Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that is intended to make it much easier for Gogebic Taconite, whose owner, Christopher Cline, is in trouble with Illinois environmental regulators for not adequately addressing groundwater pollution problems at Illinois coal-mining sites, to open an open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills region of Northern Wisconsin.
However, the one major obstacle that Gogebic Taconite is still up against in their push to pollute Lake Superior and harm Northern Wisconsin’s tourism industry is the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, whose reservation sits along the Bad River, downstream of the site of the proposed mine, and, if mining operations begin in the Penokee Hills, the run-off from the waste rock will contaminate the Bad River Band’s water supply and destroy their cherished wild rice beds.
Michael Wiggins, Jr., the Chief of the Bad River Band, has announced that the tribe will begin raising money to support legal challenges to the open-pit mining legislation in an attempt to stop the proposed mine from being built. The 1854 Treaty of La Pointe gives the Bad River Band the legal right to hunt, fish, and gather in not only reservation territory, but also ceded territory as well, additionally, the Bad River Band also has the legal right to protect the environment of their reservation as they see fit.
The fight to preserve the Penokee Hills of Northern Wisconsin did not end when Scott Walker signed Wisconsin’s open-pit mining legislation into law, the fight to preserve the Penokee Hills has only begun.
The office of Comptroller of Illinois is largely a technocratic one, since the Comptroller is legally responsible for maintaining the State of Illinois’s financial accounts, as well as ordering payments into and out of state accounts.
However, since the Comptroller of Illinois has to win a partisan election in order to serve in that role, often times, the Comptroller will recommend that state legislators take up a legislative proposal that the Comptroller has endorsed.
Judy Baar Topinka, a Republican, is the incumbent Comptroller, and she recently proposed legislation that would prohibit Illinois schools from being used as polling places in election, and she managed to get a Democratic state representative, Jack Franks, to support the proposal.
When asked to justify why she would want to make it harder for Illinoisans to vote, she used the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut to justify her support for the bill! One has to keep in mind that, in many Illinois precincts, mostly in rural areas in Central and Southern Illinois, the only logical place within a precinct that election administrators could set up a polling place is a school, so this bill would make it harder for many Illinoisans to vote!
Here in Illinois, we have a Republican comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka, who doubles as a supporter of voter suppression and is willing to do so over the dead bodies of those who were killed in a mass shooting. That’s why she’s the third member of the Illinois Republican Party’s “Dirty Dozen”.
Elizabeth Warren: Making Republicans look dumb for blocking her appointment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
In the first two months as a United States Senator from the State of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren has already earned a reputation as a fighter against the notion that large banking institutions are “too big to fail” or “too big to jail.”
As a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Warren grilled federal banking regulators over the lack of trials for Wall Street banks, pressed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on whether or not the government would get tough on banks that are considered to be “too big to fail”, and caught Attorney General Eric Holder admitting that federal officials consider numerous large banks to be “too big to jail”.
One has to remember that, just a couple of years ago, Wall Street lobbyists and Senate Republicans successfully blocked Warren’s nomination to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. After Republicans kept Warren out of the CFPB, Warren then ran for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts that was held by Republican Scott Brown, and Warren defeated Brown!
Elizabeth Warren is making Republicans and Wall Street lobbyists look absolutely dumb for keeping her out of the CFPB and fighting against greed on Wall Street and the timid federal officials that enable it. She ran this TV ad during her Senate campaign in which one of her supporters said that she would be a fighter for the middle class, and now she has proven herself to be a fighter for the middle class!
Nearly two months ago, the conservative blog Illinois Review reported that there were enough votes on the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee to fire their chairman, Pat Brady, over his support of marriage equality, and even reported that Illinois GOP vice-chairwoman Carol Donovan would become the interim chairwoman of the Illinois GOP until either Donovan or someone else was selected as a permanent chairperson.
