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Friday, May 31, 2013

Walker's Wisconsin Is Open For Monkey Business

Note: Post Title was Changed

First saw the latest story about the Skyward/Infinite Campus/Walker travesty at the Democurmudgeon.

It's unfortunate for the state of the state of Wisconsin. We knew no matter what the outcome was, that this was going to end in a bad way simply by the way it all began under the incompetent stewardship of Gov. Scott Walker and his quasi-criminal wealth redistribution agency - the WEDC.

Skyward you may recall, was the Wisconsin company that lobbied against the statewide student information system, then was offered tax breaks from Walker's WEDC contingent upon it winning the contract for the state-wide system it lobbied against and lastly, Skyward threatened to leave the state and take 290 jobs if it didn't win the contract. The Minnesota firm, Infinite Campus, played by the rules and by all accounts won the state contract fair and square. But with $80M hanging in the balance, it was obvious this wasn't the last we'd hear from Skyward.

Back then I even wondered about whether Skyward would embark on a similar campaign taken by the former CEO of Bucyrus, Tim Sullivan, who heavily politicized negotiations to win a $600M government-backed loan guarantee for a foreign company to buy its products. Sad to say, that is precisely the path that Skyward appears to have taken on its way to politically force a reversal on the contract decision. Clearly, this isn't the way good government works.

FDL Reporter Excerpt:
Infinite Campus chief operations officer Eric Creighton called the committee’s action “outrageous” and accused Skyward of using “strong-arm political tactics to get their way.”

“It tells prospective bidders they can use the political process to get a different outcome if a procurement doesn’t go their way,” Creighton said in a statement.

Titled by the press as a "bipartisan decision" in an obvious attempt to help spread the load for a bad decision and protect the guilty party, the committee's decision sends a terrible message to all prospective businesses looking to enter Wisconsin.

Even Sen. Luther Olsen, who was one of two Republicans to vote against the measure, surprisingly pointed out that lawmakers should not reverse the contract decision because of political pressure, and warned that the move could damage the state’s credibility and make Wisconsin “just another banana republic." Kind of late in the game but better than never I suppose.

Yet, this episode may go a long way to help uncover the corruptible system of government ushered in by Scott Walker. Where a legislative agenda built on a flawed ideology requires a steady stream of deception, cronyism and corruption to cover for all of its incompetence. It's alot like the lie that gets covered up with a lie that is corrected with yet another lie. In the end it speaks of broken trust and total failure.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Newspaper Whitewashes Council's Cover Up of Debate Over City Profile

Wow. The Janesville Gazette's latest article on the city profile issue doesn't even acknowledge the discussion council members had last week when the newspaper reported, fairly accurately I should add, on the council's reaction to a recruitment profile developed by an independent consultant firm hired to scout for a new city manager.

As described in my previous post, the recruitment firm offered an honest assessment of the city's deepening budgetary problems and declining morale exacerbated by the classwar agenda of Gov. Scott Walker.

As expected, not only did the Janesville City Council fully dewalkerize the recruitment firm's profile, but the Janesville Gazette, in what should have been an inquiring follow-up article, carries on as if that conversation or the article first reporting on it last week ...never existed.

Move along now. Nothing to see here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Janesville Officials Looking To Dewalkerize Profile For City Manager Candidates

According to this story from the Janesville Gazette, a specialized employment firm hired by the City of Janesville developed a profile of the city's issues and priorities to help recruit potential candidates hoping to become Janesville's next city (administrative) manager. But judging by the frowns and negative responses from those who read the 3-page job description document, it sounds like the firm nailed our increasingly depressing local and declining state environment perfectly. According to the story, the firm based their report mostly on the input from 51 people, including city council members, department heads, business leaders, community partners and residents.

But I have to wonder which business leaders the recruitment firm spoke to, to draw such an accurately bleak picture from? Afterall, the folks from Forward Janesville, the Rock County 5.0 and many others were celebrating when Walker won the recall election in 2012. What were they celebrating? Did the firm talk to any of those happy-happy smiling folks?

