Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wisconsin for Sale: Strip mine in Northern Wisconsin

Lets start tracing where this is going. Scott Walker accepted campaign contributions from Gogebic Taconite. Walker seems to see the DNR's primary function as "job creation", so we should expect lots of environmental safeguards will be tossed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What is next on Walker's list?

Opening up northern Wisconsin to strip-mining?

Rachel Maddow on Scott Walker

Shep Smith and Rachel Maddow both agree that Scott Walker is using budget issues as a pretext for destroying unions.

Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald says that public employees don't need unions because they have civil service protections, but Fitzgerald and Walker don't plan on having many public employees around to be covered. The plan, as diagrammed out by the Koch brothers for Walker and Fitzgerald to run, will look like this:

-Use the budget crisis to declare that the state must reduce funding to local governments.
-Pass laws that make it easier for local governments to privatize their work force.
-Create a financial incentive program for local governments to do so.

The best Civil Service benefits will do no good if there is no civil servants to benefit from them. But as Shep Smith and Rachel Maddow point out, the real dividend will be the removal of the last organized group to oppose the creation of a free-market Koch-istan.

Shep Smith on Scott Walker

What's Next?

We are still fighting the fight on Governor Walker's plan to strip unions of their bargaining rights. And people are starting to look at the rest of the budget reconciliation bill.

But we also need to make some assumptions about what Walker might do in the future, based on what we see of his approach towards public unions.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Truth about Walker's Bill....

I haven't had time to work through the environmental implications of Scott Walker's blitzkrieg bill. As soon as I do, I will let you know.

I will also post a bit about my experience in this whole thing-as someone who was actually on our union's negotiating team as this whole thing came down on us.

But lets start with a few of the facts:

-Scott Walker did not run for office on the idea of destroying public unions. He didn't because he knew (or his handlers knew) that he would have lost the election. Walker attempted to pass this bill with no public discussion-in one week. So any statements made by the Walker side about "democracy" needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

-Unions have agreed to the concessions on benefits that Walker wanted. Walker wants to take away the basic right to organize-a right that Wisconsin has had for 50 years. Few of us would be demonstrating at the Capitol or around the state if it weren't for that.

-The protests in Madison and all over Wisconsin are peaceful, mellow, energetic. Most of the people-by far-are Wisconsinites. But it is inspiring to see demonstrators from other States.

-I will be posting more as I get time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Republicans against the environment-and the free market

Imagine that Republicans abolished your local police department, saying that protecting people from theft and bodily danger gets in the way of economic growth.

The Environmental Protection Agency protects people's property and health. There is no more "Free Market" right to pollute than there is a free market right to beat up your neighbor or pour acid in his swimming pool.

Pollution itself is a government program. Politicians grant the right to pollute to their political supporters at the expense of the rest of us.

The attack on the EPA is an attack on the environment, your health, and any real notion of a free market.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Taking the "Conserve" out of Conservativism, part one

Wisconsin depends on its water resources. Those resources are strained by unrestricted development. Wetlands legislation helps protect the resources upon which Wisconsin depends. Wetlands legislation is, in effect, "conservative".

One of the things other countries admire about the United States is the idea of Rule of Law: That is, laws are supposed to apply to everyone-there aren't specific goodies you get because you are a major campaign contributor. This seems like a pretty good idea to conserve.

In one move, Governor Walker showed he is not interested in conserving the environment or the rule of law.

House Plans to Overturn EPA's finding on Climate Change

There is no "free market" right to pollute. If the House votes to overturn the EPA restrictions on greenhouse gases, it is voting for a government intervention into the free market.

The EPA is trying, in a moderate way, to mimic the market ideal that one person's activity should not intrude on another person's property or health.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Do we really need to drive anymore?

Via Wired magazine, Audi passes another milestone on the road to driverless cars. All of the objections seem to be falling by the wayside. Soon, a driverless system will be safer than conventional cars, and at that point we will have to ask whether we want to continue to kill and maim people for the illusion of control that driving gives us. Lots of folks would rather text or put on make-up, anyway.