.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ryan Protege Will Challenge Sheridan

GOP Excerpt:
JANESVILLE, WI – Ken Brotheridge announced his candidacy today for Wisconsin’s 44th State Assembly District, which represents a majority of the city of Janesville. Brotheridge is challenging incumbent Mike Sheridan.
Brotheridge, a self acclaimed staunch fiscal conservative, says that one of his top priorities will be to lower income and capital gains taxes because current state law on capital gains cause families to fall victim...

Of course he has to win in the primary first, but the little fairy sitting on my shoulder tells me that Ken Brotheridge, as predictably generic and self-ingratiating as his press release reads, is the anointed Republican candidate.

Up to this point in time, the local GOP has been coming on strong winning non-partisan offices rather handily without barely a whimper of a response from local Democrats. Of course the GOP has a huge media and messaging advantage in Rock County with Bliss Communications and the largest locally organized political machine in Forward Janesville. They also have some of the area's wealthiest special interests in their corner to buy a viable campaign. Just look at all the damage Paul Ryan has done and he continues to be re-elected. So, I wouldn't take Brotheridge's challenge too lightly here.

While local Dems have either been licking their wounds or walking through smear gauntlets, Republicans seem to be already grooming Ryan's heir to the House when he abandons his throne to run for a vacant senate seat sometime in the not too distant future. His name might be Ken Brotheridge. Again this is all quarter-full political speculation on my part. Just remember you heard it here first.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ryan Voted "Nay" On Extending Unemployment Comp

Last week, the House passed an emergency bill extending unemployment compensation to June 2nd for 102,000 jobless Wisconsin workers, about 3,000 residing in Rock County alone. As was expected, Reps' Ryan and Sensenbrenner voted against the u-comp extension.
Voting 289 for and 112 against, the House on April 15 sent President Obama a bill (HR 4851) providing about $12 billion to pay for an extension until June 2 of jobless checks for hundreds of thousands of persons whose benefits expired after April 4.
How fitting that just a few days after, the Bliss-owned Janesville Gazette affiliate CSI Walworth County newspaper reeled off an editorial the way they see it titled, The Rise of Moocher Nation.

The next morning, the CSI Walworth County editorial board interviewed Paul Ryan for 28 minutes. If no one knew any better, the folks posing the questions to Ryan could have easily been mistaken for Glenn Beck interns or a vetting panel from the RNC. They lobbed right-wing water-logged softball question after question about his opinion on health care reform, partisanship, President Obama and oh, about whether he will run for president. At this point in time, all useless gobble-dee-gook.

Most noticeably absent, the newspaper's editorial board did not ask Ryan one single question about the state of the 1st congressional district of Wisconsin. Not one. Remember, this is a local newspaper within the district. Most pressing of course are solutions to ease the district's high unemployment. They didn't ask. Ryan didn't offer. Frankly, he has no answers for those problems, but o'boy does he have answers for everything else.

Nor did they inquire about Ryan's position on the local business establishment's push to expand Interstate 39/90 or to explain his recent "Nay" vote on unemployment compensation.

Ryan could have explained not only how proudly he stood against his constituents unemployment compensation as a tough love stand against a "moocher nation," but also how he could use it as a wedge against those unprincipled Democrats who ditched their own PAYGO rules to help a nation of freeloaders. Yep, Ryan wasn't about to abandon his right-wing corporate principles and Randian ideology. For who? His constituents? For Main Street? No way! Didn't you know? Ryan's trying to balance a budget.

If unemployment is one of your concerns, I hope you print this list and save it. Next time your Senator or Representatives are up for re-election, you can refer back to this list and vote appropriately.

Side note: Ryan's responses to the so-called editorial board were a good example demonstrating the growing role reversal and misplaced responsibilities many members of congress have with their constituency. Instead of representing their district's wants and needs in Congress, they are representing their own ideology and the controlling interests in Congress back to their constituency at home.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Forward Janesville's Interstate Expansion: Where's Paul Ryan?

In the past week, tuned-in Janesville Gazette readers should have noticed the paper's protectionist propaganda surrounding Forward Janesville's pandering for an interstate expansion through Rock County. In this article titled "Rock County leaders plot roadmap to the future," the newspaper used labels like "leaders" and "groups" in place of "business owners" and/or "lobbyists," and made little effort identifying the 100 area "leaders" pushing for the expansion. Coincidentally published on "Tax Day," the article conveniently left out that the interstate expansion could boost taxes or increase the state deficit by a billion dollars.