Because with Walker, they were celebrating lower state aid for local roads, utilities and services in the face of rising costs, a frontal attack on public schools and public property, declining morale among public employees, a spiraling down of wages and benefits across all sectors, expanding new entitlements for private schools and increasing anti-competitive subsidies to businesses, a divide and conquer mentality meant to polarize communities and constituencies in an effort to ram through a far-right class war agenda and a definitive loss of local power and control at the mercy of an increasingly centralized red state government, among many others. Couldn't they convey their feelings of pure joy and optimism to the recruitment firm to show potential candidates how wonderful things are expected to get in Janesville? Now is the time to step up folks.

Because these fine, fine "business leader" folks have referred to themselves as the "ambassadors of optimism," they are of all people the perfect choice to explain how bright and rosy things will be any day now under Scott Walker. I'd be the first to offer them the floor and say, "please proceed." I want to be enlightened.

And those Janesville city council members and others who supported Scott Walker should also step up and explain why the firm's profile is so wrong or depressing. Because outside of mourning the GM Plant, they have Walker. What more could they possibly want?

Yet, why they didn't strongly object to the profile outright but instead suggested to shorten the document to spin out the truth shows just the opposite of faith they have in the future under Walker AND a huge lack of honesty on their part.

As a Janesville resident and taxpayer, I don't want the next city manager to feel as though he/she was tricked into the job. At the same time, I don't want a city manager who is here as a career opportunist or someone who might think they could scapegoat problems as inherited from the past manager. I want someone who knows exactly what the challenge is and is up to it because is enormous.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Don't Watch This Video Trailer From The Documentary "Citizen Koch"

It can now be said the sequel to the documentary "Citizen Koch" has already begun with the powerful Koch Brothers working to suppress the film and keep it from airing on PBS. Below is the trailer of the documentary they don't want us to see.

BradBlog - Video Trailer from 'Citizen Koch' Documentary That Koch Brothers, PBS Hope to Suppress.

Citizen Koch Website.

Also check out the full version of Robert Greenwald's Koch Brother's Exposed.

New Yorker - Public television’s attempts to placate David Koch

Friday, May 24, 2013

WISPIRG: Expensive Highway Projects Might Be Unnecessary

A New Report Questions State’s Big Spending on Highways In Light Of Reduced Wisconsin Driving.

WISPIRG’s analysis reviewed both the projections and actual traffic counts for these projects, and found that usage is consistently failing to reach the levels that were projected. State Highway 26 from Janesville to Watertown was listed among their examples.

Wheeler Report Excerpt:
Madison, WI— A new report from the WISPIRG Foundation finds that usage of seven recently completed highways has not developed as projected, and questions whether building massive and costly new highways is the best way to spend Wisconsin’s scarce transportation resources. The report, Road Overkill: Wisconsin Spends Big on Questionable Highways Even as Driving Declines, also finds that Wisconsinites are driving less per capita today than we did in 1997, further raising doubts as to whether expensive new highways are the best investments for Wisconsin’s transportation future.

“Wisconsin taxpayers should not be footing the bill for highways that aren’t needed, especially when other urgent transportation priorities like local road repair and transit are being shortchanged,” said Bruce Speight, WISPIRG Director.

Road Overkill Full Report: 21st Century Transportation

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wisconsin Is Entitled To Know Who Paid Gov. Walker's Legal Defense Fund

Once the story broke on May 2nd that Gov. Scott Walker was not going to release the names of those who paid for his legal defense fund regarding the criminal investigation of his county office before he was elected governor, not one Wisconsin newspaper since issued an editorial demanding Walker release the information. At least to the extent that I could find no editorial combing through the April/May archives of the Wheeler Report.

But woe onto the law enforcement agency that dares institute a new policy of hiding information that previously was available to the public. Such was the case regarding a recent Janesville Gazette editorial titled, "Edgerton Police Wrong To Keep Residents In The Dark." The Gazette ripped the EPD for instituting a new policy of releasing little to no details - other than the last name - of anyone in a official police report.

Look, the Gazette's criticism is all well and good here, but where were they on Walker's refusal to release the names of those paying for his legal fees?

When I compare the apples to the oranges, I could care less about knowing the names and details of the average schlub getting a speeding ticket or fine for jaywalking, but as a voter I expect full transparency regarding any public official receiving huge cash gifts from donors. Folks, we're not talking about a governor getting a couple of Packer game tickets here for free...


Where is the Fourth Estate? No need to answer that one.

Granted, Walker's legal defense fund is not subject to open records law and the state's GAB said the governor is not required to name them, but Wisconsin Law states it is a matter of declared policy...

