When a Democrat owns a conservative talk station …

RightWisconsin asks:

Is this the end of conservative talk radio on WTMJ-AM 620? The Milwaukee Business Journal reported Friday morning that Scripps has sold their radio operations WTMJ-AM (620) and WKTI-FM (94.5) to Craig Karmazin, the owner of Good Karma, the parent company of Milwaukee’s ESPN sports-talk station WAUK-AM (540).

WTMJ-AM is the former home to noted conservative author and media personality Charlie Sykes, a former editor of RightWisconsin. WTMJ-AM is currently home to two conservative talk radio personalities, Steve Scaffidi and Jeff Wagner.

In addition to Karmazin’s background in sports talk radio, putting the conservative talk radio format at WTMJ-AM at risk is the new owner’s political leanings. In a memo from Edge Messaging owner Brian Fraley to his clients, obtained by RightWisconsin, Karmazin’s ties to the Democratic party are spelled out.

“A quick check of FEC data indicates Good Karma’s owner, Craig Karamzin, is a major Democratic donor whose support for political campaigns include donations to President Obama, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Dan Kohl, the Democrat currently challenging Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman,” Fraley wrote to his clients. “A look at his record of donating to state candidates here shows he’s been a frequent contributor to Milwaukee [mayor] Tom Barrett and former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.”

However, Fraley predicts that Karamzin will not try to create a liberal talk radio station in the Milwaukee market at WTMJ-AM.

“That format has not proved to be profitable and I would be very surprised if Good Karma would take this incredible asset that is WTMJ and fritter away its value with such a move,” Fraley said. “So while any forecasting as to the direction of the heritage radio station is pure speculation at this point, I would not be surprised to see WTMJ evolve into a 24-hour news station, that also broadcasts live sports as the flagship of the Brewers, Packers and Bucks. That would be a smart business move.”

An acquaintance of mine familiar with the Milwaukee media market — let’s call him Deep Voice — predicts that some of WTMJ’s current voices may be out the door because WTMJ apparently has a lot of high salaries. Deep Voice also thinks there miight be changes at WKTI, whose ratings haven’t been great since its change from its adult-hits format and name The Lake. WKTI was rated 10th in the market in June, and second among country stations.

Good Karma owns WAUK (540 AM) in Milwaukee and WTLX (100.5) in Columbus, branded as “ESPN Milwaukee” and “ESPN Madison,” respectively, along with WBEV (1430 AM) and WXRO (95.3 FM) in Beaver Dam. Karmazin’s thing appears to be sports, given the several ESPN affiliate stations he owns, and getting WTMJ, the originating station of the Packers, Brewers and Bucks, seems like an expansion of that concept. Karmazin’s statement on WBEV/WXRO’s website says:

“The heritage, prestige, and team at the stations, in addition to their incredible sports partnerships, fit our commitment to provide best-in-class opportunities for our teammates, content for our fans, and solutions for our marketing partners.”

Karmazin formerly owned what now is WRRD (1510 AM), which calls itself Resistance Radio, in Milwaukee, which is simulcasted on WTTN (1580) in Columbus. It’s not clear if Karmazin still owns WTTN.

Two thoughts come to mind. Good Karma might be hesitant to make wholesale changes given that WTMJ is the second rated station in the market, and is not really likely to be able to make format changes to get to number one. (Number one is a classic hits station, and WTMJ isn’t going back to music.) Those concerned about the possible loss of Scaffidi and Wagner still have a conservative-talk station, WISN (1130 AM), which has twice the conservative talkers in Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna (also heard in Madison), Dan O’Donnell and Mark Belling.

 

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Well, Democrats?

Investor’s Business Daily:

Rather than rooting on the strong economy, Democrats have taken to ignoring it, belittling it or, like Bill Maher did over the weekend, rooting for a recession. The extent to which Trump critics will go is truly mind-boggling.

The unemployment rate is at 49-year lows overall, and lower than ever for African-Americans. Household incomes are at record highs. The U.S. reclaimed its No. 1 rank in competitiveness. Economists are revising their growth forecasts upward. Optimism is at levels not seen in more than a decade.

