Saturday, August 3, 2013

A New Look Shaping Up at the Intersection of Mineral Point and Junction Roads

During numerous trips to Menard's this spring and summer, I tried to visualize the end result of the massive road reconstruction project taking place at the intersection of Mineral Point and Junction Roads.   Thanks to these renderings at Roadworks Project at the City of Madison's website, I now have a clear picture.

The project, which got underway last fall, involves a partnership among the City of Madison, Dane County, and Wisconsin Department of Transportation.  It is designed to address growing traffic congestion (which became so bad years ago that I learned to avoid this area at certain times of the day and week), and to improve access for pedestrians, bicyclists, and riders of public transit.

Dane County Partners for Recreation and Conservation (PARC) Program

Along the Tiedeman Pond trail at sunset
Photo credit:  Retiring Guy

City could get $36,000 in county grant money for Lakeview and Tiedeman project.  (Middleton Times-Tribune, 7/16/2013)


Friday, August 2, 2013

Scott Walker's Mantra

I'll take some of what Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is drinking

Official touts delivery of wine, spirits to bolster USPS. (Sheboygan Press, 8/1/2013)

The United States Postal Service lost $16 billion during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012.

Postal Service Posts $1.9 Billion Loss in Second Quarter.  (The New York Times, 5/10/2013)

Excerpt:   Officials said the Postal Service continues to lose $25 million a day as it waits for Congress to pass legislation to overhaul the postal system.

Donahoe's to-do-list
1.  Find revenue enhancements for remaining 363 days of the year.

The Money Link Between Scott Walker and 2 Contributors to the National Governors Association Conference

Cost of sponsoring governors meeting kept under wraps.  Various groups make contributions, but amounts not available. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/1/2013)

Excerpt: Several of the organizations that have provided financial backing for the event have links with Gov. Scott Walker, including the Bradley Foundation.

I'd say!

Bradley Foundation employees love that Scott Walker guy.  To the tune of  $21,050 since 2008, during which time Tom Barrett received $300.

And I'm sure Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) appreciated the $5,000 contribution from Michael Grebe, drawing the $100 his colleague Polly Morris gave to Democrat Sandy Pasch.

Also mentioned in the article:  Kapur & Associates,

Feel the red love.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dueling Church Signs? Sorry, Folks, There's Nothing Awesome About This

Two Neighboring Churches Disagree–Then THIS Awesomeness Happens! (Americans Against the Tea Party, 7/30/2013)

Also representing, in this case, Americans Against Fact-Checking.

Design #11

Design #5

Madison, Wisconsin: "Studious readers of city meeting agendas" make shocking discovery

Discontinue services at the Ashman Branch Library?

That is shocking!

District 19 Alder Mark Clear assures his constituents that "No, we are not closing the Ashman library."

He then explains why this proposal was prepared.

As directed by the mayor, library staff have developed a contingency plan to show how they would cut 3% from their budget should it be necessary. To meet that target, staff recommends closing the Ashman Branch library at Old Sauk and High Point.

I'm cautious but confident that such a calamity will not be necessary.

So let's put this contingency in perspective.

If Ashman were a standalone library, its 2012 circulation would have placed it in the top 25.

23.  West Bend Community Library - 570,205
24.  Alicia Ashman Library                - 545,624
25.  McMillan Memorial Library         - 541,338

As long as we're at it, let's take a look at 2 other circulation comparisons.

12.  Oshkosh Public Library - 1,040,892
13.  Sequoya                          -    980,012
14.  Neenah Public Library   -    962,756

19.  Brookfield Public Library   - 708,760
20.  Pinney                                  - 687,087
21.  Sun Prairie Public Library  - 670,133

In the News: Visions Nightclub

Visions Nightclub Ordered to Paint-over Stripper SignVisions Nightclub Ordered to Paint-over Stripper Sign. (City of Madison news release, 8/1/2013)

Just these 2.

Scott Walker Lunch Meat in Pew Research 2016 Presidential Candidate "Favorability" Poll

Whither the GOP? Republicans Want Change, But Split over Party’s Direction. (Pew Research, 7/31/2013)

Scott Walker. Not even mentioned in a sidebar.


