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Wisconsin State Journal’s editorial about recalls falls down on the job

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Folks, I am livid after reading this extremely biased, slanted staff editorial by the Wisconsin State Journal, one of the best-known papers in the state.  The WSJ has the nerve to say that recalls are bad because they extend the election cycle, and when, pray tell, will it end?

Well, I’ll tell you when it’ll end.  When we finally have some responsible people in government who stop behaving like Wisconsin is their personal fiefdom and that the rule of law need not apply.  As Grant Petty, writing for Madison’s alternative paper The Isthmus, wrote in his response to the WSJ editorial:

It was not simply that I disagreed with your position.  I disagree with other publications’ positions all the time without necessarily feeling insulted by them.  The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was that you had once again ignored or grossly oversimplified deep and important issues affecting Wisconsin while basing your position on superficial ones.

Petty goes on to say later on in the article that many things have caused the people of Wisconsin to recall their legislators (especially those of the Republican variety); these things include, but are not limited to:

  • The lack of transparency in government, for the rule of law, and for the constitutionality of our courts by our elected officials.
  • Creating new obstacles to voting in traditionally Democratic demographic groups (minorities, the poor, college students, elderly who don’t live in nursing homes)
  • What Petty calls “blatant pay-to-play favors” for major campaign donors (including the one railroad exec. who pled guilty to an illegal campaign contribution of $49,000 to Scott Walker)
  • A state Supreme Court that Petty calls a “rubber stamp” that was “bought and paid for by Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce,” a lobbying group that traditionally backs Republicans and conservative ideology. and
  • Last, but not least, the overarching inaccuracies of the vote going back at least to 2004 in Waukesha County; Petty describes several troubling aspects of the vote in the 2011 judicial race between Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg that changed the outcome of the election, starting with Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’s finding of 7500 votes over a day after the election had supposedly ended and continuing on with problems with the voting machines and electronic tape malfunctions that were never explored or explained (including one where the totals inexplicably read March 30, 2011, not April 5, 2011 as they should’ve; Barbara With, who observed the Waukesha County recount, explicitly made sure the Government Accountability Board knew about this and testified as to what she’d seen and heard and entered her picture of the faulty tape into evidence, yet the GAB, again inexplicably, refused to believe or accept this and left this testimony out of the official record).

Note that all of this — all — is why most people in Wisconsin, including a sizable minority of Walker’s own party, remains livid regarding the conduct of our current crop of public officials (mostly the recently-elected Walker and many of the Republican officeholders who are being recalled, including State Senator Alberta Darling).  Petty said it extremely well, and I only wish that I’d have written this summation myself; this truly is why Wisconsin is upset and has recalled an unprecedented number of people (remember, before this year, only four people had ever been forced to run in recall elections, with two of them holding their seats while the other two, including my former Republican state Senator George Petak, R-Racine, lost).

As to why the WSJ decided to write a slanted, utterly biased editorial?  Who knows?  But I do know that whenever I read their paper online in the future, I will keep their partisan slant in mind and judge their reportage accordingly.

Other than that, I agree with Petty’s contention that we should be far more concerned with out-and-out election fraud in this state because we’ve apparently had problems now in Waukesha County since 2004 and nothing, but nothing, has been done about them and apparently nothing, but nothing, is going to be done about them because apparently the political powers who now run the state (all three branches of government are run by Republicans, remember, as I’ve stated before) like it the way it is even though most of the rest of us emphatically do not.

And that, my friends, is not only sad.  It’s shameful, and should not be tolerated in what we so euphemistically call “a democratic state.”

Brewers win, 4-3, as Greinke pitches well; recount update

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Folks, tonight I’m glad to be a Milwaukee Brewers fan.  Zack Greinke pitched well in his first appearance at Miller Park, going six innings, giving up two runs with no walks and getting nine strikeouts.  This excellent performance, along with some unusually fine defense, was why the Brewers won tonight over the San Diego Padres, 4-3. 

Note that the much-maligned of late bullpen pitched reasonably well also, with LaTroy Hawkins pitching a scoreless seventh, Kameron Loe giving up a run in the 8th due to a run scoring while a double play was in the process of being made, then John Axford picked up his sixth save by pitching a scoreless ninth.

