Wisconsin Recall: Vinehout’s the Real Deal

Endorsements for candidates in posts here do not represent the opinions of all regular contributers, blue cheddar, or the blog’s many guest writers.

I spent most of Wednesday afternoon reading up on Kathleen Vinehout, in part because she’s the Democratic gubernatorial challenger I find most compelling, in part because a blogger I very much respect has come out solidly in her favor, and in part because that evening I would have the opportunity to ask her any questions that arose in the course of my reading.

I find Vinehout compelling because I believe she’s the candidate who has demonstrated the most support for the Wisconsin movement and has most strongly stood up to the Fitzwalkers. And she has a lot of respect and enthusiasm for what she calls the renaissance of democracy that is transforming the political landscape of the state. She has broad appeal because of her strong connections with rural and small-town Wisconsin. No one can call her a Madison or a Milwaukee Democrat.

Vinehout’s credibility is enhanced by her having been one of the Fighting Fourteen who left the state last year to slow Walker’s railroading of the Wisconsin people. If the senators hadn’t responded so quickly, the Wisconsin movement might not have been able to gain the momentum that it did. Their leaving was pivotal in galvanizing the people to stand up and make themselves heard. The senators’ bold action bolstered us, because we knew we had strong advocates in the legislature.

Vinehout, Fighting Bob Fest 2009
Vinehout spoke at the Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo in 2009, and I remember that she was stirring and articulate and really got my progressive blood pumping. So I went to hear her speak at Wednesday night’s Drinking Liberally meeting at the Brink Lounge in Madison knowing I was going to hear a dynamic and persuasive speaker, and she did not disappoint. She exuded energy and optimism and was friendly and approachable.

She began with the story of how the fourteen senators were able to leave the state. Senate minority leader Mark Miller called the senate clerk at 11pm on Feb. 16 to verify the number of votes needed for a quorum on a budget bill. After confirming that twenty senators were needed, the clerk told Miller that on the following day a state trooper would be assigned to each one of the Democratic state senators, presumably to make sure they didn’t attempt to leave the building before the vote. Talk about heavy handed! Miller called Vinehout and the other senators first thing the next morning, thus enabling them to get away before Papa Fitzgerald’s state troopers had them hemmed in.

Vinehout affirmed her support for public education and public school teachers, her determination to see collective bargaining reinstated for public employees, and her belief in the critical importance of affordable health care for all. When asked why we should support her candidacy, she cited the breadth of her experience as a public health nurse, college professor, and organic dairy farmer as well as her six years as a state senator.

She emphasized that “we must be the change we want to see in the world,” that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” and that it’s up to us to fix this horrible mess we’re in. She said that if you don’t like politics as usual, vote for the unusual candidate. And if you don’t like money in politics, vote for the candidate with the least money.

Questions have been raised about Vinehout’s bona fides in relation to safeguarding women’s reproductive freedom, and my reading suggested that perhaps those questions will be the ones that will dog her most during this short, intense primary season.

One woman asked Vinehout Wednesday night why she is against abortion. Vinehout confirmed, though, that she believes abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” and that her legislative record confirms that belief. When asked later what she meant by “rare,” she said that providing good health care for all women, access to birth control, and good sex education would have the effect of making abortion rare. I asked about her amendment to a 2008 bill (that didn’t pass) that would have permitted a pharmacist, on the basis of conscience, to refuse to fill a prescription for contraceptives “if the pharmacist ensures that the patient will have access to the contraceptive elsewhere.” I asked why a pharmacist’s conscience should trump my ability to procure my contraceptives without costing extra money (for transportation), delay, and inconvenience.

She responded that the Wisconsin constitution has a stronger conscience clause than the U.S. Constitution has, and she wanted to ensure that the bill did not violate the state constitution, which as a senator she is sworn to uphold. She also said that a year later a bill was passed that requires pharmacies to dispense contraceptives without delay, while allowing an individual pharmacist to decline to dispense contraceptives for reasons of conscience provided that another pharmacist at that location can fill the prescription immediately.

Video – Senator Vinehout clarifies her position on access to contraception in Wisconsin:

A few minutes after she was done with the question-and-answer portion of her presentation, Vinehout came over to our table to talk to me and another woman. I asked her then, “but what about that amendment?” Even though it ultimately didn’t become law, the wording still concerned me. She conceded that the amendment was problematic and that in fact she had borrowed the language from Illinois legislation that had been supported by Planned Parenthood of Illinois. (I haven’t verified this.) She added that she was involved in writing the legislation that did pass the following year and that she prefers its language. So the 2008 amendment was probably not her finest legislative moment, but I was satisfied that it didn’t indicate a desire to restrict women’s reproductive freedom or a lack of support for women’s right to control their own reproductive choices.

