President Barack Obama ordered a review of a publicity-photo shoot with one of the planes that serves as Air Force One that cost taxpayers $328,835 and caused a furor in New York City.
$328,835 for a picture to put on tie pins for Obama’s friends and supporters… that’s insane. I’d do it in Photoshop for $100,000 and it would look just as good. Heck, I’ll even give them some different angles!
And by hiring a conservative blogger to do the PhotoShopping, it'll circumvent the possibility that another conservative blogger would discover the fake and want to promote this as further evidence that Obama has faked his birth certificate. Follow the logic! The liberals couldn't be blamed for the faking, so no one would ever find out. I think it would be a good deal for Obama. Not to mention me, as my 401-K is in the toilet.Posted by Owen at 2123 hrs
My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. It’s called, “Only one way to bear arms – openly.” You didn’t think I’d leave this topic alone, did you? Here’s a snippet:
Openly carrying a firearm is legal and constitutionally protected. If the police and lawmakers don’t want guns in the open, I invite them to aggressively advance sensible legislation for concealed carry. Until then, I will wear my gun outside my pants for all the honest world to feel.
I mean it. I want aggressive advances from men in uniform. I want them to feel my piece.
Update: It has been reported that I heard what I wanted to hear. The lyric is "for all the honest world to fear."Posted by Owen at 0724 hrs
More than six hours after the start of an open forum interview processing began, the West Bend Joint No. 1 School Board decided late Monday night that Lynn Corazzi will assume the position that was vacated earlier this year by John Duwell.
I didn’t go to the meeting. I thought I would be able to watch it on the community TV, but they don’t air it live. It will be on this evening. I guess I'm thankful for this use of tax dollars to keep people informed about the actions of government.Posted by Owen at 0721 hrs
I had the opportunity to interview Scott Walker yesterday. By "opportunity," I mean he's reaching out for all the free publicity he can get, and that includes important news sources like Twitter as well as this blog. He’s officially announcing his candidacy for governor today in a five site swing through Wisconsin, paid for with tax dollars, wink-wink. I’ll have the text for his speech up later today. I figure I should let him actually deliver it once before posting it. That would make it look more authentic and less like I was being manipulated. In the meantime, here are some excerpts from my interview with him.
Owen: Why are you running for Governor?
Scott Walker: I’m not satisfied with where this state is headed and I think we can do better. I have the experience being out there in the trenches getting it done as an executive. By "trenches" I mean certain parts of Milwaukee where you want to roll through the stop signs, if you follow my logic.
Owen: I noticed your unofficial/official announcement of your campaign on Twitter last Friday, after I'd been passed a packet of campaign info in private email. Is that an indication of how your campaign plans to utilize alternative media and social networks?
Scott Walker: Absolutely. I mean, you guys will do anything and we don't have to pay you! In fact, as part of my speech tomorrow, I’ll be taking an aside to invite the people of this state to be involved in this campaign and really open up a conversation, meaning we'll continue feed info to conservative bloggers as needs. As of 12:01 tomorrow morning we’ll have up a brand new website. It’ll still be http://www.scottwalker.org, but it will have a brand new look to it. We’ve got a YouTube video at the beginning. We’re going to have LinkedIn and FaceBook and Twitter and as many different networking means as possible, as all those methods are no cost.
We think it fits with the overall comments of our them as well because we’re going to talk about how Jim Doyle represents turning back the clock to the failures of the past. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to build a brighter and better future. Did I just type "our them"?
Owen: Nobody has won the governorship from Milwaukee is a very long time. How do you plan to win over voters who are not from SE Wisconsin?
Scott Walker: Absolutely. Milwaukee is a very long time. I have to laugh a bit because the same thing was true about nobody ever electing a Republican to be the Milwaukee County Executive. We’ve broken that trend before and we can certainly break it when it comes to governor. I've been breaking things ever since. I have the experience. I can do this at a state level, too. Elect me and we'll be strangling it in the bathtub, if you know what I mean! Wink-wink.
