Archive for ‘Milwaukee’

June 14, 2011

Claiming persistent bias, Democratic Party to stop taking PolitiFact’s calls.

by thoughtfulconservative

Accusing the Journal Sentinel’s continuing feature PolitiFact of persistent bias, leaders of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin say they will no longer respond to inquiries from the fact-checking operation’s reporters.

The party leadership acted after a series of PolitiFact stories they considered unfair, as well as an overall assessment that in its judgments about what to cover as well as its assessments of truth and falsity, “it just seems consistently weighted to one side,” [DPW communications director Graeme] Zielinski says.

via Inside Milwaukee – Dine, Shop, Entertainment and more.

I’m well-acquainted with the Right’s suspicion of PolitiFact, having originated with the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald, both well-known left-leaning newspapers in Florida. The Right is also suspicious of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of it’s left-leaning tendencies.

I’m also aware of the left side of the Cheddarsphere’s frustration with the Journal Sentinel which they lump together in one big lump with WTMJ 620 and WTMJ 4 under the Journal Communications, Inc. parent company. They believe the organization is right-leaning based on the WTMJ 620 talkers, Patrick McIlheran and others. I believe they also uncovered one of the Board of Directors contributing to a Republican candidate, bu I can’t put my hand on the link right now.

PolitiFact responded.

In a statement today, the Journal Sentinel editor in charge of PolitiFact, Greg Borowski, stood by the impartiality of the feature.

“At PolitiFact Wisconsin, our mission is to serve our readers by examining political statements to determine their accuracy — but also to identify where those statements are inflated, misleading or simply wrong. We do this by turning to outside sources to provide context to the issue, as well as by clearly stating how we came to the conclusion we did and what sources and reasoning we used to get there,” Borowski said.

Both left and right have had their problems with PolitiFact. One source of contention is the “Truth-o-meter” which does often seem pretty subjective. Other popular fact-checkers don’t have anything comparable, to my knowledge. As the author of the article writes,

Even so, PolitiFact’s critics have a point, but it’s a bit more complicated than partisan bias. The larger problem remains in its simplistic rating system and especially the incendiary “Pants on Fire” category, which doesn’t appear to be consistently applied.

He also notes,

Here [in wisconsin] the criticism has been most vocal among political activists on the left.

I not sure why that is. I sure my friends on the right think they’re biased, too; they just don’t seem to write about it.If they are some links to right-leaning posts, I would be glad to share them here.

By contrast, the national PolitiFact operation appears to get more criticism from conservatives.

Zielinski, who once worked for the Journal Sentinel, went on to say,

“We will deal with the Journal Sentinel. We have to,” he says. “It’s the largest newspaper in the state. We have good relationships with many of their reporters.”

But PolitiFact, he says, “is an instrument that we don’t think profits us anything, because we believe we’ve worked in good faith with them and not seen fair results.”

The writer of the article then states,

On the one hand, a casual examination of how party affiliation lines up with ratings from True to Pants-on-Fire makes doesn’t make an obvious case of bias for or against either side of the political spectrum. (You can see for yourself; if you disagree, feel free to comment below.)  Did you know, for instance, that 17 of Gov. Scott Walker’s 27 statements to be rated so far have been labeled as “Barely True,” “False,” or (in one instance) “Pants on Fire”? That seems difficult to square with a claim of consistent bias against Democrats.

No doubt the comment section will fill fast.

He sums up,

Perhaps the single biggest improvement in PolitiFact would be if there was just a little less of it, with topics more carefully chosen.

That might be something to shoot for. We don’t need a daily truth detector; and we don’t expect it to be perfect.

And, please, get rid of the “truth-o-meter.”

 

June 13, 2011

Lighthouse available

by thoughtfulconservative

Anyone need a lighthouse? Free to a good home.

If the federal government took out a want ad, it would probably say this: Free to a good home, Milwaukee’s breakwater lighthouse.

The Coast Guard has been shedding lighthouses for several years, and now it’s time for the light that has stood sentinel over the Milwaukee harbor to get the heave-ho.

via New owner sought for Milwaukee lighthouse – JSOnline.

 

June 14, 2010

Milwaukee Food Tour

by thoughtfulconservative

After the aborted Air and Water Show on Saturday, the missus and I had a good time going on a food tour from Milwaukee Food Tours. We had never been to the Historic Third Ward so it gave us a chance to experience that also. Yeah, i know, we’re lame. 🙂

We took the Historic Third Ward tour. Our guide was Karen (@karencooksit) who was very knowledgeable about the Third Ward and its history. For example, did you know that only one firehouse ever burned down in Wisconsin and it was housed in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward?

Along the way, we had soup, appetizer, pizza, beer, main course of beef kebabs and champagne at six different establishments. I could tell you where we went but the exact restaurants may vary from tour to tour. The tour took about 2 and a half hours and we were stuffed at the end.

They have five other tours that can be taken, the Brady Street Tour, Riverwalk & Old World Third Street, Bloody Mary Brunch, and the Village of Wauwatosa Dinner.