Other than that, the article was awkwardly informative. Particularly about how two current Janesville businesses, both members of Forward Janesville, will be the first taking advantage of state money intended to entice new business and jobs into the area. Both companies appear to be "restructuring," one is even laying off employees first to take advantage of the program's opportunities to qualify with expected job creation later. The state program is aptly named "Development Opportunity Zone" and was written and promoted by Forward Janesville.

The newspaper also has apparently done an about-face with State Rep. Mike Sheridan. You'll recall it was the Janesville Gazette who ran a near-malicious campaign against the assembly speaker because he seemingly decided to change his position on the interest rate cap for payday loans. The paper attempted to tie his reversal on the legislation to social dates in his personal life he had with a female lobbyist. In the end, Sheridan's final position on the cap actually meshed with the Gazette's - no cap.

But now, that's all old news. What's said at the Gazette, stays at the Gazette. Now that Sheridan seems willing to use his assembly position to the liking of the "old economy" local GOP establishment, their newspaper has taken on a protectionist attitude. Even withholding Sheridan's promotional op-ed on the I39/90 expansion from Web comments or to compare his support to Rep. Paul Ryan's unknown position on the expansion. The Gazette published Sheridan's op-ed in the hardcopy only.

To cap off the week, the Gazette editorialized their full support for the expansion in yesterday's paper.
JG Editorial Excerpt: (April 18, 2010)
The state should however, be able to tap federal dollars to help grease this expansion.
I couldn't have worded it much better myself except, why should the "state" lobby for federal funds? Isn't this Forward Janesville's baby? Which leads me to ask: Where is Paul Ryan?

Afterall, he is Forward Janesville's poster boy politician and it does appear that the entire local GOP establishment is salivating over the expansion. So, why hasn't his name come up as the go-to congressman for federal funds? You can bet Baldwin, Feingold or Kohl don't come near the campaign donor dollars or ballot support Ryan picks up from FJ members. Shouldn't Ryan begin to earn his keep?

Plus, Ryan is a ranking member of the House Budget Committee. With all that power, his political base shouldn't have to beg for an earmark. He should just get this stuff done like Sheridan and go to bat for his district.

So one has to ask. Does Ryan's roadmap to the future include a six lane interstate expansion for his hometown? Step it up Congressman. Where are you?
An interesting Gazette editorial sidenote about the state budget before the crashed economy was common knowledge.

EDITORIAL: Who's really to blame for budget crisis?
(Published Thursday, October 18, 2007)

"They should have known Republicans just won't accept another $1 billion in taxes."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Party Activists Ignore Hometown Brews

While local Paul Ryan supporters and other establishments types prepare to foist a $1.5 billion interstate expansion tax hike on Wisconsin for the benefit of their organized business associates and capture millions more in tax shift credits and financial "incentives" for their wealthiest members, Tea Party activists, known for their anti-corporate welfare and tax wary position appear to be looking the other way. The reality is, they have to.

Over the past few months, I've also noticed a few Tea Party gatherings in Janesville near the Milton Ave. Post Office. Upon review I thought, why in the world are these folks marching by the Post Office when they should be in front the Janesville Municipal Building or the county building? I mean, Tea partiers purport to be everyday regular people. So if they really wanted to make a stink about new taxes, higher taxes and corporate welfare, the best way to make a difference is to start local and look to the folks who are capitulating to the tax hike requests. Afterall, all politics is local.

Over the past several years, Janesville city government has handed some of the wealthiest local players substantial awards for their private-for-profit business ventures. One developer received a $2.7 million water tower paid for socially by Janesville water users. Another "connected insider" picked up a soft lease on a city facility. Other crony capitalists have each captured hundreds of thousands in TIF surplus (TIF surplus is tax revenue legally withheld from the general fund) and forgivable loans under the guise of job creation or community development. The most obnoxious breach into modest local taxpayer coffers happened recently when the Janesville city council apologetically rubber stamped without a single question, nearly a quarter million dollar "loan" to another Forward Janesville member, multi-billion dollar corporation W.W. Grainger. The money was gone in sixty seconds.

