Saturday, February 4, 2017

Trump's America: McHenry County, Illinois

Source:  Wikipedia

Source:  CNN

Trump Supporters Cheer Quick Starts On Campaign Promises In His First Weeks. (NPR, 2/2/2017)
The coffee-shop wisdom of Trump voters. At Short Stacks, a small diner on Main Street, Ginger Underwood sits at a table with her two adult daughters. She voted for Donald Trump and says that, so far, she is glad she did. "I think Trump is doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he ran for office," she says. "So that's fine with me, that he's doing what he's doing."

Related posts:
Essex County, New York.  (1/29/2017)
Mitchell County, Kansas.  (1/29/2017)
Fayette County, West Virginia.  (1/24/2017)
Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of the Little League World Series.  (1/24/2017)
Johnson Creek, Wisconsin.  (1/21/2017)
Get me rewrite: Buncha white people in Boone County, Iowa, talk about Trump.  (1/15/2017)
UPDATE. Luzerne County, Pennsylvania is a Trump election success story.  (1/14/2017)
Monticello, Iowa. New York Times joins the search for Trump's America, a very white place.  (1/13/2017)
UPDATE. Boston Globe reporter continues to explore Trump's America, where mostly white people live.  (1/13/2017)

Meet the professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters who flooded State Street and the Capitol Square in Madison WI

[Yawn] Guess somebody was tired when they added this link to the Wheeler Report

Among Wheeler Report listings for 2/3/2017 (highlight added)

...wages barely rose.....increased by only three cents, suggesting that there was still some slack in the labor market.

As the Brotherhood of Man once sang with heartfelt intensity, united we stand, divided we fall

 Source used  for all 3 graphs:  CNN/ORC poll

A successful British pop group at home, this U.S. one-hit wonder made their first of 4 appearances on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending April 18, 1970.  "United We Stand" debuted at #93 and spent 15 weeks on the chart, peaking at #13. 

Related post:
Apparently, for some folks, foreign affairs, immigration, and terrorism have little to do with national security.  (2/4/2017)
UPDATE. Fake news: Rasmussen continues to prop up Trump's approval rating.  (2/3/2017)

Apparently, for some folks, foreign affairs, immigration, and terrorism have little to do with national security

CNN poll (January 31-February 2)

That would be CNN's first post-inauguration poll, conducted in association with ORC International.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to go off the rails on Twitter.

Montana legislator wants to clear up confusion among state's judges

Photo credit:  Montana Cowgirl Blog

Reported in Montana Senate endorses anti-Sharia law bill.  (Great Fall Tribune, 2.2.2017)
The bill prevents state judges from applying foreign laws in their courtrooms.  The bill by Republican Sen. Keith Regier of Kalispell does not mention Sharia law, which is used in some parts of the Islamic world, but that has been the main topic in debate over the measure.
Democratic Sen. Diane Sands of Missoula said earlier this week the bill addresses a problem that doesn’t exist in Montana, and it only creates dissension among citizens.

Jennifer, perhaps clarity can be better achieved by strengthening the state's Judicial Education requirements.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Donald Trump and our amazing, tremendous, terrific Constitution

From 2/2/2017 email blast

As originally counting enslaved blacks as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of a state for the purpose of representation in Congress.  (13th Amendment, 1865; 14th Amendment, 
1868; 15th Amendment, 1870)

As originally having Senators chosen by state legislatures, not by a vote of the people.  (17th Amendment, 1913)

As originally prohibiting women to vote.  (19th Amendment, 1920)

Previous servings of pablum:
Believe me!  (1/31/2017)
A staggering display of incompetence.  (1/28/2017)

Wisconsin is open for pay to play

Michigan Donors Get State Contract.  (Urban Milwaukee, 1/31/2017)
Search skills trump legislative action to hide data.  Thank you, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.  Walker’s campaign report, which covered the last four months of 2016, did not identify any of the five contributors as being with J & B Medical Supply because campaign finance laws were changed in 2015 to provide less information to the public about big campaign donors.  Previous state law required candidates to identify the employers and occupations of individuals who contributed more than $100 annually. Now, candidates only have to identify a large contributor’s occupation.

Related posts:
In addition to $750,000 to Club for Growth, Harold Simmons donated $10,000 to Scott Walker.  (9/14/2016)
Developer finds that 'pay to play' costs more than $72,844.92.  (2/12/2016)
Meet the disingenuous Rob Brooks (R-Saukville).  (1/13/2016)
Wingra Stone looks for a return on its capitol investment.  (12/17/2016)
For sale: 1 state senator, 1 state representative.  (12/8/2015)
UPDATE. Sorry, Tim Geoghegan, a total of $11,750 in donations is not a "bunch of bull".  (10/25/2015) 
CAFOnated pay to play adds $84,000 to Scott Walker's campaign fund in 2011.  (10/7/2015)
Pay to play the payday way.  (7/5/2015)
From the pay-to-play archives: Grebe Pere, Grebe Fils.  (5/23/2015)
Appleton Post-Crescent Editorial Board All But Puts a Dunce Cap on the Head of Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc).  (1/24/2014)

UPDATE: Snubbed GOP Assembly rep wants to punish sanctuary cities

Reported in State Republicans reintroduce proposal to penalize sanctuary cities.  (, 2/3/2017)
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, said Brandtjen’s bill is “a way to put the machinery in place for mass deportations and profiling.” 
She said it doesn’t promote safety, because it makes immigrants afraid to contact police to report crimes, and it also infringes on a local government’s constitutional right under the 10th Amendment not to enforce federal law.