Get wired or wither: GOP must overhaul digital operations to avoid future Election Day disasters. (Washington Times, 3/27/2013)

Some might say the problem goes deeper than digital operations. In fact, in the above-cited Pew Research poll of Republican and Republican-leaning, 67% agreed with the statement "needs to address major problems" and 59% agreed with the statement "also needs to reconsider some positions" in order to do better in future Presidential elections.

Powell tells GOP: ‘Reach out’ or wither. (Spokane Spokesman-Review, 5/29/2009)

Advice not taken.

Whither goes the GOP? To wither?. (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/12/2009)

Four years later, the withering of the California GOP continues.

A Look at Wisconsin Public Library Revenues, Municipal and County, 1991-2011

Source of all data in this post: Wisconsin Public Library Service Data.

1999.  First full year that Act 150 was in effect.

2008.  Although signed into law on May 26, 2006, Act 420 went into effect on January 1, 2008.

The total percentage of municipal and county revenues has remained stable since 1990.
  • 81.6% in 1990
  • 81.9% in 2011

Municipal revenue has decreased by 4.9 percentage points since 1990.

County revenue has increased by 5.2 percentage points since 1990.

The following column graph shows an obvious bump in revenue in the two years (2000, 2001) following the 1st full year of Act 150's enactment.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beloit Daily News Headline Writer Jumps to a Hasty Conclusion

Excerpt:   Walker made the comments at a Monday speech to the Governmental Research Association.  But his spokesman on Tuesday quickly backed away from them, saying Walker had no intention of pursuing such a proposal.

In other words, the headline should read,

Walker mouthpiece backs away from statement about unions

Otherwise, it's a leap of faith.

Scott Walker Gets Ahead of His Team -- or So We're Led to Believe

Scott Walker creates stir with talk of stripping police and firefighter union rights. (Wisconsin State Journal, 7/31/2013)

Walker sez, in his usual convoluted fashion,“I think now, for those areas, having seen that the world didn’t come to an end for other municipal employees, there might be a greater opening going forward because they’d say, ‘Hey, you know, things worked out’”

Kit Beyer, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, sez, “There has not been any caucus discussion on the topic of expansion.”

Dan Romportl, chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, sez, "Senate Republicans have not discussed it as a full caucus, and there are no plans to discuss it in the near future.”

"Near future"?


Between now and the 3 fall floor periods?

Back to the future?

Legislator Wishes Departing UW President Kevin Reilly Well With Abundant White Space in News Release

The message itself is a brief 57 words. Hardly seems worth the effort.

Well, Rep. Strachota, whose daughter graduated from UW-Madison (date not specified in the article), was among the grandstanding, hyperbolic chorus of voices calling for blood when it was reported that UW has some cash reserves in its budget.

"I felt like someone stuck a knife in my stomach when this happened." she said, her voice, perhaps, straining with emotion while her hands clutched her midsection.

With at least one son attending a UW campus since the fall of 2006, I didn't have the same reaction.  In my view, the Walker administration's continuing efforts to starve public education at all levels makes the need for budget reserves a necessity.

New York Times Sez This Cookbook Has All the Right Ingredients

#23 best-selling book at Amazon
55 holds on 12 copies in LINKcat

'Jerusalem' Has All the Right Ingredients.  (The New York Times, 7/30/2013)

Excerpt:    The book’s recipes are traditional in Jerusalem, or loosely inspired by the city, gathering influences from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish cooks who live there, with flavors from almost everywhere else: Iran, Poland, Syria, Italy. Many of them have long lists of ingredients, including spices like sumac and za’atar, and are based on vegetables and grains. Chickpeas, lamb, eggplant and eggs turn up over and over again. 

None of this would suggest a formula for instant success.

Reza Aslan Has the #1 Book on Amazon and Lauren Green Still Has a Job with Fox News

Odd Fox News Interview Lifts Reza Aslan’s Biography on Jesus. (The New York Times, 7/29/2013)

You can watch it for yourself.

And no, Dan, the reaction to this interview has nothing to do with liberal bias.  It is truly an egregious piece of journalism by Lauren Green.

Quote is from The New York Times article

As of this writing, 178 holds on 8 copies in LINKcat

In the News: Wisconsin Agricultural Education & Workforce Development Council (WAEWDC)

Wisconsin's Agriculture Industry Struggles To Fill Open Positions. (Wisconsin Public Radio News, 7/30/2013)

According to the article, 10% of Wisconsin's 35,000 agricultural jobs are unfilled.

