Daily Bread for 4.17.24: Big State Surplus Doesn’t Obscure Ongoing Needs

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of 64. Sunrise is 6:07 and sunset 7:40 for 13h 33m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 67.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1970, the damaged Apollo 13 spacecraft returns to Earth safely.

Wisconsin has a large general fund balance, but that multi-billion dollar figure isn’t so big that one can’t see unfilled needs behind it. Jessie Opoien reports Wisconsin’s general fund hit $6.7 billion and other takeaways from policy forum report:

The state’s general fund balance — its largest source of reserves — hit a record high of $6.7 billion by June 2023. That was a 42% increase over the previous year. 

The [Wisconsin] Policy Forum previously found that in 2020, the general fund had closed the fiscal year with a small positive balance for the first time on record — but the news came as the state grappled with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and faced a recession. The report attributes the strength of the general fund to federal aid, a resilient economy and the development of vaccines to mitigate the severity of the pandemic.

As of June 2023, the report found, Wisconsin had nearly 2.5 times more cash and liquid assets than short-term financial obligations — the highest ratio on record since 2002.


The percentage of state transportation fund revenues directed to paying off debt rose from 7% in 2002 to 18.9% in 2019. That share is projected to fall to 16.2% by 2025, thanks in part to fee increases and borrowing decreases, but transportation debt remains an issue.

“Going forward, transportation debt will likely remain an ongoing concern for Wisconsin unless lawmakers and Gov. Tony Evers identify additional revenues for the transportation fund, make the general fund transfers permanent, or sharply scale back road projects. None of these options are politically appealing, making this an issue to watch in the next state budget,” the report noted.

A large surplus, ongoing needs for road projects, but beyond that: the surplus as a surplus has only a limited value to residents who have needs and lives beyond the influence of either state budgets or state transportation projects. A surplus for the sake of a surplus isn’t productive.

It’s closer to kleptomania.

See also Wisconsin Policy Forum, A High Water Mark for State Budget?


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Daily Bread for 4.16.24: An Open Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat in ’25

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be windy with evening showers and a high of 66. Sunrise is 6:09 and sunset 7:39 for 13h 30m 30s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 57.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1945, the United States Army liberates Nazi Sonderlager (high security) prisoner-of-war camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz).

Catching up on news from last week, as Henry Redman reports Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley won’t run for re-election in 2025:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley announced Thursday morning she won’t be running for a fourth 10-year term on the bench. The announcement sets up a race for an open seat on the Court, giving conservatives a better shot at regaining their majority after liberals gained control for the first time in 15 years in 2023. 

The Supreme Court race last year, which was won handily by Justice Janet Protasiewicz over former Justice Dan Kelly, broke national records for campaign spending. In recent years, the Court has been dominated by narrow 4-3 decisions — including cases to affirm President Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020, declare absentee ballot drop boxes illegal and strike down the Republican gerrymander of the state’s political maps. The Court is also expected to soon determine the legality of abortion in the state. 

Bradley won her last re-election campaign by 16 points, yet with the Court’s increasing importance in deciding statewide issues in a state with divided government, the 2025 race is likely to be contentious. Waukesha County Judge Brad Schimel, a former Republican state attorney general, has already announced a run for the seat. 

“From the beginning of my campaign, I made it clear that I’m not just running against one person, I’m running against the Court’s leftist majority,” Schimel said in a statement. “I wish Justice Ann Walsh Bradley well in retirement after decades of public service. I look forward to continuing the fight to bring integrity and respect for the Constitution back to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.” 

It would be surprising if the race didn’t see a couple of candidates from each of the state’s main ideological camps. The most reasonable forecast (and it’s an obvious point) is that an open seat in ’25 will attract as much interest and campaign spending as the race in ’23.

Lawmakers brawl in nation of Georgia’s parliament:

Georgian lawmakers came to blows in parliament as ruling party legislators looked set to advance a controversial bill on “foreign agents” that has been criticized by Western countries and sparked protests at home.

Daily Bread for 4.15.24: Another Vanity Candidate

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 71. Sunrise is 6:10 and sunset 7:38 for 13h 27m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 47.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1861, Wisconsin Governor Alexander W. Randall received a telegram from Washington requesting one regiment of 780 men to serve the Union for three months in the Civil War. Within a week, ten companies from Kenosha, Beloit, Horican, Fond du Lac, Madison, and Milwaukee were ready.

