Labor Shortage Solved By Capt Obvious at JSOnline

In a business column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (JSOnline) interviewing ‘futurist’ and Milwaukee businessman Bob Chernow…MJS writer Steve Jagler quotes Mr. Chernow’s solution to an anticipated labor shortage in the Milwaukee market area:

Chernow says one possible solution would be to provide transportation for workers living in the inner city to jobs in the suburbs.

You think? Helping get labor to available jobs would help?

But isn’t that exactly what the suburbs have been trying to prevent since for EVER? Keeping ‘those people’ in the city?

Trump NY State Co-chair Almost Apologizes

Taking after his idol, Trump’s New York State Co-chair, Carl Paladino issued an almost apology for his earlier racist remarks about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

So what got him into hot water in the first place? Well he answered a questionnaire about what he hoped to see in 2017 provided by Artvoice, a weekly publication from western New York. His responses included:

Paladino said his main desire for the New Year was that President Obama would die after contracting “mad cow disease after being caught having relations” with a “Herford” [sic]. He also wrote that he wanted Michelle Obama to go away and “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

Now we’ll get back to the apology in a moment but he also stated:

In a previous interview with the Buffalo News, Paladino did not claim his answers were a mistake. He stood by the comments and said they had “nothing to do with race.” Paladino also told the News that he made the remarks “just for” Rod Watson, one of the paper’s black editors.

“Tough luck if you don’t like my answer,” Paladino said to the paper.

Yeah well, that’s very nice. But now on to the apology:

In a press release, Paladino apologized to the “minority community” for his remarks, which appeared in a feature that was published in the Western New York weekly Artvoice on Dec. 23. Paladino blamed the comments on an “emotional” reaction to President Obama’s handling of the situation in Syria and accidentally hitting the wrong button in his email.

“I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities. To them I apologize,” began Paladino, who has been a member of the school board in Buffalo, N.Y., since 2013.

“Those survey questions provided me with the spark to vent and write deprecating humor about a bad president for whom the mainstream media continues to seek an undeserved legacy,” Paladino said. “I wanted to say something as sarcastic and hurtful as possible about the people who are totally responsible for the hurt and suffering of so many others. I was wired up, primed to be human and I made a mistake. I could not have made a worse choice in the words I used to express my feelings.”

So let’s get back to that apology. Did you notice anything unusual about the target audience? He aimed it at the “minority community”. Why not all of us? Do you think I wasn’t a little bit pissed off? Don’t you owe an apology to the “majority community” who were also offended? Or don’t you think that we were offended? Just about how President-elect Donald Trump would handle the situation, aina?

You may have also noticed that his is on the Buffalo School Board. By a 6-2 vote he has been asked to resign or risk being kicked off of the board.

Paladino didn’t attend the meeting. He says he won’t resign.

This guy should never be elected or appointed to another public office…ever.

Impeach Governor Scott Walker!

No, not over Act 10 which gutted the rights of public employees and their unions, not over Act 14 that gutted the authority of the Milwaukee County Board, not the meddling in the Milwaukee Public School System, not Right to Work Legislation, not budget cuts to public schools, not budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin system, not the ineffective DNR, etc., etc., etc.

But Wisconsin Governor Walker should be impeached…now…for his total failure to protect the young people incarcerated at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls and the total ineptitude and arrogance of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Since the closing of the Ethan Allen School for Boys in Wales just west of Milwaukee in Waukesha county, all minor males sent to the state for incarceration have been sent to Lincoln Hills near Merrill WI over 200 miles from Milwaukee.

There is a laundry list of mistreatment of inmates, lack of trained medical personnel and a chronic shortage of trained staff…resulting in overtime and overworked state employees. There is in fact little or no reason that this should exist and it can no longer be tolerated…and the blame goes right to the top…the office of Governor Scott Walker.

I suggest that you read this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But here are some excerpts:

For years, officials knew or should have known about the thicket of problems at Lincoln Hills and its sister facility on the same campus, Copper Lake School for Girls.