Through nearly all of these tax-jacking wealth redistributive schemes pitched at Janesville City Hall, few if anyone ever publicly objects. Whether at the hearings, through Web-based social media or through traditional newsprint. (Except here of course) Let alone any objection from the local Tea Partiers. They're too busy protesting the second lowest federal income tax in 50 years.

So, there are several explanations I can offer of the Tea Party folks, both local and national. They are either loyal foot soldiers for the revenue confiscating GOP establishment or unknowning dupes. Probably a little of both. Okay, that's not exactly news. But the lack of a local theme to their anger cannot be ignored and may prove their membership is both utterly insincere and mostly bussed-in astro-turf. If small town corporate welfare and tax hikes are too small for the movement to handle, how do they expect to tackle the bigger picture? That's precisely the point, they don't. With each passing day, their only purpose and intent seems to be built on opposing the radical socialist agenda of the black Muslim from Kenya residing in the White House. I admit, I'm purposely trying to sound a little naive here.

Yet the facts remain. All of these business perks and handouts have directly resulted in incrementally higher local taxes and fees without any credit or definitive proof of creating demand, much less even one new job. While general funds are being looted, services are being cut and public schools are beginning to look for charitable donations. And it doesn't end there. Janesville and county residents can expect higher tax levies and a steady stream of new and creative ways from local government to incrementally confiscate more dollars with more fees. Old standbys like a vehicle wheel tax or a municipal sales tax are just around the corner.

The tea partiers demand the impossible. They expect government on all levels to create jobs in the private sector. While their Republican controllers are protesting every Democratic effort to do so - just to win in November. It is phony outrage.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Top Illinois Attraction: Corporate Welfare

Excerpt from a Janesville Gazette article in today's edition about local lobbyist (Forward Janesville) efforts to foist a $1.5 billion interstate expansion and other business "incentives" onto the tax payers, titled "Local leaders plot roadmap to future."

JG Excerpt: (Link unavailable)
ABC Supply's Diane Hendricks said that's what she's facing with one of the companies she and her late husband, Ken, started in Beloit. Hendricks has charged the company's management with growing the company as efficiently as possible, and the result will likely mean a move to Illinois, which offers more appealing incentives. "Wisconsin just doesn't compete," Hendricks said.

"It tears my guts to see the company move to Illinois, but I have to let it grow."

Apparently, wealthy businesses can't grow without government help, so the roadmap for Rock County's future leads to Illinois.

Imagine the struggles of the average small business start-up, too proud and principled to accept government aid, trying to compete against the Hendricks' of the world. As of February 2010, Illinois' unemployment stands at 11.4%. Wisconsin's 8.7%.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Janesville Losing Another Facility Through Managed Neglect

During Monday's Janesville City council meeting, Janesville city administration officials said that after the 4-month lease expires (this year) with Janesville Youth Baseball (JYB) for the batting cage facility on South Jackson, the city will demolish the facility.

The batting cage, like nearly all of Janesville's low cost inner-city community facilities, is being systematically retired without any consideration for community usage or replacement.

Will JYB get a brand new batting cage facility for the their East Side play park?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ryan Trying To Indict Progressives

Ryan (R-Regressive) -- "What I'm trying to do is indict the entire vision of progressivism, and its important to flush progressives out into the field of open debate."
Beck (R-Regressive) -- "I love you."
Ryan continues on, says our rights come from God and Nature.

But Paul, why does God refuse to give North Koreans their rights?
Why does God refuse to give Saudi women their rights?
Why does God refuse to give Iranians their rights?
Why does God refuse to give his own gay children rights?

Are you saying God only does a half-ass job at granting rights?
Why can't God get it right? -- Quotes from BartCop

Who is Ryan trying to kid? "Flushing Progressives out into the field of open debate." This, coming from a congressman who refuses to field open comments challenging his ideological rants over at the Racine Journal Times.

There's always one fiscally accountable pro-worker progressive right here, right now, anytime, always willing.

Click Beck Show to listen.

Join the Rock County Progressives!

Coming together through MoveOn to watch Michael Moore's latest film, "Capitalism: A Love Story," a group of us decided we wanted to keep meeting--so we formed a new group. Our mission is support education and activism in Rock County.

Inspired by the film, we decided to start out by showing it publicly on Sunday, April 25 at Hedberg Library in Janesville, 2:00 pm. Next we will be having a "Town Hall on what can be done to stop corporate takeovers in Washington DC" on May 5th at 6:30pm, also at Hedberg.