Wisconsin Laws 19.31 - Declaration of policy

19.31 Declaration of policy. In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. Further, providing persons with such information is declared to be an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of officers and employees whose responsibility it is to provide such information.

This has nothing to do with digging into the governor's emails or looking to blacklist somebody to make a nasty political statement. It has everything to do with the public's right to know that taxpayer revenue or government power is not abused or used to payback any favors. It's fundamental clean and transparent government and according to state policy, we're entitled to know.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mercy CEO Just Another Shameless #@!&?

According to a story percolating out from St. Paul, comments made by the CEO of Mercy Health System in Janesville, Javon Bea, are at the center of a federal age discimination lawsuit against a company that manages Kahler Hotels in Minneosta. Bea has a financial stake in Kahler and was hired to be the top executive liaison between the investors and the management company.

Post Bulletin Excerpt:
In an executive committee meeting in February, Bea was allegedly recorded referring to Berman as an "older gal" and "older lady" as he discussed eliminating her position and that of three other employees, the complaint says.

Bea, who also is CEO of Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wis., is alleged to have made multiple comments about Woodford's age, the complaint says, including this remark during an executive management committee meeting in January: "Clearly Sandy W. is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid; she should have been retired." Bea then told the group he needed someone younger and more vibrant in Woodford's position, the complaint says.

In a email from an undisclosed source, the complaint also said Bea intends to eliminate union employment at Kahler properties through, "illegal and immoral" means. Read full story here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

They Hope Your Kid Wants To Be A Welder When He Grows Up

Way back around the time when the Janesville GM Plant was winding down in its final days, I recall the editors of the Janesville Gazette writing a short series of editorials about the culture of manufacturing jobs and its related union affiliation. They wrote about how the culture of high school educated or less workers earning $50,000+ annual with benefits actually helped keep the Janesville economic and social set down. Not in those exact words, but they weren't very nice about it and in fact implied we'll be better off without manufacturing jobs and the union culture that tends to follow.

Since that time however, quite a few things have changed. Top officials in the local business lobbies were caught on camera gloating over the suggestion that the area's remaining unemployed will have no choice but to take much less in wages if they expect to land a job because local employers will no longer have to compete with GM wages for skilled labor.

These same groups ironically enough, along with their media enabler Gazette, have since embarked on a publicity campaign to encourage new graduates to consider manufacturing for their career. It's a complete about-face.

In fact, last year the Janesville Gazette published an article about all the glory that awaits job seekers in the manufacturing sector in the state of Wisconsin. The article titled, "State Manufacturers Have jobs, Need Workers" was written by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, helped build the meme about Wisconsin's so-called skills gap. The core of the story was that students perception of manufacturing jobs is outdated. That those are the jobs that are indeed in high demand.

At the time, I agreed that those workers might be in demand by manufacturing employers, but countered that because of the steady beat down of unions, wages and benefits, those jobs are no longer in demand by students and other able-bodied working age adults. The jobs are noble, but the wages are not.

I'll admit, there's a pretty big reality gap there, but until something changes on the compensation front, students and other working age adults are left with no choice but to pursue higher education if they expect to afford raising a family in the near future.

A recent survey conducted by the area's divide and conquer business group, Rock County 5.0, of Rock County area students confirmed my suspicions and produced the expected result.

JG Excerpt:
-- Of those thinking about technical careers, just 2.1 percent indicated an interest in manufacturing.

Gotta' wonder what did the Rock County 5.0 expect after their beat down campaign succeeded?

Because, when you beat down unions, you also beat down the higher wages and benefits they represent and end up killing off student demand for jobs unions not only covered, but also other staples necessary to bolster vibrant local economies such as jobs in education and the many skilled trades. Again, the workers are in demand, but fewer and fewer want those jobs, and not because they lack the skill. Because of the beatdown, the leverage is backwards. That is the reality.

This steady beatdown is what most folks paying attention call the race to the bottom, and yet nearly everything I've written here is the result of legislation the smiling folks at our local business groups demanded, but now want to adapt to their new paradigm.

One last observation for this post is about our single party ruled corporate red state government and their media enablers latest campaign to shift the pursuit of the American Dream away from an individual's pursuit of happiness to the corporation's pursuit of happiness.

