Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is this what you signed up for?

Wisconsin has a proud hunting tradition that is embedded in the DNA of our state. So it shouldn't be a surprise that we also have hunters and others that have memberships in various groups that are supposed to focus on their issues. However, I have to wonder if the majority of Wisconsin hunters ever meant to sign up for some of the extremist rhetoric that has been coming out of the National Rifle Association in particular.

The wild and paranoid rantings of many NRA board members has been on the record for some time but thanks to the new website "Meet the NRA" we have much of it posted in one place. Whether it is vigilantism, politically violent rhetoric or other extremist statements, I simply don't accept that the average Wisconsin hunter signed up for any of it.

Now the NRA board seems to be going further in the direction of paranoid conspiracy theories. Recently the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre got all conspiratorial about President Obama. Check out the video below where he actually cites the President not pushing gun control as the very reason that he's anti-gun. Confused? Yeah, you should be, because it is baseless and it makes no sense. But LaPierre ignores reality and boils it all down to some imagined "conspiracy". Is that really the kind of thing that Wisconsin hunters signed up for?

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Scott Walker's "High Ethical Standards"

Recently Scott Walker was pressed on what exactly he knows about the John Doe investigation that seems to be engulfing his campaign, current and former staff and at least one contributor. In a blog item Dan Bice describes Walker's response as his "firmest defense yet of what he described as his high ethical standards." Let's take a walk down memory lane shall we?

I wonder if those "high ethical standards" include some of the following:

  • When Walker was first running for Milwaukee County Executive, he promised to end cronyism but shortly after being elected he began a long history of perfecting that dark art. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker has rewards in mind for backers", 5/9/02]
  • Remember the reports of Scott Walker shaking down various lobbyists in Madison when he was preparing to run for Milwaukee County Executive? He wanted them to contribute to his campaign and the report suggested that he was threatening them that if he didn't win he would still be in the state legislature and would have an influence on their issues. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/10/02]
  • In 2005 Scott Walker earned what at the time was the second highest ethics fine in state history. It was related to his questionable use of robo calls [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/4/05]
  • During his first run for governor Walker had a fundraiser using tickets and a suite for a sold-out UW basketball game. All kinds of ethical questions were asked at the time because the suite access and tickets appeared to come from a corporation, which at the time was not allowed. Once the news became public Walker's campaign ditched the fundraiser plans [WKOW-TV, 2/22/06 & 7/25/06]
  • Walker has at least a decade plus of consistently careless campaign finance reporting. After a while it makes you wonder if they were being incompetent, devious or both. Various media outlets, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Milwaukee County and others have repeatedly reported on missing information for major donors. [Capital Times, 5/14/02]
  • In 2007 Walker got rid of a veteran member of the Milwaukee County Ethics Board. The chair of the board thought it was because she dared to question the ethics of some of Scott Walker's actions. Walker proceeded to replace her with a young attorney that was recommended to him by a partner in a law firm that included major campaign donors.
  • Remember Scott Walker's annual self promotion tour? Remember when his thinly veiled campaign event included corporate sponsorship? How can anyone blame his critics when he repeatedly used both campaign and county staff for the planning of it? It repeatedly drew ethics and other complaints but by that point he had already stacked the elections board with pals. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/9/05]
I could keep going for a while but hopefully you get the point. Feel free to include your favorite example of Scott Walker's "high ethical standards".

UPDATE: Also read Capper's "Walkergate: One for the Ages"

Monday, September 26, 2011

What’s with the “Fund of Funds” Fast Track?

When the original venture capital legislation was introduced, opponents of it repeatedly called for the legislature to slow down and more deliberately evaluate the various options. That is certainly a notion that I agreed with because this is an important issue and regardless of the exact approach we must proceed in a thoughtful manner. But now that the focus of many has changed entirely to a “fund of funds” approach, suddenly some are ready to take a fast track. This is the exact kind of blatant inconsistency that makes me wonder about what is going on behind the scenes and what motivations lie there.