Other Janel posts:
Planned Parenthood defunding queen Janel Brandtjen peddles patently false information.  (9/8/2016)
State Assembly races: 3 suburban Milwaukee Republicans running unopposed.  (7/19/2016)
UPDATE: Gasket-blowin' Bob Gannon brings his own stir stick to cauldron of fear.  (6/9/2016)
Dear Janel Brandtjen, the American Academy of Pediatrics has 64,000 members.  (9/15/2015)

Original 12/9/2016 post, "Thank you, Robin Vos, for snubbing these 3 nutburgers for committee chair assignments", starts here.

Clearly, you have gubernatorial aspirations.

Three Assembly conservatives hit back at Robin Vos for committee leadership snubs.  (, 12/9/2016)
Vos did not immediately respond to the criticism Thursday. Earlier in the week, top Republicans, including Vos and two GOP senators, Duey Stroebel and Chris Kapenga [2 of the top nutburgers in the State Senate], clashed on whether lawmakers should consider increasing gas taxes or vehicle registration fees in the next legislative session.

The chronciles of

UPDATE. Wisconsin GOP play fast and loose with taxpayer dollars

Photo source:  Twitter

Reported in GOP lawmakers to write blank check to hire lawyers.  (, 2/2/2017)
$800 an hour?  $1300?  Nobody is quite sure.  Likely to be more than just 1 check.  Maybe folks should contact these legislators and ask them to explain why they took this unconscionable action.  The Assembly Republicans who approved hiring the law firms were Vos, Steineke, Knodl, Brooks and Speaker Pro Tem Tyler August of Lake Geneva. The Senate Republicans signing off on it were Fitzgerald, Senate President Roger Roth of Appleton and Leah Vukmir of Brookfield.

Original 2/2/2017 post, "Wisconsin redistricting:  Foot-dragging Republicans take closed-door approach in fight against judge's ruling".

Reported in Wisconsin GOP to hire law firms to defend redistricting.  (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/1/2017)

No surprises here.  Wisconsin GOP legislators have always preferred to keep a cloak of secrecy over the redistricting process, as they did to insure Van Wanggaard's return to the Senate.

The current 21st State Senate District no longer includes the city of Racine, with its 22.6% black and 20.7% Hispanic population.  (The orange line represents I-94, i.e., a physically, socioeconomically, and politically significant line of demarcation.)

The previous 21st State Senate District included the city of Racine and didn't extend into Kenosha County.

Reported in Senator: No redistricting reform. (Racine Journal Times, 9/13/2015)

Related reading:
PolitiFact:  Lehman says new state Senate district was drawn in secret for Wanggaard within half a block of his house.  (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/26/2012)

Related posts:
Wisconsin redistricting: Judges saw evidence, reached obvious conclusion, part 1.  (1/28/2017)
Part 2.  (1/28/2017)
Part 3.  (1/28/2017)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pat Buchanan airs the GOP's dirty little secret about immigration 'reform'

As opined (in italics) in What Trump's Wall Says to the World (Patrick J. Buchanan, the Official Website)
Selectively.  Very selectively.  President Trump’s wall is a statement to the world: This is our country. We decide who comes here. And we will defend our borders.

Related post:
Expect no less from Pat Buchanan b/w Old white man freaks out about diversity.  (2/2/2017)

Expect no less from Pat Buchanan b/w Old white man freaks out about diversity

Pat Buchanan served as White House adviser and speechwriter to President Richard Nixon.   He is credited with coining the phrase "The Silent Majority".

Source:  Wikipedia

As opined (in italics) in What Trump's Wall Says to the World (Patrick J. Buchanan, the Official Website)

UPDATE. Framing done, window installation and interior work underway at Boulevard Apartments in Shorewood Hills

From the University Avenue median

With a University Avenue perspective

  The building's shady backside

What you'll pay to live here.  A 513-square-foot studio/1 bath is priced at $1235-$1260/month.  The largest unit, a 959-square-foot, 1-bed/1-bath lists at "from $1825/mo."

10/26/2016 update, "Ready to begin framing of Boulevard Apartments on University Avenue in Shorewood Hills", starts here.