In a Gazette magazine presentation about the area's economic future, Vision 2020, there are multiple passages alluding to that shift in perception and pursuit. One example is this statement from the Director of Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development on Page 12 ...

Vision 2020 Excerpt:
Borremans is concerned that schools have for too long tried to satisfy students’ passions instead of the local economy’s needs.

Only as an exception to the rule, there is some merit to that reasoning. But it’s suddenly no longer about our own individuality or to control our own destiny, or to be the master of our own pursuit of happiness. It’s become about satisfying somebody else’s version of happiness – and that version could be society’s, a corporation’s or the state’s plans for our happiness.

That in my opinion is not what America is about all.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Janesville Officials Suggest Without Government, Business Cannot Expand

In the aftermath of Janesville's Economic Development Director ending his employment with the city, city officials are asking community members for input on the next step. Several officials are worried that losing momentum could hurt the city’s economic development.

Janesville's City Council President weighed in and implied that things are not getting done without the city's government assistance ...

JG Excerpt:
“We have a vacancy in our economic development department right now, and we have people, businesses that want to expand right now, and we have businesses that want to move into the city of Janesville right now,” she said.

Open up the floodgates and let 'er rip ...

Of course I believe the modern local economic development director has devolved into little more than a welfare program coordinator and lobbyist for businesses. But outside of possible changes in zoning, which should be applied for by the business and falls under the jurisdiction of the city council, I have no idea what kind of municipal laws and regs are preventing businesses from entering or expanding in Janesville.

Do you?

Friday, May 10, 2013

What? Politifact Said Social Security Adds To The Deficit?

"Not one dime gets added to the deficit because of Social Security." -- Rep. Mark Pocan (2nd CD WI)

Keywords to remember - "because of."

Well, Politifact gave that statement a "Mostly False" rating. Here's the heart of their explanation...

JS Politifact Excerpt:
Although Social Security used to run surpluses, over the past few years it hasn’t collected enough in taxes to pay in benefits.

And the trust fund consists not of prior Social Security surplus funds, but of interest-bearing securities provided through federal government borrowing -- thus the link to the deficit.

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system: Payroll taxes paid by current workers and their employers go to pay benefits to current retirees and other Social Security recipients.

From 1984 to 2009, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits. That surplus was transferred from the Social Security program to the federal government's general fund. In return, the Treasury gave Social Security bonds that it could redeem to pay future benefits.

The government, in turn, incurred obligations to repay the bonds, plus interest, to the Social Security trust fund.

In simpler language, Politifact and their sources said: Because you borrowed money from my stockpile, you will at some point have to pay it back to make me whole again. Assuming you will have to borrow from a different source (Treasury) to pay me back, the interest incurred resulting from your borrowing increased your debt load - so it's my fault.

In effect, according to Politifact and the American Enterprise Institute, because Social Security must begin drawing on its own surplus to meet its obligations, SS adds to the nation's current annual deficit and accumulating debt because congress borrowed it.

Fact is, the money coming into Social Security is real cash from payroll taxes. It's not SS's fault that the government borrows from it, and it's not SS's fault that government debt might grow in order to pay it back. It is totally absurd to misconstrue the loan transaction by implying Social Security adds to the deficit because of the borrower's obligation to pay it back.

The bottom line is, money the government borrowed will have to be paid back and those transaction events will have an effect on the government's balance sheet whether the lender is China, Saudi Arabia or Social Security OR whether the government has its own surplus or deficit to pay out from. By the way, Politifact assumes the government will have to borrow to buy back SS notes.

ProTip: Borrowing yet again to pay back loans will effect your debt. Don't blame the lender.

I give Politifact "Full Asshat" on this verdict.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Maddow Show and Jon Stewart Tackle GOP's Benghazi Hysteria

A MEDIAite Double-Header.

On her Wednesday show, Rachel Maddow tore into Republican outrage over Benghazi as the latest example of conservative conspiracy theories seeping in the mainstream.
Read story here - with video.

Daily Show host Jon Stewart mocked Fox News for over-hyping yet another congressional hearing on the attack in Benghazi.
Read story here - with video.


Copy and paste below for your Twitter fans. Change/Add hashtag to your liking.