Clearly the economy is doing well. And what’s more, the public is increasingly crediting President Trump for it — as they should, since much of the turnaround is due to his dumping Obamanomics.

But what’s a Democrat hoping to reclaim the House majority in November to do?

One is to ignore the economy altogether. So, Democrats are trying to turn attention to things like ObamaCare premiums or alleged corruption in the Trump administration.

Ignoring the economy will be tough, however, particularly if GDP growth comes in strong in Q2 and unemployment continues to fall.

The second option is to belittle it.

Nancy Pelosi, having dismissed the tax-cut-fueled raises and bonuses that millions of workers received as “crumbs,” is now dismissing the good economic news as no big deal. Why? “Because of the wage stagnation.”

“Our economy,” she said, “will never fully reach its possibilities unless we increase the consumer confidence.”

The army of media fact-checkers must have been asleep when she said this, since her claims are so easy to debunk.

Average hourly wages climbed 2.7% in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And as we noted in this space recently, median household income is at historic highs.

Meanwhile, every survey shows confidence levels at or approaching new highs since Trump took office.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, currently at 53.9, has averaged 53.5 under Trump, compared with 47 during President Obama’s entire second term. (Anything over 50 is optimistic).

The Consumer Confidence Index is currently at 128, which is 25 points higher than it ever reached under Obama, and higher than it’s been in 17 years.

Dismissing this good economic news as meaningless — after spending eight years proclaiming how great the stagnant economy was under Obama — isn’t going to dispel the notion that Democrats are out of touch with working families.

The third option is to admit openly what many Democrats no doubt feel privately: That a good recession is what the party needs to reclaim its former glory. After all, it did get Obama elected president.

Over the weekend, HBO talk show host Bill Maher spoke the words out load.

“I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point,” he said, talking about the booming economy. “And by the way, I’m hoping for it because one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy.

“Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession or you lose your democracy.”

Let’s leave aside the glaring logical fallacy Maher commits with his false dilemma, and ponder what he is saying.

Maher would, if he could, throw millions of people into unemployment and poverty, watch as hard-earned savings vanish, wages stagnate and hope gets crushed, if that might keep Trump from winning re-election.

Wow.

Of course, it’s easy for Maher to wish that, since he’s already made his millions attacking Republicans. But just how many of his fellow Trump-loathing Democrats secretly feel the same way?

Reporters love to force Republican politicians to answer for anything outrageous that a conservative says. Shouldn’t these same reporters, to prove their lack of political bias, press every single Democrat running for office in November to condemn Maher’s economic death wish?

That question should be asked of Wisconsin Democrats running against Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans as well. (To normal people the definition of “fail” is not insufficient government spending or regulation in your favorite area of either.)

How to correct a Trump error

National Review:

Several of the groups that make up the Koch network are getting ready for a long-haul push against the Trump administration’s tariffs and to promote the cause of free trade between the United States and other countries.

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and The LIBRE Initiative today announced a multi-year, multimillion-dollar initiative to champion the far-reaching benefits of trade and the consequences of tariffs.

The campaign will include “paid media, activist education and grassroots mobilization, lobbying and policy analysis — all intended to transform the way Washington and the rest of the country consider and value trade with other nations.”

“This campaign makes a clear statement: Trade is a major priority for our network,” said James Davis, executive vice president of Freedom Partners. “We will work aggressively to educate policymakers and others about the facts. Trade lifts people out of poverty and improves lives. It is critical to America’s future prosperity and our consumers, workers and companies. Tariffs and other trade barriers make us poorer. They raise prices for those who can least afford it. That’s why this issue is so important. This announcement is a demonstration of our long-term commitment to advance common-sense trade policies that will ensure America’s brightest days are ahead, and to directly confront the protectionist ideas that would hold us back.”

The Koch network remained neutral in the 2016 presidential election, but by January 2018 was largely pleased with what it had seen in the first year of the Trump administration.

“The Trump administration has taken some incredibly positive steps for the American economy, but tariffs will undercut that progress and needlessly hamstring our full economic potential,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “There are better ways to negotiate trade deals than by punishing American consumers and businesses with higher costs. Instead of pursuing protectionist policies that we already know don’t work, let’s help everyone win by expanding trade, opening new markets and lowering costs.”