Here’s a link to more about the game from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story:  http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/121536504.html

As for tonight’s mandatory recount in the Wisconsin state Supreme Court election, held on 4/5/2011, a judge allowed Waukesha County two and a half more weeks to get its entire count done.  But as Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pointed out, JoAnne Kloppenburg has an uphill battle on her hands if she’s to win this recount with only Waukesha County remaining as it is known to be the “reddest” Republican county in the entire state.

Here’s the link to his story dated today, May 9, 2011: 

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/121496219.html

And a relevant quote from Mr. Gilbert:

With the recount in the April 5 Supreme Court race now complete in every county but Waukesha, JoAnne Kloppenburg has sliced a mere 355 votes off David Prosser’s lead of 7,316 votes, underscoring the extreme odds against Kloppenburg emerging victorious in the fiercely contested judicial contest.

In effect, Kloppenburg would have to gain 6,962 votes in one county – Waukesha – after gaining a tiny fraction of that in the recount of all the state’s other counties.

In those 71 counties recounted so far, Kloppenburg has made a net pick-up of one vote for every 3,873 votes cast.

In Waukesha County, she would have to make a net pick-up of one vote for every 18 votes cast.

And that math actually understates the improbability of a successful outcome for Kloppenburg because about 30% of Waukesha County has already completed the recount process. So far, there’s a net gain of 18 votes for Prosser.

But here’s the main reason why Kloppenburg had to pursue the recount, IMO:

Without taking Waukesha County into account, Kloppenburg leads in the other 71 counties by 712,910 to 660,366, for a margin of 52,544 votes.

So you see how close this election was, state-wide, right?

Here’s the rub:

But based on the election canvass, Prosser carried Waukesha County by 59,505 votes out of a total of 125,021 votes cast.

The problem is, the vote total is in question all because of Kathy Nickolaus’s actions not just in finally figuring out she hadn’t counted the Brookfield tally until a day and a half after the election had ended (and everyone in the state save the folks in Brookfield who knew their vote totals weren’t properly reflected in the count thought JoAnne Kloppenburg had won by about 200 votes), but in several previous elections.

As I’ve said before, there are problems in Waukesha County that go back not just to 2008, but actually to 2004.  (See this link for further details:  https://elfyverse.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/recount-necessary-for-one-waukesha-county-voting-irregularities-go-back-to-2004/)  Seven years ago, there were problems.  Again, five years ago, there were problems.  Then three years ago, there were more problems, yet nothing was ever done by the Government Accountability Board, the Wisconsin state Senate or Assembly (or both), or anyone else, because despite all these systematic problems, apparently no one was paying attention.

If this recount has done nothing else, it has at least assured me that the voters of Wisconsin will be paying attention to Waukesha County for a long, long time to come.  And that the way Waukesha County conducts their future elections had best be a whole lot better — more ethical, above-board, understandable, comprehensible, and transparent — than they have for the past seven years.  Minimum.

Otherwise, as I’ve said before, we in Wisconsin will have no faith at all that our elections mean anything at all.

Mandatory Judicial Recount in WI Continues– Waukesha County will not hit 5/9/11 deadline

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The mandatory recount continues in Wisconsin with the April 5, 2011 judicial race between incumbent David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg continuing to be properly recounted due to the less than 1/2 percent difference in their vote totals.  All counties save Waukesha — the really big problem county for reasons I’ve detailed in several previous posts — will be finished by tomorrow, May 9, 2011, which was the date the Government Accountability Board had set for the completion of the mandatory recount.  But Waukesha County — the biggest problem county in the state — will not.

What a surprise!

Here’s a story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel regarding all this, available at http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/121414194.html:

A relevant quote:

All counties with the exception of Waukesha County are expected to complete the recount of the state Supreme Court election by the 5 p.m. Monday deadline, the Government Accountability Board said late Friday afternoon.

Waukesha County officials earlier in the week informed the board that the hand recount would not be completed by the deadline and the board will seek a court extension of the deadline on Monday.

Kevin Kennedy, accountability board director, said the court hearing on the extension for Waukesha County is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday in Dane County Circuit Court.