So I was—and am—satisfied with Vinehout’s answers to my questions. I believe that as governor she will be a strong advocate for women’s reproductive health and freedom and, most important, will be responsive to the will of the people. I arrived Wednesday night leaning in Vinehout’s favor, and I left feeling real enthusiasm for her candidacy. She’s not riding in on a white horse to save us, which is a good thing. She’d be the first to assert that it’s we the people who will save our state. But I think she can help us do that, and I believe she’s the real deal.

Ready, Set, Recall! by Carrie

A guest post by Carrie:

Tomorrow is opening day of the Signature Hunting Season in Wisconsin!

Thousands of people are poised with clipboards and petitions to fan out across the state in order to gather about a million signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Although it may sound insane to attempt such a thing in November and December weather, we’re excited. Talk of recalling Scott Walker began almost as soon as he was elected but, according to state law, we had to wait a whole year to begin.

We have already recalled and replaced two Republican Senators this summer, and we may try to recall more Senators while we’re at it with our clipboards. I’ve been calling Wisconsin’s unprecedented grassroots effort “overthrowing our state government one recall at a time”. Thanks to the far-sighted framers of our state constitution, we can take these extraordinary measures—although recalls demand extraordinary effort so they will never be undertaken lightly.

Last week, all over the country, voters occupied ballot boxes to express their strong preferences. For example, Ohio’s unpopular anti-collective bargaining measure was overturned by a huge majority. Now is the time for all Americans to pay very close attention to the health of our democracy and to Occupy Polls. We must remind our legislators—through elections and occupations and protests— that they were elected to represent people, not the powerful special interests that lobby and donate to their campaign coffers.

Note-It was my error originally in repeating a paragraph at the end of the post. Apologies. –blue cheddar

Where do you go to get trained to collect signatures?
Where can you party with the petitioners?
Check out:
These MAPS!

Tammy Baldwin and John Nichols speak before Get Out The Vote Recall Weekend in Wisconsin

I have that same itchy “why am I still sitting in my living room” feeling I had every day during the week of February 14. I know now in all 72 counties of my state thousands of Wisconsinites are feeling the same mix of butterflies and excitement. Here in Madison, at 9AM people will get a hot breakfast at the Labor Temple and at 9:30AM and 11AM groups will go to distant districts. All day long volunteers will reach out to potential voters by phone either in call centers or virtually through their computers.

Do we have enough people signed up at this moment? Will enough people show up to do this work?

Yesterday Tammy Baldwin and John Nichols spoke to hundreds of people at a Get out the Vote Picnic. This footage is from Scout at the excellent blog First Draft. I am having it begin at the words that most moved me. Just hit “replay” to have it pick up at the top.

And here is my footage, picking up at the words I found most riveting from John Nichols:

As protesters we were hoping that we could reach some core of humanity and common sense inside of Walker and the state legislature. We hoped that they would at least moderate their direction.

We know that didn’t work. This weekend we’re turning to the average Wisconsinite and hoping to reach the core of humanity and common sense in those people one by one. If we all push the Get Out the Vote drive with the same zeal and stubborn badger spirit we delivered in the snow in February and March, we will wake up on Wednesday morning next week walking lighter, taller and stronger. We will have taken away Walker’s majority in the state senate. He will push the same hard right authoritarian agenda. But he’ll be blocked from getting it anywhere. And when the celebrating has settled down, Wisconsin can begin in earnest to lay the groundwork for Walker’s own recall.

We don’t get any do-overs on this historic weekend. I hope you’ll join me in calling, in walking door to door, in giving financially, in giving voters ride to the polls, or in stopping by a campaign headquarters this weekend and asking simply, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

I know some of this blog’s readers are committed to 4 straight days of canvassing or calling or both. I know some have already committed deeply to the recalls. Thank you.

Let this be a win for people. Let this be a landslide victory for democracy.

Where to find a place to volunteer.
Where to donate.

How We Win This War by Karen Vieth

This is a guest post by Madison teacher, Karen Vieth. I met her in the rotunda of the Capitol weeks ago after a Sing Along. She spoke passionately to me about her story and I urged her to write so you all could hear it. Today we have her post:

I recently sat at an MTI Crisis Committee meeting, looking through a picture book of protest signs from February. The sights and sounds flooded back to my memory as I examined not only the signs, but the faces of the people compiled in the book.
The pictures brought back memories of that first full day spent in the Capitol. We sat beneath a wall speaker while attendance was being called in the Senate. A murmer grew among the crowd when we realized that the Wisconsin democrats were missing. People clamored to their technology, searching for the significance of this event. The vote could not happen without the 14 senators who had fled.