“The taxes and trade barriers imposed by our government on U.S. consumers raise their cost of living and impose unnecessary costs on American firms in competition with others based abroad,” said Daniel Garza, president of the LIBRE Initiative. “Hispanics and low-income workers are among the most badly hurt by this drag on economic growth and government-mandated price increases. We are pleased to stand with those who understand how greatly America benefits from trade — and how badly hurt we are by tariffs and other barriers.”

The good news for the Koch network effort is that, at least in the abstract, Americans think well of free trade. A March Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that among both “party Republicans” and “Trump Republicans,” “more than half of those in each group see trade as a potentially good thing rather than an economic threat.” Of course, the Trump administration would argue it doesn’t oppose free trade in theory, merely bad agreements signed in the past.

The Koch brothers are correct, and Republican opponents of free trade are wrong. Wisconsin, as has been reported in numerous places, overwhelmingly benefits from free trade.

 

Because that worked so well with Act 10

Matt Kittle:

Left-wing activists committed to doing whatever it takes to stop Foxconn Technology Group’s massive manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin are planning to rain on the tech giant’s ground-breaking picnic.

Organizers held a conference call Sunday evening to talk about their plans for a rally and demonstration on June 28, the day Foxconn is scheduled to hold its ground-breaking ceremony on its proposed $10 billion plant in Mount Pleasant. MacIver News Service obtained the call-in information and covered the planning session.

The idea, organizers say, is to assemble a coalition of diverse progressive groups – from environmental organizations to civil rights leaders to Foxconn-hating politicians. While each group will bring its own social and environmental complaints to the table, they will all rally around their abhorrence of the Foxconn economic development plan, according to the coalition-building plan.

“We want to stop it in any way we can,” a coalition member told participants on the call. “If we can’t stop it, we want to give them bad publicity. We want to be able to, like, make them aware that the community is aware. We want to show that, ‘Hey, we’re not going to give you an easy fight here.”

“Take a stand against Foxconn. For our fellow Wisconsinites, join the effort and help us SHUT FOXCONN DOWN,” a progressive coalition Facebook alert states.

The short-term goal is to stop Foxconn. The long-term mission is to fire up the liberal base to take out Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature that championed the largest development deal of its kind in U.S. history.

“We want this to not only be against Foxconn … but also be against those things that are happening due to the corruption of Walker being in office. But it will mainly focus on Foxconn,” one of the leaders of the campaign said during the call.

The anti-Foxconn group plans to bring into the coalition representatives from indigenous rights organizations, social justice groups, lawmakers and someone who represents the “youth voice.”

“We’re contacting some of the high school students that are speaking out against the NRA right now because they have a huge crowd of those in Milwaukee,” the lead organizer said. …

Group members talked about making the focal point of their resistance movement the Mount Pleasant-area residents facing the loss of their properties to make room for the Foxconn factory, but it was clear by Sunday’s conference call that the left-wing activists have broader objectives in mind.

“Beyond the immediate need for citizens to show up in support of the victims of Scottconn (the group’s portmanteau combining Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn),we will also be discussing the planned Action for the 28th,” the group’s email urged. The email also seeks “volunteers to help with Voter Registration.”

“Additionally we will need volunteers and eager helpers willing to be trained by MKE Street Protectors to assist in facilitating and monitoring our action to ensure the safety of attendees as well as creative writers to submit LTE’s not only to the news outlets in the affected area but also our hometowns throughout the state,” the email stated. …

Foxconn’s manufacturing campus in Racine County is expected to ultimately employ 13,000 people at the plant itself, and many more thousands to construct the facility and to serve it. The production plant will make liquid crystal display panels. It comes with a hefty state incentives package based in large part on job-creation goals.

Extreme environmentalists in particular hate the development plan, predicting that the production facility will destroy southeast Wisconsin’s air and waterways. While they have blasted Walker’s administration for softening permitting standards, Foxconn has and will face rigorous state and federal requirements that demand substantial mitigation and other environmental safeguards.

The anti-Foxconn coalition campaign is brimming with liberal politics. One participant on the conference call said he attended the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s state convention in Oshkosh over the weekend, where there was plenty of anti-Foxconn talk by the crowded field of Democrat contenders for governor.

