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Scuba

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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 46,491

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Groundwater: Diminishing Resource, Increasing Conflict

Scott Walker's DNR limits its own power to regulate high-capacity wells.


http://www.wisbar.org/NewsPublications/WisconsinLawyer/Pages/Article.aspx?Volume=88&Issue=7&ArticleID=24218

Wisconsin’s waters have been protected since before it was a state. The concept of the public trust doctrine, or the state holding navigable waters in trust so they remain forever free and open to the public, was passed down from the Northwest Ordinance to the Wisconsin Constitution, article IX, section 1.1 State statutes have since been crafted to protect Wisconsin’s groundwater and surface water and to give the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) primary responsibility for overseeing this resource.

But Wisconsin’s waters are facing a threat: they are being dried from the bottom up. As high-capacity wells proliferate in Wisconsin, water in groundwater-fed streams and lakes is being diverted to these wells beneath the surface, reducing surface water levels and stream flows. At the same time, the DNR has been working to implement Lake Beulah Management District v. DNR, the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that held the DNR “has the authority and a general duty to consider whether a proposed high capacity well may harm waters of the state.”2

...



Both the number of well applications and the amount of water pumped have increased over time. In 2013, total withdrawals for irrigation statewide were 101 billion gallons; in 2012, which saw a summer drought, withdrawals reached 135 billion gallons.11 Research has connected these withdrawals to flow reductions and drying of streams and lakes in the Central Sands, beyond effects attributable to climate or natural fluctuations. For example, Long Lake in Plainfield, which previously had a maximum depth of approximately 10 feet, dried completely in 2006. The Little Plover River, a high-quality trout stream, was near dry in 2003 and has dried annually in stretches since 2005.12

...

Yet the DNR contended that it lacked authority to consider cumulative impacts in individual permit decisions. The agency’s chief argument cited the “modified reasonable use doctrine” in State v. Michaels Pipeline, a public-nuisance case filed on behalf of homeowners who experienced property damage and dried wells as a result of dewatering for a sewer pipe installation project.19 The decision rejected the prior rule of nonliability for virtually any use of groundwater, instead holding that withdrawals may trigger liability if they cause unreasonable harm by lowering the water table or reducing artesian pressure. Because the case discussed and recognized liability in terms of substantial harm caused by an individual water user, the DNR argued it could not deny a permit based on harm caused by multiple other water users.

Republican candidates love to park their campaign money at a Virginia bank with one branch

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-07-22/where-candidates-stash-their-cash


Chain Bridge Bank’s single ­location is next to a wine store and a café on the ground floor of a luxury condo building in suburban McLean, Va., about a half-hour outside downtown Washington. It looks like any small-town bank. Tellers keep bowls of candy at their windows, and staff members talk to customers about no-fee checking accounts. But right now, Chain Bridge, which has about 40 employees, is responsible for more of the hundreds of millions of dollars flooding into the 2016 presidential race than any other bank in the country.

According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, Chain Bridge is the sole bank serving Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, which reported raising $11.4 million as of June 30, and his allied super-PAC, Right to Rise, which says it’s raised $103 million so far. Donald Trump’s campaign banks at Chain Bridge, and it’s listed as the primary financial institution for the campaigns of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Texas Governor Rick Perry. It’s also the only bank used by super-PACs supporting neurosurgeon and author Ben Carson, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former technology executive Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, all Republicans.

Founded in 2007, Chain Bridge served John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008 and Mitt Romney’s in 2012. House Speaker John Boehner keeps ­fundraising accounts there; so does the Republican National Committee. It’s also served political action committees for Altria Group, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. “The largest issue that we would always have with people is that they’d be like, ‘Why would we use this Podunk little bank in McLean, Virginia?’ ” says Bradley Crate, Romney’s 2012 chief financial officer. He routinely refers clients of his consulting firm Red Curve Solutions to the bank, including both Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Trump. Chain Bridge offers services tailored to the idiosyncrasies of campaigns, which deposit and then spend enormous sums quickly, with no credit history to lean on. “I know I can call my contacts at Chain Bridge Bank and have an account open in like 15 minutes,” Crate says. “If you go to a much larger bank, you have a ­bureaucracy you have to deal with.”