Outraged by the recent Supreme Court decision unleashing a torrent of corporate funds in elections, corporate bailouts, rising foreclosures and other issues… we will be gathering to talk about what can be done. Since there will be limited seating, you're encouraged to go to the MoveOn website to sign up for the Town Hall. We will also be having ongoing meetings, so if you'd like to join us, be on our announcement list, or to get additional information contact me at You can also join Rock County Progressives on Facebook.

Hope to see you soon,
Chuck Ogg

Monday, April 12, 2010

Newspaper Rewrites Skate Park Site History

In a story last week about yanking the Palmer Park site away from Skate boarders. The Janesville Gazette wrote...
In the ensueing years, the best location was tossed around until last fall, when the council...
That is a deliberately misleading characterization. The best location was NOT "tossed around." The best location still is the best location, it is in Palmer Park. When Palmer Park was chosen in 2005, it was fully noticed, debated and approved by the Janesville city Council. That is indisputable. I have three links archived here including the city website itself that would refute the Gazette's deliberate mischaracterization. The City writes "the skate park will be located in Palmer Park."

The newspaper repeated their distortion word for word in another article just a few days' later.

Janesville's Shadow Government - The BlackBerry Group

And it is a select group of insiders (The BlackBerry Group?), who continue to rehash and juggle the process until it meets their specific satisfaction and goals regardless of what anyone else thinks. You see, when the city needs a site for a new ice arena or placement for baseball diamonds, they can come up with a multitude of prime locations, open ended contracts and a perpetual timeline for the so-called "stakeholding" establishment to choose from. But a skateboard park? The bias is genetically imprinted.

After officially choosing the site at Palmer Park several years ago, the city is suddenly back at it and for no good reason promoting a different site for the skateboarders. This time in a neighborhood park set in a cove on the southern border of the 4th Ward known as Monterey Park.
JG Excerpt:
The site would provide entertainment choices for a wider demographic, too, he said. “One piece of the supporting elements for Monterey was to provide a site with diverse opportunities for family activities,” said Tom Presny, city parks director. “Monterey Stadium is there, there’s a children’s playground and there’s fishing on the river.”
Obviously missing from Presny's group of diverse and wonderful opportunities of family activities was the batting cage facility that is currently across the street from the eastern edge of Monterey Park. Why is that? Well, because the city intends on pulling the batting cages away from good ol' "diverse" Monterey Park and install them on the east side of town - apparently to serve a less diverse band of establishment demographics.
Gazette Blog Comment
By the way, one thing makes this even more incredible. When the group trying to raise funds for the ice arena recently came back to the Council to ask that alternate sites be considered (because donors were asking about sites other than the south side), the City Council said "we decided this already" and refused to have City staff study alternate sites! Even though the ice arena project would cost millions more than the skatepark and even though group raising money for the ice arena has already raised a lot more than the skatepark group, with more than $600,000 committed toward an ice arena already! This is the same council that is having staff look at new sites for the skatepark! -- cougar21

Why a different skateboard park site is even being considered by the council when they recently refused to entertain a different site for the ice arena boondoggle is indeed another great observation. Again, city staff and the council went through great deliberations before settling on Palmer Park in 2005 and now without cause, reason or accountability have yanked Palmer unceremoniously away.

What the city is doing by swapping the skateboard park with the batting cages is correcting what they viewed as too close for comfort, the near miss accidental integration of Palmer Park. And by matching sports activities to a specific neighborhood, they are creating and solidifying a more segregated city. Knowing Janesville, this must be the idea of the city's diversity action team.

But what really lays at the root of the skateboard decision is readily scoffed at and denied primarily by the Janesville right-wing establishment: it is pure economic and cultural class discrimination. It needs to be fully exposed and remedied, not hidden, denied or scoffed at in order to root out this social cancer and finally set Janesville on a path of social and economic justice. Someday maybe.

I can already hear Glenn Beck say, "Hurry, run away from this pinko commie socialist hippie as far you can!"