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that a “fund of funds” approach shouldn't be a part of our venture capital planning but I am saying that we better make sure that we do things right the first time. A few weeks ago I gave the Oklahoma example to show that using a “fund of funds” approach should not be looked at as the Holy Grail of venture capital programs. Oklahoma has had the “fund of funds” program the longest and in fact it is frequently referred to as the “Oklahoma program”. After using this program for decades, recent reports and audits in that state are hardly inspiring.

Since my last blog posting about the venture capital complications in Oklahoma, a bipartisan group of state officials have written an editorial about their flawed system. In it they highlight the fact that 85 to 95 cents of every dollar that Oklahoma invested through its program was invested in start-up companies located outside of the state and at least one was outside of the country. A state audit in 2006 found “$31 million in debt and more questions than answers.” While the private fund managers in that state have collected generous fees for years, state officials described it in the recent op-ed as a “failed program that has become too costly...”

Surely Oklahoma originally thought that their program was a good one but due to its complexity, problematic issues remained relatively hidden for years. That is until the state faced paying multiple millions of dollars to cover losses. Since a private entity was allowed to run the program it took public officials longer to detect such problems. In fact the entity that ran the program was not even subject to public records requests, open meetings laws or to the inquiries of state legislators.

The State of Wisconsin certainly shouldn't be rushing to replicate these kinds of mistakes; rather we should take the time to learn from them and carefully arrive at a solution that fits our specific needs. We should also ensure that all entities associated with our venture capital program are open and fully subject to public scrutiny.

Scott Walker has assembled a venture capital commission to apparently advise the legislature on this issue. However even this commission seems to be moving very quickly. Apparently they have already had their first meeting and I’m still trying to find out who exactly is involved. Some reports have given a few names but it would be nice to have a full listing before this commission goes too far too fast. For example, I think that we should know if any conflicts of interest exist on the commission. I further think that its deliberations should be made fully available to the public.

Bringing in a much larger share of venture capital dollars is certainly an important goal for our state but we should plan it carefully and with full disclosure. We certainly shouldn't repeat other state's mistakes whether it is on a “fund of funds” fast track or on some other overly rushed route.

UPDATE: I just happened across this News from West Virginia, which I believe uses the "Oklahoma Program". They started it in 2002 and a recent audit has revealed a $20.8 million loss.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Walker & Cronies Live Large, Workers Get Shaft

Yesterday Representatives Mark Pocan, Brett Hulsey, Terese Berceau and Chris Taylor wrote a guest blog posting on Blogging Blue. In it they go into some detail about how Scott Walker has given irresponsible and unjustified raises to his political cronies. This while he is calling for "shared sacrifice" from front line and more modestly paid state employees.

I highly recommend the item as must-read material but as I read it I also wondered how many people across the state know that Walker has a long history of doing this kind of thing? As with almost everything else that Walker is doing in Madison today, he did (or tried to do it) first in Milwaukee County. For example, while he was threatening layoffs, proposing drastic cuts in critical services and calling for "shared sacrifice" in Milwaukee County, he was also planning to give his closest cronies huge raises. Remember this story?
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants a 26% pay raise for his chief of staff, former Ald. Tom Nardelli, while bypassing traditional County Board approval in quietly issuing large pay raises over the summer to several other top aides.

Nardelli would get the biggest pay increase of top-tier county officials, a nearly $20,000 raise to $95,000 a year. Seven county administrators also scored increases of up to 12.5%.

Some supervisors are upset about being left out of the decision-making process for many of the raises and say Walker's timing couldn't be worse. Heavily rewarding a few top managers while Walker puts final touches on a 2009 budget that's expected to call for scores of layoffs of union workers sends a message of callous disregard, critics of the raises say.
We should certainly be outraged at Scott Walker's disturbing double standards in Madison but we certainly shouldn't be surprised. He has shown us a long pattern of giving workers the shaft while he and his cronies live large.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This is becoming an unfortunate pattern

Believe it or not, I very desperately want to believe that the audiences at the last few Republican presidential debates do not represent the majority of their party. Even in the face of the wild accusations during the health care reform debate and even after reading all of those horribly offensive tea party signs, I still want to believe that the majority of Republicans are not this nasty and hateful.