Maddow Destroys GOP Conspiracies: Jon Stewart Exposes GOP False Rage: #Benghazi

Twitter will shorten URL with room to spare.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Wisconsin CEOs: Show Us The Money - Not Skilled Workers

First saw the story on this at the Root River Siren. Apparently, Gov. Scott Walker has kicked off a series of (unscheduled?) statewide economic listening sessions to learn how the state can best help create jobs. Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee. But seriously. This is not funny.

Problem: Businesses blame "low performing" schools for lack of jobs in Racine. Solution: Government should offer more tax credits to incoming companies so they too cannot hire for lack of "educated" workers.

Journal Times Excerpt:
Modine President and CEO Tom Burke weighed in, affirming, “It’s hard to recruit from schools because they’re performing below level.”

What the government can do, Kacala said, is continue to work with the county to offer tax incentives to incoming companies, something he said many have come to expect.

For developers, there’s a pervasive idea that “if you’re not asking for significant incentives, you’re missing the boat,” Kacala said. “Unfortunately, it’s still ‘show us the money.’

It never was "show us the skilled workers." Ever. This is unbelievable, almost Onionish.

Like most Wisconsin bloggers, I've been writing about the wrong-headed business incentives and phony "skills gap" narrative for several years now, so this is nothing new. It's also escalated to the point where the tax credits and cash incentives are now an absolute necessity, not to create jobs, but to retain businesses who are offered competing free cash deals to move to other states. They've turned the term," free market competition" into a mockery with state governments competing, really stealing, for each other's businesses. So, this is not about education, innovation or entrepreneurship and it's not about creating businesses, industry and jobs from the ground up. It never was.

Tax credits and cash kick backs are simply not the reason or the incentive for any business to create jobs. The idea has become nothing more than a bold-faced game of extortion in a zero sum national environment. Taxpayers will always lose.

Janesville: Forum On Media Influence

Mary Bottari, Director of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Real Economy Project, Editor of the for bank busting activists. See additional bio below.

* This is a free event. Open to the general public *

Wednesday - May 8
6 PM-6:30 PM cheese & cracker reception (nonalcoholic potluck)
6:30 PM- 7:45 PM, speakers & discussion

Basics Cooperative
1711 Lodge
Janeville, Wisconsin

* This is an independent event not affiliated with Basics *

From the Huffington Post: Mary Bottari is an experienced policy wonk and public interest advocate. For the last ten years she served as a senior analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based consumer group Public Citizen in its Global Trade Watch division. She has investigated and documented the impact of international trade agreements on public policy including in the areas of financial services, health care, toxics regulation, food safety, and the environment. Prior to her stint at Public Citizen, Mary was press secretary for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and worked for many years in the Wisconsin State Senate. She has an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her family. Her favorite Wisconsin cheese is Prairie Ridge Reserve.

SOURCE: Rock County Progressives

Friday, May 03, 2013

If We Can't Afford The Roads We Have Now - Go Bigger and More Expensive

That's only common sense.

Well, not at all really unless you're Gov. Scott Walker or happen to represent Big Roads and the local business cartel, Forward Janesville. That's the message in a recent editorial by FJ's VP who you may recall wrote a nearly identical piece last year attacking Tom Barrett for suggesting the state re-commit transportation funds to local roads and spend within its means. Amazing how the rhetoric is now more reality based. Barrett is the conservative and these guys including Walker are the crony collectivists. That's the way it always was.

One of the main differences this time around, but only in semantics, is that their definition of "transportation network" or "transit system" doesn't involve the entire gamut of local roads, public transportation, highways, buses, bike paths, trains, planes and automobiles. They mean only asphalt highways and interstates. Period.

Last time around, I also wrote that the only alternatives to Walker's budget and FJ's demands will be either a wave of local road tax referendums or hikes in levies and new wheel taxes.

Plymouth Town Chairman Larry Harding: "There's 101,000 miles of roads in the state of Wisconsin, and the towns have 61,000 of those miles. Yet we get 33 percent of the transportation aid returned back to fix roads with," he said.

Over that timeframe, Janesville has instituted a $10 annual vehicle tax - the Walker Wheel Tax - to help offset Walker's shortfalls in revenue returned to Janesville for local road maintenance. Janesville of course is still woefully short in maintenance money. But I completely forgot that we also have the option of going backward - to the time of dirt roads.

Believe it or not - THAT is coming!


