Defying common sense and with a total disregard for the safety of the public, the Wisconsin Republicans, who hold the power in the state’s legislature, pushed to hold the state’s primary election today in the midst of the CoVid-19 pandemic. Long lines of voters, many of them wearing face masks, stretched for blocks through …
Aug 16 2018
Four states, Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin, held primaries on Tuesday. Besides those primaries, we got a concession from one of the undecided elections from last week. Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer conceded the election to Trump backed State Attorney General Kris Kobach. Colyer conceded Tuesday night, hours after a tally of provisional ballots in Johnson …
Aug 14 2018
Four states are holding primaries today: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Connecticut: Governor Danal Malloy (D) is retiring after two terms. The Republicans are looking for a win here due to Malloy’s unpopularity. There are five candidates for the nomination Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton; former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst; Steve Obsitnik; Bob Stefanowski; and …
Apr 05 2016
The polls in Wisconsin primary opened at 7 AM CT. The primary is also a general election for state and local judicial candidates. Wisconsin voters are very highly engaged and the turn out, even for local elections tends to be higher than other states. That may change. This is the first election since the new …
Oct 10 2014
Late yesterday the Supreme Court and s federal judge put the brakes on voter ID laws in two states.
In Texas, US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that the law passed in 2011 was tantamount to an “unconstitutional poll tax” and an unconstitutional burden on minority voters
“The court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose,” Ramos wrote in a 147-page ruling. [..]
The trial stemmed from a battle over stringent voter ID measures signed into law by Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry in 2011. The measure, which supporters say will prevent voter fraud, requires voters to present a photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport or military ID card.
Plaintiffs argued the law would hit elderly and poorer voters, including ethnic minorities, hardest because they are less likely to have such identification.
They would therefore be more likely to be turned away on voting day, suppressing the turnout of groups who traditionally have supported Democrats, the plaintiffs charged.
Then last night the US Supteme Court granted the request of civil rights group preventing a new voter identification law in Wisconsin from going into effect. It overturned the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals that that had declared the law constitutional.
On Thursday night the U.S. Supreme Court issued a one-page order that vacated the appeals court ruling pending further proceedings. Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the application should have been denied because there was no indication that the 7th Circuit had demonstrably erred. [..]
Wisconsin’s photo ID law has been a political flashpoint since Republican legislators passed it in 2011. The GOP argues the mandate is a common sense step toward reducing election fraud. Democrats maintain no widespread fraud exists and that the law is really an attempt to keep Democratic constituents who may lack ID, such as the poor, minorities and the elderly, from voting.
The law was in effect for the February 2012 primary but subsequent legal challenges put it on hold and it hasn’t been in place for any election since.
The ACLU and allied groups persuaded a federal judge in Milwaukee to declare the law unconstitutional in April.
The ACLU has recruited an unlikely ambassador to aid in the fight to overturn and change these laws. At a photo shoot with ACLU’s Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho, comedian and actor Lewis Black Says F#%! Voter Suppression. (Warning language in the video may not be suitable for the work place.)
Not on our watch.
Apr 05 2014
Appleton, WI’s Gypsy Vered Meltzer identifies as both transgender and a man. On Tuesday the residents of Appleton elected him to the city council. Gypsy expects that there will be people uneasy with his election, but is determined to keep that from distracting him from the job at hand. Meltzer defeated Barney Lemanski for the seat by a vote of 295-199.
I can see some push back, but I hope they’ll get over it. I hope things don’t go that route. I don’t want to lose focus on the issues and increasing communications between the city and its residents.
Fair Wisconsin identifies Meltzer as the first openly transgender person to hold office in Wisconsin.
This election is an historic moment for Wisconsin in having the first openly transgender official. I’d hope we’d see an increase in the number of elected officials from the transgender community across the state.
–Katie Belanger, Fair Wisconsin president
Every time a trans person succeeds in anything related to the public, it is a step forward. It’s an acknowledgment that we’re just like everyone else and it shouldn’t be the issue by which we’re judged.
–my friend Loree Cook-Daniels, FORGE
Dec 21 2013
This time of year is often a sad one for transgender people. Family time hits people hard if they have been rejected by their families. And the reminders that it should be family time are unceasing.
But it can be hard even for those who have supportive families and friends. It was apparently too hard for a Wisconsin 14 year-old.
Alexis “Lexi” Lopez-Brandies recently asked to be called Landon. That makes this a tough article to write because all of the reports refer to the Horlick High School freshman as a girl and use female pronouns…so much so that when I heard that Lopez was transgender, I was unsure what direction of change Landon was pursuing.
William Horlick High School is in the city of Racine, Wisconsin, has about 2100 students and 200 faculty. And apparently none of them knew how the bullying Lopez was enduring was affecting him.
Landon took his own life last Sunday morning. Landon’s parents don’t lay all the blame at the feet of the bullying, saying that Landon also suffered from severe depression.
Jun 11 2012
“When the madness is directed towards the likes of you and me,
Then our blindness may be lifted and we might begin to see.
For when others are afflicted, with the scourge that has no end,
Then we practice our denial — and the purging, we defend.
So the powers and the peoples of the nations of this Earth
Could be fully in connivance — or denial of the hurt…
And even, in our hubris, in our information age,
We are blinded by our bias — and at petty issues rage.
So the workers were divided and they voted Nazis in,
And so many were the workers, who paid dearly for this sin!