Ellen Nowak, chief of staff to Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, said Friday officials don’t know yet how much more time will be needed to complete the recount.

As of late Friday, the recount was only about 30% complete in Waukesha County, Nowak said.

Note that the date of this article was May 6, 2011 — this past Friday evening — and that as of that time, only 30% of Waukesha County was counted.  This is not acceptable; they’ve had the same amount of time as everyone else (starting a week and a half ago on Wednesday, April 27, 2011) and yet they haven’t even counted 30% of the ballots yet?

Considering both Dane and Milwaukee Counties are much bigger, population-wise (thus more ballots were used in both counties than Waukesha), and considering there were at least two counties (Wausau County and Fond du Lac County) which actually ran out of ballots because so many people came out to vote (it would’ve been understandable had those two smaller counties needed more time), it is absolutely ridiculous that only 30% of Waukesha County’s vote total has been counted. 

Yet it’s the truth.

I realize that there have been multiple problems in Waukesha County: bags with ballots have been improperly sealed — bags are supposed to be sealed up completely between voting day and a recount, and yet they weren’t.  In some cases, the wrong numbers were on the bags — every ballot bag must have a number, and they must match the poll count from the poll workers, and yet, they haven’t in Waukesha County many, many times already.  And quite a few ballots have been objected to because they look odd or don’t match the vote totals or they just don’t make any sense — which is part of the reason the vote count has been so slow, but isn’t the only reason, for certain.

I know observers from both the Prosser and Kloppenburg camps will be out in force in Waukesha County all week long.   And that does slow things down — yet it’s the only way we have to make sure this election was a fair one.  An ethical one.   One that truly reflects the will of the Wisconsin voters who went out to vote on 4/5/2011.

I believe we can do better than this and we must do better than this in Wisconsin.  Which is why I’ve observed the recount (a bit) in Racine and why I will once again go out to observe in Waukesha if all goes well sometime this week — because I am not convinced that what happened in Waukesha County, where their County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus found ballots one and a half days after the election had concluded (note this is solely the fault of Kathy Nickolaus, not the folks in Brookfield who had been telling her for the day and a half that their votes hadn’t been counted), was right.  I’m sure Brookfield’s totals will be proven out — but I think something else happened there in that day and a half that wasn’t right and that the recount volunteers (either on the canvassing board or the observers themselves) will find it.

We may be heading to a state-wide re-vote, all because Kathy Nickolaus didn’t do her job correctly in Waukesha County.  But whether we are or aren’t, at this point we must make sure that any future election, in Waukesha County or anywhere else, is conducted fairly, properly, and impartially.

Otherwise, elections are meaningless, and we may as well not even bother going out to vote.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Mandatory Recount Starts Tomorrow — and Kathy Nickolaus Recuses Herself in Waukesha County

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Folks, the biggest thing to hit Wisconsin politics in twenty-two years starts tomorrow — the mandatory recount for the race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court between challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg and incumbent Justice David Prosser.  Prosser, as you might recall from my previous blog posts, is a former Republican Speaker of the Assembly, and though judges are officially non-partisan, JoAnne Kloppenburg was seen as an independent or perhaps as a left-leaning potential jurist (though truly none of us know what she’ll do, she seems honest and fair-minded, and potentially a very good judge).

Though I should have more to say on this tomorrow, right now I have one piece of news to report and it’s unexpected — it’s that Kathy Nickolaus, the under-fire County Clerk of Waukesha County, has recused herself from the upcoming proceedings.  Nickolaus gained national fame (or infamy, take your pick) when she realized, a day and a half late, that she hadn’t properly counted Brookfield’s 14,000 votes, throwing the race to Prosser by 7,000 votes due to the pattern of votes in Brookfield.  Nickolaus claimed she’d “not hit the save button” and blamed her failure to count Brookfield on “human error,” yet there have been multitudinous errors in Waukesha County for years (please see previous blogs on the subject, especially this one:  https://elfyverse.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/recount-necessary-for-one-waukesha-county-voting-irregularities-go-back-to-2004/) and Nickolaus has always blamed “human error.”

Here’s the story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/120739214.html

And a quote:

Nickolaus took herself out of the recount process, Nowak said, to avoid the appearance of conflict or to give the candidates the ability to raise objections about her performance.