The Political Environment - Pothole Complaints Up - Local Road Repair Funding To Fall

Democurmudgeon - Dirt Roads return under Walker! w/News3 Video from Rock County

JS Editorial - State needs to build better transportation budget

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Rip Rap

Local Newspaper Labels Politician's Half-Truths Differently

A couple weeks ago, I took issue with the Janesville Gazette for taking a cheapshot at a Democratic state legislator with a title heading on a Politifact editorial rating her statement "Half True." The Gazette insinuated that she needs to go back to school.

Last Sunday the Gazette published another Politifact "Half True" editorial. But because this time they're rating the GOP's homeboy rock star, Paul Ryan, the Janesville paper writes him up as "Honest Abe." Lucky for us, the Gazette insists they have no political agenda. LOL

Obamacare Will Devastate AND Obamacare Will Empower.

Wisconsin TeaGOPers Going "Postal" with Plan To Bankrupt Local Towns

Via Chris McDonough...
This is a fiendishly clever recycling of the law Congress is using to destroy the USPS. In this case, Wisconsin TeaGOPers want to saddle towns with costs far exceeding reason, with the intent of making the towns go bankrupt. Then, the Governor will appoint an "emergency manager" and all local control vanishes instantly. This has ALEC DNA all over it.

I would also ask Republicans to first test their devious little plan in the private sector before anything else. Report back. * eyeroll *

Blistering Audit Faults Scott Walker's WEDC Jobs Creation Agency. But not Scott Walker?

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A blistering audit released Wednesday said Republican Gov. Scott Walker's premier job creation agency repeatedly broke state law in its first year of operation, failed to adequately track money it awarded for economic development projects and sometimes gave money to ineligible recipients.

Nothing seems to work in Scott Walker's Wisconsin.

Sen. Tim Cullen remarks on a bill intended to create $75 million venture capital fund...

JG Excerpt:
“It’s one of the most interesting issues in Madison, and there’s opposition to it from the far ends of both parties,” he said. “On the far right, the Republicans call it crony capitalism. The far left wants to spend that $25 million on education and health care.”

Curiously, what would we call a person who thinks both; that the money would be better used on education AND thinks the state-run venture cap fund is crony capitalism? A centrist? That would be me.

Mike McCabe (Democracy Campaign) "Democrats Need To Grow a Pair"

Tandem blog posts from McCabe followed by a response/review from Jack Craver of the Cap Times. Check 'em out.

McCabe's First Post - Democrats Won't Find Answers Without Asking The Right Questions

McCabe's Second Post - Castrated By Money's Grip

Jack Craver - Mike McCabe to Dems: Grow a pair

Come 'on Democrats. We've got your backs. Do you have ours?

Funny how in the competitive free markets, restaurant customers often don't have the choices of both Pepsi and Coke. But school choice advocates believe the government owes them a choice of schools and to oppose it is a baseless anti-market fear of competition.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Pulitzer Prize Winning Writer Planning a Book On Janesville

Here's a story about a journalist who has spent 1-1/2 years researching Janesville for a new book ...

NBC News Excerpt:
Amy Goldstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer on leave from The Washington Post, has spent the past 1-1/2 years researching the small city of Janesville, Wis., taking an intensely close look at what has happened in one community where thousands of people lost their jobs when the country’s oldest operating auto plant closed its doors. More than four years later, many of the people laid off from the plant and other local companies are still struggling to find a job with decent pay—or any job at all.

And a passage from the article that aligned with my own observations...

And the cleavage points in town have changed. Some people used to resent the GM’ers, who had such good wages and benefits. Now, some people are angry at schoolteachers for similar reasons; at least one teacher has changed when she goes grocery shopping, because she’d gotten yelled at in the store more than once by people in town who resented her summers off and her pension.

Janesville is different than some of the larger autotowns that went under primarily because it had almost 30 years of close calls and warnings to help prepare itself. But even with that, there's a vicious clawdown effect going on in Janesville that is part of a broader statewide agenda.

What can be easily overlooked, possibly out of fear of retribution, is the hand the town's politically motivated newspaper, the Janesville Gazette, has had in fueling most of the local derision and cover-ups for the past 20 years.

But according to the NBC story, the focus of the book however will be about how an ordinary community deals with heavy job losses. Fair enough, but I'm hoping the writer's final draft will delve into Janesville's internal workings, political undercurrents and unelected leadership that is steering the area's post-GM low-wage economy - if she goes that far - and I hope she does.