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Scott Walker

On The Media

Covering the Longshots

Friday, April 17, 2015

How will reporters cover 2016 candidates who probably won't win? Likely, a lot. David Leonhardt of the New York Times cautions against giving them too much attention.

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Spinning on Air

Coping Strategies

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Celebrate loss. Say "so what?" to adversity. Shout into the abyss. Talk with friends. David Garland presents these and other "coping strategies" suggested in songs.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Who Is Scott Walker and What Does He Want?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It was at a fundraiser for the Wisconsin governor that Rudy Giuliani said President Obama doesn't love America; now Scott Walker's using the remark to raise money. Here's how.

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New Sounds

Orchestral Pop

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This New Sounds program serves up orchestral pop in various guises, including brand new music from the reclusive Scott Walker, from his forthcoming release "Bish Bosch," where he uses the sounds of samurai swords and falling marbles, among other unsettling things.  There's also music from American singer/songwriter and composer Daniel James, under the name Canon Blue, from his "Rumspringa," with orchestral arrangements contributed by string quartet Amiina (most famously for being Sigur Rós’ string section.)

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Spinning on Air

The Textures and Colors of Songs with Orchestra

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Some songs benefit from being performed with the intimate accompaniment of just a guitar or piano. But there are also songs that need more sonic texture and color; songs that require an orchestra. David Garland presents a variety of new and old songs that use orchestras to enhance their scope, power, impact, and even intimacy.

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New Sounds

Orchestral Pop

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This New Sounds program serves up orchestral pop in various guises, including brand new music from the reclusive Scott Walker, from his forthcoming release "Bish Bosch," where he uses the sounds of samurai swords and falling marbles, among other unsettling things.  There's also music from American singer/songwriter and composer Daniel James, under the name Canon Blue, from his "Rumspringa," with orchestral arrangements contributed by string quartet Amiina (most famously for being Sigur Rós’ string section.)  

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It's A Free Country ®

Why the NFL Ref Lockout Had the Public on Labor's Side

Thursday, September 27, 2012

NFL referees have managed to do what public sector employees in Wisconsin and teachers in Chicago couldn’t: Inspire near-unanimous public sympathy for the demands of organized labor.

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It's A Free Country ®

In Wisconsin's Democratic Stronghold, Activists Weary but Resolved

Thursday, July 26, 2012

If there's one place you'd expect to find an enthusiasm gap for Obama supporters, it'd be in Madison. But after running into weary and cynical voters in Colorado and Iowa, Wisconsin voters sounded remarkably resolved for another contest.

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Transportation Nation

Will Walker's Wisconsin Win Mean No Milwaukee Streetcar?

Monday, June 11, 2012

A rendering of a Milwaukee streetcar, from milwaukeestreetcar.com

Governor Scott Walker’s triumph in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election seems to vindicate yet again his anti-rail campaign strategy. Supporters of the Millwaukee streetcar, his latest punching bag, must be worried now that Walker will make their pet project the next piece of trophy taxidermy on his office wall, right beside the high speed “boondoggle train to Madison.”

If we’ve learned anything these last few years it’s that an empowered Governor can do a lot to frustrate local wishes, be they for a commuter rail tunnel, a potentially profitable high speed train line, or a cherished lack of interstate highway.  But there’s reason to think Walker might be powerless to stop the streetcar plan, even if he wanted to do so.

A year ago, before the recall campaigning, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran a thorough piece elucidating one possible reason the Republican Governor wasn’t making a big deal of the streetcar at the time:

A 10-year-old civil rights settlement could explain the governor's reticence.

That deal prohibits the state from blocking the streetcar project, according to a top federal transportation official and an attorney involved in the settlement.

Faced with allegations that it was discriminating against urban minorities by favoring freeways over light rail, the state agreed in November 2000 to cooperate with the Milwaukee Connector study and to incorporate its recommendations into the state's long-term transportation plans. That study eventually spawned the streetcar.

(For more in-depth reporting and context on the historical confluence of race and transit, listen to Transportation Nation’s Back of the Bus documentary)

We reached John Norquist, the President of the Congress for the New Urbanism, who was mayor of Milwaukee at the time of the agreement. He agreed that it wouldn’t be possible for the streetcar funding to be re-purposed without the consent of the mayor, which seems unlikely since Mayor Tom Barrett was Walker’s recall opponent. “Walker can’t take the money. It’s a joint agreement,” Norquist said. “If Barrett doesn’t agree to move the money, then the money stays where it is.”