WAEWDC vision. Grow Wisconsin’s ability to compete by creating a stronger and sustainable workforce.

WAEWDC mission.  Attract, develop and retain the premium workforce required to Grow Wisconsin’s agricultural industry, food, and natural resource systems.

WAEWDC objectives.
  1. Implement the recommendations of the Secretary’s Panel on Agricultural Education. 
  2. Work closely with the “Grow Wisconsin” job creation initiative. 
  3. Support research related to agricultural employment and educational needs. 
  4. Mobilize new and innovative agricultural education programs and projects. 
  5. Recommend policies and initiatives to improve agricultural education and workforce development. 
  6. Promote recruitment, training and retention of qualified workers. 
  7. Encourage youth to pursue related careers. 
  8. Serve as an advocate for agricultural workforce diversity. 
  9. Advocate for and promote public and private funding for agricultural education and employee development programs. 
  10. Encourage and facilitate public-private partnerships and coalitions. 
  11. Promote strong agricultural programs in the state educational systems at all levels. 
  12. Support recruitment, training and professional development of agricultural educators and leaders.

Georgia's Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus

Photo course:

And what a surprise!

The group  is an exclusive club of 5 white Republicans.

Wonder what they have to say about this situation.

With Too Much Rain in the South, Too Little Produce on the Shelves. (The New York Times, 7/29/2013)

Particularly since much of Georgia was suffering from extreme drought just a year ago.

Apparently, the 5 gentlemen pictured above kept their mouths shut for this article.

Georgia officials give drought the silent treatment.  (Los Angeles Times, 9/16/2012)

And I suspect they continue to ignore observations such as these shared in the New York Times article.

“Nobody’s ever seen it this wet this long.”  Randy Ellis, a Georgia farmer.

“This is something that has never been on our radar"  Duke Lane Jr., Georgia peach and pecan grower.

Statistics-wise, Albert Pujols is Going Down

Angels Pay Heavy Price for Gamble on Pujols.  (The New York Times, 7/29/2013)

The print edition of the Times includes the headline "BROKEN BATTER" within a half-page photo of Pujols sitting alone in the dugout, staring off into space..

Albert Pujols was 31 years old at the time the Los Angeles Angels offered him a 10-year, $240 million contract.  Bone-headed move, I thought from the start.

And I have plenty of company on this one.

According to the Bleacher Report, the Angels' largesse ranks number uno as Major League Baseball's worst free-agent contract ever.

His batting average has dropped almost 100 points since his 2008 MVP season.

But don't worry sports fans, money-wise, Pujols is singing a different tune.

Gives New Meaning to Booking a Room

Hotels Add Libraries as Amenity to Keep Guests Inside. (The New York Times, 7/29/2013)

Excerpt:   Reading material in many hotel rooms has become about as spare as it can be — open the desk drawer and it might hold a Gideon Bible and a Yellow Pages. 

But some hotels are giving the humble book another look, as they search for ways to persuade guests, particularly younger ones, to spend more time in their lobbies and bars. They are increasingly stocking books in a central location, designating book suites or playing host to author readings. While the trend began at boutique hotels like the Library Hotel in New York, the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Ore., and the Study at Yale in New Haven, it is expanding to chain hotels.

Related articles:

Hotel libraries:  Shelf life.  (The Economist, 5/8/2013)

Excerpt:  This is why I’m rather taken with the work of a company called the Ultimate Library, which chooses and supplies books on behalf of its hotel clients for use in library, lounge and individual rooms.

Hotels add libraries for gadget-laden guests.  (USA Today, 1/11/2013)

Excerpt:   It's not a fancy or particularly extensive library, but book lovers and history buffs alike may like the fact that they can pick up a copy of Pride and Prejudice or a vintage, leather-bound volume of United States Supreme Court Reports and sit on the tufted couch to flip the pages.  (Capitol Hill Hotel)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And Throw in a Few Little Free Libraries for Good Measure

Six of 22 Miami-Dade libraries could be saved from chopping block. (Miami Herald, 7/30/2013)

Excerpt: The library department faces a $20 million shortfall, he [Mayor Carlos Gimenez] noted, and must continue its shift from focusing on hard-copy books to providing access to materials available in electronic format. There are more than 2,700 desktop and laptop computers in the county’s libraries, according to the mayor’s memo. 