“It all went on in plain view of the Department of Corrections, but nobody at the Department of Corrections knew how juvenile corrections worked or how Lincoln Hills operated or what was going on,” said Troy Bauch, who until recently was the union representative for workers there.

The sweeping criminal probe, now nearly 2 years old, is examining allegations of prisoner abuse, child neglect, sexual assault, intimidation of witnesses and victims, strangulation and tampering with public records. A separate internal investigation uncovered four incidents where inmates’ bones were broken.

The crisis at Lincoln Hills is rooted in systematic breakdowns, lax management, confusion over policies, a lack of communication and chronic staff shortages, a review of more than 1,000 pages of records and dozens of interviews by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found.

Officials trained staff improperly, failed to preserve video evidence, didn’t document serious incidents, and often shirked their duty to report matters to parents, police and social service agencies.

The shortcomings intensified in 2011 when the Walker administration shut down two youth prisons in southeastern Wisconsin to save $25 million a year. The move put all of the state’s serious teen offenders in one facility — hundreds of miles from most of their families.

“The entire climate went from mildly hellish to the ninth ring of hell,” said Timothy Johnson, a former guard.

While a developing crisis quickly became apparent, no one moved to address it.

After nearly six years in office, Walker has yet to visit Lincoln Hills.

(emphasis mine).

There is absolutely no reason that young people should be treated like this while under the care and control of the State of Wisconsin…no matter what reason sent them to Lincoln Hills.

What is the governor’s most recent response to the issues al Lincoln Hills and the Milwaukee County Boards reluctance to continue to send juveniles there? Build a new prison in Milwaukee County as long as the county pays to run it.

Gov. Scott Walker is considering having the state help fund building a Milwaukee County juvenile corrections center, but the county would have to pay for running it.

Milwaukee County officials have sought a way to keep more teen inmates closer to home instead of sending them more than 200 miles away to Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls.

The two secure facilities share a campus north of Wausau and have been under criminal investigation for nearly two years for prisoner abuse and child neglect.

But nary a word about fixing the issues as Lincoln Hills…so why wait until the criminal investigations bring back the records of wrongdoing and indictments…IMPEACH GOVERNOR WALKER NOW!

Immigrants Need To Assimilate!

During the campaign and since the election of President-elect Donald Trump…as part of the undercurrent of the anti-immigrant rhetoric there has been the continued story that immigrants need to assimilate. That they don’t do that. But they do…they do it very effectively…even if it isn’t on the schedule that the right thinks is normal.

My paternal grandfather spoke German when he came to this country…but none of his children or grandchildren did (in retrospect I wish he had allowed a bilingual family). My maternal great-grandparents spoke German and Irish but none of their children or grandchildren did.

In the early 20th Century there were dozens of foreign language newspapers across the nation and I believe at one time Milwaukee had more German language papers than English. Those are all gone now.

So what is the fuss? Our memory is short. Many of the new immigrants will take on American culture as they add unique new aspects to it. It just might not happen as quickly as someone thinks it should.

But immigrants haven’t always been so good at assimilation. If they had you’d be reading this in Ojibwe right now!

AG Schimel Should Go To Jail

Yeah, I know that’s a provocative headline and no I don’t really think that Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has done anything that deserves incarceration.

But I am embarrassed that I haven’t written about this subject before. Four people have died while incarcerated in the Milwaukee County Jail in 2016. The jail run by County Sheriff David Clarke. Now deaths by inmates in custody in county jails do happen from time to time…but four is a pretty egregious number in less than a year. And two of them are particularly troubling. One male inmate with mental health issues died from dehydration after having the water turned off in his cell. The other was a newborn who didn’t survive the night when jail personnel ignored the mother’s statement that she was going into labor. By the time they checked her in the morning the baby was dead.