Nickolaus sent out communications to local clerks who had to provide additional materials for the recount, which starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Nickolaus will still be present for the recount as the county clerk, Nowak said. She will not serve on the Canvass Board, which includes Democrat Ramona Kitzinger and Republican Pat Karcher.

As a result of Nickolaus’ election-night reporting error, the Government Accountability Board investigated her canvass and her business practices. Last week, the board said that despite some anomalies, the canvass was consistent with results reported by local municipal clerks.

Note that instead of Nickolaus, two others will be observing the mandatory recount in Waukesha county, these being retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley and a retired state elections official, Barb Hansen from the Town of Delafield, who should be able to assist Mawdsley during the recount proceedings.

I am glad the recount is proceeding and look forward to more updates as the week progresses.

Oh, and one other update — the Committee to Recall sitting Republican state Senator Robert Cowles (from Green Bay) has announced they have enough signatures to force a recall election, but will turn in their signatures to the Government Accountability Board on Thursday (I’m assuming this is due to the mandatory recount for the judicial race) in Madison.  Here’s a link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/26/970286/-Wisconsin-Democrats-to-file-sixth-recall-petition-against-GOP-state-Senator?amp&amp

So the recall efforts continue to progress as well.

Updates: More pending recalls (Dems and Rs), etc.

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Before we get to the latest folks being recalled, the first update has to do with the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.   The two sides (Prosser and Kloppenburg) have come to an agreement about the recount, and it will start next Monday.  Please see this story for further details, which gives details about how this particular state-wide recount (the first in twenty-two years) will take place:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/120518594.html

Now, as for the newest pending recalls — the drive to recall the Republican 8 continues, as the committee to recall Republican Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) turned in 30,000 signatures — significantly more than the 20,043 signatures required by law (1/4 of the last election) — to see her recalled.

However, we now have three Democrats — Jim Holperin (D-Conover), Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) and Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) — who have had recall petitions filed against them.   The signatures needed for Holperin was 15,960, with over 23,000 turned in; the signatures needed for Wirch was 13,537, with over 18,000 turned in, and the signatures for Hansen was 13,852 with nearly 19,000 turned in.

See this link for further details:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/120430074.html

The main difference between the Dems and the Rs at this point is that two of these three Dems appear to be in “safe,” heavily Democratic districts — Hansen and Wirch both have districts that went for Kloppenburg in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election, while Holperin’s district is the only one I’d really tend to be worried about — while all five of the Rs with recalls pending could easily lose and lose big.

Here’s a quote from the rally to recall Alberta Darling held on Thursday, April 21, 2011, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article of the same date (link posted above):

Kristopher Rowe of Shorewood, a Darling recall leader who created the Facebook page that sparked the campaign, told several hundred people at the Kletzsch Park rally that they weren’t done until Darling was voted out of office.

“We’re going to finish, and we’re going to finish strong,” he said.

Now, you might be wondering why, in particular, recall groups have focused on getting rid of Alberta Darling.  It’s because she was co-chair of the committee that allowed Gov. Scott Walker (R)’s “budget-repair bill” into the whole Senate; she had all the power in the world to stop that bill from ever coming to light unless/until some of the worst problems with it were fixed, yet she refused to use it.

Further from the Journal-Sentinel article:

Darling is the fifth Republican state senator against whom petitions have been filed.

Darling, a co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, is a central figure in the budget battles that spawned recall efforts against eight Republican and eight Democratic senators. Her opponents clearly will try to hang the budget on her, as did one rally speaker, who referred to the proposed budget as “both immoral and bad economics.”

As I’ve said before, the other four Republicans with recalls pending are:  Luther Olson (R-Ripon), Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse), Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) and Sheila Harsdorf (R-Hudson/River Falls).

And finally, it is confirmed that both Sheldon Wasserman (former Rep., who nearly beat Darling in 2008, losing by about 1000 votes) and Sandy Pasch (the current Rep., D-Whitefish Bay) are seriously thinking about challenging Darling in the pending recall election.  (Note that the Journal-Sentinel had a PolitiFact article today saying it’s wrong to say any of these Senators have been recalled; all we can say is “recalls pending,” as I’ve been saying, or that the “recall petitions have been filed.”)  Both are strong candidates, and the Journal-Sentinel rates this race as “the most competitive race . . .  in the Milwaukee area” (there are five Senators, both R and Dem., who will have to run in recall elections providing the signatures hold up).

