The blue cheddar daily 09/29/11

Walker, Cornhuskers, and Marijuana?
This could get interesting as Walker fans, Walker haters, Nebraska cornhuskers, ESPN, and pot fans assemble in the same general vicinity. Cannabis activists will be at the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest on the UW Madison Library Mall from Friday through Sunday.
ALSO “According to reports, Gov. Scott Walker will attend a joint event of the Wisconsin and Nebraska alumni associations at the Pyle Center on Friday, September 30 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The joint function event comes one day before the historic matchup between the Badgers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers….”.
The Pyle Center is around the corner from the Library mall – Here’s a Nice PDF map
It’s not exactly that perfect a perfect storm. Friday the Harvest Festers will be at The Frequency on 121 West Main Street 5-8PM — a short walk away [MAP].

Walker’ll be joined by the Nebraska governor on the rooftop terrace of the Pyle Center–perhaps within earshot of protesters?

And on Saturday… “ESPN’s College GameDay is setting up on Bascom Hill for an event on Saturday during the game in an area that includes its staging and areas for crowds to gather. The event will run on from 7:00 AM until noon when the Game Day ends. ESPN is expecting around 6,000 people at this event due to the large contingent of Nebraska fans in town for the game.” More at DefendWisconsin

This answers the question, “Could I hate this guy more” with a resounding “YES!”: “Gov. Scott Walker says he’s looking at whether people on unemployment compensation are trying hard enough to make a quick return to the workplace.” More at Mark Andersen’s post on Daily Kos.

You Thought That McDonalds Coffee Spill Was Funny? I did too. I was wrong.
I heard the director behind the film “Hot Coffee” on WORT FM the other day. I was informed that the woman who got burned had to get skin grafts. “Hot Coffee reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s, while exploring how and why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end. After seeing this film, you will decide who really profited from spilling hot coffee.”
You can see it Friday, September 30, 7:00 p.m. at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, Madison, WI but register at this site first.

About that Voter ID law:
“at its Sept. 12 meeting, the GAB, which oversees state elections, unanimously adopted a policy that state schools could put stickers on existing IDs to include the information needed to comply with the new law. Many hailed the ruling as good news because it could save public and private schools money by not having to completely overhaul their IDs.
However, in an odd twist, the GAB ruled that while University of Wisconsin System school IDs — including those used on the UW Colleges two-year campuses — and most private college IDs would work, those issued by technical colleges are not valid for voting.” The president of the Wisconsin Technical College System wants tech school IDs to be given the same status as 4-year state university IDs.

More at

Safe to say that this is about preventing people from consuming raw milk: “a Wisconsin judge has held that American citizens do not have a “fundamental right to produce or consume foods of their choice.” The decision was so shocking that the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund asked the judge to issue a clarification of the ruling…
from thenewamerican

Defense of diversity at UW-Madison was rapid, passionate, and unifying: Video and debate notes

Within 24 hours UW Madison students organized a disruption of a press conference by an anti-diversity group and a rally and march to a debate sponsored by the Federalist Society that drew 2-3,000. They were responding to a report from CEO -the “Center for Equal Opportunity” – which claims that the UW’s admission practices incorporate “severe racial discrimination” when they take factors such as ethnicity into consideration. The message from this CEO report taken by this blogger is – “a right wing group is trying to say that affirmative action admission practices discriminate against white people”. After attending the debate between CEO’s Clegg and Professor Church last night, I would admit that the message is much more subtle than that, but the intention behind it is no less sinister.

This video from badgerherald shows UW-Madison students rallying and then disrupting the CEO press conference at the Doubletree hotel (which is conveniently located quite close to the UW Madison campus). Damon Williams, UW Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate, is interviewed at the 3:50 mark.

I wasn’t at the Doubletree hotel, but I made it to a Bascom Hall rally and marched down to the debate. As a white 40-something I was a definite minority in this crowd of 20-something mostly non-white people. I have the luxury of saying that I found it refreshing to step into a minority role on the Madison campus for that time. The campus – and my entire state of Wisconsin – is largely white. Back of the envelope for UW-Madison: 46,000 white and about 4,000 students who might call themselves “people of color”.

Yet more images on my facebook page.

The feeling of the rally was determination, not rage, but the students all seemed to burn bright – attentive, focused, ready.

As we marched down to the Union South building we had to cross the often busy multi-lane University Avenue but it proved to be no problem at that hour – roughly 6:30PM. We then walked through mainly student housing areas where some students -all seeming to be white- came out to sit on their porches or lean out windows to check out the noise. They quietly observed the scene, some taking handbills if they encountered us on the sidewalk.

