Yeah, here we go:

Sixteen lawmakers on their own could impose fees of any amount to help pay for roads under a plan Republican legislators advanced late Thursday.

The proposal would allow the Joint Finance Committee to establish new fees based on how many miles vehicles drove, starting in 2023. The rest of the Legislature wouldn’t get a say in the matter under the plan. 

Republicans on the committee included the provision in a massive transportation package they added to the state budget Thursday. 

After years of being unable to put together comprehensive transportation plans…even in years that the Republicans held not only both houses of the legislature but also the governor’s office…they still can’t pull it off. Even when they should supposedly be unified against a Democratic governor.

But who would have expected that they’d pull another all out power grab and deny representation to their constituents and the residents of the state. Oh yeah…I know they are calling these ‘fees’…but when the state collects revenues from citizens and businesses for any purpose they are actually taxes.

But this is really egregious…Wisconsin has 33 state senators and 99 members of the assembly but are ready to allow 16 committee members to determine taxes to be levied against Wisconsinites. With barely any controls…they can demand millions of dollars for transportation without the other 116 representatives weighing in on it.

Taxes and fees should always…always…be discussed openly in the legislature. Every representative should have an opportunity to weigh in and have their vote recorded. Every resident should have their chance to weigh in with their assembly representative and their state senator. Every resident should know how their reps voted so they can decide how to vote during the next election cycle.

I don’t even know if this would pass constitutional muster but it shouldn’t even get that far. If you are concerned about this newest power grab, let your state representatives know. If this actually makes it into the GOP’s Frankenstein budget I don’t think it will survive the governor’s veto pen.

Link: nationalist group interrupts LGBT celebration in Detroit
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why is the federal government spending millions on flood prevention and abatement at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida? Coincidence? I think not.

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During what has been one of the historically strong recoveries from the Great Recession…former Governor Scott Walker never did reach his promise to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin…not in the promised four years…not in the eight years of his two terms.

I never did think it was even possible given the size and population of Wisconsin and of course my post was full of sarcasm as well as some deduction.

But now in the post Walker world the facts are in:

New “gold standard” job numbers released Wednesday show Wisconsin created a total of 233,101 private sector jobs during the eight years Scott Walker was governor, falling nearly 17,000 jobs short of the 250,000 job benchmark Walker promised for his first four-year term.

The numbers also show that over Walker’s eight years in office, private sector jobs grew in Wisconsin by 10.3 percent, which ranked 34th among all states and trailed the national growth rate of 17.1 percent.

Wisconsin added roughly 129,000 private sector jobs in Walker’s first term, falling short of his goal, and the numbers released Wednesday show the state never hit the 250,000 job benchmark while he was governor.

The new numbers show Wisconsin finished in the middle of the pack when compared to is Midwest neighbors. From December 2010 through December 2018, Michigan (17.5 percent) and Minnesota (13.9 percent) added private sector jobs at a faster rate, while Illinois (10 percent) and Iowa (8.7 percent) trailed Wisconsin.

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My wife actually got asked that before we went. But when comparing notes with friends who live in Paris…our response is: compared to what?

Staying in the USA and:

Going to church and getting shot? Going to work in a municipal building and getting shot? Going to a country music concert and getting shot? Going to a movie theater and getting shot? Going to synagogue and getting shot? Working at a naval yard and getting shot? Sending your kids to school and hoping they don’t get shot? Going to your employers holiday party and getting shot? Living on an army military base and getting shot? Going to the Sikh temple and getting shot? Going to school and getting shot? Going out to a club and getting shot? Going shopping and getting shot? Going out to eat and getting shot?

France isn’t a war zone. We often act like the USA isn’t one either…yet people here are getting shot in every conceivable part of every day life.

Why would I want to stay home?

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As most of you are probably aware, I rely pretty heavily on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and its online presence, JSOnline, for state, Milwaukee county and local news. Late last month JSOnline tightened its pay wall and many of you might not be able to read the entire article that I link to from Blogging Blue. I wish that weren’t the case.

For the time being, I will continue to use JSOnline and provide the necessary links. But I will try to be more comprehensive in the material I quote in my posts so you won’t have to rely on linking to their site. That might not always work as you or I would like it but for the short term I will do the best that I can.