It was on this day that I first heard the all important chant, “RECALL WALKER!” I’ll be honest, I grabbed my cell phone and began my own search for information. Could we recall? What did it mean and what would have to happen? As I gathered more information, I became more and more excited. And as this information spread, so did the intent to recall. Walker would have to wait, but in the meantime, there were some senators we needed to dismiss. It was our government, our right and our responsibility. The RECALL chants grew louder as the crowd asserted their right to take back our state in the name of the people whom the government was no longer representing.
The people were inspired and I became anxious to do this work, though at the time I had no idea what that even meant. In the days ahead, the teachers went back to school, but continued to assemble at the Capitol in their free time. People stayed inspired and continued to rally, though certain aspects of our professional and personal lives slowly crept back to normal.

Rotunda - Wisconsin Capitol
Photo credit: Protocol Photography of flickr
Eventually, the school year drew to a close and I packed up for the summer. I remembered my own personal commitment to this recall effort, so I didn’t go home on that very last day. Instead, I grabbed a sign and marched myself back down to the Capitol. I was greeted by other MTI members and many new friends. At the top of State Street, I joined the Solidarity Sing Along. The songs and the power of the people’s voices gave me strength and renewed energy to begin my summer of protest, or so I thought at the time. As I left the square, I was assaulted by a lime green flyer. Okay, maybe assaulted is a little harsh, but that was what it felt like at the time. The person behind the flyer was asking me for something. He was asking me to volunteer.
My mind was on overload. Wasn’t I already doing enough? I had missed four days of work and pay back in February. I had attended all of the rallies. I always voted. And here I was singing my heart out on the last day of my incredibly strenuous school year. What more could I do? The work he was asking me to do was not in my comfort zone. Going door to door or making phone calls to people was surely work to be done by someone more knowledgeable than myself. My knowledge of the government was limited to Political Science 101, which was taken long ago in my undergraduate years. With this attitude, I took the flyer and made my quick escape. I took the flyer home, but did my best to discount it. It wasn’t meant for me and I was doing enough. These thoughts did not come from selfishness, but out of my own misconception that it was somebody else’s work.
That flyer sat at home on my kitchen table for a little less than a week, before I grew restless looking at it. The protests continued, but nothing seemed to be changing. On a whim, I found a friend to go with me and signed up for a Recall Roadtrip. I was completely terrified and seemingly unqualified, but I felt determined to be taking action. For the sake of my friend, I feigned confidence and off to Baraboo we went to canvass for Fred Clark.
Since that first day of knocking on doors, I have learned more than I can possibly convey in this note. I learned that the work that needs to be done is out in the recall communities. I learned that we are all qualified to do this work. It only takes an openness to conversation, a willingness to do the work and the desire to save the state that we love. Above all else, I have learned that volunteering is the only way this work will get done. I have met people at the doors who are disenfranchised, scared and misinformed. There have been people who disagree with me and I have encountered those with great passion. I have learned about our state and politics not by watching the news or listening to speakers. I have grown this understanding by talking and listening to the voters of our great state.
Through all of this, the Labor Temple has become a special place in my heart. I am MTI. Since February, I have come to understand the meaning behind that. But, I am also We Are Wisconsin . I didn’t know that until recently. We Are Wisconsin is more than just a place to volunteer, it is a family of Union brothers and sisters, non-profit organization, and members of the community. When I am doing work for this great organization, I am doing work for myself and for my state. It is work that needs to be done to guarantee each win in the Senate.

Democrats and Republicans alike can throw money at these campaigns. Anyone can put up a yard sign. And of course, the people can continue to rally.

Laura is a champion phonebanker
Photo credit: SanFranAnnie of flickr

But none of these things are going to win these elections. The elections are only going to be won by getting on the phones and identifying voters that haven’t yet been reached by either political party. Each phone call made brings us closer to a win. Victories will be attained knocking on forgotten doorsteps. What happens out in these recall districts will determine the fate of our state. It will not be an easy victory. It can not be left to optimism or hope. There is too much misinformation being spread, just as there are too many voters being overlooked. It is up to us to rectify that and it cannot be done without volunteers. As for political activism goes, voting is no longer enough. Staying in the safety of Madison will no longer work. I see that more clearly now than ever before.
As I think back to those chants of RECALL in the Capitol dome and remember all of those determined faces, I can only hope that energy will be turned to the work that needs to be done. Each time I pull into the parking lot for a Recall Roadtrip or walk into the phone banks, I continue looking for those familiar faces that should be packing the house. We should be busing people out into the recall communities by the hundreds and waiting in line for our turn at the phones. It is the only way to win this war. We have something that the other side does not. The power is in the people.

We are MTI!

Here’s the link to visit to volunteer with We Are Wisconsin
If you are in Dane County send an email to Kevin Gundlach at
KGUNDLACH.UNION @ GMAIL.COM Regular phonebanking and trips out of Madison are coordinated at the Labor Temple, 1602 S. Park St. Room 104.

New York Firefighters Go Door-to-Door in Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers

This day will be an emotional roller-coaster. My heart fell to see reports of lies by robocall. Now it soars to see this. New York firefighters joined the group We Are Wisconsin to go door-to-door in support of Wisconsin workers and Jessica King yesterday. The firefighters will be in La Crosse this afternoon.