...

None are as dependent on their political business as Chain Bridge. Its deposits tend to swell in election years and dissipate as soon as ballots are cast. Its 2013 annual report made reference to the phenomenon to explain one reason its earnings fell 3 percent that year: “Average earning assets in 2012 were inflated due to seasonal deposit balances.” The bank’s recovery comes earlier and earlier with each campaign cycle. In the fourth quarter of 2014, deposits fell 13 percent. By March the bank had more deposits and had grown larger by assets than at any point in its history. “It’s the rise of the super-PACs,” says Fitzgerald, who was one of only a dozen Senate Republicans to vote in favor of McCain’s 2002 campaign finance reform. Co-authored with former Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, the legislation barred corporations and wealthy individuals from making large contributions to party committees.

What's the difference between an angry, hostile, bitter mass killer and a right-wing conservative?

One kills people quickly, the other kills them slowly.

At ALEC meeting in California, Scott Walker touts Wisconsin laws

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/scott-walker-in-california-at-alec-meeting-b99543477z1-318296781.html

In California on Thursday, presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker addressed the annual meeting of a conservative state lawmakers' group, touting laws adopted in his state that the group is working to pass elsewhere.

The American Legislative Exchange Council has backed a number of the policies passed by Walker and GOP lawmakers, such as limiting liability for businesses in lawsuits and prohibiting unions and employers from requiring labor dues as a condition of employment, also known as right-to-work.

ALEC brings together lawmakers and outside groups such as corporations to advance a conservative agenda in statehouses around the country, drawing praise from Republicans and criticism from Democrats. "I'm for real reform in Washington. I know it can work. It's worked in our state," Walker told a cheering audience Thursday.

...

Walker also touted his support for taxpayer funding for private voucher schools, a longtime priority for ALEC.

Scott Walker says public has no right to some records on key issues

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/robin-vos-pushed-for-open-records-overhaul-records-show-b99543456z1-318294111.html


Madison— State documents show Gov. Scott Walker's administration contends it doesn't have to release some internal discussions on four key issues even though the White House hopeful has said trying to rewrite the open records law to allow holding back documents in such cases was a "huge mistake."

According to newly released documents, the Republican governor's office and his Department of Administration in May issued a dozen letters to news organizations and others denying access to records because they claimed doing so could inhibit the free exchange of ideas. State law does not explicitly recognize that as a reason for withholding records. In the following weeks, aides to Walker — who is now running for president — worked with GOP lawmakers to try to rewrite the law so they could use that rationale for keeping the public from learning about internal deliberations.

...

Administration records have been withheld because they included internal deliberations 12 times, according to newly released records. Most of them related to a provision of the state budget that would have removed from the mission statement of the state university system the Wisconsin Idea, the venerable notion that says the university's aim is to improve the lives of people in all corners of the state.

But three other sets of records are being held back on the same grounds. One deals with emails to or from then-Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch regarding the state Department of Public Instruction. Another deals with a proposal to change how property assessments are done. And the last relates to the Walker administration's attempt to make changes to the long-term care program known as IRIS, which stands for Include, Respect, I Self-Direct.

(Scott Walker's WEDC) Agency gave loan to entrepreneur in case with 'earmarks of fraud'

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/agency-gave-loan-to-entrepreneur-in-case-with-earmarks-of-fraud-b99542807z1-318218021.html


Madison— The state's jobs agency gave a Wisconsin businessman a $1 million loan from taxpayers in December 2012, nine months after a federal judge wrote in a public order that other deals involving the entrepreneur had "all the earmarks of fraud."

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. knew about the federal lawsuit and the fact that businessman Tim Flaherty had been added to it as a defendant months before the agency made its loan. Now that loan to Flaherty and his Oconto County business, North American Finishing LLC, has gone sour, and WEDC had to file its own suit in state court in April to seek the return of the money.