But as far as the public can tell nobody is investigating it. A recent law was passed in Wisconsin that requires that investigations of civilian deaths in police custody or by a police officer be carried out by an outside law enforcement agency. Unfortunately when this bill passed it intentionally excluded deaths of inmates in county jails. So the investigative agency for these four death in the Milwaukee County Jail are being carried out by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, the same department that runs the jail.

There have been a number of calls for outside investigations from the media and the families involved. There have been a number of calls for Sheriff Clarke’s resignation by elected officials. But nothing is moving forward as far as we can tell.

So I would request that AG Schimel send a team to Milwaukee and visit the jail and investigate these four deaths in particular and the general overall handling of the jail. And if anything is amiss to bring charges against those responsible. It’s been long enough without action and the Wisconsin Dept of Justice is the appropriate agency.

Side note to the state legislature: Fix the loophole that allows deaths in custody at county jails to be investigated by the jailors!

Where Is The New American Diaspora?

During the campaign, one of the continuing narratives (and continuing today) was the lack of jobs for blue collar workers.

Some of the election coverage around Wisconsin talked about lack of blue collar workers in the smaller cites, places like Wausau, where the population no longer supports the needs of local manufacturers. But we know of large areas in the state with high unemployment…one of them particularly urban. So why isn’t there a concerted effort to recruit, relocate and retrain the necessary talent to the factories? Well, we can guess why. But since capital investments are hard to relocate it only makes sense to draw labor from other areas to your jobs.

And during interviews in the Kentucky coal mining region, a welder was complaining that he was laid off because his employer, a mining equipment repair firm, didn’t have work since the mines were closed. For the past year we’ve read on any number of occasions in the local press that Wisconsin manufacturers are having issues finding experienced welders. Why aren’t they recruiting the skilled work force they need from the areas in decline?

This wouldn’t be an unprecedented event. Companies hire and relocate individuals all of the time. And the first 60 years of the 20th Century saw mass migrations of labor from the rural south to the industrial cities of the mid-west or east coast. And dust belt migrants from Oklahoma and Texas to California. Aren’t companies willing to do that anymore? The frackers in the Dakotas seem to get it. Or are people unwilling to move for a job in the 21st Century? That doesn’t seem correct either as we watch millenials move to exciting urban or tech areas after finishing their educations.

So how do we get the blue collar workers to the blue collar jobs that do exist?

Christian Schneider Proved Gerrymandering Exists in Wisconsin.

Ironically GOP shill and right wing apologist, JSOnline’s Opinion blogger Christian Schneider recently set out to damn the federal court ruling on WI redistricting and prove gerrymandering didn’t exist. When in fact he proved that it does.

In typical Mr. Schneider style book meanderings he starts off with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. And as most of us know, statewide elections whether it be for president or senator or governor hasn’t a thing to do with voting districts. But he digresses with:

It goes without saying that Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin nearly two weeks ago was unexpected. But according to a three-judge federal panel who just declared Wisconsin’s legislative maps unconstitutional, Trump’s stunning victory would have been all but impossible.

When you guys figure out what that has to do with the price of corn in Iowa county, let me know.

After throwing out chaff to put everyone off the scent, he got off track and proved the fact he was intent on disproving. And after talking about how assembly districts couldn’t have possibly have been designed to favor republicans, he goes exactly here:
.

A good number of Democrats win large victories without a Republican challenger, which artificially inflates their share of the statewide vote.

Now the last half is meant to deflate the rational that Democrats get the majority vote in the state but don’t hold the majority assembly seats…but in those districts without a Republican challenger there aren’t ANY Republican votes. Yes, that is all kinda round and roundy logic and you can see it from either perspective you want.

And the big BUT is “A good number of Democrats win large victories without a Republican challenger…”. Why do you suppose that is? No Republican challenger? Because the GOP leaders in Madison did in fact gerrymander all of those pesky Democrat voters into their own little safe blue districts. Far far away from the red districts just so they couldn’t muck up the Republican incumbents.

So yes, the WI redistricting was in fact gerrymandering…and this helps support that…if the other clues in the mass media weren’t already proof enough!