Thank you New York firefighters!

Interesting Amazon stuff. A percentage of proceeds go to the blog:
Amazon.com Widgets

Open primary raid attempt in Wisconsin: Republicans sending conservatives to fake candidate Buckstaff in Hopper’s district


Update 3PM Central: Statement from Jessica King on Buckstaff’s fake candidacy and Hopper’s latest tactic

Republicans in Hopper’s district are being told to vote for “Pro-Wisconsin” fake candidate Buckstaff in the Democratic primary against Jessica King with a new flyer. They will be attempting what’s called an “open primary raid” and there is nothing to stop them from doing so.

It’s something I feared back on June 12 after Kelly Steele wrote about it and after I learned about DeMint’s 2010 primary raid in South Carolina.

Here’s the flyer the Republicans are distributing.

Should we be alarmed? Could the Republican party send enough of its people to the polls to vote for Buckstaff?

Continue reading

Appleton Wonk Canvasses for Nancy Nusbaum and hears, “Protesters are all in Madison”

by Appleton Wonk


I’ve recently had the opportunity to do some canvassing for Nancy Nusbaum in Kaukauna with a great friend and mentor. Kaukauna is located in Outagamie County and is considered the “Heart of the Valley”, part of the Appleton Metro Area. According to the official site, Kaukauna covers 4,190 acres with a population of 15,462 as of the 2010 census.  The vote in Kaukauna is about equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, but the entire area has a strong conservative history. They are known for their cheese and paper making industries.

Nancy Nusbaum is running as a Democrat to challenge Robert Cowles in Wisconsin’s Second Senate District for the recall election. She has served four terms as Mayor of De Pere, eight years as Brown County Executive and spent time as Director of Crime Victims Services. She will first face “fake” Democrat Otto Junkerman in the primary on July 12th.

A few people told me that we were the third visit they have had in the last two weeks and a couple were annoyed with the repeated visits by canvassers, while others said we were the first canvassers to stop by.

Overall our canvassing went well with about half indicating their support for Nancy. There were a few that stated they normally vote with the Democrats and will be voting Republican this time because they are frustrated with the Democratic Senators that left the state. These people see the Democrats as being unwilling to “do their jobs” and “negotiate with the Republicans”. On the other hand, I spoke with a Republican that is voting for Nancy because he believes the Republicans are “taking it too far”. He will be encouraging his wife to vote for her as well.

There were quite a few complaints directed towards both the Democrats and Republicans. Some people are upset at the cost of all the recall elections. Others believe the protests in Madison are creating chaos in the state and want that to stop. I heard people say that it’s only union members that are protesting, while others believe it’s only a “Madison thing”. I got the sense that a few people really think the protesters are an extremely small group of people that are getting large amounts of money from outside interests.

There was only one outwardly hostile person. He practically charged out the door at us and seemed ready for a fight. We left quickly and told him to “have a great evening”.

It was a pleasant surprise to me that almost every person was polite, even when they held opposing political views. One lady who would not support Nancy for senate offered to lend us her umbrella because it looked like rain and she was concerned we would get wet while canvassing and told us we could return the umbrella at any time.

Canvassing and phone banking is very important now because so much is at stake for our state and there is so much misinformation being spread, even by the major news media. Please consider playing a role in the upcoming election cycle. The future of our state and way of life as we know it is relying on it.

Learn more about Nancy Nusbaum and how you can help out at NancyForSenate.com

More information on Kaukauna can be found here. http://www.cityofkaukauna.com/about/didyouknow.asp

To Scott Walker, Actually we are willing and able to help YOU move on. Did you need a hand?


Walker is saying we’re just not that into recalls.

“People are ready to move on,” Walker said in an interview after an appearance in Washington, D.C.

I think the people are ready to help Republicans move on OUT of the Capitol.  I for one will agree to assist in the disposal of any debris we need to remove  upon their departure while a choir and brass band accompanies the entire thing as it’s filmed live. (I was going to toss in a request for fireworks but let’s hold off on that until Walker’s own recall. )

“And I don’t just mean one party or another. I think just in general. The average citizen in Wisconsin I talk to, it’s like they’ve had it … They want us to be talking about jobs. They want us to be focused on that … And so having another political campaign — it’s going to happen, it’s not like they can avoid it. But it’s not something they’re particularly interested in.”

Walker said that “when I talk to people, if that issue comes up, they’re like, ‘Can’t that just be over? ‘”Democratic Underground

How startling that Walker is concerning himself with what Wisconsinites think, now.

He didn’t back in Mid March when he said to WSJ: “Polls are nice, if they are on your side,” he said. “But in the end, you’ve got to govern based upon what you think is the right thing.”

The polls are not “nice” for Walker and they are not on his side last we knew.