The fall election in Wisconsin is expected to be competitive for presidential and U.S. Senate candidates. Perhaps it will be. A competitive United States Senate race, however, requires two capable candidates, not one capable candidate and a vanity candidate who sounds like he fell from a turnip truck yesterday. Nikki McCann Ramirez reports Trump-Endorsed Senate Candidate Questions if Nursing Home Residents Are Alive Enough to Vote (“If you’re in a nursing home, you only have five, six-month life expectancy,” Eric Hovde said in an interview earlier this month):

During an April 5 interview on The Guy Benson Show, Hovde, a Republican running to unseat Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, claimed that it was suspicious that some nursing homes in Wisconsin had “100-percent voting” percentages.  “Well, if you’re in a nursing home, you only have five, six-month life expectancy. Almost nobody in a nursing home is in a point to vote and you had children, adult children showing up saying, ‘Who voted for my 85 or 90-year-old father or mother?'” Hovde told Benson. 

Hovde, whose comments were first reported by Heartland Signal, is not entirely correct in his assessment of nursing home life expectancy. While it’s true that some residents die within months of entering assisted living, many live comfortably for years in long-term residential care, while others voluntarily leave nursing homes for a multitude of reasons, including a preference for in-home care. 

Regardless of how long a person stays in a nursing home, the right to vote has no age-based expiration date. Wisconsin became a focal point for election conspiracies in the aftermath of the 2020 election, including through largely baseless claims that nursing home employees had fabricated or manipulated the votes of elderly patients. 

Hovde, a banker and investor by trade, made an unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2012, and announced his second attempt to win a seat in the higher chamber in February.

Hovde is trying to explain (presumably) that some nursing home ballots are coerced, but he’s green and awkward in mixing that narrow message with a message about life expectancy. An experienced incumbent in a competitive race would not have made a mistake like Hovde’s.

Like Tim Michels before him, Hovde’s a vanity candidate, the choice of established men who assume that other established men must, as though a law of nature, be right for whatever they attempt.

It’s quite the assumption.

See also Tim Michels 2.0 Eric Hovde Announces U.S. Senate Run and Eric Hovde Should Fire His Political Consultants and Hire a Therapist.

The Hop streetcar arrives at Milwaukee’s lakefront with a new route and stop:

Daily Bread for 4.14.24: Devil’s Lake State Park | West Bluff and Tumbled Rocks Trail

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 77. Sunrise is 6:12 and sunset 7:37 for 13h 24m 58s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 37 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 2003, the Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

Devil’s Lake State Park | West Bluff and Tumbled Rocks Trail:

The Marks of Curiosity channel presents a trip to Devil’s Lake:

The West Bluff Trail is one of the best at Devil’s Lake State Park located near Baraboo, Wisconsin. This beautiful landscape has been carved by ice sheets from the last ice age and an awesome blue lake remains. Part of the Wisconsin State Park system, Devil’s Lake is one of the most popular in the state and for good reason. Swimming, hiking, rock climbing, and photography are just a few of the activities one can enjoy. Devil’s Lake include two sandy beaches named the North Beach and South Beach. Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving is popular at these locations. A 2.4 mile hiking loop can be combined from the West Bluff Trail and the Tumbled Rocks Trails.

Happy stories, including of 100 students who orchestrate a moving surprise for 99-year-old WWII veteran:

Daily Bread for 4.12.24: So Much for Conservative Populism Before MAGA

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of 58. Sunrise is 6:15 and sunset 7:34 for 13h 19m 24s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 18.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes President upon Roosevelt’s death.

When Rep. Mike Gallagher decided to resign from Congress, two longstanding conservative populists announced they were running for the open 8th Congressional District seat. See Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher Heads for the Exits and Rep. Mike Gallagher Knows that MAGA Will Be Someone Else’s Headache Soon. The two tenured WISGOP populists running in that district have now learned that tenure as conservatives doesn’t matter. It’s sycophancy to Mr. Trump that matters:

With the support of former President Donald Trump, former gas station owner Tony Wied of De Pere entered the race this week for Wisconsin’s open 8th Congressional District — making him the third Republican candidate to announce. 