Two things are going to be important for us when it comes to that. One is reminding people a little bit about my background. I grew up in Delevan in Walworth County, a little town about seven or eight thousand people. The folks who live there now spell it Delavan, I hear. I have small town roots and I’ve applied those values to everything I’ve done including being the Milwaukee County Executive. My values and my roots are very similar to those all across the state. I'm just one of you! Don't I look like a hunter or a guy sitting at the other end of the bar? Aren't my hands dirty and calloused like yours? Please vote for me.
Secondly, unlike many politicians from Milwaukee in the past, I’m not of Milwaukee. I'm from Delevan or Delavan. I’ve taken on the Milwaukee machine. I’m not someone who has been a tax and spend liberal who asks for more money without accountability. I'm a conservative who cuts and cuts without accountability. I’ve been the guy who has taken on the machine here not once, not twice, but three times and won. It's a lot like the Terminator movie franchise in that respect. We won not because we asked for more but because we said that people have had it. When you cut and cut and then people say they've had it, then you know you've succceed. They don’t want more taxes. They don’t want government without accountability. They want to take their government back. By "their government", I mean all the governments except for mine. I think that’s a message that resonates across the state.
Owen: What are your thoughts on reports that Mark Neumann is planning on running?
Scott Walker: Reports? I think that a primary can have value. Certainly if it’s a primary where we each talk about why we’re not satisfied with Jim Doyle and we’d like to do to turn the state around. I think it could provide us a great platform if we can have that kind of a positive, issues-oriented primary that allows each of us to get our issues out and drive Harley while I'm being paid to run Milwaukee. I think it’s great because it would give us a broader platform to tell the people of this state not only what’s wrong with Wisconsin, but how we can make this a state to believe in again. I'm going to take a very strong stand: I believe in Wisconsin. I believe it's a state. I believe there is a city within it called Milwaukee. My opponents don't believe these things. That's where we differ.
I think in our case, the thing that it good to get out in a primary is also a good thing to get out in a general election and that it, I’m not just talking. I’ve delivered. Delivered, cut, whatever. I’ve been in the trenches and getting the job done. And by "trenches" I don't mean potholes in the roads and tennis courts. When you talk about things like taxing and spending, I was elected in 2002. Jim Doyle was elected in 2002. Since then, I’ve done seven straight budgets without a tax levy increase. Jim Doyle has repeatedly raised taxes even though he said he wasn’t going to. Jim Doyle has the largest budget deficit in state history and one of the largest in the country. We just finished off 2008 with a surplus. Milwaukee is doing great. If you could just stop your car at a stop sign, ask anyone. Jim Doyle talked about reducing the size of the state workforce by 10,000 people and he’s going to be nowhere near that. I’ve cut more than 20% of my workforce since we got started. Jim Doyle’s debt is through the roof and his bond rating has gone down. I’ve cut our debt by 10% and improved the county’s bond rating. All these things are the mechanics of being a chief executive. We both made promises – even under the most remarkably difficult circumstances. While we’re not perfect here, nobody is, we have a proven track record that we get the job done and I think that’s a compelling message in November and I think it’s an equally compelling message in September. I believe in Wisconsin. I believe it's a state. I believe there is a city within it called Milwaukee. I can drive a Harley. Please vote for me. I'm one of you, really I am.
Owen: If you were presented with Jim Doyle’s proposed budget, as written, what would you do?
Scott Walker: Well, I know a thing or two about line item vetoes. I would buy extra ink and get to work. At a time when this state has unemployment higher than the national average – when the jobless rate is as high as it’s been since ’82. When we’ve lost 112,000 private sector jobs since March of last year. The last thing people want when the economy is the way it is is for state government to increase spending by 10% and increase taxes by nearly $3 billion. I’d veto out the tax increases and I’d veto out the spending. As long as people don't pay attention to what's actually happening in their state, we can cut as much as we can describe in words. It's very, very easy to make hypothetical cuts without regard. I have the experience.
Owen: That brings me to my next question. There’s the politicians’ version of spending “cuts” and there are real spending cuts that people in the private sector make every day. Will you, as governor, push real spending cuts in state government? I have a pet idea about fewer stop signs and more rest stops.