But keeping the funding safe for one project shouldn’t be the end of the story, Norquist said. “I think the transit advocates in Milwaukee need to attack the wasteful road projects that Walker’s engaged in, the boondoggle of widening Interstate 94 to eight lanes between Milwaukee and the Illinois state boundary. That’s something like 4 billion dollars. Just to go from six to eight lanes.”

(Repeated calls and e-mails to Walker's Office were not returned.)

Agreeing with certain regretful comments made by Wisconsin State Representative Brett Hulsey to Transportation Nation last week, Norquist said that the Democrats and pro-train advocates were too timid and passive in the face of Walker’s barrage of criticism. “They need to have an intellectual theory behind what they’re doing. We did this back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. We threw out a bunch of pro-highway legislators in Milwaukee, and a bunch of us got elected on an anti-freeway campaign. We killed all three pending freeways in Milwaukee.” The streetcar money originally came from funds returned for the unbuilt Stadium North Freeway.  “Originally it was $500 million. And the state DOT has been trying to steal it ever since.”

Since those anti-freeway heyday that brought him into power, the pendulum has swung the other way, he says, largely because of racial fears tied to transit in Wisconsin. “This last election Walker ran against the city, tried to wrap the fear about the big city around Barrett’s neck,” Norquist observed. “It’s all very hardcore. They treat transit like it’s a welfare queen sashaying down a welfare promenade.”

But he also thinks that attitude might soon run its course. “I think Walker’s attitude still works because the a lot of those post-war generation are still voting their fears about the city and there’s still a lot of them around,” he said. “But it’s about to change. Young people—the Millenials—like urban place, and they don’t have a negative attitude toward transit.” In 1970, there were nine cities in the nation with rail transit systems, he pointed out, while today, some forty cities have it, including many in sun belt. “I think Walker will be one of the last of the people that are able to use transit as a wedge issue.”

 

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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It's A Free Country ®

Who Had the Better Week—Cuomo or Christie?

Friday, June 08, 2012

Cuomo loses a casino, and Christie helps Scott Walker win an election.

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The Takeaway

Are Republican Governors to Thank for Swing State Growth?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Unemployment is dropping and debts are closing in some of the country’s big swing states. Can governors like Scott Walker and John Kasich of Ohio take credit for their states' revitalized economies? Or have President Obama's growth initiatives and bailouts had a positive effects?

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It's A Free Country ®

As Walker Rises, So Does Christie

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

WNYC

Not long ago, a Republican Governor elected just after the Obama landslide in a “blue” state painted a line in the sand. 

In a big-union state, he took on the unions.  In a state formed by rail transportation, he killed a big federal rail project and sent huge sums back to the federal government.  The more the unions howled, the happier he seemed poking sharp sticks in their eyes.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: How Should Progressives Handle Wisconsin Loss? Take Cues from GOP

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Even when they lose a race, conservatives get right back to promoting the ideas their losing candidate ran on. Progressives should do the same post-Wisconsin.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Was the Wisconsin Recall Election a Bellwether for the Nation?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

In Wisconsin, it was a race for the left and right corners of the political spectrum. Will the rest of the country follow suit?

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The Takeaway

Wisconsin Voters Decide Walker's Fate

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Voters in Wisconsin are heading to the polls to decide whether or not their governor Scott Walker stays or goes. Regardless of whether or not Wisconsin will actually matter come November, politicians in Washington are watching the state closely for hint of the national mood.

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It's A Free Country ®

Scott Walker Recalled or Not, Wisconsin's Days of Unity are Gone

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The state's long history of treading on shared political common ground through cooperation in government has given way to two sharply divided parties whose supporters have lost the civility and respect that once characterized state politics.

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The Takeaway

Audio Essay: A History of Recall Elections

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

If Tuesday's vote doesn't lean in his favor, Scott Walker will join the ranks of only a handful of politicians who've been ousted in recall elections. The Wisconsin vote has grabbed headlines for months, but it turns out that booting a governor from office is a fairly rare event. Ken Davis takes a historical perspective in this audio essay, examining recalls of the past.

