Donald Trump Needs To Pick Up the Tab On This:

So the taxpayers have to pay for two Secret Service details…one in a public building?

President-elect Donald Trump confirmed Sunday that future first lady Melania Trump and their 10-year-old son, Barron, will remain in New York after he becomes president, as first reported in the New York Post.

I really think that the Trump family needs to pay the tab for the extra protection. We provide a suitable home for the President and his/her family that is luxurious beyond most any of our means…and is secure.

And if this isn’t utter hogwash:

“The campaign has been difficult for Barron, and she is really hoping to keep disruption to a minimum,” an unidentified person “close to Trump’s transition team” told the New York Post in an article published online early Sunday.

I am sure that it is…but they self-inflicted much of that on him…particularly the many appearances he’s made with Mr. Trump since the election. They could have very easily kept him out of the spotlight.

Go Back To Africa

Go back to Africa…a little bit if vitriol that should never have survived into the 21st Century.

Go back to Africa…something I wouldn’t be writing about except it’s being re-voiced by supporters of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Go back to Africa…being said to people whose ancestors have been Americans for generations…in most cases far longer than the familial lines of the racists who are shouting it.

Go back to Africa…go back to what? these people are wholly Americans!

And the response in some of the videos I’ve seen have included Go back to Europe…which often leaves the racists sputtering and only able to shout back F*ck You! But that isn’t equal…not by a long shot…my ancestors came here voluntarily…could settle anywhere they wanted…and could return home if they desired. They weren’t torn from their families and communities and culture and sold to slavers. If they were lucky enough to survive the journey to America they were trapped under institutional slavery. So by no means does Go back to Europe carry the weight that Go back to Africa bears.

The only maybe benefit coming out of the Trump campaign is the nakedness of racism and xenophobia in America being exposed for all thinking people to see. That we aren’t a post racial society…we haven’t yet attained the land of the free and the home of the brave…not by a long shot.

Go Back To Africa…when someone says that: they OWN Slavery.

Commission on the Future of the Family

Wednesday was the first meeting of our occasional governor’s new Wisconsin Commission on the Future of the Family, created “for the purpose of identifying issues and barriers relating to the overall wellbeing of families in the State, developing policies that lift individuals out of poverty, and developing and recommending polices for implementation to better serve Wisconsin’s families throughout the future.”

You’d think that with such high aspirations, the commission would be stocked with people who have dealt extensively with the issues of families in poverty, and the issues that affect family cohesion: social workers who deal with family trauma and domestic violence, those who work with families facing eviction, people familiar with food stamp programs, maybe even someone with academic credentials in poverty research.

This being Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, you’d be wrong.

These are the commission members, with my comments.

Eloise Anderson, chair. Ms. Anderson does have experience, having been Scott Walker’s head of the Department of Children and Families, and with 20 years of state service in child welfare. Her policies since coming on board with Mr. Walker, however, particularly in implementing testing for recipients of Food Share benefits, suggest that she has lost whatever impulses she may once have had to lift people out of poverty.

Dr. Sarah Campbell, an Appleton pediatrician. Fine, she’s a children’s doctor, which gives her contact with families. But I don’t see any special expertise in dealing with poverty or troubled families.

Delvyn Crawford, a “fatherhood specialist.” Mr. Crawford says that his is a program to help men of all cultures, races, religions and backgrounds learn how to strengthen their relationships with their children and with their wives or the mother of their children, and to care for themselves. He does work with the population of Milwaukee, and claims to “provide resources for fathers that’ll help them with employment, child support arrears, license recovery, substance abuse, housing, entrepreneurship, and etc.” However, most of his work consists of presentations,especially with music, media, and motivational speaking, not counseling. “Providing resources” could mean laying out brochures. One of his other businesses, Gutter Enterprises, is a Christian faith-based outreach organization.

Rachel Campos-Duffy, mother of 7, former reality TV star, wife of Congressmen Sean Duffy. Ms. Campos-Duffy is the national spokesperson for the LIBRE initiative, the Koch-brothers funded organization advocating for economic empowerment of Hispanics, and does parenting and relationship segments on the Today show. Her book is called Stay Home, Stay Happy: 10 Secrets to Loving At-home Motherhood. It’s not clear what part of her experience would enable her to contribute to a conversation about the needs of people in poverty, although her husband (another former reality TV star) did complain that his $140,000 congressional salary was not enough to live on.

Mikel Holt, associate publisher and a writer for the Milwaukee Community Journal, the largest African-American newspaper in Wisconsin. Mr. Holt has long experience in Milwaukee, is a member of the Black Alliance for Education Options, and signifies strong support for voucher schools. I’ve looked at some of his writing (he has a column called Signifyin’); Mr. Holt certainly has a feel for some of the major issues of Milwaukee.