The allegedly "pro-life" party wildly cheering record numbers of executions in Texas.

Yelling to affirm that a young man in a coma should be allowed to die simply because he can't afford his own health insurance.

And now the party that pretends to have cornered the market on patriotism, actually booed a solider CURRENTLY SERVING IN IRAQ, simply because he is gay.

Yes, I desperately want to explain away these nasty reactions but this is becoming a most unfortunate pattern. What may be much worse than the nastiness itself is the lack of convincing and universal condemnations of it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

House Bill Targets Local (Gun) Control

Conventional wisdom tells us that conservative policymakers greatly value the idea of "local control". However we increasingly see elected officials proclaiming allegiance to that philosophy while only choosing to actually practice it when it is politically convenient. The latest example of this can be seen in a bill currently making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has accurately named HR 822 as the "Packing Heat on Your Street" bill.

This extreme legislation would force states to allow the carrying of loaded, hidden guns by untrained, out-of-state visitors, even by persons legally barred from possessing guns in the state where the carrying occurs. So much for the sacred conservative idea of "local control". Many legislators that are pushing this bill have tossed aside their normal "local control" mantra and have instead adopted a big federal government one-size-fits-all approach. It is clear that this legislation is more of an appeasement of extremists like those running the NRA than it is about making good public policy.

For many years the State of Wisconsin wisely resisted allowing the concealed carrying of firearms. Unfortunately concealed carry legislation finally passed in Wisconsin earlier this year and the law becomes effective on November 1. While the new law is a major mistake and doesn't have nearly enough protections built into it at least it was only a modified version of the original. That version was even more extreme and promoted the inappropriately named idea of "constitutional carry". Essentially allowing just about everyone to carry concealed weapons anywhere without background checks, training or limits of any kind. Even though the new Wisconsin law backed away from that radical notion, that fact could be rendered mute if HR 822 is passed in Washington, DC.

The new Wisconsin concealed carry law allows local municipalities and businesses to ban concealed firearms in their buildings. They would do this by posting signs declaring that firearms are not allowed. As the November 1 deadline approaches many Wisconsin municipalities, including the state's largest , are quickly establishing those local limits. Likewise the entire University of Wisconsin system and Marquette University are moving to prevent concealed weapons in their buildings.

Businesses are also quickly learning the best way to proceed given the many questions that still remain. Advocacy groups such as the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) are asking concerned members of the public to request that businesses protect their safety by banning hidden guns in their establishments.

However, all of this local work in states like Wisconsin could be totally disregarded if the big federal government declaration that exists in HR 822 actually becomes law. While we wait for members of Congress to decide if they really want to target the allegedly cherished idea of "local control", we are certainly not helpless. The Brady Campaign has a wealth of information on this legislation and the problems that it would pose to our states and to our local communities.

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Walker's Blurred Lines

We have heard a lot recently about the John Doe investigation that is being conducted in Milwaukee County. Apparently it involves Scott Walker's campaign and former Milwaukee County staffers including some that he brought with him to Madison. We've seen a lot of speculation on this subject over the last year. But that speculation has intensified after top Walker aid, Cynthia Archer, got a visit from the FBI recently. Although there is much speculation the one common thread seems to involve the alleged mixing of official work and campaign work.

If you paid attention to Scott Walker's past campaigns and to his Milwaukee County administration, none of this should be a surprise. The lines between campaign and county were repeatedly blurred during his train wreck tenure in Milwaukee County.