I didn’t think the price of $45 per person was out of line, so I can recommend them. Check them out.

Milwaukee Food Tours are also on Twitter @MKEFoodTour.

May 27, 2010

Election 2010 update 05-27-2010

by thoughtfulconservative

[UPDATE II: Wiggy tells us that Bill Kramer has a Democratic opponent.]

[UPDATE: To show that capper wrote about Wall and not Newcomer.] Well, things are hopping and we’re still several months away from the primary in September.

Newcomer drops out of race for 33rd Assembly district. This was not a surprise and capper heard the first rumors I heard [Ed. note-Not Newcomer, but Wall]. Mr. Newcomer has had more than his share of controversy since being elected to replace Waukesha county executive Paul Vrakas. He had several challengers. The Journal Sentinel link has a list of 22 legislators who are not seeking re-election. Before I even finished this post the MJS had Pedro Colon also not seeking re-election so make that 23.

Ron Johnson stopped by Brian Dorow’s fundraiser at Crites Field in Waukesha Wednesday. Dorow is one of the candidates in the 33rd Assembly district (link via The Spring City Chronicle).

Yes, folks that’s how fast things are changing!

Don Pridemore is getting plenty of challenges for the Republican nomination in the 93rd. (h/t The Spring City Chronicle).

Terrance Wall has dropped out of the Republican race for the right to face Russ Feingold in November. [Capper was the first I saw with the news.] He’s the second within the last ten days, Dick Leinenkugel having dropped out earlier and endorsing Ron Johnson about whom George Will wrote.

May 5, 2010

Waukesha water woes?

by thoughtfulconservative

So, did Waukesha get a glimpse of things to come? In a flurry of activity recently, we saw:

1. The Milwaukee County Board voted 13-3 on April 22 to oppose the Waukesha’s water plan.

Ostensibly the vote was to protect the county’s streams from pollution and erosion, but the comments from board members seems to indicate a different motivation, the kind you normally see from children.

“You have been sidestepped on this process,” said one. “We’ve been treated purely as an afterthought,” said another.

“They do not care about the concerns of Milwaukee County,” replied another.

“Why should I trust them?”

“They get the water and we get – I don’t want to say it – we get everything else,” intoned another.

Mature.

Waukesha’s water utility manager, Dan Duchniak disagreed with the assessment, claiming that the water Waukesha puts into the creeks will be cleaner than the water flowing there now.

To be fair, the County Board is excluded from the process of approving or disapproving Waukesha’s request. The DNR and the Great Lakes states are the ones who will sign off on the request.

Racine’s representative Cory Mason is on record opposing dumping of Waukesha waste water in the Root River. (A tip of the conservative ball cap to James Rowen who recently posted on how new phosphorus rules could add to any plan’s costs.

2. Milwaukee aldermen and Waukesha’s new mayor, Jeff Scrima, traded letters about requirements for receiving Milwaukee water.

Scrima contended during the recent campaign that if Waukesha didn’t keep its options open it would lose some of its sovereignty to Milwaukee. He alleged that somehow, Milwaukee will use Waukesha’s needs for water to advance some dastardly purpose.

The water saga continues and will stretch well into the foreseeable future.

If you’ve been living in a cave the last few years, Waukesha needs water because of elevated levels of radium. Lake Michigan seems to have a lot of water and Waukesha would like to get some, but the Great Lakes Compact requires returning the water to Lake Michigan.

Waukesha’s plan, sent to the DNR earlier this month, is to return the water to Underwood Creek where it would flow to the Menomonee River and back to Lake Michigan.

Waukesha is somewhat under the gun, facing a 2018 deadline for cleaning up there water.

People talk regional cooperation but the playing out is a little more difficult. The suburbs think Milwaukee wants their tax dollars. Milwaukee thinks the suburbs are using their infrastructure without paying for it.

Obviously, more work needs to be done. Like maybe growing up and behaving like adults.

3. Two neighboring local governments have expressed concern about the city’s plan to drill shallow wells as a backup measure. The major concern here seems to be the potential for privately owned wells going dry as Waukesha sucks water from the planned area.

The road is long, the opposition varied and the clock is ticking.

And if both options go down in flames, what’s left?

There’s a lesson for communities everywhere—don’t outgrow your water supply.

Yeah, like they will pay attention.

April 28, 2010

Milwaukee finishes year with $20 million surplus

by thoughtfulconservative

Via JSOnline.

Barrett credited the surplus to his administration’s efforts to hold down spending by imposing employee furloughs, holding positions vacant, raising the snow-and-ice fee and limiting overtime, as well as lower energy prices. He praised the Common Council and city employee unions for cooperating in those moves, which were driven by the need to contribute $49 million to the city pension fund, as a result of stock market losses in late 2008.

Aren’t these the kinds of thing Scott Walker is being blasted for by the left? Funny I haven’t seen anyone criticizing Barrett.

I’m not holding my breath either.