Jim Kacmarcik, owner of Kapco, Inc. in Grafton, a metal stamping and fabrication firm. Mr. Kacmarcik also is quite a philanthropist. But I see nothing in his history to show any special expertise in family issues.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki. According to the announcement from the governor’s office, Archbishop Listecki “recently called for an urban initiative to address the issue of poverty, unemployment, crime, and violence in Wisconsin. The main goals of the initiative would strengthen Wisconsin families, offer young men and women positive role models, and establish a coordinated effort between members of the local community and law enforcement.” Sounds good doesn’t it, but any initiative championed by Listecki would put up barriers to men and women making the decisions about their own reproductive lives that could help lead them out of poverty.

Alicia Manning, director of new citizenship programs for the Bradley Foundation. Again, I question the expertise in dealing with family issues. Additionally, the citizenship programs at Bradley Foundation are not dealing with civic engagement per se as much as moving society away from what the foundation describes as “contemporary forces and ideas that regard individuals more as passive and helpless victims of powerful external forces [rather] than as personally responsible, self-governing citizens.” The new citizenship programs support projects that “reinvigorate and reempower” traditional institutions (church, neighborhood, school, family); projects that “encourage decentralization of power and accountability away from centralized, bureaucratic, national institutions back to the states, localities, and revitalized mediating structures where citizenship is more fully realized.” This sounds like a deregulated libertarian paradise, where parents can discipline their kids and school them as they wish. It also suggests a notion called “responsibilization,” which we hear from conservative commentators regularly. “Why aren’t the poor more self-regulating? Why aren’t they more responsible for themselves?” It’s a notion that completely disregards the daily chaos of life in poverty.

Jeff Pralle. property manager and real estate broker from Onalaska. Really? Why is he on this committee? Expertise in eviction? He did contribute to Mr. Walker in 2014 directly and also supported the realtors PAC. So there’s that.

Emetia Riddle-Williams, case manager for Salvation Army of Beloit. Well, at least Ms. Riddle-Williams is a social worker. And she’s in Beloit, so she knows something about families in poverty. Score a point for her.

I question the value of proposals and policies coming out of this commission. First, there is a clear lack of relevant experience in its membership, with only two people with social work experience, and only one who has worked with public agencies. The membership also lacks relevant expertise. There is no one with identifiable experience with troubled teenagers, juvenile justice, gay and lesbian parents, child care, or children with disabilities (unless the pediatrician can supply expertise there). Other than the single social worker from Beloit, and perhaps the newspaper publisher from Milwaukee, what insight can these commission members give into the problems of poverty experienced by more than 40% of Wisconsin’s children? Perhaps most critical of all, the makeup of the commission is shockingly one-sided. It would appear that Scott Walker envisions future Wisconsin families to be Christian, Republican, and libertarian. The membership suggests an approach where people in poverty are expected to become “responsible” members of society without the social and material resources which allow that; re-empowerment when you’re off the power grid, so to speak.

The state already has an organization, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, which has focused on improving conditions for families and children for more than 100 years. Its very mission “is to ensure that every child in Wisconsin grows up in a just and nurturing family and community.” That sounds a lot like the goal of the commission. The Commission on the Future of the Family also has the opportunity to take advantage of the Wisconsin Idea. The Institute for the Research on Poverty, an acclaimed center of interdisciplinary research on poverty located on the UW-Madison campus, conducts research on Wisconsin poverty, intergenerational transmission of poverty, building human capital, family complexity and poverty, and economic self-sufficiency.

Yet neither WCCF nor IRP is represented on the Commission. Why not? Why not engage with the expertise that is ready, willing and able to advise the state?

The sad answer is that Mr. Walker is not looking for advice, or even information. He is interested in window dressing. Perhaps there are bills now being drafted that will come out in the commission’s name. Actually having expertise on the Commission on the Future of the Family would ruin that plan.

What a waste of an opportunity.


Colorado Springs, Planned Parenthood, and GOP Presidential Candidates

When is enough a f*cking nuff? The only credit that I’ll give the GOP riff raff is that no one said: ‘if only they had all been armed this would never have happened.”

And they should all be taking a real clear look at their positions and their comments prior to yesterday’s events…as they continue to demonize a women’s health organization. How many white Christian men have they radicalized over the past six months? How many more American born terrorists will they inspire?

I won’t go into the comments from their supporters…they are beyond the pale.