Nancy Pelosi Has Got To Go

I have no axe to grind with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. I respect her accomplishments as a member of the House, as the first woman Speaker of the House, and most recently as minority leader.

But if we haven’t learned from the 2016 presidential election cycle, particularly from the insurgent campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders and the eventual win of Donald Trump. that the electorate wants change, what are we doing here?

There is no way we can think about winning 2018 if we roll out the same ole some ole. We need new leadership. We need someone fresh who can take on the GOP majority. We need someone who can inspire the newly franchised, the newly involved. We need someone who will take on Donald Trump.

I don’t have a dog in this fight…other than Nancy Pelosi should not be re-elected to her house minority leadership position.

For another take on her leadership and her apparent plan to consolidate her power: Black Caucus member knocks Pelosi over leadership shakeup.

Kansas: The Canary in the GOP Goldmine

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas was the poster boy of supply side economics…cutting taxes to stimulate the Kansas economy in a pure experiment of Reagan economics. Only it hasn’t worked out the way he and the GOP planned…in fact it has turned out exactly as you would expect when you cut tax revenues: record deficits and little business growth:

In February 2015, three years into the supply-side economics experiment that would upend a once steady Midwestern economy, a hole appeared in Kansas’ finances.

To fill it, Gov. Sam Brownback took $45 million in public education funding. By April of this year, with the hole at $290 million, Brownback took highway money to plug it. A month later, state money for Medicaid coverage went into the hole, but the gap continued to grow.

Today, the state’s budget hole is $345 million and threatens the foundation of this state, which was supposed to be the setting for a grand economic expansion but now more closely resembles a battleground, with accusations and lawsuits flying over how to get the state’s finances in order.

The yawning deficits were caused by huge tax cuts, championed by Brownback and the Republican-dominated Legislature, that were supposed set the economy roaring. They didn’t.

To those of you who live in Wisconsin, some of these things may sound familiar to you…although WI hasn’t yet sunk this deeply into the trickle down sink hole. But there are already complaints around funding for education from around Wisconsin and they are just getting going. But here’s what we can expect if things don’t change here:

“The finances are making it hard to meet the needs of our kids,” he (Steve Jameson,the principal of Columbus Kansas’ Park Elementary) said. “The climate makes it hard to recruit good teachers. If you hear the legislators bashing you all the time, the governor bashing you all the time, you can choose to go to another state.”

And this Reagonomics is exactly what Donald Trump is promising on a national level and economists are warning about trillion dollar increases in the deficit if he reduces tax revenues…something like we are seeing in the test bed of Kansas:

It was a risk Brownback ran when he overhauled the state budget based on an interpretation of fiscal conservatism that dramatically cut personal income taxes.

The state would thrive, he pledged, because the tax cuts would help keep businesses and smart, young Kansans in the state, not fleeing “to Houston, or Dallas, or Chicago or somewhere else.”

“It will pave the way to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, bring tens of thousands of people to Kansas, and help make our state the best place in America to start and grow a small business,” Brownback wrote in 2012. “It will leave more than a billion dollars in the hands of Kansans. An expanding economy and growing population will directly benefit our schools and local governments.”

Well it hasn’t been happening…so what do you do in this situation? Repeal the tax cuts? Hell no:

Unwilling to scale back the income tax cuts, the state did increase the sales tax. Now Kansas has the second-highest sales tax in the nation, and such reliance on sales taxes has saddled the state with additional problems: Deflation is dropping the prices of goods and the taxes the state collects on them.

Kansas has the second highest sales tax in the nation? Kansas? Wha?

Is this where Wisconsin is heading now that the GOP has solidified it’s hold on the state capitol? Is this the path that Donald Trump will lead the nation down? Pay attention to the ailing canary in Kansas. Supply side is an interesting theory but we can’t afford to live there.

But you know, how could anything go wrong?

“We’re going to continue to grow the economy,” Brownback has said in response to questions about each new revenue shortfall.