Revolving Door Between Walker Campaign and Walker Administration

  • Jim Villa worked for Walker's campaigns bouncing between them and taxpayer financed county jobs.
  • Robert Dennik, a former lobbyist and Walker campaign manager was appointed as head of the now nonexistent Milwaukee County Division of Economic and Community Development. Let's just say that his time there didn't go so well for him or for Milwaukee County.
  • Tim Russell has repeatedly bounced back and forth between Walker campaigns and taxpayer funded positions (including a recent promotion). At one point he even took over the train wreck that was the Economic Development job (with not much more success).
  • Walker wanted to give a county job to Chuck Grapentine even though he didn't even want to move to Milwaukee County. Chuck is the father of a former Walker aide.
Records Only Open for Political Pals

  • In 2004 when the Walker administration received an open records request from a political opponent, they obstructed it. In fact a complaint was eventually filed and an assistant attorney general sent them a scolding letter saying "...nobody honored to serve in public office out to manipulate public records in this fashion."
  • Contrast that with an extensive request sent to Walker's Administrative Services division(headed by Cynthia Archer) by Walker's political pals at Citizens for Responsible Government. In less than one month they received 188,000 accounts payable records for no charge. Later an audit was conducted of this incident because the information included sensitive data which CRG posted on their website.
  • Although the Walker administration regularly obstructed open records requests of critics in 2009 they responded to a request from their cult-like fans at the "ScottforGov" blog within 2 hours. They also provided the records to this anonymous person/group of people for free. Some have openly wondered if this blog was written by Walker administration officials, which would be remarkable because they would have been requesting records from themselves.

Campaign Donors and County Affairs

  • In 2003 Scott Walker's administration awarded a contract to Bear Stearns which was locally managed by Nicholas Hurtgen. Soon after that contract was awarded, Hurtgen helped arrange two fundraisers for Walker worth $25,000. A 2004 investigation about the contract found that it had been awarded improperly. When records were sought during that investigation, the media found that most were "lost" or destroyed. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/15/04 and 7/23/04]
  • In 2007 Walker removed an experienced member of the Milwaukee County Ethics Board and replaced them with a young attorney recommended by a member of a law firm that had given substantial campaign contributions to Walker. The then-chair of the Ethics Board suggested at the time that Walker must have been unhappy that the replaced board member publicly raised questions about Walker's actions.
  • Walker tried for years to privatize Milwaukee County's cleaning services. In 2009, when he finally accomplished that goal, the company of a major campaign contributor received the $1.2 million contract from Walker's administration.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Disclosure Please

There is no doubt that Wisconsin must increase the share of venture capital dollars that it attracts. Elected officials of both parties, business leaders and activists of all kinds have known that for decades. I am not overly dogmatic about the exact method that we choose to accomplish that goal as long as it is done in a thoughtful manner that gives our state the best chance for long term success. But the last thing that we need is to just blindly accept any one approach without asking all of the hard questions and doing our due diligence.

It is also just as important to have this discussion openly. That openness should not only include elected officials but also the high profile individuals that have been most aggressive in trying to influence the eventual outcome. There are certainly people with financial and other interests that are publicly engaged in this policy debate. But what concerns me most is the strong agenda pushing that seems to be occurring behind-the-scenes.

When the initial legislation on this issue was first presented, former insurance company CEO Tom Hefty went on the attack. I read his comments in multiple media outlets and wondered if he was representing someone in particular. I went to the “Eye on Lobbying” website and was fairly surprised, based on his activity, that he was not listed as a registered lobbyist. Later I learned that Mr. Hefty was also writing regular emails personally pressuring a number of legislators. One legislator that does not actually represent Mr. Hefty got at least 7 emails from him in less than a month.

In his emails to at least some of the legislators Tom Hefty repeatedly suggested that the proposed legislation would specifically disadvantage New Berlin insurance company, United Heartland. Hefty goes on to state that he “…served as CEO of Blue Cross for seventeen years and we founded United Heartland in 1990.”(emphasis mine) In his previous comments in the media and in his public statements, I don't recall him specifically advocating for the interests of any one company much less one that he had a hand in founding. So why was he doing so via email to legislators? An explanation would be helpful because without one we are left guessing.