Wied, who owned six Dino Stop gas stations and convenience stores in Wisconsin until he sold them in 2022, is positioning himself as an outsider, who would look to deliver the “America First change this country needs” in Congress. He officially launched his campaign at an event in Green Bay on Monday evening. 

“Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District is hungry for an America First outsider,” Wied said in a statement announcing his campaign on Tuesday morning. “For too long, career politicians have failed to deliver the results we desperately need.” 

“I look forward to earning the trust of Wisconsin voters and taking the lessons I’ve learned from three decades of operating businesses in Northeast Wisconsin to Washington, DC,” Wied added.

Two Republicans — former state Sen. Roger Roth of Appleton and current state Sen. André Jacque of De Pere — had already entered the race for the seat, which is open following the surprise departure of U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, who is set to resign next month. 

Conservative populism is roughly synonymous with MAGA, but only up to the moment the MAGA leader decides otherwise. Afterward, as Jacque and Roth have now learned, past tenure as an ideological stalwart melts before the MAGA leader’s personal preferences.

Japan to give DC more cherry trees:

Daily Bread for 4.9.24: Competitive Legislative Races Return to Wisconsin

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 60. Sunrise is 6:20 and sunset 7:31 for 13h 10m 59s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1860, on his phonautograph machine, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville makes the oldest known recording of an audible human voice.

Wisconsin has new legislative maps, and although maps do not elect candiates, there’s reason to believe that the extreme gerrymandering begun in the Walker years will give way to a more representative set of legislative districts. In the New York Times, Julie Bosman reports (open link) Fierce Races Loom With Wisconsin’s New Political Maps (‘The new legislative maps reflect a near split between Republican- and Democratic-leaning districts. For more than a decade, earlier maps had helped Republicans hold power’: 

Yee Leng Xiong, a 29-year-old nonprofit executive, has been an elected official in Wisconsin since he was a teenager. From a north central county known for ginseng farming and downhill skiing, he has served on the local school board, the Marathon County Board and the village board of trustees in Weston, population 15,000.

But he is a Democrat, and running for a seat in the State Legislature in a solidly Republican district had always seemed a little outlandish.

Until this year.

In February, new legislative maps in Wisconsin were signed into law after more than a decade of partisan wrangling and legal battles. The new maps undid the gerrymander that had helped Republicans keep control of both state legislative chambers since 2012. The 85th Assembly District in Marathon County, where Mr. Xiong lives, is no longer a Republican-leaning seat: It is a tossup.

“This idea came to reality when the maps changed,” Mr. Xiong said in an interview last month.


The state’s residents have long been a close mix of Democrats and Republicans, which makes Wisconsin a crucial swing state in presidential elections and means statewide races are often fiercely contested. The reshaping of the maps is expected to suddenly return many legislative races to the realm of true competition as well.

After more than a decade of languishing in the minority in the State Legislature, Democrats are now in a position to vie for political power with the Republicans, who currently hold about two-thirds of the seats in both the Senate and the Assembly.

Competitive races do not assure outcomes — they are, after all, competitive not prohibitive races. And yet, and yet, competitive races can work their will on candidates, forcing them (if they wish to win) to take positions acceptable to the more balanced electorates in their districts.

It’s been a long time since most WISGOP legislative candidates had to compete earnestly in their districts. They’re going to have to learn compromise and persuasion all over again.

Not so easy for those legislators who’ve lived a troll’s life for a decade.

Daily Bread for 4.2.24: Wisconsin’s Economy and Perceptions of It

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 40. Sunrise is 6:32 and sunset 7:23 for 12h 50m 59s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 48 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1865, defeat at the Third Battle of Petersburg forces the Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederate government to abandon Richmond, Virginia.

An improving economy will not reach everyone simultaneously, as quickly as one would hope, or even feel like it has arrived after it does. 

Of those not  reached (and worse for not having been reached), Natalie Eilbert reports Wisconsin’s homeless rate edges upward, after nearly a decade of a downward trend:

Wisconsin’s homelessness population is on the rise for the first time in a decade, a trend that will likely grow as federal pandemic-relief programs end and living costs continue to surge.

