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Mon May 18, 2015 at 07:31 PM PDT

Walker loses a round in court

by strobusguy

Haven't seen this in a diary yet, so here's a short one on a bit of news.  (Where are you, puddytat??)

All of us in Wisconsin who lose sleep thinking that Scott Walker may spend and slime his way into the Republican presidential nomination -- and beyond -- have been keeping an eye on the continuing saga of the "John Doe" court cases against him.  Today he was set back in his expensive and never-ending effort to weasel his way out of the arms of justice.

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While Mr. Walker continues the process of dismantling the state of Wisconsin, and while my fellow Wisconsinites are starting to come to their senses and driving down his approval ratings, Walker has just scored his most important endorsement.  His insecure, adolescent, Reagan-worshipping, little political soul must just be releasing happy little heart balloons.  And the Koch brothers must be preparing their list of requirements, to do to the whole country what Walker has done to us.  

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Scott Walker has spoken.  At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. In Puddytat's current diary, we learn about Walker waiting for God to whisper in his ear and tell him to run for president.  (Gee, I wonder what He will say....)

But he made another comment that is at least as significant.  Scott Walker, the governor of the State of Wisconsin, has just acknowledged that he is at war with the citizens of Wisconsin.

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 at 01:39 PM PST

The puppet-masters behind Walker

by strobusguy

Get ready.  In the next few days, alas, all eyes will be on Wisconsin once again, as the state legislature — no doubt with the Walker campaign's permission and encouragement — takes up right-to-screw-workers legislation.  If you have any doubt that this is part of a well-orchestrated script, you don't know Mr. Walker.

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This amazing letter to the editor was just posted at Rice Lake Online.

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A short diary, but I couldn't help but notice a pattern among awful Republican governors who are hoping to be president, and how their state budgets are faring.

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It has been a wild 24 hours in Wisconsin, following Scott Walker's budget address to the state legislature last night.  Pleased to see Hunter's diary up there.  I can't do full justice to the horrid mess that Walker just dumped at the state capitol. Demolition of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state's land conservation fund.  Destruction of public schools so that charter schools and school vouchers can take over.  Requiring (unconstitutional) drug testing of food stamp recipients.  Cutting $300 million form the state university system.  Defunding Wisconsin public radio and TV.  Borrowing $1.3 billion to spend on roads, to keep the road-builders' lobby fat and happy.  Issuing $200 million in state bonds for a new basketball stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks.  Racking up of a $2 billion structural deficit.  It's the budget of a party, and an individual, so drunk on their own unchecked power that they don't even pause to see who they are stabbing.

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I wrote this before seeing Joan McCarter's diary.  Please see the graphics embedded there!
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A quick diary here, highlighting a lead article over at the New York Times, The Affordable Care Act: Who Was Helped Most.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

We know that about 10 million more people have insurance coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act. But until now it has been difficult to say much about who was getting that coverage — where they live, their age, their income and other such details.

Now a large set of data — from Enroll America, the group trying to sign up people for the program, and from the data firm Civis Analytics — is allowing a much clearer picture. The data shows that the law has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades.

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This appeal is aimed at YOU, young Wisconsin voter.

I remember seeing you walking down the streets and sidewalks in Madison on cold February days three and half years ago, streams of you making your way to the capitol after you walked out of school in sympathy with your dedicated teachers.

I remember you in my small town, listening and talking in our excellent school about what was going on, and why some of the so-called town leaders were bashing the teachers and coaches and nurses.

I remember hearing through the grapevine about college students outside Madison, on all the campuses around the state, stepping up to say that screwing over the great UW system was not a way to move Wisconsin forward.

Well, your time has come....

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As I was writing this up, Lenny Flank posted this diary on the passenger pigeon. It's on the Rec List right now. I thought I'd go ahead and post mine because it includes additional links to current commentaries and projects and images that mark the centennial.
One hundred years ago today, at 1:00 pm, the last passenger pigeon, named Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo.  She was the last of what is believed to have been the most abundant bird species on the face of the earth, numbering in the billions.  Take 90 seconds to watch this video recreation of a flock of passenger pigeons balckening the skies...  

LBP Passenger Pigeon Flock Overhead from Lost Bird Project on Vimeo.

Now imagine that continuing non-stop for fourteen days.  That gives one an idea of the immensity of this biological phenomenon that was the passenger pigeon.  In a few short decades after the Civil War, the pigeon went from billions to none.  Several factors led to its unbelievable decline.  Unregulated market hunting of its huge flocks, abetted by the new technologies of the railroad and the telegraph, continued until there were no more.  This was compounded by the destruction and conversion of the pigeon's eastern deciduous forest habitat.  The species peculiar biology, especially its massive flocking behavior, that had allowed it previously to thrive, prevented it from adapting to the new pressures.  The last wild birds were shot just after the turn of the century.  Martha and a few other birds were maintained in zoos.  These began to pass on, one by one, until only Martha remained.  Then she was found dead in her cage in Cincinnati.  She was packed in ice and shipped off to the Smithsonian, where she has remained to today (and where she is now again on display as part of a special centennial exhibit.)

It was perhaps the most famous and consequential extinction event in history.  It was, among other things, one of the few extinctions we know the exact time of.  And it led to important changes in wildlife conservation policy that reverberate down to today.

 photo martha_extinct_sia2010-0612_400w.jpg

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Milly Zantow has passed away is Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin at 91.  You likely never heard of her. And yet she affected your life every day for decades.

You know the little triangle symbols on plastics, with the numbers (1-7) inside, that tell you how to recycle?  That's the "plastic identification code."  We all know it, and we think it's been there forever.  It hasn't.  It began in the late 1970s, and it all goes back to a very sweet lady, a neighbor of mine, Milly.

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Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:58 AM PDT

Fighting for Wisconsin's Soul

by strobusguy

This morning's New York Times features an article, "The Fight for Wisconsin's Soul," by Dan Kaufman.  While Wisconsin celebrates the Badgers making the Final Four, another long-time part of the state's identity--its tradition of innovative policy, citizen commitment, and ethical leadership in conservation and environmental stewardship--has eroded away:

Wisconsin has been an environmental leader since 1910, when the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment promoting forest and water conservation. Decades later, pioneering local environmentalists like Aldo Leopold and Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day in 1970, helped forge the nation’s ecological conscience.

But now, after the recent passage of a bill that would allow for the construction of what could be the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, Wisconsin’s admirable history of environmental stewardship is under attack.

We were a state of leaders, Democratic and Republican, progressive and conservative, who were able to find common ground on... the common ground.  But that's gone.  The history itself will always be there to admire, to pat ourselves on the back about, to make us feel good about ourselves.  But the tradition has been undermined to the point that we have to be honest: Wisconsin is a leader no more.
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