Mining Explosion Should Haunt GOP

Yahoo Excerpt:
Virginia-based Massey has been under scrutiny for a string of safety violations at the mine, though CEO Don Blankenship has defended the company's record and disputed accusations that he puts profits ahead of safety. Authorities have said that high levels of volatile methane gas may have played a role in the disaster. Massey has been repeatedly cited and fined for problems with the system that vents methane and for allowing combustible dust to build up.
Other countries aren't so sanguine when it comes to mine safety. In 2004, China executed a party official for helping to cover up a 2001 tin mine disaster in Guangxi, which killed at least 81 miners.
HR 5522 Intro-Summary:
Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Prevention Act of 2008

The bill, which was introduced March 4, 2008, hopes to require the Secretary of Labor to issue interim and final occupational safety and health standards regarding worker exposure to combustible dust, and for other purposes.
Rock Netroots excerpt:
Worker Protection
On another front no less important, Ryan voted against requiring OSHA regulations for controlling dust hazards in the workplace. HR 5522 would override weaker state rules that do less to prevent EXPLOSIONS! When Ryan voted "no" to this bill, he voted "Yes" to increased danger for workers.
That was from a posting about a series of Rep. Paul Ryan's votes against the working class back in 2008. The fact is, all three Wisconsin Republicans (Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri) voted against the combustible dust explosion and fire prevention act.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

County Coroner Right To Defend Honor and Office

Here we go again. Another politically motivated cheap shot article masquerading as objective journalism by our beloved local media monopoly.

From the beginning when word spread that certain members of the Rock County Board were once again pushing to strip voters of the right to elect their county coroner, I had no idea that this was a public trial on the current coroner, Jenifer Keach. But leave it up to the Janesville Gazette. As usual, they found a way to twist the angle and muddy the waters of truth and fair play. This week was just another usual week for the low-ball journalistic ethics of the Janesville Gazette.

The newspaper kept the scheme by the Rock County Board committee to steal the elective county coroner's office under wraps until the day of the board meeting. By doing so the Gazette shirked their primary duty to keep their subscribers and the public informed while giving the appearance they are in collusion with county political operatives. It should be noted that the Gazette is practically next door to the county building.

Afterwards, on Friday in what appears to be a follow-up article of the board meeting, the Gazette did report that 20 people spoke in strong favor of retaining the coroner's office as elective, but the newspaper headlined instead what amounted to an unbecoming and personal attack letter written by a Dane-UW pathologist, Dr. Michael Stier, against the Rock County Coroner. As understood from the newspaper article, the critic basically complained that our coroner was disagreeable and wasn't doing things exactly the way he would like, and for those observations he infallibly reasoned the county board should strip the citizens of their right to vote. For exercising her right to delegate authority as the county coroner and conclude to a different opinion than his, the pathologist said she was being "selfish and authoritarian." Really.

Still, I had no idea that the county board was going to submit the coroner to an unscheduled public trial for her job performance. This was originally about bold-faced tyranny against the rights of the electorate. They could reply they did not, yet somehow dubious statements irrelevant to the appointee resolution from the pathologist's letter wound up in the newspaper's hands and were published without challenge. A very underhanded if not political move meant to steer public opinion against their intended target.

Yet, it was the newspaper that published this particular critic's complaint against the coroner without publishing in fairness a full response from the coroner to address his attack. The newspaper finished Friday's article with the secondary title "Coroner/Board delays decision to switch," implying an absolute from pure conjecture, and that the board decision to switch was only inconveniently delayed.

Politics aside, like anyone, the pathologist is entitled to his opinion. But blame must fall on him for this sort of intra-professional opinion and report to become public fodder to elevate a cheapshot campaign by a politically motivated newspaper. It's very unbecoming of a professional of his stature and he should be ashamed. In the end, his written statement offered no helpful information to the debate on the appointee resolution.

I also find it very telling of the political motive behind some of the "eclectics" sitting on our county board, that they are willing to strip the office of it's democratically elected official and create a brand new set of by-laws instead of tweaking the by-laws and guidelines of the existing office to help the coroner better serve the public. To them, it appears democracy has no place in the 21st century.

In Saturday's edition, the Gazette published their perspective of Keach's response to the pathologist's criticism, but not without the usual sleight-of-hand journalism using irrelevant and disjointed talking points.

In the end, I'm proud of Coroner Keach for her clear and professional response to Stier's criticism and for standing up in defense of the authority granted to her by the citizens of Rock County. Had she allowed herself to become subservient and forfeit the priorities of the county to an outside influence, she would have proved incapable and not up to the task. Such was not the case.

I know a lot of people still don't want to believe this, but our community's greatest obstacle to social equality, on-the-level government and an informed citizenry is the Janesville Gazette monopoly. The newspaper's biased reporting has been the center of controversy for years if not decades.