“Three months after the end of the mass protests against Walker’s actions, the nonpartisan Public Policy Polling firm found that 54 percent of his Wisconsin constituents disapprove of his performance, while only 43 percent approve. Asked whether they would support or oppose his removal from office in a recall election, 50 percent said yes and only 47 percent said no.” –RCP May 27th

I’ll be right back. I’m going to dig up some moving boxes.

A Wisconsin status check.

I’m going to do the impossible and give a status check on all of Wisconsin politics. It might help the out-of-stater who is perhaps just now turning his or her attention from Anthony Weiner’s umm… tweets…and back to really important stuff like what is happening in my state.

Wisconsin is hot again. Maybe too hot. Temps are in the 90’s in Madison and yesterday a protest evolved into civil disobedience around and within our Capitol Square where 200 people now sleep in a tent encampment called “Walkerville”. They are hunkering down – as stubborn badgers do in the wild – to protest a Wisconsin GOP budget that swaps public programs for privatization or turns them into a shadow of their former selves.

March for a fair budget - Walkerville Day 3

The budget first went through the state senate’s  joint finance committee where VDLF used civil disobedience, attempting to hamper the budget process with interruption. A majority of the protesters I’ve spoken with feel the same frustration, but frown on disruptive tactics in meetings.

The budget emerged with surprises like language that threatens craft brewers, weakens police and firefighter benefits, and disintegrates a network of broadband crucial to K-12,  to libraries, and to the UW system.  As the budget proceeds to the Assembly, then to the Senate, and to Walker’s desk the public is still learning about what’s tucked into it.  I heard that Dem. senators on the committee were at times given 5 minutes to read new insertions into the document before votes.

Here’s a vlog Mark Pocan uploaded today. He says the budget is not bad. It’s terrible:

Desperate times. Desperate measures: Enter Walkerville. Walkerville is part art installation, part protest, and part comedy. It feels like a protest version of Sesame Street with people writing their thoughts on a wall, singing on occasion, chanting protest statements, and using absurd theater like tonight’s mock boxing match between Scott Walker and a nurse. I love it. Today is day 4 of about 200 people sleeping in 100 tents, many of which must be taken down in the morning and put back up at night to appease business owners. I hear it’s not easy to sleep there. It might be the younger set’s spontaneous games of capture the flag or just the typical noise of downtown drunks leaving bars at 2AM. Walkerville does have a 14 day permit from the City of Madison, due in large part to Mayor Paul Soglin who cut his political teeth as a 60’s protest organizer. It probably also helps that Madison is a union town with Walker pressing on its last nerve.

Health Care Day in Walkerville

Walkerville - Night 2

Those images are from WI AFLCIO. WI AFLCIO has a nice flickr stream HERE, if you’d like to see more. And here is a brief video of Walkerville

Anger Grows Edgy Online: The net is on fire with angry comments tinged with violence after footage and photos of Capitol police forcefully arresting protesters and 2 reporters yesterday started circulating. I think that the anger is on both the anti-Walker and pro-Walker sides which gives me a sickly feeling.

Will the real candidate please stand up?: Republicans are getting ready to fight dirty in the summer recall elections with at least 3 fake Dem candidates. When I first learned this, I assumed it was pure rumor. It’s not. Former Republican Assembly candidate Isaac Weix is circulating papers to run in a race against the GOP’s Harsdorf in the 10th Senate District (close to Minneapolis-St. Paul). He makes no secret of his intentions to tank Dem Shelly Moore.  I have heard that the real Dem candidate Moore is the only union member and teacher in a set of 6 candidates set to run against WI GOP senators in July, and rumor has it, she needs the most funding help. Fake Dems are also being lined up to aid Republicans Kapanke and Hopper.

Recall Fuel: Candidates are already selected in all of a possible 9 recall senate districts and canvassing and calling already are ongoing BUT now these pushes have bumped up a few notches. Plans are flourishing in Walkerville and online to make trips to aid far-flung Dem senators in Wisconsin. The Government Accountability Board gained extra time to review challenges recall petitions filed against three Dem state Senators.“This means that all six of the elections against Republican state Senators are now set in stone for July 12, and that no recall elections against Democratic Senators will take place on that day. The recall elections against Democrats, if they happen at all, will take place on July 19 or later.” from Chris Bowers, staff at Daily Kos. Seek the G.A.B.’s site for official updates and recall rules.

Can I has vote?: Wisconsin has historically been the 2nd easiest U.S. state to vote in, and will now be the hardest state to vote in due to a GOP voter suppression bill. It extends the required voter residency period to 28 days from 10 and switches up absentee voting, and requires photo ID use, amongst other changes. Not all pieces of the bill take effect by July 12th, but Dems fear the changes are profound enough to cause confusion and cut voters out. For example, a photo ID is not required in July to vote, but many people will assume otherwise. And would you wager that a few GOP candidates will tell voters that the I.D. IS required on July 12?