In 2002 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel estimated that then-CEO Tom Hefty owned 30,000 shares in then-Blue Cross(Cobalt) stock. The report also said that he had options at the time to buy about 680,000 shares. Given his email advocacy, it seems fair to ask if a portion of that financial interest included United Heartland. In other words, does Mr. Hefty currently have a financial interest in that company? Obviously I don't know but perhaps that is another piece of information that he might consider disclosing. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/2/02]

My point here is not a statement on the details of the venture capital legislation itself nor is it a challenge of Mr. Hefty’s right to voice his own personal opinions about it. It is to simply state that Wisconsin deserves an open and fully transparent discussion. If powerful individuals in our state are trying to influence legislators in one way or the other, they should also give the public a clear and consistent understanding of their motivations.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vigilantism on the Agenda

It is already mid-September and we have not seen a single jobs bill passed in the Wisconsin Legislature. Yet they rushed through irresponsible legislation enabling the concealed carrying of guns. In the legislature’s rush to arm the public they shot down most common sense amendments that sought to at least provide sensible limits. Now people can conceal and carry their firearms in places like city parks, the Milwaukee County Zoo and even in taverns and other places that serve alcohol.

The gun-obsessed lobby pushed concealed carry legislation in Wisconsin for years. Now we can all start packing heat but apparently it still is not good enough. Now a “castle doctrine” bill is getting some movement in the legislature. This legislation would allow people to use deadly force if someone breaks into their home or business. It would allow a person to use deadly force whether the intruder was armed or threatening or not.

If the Wisconsin legislature rushes through this new “castle doctrine” bill, what comes next? How far are they willing to go? Many members of our current legislature are clearly under the influence of groups like the National Rifle Association. In fact that powerful influence should perhaps worry us more than anything else. There has been real extremist rhetoric coming out of the leadership of that organization for quite a long time. How much of it will our legislators turn into Wisconsin policy?

Today a new website called Meet the NRA was launched by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. The site provides a plethora of information on the board members of the NRA. That information includes a disturbing amount of over-the-top vigilante rhetoric. One of the many examples listed includes the crazy rantings of NRA board member Ted Nugent. During Texas Governor Rick Perry’s 2007 inaugural ball Nugent declared, “Remember the Alamo! Shoot 'em! To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead.”

Reasonable Wisconsinites should be concerned that each gun bill in our state legislature seems to be moving closer to the same “shoot ‘em” approach that is expressed in Nugent’s comments. Again, we should be asking exactly how far our lawmakers are willing to go in this dangerous direction? At what point does this become less about actual public safety and more about a base fascination with vigilantism?

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Open Letter to National Conservative Groups

To: Chris Chocola, Club for Growth
The Honorable Jim DeMint, junior Senator from the Great State of South Carolina

It is with great disappointment that we have learned of the efforts of some conservatives on the national level to try to dictate to Wisconsin conservatives their choice for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl. This is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsinites to elect a second conservative senator worthy of being able to self-fund a campaign (at least until the unseemly outside contributions can be tallied and repaid) and one that Wisconsin conservatives will take very, very, very, very seriously. This is not only a choice of ideology and of who looks best in a tri-corn hat while eating a cream puff, but one of character, charisma and compassion, and it is our responsibility to bring Mark Neumann’s lack of those attributes to your attention.

We do not question Neumann’s past contributions to conservatism while he was a Congressman. He has been a reliable voice for intemperance, profligacy and sabre-rattling and understands that any notions of good policy making should be flexible depending on the occupancy of the White House. Still his actions during last year’s campaign are completely unbecoming of a conservative candidate. He had the temerity to tell the Badger State the actual truth about his opponent, to expose Scott Walker for a hollow fraud, a charlatan and a corporate shill, the very characteristics that endear him to us all.

We respectfully request the national conservative groups and individuals to take a second look at their endorsement of Neumann and at Tom Coburn’s choice in suits. We ask that, since many of them were so busy at clean-coal seminars, tanning sessions in the Seychelles, Climate Change is Good for Business golf outings and buy-policy-now ALEC fundraisers that, they missed the opportunity to come to Wisconsin during the recent battles over collective bargaining for state employees, the gutting of civil service protections, kowtowing to roadbuilders, polluters and Gadsden Flag sewers and the recall elections, that they buy a freakin’ map and come to Wisconsin now to talk to true Wisconsin conservatives to find out what they think of Neumann before attempting to foist their choice upon Wisconsin. Let our 2012 motto be heard throughout the land, “No foisting without confabulation!”

