Friday, August 4, 2017

"The Foxconn Con"

From the Shepherd Express:

By Joel McNally  Aug. 1, 2017

Photo credit: Prachatai (Flickr CC)  

Editor's Note: The following are Joel McNally’s opinions. We agree with his observations and his cautions. The Shepherd’s position is that, since Wisconsin has had a dismal job creation record over the past several years, we embrace the idea of taking a risk with Foxconn. We hope that Foxconn delivers close to the number of jobs it is estimating, and we believe that the Walker administration could improve its deal by requiring Foxconn to abide by DNR regulations and, rather than making the annual $200 million tax credit a refundable tax credit, it should be a non-refundable tax credit that can be carried forward.

"Why do you think it’s called Foxconn? Politics aside, everyone who cares about Wisconsin really wants to believe all those gushing promises about the staggering number of high-paying jobs about to be created by a gargantuan high-tech facility—three times as large as the Pentagon—guaranteed to transform Racine and Kenosha into a modern-day version of Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland. But it sure would be a lot easier to believe if the breathless announcement hadn’t been made jointly by President Donald Trump, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Terry Gou, chairman of the Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn, all three notorious public liars.

"Many people are familiar with the dubious veracity of Trump and Walker. The Washington Post’s running tally of Trump’s documented lies and misrepresentations averages nearly five a day. Walker once attempted to remove 'the search for truth' from the mission of the University of Wisconsin and then lied about trying to do it. But most Wisconsinites are just starting to learn about Gou’s stream of broken promises around the world to spend billions of dollars to create tens of thousands of jobs—$10 billion in Brazil, $5 billion in India, $5 billion in Vietnam, $1 billion in Indonesia, $30 million in Pennsylvania—that came to little or nothing. He sounds like Trump and Walker’s brother from another mother.

"An early warning sign the Wisconsin announcement might produce far less than the mind-boggling claims was the mysteriously shrinking number of promised jobs. In January, around the time of Trump’s inauguration, Gou announced he might invest at least $7 billion in the U.S. to create 30-50,000 jobs producing flat LCD screens for TVs and computers. By the time Walker made the announcement, Gou’s investment was claimed to be $10 billion producing only 13,000 jobs. Even that number appeared to be inflated by Walker. Foxconn said it would only be hiring 3,000 workers over four years, and eventually that number might potentially grow “up to 13,000.” Someday. Maybe. Or maybe not.

"Walker has a history of promising unbelievable jobs numbers that never happen. Walker’s motive for fabricating Foxconn numbers is obvious. A 'transformational,' 'once-in-a-century' jobs coup is the perfect start to the re-election campaign of a governor whose greatest political liability is his failed jobs record.

"But, while many of those jobs could be imaginary, the historic $3 billion (that’s billion with a 'b') state tax giveaway Walker wants his eager Republican legislature to hand to Foxconn is real, hard cash. If Foxconn makes its promised investment, Wisconsin would literally write checks for more than $200 million a year for the next 15 years to Gou’s multi-billion-dollar company.

‘A Guaranteed Loser for the State’

"Good Jobs First, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C. research group that tracks government subsidies to private companies, ranked it as the fourth-largest tax incentive deal in U.S. history and unlikely ever to produce enough revenue to justify the enormous cost. 'We can only describe this as a gift from Wisconsin taxpayers to Foxconn shareholders,' Executive Director Greg LeRoy told The New York Times. 'This is a guaranteed loser for the state.'

"Walker swears state safeguards protect taxpayers. If Foxconn doesn’t create 13,000 jobs, he said, it won’t get all of its $3 billion windfall, and anybody who raises questions about the deal can go suck lemons. But when, exactly, over the next decade-and-a-half would Wisconsin decide Foxconn isn’t creating enough jobs and stop writing $200 million dollar checks? After Foxconn’s first billion in five years if it’s only created the 3,000 jobs it promised? After the second billion? And what kind of deal is paying a billion dollars to create 3,000 jobs, anyway? In 2010, with what would now be the second-largest Wisconsin subsidy, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle saved 3,000 jobs at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac for a mere $65 million (with an 'm').

"Politicians are always thrilled to attract high-tech 'jobs of the future.' But high-tech factories almost always mean far fewer jobs. Foxconn’s biggest investments are likely to be in robotics. Foxconn recently announced laying off 60,000 workers at its iPhone 6 factory in Kushan, China—more than 50% of the workforce—replacing them with robotic advanced technology, also produced by Foxconn. 