The trend, in a report by Wisconsin Policy Forum released Wednesday, appears to be driven by the economic hardships and layoffs that have become synonymous with the pandemic, and consequently, the jump in housing costs in the pandemic’s aftermath.

COVID-19 relief dollars managed to head off the pandemic’s impact on Wisconsin’s homeless rate, but that quickly changed when relief dollars expired and eviction moratoriums lifted, said Don Cramer, the Wisconsin Policy Forum researcher who authored Wednesday’s report.


That translated to a 13% increase in Wisconsin’s homelessness rate between 2021 and 2022, and another 2% increase between 2022 and 2023. To put this into perspective, 6,055 Wisconsinites were registered as homeless in 2014, but by 2021, that number had fallen to 4,237 — a 30% drop. As of 2023, Wisconsin reported 4,861 homeless individuals.

“The lowest (homeless) numbers in 2021 happened when the state got the most funding from relief dollars,” Cramer said. “When different aids start falling away, we see higher homeless rates.”

While Cramer attributes success against homelessness to federal and state relief funds, this approach (however successful, even temporarily) was destined to be limited by the availability of those funds. A funding program may be vital during an immediate crisis but insufficient afterward. To call upon economic growth to uplift the homeless, however, is to call upon powerful forces that do not reach everyone, or for those with several maladies, will not reach them without intermediate growth among supportive professions and sectors of the economy. (A person who needs medical care, even after finding permanent accommodations, needs an economy that produces doctors and the means to reach them. Productive and prosperous economies create diverse opportunities beyond mere employment for one population or within one sector.) 

For many consumers, Casey Quinlan writes Experts say the economy is getting better, but consumers don’t feel that way. Here’s why:

Consumer sentiment, a smaller survey [as against consumer confidence] conducted by the University of Michigan, also gauges people’s sense of the economy overall, the labor market, and how they see inflation. On Thursday, U.S. consumer sentiment jumped to 79.4 from 76.9 in February and 62 a year earlier, making this its highest level since July 2021.

Joanne Hsu, director of the survey, said in the report that this number is an indication that consumers believe the economy is “holding steady.”

“As the election season progresses and debates over economic policy become more salient for consumers, their outlook for the economy could become more volatile in the months ahead,” she added.

Kevin Kliesen, business economist and research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said consumer confidence and consumer sentiment are still far below pre-pandemic levels and that it’s a puzzle as to why when the economy has “been growing fairly strongly” in the past year and a half. But like Pancotti, he added that high prices at the store compared to pre-pandemic prices may be playing a role in those measures.

“If you’re like me, you look at something, and you go, ‘Oh my gosh. I remember when it was so much less before the pandemic.’ So I think that calls into question, probably, a lot of people’s perceptions of the overall state of the economy and importantly their consumer finances,” he said.

There’s sure to be a debate about whether perceptions of particular costs, for example, accurately reflect consumers’ general, measurable gains of the last few years. It may be puzzling that consumer confidence and sentiment are lower than an economist might expect, but it’s sensible to say that there’s likely to be a cause, important to those with low confidence and sentiments.

Perhaps higher prices, perhaps something else, but unlikely either magic or delusion.  

No sweat: Moisture-wicking device keeps wearable-tech dry:

Daily Bread for 3.29.24: Recall Effort Accuses Vos of Support for the CCP

Good morning.

Good Friday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 54. Sunrise is 6:39 and sunset 7:18 for 12h 39m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 84.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1973, the last United States combat soldiers leave South Vietnam.

The Party expresses its gratitude for the efforts of ‘tacit’ fellow travelers everywhere.

There is now a second recall effort underway against Comrade Speaker Robin Vos. Rich Kremer reports Second recall effort launched against Robin Vos (‘Campaign driven by same organizers behind first Vos recall attempt, which appears to have fallen short of required signatures’)

A second recall attempt has been launched against Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the effort driven by the same organizers who appear to have fallen short of signatures in their first attempt to remove the powerful Republican from office. 

Burlington resident Matthew Snorek filed paperwork with the Wisconsin Elections Commission Wednesday. It states Vos “should be recalled for his tacit support of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a “lack of election integrity” and “flagrant disrespect for his own constituents by calling them ‘whack-jobs, morons and idiots.’”