And we see now in Wisconsin, there’s a Walker riding high,
And there’s cash enough from coffers to propagate the lie.”
Sometimes you would give anything not to be right! When I started writing this diary three weeks ago, I predicted that Scott Walker would win the recall election for governor in Wisconsin. Walker, with unlimited corporate money, was challenged by a massive people’s movement when he outlawed most collective bargaining rights in what was usually considered a progressive state. I knew, with the certainty of a cynic that that much money would out-weigh people power. It was the fight between John Henry and the steel driving machine all over again. Yet, there I was, Tuesday night, praying that the people power would, in the end, win. Not. Walker beat Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate 53%-46%, winning by a whopping 6% points. As Ed of the Ed Show so colorfully pointed out, there was no way to put lipstick on that pig. Or as Chris Hedges had said a couple of weeks earlier: “We lost. They won.”
Jun 06 2012
MSNBC and other news outlets are calling the Wisconsin recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker for Gov. Walker.
Scott Walker, the embattled Republican governor of Wisconsin, narrowly survived a recall vote on Tuesday, defeating a union-led effort to remove him from office for pushing laws to restrict the collective bargaining rights of state workers.
The state’s labor movement had marshaled widespread anger earlier this year to force a recall vote just two years into Mr. Walker’s four-year term. Democrats collected close to one million signatures in the petition drive to oust him.
That effort led to the closely-watched rematch between Mr. Walker and the Democratic opponent he beat in 2010, Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee. In the voting Tuesday, Mr. Walker once again bested Mr. Barrett for the state’s top job.
The results were a victory for the national Republican Party and conservative groups from around the country, which had rallied behind Mr. Walker with tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Walker will now complete his term.
Unless, he’s indicted.
Jun 05 2012
The vote to recall Wisconsin’s Republican Tea Party Governor Scott Walker is tomorrow. The latest Public Policy Polling results has his challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with a slight lead over Walker:
PPP’s final poll on the Wisconsin recall finds Scott Walker ahead, but also a race that’s tightening. Walker leads Tom Barrett 50-47. That’s down from 50-45 on a PPP poll conducted three weeks ago and it’s also down from a 52-45 lead that Walker posted in a Marquette Law poll released last week.
Barrett is actually winning independent voters by a 48-46 margin. The reason he continues to trail overall is that Republicans are more excited about voting in Tuesday’s election than Democrats are. Our projected electorate voted for Barack Obama by only 7 points, even though he took the state by 14 in 2008. If the folks who turn out on Tuesday actually matched the 2008 electorate, Barrett would be ahead of Walker by a 50-49 margin. It’s cliche but this is a race that really is going to completely come down to turnout.
This week’s Up with Chris Hayes devoted its first segments to what is at stake for not only Wisconsin but the rest of the country.
Up with Chris Hayes panelists Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee; Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; Michelle Bernard, founder, president and CEO of The Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy; and Bob Herbert, former New York Times columnist and now a distinguished senior fellow at the progressive think tank Demos, discuss the ferocious recall election in Wisconsin, and its implications for national politics.
John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation, joins thepanel to talk about the tidal wave of dark money flowing in from special interests in the Wisconsin recall election.
Dec 14 2011
It started with a 26 year old Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire sparking protests that over threw the government. The protest has spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Syria, Israel, Greece, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York City and across the United States to Chicago, Houston, Oakland, Portland, and Los Angeles. Russians have taken to the streets in the largest protests since the overthrow of the Soviet Union that may end the career of Vladimir Putin. It has been a year of protests that have changed the world. And we aren’t done.
History often emerges only in retrospect. Events become significant only when looked back on. No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square in a town barely on a map, he would spark protests that would bring down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and rattle regimes in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. Or that that spirit of dissent would spur Mexicans to rise up against the terror of drug cartels, Greeks to march against unaccountable leaders, Americans to occupy public spaces to protest income inequality, and Russians to marshal themselves against a corrupt autocracy.Protests have now occurred in countries whose populations total at least 3 billion people, and the word protest has appeared in newspapers and online exponentially more this past year than at any other time in history.
Is there a global tipping point for frustration? Everywhere, it seems, people said they’d had enough. They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change. And although it was understood differently in different places, the idea of democracy was present in every gathering. The root of the word democracy is demos, “the people,” and the meaning of democracy is “the people rule.” And they did, if not at the ballot box, then in the streets. America is a nation conceived in protest, and protest is in some ways the source code for democracy – and evidence of the lack of it.
We will take to the streets and the ballot boxes and back to the streets until we have won the “war” against the oligarchs, the banks and the billionaires.
Sep 02 2011
Controversial law prompts a spate of retirements
MADISON, Wis. – When students return today for the first day of school across Wisconsin, many familiar faces will be gone, as teachers chose retirement over coming back following the passage of a bill that would have forced them to pay more for benefits and taken away most of their collective bargaining rights.
Documents obtained by the Associated Press under the state’s open records law show that about twice as many public school teachers decided to retire in the first half of this year as in each of the past two full years, part of a mass exit of public employees.
Their departures came after the bill passed but before the new law took effect. The bill, which was pushed by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature, led to weeks of protests at the Capitol.
The ensuing exodus of teachers and other state employees has spurred fears that the jobs might not be filled and that classroom leadership by veteran teachers will be lost.