“There was universal disdain for Foxconn,” he said. “I’m sure they (the candidates) would welcome any kind of demonstration that would take place that would kind of help their credibility as well and maybe get some of them to actually show up.”

This probably sounds similar to the left’s by-any-means-necessary attempts to derail Act 10 that, you’ll notice, not only didn’t stop Act 10, but didn’t derail Republicans.
One wonders what liberals’ definition of a “good job” is, except that it probably doesn’t involve a private-sector employer.

Wisconsin’s Dem0crats

Sam Morateck:

Democrats were quick to jump on a report Wednesday that Foxconn was backing away from its promised financial investment in Wisconsin. Too quick, it now appears.

Japan business publication Nikkei Asian Review published a report (that has since changed) claiming that Foxconn plans to cut back on its initial investment in the state. However the Journal Sentinel published an article containing a statement from Foxconn saying otherwise:

“Foxconn can categorically state that our commitment to create 13,000 jobs and to invest US$10 billion to build our state-of-the-art Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Wisconsin remains unchanged,” the company said in a statement. “Foxconn is fully committed to this significant investment and to meeting all contractual obligations with the relevant government agencies.”

Later, the Asian Review changed its headline from, “Foxconn to cut back on initial investment of $10bn Wisconsin plant,” to “Foxconn opts to make smaller displays at Wisconsin plant.” A sub-heading under the new title reads “Major Apple supplier says $10bn investment plan is unchanged.”

Democrats, who have pinned their 2018 election hopes, in part, on investing in failure in the Foxconn development couldn’t hide their glee, re-posting the original article and spreading the news on Facebook. That included the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Representative Gordon Hintz and Senator Jon Erpenbach, along with many others.

Democrats zeal to see the Foxconn development fail was exposed again, along with their red faces.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports other unsurprising news:

Democrats running for governor are pledging to end GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s union restrictions, while Walker is promising to veto any changes to Act 10 if he wins re-election and Democrats take control of the Legislature.
Act 10 — adopted amid massive protests shortly after Walker took office in 2011 — brought the governor national attention and helped fuel his brief presidential run.

The measure all but ended collective bargaining for most public workers and required them to pay at least 12% of their insurance premiums and half the contributions to their pensions. The changes saved state and local taxpayers — and cost public workers — billions of dollars.

Democrats view the law as a move by Walker to hobble organizations that have long backed Democrats in elections.

The nine Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in the Aug. 14 primary said they would seek to reverse Act 10, while Walker touted the savings it has brought to taxpayers.

“The far-left Democrats who want to undo it will open the door to massive property tax increases or reductions in school staffing — or both,” Walker spokesman Austin Altenburg said in a statement. “Scott Walker will not let that happen and will continue to support reforms that put more resources in the classroom to improve the education of our students.”

Walker would veto any attempt to change Act 10, Altenburg said.

Act 10 ended the ability of public-sector unions to negotiate over anything but wages, and they were barred from seeking increases that were higher than inflation. Police and firefighters were exempted from key parts of Act 10.

All the Democratic candidates said they were committed to overturning Act 10, but many of them acknowledged it would be difficult to change the measure if Republicans held onto their majorities in the Legislature.

Repealing Act 10 would give workers a chance to seek higher wages, which would raise costs for taxpayers. The Democrats said state and local officials would be able to work out deals that are good for both taxpayers and workers.

The issue prompted one Democratic candidate to take a swipe at another.

“Unlike Mahlon Mitchell, I never sucked up to Scott Walker, praising Walker’s record and offering to work with Walker to destroy workers’ rights,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said in a statement.

Mitchell is the head of the statewide firefighters union. When Walker first unveiled Act 10, Mitchell applauded Walker for exempting firefighters from much of the measure, but soon afterward he joined the Capitol protests to try to stop Act 10.

Soglin, a frequent figure during the 2011 protests as he campaigned for mayor, noted he was against Act 10 from the start and said he was “the only candidate that implemented workarounds to lessen the adverse impact on public employees.”