Just from the last four years, I have archived over a hundred examples throughout this blog demonstrating a regular pattern of articles delivering a steady diet of political and social class bias by the newspaper. The Gazette incorporates a non-objective form of journalism in much of its local content to manufacture consent for their own hidden political agenda.

No doubt, the superior intellects over at the Gazette would say that a disgruntled blogger is unfairly criticizing them and that my examples of their journalism are taken out of context, false and politically motivated. Yeah, r-r-right.

Note: This posting is the sole opinion and perspective of its author.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Fortune 500 Company Needs $227,500 Loan From Janesville Taxpayers

On Monday, the Janesville city council will consider a request from W.W. Grainger for a $227,500 forgivable loan in what the Janesville Gazette terms as a "reward" to the company for a committment to create jobs over the next three years.
Wikipedia Excerpt:
Grainger is a Fortune 500 corporation and has increased dividends to its shareholders for 36 consecutive years. The company has grown consistently since becoming public and has passed $1 billion in annual sales in 1984 and $5 billion in sales in 2004.
So why doesn't government create a "means" test for businesses to prove hardship like they do for most anyone else trying to contract for a taxpayer handout? I know, I'm being utterly ridiculous. Stupid me.

Local Tyranny Warning Downgraded To Medium

I would have liked to bring my warning of "tyranny' all the way down to the green zone (low) but we're not out of the woods yet. Those that have initiated the aggressive move to wrest the coroner's office away from the ballot box have not changed their position.

After 20 people spoke in favor of keeping the coroner's office, County Board members voted 16-12 to merely delay the decision for another time. They tabled the resolution.

So it is bittersweet if only a temporary victory for democracy in Rock County. The elective feature of the coroner's office, sheriff's office or any elective public office must not be held as collateral by a handful of political or ideological operatives, whether Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Progressives or Independents, on whether the elected office holder performs to the wishes of those operatives.

To premise the return of the medical examiner resolution in the future on the performance of Coroner Jenifer Keach or whether or not somebody someday files a complaint against her or her staff is absolutely ridiculous. It is wrong-headed to create and enforce such a pretension and undo negative pressure on any elected official and expect them to work stress free. This is possibly the worst message they could send. It is counter-productive and mean spirited.

For some board members to refer to an appointed position as a matter of "oversight" is not only disingenuous, it is also to have zero faith in the rule of law and zero faith in the will and wisdom of the electorate. Appointing your own selection to public office will never restore that faith.

I also want to take this moment and salute all the citizens who refused to lay down in the face of authoritarianism by showing up at Thursday's Rock County Board meeting to defend our voting rights. You are truly twenty people "who matter."

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Democracy Still Under Siege In Rock County

County Supervisor Doesn't Trust Voters

Yesterday, the Rock County PS&J committee voted against the resolution to create an appointed medical examiner's office in place of the elective coroner's office, but the measure will still move forward for a full board vote tonight at the County Courthouse, 6PM. Residents are urged to attend.

Seven residents appeared before the committee and spoke against taking away their right to delegate authority for public office at the ballot box. County board member Louis Peer, who happens to be one of the prime sponsors of the resolution was the only one that spoke in favor of stripping away the voter's right.
Partial excerpt from Peer's full comment:
"I don't consider it in anyway taking away from my vote. “I vote for leaders in my community, and I trust them,” Peer said. “I delegate that power to them.”
Huh? Sure, when Peer votes, he votes for leaders that can be trusted and delegates the power of that office to them...not like us regular folks when we voted for our county coroner's office. What do we know? We're just idiots.

I don't know how many people would vote for someone whose policy position is to take away those voting rights.
Comment From The Gazette Blog:
"...The board members that want this have said this is not about her or the office or the job they've done. They have in fact praised what she has done. It's about "oversight". So an elected official, Peer, who is voted in, is voting to remove the rights for others to vote. Typical hypocrisy." -- malky15
On a side note: The Janesville Gazette finally issued a report on this major local event in today's paper, the day of the board meeting. What did the paper know and when? Why did they hold back from reporting on this at least a week earlier?