Because of the pending recount in the Kloppenburg-Prosser judicial race, it’s possible the recall petitions will take longer to “‘vet” than usual; the Government Accountability Board has been quite busy this year, with no signs of letting up, and it’s the GAB that must oversee both things.

Finally, in personal news, I have one good thing to report.  I wrote 2000 words into part 47 of AN ELFY ABROAD last night, breaking a log-jam that had lasted three weeks after first talking with a friend about the story, then hearing from a different one why I should just give it up already.  (Obviously I disagreed with my second friend.)

Otherwise, I just hit the six year and seven month observance in my personal “grief journey” . . . I tried hard to distract myself and even succeeded for a while, but then I wondered, “What the Hell am I doing?”

Recount necessary — for one, Waukesha County Voting Irregularities go back to 2004

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We’ve been having interesting times this year in Wisconsin, with protests against Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin state Senate Republicans for passing Walker’s “budget repair bill” that stripped public employee union members of their collective bargaining rights, then a hotly-contested state Supreme Court election that looked to be won by the challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg by about 200 votes over incumbent Justice David Prosser.

Realize that right now, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court (with David Prosser as a sitting Justice) has a 4-3 conservative-liberal/centrist edge; then realize that Walker’s “budget-repair bill” is likely headed to the Supreme Court.  Then realize that David Prosser is a former Republican Speaker of the Assembly (Wisconsin’s lower house, equivalent to the federal House of Representatives) . . . that’s why the race for state Supreme Court justice was so vitally important.

But then came Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus — County Clerk of the “reddest” Republican district in the entire state —  who said she’d “forgotten to save” the accurate count for the Town of Brookfield two days after the election was over; when those votes were added in, all of a sudden Prosser led Kloppenburg by over 7,000 votes. 

And that’s where it’s stood ever since; the Government Accountability Board is still investigating Waukesha and its County Clerk, but has certified the results of the Supreme Court election.   Because the vote totals were so close (each candidate had about 750,000 votes), and is within 1/2 of a percentage point (meaning Prosser leads Kloppenburg right now with 50.04% of the vote to Kloppenburg’s 49.96% or something along those lines), the state of Wisconsin must pick up the tab if a recount is requested.

Because a 7,000 vote margin is nearly impossible to make up — especially when that margin is established after the voting is over, because a county clerk “realized (her) error” — the Kloppenburg campaign is still mulling over whether to request this recount.

However, with all the allegations regarding the problems in Waukesha County alone, a recount must be requested — only then will the voters of Wisconsin know that all the votes have been properly tallied.  A hand-recount is absolutely vital, and remains the only way to know for certain who voted for whom and why — right now, the canvass only counted vote totals, and we know totals can be manipulated deliberately (as well as be wrong due to human error).

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Waukesha County’s problems are worse than just this year, folks.  In fact, Waukesha County’s problems are so bad that it’s absolutely, positively stunning.

For example, in Waukesha County in 2006, there were more votes cast than there were voters.

Here’s a link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/11/965994/-%28updated%29-Waukesha-voting-irregularities-go-back-to-2004

And here’s a quote:

WAUKESHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN
NOVEMBER 7, 2006

PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 211).  .  .  .  .       210   99.53
REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL .  .  .  .  .        0
BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL.  .  .  .  .  .  .            156,804

GOVERNOR/LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
DOYLE/LAWTON (DEM)  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    61,401   34.86
GREEN/HUNDERTMARK (REP).  .  .  .  .   112,242   63.73
EISMAN/TODD (WGR).  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     2,320    1.32
WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .             149     .08

ATTORNEY GENERAL
 KATHLEEN FALK (DEM) .  .  .  .  .  .  .    55,608   31.95              
 J.B. VAN HOLLEN (REP)  .  .  .  .  .  .     118,342   67.99              
 WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .            97     .06

SECRETARY OF STATE                                                      
 DOUG LA FOLLETTE (DEM) .  .  .  .  .  .    68,302   40.07              
 SANDY SULLIVAN (REP).  .  .  .  .  .  .     96,199   56.44              
 MICHAEL LAFOREST (WGR) .  .  .  .  .  .   5,886    3.45              
 WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .              53     .03

So, do you see it? In the race for Governor/Lieutenant Governor there were a total of 176,112 votes cast. For Attorney General there were a total of 174,047 votes cast. And for Secretary of State there were a total 170,440 votes cast.