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The Takeaway

Wisconsin Voters Talk Gov. Scott Walker's Recall Election

Monday, June 04, 2012

This Tuesday, Wisconsin will decide whether to recall Republican governor Scott Walker from office. Walker is being taken to task on labor union reforms he implemented suddenly last year, shrinking their bargaining power and angering droves of Wisconsinites. The recall has polarized Wisconsin's population. Martin Smith is retired, and as a Democrat from Madison, Wisconsin, he wants to see Scott Walker lose on Tuesday. Clarence Kuehmichel, a retired firefighter from Elm Grove, Wisconsin, thinks the recall election is a waste of money and has been happy with Walker's performance in office. 

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Transportation Nation

Will Walker Walk, or Get Railroaded Out of Madison?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ran against trains, and won. Will it work again? Photo by WisPolitics.com

Next Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin means everything to the prospect of improved train service in that state. But local rail advocates are still unsure whether the passenger rail issue will hurt or help embattled Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is in a tight race against challenger Tom Barrett, the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee.

“I think we’ve taken it from a big negative for us to about a break-even,” said Brett Hulsey, a Democratic state assemblyman from the west side of Madison who is an outspoken supporter of both Barrett and better trains. “That’s progress. But Walker has TV ads now beating up Barrett for a $100 million dollar streetcar project in Milwaukee. Apparently this is still polling well for Walker.”

In the fall of 2010, when Walker ran for the statehouse, he made an issue of the Madison-to-Milwaukee high-speed rail project, which had received $810 million in federal funding, saying “I’d rather take that money and fix Wisconsin’s crumbling roads and bridges.” Walker also set up a website, NoTrain.Com.

The money wasn’t, in fact, fungible, and soon after he was elected, Walker returned it to the federal government, which redistributed it to other states, including California and Illinois.  Other Republican governors,  Rick Scott of Florida and John Kasich of Ohio, followed suit.

As it turned out, stopping the “Boondoggle train to Madison” was a political winner.

“Transportation choice advocates and Democrats, didn’t do a good job leading up to the last election, in explaining the benefits,” Hulsey admits. “We thought we had a done deal. And we should have done a better job making it part of the political discourse.”

Barrett, for his part, is trying to do just that, drawing a straight line between transportation improvements and the state’s hunger for jobs with visits to the. He recently visited a Talgo factory that has been making new train cars for the existing Hiawatha line. Funding for that too is in jeopardy, even though the cars are 99 percent complete.

Talgo is no passive prop. The company hasn’t been at all shy about their feelings for Walker’s leadership. Their Twitter feed has been quite sharp, and the company’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development, Nora Friend, recently complained bluntly to Milwaukee’s WUWM radio. that the Walker Administration’s apparent intention to breach a maintenance contract would mean Talgo would have to close its current facility and lay off skilled workers.

“We find ourselves in this situation,” she said, “because of the blunder of returning $810 million dollars. The cost of that permanent maintenance facility was included in those finds that Wisconsin competed to get. We don’t want to have to litigate our contract. What we want is very simple. we want the state of wisconsin to do what it preaches, that it is open for business.”

Hulsey points to a report that Walker has actually given away $1.3 Billion in federal money, and thinks the public is starting to understand the Democrat’s view of the matter. “We have educated the public that of the 35,000 jobs that we lost last year, 5,500 of those jobs would have been people upgrading our train tracks, direct and indirect jobs.”

Hulsey likes to encourage train supporters in states such as Illinois to send letters to Walker thanking him for the re-appropriated funds and resulting jobs.

“Those jobs and the benefits of those jobs would have far exceeded any operating costs to maintain rail service to Madison," said Nora Friend.

Walker’s straightforward position, like that of Florida Governor Rick Scott, is that, given the economic climate and mounting deficits, federal and state governments cannot afford to risk millions and billions of dollars on rail systems they see as speculative and likely to require years of subsidy. Whether voters agree with this, or the argument that government is in a unique position to create desperately needed jobs and new infrastructure critical to economic development, won’t be clear until election day, if then.

But Hulsey counters Walkers claims with a classic Democratic argument. “The fact that this is happening in battleground states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida is not an accident,” he told me. “This is part of the Republican do-nothing strategy to try to make President Obama look as bad as possible. Hurting workers to hurt Obama is the overall strategy.”

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: How Much Backlash to the Backlash in Walker Recall?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Elections are about outcomes, and if Walker holds onto his post, it will be a sign that there's still work to do.

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