The insults from Vos were directed at Snorek and others behind their first recall attempt, which started in January.

According to the WEC, signed petitions for the new recall effort would be due no later than May 28.

May 28th? Plenty of time! 

Against the Odds, the US Economy is Thriving:

Daily Bread for 3.28.24: Vos Catches on Years Too Late

Good morning.


Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon showers with a high of 52. Sunrise is 6:41 and sunset 7:17 for 12h 36m 31s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 90.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1979, a coolant leak at the Three Mile Island‘s Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania leads to the core overheating and a partial meltdown.

One could say better late than never, but Speaker Robin Vos’s better-late-than-never recognition of Michael Gableman’s misconduct comes only after years of conspiracy-mongering. Anya van Wagtendonk report Vos: Gableman, leader of failed 2020 election probe, should be ‘disbarred’ (‘Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, and fired him 14 months later’): 

Michael Gableman — the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who led a pricey probe into the 2020 presidential election that turned up no evidence of wrongdoing — should be “disbarred,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in an interview that aired over the weekend.

Vos, who initiated that investigation, told WISN-TV’s “UpFront” program that hiring Gableman “is probably the single biggest embarrassment that I have ever had.”

“I hope eventually he gets disbarred,” Vos, R-Rochester, said. “He should not be an attorney. Anybody who thinks about hiring him, call me, because I will tell you what an awful decision that I made to hire him.”

Well, yes. Gableman should be disbarred. Vos did make an awful decision. 

The two deserve only each other. 


Runaway ostrich chased by South Korean police:

Daily Bread for 3.26.24: These Aren’t the MAGA Claims You Were Looking For

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 52. Sunrise is 6:44 and sunset 7:15 for 12h 30m 43s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5 PM.

On this day in 1812, a political cartoon in the Boston-Gazette coins the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win reelection.

A brief post today, about Boardmember Maryann Zimmerman to follow yesterday’s post about conservative populism more generally. (A more detailed series on the district and proposals to improve governance can wait until after the election. Too many people in this town have election fever, and it’s left them dehydrated and decomposed. Their malady is not mine.)

Anyone who has visited this site knows that this bleeding-heart libertarian blogger is, and always will be, an opponent of conservative populism, MAGA, Trumpism, or whatever one calls that ideology. Never Trump before Never Trump, so to speak. See yesterday’s example Rep. Mike Gallagher Knows that MAGA Will Be Someone Else’s Headache Soon.

I am also someone whose family, teachers, and professors did their level best to inspire in me a respect for principle, reasoning, and tradition (in that order). Any success that this pupil has had in that regard owes only to them; they had poor clay with which to work. All their effort on my behalf, over so many years, leads me now and again to see something clearly.

And this is one of those times: the claims and proposals that boardmember (and whistleblower) Maryann Zimmerman has made since December are not conservative populist claims. They are claims of no single ideology or partisan view.  Mrs. Zimmerman may hold, as I think she does, conservative populist views. To the extent that she holds those views — but only to the extent that she holds those views — we would find ourselves in disagreement.

Some of her ardent supporters most assuredly hold conservative populist views. To the extent that they hold those views — but only to the extent that they hold those views — we would find ourselves in disagreement.

If in this beautiful city, the answer to Mrs. Zimmerman’s nonpartisan concerns and proposals is an answer directed in opposition to conservative populism, then that answer is misdirected, to the degradation of scholastic standards.  

It’s that simple.

I’ve never met Mrs. Zimmerman; we may never meet.  One needn’t have met her to grasp that she is willing to speak and write in support of her views when, by striking contrast, the current board president has done no better than to beg off every question with the false, self-protective claim that he cannot speak for legal reasons. (Those who know the law know that those assertions are not merely false but risibly self-serving.)

The district has a superintendent who not only won’t speak but has tried to prevent others from speaking. In Maryann Zimmerman’s recent claims, and in her composed defense of them, there’s no trace of partisan ideology. She’s been admirably clear and steady. Others want to see what’s not there; they are looking into an empty room.

These aren’t the MAGA claims they were looking for.

Total Solar Eclipse 2024 explained. Date, maps, times and more:

The United States, Mexico and Canada will experience a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.’s Brett Tingley explains what you can expect. Total solar eclipse 2024: Everything you need to know:…

WARNING: People should always use protective solar eclipse eyewear when viewing a solar eclipse.