Corporations Should File Individual 1040 Tax Returns

Outrageous: Many U.S. corporations paid No Income Tax in 2009

Alternet Excerpt:
Last week, Forbes magazine published what the top U.S. corporations paid in taxes last year. “Most egregious,” Forbes notes, is General Electric, which “generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.” Big Oil giant Exxon Mobil, which last year reported a record $45.2 billion profit, paid the most taxes of any corporation, but none of it went to the IRS.
But since the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that corporations have the same rights as individuals, shouldn't they be filing IRS form 1040A instead of loopholing and offshoring themselves out of paying corporate taxes loaded with all of those business tax breaks?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Moneyed Republican Wins Seat On Rock County Board

Ordinary citizens, working class and seniors of Rock County took another huge hit on Election Tuesday when Supervisor Jim Joiner of District 19 was defeated by Brent Fox. Fox is a key corporate member of the Hendricks Group, which was a major sponsor of the anti-democracy comedy "An American Carol" and a heavy donor to republican party candidates. Despite the private group's tremendous wealth, their right-wing tax-leveraged business development models nearly always include milking local tax treasuries under the guise of socialized risk and public/private partnerships. With the help from organized business and the local corporate media, their dominating influence is spreading unchallenged in south-central Wisconsin and can never be overstated.

Joiner's defeat has probably swung the county board's ideological pendulum in favor of the tax-shifting establishment Republicans which only means that the average local taxpayer's hope and modest fortunes are at greater risk than ever before.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Political Operatives Initiate Power Grab For Coroner's Office


If a few Rock County supervisors get their way, ordinary citizens will have less of a share in local decision-making when they lose their right to vote for the county coroner's office. Recent action out of the Rock County Courthouse shows a handful of county supervisors are preparing to short circuit the county board's majority decision made back in March of 2009. At that time, the Board voted 16-12 in favor of keeping the county coroner an electively held office.

Yesterday (Monday), during the Public Safety and Justice (PS&J) committee meeting, Supervisor Mary Beaver (Evansville) requested a motion to hold a special meeting of the PS&J for Wednesday beginning at 4PM to fast track a medical examiner's resolution on the agenda with the stipulation that regardless of the outcome of that vote on the resolution by the PS&J committee, the resolution will still be forwarded to the county board for a vote on Thursday, April 8 at 6 PM.

Beyond the obvious right for local citizens to select one of their own for coroner is the blatant arrogance and lack of trust opposing county supervisors have towards their own constituency's ability to make the right choice. Let alone the negative atmosphere of partisan politics and a fabricated aura of mistrust cast towards the honorable employees and coroner currently working the office. They don't deserve this kind of treatment from anyone, particularly from members of the county board. It shows a complete lack of class on their part.

There is no doubt this rakish attempt is only the beginning of a full-fledged campaign to centralize unchecked county power into the hands of GOP establishment sponsored textbook bureaucrats. Besides, the only people who should make the decision to surrender such an important elective right should be the people themselves in the form of a referendum - not a cabal of political operatives carrying out a vendetta against a very capable elected official. The will of the people must not be held hostage by a few ego-centered authoritarians.

The key players in this apparent coup to wrest the coroner's office away from the ballot box and county residents are Russ Podzilni, Richard Ott, Louis Peer, Mary Beaver, and Mary Mawhinney.

Tell them kindly, voters are smart enough to make the right choices and to keep their hands off of our voting rights.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Will Interstate Expansion Have a Psychological Impact On Taxpayers?

As you may have heard, Rep. Brett Davis (R) has issued a boondoggle warning against the high-speed” train that would run from Madison to Milwaukee. His main beef is state taxpayers will have to subsidize the train's operating costs to the tune of about $7-10 million per year. Clearly he says, the people of the state can’t afford this project.

In Rock County however, the local Republican establishment and media along with their respective organized business and construction lobbyist groups are pushing for an expansion of the I39/90 corridor from 4 lanes to 6 lanes between the Illinois stateline and Madison. This luxury is expected to cost state taxpayers at least $1 billion, which by the way would cover over 100 years of operating costs for the M2M high speed rail. So, where is the outrage from Davis on the interstate expansion spending?