My video shows the thousands marching from Bascom Hall, across University Avenue, and into Union South [chanting the whole way] as well as 3 questions delivered to debaters Clegg and Church by audience members.

When we got into the Union South building itself, the chanting stopped from door to ballroom entry–seemingly out of respect for the students eating and studying nearby. But when students entered the ballroom and assembled again the chanting took up in earnest with the volume elevated to Badgers-game-level – or in Spinal Tap parlance, “to eleven”.

One group called out, “We are” – the other group responds “BAD-GERS!”
“We are more than a score!
The call: “Power to the people!” The response: “Power to the people!” Together: “People power, people power!”

Considering how feisty and fired up as the crowd was, and how incendiary the topic, they stayed relatively settled during the debate between Roger Clegg and Professor Larry Church

They booed and hissed as CEO’s Clegg came out but shushed each other. The pattern of outburst followed by a stronger response of shushing would continue throughout the evening.

When Professor Church came out, the room filled with cheering and students stood up waving signs. If I can be permitted to state something obvious: the relationship between Church and the crowd is something I don’t see anywhere in pop culture or in life and that made it all the more powerful. I saw a professor in his 70’s, white and dressed in a suit, speaking in a muffled soft voice treated like a superstar by a mostly young, mostly brown crowd that sometimes cheered and sometimes snapped their fingers in response to a particular statement. That snapping response is something I’ve heard from spoken word audiences trained to stay relatively quiet so that the poet in front of them can continue unimpeded. So for the evening, Professor Church became a great white spoken word artist – you might call him the People’s Poet.

The visitor, Clegg, was granted the first 10 minute statement during the debate. Clegg’s points from my notes:
Affirmative action in admissions is a legal non-starter. The supreme court has rejected the argument that general racial discrimination is reason to admit somebody to school. ..Most people who get into school on racial preferences are middle class and not poor and even among the poor, you can not trace their poverty back to racism. On diversity: “The supreme court has bought this argument” for admission of minorities in to higher education. The trouble with diversity is it relies on stereotypes. It is saying that you can tell something about people’s backgrounds by seeing somebody’s skin color….

Seeing that his first 10 minutes were almost up, Clegg dropped all eloquence and rattled through what he considered the “costs” of a diversity policy in college admissions which he defined as “discriminating against people on the basis of race and ethnicity”, transcribed from my audio recording:
“It’s unfair. It’s divisive. It sets a bad precedent. It creates resentment. It stigmatizes people. It creates a victim mindset. It removes academic excellence It compromises the ethic and mission of the university. It creates pressure to lower grades and graduation standards.

It’s illegal. It mismatches individuals and institutions leading to guaranteed failure for some of the so-called beneficiaries.
[a woman in the crowd yelled “What?!”]
It papers over the real problems that we have in society for why the pipeline is so broken. It gets the government involved in the ugly game of determining which racial and ethnic groups do you favor and which ones do you discriminate against and how do you define how somebody is a member in each group?”

Professor Church then got his 10 minutes. My notes from his time: The issue is whether or not an admissions committee can take into account race and ethnicity, “from my point of view the answer to that is not only they may, but they must.” .. The declaration of independence of the United States declares that all men are created equal. “Affirmative action is an effort to make that realistic, not only historical.” He also referenced the 14th amendment to the constitution. which declares that no public body will deny anybody equal protection by the law. The crux of the argument is what does “equal” mean. Is it very technical such that equality remains skewed against groups divided by race.. “Or does it mean that groups which are distinguished by artificial characteristics like race or ethnicity should wind up being equally represented or equally treated, equally represented, in the system”

Church referenced a 1954 Topeka court decision that struck down segregation in schools as well as Brown vs. the Board of Education. Also, the 1978 “Bocky” case [I’m sorry – on the run today and won’t look this up] which dealt with specific quotes for med school at UC Davis. Four justices said the quota violated a federal statute and 4 justices said the quota system violated nothing. The swing vote became Powell- a moderate conservative. He said that a moderate affirmative action policy is acceptable so that a university may take into account factors beyond standardized tests. Eight years ago in the Grudder case [pressed for time-unsure of spelling], the U.S. Supreme Court addressed affirmative action again. Justice O’Connor said that some affirmative action is constitutionally permissible. “Modern affirmative action would appear to be clearly constitutional, unless the court changes its mind.”
Why would the court tolerate at least moderate affirmative action? The notion of federalism. We do not need a single answer. Why not say that if a state institution wishes to try moderate subdued affirmative action, let them test it out?
The people, through their legislatures, have tended to support affirmative action.
Reality in the world. The world population growth will be approximately 97% non-white. A country that allows a domination of for example law schools by only European-Americans will find it hard perhaps to make friends with other countries because the world is not only European.