Credit: | NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 

Daily Bread for 3.25.24: Rep. Mike Gallagher Knows that MAGA Will Be Someone Else’s Headache Soon

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 56. Sunrise is 6:46 and sunset 7:14 for 12h 27m 48s of daytime. The moon is full with 99.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM.

On this day in 1655, Christiaan Huygens discovers Saturn‘s largest moon, Titan.

Not every issue from a conservative populist (MAGA, Trumpism, etc.) is an issue of conservative populism. One presumes the conservative populists and other ideological groups all tie their shoes the same way. (Whether Mr. Trump, in particular, can reach his own shoes awaits video evidence.) 

And yet, and yet, some issues are germane to conservative populism, including the shaky GOP majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of that shaky majority, Rep. Mike Gallagher knows that MAGA will be someone else’s headache soon. Lawrence Andrea reports 8th District Republicans criticize Mike Gallagher’s early departure from Congress

Gallagher, who chairs the high-profile select committee on China, received intense scrutiny from his party’s right flank in February after voting against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and he announced his retirement just days later. His decision Friday to depart before the end of his term has only intensified that ire as some on the right see the move as deliberate to keep Republicans’ House majority slim. 


Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said last week Gallagher “should be expelled if he refuses to leave immediately in order to allow his district to hold a special election,” and Bruesewitz said he hopes Greene would move to expel Gallagher should he not resign earlier.

An aide to Greene did not respond to Journal Sentinel questions about her plans. 

Gallagher’s office, meanwhile, labeled false the claims that his departure was a deliberate attempt to hurt Republicans, who will temporarily have just a one-seat majority after April 19, further complicating their ability to pass their agenda. 

A spokesman for Gallagher told the Journal Sentinel that Gallagher’s move was a family decision and said House leadership had been aware of his plans for weeks and approved the timeline. 

It’s improbable that Gallagher cares what Greene, Republicans in the 8th, or anyone else thinks about the timing of his departure. 

Note well, Whitewater: While Gallagher’s departure is a MAGA issue (their politics have wrecked the House GOP caucus), some local issues that local conservative populists present in this town are not MAGA issues at all. They are, instead, issues applicable across the political spectrum. 

Well-read people defending education need not — should not — conflate claims (too much synthesis, too little analysis?). (Of officials in the Whitewater Unified School District, on the board and at Central Office: they do not honor the instituitions from which they were graduated by conflating specific claims with general ideologies.) 

Now, here’s a national issue that is a MAGA issue (and how to address it!) — Rep. Jared Moskowitz Dares Republicans to Impeach Biden:

Daily Bread for 3.22.24: Less State Office Space Means More (in Taxpayer Savings)

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be snowy with a high of 37. Sunrise is 6:51 and sunset 7:10 for 12h 19m 02s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 93.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1765, the British Parliament passes the Stamp Act that introduces a tax to be levied directly on its American colonies.

Sarah Lehr reports State agencies could offload even more office space, remote work audit finds (‘State administrators say they’re tightening up policies for tracking remote work’): 

Wisconsin state agencies could consider offloading even more office space than previously planned, according to an audit presented to state lawmakers this week.

Three years ago, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration released a Vision 2030 plan, which laid out a roadmap for the state workforce in the coming decade. Because of the continued popularity of remote work, it called for consolidating state office space and for selling multiple state buildings in the coming years.

In all, state officials say Wisconsin could save $9 billion in occupancy costs plus more than a half a billion dollars in deferred maintenance expensive by cutting down on office space, according to an update to the plan released last spring.

There’s a hard-nosed (but short-sighted) attitude that says state office workers should sit all day at their office desks. As it turns out, those state office desks are in state office buildings, and state office buildings do not pay for themselves. If workers who do not interact directly with the public can do their work remotely, then the rest of Wisconsin should not be paying for office buildings for those very workers. 

It shows a lack of foresight to say one is holding office workers accountable for their in-person attendance when that in-person attendance does not account for wasted money on state buildings.

The State of Wisconsin can and should sell office buildings that have become relics of a last-century service model. 