The workarounds he cited include establishing a committee to get input from rank-and-file employees and setting up alternative procedures to handle workplace complaints, worker discipline and getting feedback from employees about workplace safety and the equipment they use.

Responding to Soglin’s criticism, Mitchell campaign manager Jacob Dusseau said Mitchell fought against Act 10, saying Mitchell “stuck his neck out” by running for lieutenant governor in 2012 in one of the recall elections sparked by the union restrictions.

“While Mahlon led the charge against Walker’s attack on workers, it was then mayoral candidate Soglin who was trying to get in on the spotlight,” Dusseau said.

Mitchell, who has won endorsements from several unions, said he was committed to eliminating Act 10.

“Act 10 was about unchecked power, and crippling political opponents of the governor,” Mitchell said in a statement. “I would repeal Act 10 in whole.”

Mitchell said the state could pay for any increase in costs by eliminating a tax break that prevents manufacturers and farms from paying state income taxes.

Tony Evers. The state schools superintendent backs repealing Act 10, said his campaign manager, Maggie Gau. If Republicans continue to control the Legislature, Evers believes a compromise could be reached that would give workers more bargaining power but still require them to pay a portion of their health care and retirement costs.

“Tony is supportive of returning collective bargaining rights to public employees,” Gau said in a statement. “It’s important for employees to feel valued and to have a say in their workplace and their benefits.”

Matt Flynn. The former state Democratic Party chairman said he would eliminate Act 10 and was unwilling to compromise on the issue.

“Act 10 has been a disaster for workers in Wisconsin,” Flynn said in a statement. “I will only accept a total repeal.”

Andy Gronik. The Milwaukee businessman said he supports collective bargaining, including for health care and pensions, but also believes workers should pay a portion of the cost of those benefits.

“I’ve said throughout my entire candidacy that I don’t want to fight the battles of the past, but instead move forward and examine how we can best bring workers back to the bargaining table, so their voices are heard and considered,” he said in a statement.

He added: “I believe cost sharing for health care and pensions is fair, reflects the realities of the private sector and is consistent with my business practices.”

Mike McCabe. He said he would repeal Act 10 and pay for any increased costs by legalizing and taxing marijuana, phasing out the state’s school voucher programs, eliminating business subsidies and making sure “taxpayers at every income level pay their fair share.”

“Act 10 is not a workable or sustainable policy,” the liberal activist said in a statement. “Teachers are demoralized and feeling devalued and disrespected, and are fleeing the profession as a result.”

Kelda Roys. The former state representatives of Madison would eliminate Act 10, said her spokesman, Brian Evans.

“Ensuring that workers have a voice in their workplace leads to an experienced and fairly compensated workforce, as well as fully staffed state offices and departments that meet the needs of all Wisconsinites, including veterans, patients, and children,” Evans said in a statement.

Kathleen Vinehout. The state senator of Alma said she would repeal Act 10 because she believes it has decimated schools.

“Employee benefits (are) not the problem,” she said in a statement. “Reversing the downward spiral of the last seven years will take concerted, bipartisan effort, but the quality of our schools in all parts of the state and the future of our children depends on it.”

Dana Wachs. The Eau Claire state representative said he would get rid of Act 10.

“We need to fully fund our public schools, including paying teachers a family-supporting wage. And we pay for that by prioritizing our schools and the essential functions of government, not billion-dollar deals for foreign corporations and special interests,” he said in a statement, referring to the incentive package Walker gave to Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group for a massive Mount Pleasant plant.

Yes, if you want to go back to the days when public employee unions ran the state and taxpayers were screwed by every level of government, vote Democrat.

The correct measure of unemployment

You may have seen Gov. Scott Walker triumphantly announcing this state’s 2.8 percent unemployment rate.

I prefer a better measurement, the U6 rate, which includes, to quote the U.S. Department of Labor, “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” That means those who are working part-time though they want to work full-time, as well as those who have stopped looking for work.

And that looks like this (compared with the official unemployment rate, the “U3” rate), averaged from the second quarter of 2017 through the first quarter of this year:

Certainly Wisconsin is better off than the national average and most states, but the employment situation isn’t as good as those running for reelection would have you believe. Of course, the opposition party in Madison was in charge when the U6 rate was well beyond 10 percent, thanks to their handiwork of $2.2 BILLION in tax increases and the economic ineptitude of the Obama administration.