Some people were a little upset about voter I.D. and protested on the day of its signing:

Recall Walker!: A recall push against Scott Walker was initiated last year by what looked to be 100 facebook pages. The PAC United Wisconsin emerged as the leader, gathering over 180,000 commitments now to sign against Walker when it is legal to do so in November of 2011. Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Mike Tate announced on June 3rd that the party supports the recall of Walker as well. (Did the party have any wiggle room in this matter?)

Kloppenburg Concedes with Parting Words On Election Integrity and Lack Thereof
She won by a couple hundred votes. Then she lost in short order by around 7,000. Whether the election was called by a Waukesha clerk who has a history of secretiveness and misplacinig votes or by the public, honestly, I’m not sure. But it is done. Prosser retains his seat as a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. More to read on that HERE if you’d like.

What about the “Budget Repair Bill” which became known as “Wisconsin Act 10”?:  Back in February and March, the bulk of street protest in Wisconsin was inspired by Wisconsin Act 10 which strips collective bargaining rights from most public employees. At this stage of the game, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi has voided Wisconsin Act 10 because its hasty passage by Republicans on March 9th violated open meetings law. Yesterday, Wisconsin’s Supreme court began hearing arguments about whether it should take up the matter. As I am no lawyer, I direct you to illusory tenant for ongoing updates on the bill’s life or death. As he sees it, “the only way the court can vacate Judge Sumi’s very conservative, very restrained reasoning is to find the provisions of the Open Meetings Law upon which Judge Sumi relied to be themselves violative of judge-made — or at least judge-inferred — constitutional law doctrine.”

There it is. What did I leave out? What did I get wrong? Comment away.


Recalls Pickle the Public, Raise the Dead, Make A Fool of a Professor

(These are a couple of the nasties from a WisconsinReporter article “Dems, GOP trade barbs as state reviews recall petitions”.)

When you need the people power to recall a Democratic Senator in Wisconsin. Who you gonna call? Not local Wisconsin volunteers. You won’t see 100’s of volunteers in a line circling the block the way they did on the first day to help with the Alberta Darling Recall.

You won’t see 100’s of volunteers trying to find a place to sit and stand as they jam offices across Wisconsin in an effort so popular and powerful that it exceeds the grassroots effort of Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Nope! You gotta call the recall for hire firm of Kennedy Enterprises out of Colorado.

“Kennedy Enterprises will work diligently to get people to sign your petition.”

From their site, these are their services:

  • Review all signatures collected by each circulator making a good faith effort to determine their validity
  • Provide weekly delivery of signatures and written reports on progress towards qualifying your inniative
  • Validation of each batch of signatures, utilizing at least a 10% random sampling
  • We guarantee that your negotiated contract rate will never increase for the duration of your campaign – more HERE 

On facebook I am hearing this same story from volunteers who are verifying signatures against Democratic Senators:“Amazing how many of the circulators were from out of state, such as FL, CO, MO and OK to name a few. Funny, we didn’t need that kind of help getting sigs to recall the Repubs!”

Volunteers from Wisconsin who are committed to recalling Republicans are already amazed that Republicans can not find their own local volunteer help. I think it just boggles the mind to think that when Republicans pay for this sort of help, they aren’t getting somebody decent.

According to ballotpedia, Kennedy Enterprises “circulators have associated themselves with benefits for the fire department [in a local Colorado effort] even though the fire department would not benefit nor is associated with the petition. The group works for Kennedy Enterprises. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Kennedy Enterprises was involved in an Indiana investigation in 2000 for placing the names of four people who had died on a petition drive to get then-Republican candidate Gary Bauer onto the state’s presidential primary ballot.” – More at 9news.com

Well. People DO die. I thought, perhaps, there’s an explanation. Maybe in a big signature campaign, someone dies who was alive 1 week ago.”  But in the year 2000 Indiana case, the first dead person signature was caught by a clerk who knew that the man, Glen Barnett, had died 6 years previous.

As for the three other signatures: Arnold Moser had been dead 16 years, Lawrence Eberle had been dead for 23 years, and Hershel Engleman had been dead for 25 years. source

Did somebody say to old widows- “Go ahead and write down your dead husband’s name, while you’re at it?”

Here in Wisconsin, not only have dead people shown up on recall papers against Democrats, but booze has been exchanged for signatures.

(there’s audio at that link which is  just sad.)

Republicans contend that the discovery of Bill Pocan’s signature on the recall petition against Democratic state Sen. Bob Wirch is a stunt conducted by the Dems.

Bill Pocan was the father of state Rep. Mark Pocan and he died nearly two decades ago.

Smells of deeply hateful Republican bullshit to me.  It would be easier to turn me into a 911 truther than to convince me that any Dem would put Mark Pocan’s father’s name on such a document.