With some libraries closing, county parks could perhaps offer Internet access, he added. Administrators are planning to open 11 “community connection labs” across Miami-Dade, which they will map with consideration of existing library locations, looking for any service gaps.

Save the Miami-Dade Public Libraries.

Support the Santa Clara County Library District: Vote "Yes" on Measure A

Of course, you have to be a resident of the library's service area in order to vote.  But the rest of us can still root for a big win.


Library tax: Santa Clara County libraries need continued support. (San Jose Mercury News, 7/29/2013)

Excerpt:    The current tax, which will expire unless voters approve Measure A, accounts for 18 percent of library revenue. This ongoing funding is needed as much today as it was two decades ago. It goes specifically to maintain hours and add books and other material to the collection.

The measure passed in 2005 -- with some breathing room.

Scott Walker Makes the List Because He's a "Peculiar Politician"

2016 Presidential Candidates: 7 Republicans With the Most Momentum. (policymic, 6/20/2013)

Meanwhile, here's what Public Policy Polling had to say about Marco Rubio the other day.

Rounding out the frontrunners is Marco Rubio, who continues to slide in the polls, pulling in 10%. This is less than half of the 21% of the vote he received back in April.

Related posts:
Scott Walker as chopped liver in this 2016 Republican Presidential candidate preference poll.  (7/30/2013)
Cruz-mania infects the Republican base.  (7/23/2013)
Wonder why the Republicans continue to obsess over Benghazi?  (5/12/2013)
Larry Sabato crowns Scott Walker as GOP's Great White Hope.  (4/18/2013)
CPAC doesn't see much in Scott Walker.  (3/16/2013)
Appleton Post-Crescent editorial board thinks Scott Walker should be talkin' to us, right here in Wisconsin.  (11/18/2013)
Scott Walker gets shut out again in the 2016 Republican Presidential sweepstakes.  (11/17/2013)

Scott Walker as Chopped Liver in This 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Preference Poll

He doesn't even make the cut.

Paul leads GOP primary, but Christie best bet against Clinton.  (Public Policy Polling, 7/25/2013)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Does This Sign Reflect Your Family Values?

3337 Mishicot Road
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
(Photo taken by Retiring Guy on Sunday, July 28, 2013)

Campaign Contributions, Scott Walker, and Two Dead Governors

Area donors among country's top political givers. (Green Bay Press-Gazette, 7/27/2013)

Excerpt:   Among the generous donors: 50 Northeastern Wisconsin, who gave an average of $40,000 each to federal candidates and committees. Together they cut checks totaling $2 million — 80 percent of which went to Republican candidates and committees.

Retiring Guy notes that, nationally, these 50 northeastern Wisconsin residents are part of an elite group of 31,385 individuals.....

who account for 28% of the $6 billion in contributions raised during the 2012 election cycle.

What some called fair and balanced.

The Question Was Answered Earlier in the Article

Debate goes in circles about benefits of roundabouts. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/27/2013)

Milwaukee resident Jessica Valona:  "People just don't get it.  There should be an instructional video."

Related posts:
More Roundabout Pandering, Lack of Leadership, This Time from Rep. Gary Bies.  (7/22/2013) 
In the News: Rep. David Craig and his Pavlovian reflex to roundabouts.  (7/17/2013) 

Consumer-Controlled Television: It All Began with Sony Betamax

VCR’s Past Is Guiding Television’s Future. (The New York Times, 7/28/2013)

Excerpt:   The dawn of consumer-controlled television began with the clunky, whirring Sony Betamax in the 1970s. Networks and program providers didn’t like consumers making copies of their movies and TV shows, but a landmark Supreme Court case in 1984 held that taping and time-shifting on the part of viewers was “legitimate fair use.” 

Everything we have seen since extends from that decision to let consumers into the driver’s seat. It helps to think of the digital video recorder as more of a capability than a device.

See also
The Most Important Supreme Court Case in Copyright Law: Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (1984).  Marquette University Law School faculty blog.

Sony Corp. of America vs. Universal City Studios, Inc. 464 U.S. 417 (1984).  A 5-4 vote.