So, look at the 3rd line of the top of that report…Total Ballots Cast: 156,804. So based on those numbers 20,000 extra votes were cast in the election that weren’t actually accounted for in the ballots cast. Again, another sign of election fraud.

(Quote ends.)

Note that the original figures are available here:

http://www.waukeshacounty.gov/uploadedFiles/Media/List_Documents/County_Clerk/2006_Official_Election_Results/Official_Election_Combined_Summary_Nov20_2006.LST

And that’s not all — also from this DKos article, did you know that in 2004, apparently a whopping 97.63% — no, that’s not a misprint — of registered voters went out to vote?  And that in 2005, an off-year for elections, 50,000 new voters were registered when in ’04 there was only a 1.3% increase (about 3,000 voters) for a hotly-contested Presidential election?

I’m sorry, folks; this does not pass the “smell test.”  Something’s really off here.

A good friend of mine found all this out from this blog, and posted it to my Facebook page:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110415/23002413918/wisconsin-county-that-found-lost-votes-apparently-has-major-voting-irregularities-years.shtml

As this latter blog from Tech Dirt points out:

To say the least, these numbers are pretty troubling if you believe in the integrity of democratic elections.

Amen to that — and that’s exactly why we need a hand recount of all the ballots cast in the recent Supreme Court election.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Scott Walker’s first 100 days — Can We Say, “Fiasco?”

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Those of you who do not live in Wisconsin, be glad.  Because that means Scott Walker is not your Governor.

I lead with that tonight because today was the day Scott Walker, the current Governor of the state of Wisconsin, marked his first 100 days in office.   And he was very proud of his accomplishments in “creating jobs” and his “budget-repair bill,” even though the latter is stalled in the courts right now — I know this because he said so on WTMJ-AM, NewsRadio 620 in Milwaukee, WI, this afternoon.

Now, a more balanced and nuanced way to look at Scott Walker’s first 100 days is this article from the LaCrosse Tribune, where the headline says it all:  “Walker’s First 100 Days a Mixed Bag.”  See this link:  http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/b0d1725c-64b8-11e0-8a4f-001cc4c03286.html

Here’s a good quote from that article:

“Walker has pushed through an unprecedented amount of legislation,” said Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan government watchdog group. “But the way he has gone about it has divided the state in ways I’ve never seen before. And I am just not sure how we get back from where we are now.”

See, that’s where I’d fall on the spectrum — I really don’t know how we go on from here, except by recalling every single last legislator who voted for the noxious “budget-repair bill” in a possibly-illegal vote.

Here’s another quote from the article which I think is quite relevant:

“Things were running along smoothly for about six weeks and then (Walker) took a hard turn to the right and became this incredibly divisive figure,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “The honeymoon ended quickly, but he has no one to blame but himself.”

Amen, brother!

At any rate, this is how I see it: we’ve never had eight sitting Republican Senators targeted for recall before.  (As for the eight Dems also being targeted for recall, only three may be recalled.  All eight Rs will be recalled — that is, have to run in recall elections to hold their seats — and at least five will lose their seats in the election.  So far, two Rs — Dan Kapanke of LaCrosse and Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac — have already had the recall signatures turned in to the Government Accountability Board, and we know they definitely will have recall elections.  Because the GAB is not stupid, they are waiting for the other six Rs to reach the required amount of signatures, so all eight recall elections can be run at the same time.)