 

 

Small business and business taxes

Small business owner Wm. Michael Simmons:

This week is National Small Business Week. It’s an opportunity to emphasize the big role small businesses play in the economy and labor market. Small businesses account for half of GDP and half of all jobs. And they create the majority of new jobs and new inventions. I have been fortunate enough to lead several small businesses over my career and witness their outsized importance first-hand.

While we recognize the small business backbone of the economy this week, we should also take a moment to examine the public policies that allow small businesses to thrive in the first place. I am continually amazed that so many people — including politicians and community leaders — believe that small businesses are simply a part of nature — like Lake Michigan — that they aren’t affected by broader economic trends or public policies.

In reality, public policy has a major impact on small business success. Take it from me: Entrepreneurs consider the costs of taxes and regulations before making any decision to hire or expand. For decades, over-taxation had an especially damaging effect on small business creation and expansion, ranking among the biggest hurdles small businesses faced.

Recently passed federal tax cuts have changed that. They created a new 20 percent small business tax deduction — the biggest small business tax cut in the country’s history. Though this aspect of the tax cuts has been overlooked by the media, it arguably has the biggest impact on the economy and the small business dreams of entrepreneurs in Wisconsin and throughout the country. These necessary tax cuts provided me the opportunity to start two Wisconsin businesses: Flags For Schools and eTOP Sports Innovations.

Prior to the tax cut, small businesses faced a top marginal tax rate of 40 percent — not including state and local taxes. At this level of taxation surviving is difficult for many small businesses — let alone thriving. This is reflected in the declining small business creation of recent years — one of the few economic indicators not to recover from the Great Recession.

The new 20 percent tax deduction effectively lowers the top small business tax rate from 40 percent to 30 percent — a 25 percent tax cut. It allows small business owners to protect one-fifth of their earned income from taxes. This capital can instead be used to expand into new product lines, open new locations, hire new employees, and give existing ones raises. No wonder small businesses support the new tax cuts by a margin of ten-to-one, according to a recent national survey.

Given small businesses’ major role in the economy, their benefits are shared by everyone. Less money extorted from Wisconsin small businesses by the IRS means more money stays at home in communities where it is needed. Less taxes means more investment, consumption, and jobs.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has recognized this tax cut stimulus. It recently raised its growth forecast for the year to 3.3 percent, a level that mainstream economists said couldn’t be achieved. At this level of growth — more than twice the rate of the last year of the Obama Administration — living standards rise noticeably.

This economic growth will create a feedback loop for small businesses, giving them new customers, with more disposable income — something every small business wants. In this sense, the tax cuts are a gift that keeps on giving.

So while we celebrate small businesses this week, we should also reflect on the public policies that go hand-in-hand with their success. These should also be celebrated during National Small Business Week this week.

 

Foxconnsin

Tom Still knows more about Wisconsin business than those campaigning against Foxconn:

There are still plenty of people in Wisconsin who think the Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group is giving the state a giant head fake.

Skeptics think the company has no intention to put down roots in Wisconsin, and is simply waiting for the chance to abscond with our tax dollars and scamper home.

The latest company announcement rammed home the fact that nothing could be further from the truth.

Foxconn is buying a seven-story building in downtown Milwaukee from Northwestern Mutual, Wisconsin’s 161-year-old insurance giant. It will be the company’s North American headquarters and a center for activities outside its planned manufacturing plant in Racine County.

Those activities will include innovation, incubation, venture capital investment possibilities and other commercial dealings. The building has the capacity to hold 650 people and will be renamed Foxconn Place.

The move was praised by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Gov. Scott Walker, who joined in the Feb. 5 announcement.

“Foxconn is putting a stake in the ground,” said Abele, once touted as a Democratic candidate for governor. “This is an extraordinary opportunity…”

At the same news conference, Foxconn executive Louis Woo pledged the company will “work for the next 161 years to not only witness but actively participate in the transformation and growth of Wisconsin.”

If that’s a head fake, it beats anything we just saw in the Super Bowl.