Photo by Retiring Guy

9/13/2016 update, "Boulevard Apartments to rise on former site of AT&T Plaza on University Avenue", starts here.

Photos by Retiring Guy

Original 8/14/2016 post, "Now you see it, now you don't:  AT&T Plaza in Shorewood Hills", starts here.

Sunday, July 17

Friday, August 12

From The Village Bulletin, August 2015
The proposed Flad Development project involves razing the current ATT Plaza at the Shorewood Boulevard entry to the Village and constructing a four story mixed use building, with the fourth story recessed. It will consist of 36 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail. The building will be setback about nineteen feet off of University Avenue and 51 feet from the corner of University Avenue and Shorewood Boulevard.

UPDATE: New Wisconsin DOT building from afar, up close

Hoyt Park panorama

Zooming in a bit.  Taller cluster of buildings, left to right:  current DOT building, new DOT building under construction, Venture apartments, Weston Place (a.k.a. the Ghost Condo).

About as close up as I can get and keep the building in the frame.  The new building contains 600,000 square feet of space compared to 368,000 square feet in the current building.  The finished project will result in the moving and consolidation of 29 state offices.

Green arrow shows the approximate point where the first 2 photos were taken.

1/16/2017 latest pics update starts here.

Through the windshield.  Approaching from the west on University Avenue.

Two views from the parking lot on the east side of the complex.

12/22/2016 update, "Cladding of the new Wisconsin DOT building begins", starts here.

Photos by Retiring Guy

Stepping back to include the parking ramp in the frame.

11/10/2016 update, "Late afternoon sun illuminates new DOT office building", starts here.

Photo by Retiring Guy

10/22/2016 update, "View of new DOT building construction from reserved executive parking spaces", starts here.

Wisconsin Department of Administration State Building Program

Photo by Retiring Guy

10/3/2016 update, " Gray cloud looms over new DOT building, which, in turn, looms over University Avenue", starts here.

9/12/2016 update, "New DOT building in Madison is looming large", starts here.

9/2/2016 update, "New DOT building in Madison with rabbit ears", starts here.

With new Hill Farms building to open in 2018, state preparing to consolidate Madison offices.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 6/13/2016)
The plan reduces by 15 the number of state leases in privately owned buildings scattered throughout Madison, saving taxpayers more than $3 million a year in rent, maintenance and energy costs, according to the Department of Administration. 
In moving and consolidating 29 offices, the state will occupy 86,000 less square feet of office space. It also will reduce its leased office space by 178,637 square feet — about 17 percent of its total leased space in Madison, excluding the university. That includes nearly 103,422 square feet Downtown.

8/5/2016 update starts here.

From across Sheboygan Avenue.

From the parking lot on the Segoe Road side of the parcel.

The obligatory video update.

7/19/2016.  Even more progress on the parking ramp.

6/24/2016.  Further progress on the parking ramp.

June 9, 2016.  Quite a bit of construction progress in less than a month.

May 19, 2016, update starts here.

It's been 2 weeks since my previous visit.


May 3, 2016.  Latest video installment shows a week's worth of progress.


4/25/2015 update starts here.

Walls rising above ground.


The foundation walls are going up.  (The shadow of the current DOT building looms over the scene.)


2/16/2016 update, "Construction of new state office building underway at Hill Farms", begins here.,

Rendering:  WI Department of Administration

Finance committee gives final OK to new Hill Farms state office building.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 10/16/2015)
The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved the sale of 13.9 acres of the Hill Farms site between Sheboygan and University avenues and 4.4 acres at 801 W. Badger Road, both of which would be developed privately as part of a master agreement with developer Smith Gilbane. The committee voted 14-1 with one member absent. Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, cast the lone no vote.

Project specifics:
  • Cost:  $186,000,000
    • $150,000,000 office building
    • $  36,000,000 parking ramp
  • Size:  9-story office building encompassing 600,000 square feet

The current, 57-year-old Hill Farms building houses the Department of Transportation.

All photos by Retiring Guy

A view from across Sheboygan Avenue

At this point in the construction timeline, excavation is underway.

The original 7/10/2014 post begins here.

State lists properties that are good prospects to sell.  (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/1/2014)

What's under considerationExcess acreage near the Department of Transportation's headquarters, which sits on prime commercial real estate in Madison.

Which excess acreage?

Along University Avenue?

Not likely, as there is no direct access from University.

Off Sheboygan Avenue, west of the DOT building?

Visitor parking.  Not that it couldn't be relocated.

Along Segoe Road?

If I were a developer, this would be my choice.  It's closest to Hilldale Shopping Center. And the parking lot appears to be underused.

Other State Buildings for Sale posts:
The Knapp House.  (7/2/2014)
Wiscraft Industries.  (7/4/2014)
Northern Wisconsin Center.  (7/6/2014)
Ethan Allen School.  (7/7/2014)
Badger Road State Office Building.  (7/8/2014)