We do not write this under direction or duress from any candidate, potential candidate, or candidate’s campaign. We write this as a bald-faced attempt to remain relevant in an age of corporate-funded proto-news organizations and under the knowledge that, as the primary for United State Senate commences in earnest, we will likely go our separate ways and support any number of candidates according to fashion, whim, or cosmic message in the entrails of a broken dream. That is our right as Americans, to make sure that the voice of the truly deluded rings free in the hallowed halls of think tanks across the land.

If the past election in Wisconsin has shown national conservatives anything, it is to trust in the faith of Badger State conservative activists. We had the foresight to supply the movement with current leaders and rock stars like Robert Welch, Joe McCarthy, Gordon Roseleip, Jeff Wood, Tom Reynolds, Randy Hopper, David Vanderleest, Hair Model Paul Ryan, Former Reality Star Sean Duffy, Recall Target Scott Walker, U.S. Senate Placeholder Ron Johnson, and even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince “Marginally Better than Michael Steele” Priebus. We assure you, there are plenty more where they came from. There is no shortage of candidates of this quality in Wisconsin. By allowing us to commit character assassination for you prior to the primary, there is no limit to the depth of the field of conservatives we might dredge up.

Don’t limit the choice of candidates too early in the game just based on past successes with Neumann. A Fred Thompson might yet emerge for us to find fault with.

Thank you,
(The Undersigned)

Cory Liebmann
Eye on Wisconsin since 2004
Milwaukee, WI

Jim Brooks
Blogger, The Happy Circumstance, since 1776
Evansville, WI, USA

Jay Bullock
folkbum's rambles and rants
Union Thug since 1997

Bill Christofferson
Uppity Wisconsin
Blogging as Xoff since 2005

Steve Hanson
Uppity Wisconsin
Making Wisconsin safe for moonbats since 2006

Keith Schmitz
On Jay's Team with Folkbum, Five Years
People's Republic of Shorewood

Zach Wisniewski
Blogger, Blogging Blue, since 2007
Cudahy, WI

Chris 'capper' Liebenthal
Cognitive Dissidence
4 years

Michael Leon
5767 Monticello Way
Fitchburg, WI 53719

Gregory Humphrey
Caffeinated Politics

Lukas Diaz
Forward Lookout

Jeff Simpson
Blogger, Blogging Blue since 2010
Cottage Grove, WI

blue cheddar
Since 2010
Madison, Wisconsin

Lisa Mux
Waukesha Wonk
6 months in the trenches of Waukesha

Monday, September 05, 2011

Walker trying to finish the job on Milwaukee County transit?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today on the desperate state of the Milwaukee County Transit system. We've seen this kind of report nearly every year over the last 5-8 years. Each year the problems have become progressively worse. However there is no mystery as to what brought us to this situation. Milwaukee County's transit wounds were largely self inflicted by the political opportunist that now resides in the governor's mansion.

Nearly every year that Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive he cut transit routes and increased fares. Over the years endless studies have shown that this failed policy both reduces ridership and long term revenue. But we didn't need to read studies because we saw it happening in real time on Walker's watch. While transit numbers were growing all over the country and in other parts of the state, they were shrinking at a record pace in Milwaukee County.

The only thing that kept the Milwaukee County Transit system from completely collapsing during the final years of the Walker administration was the federal stimulus money. The very same stimulus that Walker once pretended to reject. Classic Walker: attack the federal stimulus to benefit yourself politically while at the same time taking the money and postponing your total transit disaster.

If you had any doubts about Scott Walker's actual transit indifference while he was Milwaukee County Executive, those doubts should surely be resolved by now. We saw his pattern, we saw the results and now we see his $6.8 million cut in state aid. The survival of Milwaukee County transit no longer helps further Walker's political ambitions so apparently he is resolved to help finish the job that he started years ago.