...

"We have undocumented and unexplained loans for large sums among parties at less than arms' length; consulting fees or commissions whose character differs based upon who is testifying; mysterious, unusually large payments for 'office space' in a personal residence in a remote location; family trusts; (and) sales of notes at markedly less than face value with no documentation," Griesbach wrote in the order.

WEDC has faced frequent questions about its practices since its creation by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and lawmakers in July 2011. Walker recently signed legislation ending his four-year tenure as WEDC's chairman, a move that may end up distancing Walker from the agency as he pursues a presidential run.

DU Pulse Check Revisited

If the Democratic Presidential Primary was held today, for whom would you vote?

Jeb Bush: “My plan to invade Iraq is about heritage, not oil.”

Scott Walker: “I’ll tear up the Iran deal on Day One. But don’t worry, Iran won’t dare build nukes after what I did to tenured professors.”


No, I don’t need a Trump 2016 bumper sticker; I already have truck nuts.


I love Donald Trump’s idea of a border wall so big you can see it from space. It’ll be the hugest, classiest Maginot Line ever built.


Trump was asked if he owed McCain an apology.
He said no.
Of course If Trump thought he actually owed anybody he'd just file for bankruptcy




https://twitter.com/TeaPartyCat

“We passed Castle Doctrine and concealed carry. And we now require a photo ID to vote ..."

http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/07/188220/scott-walker%E2%80%99s-racist-announcement


Walker’s biggest applause lines came when he took credit for a series of “reforms” that he passed in Wisconsin that had nothing to do with improving the economy or the general welfare in the state: “We defunded Planned Parenthood and enacted pro-life legislation,” he declared. “We passed Castle Doctrine and concealed carry. And we now require a photo ID to vote in the State of Wisconsin.” The crowd went wild.

...

Walker also touted the provision in the budget he just signed requiring people who get food stamps and unemployment benefits to undergo a drug test. Drug testing welfare recipients brought the Waukesha crowd to its feet. Listening to Walker rev up the Waukesha crowd, in the heart of rightwing talk radioland, where the politics of divide and conquer got their start, was instructive.

Just as Donald Trump got a bump for calling a spade a spade with his racist attack on Mexican immigrants, Walker, in his announcement, was speaking to a strain of race-baiting in the white suburbs of Milwaukee that has played a significant role in his political rise.

...

But as Alec MacGillis wrote in a terrific cover story for The New Republic, Walker’s rise, and the whole rightwing takeover of Wisconsin politics, has been fueled by the very powerful and explicitly racist radio talkers from the suburbs of Milwaukee. And in his announcement speech, you could hear Walker tuning up the dog whistle for that same group.

Haste, Hustle and Scott Walker

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/opinion/frank-bruni-haste-hustle-and-scott-walker.html?_r=1

In the formal announcement of his presidential campaign on Monday, Scott Walker mentioned God right away, introduced himself as a preacher’s son and invoked religion repeatedly, as he has throughout a perpetual candidacy that stretches back to his college days, when he told the Marquette University yearbook: “I really think there’s a reason why God put all these political thoughts in my head.”

But what I see in him is the kind of soullessness too common in American politicians and the kind of careerism that makes American politics such a dreary spectacle. I see an ambition even more pronounced than any ideology. I see an interest in personal advancement that eclipses any investment in personal growth. These are hardly unusual traits in our halls of government. But they’re distilled in Walker, the governor of Wisconsin.

...

He tailors his persona to the race at hand. To win his second term as governor of Wisconsin and thus be able to crow, as he’s doing now, about the triumph of a conservative politician “in a blue state,” he played down his opposition to abortion, signaled resignation to same-sex marriage and explicitly supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

But with his current focus on the Iowa caucuses, he no longer supports a path to citizenship, flaunts his anti-abortion credentials and has called for a constitutional amendment permitting states to outlaw same-sex marriage. He even has a newfound affection for ethanol.
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