Now, the Illinois GOP State Central Committee has indefinitely postponed a vote, which was scheduled for today, on whether or not to fire Brady. This development comes after former Governors Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar, as well as Senator Mark Kirk, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, and House Minority Leader Tom Cross (basically the big names in the establishment wing of the Illinois GOP), backed Brady. Also, the vote has not been rescheduled at this time, nor has any explanation been given as to why the vote has been postponed indefinitely.
This means one of three things: either the establishment-types on the GOP state central committee are delaying Brady’s firing, there wouldn’t have been enough of the state central committeepeople available on a Saturday to have a quorum for a vote on whether or not to fire Brady, or there aren’t enough votes on the state central committee to fire Brady.
If there aren’t enough votes on the state central committee to fire Brady, then Illinois Review has lost what little credibility it has.
I don’t usually talk about personal matters online, but I want to talk about the fact that I have a developmental disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome.
When I was very young, I was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome. As a matter of fact, when I was in the fourth grade, I actually spent time in a mental institution in Indiana because neither my parents, my schoolteachers, nor anyone else could control me.
While I’ve become a much more reasonable person since I was young, I am still physically clumsy, I can be very repetitive and obsessive at times, and I often have difficulty understanding how other people feel about what I say.
You can read more about Asperger’s Syndrome here.
Here is a handy article from Madison, Wisconsin’s The Capital Times, in which one can compare Wisconsin’s job numbers since January of 2011, when Republican Scott Walker took office as Governor of Wisconsin, to the national job numbers, as well as the job numbers of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa, the four states that border Wisconsin.
In regards to total nonfarm jobs, since Scott Walker took office as Governor of Wisconsin, the State of Wisconsin has lost 15,900 jobs, which is a 0.58% job loss. In the same time frame, however, Illinois has created 67,300 (1.18%) jobs, Iowa has created 18,600 (1.25%) jobs, Michigan has created 55,800 (1.41%) jobs, and Minnesota has created 72,200 (2.67%) jobs.
During his 2010 campaign for Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker promised that Wisconsin would create 250,000 jobs in his first term. However, Walker is currently on track to break his promise. In November of 2012, Wisconsin had 2,727,600 total nonfarm jobs. In December of 2012, Wisconsin had 2,728,900 total nonfarm jobs. Even if one used the 2,300 Wisconsin jobs created between November and December of 2012 as a projected trend line all the way to December of 2014, the last full month of Walker’s first term, Wisconsin will be projected to have 2,784,100 total nonfarm jobs by the end of 2014. However, since Wisconsin had 2,744,800 jobs when Walker took office, that linear projection would represent a net gain of only 39,300 jobs from January of 2011 to December of 2014, which is well short of Walker’s promise of 250,000 new Wisconsin jobs.
When it comes to creating jobs, Scott Walker’s “divide and conquer” agenda has failed miserably, and one just needs to look at the job numbers to prove it!
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that Macoupin Energy, the owner of the Shay 1 coal mine near Carlinville in Macoupin County, Illinois, has been notified by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency that they have not adequately addressed long-standing groundwater pollution problems.
Macoupin Energy is owned by billionaire Christopher Cline, who is the same guy that is pushing for the Wisconsin State Legislature to weaken Wisconsin’s environmental laws so that Gogebic Taconite, which is also owned by Cline, can build a proposed open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills region of Northern Wisconsin. Many members of the Wisconsin State Legislature, nearly all of them Democrats, as well as the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Wisconsin Business Alliance, have opposed the legislation on the grounds that it would violate Native American treaties and hurt the outdoor recreation industry in Northern Wisconsin.
However, Republicans control both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature, and they are expected to pass the mining deregulation legislation, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law. Given the past record of Christopher Cline-owned mines here in Illinois violating environmental laws, it is inherently clear that Cline does not care about ensuring that people have access to clean water, which is why he wants to weaken environmental regulations in Wisconsin so he can pollute Lake Superior and hurt Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry while Cline is relaxing somewhere else aboard Mine Games, his 164-foot yacht!
I’d like to thank Lisa Mux at the Wisconsin progressive blog Waukesha Wonk for bringing this to my attention. You can read her article on this story here.