So let me close with a little snark from the internet:

Vigilantes Planned Parenthood

UFC Video Is Just Plain Sick

I imagine some of our readers here at Blogging Blue are fans of UFC and possibly Ronda Rousey. And I can sort of understand why fans would want to dress like Rousey for Halloween. And even if we accept the violence involved in UFC…and we shouldn’t…we really really should put this ‘sport’ out to pasture…this video is just plain sick. It shows young girls and women dressed as Ronda Rousey…girls that look like they could be as young as 2 or 3. Beyond the skimpy outfits…I can’t imagine encouraging toddlers or pre-school or even elementary aged girls to pose in stances that simulate violence. I can’t imagine why these girls would even know about Ronda Rousey or UFC or want to dress as her for Halloween?

Are kids this age actually exposed to UFC fighting? That’s OK with society? If they were exposed to a nipple the prudes of the world would be screaming bloody murder…but are willing to turn a blind eye to real blood and potentially real murder?

There is absolutely no reasonable explanation for this. None. Although I am tired of the dozens of Frozen princesses that visited my home for trick or treat last night…I’ll take a hundred more over such a violent representation as a Ronda Rousey costume. Time to cut this crap out.

BTW: I normally wouldn’t have seen this video except a local elected Democrat posted it on Facebook. I suggest that it be taken down…and I FB messaged that privately.

Kim Davis Is Not Martin Luther King Jr.

It is too bad that it had to come to this…but County Clerk Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses. I respect her right to hold her religious beliefs but as an elected official she can’t refuse to discharge her legal obligations as the county clerk. It would have been better if she had been willing to comply or if the judge thought simply fining her for refusing to do her job would be sufficient.

But where the wheels come off is in the comments from her attorney, Roger Gannam:

Davis’ lawyer, Roger Gannam, said it was the first time in history an American citizen has been jailed for believing that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. He compared her willingness to accept imprisonment to what Martin Luther King Jr. did to advance civil rights.

Well Mr. Gannam is right…this is reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement…but she is more in line with Governor George Wallace standing the school door.

The New York Times covers the issue in far more detail and they actually bring up the Gov. Wallace comparison. But it also expands on Mr. Gannam’s comments:

“And she’s been ordered to stay there until she’s willing to change her mind, until she’s willing to change her conscience about what belief is.”

Aaahmmm…no…she’s not being asked to change her beliefs…she can continue to believe that same sex marriages aren’t right…she is just being asked to change her mind on whether she wants to do her job or not.

One last snippet from the NYT before I publish this:

A lawyer for the couples (who are trying to get married – ed), William Sharp, said Thursday’s ruling demonstrated that “religious liberty is not a sword with which government, through its employees, may impose particular religious beliefs on others.”

And that seems to be a trend…impose one’s beliefs on another by not doing your job.

Your rights end where the next person’s begins.

Thinking of Our Children’s Future Is Borrowing To Build Roads

The party who keeps saying that we need to think of our children’s future while cutting education, cutting safety net programs, cutting funds to the UW system, etc…it once again considering our children’s future by borrowing to fund the transportation fund:

Gov. Scott Walker plans to rely on borrowing rather than a gasoline tax increase to fund transportation projects over the next two years.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday that the governor’s plan calls for $1.3 billion in borrowing for transportation, but the state’s overall borrowing would drop because Walker wants to delay construction of buildings that don’t already have initial approval, including projects in the University of Wisconsin system.

The newspaper reported that the plan will let Walker tout his opposition to raising taxes as he considers a possible run for president, but that the increased reliance on borrowing to fund highways may not go over well with his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature.

Of course his administration recommended raises the gas tax to cover any transportation fund shortfall:

Walker’s transportation secretary, Mark Gottlieb, in November recommended increasing gas taxes and vehicle fees by $751 million over two years. Walker’s office said he rejected those proposals.

But he needs to follow through on his promise to continue to lower ‘current’ taxes no matter the effect on future taxes or the future of our children. So instead of a tax and spend government economy we get a borrow and spend. At least with the former you know what the results are gonna cost you. And it even has some powerful Republicans wondering what game is afoot:

Two years ago, Walker and GOP lawmakers approved $2 billion in borrowing. About half was for buildings and maintenance and about half was for transportation. Walker’s new plan contains no new borrowing for buildings because the state has $858 million in unused bonding authority it can still use.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, co-chairwoman of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, said wants to see Walker’s overall plan before deciding how much borrowing she could support. She also said she wants to see a sustainable system for funding roads.

“The can keeps getting kicked down the road,” she said. “I’d say right now everything’s on the table.”