People may continue to debate whether Foxconn’s 13,000 direct jobs and its predicted supply-chain effects are worth the state tax credits, but they need to remember Foxconn won’t get those credits unless the company meets specific job and capital goals over time.

The contract between the state and Foxconn is tightly written, as it should be, and lays down job and capital investment markers over a 15-year schedule. It’s a “pay-as-you-grow” strategy that can throttle up or down depending on the company’s performance.

In the meantime, skeptics should at least acknowledge that Foxconn is working hard to be a permanent and active corporate citizen of Wisconsin.

It shows not only in the Milwaukee headquarters announcement, but in job fairs, research and development relationships, supply chain spadework, land acquisition, transportation planning and more across the state.

In Milwaukee, the Regional Talent Partnership organized through the Milwaukee 7 economic development group is trying to meet the area’s workforce attraction and retention demands – including those tied to Foxconn.

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone is leading that partnership, which involves other universities and technical colleges. The group includes UW-Parkside and Gateway Technical College, which is knee-deep in Foxconn workforce planning in Racine and Kenosha counties. Mone will speak at the March 19 Wisconsin Tech Summit in Waukesha, where Foxconn representatives will meet with emerging companies.

Marquette University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering are examples of colleges where Foxconn representatives have met with students and faculty; MSOE has announced plans for a gift-funded $34 million computational science and artificial science center to keep up with growing talent and R&D demands.

The city of Milwaukee is examining the possibility of expanded Amtrak service in the Milwaukee-to-Chicago rail route, in part to accommodate anticipated Foxconn workers traffic from the city to Racine County and back.

Meanwhile, reconstruction of I-94 south of Milwaukee is set to begin in earnest in 2019.

The highway will be widened from six lanes to eight from College Avenue in Milwaukee south to Highway 142 in Kenosha County. Interchanges will be rebuilt, as will frontage roads between Highway 20 and Highway KR, the stretch of interstate closest to the planned Foxconn campus.

While it’s a bittersweet experience for many farmers in the Racine town of Mount Pleasant, Foxconn is paying about five times per acre — about $50,000 — what land sold for before the company decided to build there.

Many people still have their doubts about the size of the Foxconn deal and remain concerned about environmental effects. At this point, however, those who still believe Foxconn is giving a giant head fake are only faking themselves.

Hot dog, or something

The Brewers made this announcement yesterday, reported by WITI-TV:

Johnsonville is the official sausage of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Brewers announced Wednesday, Jan. 24. This, after we learned the Brewers severed ties with Klement’s after the two were teamed up for more than 25 years.

According to a news release from the BrewersJohnsonville is no rookie to the Brewers, having been their official sausage for 11 seasons from 1978–1988, including during the 1982 World Series games.

“Great food is one of the most memorable parts of the baseball-fan experience, which is why we’re thrilled to bring Johnsonville back to the Brewers,” said Ryan Pociask, VP of marketing at Johnsonville in the release.

The Klement’s announcement was made via a letter sent from Klement’s CEO and President Thomas Danneker to the company’s employees. That means no more Klement’s products at Miller Park, and a new sponsor for the Famous Racing Sausages. We’ve now learned that sponsor will be Johnsonville. …

According to the frequently asked questions section of the Klement’s website, the Famous Racing Sausages are owned by Major League Baseball. Klement’s has never been an authorized dealer and able to sell any merchandise or items with the images of the racers.

“Ultimately, it’s the Brewers’ property and the Brewers are in the business of raising revenue so they can pay players,” Brian Bennett, STIR Marketing CEO said.

On Tuesday evening, the Milwaukee Brewers issued a news release with this statement:

“With the heat being turned up today as rumors simmer on the Brewers sausage category sponsorship, there has been speculation about the future of Milwaukee’s most legendary runners.

The Famous Racing Sausages are a “link” to the Brewers past and present. Rest assured, they are also central to the future of the franchise.

Stay tuned – more details to come soon.”

I interviewed Johnsonville’s owners several years ago, and the owners were donors at a previous employer. So I think this is great for Johnsonville, regardless of who owns the Racing Sausages.

If you think you live in a s—hole and you don’t, does that make you a s—head?

David Blaska writes about his former boss:

Joe Btfsplk, meet Dave Zweifel.