Interesting that the signature of Mark Pocan’s deceased father turns up on Wirch’s recall, it being the same recall effort that used booze shots to gain signatures.

Side note- a D.C. group called Fieldworks has consulted on the WI Democratic side. But the door-to-door manpower came from homegrown volunteers.

Oshkosh Professor Solicits for Recall Signatures and More in the Classroom

I am very much in support of Progressives and the Dems. However this action from “our side” irks me.

An Oshkosh professor,  Stephen Richards, takes 8 minutes out of class time subtly stumping for the recall of Hopper and yakking about how Republican politics will affect salaries and more  inside the classroom.  A student recorded the incident-  Audio Link Here

It’s skating closely to a conflict of interest. He says “there will be an 8% pay cut for all faculty and staff”. He’s speaking about something which impacts his compensation while at the same time, the audience listening is paying for his time there.

I would feel more comfortable with this if he asked the students to debate the topic – to challenge. But the students seem to have a passive role.

UW Oshkosh’s chancellor said the school would  “implement agreed-upon corrective action”.

Let’s say I were the student, I would simply speak up and ask the teacher to get back to work on what I’d paid him to do.

Are these students overly polite? Nobody told him he was out of line directly? They should speak up.

Wisconsin: The out-of-state money and agitators.

You know what’s sad? The only bit of news here is that the price paid for a signature gathered against a Democrat might have risen from 50 cents to $2.00. But I’m still upset. Why is that?

After all, it is already verified Republicans have paid workers 50 cents per gathered signature in Green Bay. Have they paid out of state people? Yes. The felon from Colorado caught stealing at – of all places – the sacred football lands of Lambeau Field, was gathering signatures for the GOP against Dave Hansen.

Our nervy governor in mid- April flew to Florida Continue reading

Senator Fred Risser: You da man.

Senator Fred Risser is the longest serving state legislator in American political history and he has never lost an election. How much do Madisonians love Fred?

How’s this: He received the longest standing ovation of any person on the stage in an evening of almost screaming-at-the-Beatles-in-a-frenzy-ovations at the Ed Schultz town hall here recently.

So no surprise the recall effort against Senator Risser failed to produce any signatures at the G.A.B. office and is dead. I thought I’d try to learn something about the futile effort. The little I found gaave me a good laugh.

WKOW tracked down one woman who was tied to it, Sharon Daniel, but she “declined to answer most questions about the targeting of Risser,    alleging bias on the part of WKOW27 News coverage of the political turmoil at the state capitol. “

WKOW says that Sharon Daniel,  who “works for American Family Insurance at the company’s corporate office” but a commenter corrects the writer saying Sharon Daniel is a, ” Temporary Employee and does not work at the Corporate Office, but the Regional Building” and added that he was reporting her to the ethics office of the company for using the company name to further her political agenda.

Sounds like she became a very temporary employee.

WKOW adds that “Recall efforts require the participation of a voter…

(*extended pause* a singular voter?)

…in the targeted senator’s district,  and while Daniel qualifies,  Daniel said the effort against Risser is being coordinated by the Salt Lake City-based American Patriot Recall Coalition.   State records show the Utah group is involved in at least two other recall efforts.”

Utah. I know they’re not all from Utah. But that Utah thing – it’s gonna stick. Before I would think “mormons” when I thought “Utah”. Now I will also think “right wing nuts who are interfering in my state’s politics.”  If you’d like to contact these fine meddling Americans, here ya go.

And now for a couple comments from the satirical Recall Fred Risser facebook page –

“I’m sick of Fred Rissers dedication to workers. We need more tax cuts for the job creators! ALL HAIL JOB CREATORS! I support the newest Walker bill, that would have all of Wisconsins first born sons sold to various corporations and wealthy indivudals as slav… interns. First born sons as interns.”

“After 1 hour this group has 0 likes. I’ve got a feeling we’ll grow like wisconsin’s economy under Gov. Walker.”

Grab bag ‘o’ Wisconsin: Recall updates, Election “anomolies”, Who spent $5.4 million on Prosser/Kloppenburg

A citizens group plans to file recall petitions against Democratic state Sen. Jim Holperin by the end of this week

Holperin would be the first Democratic Senator in Wisconsin to face a confirmed recall election. He serves the far Northeastern wooded counties of Wisconsin in Senate District 12 MAP 

from wausaudailyherald

Unveiling of the Democratic Candidate Against Olsen

Running against Luther Olsen….”Democratic Candidate against Republican Sen. Luther Olsen in the recall will announce candidacy at 12:00 noon Thursday, Apr. 21 at the Veterans Memorial at the Baraboo Civic Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin”

And Number Four Is In Today: Recall Signatures for GOP’s Sheila Harsdorf

About 23,000 signatures came to Madison’s G.A.B. office today to initiate a recall election against Wisconsin GOP Senator, Sheila Harsdorf.   15,744 were needed for the collection effort. Here is the River Falls Recall Harsdorf Page on facebook.