To take it a step further, where is the outrage from the so-called watchdog and fiscally conservative-leaning Janesville Gazette? Particularly with the heavy lobbyist action engulfing once again a certain local state legislator to apply his "leadership" position to influence and fast-track the legislative process. This time for a project that will cost taxpayers a billion dollars.
JS Online Excerpt:
Projects are supposed to be approved by the Transportation Projects Commission before going to the Legislature, but lawmakers can bypass that process. Legislators end their regular session April 22, and the transportation commission has not announced any plans to convene....The I-39 project is viewed as key by two industry groups - the Transportation Development Association and the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association.
And a third group, Forward Janesville. Forward Janesville is thee politically active local business lobbyist group with over 500 area members and embedded transients in Rock County's Bilderberg Group known around these parts as the Rock County 5.0, among them local construction heavyweight J.P.Cullen and Sons. Their tentacles of influence on local legislators, particularly Assembly leader Mike Sheridan, should not be underestimated. Local legislators can be blackmailed and have been smeared as anti-business tax and spenders when they don't jump to the whims of these tax shifting corporatists.

Another Wisconsin blog picked up on the legislative hi-jinks involved to swipe the taxpayer's credit card with the interstate expansion's billion dollar tab.
Political Environment Excerpt:
So why not go for it now? We're probably getting closer to another round of vehicle registration and licensing fee increases, and toll roads, to pay for the highway budgets that legislative leaders covet.
That's one reasonable way to look at it. Create the project first to justify the hike in taxes later. Probably the worst part here is that these road projects are spun as job creators by the republican establishment and their media enablers while the tax hike projects to pay for them are viewed as democrat creations. Who do you think wins at the ballot box with those arguments?

As can be expected, the most recent Janesville Gazette article regarding the billion dollar expansion of I39/90 through Janesville was basically a lobbyist lovefest touting the road project as an absolute gravy train for jobs, economic growth and safety improvements.
The slimming of the Interstate at the Wisconsin/Illinois border has a "psychological impact" on supply chain industries looking to relocate to the area, John Beckord said at a meeting...
That's the best local business interests can do after the reality of losing GM? Turn to government and tax and spend a billion dollars on a psychological enhancement. Just when I thought I've heard it all.

It will be interesting to see how the Janesville Gazette eventually responds to the entrenched local lobbyist's swarming pressure on Sheridan. If they do at all. Remember, this is the newspaper that was the primary source for a twisted story accusing Sheridan of capitulating to lobbyist pressure and using (abusing) his speakership position to influence the course of legislation through the state capital for the benefit of the payday loan industry.

I would suppose, everything's changed now.

Quote To Remember About Forward Janesville:
Make no mistake, Forward Janesville’s overriding goal is to advance the interests of its members.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Janesville Police Looking For Trail Stalker

Janesville police are on the look-out for a man who may have assaulted two teen girls in two separate attacks on Janesville's bike trail. According to the newspaper report, the man is described as white, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 175 lbs., thick brown hair, a smoker, unshaven and with possibly a mustache. He is also believed to be left-handed. If you know this man or have seen seen him, please call Janesville Police at (608) 757-2244 or Janesville CrimeStoppers at (608) 756-3636.

Possible bike trail suspectArtist's rendition of suspect.

Janesville Gazette story on stalker unavailable at time of posting.

Energy Rate Shift Will Subsidize Industrial Users For Their Economic Development

C.U.B. Excerpt:
MADISON – The Citizens Utility Board is sorely disappointed by yesterday’s decision by the Public Service Commission, which will allow Wisconsin Power & Light to give discounts to industrial customers that will likely be subsidized by residential customers and others. Wisconsin Power and Light, a utility subsidiary of Alliant Energy, applied with the PSC on November 13, 2009 for permission to offer an “economic development rate” that would provide certain large industrial customers with a discount on electricity service.
The "economic development rate" otherwise know as the "privatize the profits and socialize the losses" free market rate. What a completely screwed up, backward and corrupted system we have called free market capitalism.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Libertarian Will Run Against Paul Ryan, Again

Joseph Kexel, the Libertarian candidate in the 2008 Congressional election who received 1% of the vote in the 1st Congressional District, announced that he is running again.

From the Racine Post, Kexel writes...
I am running for Paul Ryan's congressional seat. I am running as a Libertarian, so I will not be kicking Paul from the ballot. If he is on the ballot in November that is up to him and the voters in the Republican primary. Personally, having spoken with him at forums during the 2008 campaign, I like him. He would make a great neighbor...>>>more
That's the fighting spirit Joe. Did you vote for Ryan? Sheesh.

So far, we've got a genuine Libertarian running against a deep-pocketed, free market bail-out, corporate Republican establishment incumbent. Will the Tea Party support Kexel? Or do they like Paul Ryan too.