Here’s the link to the best site on the Web that’s working to recall the Republican 8:

www.recalltherepublican8.com

But getting back to what Wisconsinites feel about Walker, there are some people who believe Walker is doing well — not many, but some.  This article from Eau Claire (WEAU) had locals grade Scott Walker; here’s a link:

http://www.weau.com/home/headlines/100_Days_in_Office_Locals_grade_Scott_Walker_119722794.html

Now, here’s what the folks said:

“You know, I’d give him an A-minus, and the reason I’d give him an A-minus is that he’s doing the best he can,” says Regla Garcia, adding people should give all politicians their fair chance to do their work.

“I’d say he’s getting like a B-plus. He’s balancing the budget and he’s evening things out,” says Ken Holm, adding that Walker could work on his negotiation skills a little bit more.

“As a former teacher, I know a little bit about grading, and I would give him an F,” says Paul Hoff, mentioning the funding cuts to education and collective bargaining as reasons for Walker’s failures.

“I’d give him a big fat F. I don’t think he’s done what anybody expected him to do,” says Mary Jurmain, who says she plans on leading recall efforts against the governor when he becomes eligible.

Now, notice the two nice scores?  One said Walker needs to “work on his negotiation skills” and the other basically said Walker hasn’t had enough time yet to prove whether he’ll be any good or not.  While the other two were very blunt — they gave Walker Fs, and one said that not only will she work to recall the Governor, she plans to work very hard to recall him and implied that she is looking forward to doing so.

That, in essence, is what Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin.  He has divided my state like no one else; he currently has about a 40% approval rating, with a strong 30% Republican disapproving of his policies — that is, his own party disapproves of him that much.

And that, exactly, is why I say that Walker’s first 100 days have been a flat-out fiasco.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin (aka WisDems) had this to say today about Scott Walker’s first 100 days, at this link:

http://www.wisdems.org/news/press/view/2011-04-100-days-of-disgrace

And a relevant quote (all of this is from Mike Tate, Democratic Party Chair):

“We knew it was going to be bad, but nobody could have predicted it would be this bad. Scott Walker’s first 100 days in office have been an unqualified disgrace.”

Then, a bit later, the press release goes on with:

“In his first 100 days, Scott Walker has torn Wisconsin in two in a deliberate plot to drive wages and benefits into the dirt and hasten the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy few.

The good news is that Wisconsin has seen through Scott Walker and his schemes. The working families of Wisconsin are standing up and taking their state back.

Scott Walker’s first 100 days were a disgrace. Let us hope for Wisconsin’s sake he uses the next 100 to change from his disastrous course.”

In case you’re wondering why Mike Tate took such a hard line, perhaps you missed this story about Scott Walker’s major Republican fundraiser Bill Gardner and his money-laundering, who has a plea agreement pending to save him from jail:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/159886/scandal-fitzwalkerstan-top-donor-pleads-guilty-money-laundering-scheme-aid-governor-walk

This is a story from John Nichols of the Nation; he points out that while Scott Walker was against high-speed rail, he definitely was for this one donor’s rail system — and no wonder, as Gardner illegally funneled thousands of dollars to Walker.  Gardner is going to plead guilty to two felony counts of money-laundering in order to get a suspended sentence; he also will receive a $166,000 fine, while seven employees — those Gardner coerced, mind you, to give money to Walker — are all fined $250 apiece.  This is the largest fine the Government Accountability Board has ever leveled against any single contributor.

Anyway, this only caps off what I already felt about Scott Walker — and let’s not even start about last week’s Supreme Court race, which is still in doubt (the 14,000 votes the Waukesha County clerk found at the last minute has apparently tipped the race to incumbent Justice David Prosser, but the GAB has refused to certify the election and has called clerk Nickolaus “incompetent” thus far), or I’ll really get mad — and that’s this:

Walker must go.  Recall.  Recall.  Recall.**

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** You may have noticed that my tag says “Scott Walker, temporary Governor.”  That’s because I firmly believe Walker will be recalled and will be voted out as soon as the recall election is held (in January or February, 2012).  In Wisconsin, we cannot recall a legislator until he has served one full year — but we can start getting signatures in November of this year.  My own state Senator, Van Wanggaard, can and will be recalled at the same time, as I’ve said before due to his own “yes” vote for the “budget-repair” bill that eliminated collective bargaining for public-employee unions despite Wanggaard being a former policeman and police union member.