In the longer term I hope to source material from other media sites that aren’t quite as restrictive. I will pursue those options as time allows.

Sorry for the inconvenience…but stuff happens.

My position as a political writer and now publisher is to show respect for the political office no matter the occupant. That has been pretty constant during my tenure here at Blogging Blue. No nicknames, no derogatory tags, etc…well except maybe the use of regime for the current administration.

So it’s always been Governor Scott Walker, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Senator Leah Vukmir, President Donald Trump and so forth.

This sentiment will remain in effect for all but one…that being the current resident of the Oval Office. He seems to be totally amused by selected derogatory nicknames and pejoratives for anyone or anything that he perceives to be an opponent or a threat. And he keeps digging in deeper and deeper. Just this past week adding venomous attacks on Robert Mueller, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Mayor of London (I mean, really?), etc, etc, etc. No reason to lay off anymore. There is no respect yet available of the man. What’s the term? No fucks given??

So…given that his current fall back international negotiation technique is to declare tariffs…you may see me refer to the president as Donald Tariff or Donnie Tariff. Well, you know, just ’cause!

I must have gotten on someone’s enemies list somewhere. I am not a frequent flyer but for the past 15 years I have taken at least one international trip each year. So I know to put my little bitty liquids in the one quart sized bag and take off my shoes and put anything with metal into my suitcase before going through TSA.

So I thought I was all set when I was going through security at O’Hare last month for my trip to France. Put my bag on the conveyor…my shoes and tablet in the tray…and climbed into the whirly gig x-ray machine which whirled and twirled around me twice…no flashing lights…no buzzers…so I headed off to the conveyor to retrieve my possessions.

Well until a TSA agent grabbed me and pulled me aside. So I expected to get the wand. Nope! He says, I have to pat you down and from pretty high in your crotch…so you have the right to a private room. I look around and really…everyone is stressed out and trying to reassemble themselves…they aren’t paying any attention to this little drama beyond the line.

So I just say…go ahead and let’s just get this over. So first he swabs my hands and stick the swab into his little machine. Then he pats me down crotch to ankle…each leg. Then armpit to waist…both sides. What I didn’t expect was the hand inside the waistband of my jeans from hip to butt to hip. After looking at the swab results…he said I was good to go.

It took everything I had to keep my sarcastic mouth shut…I so wanted to say: “I’ve had better”. But I kinda wanted to get to Paris on schedule.

Not sure what that was all about.

BTW: The French don’t make you take your shoes off.

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It appears President Donald Trump’s idea of “making America great again” includes possibly provoking another trade war and inching the nation’s economy to the brink of a recession.

President Trump’s threat to punish Mexico with tariffs until it restrains the flow of migrants rattled financial markets on Friday, and the Mexican government, American businesses and Republican lawmakers pressed Mr. Trump to back down.

The president has made frequent use of tariffs to try to force trade concessions from other governments, including Mexico, Canada, China and Europe. But he escalated his aggressive approach by threatening to hit a United States ally and its largest trading partner with tariffs over concerns about immigration.


Stock prices slid on Friday, continuing a monthlong retreat, with the S&P 500 down nearly 6 percent this month and the bond market flashing worrying signs of a global recession. Shares in General Motors fell by more than 4 percent, while shares of Ford were down 2 percent.

Trump’s tariffs – and the resulting trade wars with countries like China – have led economists to warn an economic recession could be on the horizon for this year.

Economists have warned the recent slowdown experienced by the U.S. economy carries with it “the unmistakable whiff of a recession.” So far, the U.S. economy has outperformed expectations, a trend it maintained during the first three months of 2019, when it grew at a better-than-expected 3.2 percent.

However, economists expect growth to ease off to below 2 percent on an annual basis in the second three months of the year. Last week, a survey from IHS Markit showed the index of production among U.S. manufacturers had fallen from 52.6 in April to 50.6 in May. While any figure above 50 indicates the sector expanded in the period, the reading was the lowest in nine-and-a-half years.

Earlier this month, government data showed sales at U.S. retailers dropped for the second time in three months, sliding 0.2 percent from the previous month in April. While a drop was expected after retail sales rose 1.7 percent in March, the slowdown in April suggested Americans were being a lot more cautious with their finances than 12 months ago.

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