Eric Nelson with OpEdNews evaluted the Prosser/Kloppenburg race and finds some “anomolies”

An article which should be read in full, but to get you interested: “… of about 15 different counties that we looked at that were either strongly Democratic or strongly Republican, only Waukesha county and to a lesser extent Washington and Ozaukee showed positive correlations between vote totals and Continue reading

Luther Olsen Recall Signatures are In + My Status Check on Recall of Wisconsin Republican Senators

We will see AT LEAST 5 sets of signatures to recall 5 Wisconsin GOP Senators turned in by May 2nd–barring unforeseen natural disasters and devilish acts we can’t foresee.

Senator Sheila Harsdorf  Signatures Incoming Tues. 4/19/11

“Organizers of the recall effort tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they have more than 22,000 signatures, 7,000 more than the 15,744 needed for a recall.  Those organizers say they’re headed to Madison Tuesday morning to get the signatures validated.”-kaaltv

You can join the Recall Sheila Harsdorf campaign cause page.

Senator Luther Olsen

About 24,000 signatures were filed today with Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board by the “Committee to Recall Olsen”. The group needed to collect 14,733 signatures.

As I tool around social media, I see that a number of volunteers from the 14th WI senate district (MAP) hope that Dem. Rep. Fred Clark of Baraboo will run against Olsen in the ensuing special election.

For extra geeky gold stars, check out Project Vote Smart for more on Olsen and Clark‘s voting record.

Hopper and Kapanke In Already

Signatures are already submitted to recall Senator Randy Hopper and Senator Dan Kapanke, making the Olsen signature hand-in the 3rd submission of necessary signatures to recall GOP senators in Wisconsin.

Jessica King of OshKosh looks like a shoe-in to run against Hopper. She lost to him by only 164 votes in 2008. Dem. Rep. Jennifer Shilling has thrown in her hat to run against Kapanke.

I was very excited to see Ms. Shilling run. I admit I don’t know Ms. Shilling so well, but I do like what she’s said and her presence of mind in the dramatic events of the past few months.

UppityWis says they’ve collected 110% of the signatures needed to recall Harsdorf.

Senator Alberta Darling

“We are getting close” – from the leader of the Darling recall, Kristopher Rowe. Darling represents the 8th District which covers parts of Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties, as well as North Shore communities in Milwaukee County and several small parts of the city of Milwaukee.

Darling is co-chair on Wisconsin’s powerful Joint Finance Committee and she is known for loyally standing by Scott Walker and his agenda. Here’s the Recall Alberta Darling facebook page.

Rep. Pasch or Dr. Sheldon Wasserman could run against Darling in a Recall…

Re. Sandy Pasch

Pasch: “State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) said Tuesday she is considering running against Sen. Alberta Darling, should a recall election happen.” More at AOL/Huffington Post’s property “the Patch”

Dr. Sheldon Wasserman: Notes on Wasserman’s facebook page indicate there’s some energy that could support him running against Darling. Darling defeated Wasserman 52% to 48% in 2008 in a tough year for Wisconsin Republicans.  Wasserman served in the 22nd Assembly District from 1994 until 2008. Here’s a brief debate between Wasserman and Darling on Mike Gousha’s show uploaded in Aug.2008. Here’s an ad against Wasserman, and an ad against Darling from ’08.

Senator Mary Lazich

The call is out there for more volunteer help and volunteers stood outside today with petitions Noon – 3PM in New Berlin.  Recall Mary Lazich facebook page.

Senator Robert Cowles

I don’t have a feel for how many signatures they have collected, but they are very busy and are ramping up activity.  The group that is working to recall Democratic Senator Dave Hansen – also from the Green Bay area – claims to have collected enough signatures already. Here’s the Recall Cowles facebook page.

Senator Glenn Grothman

A healthy gathering – nearly as much as that woman from Wasilla brought to Madison – came for a rally on Saturday called “Rally Supporting Labor Over Billionaires (SLOBs) and to Recall Grothman” . I’m estimating a few hundred people gathered based on this YouTube video from the event. It would be tough to pull off the recall in this red district, but the recallers are gaining some real blue momentum. They are no doubt setting the stage for a bump up in blue votes in Grothman’s district in 2012.  Here’s their facebook page.

FYI – Grothman’s district includes these cities: Campbellsport, Theresa, West Bend, Kewaskum, Jackson, Slinger, Newburg, Cedarburg, Grafton, Port Washington, Saukville, Fredonia, Belgium, Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Random Lake or Town of Wilson (just south of Sheboygan.)

Pictured: Signatures to recall Olsen being submitted today at G.A.B. Image: from MSpicuzzaWSJ

I suggest you follow Mary Spicuzza, known as MSpicuzzaWSJ on twitter. That’s her photo of 22,000+/- recall signatures. She writes for the Wisconsin State Journal.