It’s seems like someone’s presidential campaign might just be interfering with his party’s statewide agenda.

Kleefisch Family Not Quite Feeling the Love

Undoubtedly it’s tough playing the role of a right wing ultra-conservative on the campaign stump and then having something quite the opposite be part of your real personal life. During the last gubernatorial campaign, Daniel Bice, in his No Quarter column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, discussed just such a dichotomy in the family life of Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

In her duties as then candidate for lieutenant governor, Ms Kleefisch was campaigning against the sins of gay marriage and maybe overreached just a bit in her comments to an evangelical Christian radio station.

“This is a slippery slope in addition to that,” Kleefisch said. “At what point are we going to OK marrying inanimate objects? Can I marry this table or this, you know, clock? Can we marry dogs? This is ridiculous. Biblically, again I’m going to go right back to my fundamental Christian beliefs, marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Not particularly surprising to us considering the audience she was addressing…but it was somewhat of a surprise to her uncle, Chris Pfauser, who at the time had been in an openly gay relationship for 18 years. It made Mr. Pfauser so upset that he contributed $500 to Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Barrett’s gubernatorial campaign.

“She must finally be feeling the pressure,” Pfauser said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think she really means it.”

And maybe she really didn’t because she apologized shortly afterwards for her poor choice in words.

So where do we find the Kleefisch family during the 2014 campaign? Well of course the incumbent Ms. Kleefisch is running to retain her Lieutenant Governorship…but lest we forget her husband Republican State Representative Joel Kleefisch is hoping to retain his assembly seat in the 38th Assembly district. But despite the gerrymandered redistricting accomplished by Rep. Kleefisch and his cohorts, the representative has a bona fide opponent in Democratic candidate, Tom Chojnacki!

But the Chojnacki campaign finance report indicates that not all of the rifts in the Kleefisch family have been resolved. It seems that Mr. Pfauser acted as a contribution conduit and delivered $500 to the Mr. Chojnacki’s campaign.

Apparently the Lieutenant Governor and her husband, two members of the party of family values, haven’t been exactly straightforward with their family…someone’s not feeling the love.

Update: Where Is Sean Duffy?

One of my favorite items in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is the Congress Following the Vote feature. There is always a short description of major bills voted on in Congress the previous week with a breakdown on how the Wisconsin contingent voted.

Today’s feature (as far as I can see JSOnline doesn’t report on this feature that appears on the print version) lists seven items that were voted on in the House of Representatives this past week. And the votes of all of Wisconsin’s House membership is duly noted… and Representative Sean Duffy is listed as NOT VOTING!

He didn’t vote on any of the bills that were listed for this past week. SO where the hell is Sean Duffy? What exactly are we paying him for?

Update: After I published this last night, I was contacted on Facebook by a Republican activist who let me know that Rep. Duffy was home with his wife while she gave birth to their beautiful daughter. So I would like to congratulate the Duffy family on their new addition.

But as Zach states in the comments…it is certainly nice that Rep. Duffy could take maternity leave…and would hope he will support such paid leave for all Americans going forward!

Something Overlooked In the Kleefisch Child Support Bill

Yeah, I am sure you are all tired of the brou ha ha surrounding the Child Support Bill introduced and withdrawn by State Representative Joel Kleefisch. As Zach published earlier, Rep. Kleefisch received help in preparing the bill from wealthy campaign contributor Michael Eisenga. I am not going to recount all of that…but I did find it interesting that the media was all fired up over the ghost writing but not necessarily the cap on earnings (at $150,000 to be exact) that could be considered in family court when child support is being determined.

And in support of that limitation, we have this quote from State Representative Tom Larson:

Larson said the public isn’t served by a system that allows children to receive such a large sum in support payments.

“There’s some value in having some hardship with life,” Larson said. “Even if I were a rich person, I probably would struggle a little bit to make sure my kids earned what they get. What’s the purpose of this money going to child support if it’s only going to create a child with maybe less values.”

?”…create a child with maybe less values…? How is receiving substantial child support result in different values than living in a household with similar income available…like if Mr. Eisenga and his family were still intact?

So if we think having a lot of household income is creating the wrong values in our children…then why aren’t we taxing the absolute living hell out of rich parents until we reduce them to the per capita income for the State of Wisconsin? That’ll show ’em! I mean after all: spare the rod, spoil the child?

Ok…that’s a fair amount of hyperbole…but really Representatives Kleefisch and Larson: Where are your family values??? Why aren’t these children worth the financial support that their father can readily afford them?

sarcasm–> And for those of you having some type of hardship in life…let that be a valuable lesson to you <--sarcasm