‘Paddington’ bears spotted in Bolivian forest raise hopes for species’ survival:

Daily Bread for 3.15.24: A Sunshine Week Story

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 52. Sunrise is 7:04 and sunset 7:02 for 11h 58m 32s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 33.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1991, the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany comes into effect, granting full sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany.

  It’s Sunshine Week in America. You know, your right to know. Miles Maguire has published a story for Sunshine Week about the fight for open government in Wisconsin entitled UW-Oshkosh buried facts about mishandled Native American remains. Sunshine laws uncovered them:

Last April the Wisconsin Examiner published an examination of the way that Native American human remains have been retained by public institutions in Oshkosh long after the passage of a federal law that was intended to speed their repatriation to the tribes that once inhabited the area.

The article included some startling details that demonstrated the callousness of the institutions, especially the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. But the university also managed to keep even more graphic information out of the story.

For example, readers did not learn that a Native American skull, collected in Oshkosh on the south bank of the Fox River, had been stolen in 1990 from an exhibit case on campus and “broken during the bungled burglary.” Nor did they read about the time that the remains of one individual went missing from an excavation where an assistant professor found 43 burials but apparently lost track of one “en route to the archaeology laboratory.”

The reason that these details, contained in inventory records that had been easily accessible at the campus library, were not included in my story was that during the course of my reporting university officials stepped in and placed the documents in a restricted area. I was in the midst of reviewing the documents when the university decided that they needed to be kept from the public on the basis of what turned out to be a completely bogus rationale.

Last month the university released a full set of the inventory records under prodding from the Winnebago County district attorney, whose investigation showed that UW Oshkosh had repeatedly and egregiously manipulated state law.

The DA’s investigation confirmed what I had asserted in a complaint filed in July, that UW Oshkosh had made a mockery of the state’s public records law, slow-walking responses, making up excuses for redacting information and misapplying doctrines like the attorney-client privilege. Among other things, I pointed out, UWO had withheld documents from me that it had released to another news organization and claimed that it had the right to keep from me a copy of an email that I myself had written.

(Emphasis added.)

Again and again: public officials in public institutions conducting public business aren’t entitled to private avenues of concealment. Officials who would like private protections can find those defenses just as soon as they return to private life. 

Not a moment sooner.

See also Speech & Debate in the Whitewater Schools. 

Watch Brewers grounds crew remove outfield covering at American Family Field before opening day:

Daily Bread for 3.13.24: Has Vos Escaped MAGA to Scheme & Plot Another Day?!?

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 63. Sunrise is 7:07 and sunset 7:00 for 11h 52m 41s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 14.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1930, the news of the discovery of Pluto is announced by Lowell Observatory.

Legendary Wisconsin schemer and plotter Robin Vos may have escaped the latest MAGA recall attempt against him. Anya van Wagtendonk and the Associated Press report Elections review shows recall targeting GOP leader falls short of signatures needed (‘The fate of the recall effort will likely be decided by the state Supreme Court’): 

Matthew Snorek and other activists said Monday that they submitted about 11,000 signatures to force a recall election of Vos, the powerful Rochester Republican who has frequently sparred with former President Donald Trump. Under state law, the Wisconsin Elections Commission has said it would take 6,850 valid signatures to force a recall election.

But those signatures must come from voters who live in the district Vos represents, which recently changed after Wisconsin’s old legislative map was overturned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. His new district lines were part of a map that passed the Legislature, which was drawn and signed by Gov. Tony Evers.

According to Wisconsin Elections Commission staff attorney Brandon Hunzicker, recall organizers turned in a total of 9,053 valid signatures, but only 5,905 of those come from Vos’ previous district, the 63rd Assembly District. That would fall 945 signatures short of the total needed.

A memo prepared by Hunzicker for members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission found that just 32 signatures would fall within the boundaries of Vos’ new district, the 33rd Assembly District, which would fall well short of the required threshold. Even when combined with signatures collected from a third district containing territory previously represented by Vos, the organizers would still come up short. 

The Elections Commission has asked A.G. Josh Kaul to request a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

So MAGA is chasing Vos and Vos may need a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling to save himself from a recall. 

Someone might want to push a little kibble sprinkled with Xanax under the bed while Vos awaits a determination beyond his control. 

First responders rescue horse that fell into a trench: