Defending Wisconsin’s Senator Dave Hansen: July 19 Election, 30th District

Today Senator Dave Hansen fights to keep his seat in state senate district 30 against one of the most underwhelming candidates I’ve had a chance to learn about, Vanderleest. I’d like to say Hansen has it “in the bag”. Most say he does. But that won’t keep me from watching the election closely tonight.

I’ll hope to add some notes here throughout the evening. To start things out, you’ll see a nifty “CoverItLive” widget here at 6PM Central.
You can chat in it while it also feeds in twitter updates on the election. Widgets

Let it be known that the day Walker suppressed the vote, people yelled like hell.

It was raining and cold and still it felt good to get out and raise some hell against the radical Republican agenda today.

I pieced together this brief video. There are some episodes I didn’t catch in the video, such as the 4th graders who spontaneously began chanting “recall Walker”. [Hold on – Nick Nice caught that! HERE] The fact that the Solidarity Sing Along group struggled to sing loudly enough to match the protesters’ volume. I didn’t capture the way that some protesters close to the troopers could not look at them in the eye, while others could and did so.

The man you’ll see wearing a suit and raising his fist in response to our chanting at the end of the video is @astrodex on twitter.

WORT was able to record and include his confrontational question of Walker in a press conference as well as Walker’s response. AND WORT FM incorporated some of my interview of @astrodex in their Monday-Thursday evening news show, In Our Backyard. Hat’s off to citizen journalist Craig McComb who pulled this news piece together and was super-nice to work with.

If your finances allow, please consider a donation to WORT FM. They run a tight ship which is non-commercial and largely volunteer-powered.

WORT News Story  Link HERE (a nifty soundcloud player may or may not load well right below this)

WORT FM In our backyard: voter suppression & protest-@astrodex confronts Walker + my interview by bluecheddar

Shelly Moore to Oppose Sheila Harsdorf in Recall Election

A leader in education, Shelly Moore,  has stepped up to fight for the job of Wisconsin State Senator in District 10. Her opponent is Republican Senator Sheila Harsdorf. A special recall election for the seat is likely slated for July 12th.

What advice would you give teacher and contender Shelly Moore?

Should she stick to a strident pro-union and pro-education message – standing apart and standing for the energy that brought thousands of Wisconsinites to demonstrations?

Or should she choose a softer approach to appeal to a “moderate” voter?

Wisconsin’s Democratic Senators – all 14 of them – left our state to halt Wisconsin Act 10 waking us up and firing us up.  By sticking their necks out, those Dems gained new respect. And I believe they’ve gained a wider set of supporters than they could have foreseen.

The Dem 14 set a tough standard, but it’s one we now expect – that Democratic contenders in Wisconsin will be strident, unapologetic, fighters for unions and public education.

Your thoughts?

fromWEAC ”

Hailing from a family of educators, Shelly Moore, a high school English and drama teacher at Ellsworth Community High School, has 12 years of experience in the classroom. She was elected to the National Education Association (NEA) Board of Directors in 2005.

Moore’s calling is teaching self-confidence and creative expression to students by directing school musicals and plays, as well as coaching forensics and other academic competition teams. She is past president of the state theatre educators association, the Alliance for Wisconsin Theatre Education. She also volunteers with local community theatre and arts organizations and at the River Falls domestic and sexual violence shelter.

Moore believes all work on behalf of students and public education is significant and that the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) and NEA cannot rest until all children have equal access to education, a fact that is exemplified by her service to WEAC. She served as an alternate and later as a representative to the WEAC Board of Directors for three years, and was a member of the WEAC Legislative Committee. She has been a delegate to the WEAC Representative Assembly since 2000 and the NEA Representative Assembly since 2002.

She is currently active in the West Central Education Association (WCEA) as a member of its executive board and serves on several WCEA committees. A member of the Ellsworth Education Association, she was president from 2001-2004 and vice president from 1999-2001, and presently serves as local treasurer, a position she has held since 2005.”

Both candidates live in River Falls, Wisconsin.

Tomorrow’s April 5 vote in Wisconsin. Voting basics and endorsements!

Some basics on voting and my endorsements.

Details on _why_ I endorse these folks are below, but if you want a brief list, I endorse: Continue reading

Court of Appeals Kicking Collective Bargaining Law up to Wisconsin Supreme Court

Comments still closed. Come on over to facebook and chat there. Thanks.

Here is the original appeal statement. (I’m no lawyer. illusory tenant is and con provide a more scholarly analysis. I’ll still try to do my best to summarize in layman’s terms.)

The most important bit of news is that the Governor’s “budget repair bill” will move on up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for review – likely adding even more fuel to the April 5th election and the campaigns of Joanne Kloppenburg and David Prosser.

The appeals court says that the central question is whether the Open Meetings Law should be considered to be upholding our rights under the state constitution which would mean that it is within the power of Dane County Judge Sumi, or really _any judge_, to take Continue reading

Part 3. 150,000 Welcome the Dem14 Home: I laughed, I cried, I took pictures.

I have video. I have audio. I have photos. They all should be compiled into a multimedia schmorgasbord. But it takes so much time to wrestle with this stuff. Just thinking about it… I need to relax and have a beer. So, for the moment, here are a few photos and comments.

Part 1 and Part 2 say “100,000” Then I heard from Steve Hanson, 150,000. Do you know how many people went to this rally? I do know that I became really uncomfortable at one point as I got smooshed in a big pack that would only inch forward. In broad daylight outside.

I found this odd and frustrating, but then again, once in a while we’d lighten up and pick up in song. Musical packs of humanity. This actually describes normal life here since February 11th.

Darth Walker stood on the corner on the way to Barriques. He wouldn’t talk or change his facial expression, remaining “in character”. Here I laughed.

Judging by posture, profile, and mood, I’d guess these drummers were father and son, or at least relatives. They drummed together solemnly near the head of the Dem 14 parade. At this point, I did cry for a second.

Firefighters, firefighters, firefighters. I will never, ever be tired of firefighters.

Senator Jon Erpenbach getting flirted with, I think.

Senator Kathleen Vinehout. Believe it or not, given the hive effect here, and relative mayhem, this is not a terrible shot.

Can you guess where I was when I took this shot?

Yes. That is a rather large puppet. I was surprised too. I think I said something eloquent like, “Holy crap. Big puppet.” and fumbled for my camera. Continue reading

100,000 Welcome the Dem14 Home in Madison, Wisconsin

I’m going to say 100,000. I see reports of “over 85,000” but as I saw no helicopters flying overhead, meaning we had no professional estimates, the evaluation by someone who’s been to every single historic Saturday labor rally in Madison, Wisconsin is good as any. I spent the day at Madison, Wisconsin’s largest rally yesterday. I wanted to do this piece when I got home, but the combination of walking on concrete, the exhileration of it all, and standing in the wind for nearly 7 hours did me in. As happens on every day I go to a rally, I fell asleep on the couch in the middle of trying to write or post photos. Now I have to get ready to play music for church. This will be what it will be. Assume more to come in the afternoon.

The Tractorcade

That wind!

Fifty tractors embarked from the Alliant Energy Center to the Isthmus, driving down John Nolen Drive Continue reading

Update: “No”. (Letter from Democratic Senator Mark Miller Requesting a Meeting with Governor Walker. March 7, 2011.)

The Response:  Our Governor counted to 10, and said , “No”. And then called up Right Wing broadcaster of annoyance, Charlie Sykes to chat Continue reading

Scott Walker’s Nightmare: Explosion of Solidarity Weekend Events

Saturday March 5th, Noon to 4PM, Capitol King Street Entrance: Madison’s We are Wisconsin Rally

SPEAKERS: Continue reading

It’s 4:44PM and Firefighters Couldn’t Get Into the Capitol for an Emergency Call

And this is my last “live blog” entry for today.

4:23PM Is this starting to sound kinda “Keystone Cops” to you too? ” Security is so restrictive at the state Capitol that firefighters were denied access to the building during an emergency call Tuesday, one of the firefighters said Thursday.” MJSOnline

3:05PM Police Assosication Exec. Jim Palmer calls it “Unreasonable abuse of police power”

“Politics aside, encouraging the forcible detention of duly elected lawmakers because they won‟t allow you to dictate with a free hand is an unreasonable abuse of police power,” said WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer. “Due to the fact that Wisconsin officers lack any jurisdiction across state lines, does Senator Fitzgerald intend to establish a „lawmaker border patrol? The thought of using law enforcement officers to exercise force in order to achieve a political objective is insanely wrong and Wisconsin sorely needs reasonable solutions and not potentially dangerous political theatrics.” from

The Fab14 Can Use Campaign Funds to Survive.  HERE is where you can contribute.

“The Government Accountability Board staff has been asked whether campaign funds may properly be used by the 14 Democrat senators currently absenting themselves from the state to pay for hotels and other expenses incurred as a result of the decision to leave,” wrote Board general counsel Kevin Kennedy in a February 22 letter to state senators.  “In the opinion of the Board’s staff, campaign funds may be used for this purpose.” More at Washington Examiner.

Why can’t they just use their salaries?
You may recall, a recent change in Senate procedure – voted in by the Republican Senators of course –  required all Senators to come to the Capitol building to collect their payroll checks. Which would place them within Wisconsin and thus make them legally obligated to vote.

1:57PM From Madison’s Capitol to Ed Schultz to friend Roger to You. “Ed Schultz took a call from someone who said he was inside the Capitol. He said they need more people outside and some lawyers.”-a facebook update

1:29PM Wisconsin Palm Trees? We got those.

Remember those couple of guys gearing up to fight in front of some palm trees in Wisconsin? No? Oh. That’s right. That was something FOX news spliced into some coverage on Wisconsin. Some protesters thought they’d kinda help FOX tell the truth. Now there are some palm trees at the protest. But sorry-still no fights. Image is from Matt Baran

12:56 PM Democrat Senators Ordered Arrested. I think this is illegal. “It’s unclear whether the resolution to force the senators back to the Capitol is constitutional. The state Constitution prohibits the arrest of legislators while in session unless they’re suspected of committing felonies, treason or breach of the peace….James Troupis, a private attorney hired by Fitzgerald [Republican Majority Leader of the State Senate], contended Thursday that the move is legal. He cited a portion of  the state Constitution that provides that each house “may compel the attendance of absent members.””

NBC News research backs up what Cap Times says re. Wisconsin constitution prohibiting arrest of legislators in session.


12:02PM Capitol closure court hearing To get live updates from the court hearing on our Governor’s illegal closure of the Capitol building, follow @ACLUMadison and @analeelieseeicher on twitter. For your convenience, I will place a feed of their tweets at the right-hand side of my page.

Excellent Map of State Attacks on Worker Rights. It’s a PDF but loads rapidly. Go HERE.

United Wisconsin is Going to Recall Scott Walker. I think there’s a will and there’s a way. It will happen. Harris Lemberg confirmed this morning on our show that United Wisconsin is the chief actor in the move to recall Walker. Check out United Wisconsin HERE.

Wisconsin Prank Call Bill You know it’s true. Stephen Colbert said it is. I like his brand of truthiness more than Walker’s.

6:42AM March 2nd

Just a pretty stamp. Remember stamps?

I give up. I’m doing it. I’m live-blogging. I don’t know why I tried to avoid this “live blogging”. All it is is journaling the events of the day. It looks sorta slobby. And I’m no slob. (Did you hear that Glenn Grothman?)

10AM Daily Radio Show Guest: Harris Lemberg to discuss the Recall Scott Walker Effort & importance of the Supreme Court election campaign for Joanne Kloppenberg. Link HERE

EVERY day I’m doing a 10AM online radio show with co-host Steve Hanson the hard workin’ man behind Uppity Wisconsin and Solidarity Wisconsin We do a show of the same name. Link HERE and you can listen in live or get the archived versions of shows. AND you can call into (619) 393-2854 to chat with us or ask questions.

Topics Du Jour. Let me know what you’re interested in today. I think I’ll be digging into:

  • Rebuttals to Scott Walker’s funny financial math from those hippy-dippy flower-power news outlets Forbes and Wall Street Journal
  • public access to the Capitol building, I’ll try to get Fred Clark on the line today or in the very near future – he’s the guy you saw in that picture of the Dems desks on the Capitol lawn,
  • refuting the pathetic argument from the Right about the “closed loop” of union campaign funding, and
  • give an update on the number of recall efforts that’ve sprung up against GOP Wisconsin Senators. Might even have
  • information on protests that are springing up along the Americans For Prosperity bus trail. Yup–there’s a Koch Brothers-funded backlash bus tour against unions traversing the state. The fun never stops in Wisconsin.

The Undaunted Democrats of Wisconsin

The note I added to this tweeted photo was “I could laugh. I could cry.”   In truth, I cried.

Democrats move their desks out to the lawn of Wisconsin’s Capitol today in Madison as Governor Scott Walker continues to defy a court order and unlawfully restrict access to Wisconsin’s statehouse.

I can’t confirm, but my hunch is that the man seated at the desk is Democrat Representative Fred Clark from Baraboo. Image is from @MissPronouncer

I tweeted this image and I’ve lost count how many times it was retweeted with various messages attached.

Here’s a favorite tweet : “Dems had 2 move desks outside b/c Gov so paranoid ovr peaceful demonstrators he illegally blocked access to Capitol. Dictator style.” – from @catawu


Fred Clark?

The Republican sneak vote mapped.

From the Acceity web journal

Here’s the vote from last Friday February 25 mapped out by Josh Wachuta at Aceity.

I’m assuming the grey non-voting areas are matched with the Democrats who were too slow on the uptake. As you recall, this was a sneak voice vote that occured in seconds. It was orchestrated by Republicans to deliberately exclude Democrats.  It passed the Assembly version of Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill” at 1AM after a 60+ hour marathon session.

Here’s the vote roll. If you’re still not sure which of these men and ladies represent you in your district, plug your address into Who Are My Legislators?

If you’re not happy with how your Assembly Representative voted, give ’em a piece of your mind. Godspeed.

Here’s Josh’s twitter home.

Hollywood came to Wisconsin: Bradley Whitford of the West Wing, Robert Newman, & Gabrielle Carteris Speak Up for Unions

Please read and comment here but also visit the source & watch a great 3 minute video from the February 26 Snow Rally as well as a series of related videos from Gannett.

MADISON – Actor Bradley Whitford wasn’t in Madison to meet the governor Saturday.

Bradley Whitford of West Wing

The Madison native, who has starred in numerous films and television roles, including his best-known role as Josh Lyman on “The West Wing,” has met many politicians before. But Saturday he was in town to speak to the people, the tens of thousands people who protesting for workers rights at the Capitol.

But Whitford still had a message for Gov. Scott Walker, who recently introduced a plan to strip most Wisconsin public unions of collective bargaining powers.

“With all due respect, you have made a humongous miscalculation and this won’t stand,” he said. “Look out the window. These people are not going to go away. This is a constituency that knows patience.

“They fish through ice.”

Whitford was one of three actors who are union members who back labor movements. They came to town to help rally the thousands of people at the Capitol. He was joined by Robert Newman, a longtime star on the “Guiding Light,” and Gabrielle Carteris, who starred on “Beverly Hills 90210.” Rally organizers brought the actors in to Continue reading