In his 2nd ten minutes CEO’s Clegg said that a ballot initiative in Michigan against affirmative action passed overwhelmingly. He does not characterize the affirmative action policy of UW Madison as “moderate”. He also cited census stats on growth in the non-white population of the U.S. pulling stats that show Latina and Asian populations are growing fastest and that the populations that identify with two or more races has grown by 13%. Clegg infers that in the American context, affirmative action is “a recipe for disaster in a country like the United States if we are all to get along with one another”.

He said that increasingly his group is seeing Asian applicants displaced by Latina applicants – not a white vs. black scenario. “Now what is the justification for that? It is simply divisive and unfair and it should stop”.

In Professor Church’s 2nd ten minutes

“Why should we have affirmative action-nevermind the legalisms? Certainly one reason is an obvious reason: It’s an affirmative – the affirmative side of the benefits and policies of racial integration. For a long time we didn’t have integration in the United States. It took about 80 years for the U.S. to abolish race-based slavery. It took about 80 more for the U.S. to abolish official segregation based on race. It’s taken 60 more years to get where we are today for a total of 220 years. We’re not “there” yet. We’re not fully integrated in the U.S. Why do we want integration? We could go on for weeks on why we want integration in the U.S. Above all we want the races to understand each other. We want the races to mix together in the U.S. because together we may succeed, divided we will not.”

Church said we need to have political figures, lawyers, doctors from all the races and so we need to allow the entry of all races into all the law schools – a point he said was made during the 2003 Michigan case.

He added we need to jumpstart the process of change. Church said that we can not wait forever for the glacial pace of change as we’ve been doing it. “We don’t have 1,000 years”.

Church said that a “critical mass” of a group must be in a classroom to avoid tokenism. He said that if 1 student of a racial or ethnic group is in the class he/she winds up serving as a false representative for an entire group and that a critical mass of students of a group should be in the class to allow them to be free to be seen as individuals. He said that affirmative action was struck down by a court in California but that it has arisen again via other means, adding “it is here to stay in the United States” because of meritorious arguments, the will of society, and demographics.

I’d welcome links to the relevant legal cases in comments and any great pics/video that relate to the press conference,rally or debate. I’d love to develop a page for the topic of diversity and affirmative action at UW Madison and other colleges.

Photos, Tidier notes, and Twitterati from the “Organizing the Occupation” panel

Photos from the NOI 5/12 “Organizing the Occupation” panel at UW Madison, with my notes. Reminder:  I am usually only paraphrasing the speakers. Skip to the end for the twitterati contact info.

I’ve heard NOI is making a video of the panel available later this week.

[nggallery id=2]

My notes from “Organizing the Occupation”:


Tom Foley is introducing the concept of Scott Walker’s entry into the political scene of WI right now. We are in the Union South Bldg. of University of Wisconsin at Madison in Wisconsin

On the panel is Melissa Ryan, New Media Director of NOI. Also here is Senator Larson, Emily Mills, Chris Liebenthal, and Max Love. Emily Mills is a blogger with Isthmus, a co-editor of blog dane101, and a musician. Chris Liebenthal is a Milwaukee County social worker, activist, and avid blogger at multiple locations –  though he’s best known as the man behind Cognitive Dissidence.  Max Love is a UW student who helped organize protest and occupation at the Capitol in Madison. He’s with Badger Impact and he’s blogging the unflagging protest of UW Madison’s community at tenacious transparency. Moderating is Tom Foley who blogs at  illusory tenant with a mix of biting humor and legal acumen.

Senator Chris Larson was elected in Fall of 2010 and was amongst the 14 Wisconsin Senators – the “Dem 14” or “Fab 14” – who left for Illinois on February 17, 2011 to halt action on Scott Walker’s regressive “Wisconsin Act 10”.


Sen. Larson: We took a page from Egypt in use of technology. …. you can literally check on your politicians’ facts while they are speaking  [happened last night while a rep in the Assembly Continue reading

Occupation in progress: Bascom Hall, UW Madison

About 100 students occupied a hallway adjacent to Chancellor Biddy Martin’s office in Bascom Hall as of 1:30PM today. From their press release: “Students have brought blankets, food, and supplies and plan to sleep over for as many nights as needed.” Continue reading

Video: Defend Wisconsin

I made this roughly 3 minute video. William had a lot more to say, which will make its way onto this blog as additional audio recordings  —but for now, a video will do.  (It’s 11:45pm)

Watch, and following, please visit

Direct link to video.