Scott Walker: Absolutely, particularly when it comes to public sector employees. I know hypothetical people all across the state in businesses and workers who are saying, “my employer offered to give everybody a 1% pay cut to keep everyone on staff and as tough as that is, we did it because who wants to see a coworker laid off?” The effects will trickle down. Before you know it, we'll all be making cuts. People are talking about paying more for their health insurance premium or putting in more for their own retirement. Those are things that are just given. Don't think twice about them. Those are things that you just have to do when the economy is this tight, and yet, people in state government aren’t even talking about that, except for when they talk about that. To me, that’s just a slam dunk. We’d be doing that in a heartbeat. Cut, cut, cut. Do I sound like a chicken? I believe that's a rural farm animal that I will encounter on my Harley tour of this state that I believe in. I am not an effete city suck-up, I am a man that rides a used, sensible Harley across the state! In my suit!
Owen: As you know, there has been a lot of consternation over open carry in Wisconsin. What would you do as governor regarding open carry and concealed carry? Are you consterned, too?
Scott Walker: This is exactly why Wisconsin needs a Personal Protection Act. Having the legal right to carry. Even though the point is that we already have the right to carry, I find it politically useful to suggest we need to reiterate that. Having a permit. And by "permit" I mean something as easy to buy as a fishing license. For all the hype and hysteria after Van Hollen’s release, the reality is that if people want to feel safe in this state at stop signs – well, the most important thing to do is get guns out of the hands of people who can’t legally have them – is to put in place a very reasonable right to carry law like nearly everybody else in the country. First we make sure everyone can have a gun, and encourage people to carry guns, then we'll take them away from the bad guys. It's just that simple. It would allow us to know, by virtue of the permitting process, that the person has gone through a course, including mini-golf or go-cart; they know what they are doing, like which end to point where; and we know any damn fool is perfectly capable of doing that. In states like our neighbor Minnesota, they have had no problem with that, even though they're a bunch of Lake Wobegon liberals and they count the smallest manure pit as another one of their 10,000 lakes. Despite all the hype about the Wild West, it didn’t come to pass. Instead, they have law-abiding citizens who know what they are doing and are well prepared to carry a firearm. They're still working on the taking away the guns from the bad guys, I hear.
Owen: What are you most proud of in your role as Milwaukee County Executive?
Scott Walker: In an overall sense, that we made bold promises when we ran for office and we’ve kept every single one of them. We talked about never increasing the tax levy. We found other ways to raise staff salaries and benefits like being able to drive around the state of Wisconsin on a Harley, especially for staff members who believe in Wisconsin. We talked about changing the pension board. We talked about capping pension benefits. We talked about reducing our workforce. All the things we talked about we accomplished. We talked about talking. Sadly in politics, that turns out to be something unusual. It should be the expectation. When I get to Madison, I'll talk more.
Owen: Any regrets from your terms?
Scott Walker: (Tears grow in my eyes as I write this.) My only regret is that we haven't cut enough. One of the more frustrating things is that we didn’t start out more aggressively trying to contract out services. This adds a layer of obfuscation to the revenue spending process that makes accountability and success that much harder to find. We have the past several years, but some of these things we’ve been able to do incrementally is part of the reason we’ve been able to reduce our workforce by 20%. When the County Board had the greatest incentive to act on what we pushed was early on when they were so afraid of those recalls. I would have liked to have gotten more of that through early on. (Wipes tears.)
Owen: Anything else you want to tell the readers of B&S?
Scott Walker: We're going to talk about Harleys and family values and Delevan. We’re going to talk about Doyle taking us back to the hopelessness of the past. We’re going to talk about building the future. Nothing "builds" like "cuts". And what I mean, to rattle off a few examples, taxes… spending… cutting... Harleys... up North... expense accounts... I think back to when I was growing up in Delevan. We were near the state line in the 80’s in almost identical circumstances. Back then, the town was small enough that we could move it whereever we wanted. Tony Earl, a Democrat, was the governor. The legislature was controlled by Democrats. A national recession, caused by Democrats. Budget deficits by Democrats. People giving it all they had, blaming the Democrats. And what did they do? They raised taxes. Things got so far out of control that so many people left the state, so many jobs left the state, that there were billboards along the state line that said, “will the last person out of Wisconsin please turn out the lights.” It was really just that bad. This is one of the oldest lines on the harken-for-the-good-ol-days chicken-with-mushroom-gravy circuit, but it still works. It's like the chicken makes you forget. You hear that line one more time, and it's still golden. You can use it for almost anything, I think.