"One of the attractions of Wisconsin for Gou was the anti-union, anti-worker culture Walker has brought to the state. That’s disturbing given Foxconn’s reputation as a dangerous, high-stress work environment. Chinese workers complain of working seven days a week and standing for long hours on swelling legs. In 2010, there was a suicide cluster of 18 workers throwing themselves from Foxconn buildings, with 14 deaths. Foxconn installed safety nets to catch the falling bodies. Two years later, 150 workers threatened mass suicide from the roof of one factory before they were talked down.

"Do Walker’s state safeguards for Foxconn’s Magic Kingdom include suicide nets? Mass suicides can put a real crimp in a state’s workforce development".


I'll bet you they'll be gone, money in hand, before a spadeful of dirt is overturned.

Four for Fridays!

We survived watching my sons three dogs last weekend. I am so glad for Daddy Orbs he stepped in for me last week. Here are your questions.

1) Do you sit outside and watch the thunderstorms?

2) So you have pets that are scared of the thunderstorms?

3) Do you have aches and pains when it thunderstorms?

4) Do you like to watch the lighting?

Have a great weekend!

Open Blog - Friday


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Trump thinks the 'White House is a real dump,' report says"

"President Trump told members at his Trump National Bedminster golf club he has spent so much time there recently because 'that White House is a real dump,' Golf magazine reported Tuesday.

"According to the in-depth look at the president and his relationship to golf, Bedminster has become one of Trump's favorite escapes. It served as a 'permanent campaign rally site' in the months leading up to the election and Trump has visited the club four times since taking office. 

"'He has his own cottage adjacent to the pool; it was recently given a secure perimeter by the Secret Service, leading to the inevitable joke that it's the only wall Trump has successfully built,' Golf magazine reported. 'Chatting with some members before a recent round of golf, he explained his frequent appearances "That White House is a real dump."

"By contrast, people who've played with Trump on his courses say he praises every detail of his clubs."

He's right, the place is a dump.  Better it's rented out to me.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my blessings! How are you?  We've been having some beautiful weather lately.  I hope that you're enjoying some.  I love having the windows open as opposed to the air conditioner.  But when it's hot and I can't get a breeze going in the house, I've been known to turn on the a/c.  There goes the electric bill.  Senor Zanza says that he can cool down the entire house.  All we have to do is move to Antarctica.  Sometimes I'm half-tempted to do just that. 

Have you heard the news?  Foxconn is coming to southeastern Wisconsin.  Oboy, oboy, roll out the red carpet and strike up the band.  They've screwed around a number of other communities, so I'll believe it when construction starts.  Meanwhile, where are we going to get 3,000 people qualified to work there?  We have plenty of unemployed people, They can't read or write or do simple math.  They can't get up early in the morning and they hare no idea of what work is.  These illiterates don't want to work.  Their parents never taught them the basics of employment.  If Foxconn does settle here, expect the majority of the workers to drive or ride in from other communities.  Chicago comes ti mind, but I don't want to start any rumors.

I must admit that I love the circus that the presidency has become.  Apparently, no one is qualified to work at the White House, either.  The last guy had ten days on the job when he was replaced.  I believe that Mr. Trump is more interested in keeping the pot boiling rather than settling into any groove.  Presidency by Twitter.  It's become a circus and is very entertaining.  Every day his employees must wake up and wonder if the still have a job.  Just check your tweets to find out.  Just shut up, Mr. Trump, and do your job.  I suggest that you start by bombing North Korea back to the stone age.  Wait, they're already in the stone age.  I guess we'll just need to obliterate fat boy.  Unite the Koreas again.

Just a short note: Mr. Trump's wall will cut off the migration routes of thousands of animals.  Keep up the good work, Mr. Trump.

Racine's government became less fun with the abdication of lying John.  Without that source of the maximum in lies, we're becoming a normal city again.  Who'd a thunk it?  Good-bye lying John, hello normalcy.  I hope that interim Mayor Wiser and the rest of the city council has the balls to do away with the proposed Machinery Row and the events center.  I know that a lot of people are expecting to get rich off of these projects, but let's stop subsidizing every contractor in town.  Let them find their own work.  There's plenty of fixing up that needs to be done in Racine.  Concentrate on that instead of pie in the sky announcements out of City Hall.

Well, kiddos, I love you all and wish you the best.  Thank you for reading my blog this week.  I'm always looking for new readers.  We are family.