Like Democrats statewide, the emeritus editor of Madison’s voice of progressivism is hell bent on defeating Scott Walker at all costs, even at the price of truth.

Give Dave Zweifel brownie points for creativity. Wisconsin has more Help Wanted signs than orange traffic cones in spring but somehow, Wisconsin is one of those bad places that Donald Trump recently denigrated. The Haiti of the Snowbelt. Why? Because Wisconsin’s economy is creating so many jobs that employers are scrambling for workers!

“When Wisconsin’s name comes up in news stories or is mentioned in a nationally recognized column, it often isn’t in a flattering context,” my old boss writes in the Sunday WI State Journal.

Wisconsin beats out other states to land Foxconn but my old boss can’t bring himself to mention its potential 13,000 jobs. Instead, he fixates on the 26 acres of wetlands that may be filled to accommodate the huge factory. Oh, the humanity!

Yes, “unemployment is down, taxes are flat and there are more jobs,” Dave grouses. (Sometimes the truth is too obvious even for …) But this good news is really bad news for our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances.

“Wisconsin didn’t always need to advertise” for workers, Dave cavils. Humpf! Yes, Wisconsin is waging a $6 million ad campaign to lure workers to Wisconsin. (Come for the jobs, stay because your car won’t start.)

The Democrat(ic) party line reads that Wisconsin must advertise for workers because of:

  • Act 10!!!
  • Because No High-speed Rail (See: California, boondoggle).
  • Because criticizing “the Problem of Whiteness” is “denigrating higher education.”
  • Because women (supposedly) are dying in childbirth. (Dave writes “attacks on women’s health rights” but we think he means “abortion.”)
  • And those 26 acres!

“When Wisconsin’s name comes up in news stories or is mentioned in a nationally recognized column, it often isn’t in a flattering context.” Except, there it is, on the very same day as Dave’s trip to the outhouse: Wisconsin, on page one of the Sunday New York Times, in a most flattering context.

In Dane County, Wis., where the unemployment rate was just 2% in November, demand for workers has grown so intense that manufacturers are taking their recruiting a step further: hiring inmates at full wages to work in factories even while they serve their prison sentences.

[The inmate] got that chance in part because of Dane County’s red-hot labor market. Stoughton Trailers, a family-owned manufacturer that employs about 650 people at its plant in the county, has raised pay, offered referral bonuses and expanded its in-house training program. But it has still struggled to fill dozens of positions.

After his release, the inmate bought a car from his earnings while on work-release.

Now he is thinking bigger. Other jobs in the area pay higher wages, and his freedom has opened up more options. He has been talking to another local company, which is interested in training him to become an estimator — a salaried job that would pay more and offer room for advancement.

Those who abjure objective measurements in favor of partisan, political-campaign talking points, read no further. Yeah, Wisconsin roads ARE bad but we can’t help but think that some projects are needlessly expensive. (Doesn’t the Verona Road project seem over-engineered?) Which is why Walker replaced former DOT secretary Gottlieb with a new guy.

For a dispassionate measure, we turned to the recently released U.S. News and World Report listing of best states, 2018. The survey measures health care, education, crime, infrastructure, opportunity, economy, and government. Overall, the well regarded survey ranks Wisconsin as the 16th best state overall and second-best in the Midwest, behind Minnesota (#3) and Iowa (#6) but comfortable ahead of Indiana #22, Illinois #29, Michigan #33, and Ohio #35. Of those states, another survey listed Wisconsin as the second “greenest,” behind Minnesota. More here.

It’s a fair point that Walker is trying to sell Wisconsin using Madison as its star attraction while simultaneously bad-mouthing its mayor, now a challenger for governor. But the obverse is also true: Liberals are trying to badmouth Wisconsin. State policies are at least equally responsible for Madison’s success. To take one example, Madison bike paths are largely funded with state money. Even Monona Terrace has state money in it.

If state employees, K-12 teachers, and university professors were being ground down as much as Act 10 bitter-enders like Dave Zweifel pretend, wouldn’t Madison more closely resemble Port au Prince?

Dave Btfsplk, look on the bright side: We could be Illinois.