I look at this now and say these policies, this agenda, Jim Doyle’s agenda, is taking us down the same Democrat path and I don’t think we want to go that Democrat way. Not only in taxes, but he’s pulling us back to the days when we were a welfare magnet. That means more brown and black people. Changing things like joint and several liability that will make us a haven for frivolous lawsuits. Taking us back to a point when personally it’s very offensive to me, I was the author of two truth in sentencing bills, when he was Attorney General he said he was for it; now he’s talking about early release. On issue after issue after issue he’s taking us back to things that we had corrected over the years. It's like he's against us. By "us" I mean he's not a Republican. He doesn't ride a Harley like I do. He doesn't hunt.
My hope is that we can say to the voters of this state, we don’t want to go back to the failures of the past. We want to move the state forward. It's like it's a motto. So we’re not going to just talk about taxes, spending, and jobs, but we’re going to talk about the quality of education. Cutting it, I mean. We’re going to talk about higher education. Cutting it, I mean. We’re going to talk about health care. Cutting it, I mean. We’re going to talk about attracting more hard working people and entrepreneurs. They'll be attracted to the cuts, the tennis courts, and I can't wait for you to tell me more about your idea about fewer stop signs and more rest stops. We’re going to talk about public safety. Cutting it, I mean, to save a few bucks. But we’re going to talk about it in a way that has a good conservative agenda – a bold agenda that I still think that the voters of this state, given a good clear conservative message, will still gravitate to. Like Harleys. Please, please vote for me.Posted by Owen at 0002 hrs
House parties are cropping up around the West Bend School District as a method to “divide and conquer” for the passage of the upcoming spring referendum. You may receive an invitation such as this:
We, ___________________, your neighbor at _______________, are hosting a “house party.” On Tues., Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. we invite our neighbors to discuss the school bond referendum proposed for a vote in April. As we hope for the best for our children, community and ourselves, we are encouraging you to come and voice your opinion and questions. This will be a short gathering (less than 1 hr.). You will find out more about this issue and what the proposals are. We really hope you can join us. If possible, please let us know if you will attend. Call with any questions to ____________________________. Thank you for your consideration and interest. Hope to see you on Tuesday.
I heard about this last week and asked the Superintendent and School Board President about it. Both of them assured me that it isn’t coming from the district, so I don’t know who is behind this effort. Instead, I'll just link to Ginny's blog, where her original headline of "School Board house parties to encourage passage of referendum?" implies it's coming from the School Board.
I am deeply concerned. The issue with house parties is simply that it’s not a public forum. It's totally private, kind of like an automated phone call. Whoever is running it is disseminating information regarding a public issue and we have no way to monitor that the information they are dispensing is correct. Follow the logic: All private meetings of citizens should be monitored by authorities in circumstances like this. In my opinion, I would be a very good authority, so invite me to your party and we can clear this all up. Also, if a bunch of different people are handing out information in such a loose format, there’s a good chance that there will be conflicting information floating around out there. Especially if it's loose!
This is dangerously close to anarchy. We citizens must know who is behind this disinformation campaign! This is completely different than a Supreme Court race, where it is to our benefit that outside, nameless benefactors are handing money to WMC and AFP.
Anyone have any more information on this?Posted by Owen at 1123 hrs
Let no one say that the Owen versus Wiggie feud has no bounds.
The temptation was there, but I did not succumb.
Good. This will save the taxpayers from supporting this beast for the rest of his life.
A former college student convicted of killing a Madison man last year has committed suicide in prison, authorities announced this afternoon. Adam C. Peterson, 20, was found hanging from an upper bunk bed railing shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday by his cellmate at Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, according to the state Department of Corrections.
Laughing at death and suffering... It's what Jesus would do. It's why I do it here!Posted by Owen at 1618 hrs