Again, enjoy the good weather while we have it.  I wouldn't be surprised if it snows in September.  The new, screwed up environment is almost as entertaining as Mr. Trump's lies.  Remember, always keep an umbrella and a change of clothes in the car when you drive anywhere.  You never know what to expect.
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Open Blog - Wednesday

Have a good one!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

" Kinta Grandmother Takes Aim At Copperheads"

Posted: Jul 28, 2017 12:13 PM CST Updated: Jul 28, 2017 1:03 PM CST

"KINTA, Oklahoma -

"A 72-year-old grandmother is getting a lot of attention on social media after killing 11 copperhead snakes she found at her home near Kinta.

 "According to family members, Mrs. Newby killed the 11 copperheads in one night, then four more the next.

 "Family members say she believes there is a den under her old house trailer.

"They said her 'weapons of choice' are a 20-gauge shotgun and a shovel when she runs out of shells.

"Last month, the family said Mrs. Newby killed a five-foot-six-inch western diamondback rattlesnake."

Susan Thompson


They just don't make them like they used to.

Open Blog - Tuesday

The hot month.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

"WiGWAG: A Cher musical, trapped in an ATM, and more"

News with a twist


Texas hold ’em

A man hired to service an ATM at a Bank of America in Corpus Christi, Texas, found himself locked inside an ATM access — and he’d left his cellphone and keycard in his truck. When he realized customers were at the ATM to withdraw cash, he started passing notes through the receipt slot on the machine. “Please help. I’m stuck in here and I don’t have my phone.” Police said customers thought they were being pranked, but one called police after hearing an ever-so faint voice seeming to come from inside the ATM.

All shook up

More than a few people fell for an old hoax recently recycled by Now8News and circulated on YouTube. The fake story goes like this: Elvis Presley did not die Aug. 16, 1977, but instead entered the federal witness protection program. He only died recently, as a homeless man living in San Diego and going by the name of Jessie. All that would come as a shock to the tens of thousands of pilgrims preparing to visit Elvis’ grave at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, in August for the 40th anniversary of the King’s death. Elvis Week begins Aug. 11 and continues through Aug. 19.

This one’s on the Federal Reserve

Those guarantees about your money being safe at the bank? The Federal Reserve’s going to have to come through and replace an unspecified amount of cash ruined by flooding at the Fox River State Bank in Burlington, Wisconsin. When the Fox rose past flood stage, water flooded the bank and its vault, which is water-resistant but not waterproof. The water reached as high as 21 inches inside the bank.


The current issue of the British medical journal, BMJ, contains a case report about a woman scheduled for cataract surgery based on her complaints about vision problems. Her doctors, however, discovered 27 contact lenses in her right eye. The woman had been wearing disposable lenses for 35 years and, apparently not all of them were disposed of.

At the ‘dive in’

In 1975, the movie-going public was warned about seeing Jaws: “You’ll never go in the water again.” Well, in July, to celebrate Shark Week, the brave and the bold paid $55 not only to go into the water but also to watch Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge while bobbing on inner tubes in Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema movie parties featured sneaky scuba divers to guarantee plenty of screaming during the screenings.

Over a cliff, again and again

Remember those long summer days spent playing video games? Yes, WiGWAG is talking about last week, when we became obsessed with an online game — “Push Trump Off a Cliff Again!” — at Using simple keystrokes or mouse clicks, players could send Trump running, jumping, flying and dancing over a cliff or into a volcano. As Trump tumbles, he says “bye” and “I’m really rich.”

Bad call

A Florida drug dealer called the sheriff’s office in Okaloosa County to report that someone broke into his car and stole $50 in cash, a crack pipe and a quarter-ounce of cocaine. Unluckily for the complainant, a deputy found the car with the cash missing but the drugs and paraphernalia untouched.

Egg on their faces

Two Florida teens picked the wrong bicyclist to throw an egg at: The cyclist was a police officer. He chased the vehicle and called for help with his cellphone. A responding patrol officer pulled over the teens’ car and found two cartons of eggs and a small amount of marijuana.

Tres Cher

Cher is the subject of a new musical that producers say could hit the stage next year. The three-act play will focus on the superstar at three stages of her storied life, and three actors will portray her as “Babe,” “Lady” and “Star.” Tony award-winning writer Rick Elice is at work on the production, which will feature such hits as “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Believe,” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

Big tipper

Actor/singer Donnie Wahlberg left a $2,000 tip on an $82.60 bill for workers at a Waffle House in Charlotte, North Carolina. He explained the generosity on Facebook: “My mom waited tables, and my dad tended bars — for years! So, when I walk into a #WaffleHouse, and the staff treats me like a king, you better believe I treat them like queens!”


A Maryland man was arrested after strangling his stepfather and then posting photos of himself with the body.