Senator Grothman: Wisconsin’s Infamous Tea Party Troll

The always infuriating Republican State Senator Glen Grothman of Wisconsin’s 20th District talks with Dem. Representative Cory Mason on MSNBC’s The Last Word yesterday and calls protesters “slobs”.

He also uttered this bold lie: “The people that are staying overnight are making a mess of the Capitol”.  And he lied saying that a very small percentage of protesters are police officers or nurses.

[a LINK to footage at Crooks & Liars.]

We in Wisconsin are upset but not shocked. Continue reading

Madison Funeral Procession for Wisconsin Programs Gutted by Walker’s Boondoggle Bill


I’ll add more information on this event as it arrives.


Under the banner of “No Concessions” and “Kill the Whole Bill,” there will be a New Orleans-style funeral march on Thursday. It will start from the UW Library Mall at 5:00 pm, and march up to the Capitol Expect a fantastic band such as Mama Digdowns. Each casket will have a placard naming one of the program cuts Walker’s bill would enact. We need mourners dressed flamboyantly in funeral gear including veils, hats, umbrellas, etc. Come dressed for a funeral, and ready to dance”

From “Jenny Justice” of facebook.

Image is from Burns! on

Wisconsin Breaking: Workers rush to Capitol, UW to Stage Walk-out, Senators to Try to Sneek In & Out, Rally Noon

A UW Madison student and teacher assistant walk out is planned today for 9:15AM behind Lincoln’s statue on Bascom, with 10:30AM rally in Library Mall, and an 11AM Capitol Square rally to follow. Rumors circulate that Wisconsin’s Senate will rush to get in the Capitol early and begin their vote on a radical “Budget Repair Bill” before an onslaught of humanity covers Madison’s city square for the fourth day in a row and fills its Capitol building with raucous chanting and drumming. Note: UW Madison has approximately 50,000 students. Continue reading

Students and Staff Filled Wisconsin’s Capitol Monday

Hundreds of UW Madison students fill Wisconsin's Capitol Building, Feb. 14, 2001

The voices of University of Wisconsin staff members, students and community members shouting “Kill this bill” reverberated through the Capitol rotunda Monday as nearly 1,100 protesters marched down State Street to the governor’s office door.

The event, organized by the Teaching Assistants’ Association, included handing off thousands of valentines reading “I heart UW, Governor Walker, don’t break my heart,” signed by UW students and faculty members in opposition to potential state budget cuts for the university….More at the Badger Herald

Crowd of 26,000 confirms: Obama is not a cactus.

What a difference a rally makes. As of September 22nd, The Onion headline read, “Poll: 1 in 5 Americans Believe Obama is a Cactus

Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus, The Onion

Pictured below, today’s September 28th Wisconsin State Journal says, “Cheerleader in Chief“. I think I’d prefer “Commander” but you know…things are looking up.

Sure, we know President Obama came to the UW-Madison campus largely to rev us up to vote for Feingold and Barrett for the November vote [Tammy is a shoe-in]. And maybe after being called much worse than “cactus” he needed a little love, too. It’s a good place to get it. Our county voted 73% in favor of Obama in ’08.

I opted to love from afar. Friend Dave tweeted a google map of the 1.1 mile line to get into the rally at UW-Madison. Thus informed, I decided to stay home and tweet, facebook, and watch live streamed video so I could “be there”.  Just about worked.

I paced like a cat waiting for the rally while listening to WORT-FM‘s live broadcast. Then when Obama came on live, I compulsively took notes. It was done and I got Joe’s tweet, “The president’s hands are warm. That is all” and I felt a stab of envy. Then he sent a link that only said “Ummm this just happened” and had a pang of secret service level worry…because I thought, “WHAT happened?!”. And a link took me to

this glorious picture.


Joe is young and he can wait 5 hours in a crowd. Avid local blogger Gregory Humphrey is older and wiser but went anyway. I love what he said here in Caffeinated Politics,

“Afterwards at a packed Fresh Madison Market on University Avenue everyone understood that we all had witnessed something special.  It did not matter if people knew each other or not, or were even from the same generation.  It was as if we all were connected by some invisible force.    We are.  We are Americans.   And I think many felt the same in the store as I did.  That  was worth coming to the rally all by itself.”

That is all.