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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 46.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily


Can unions reboot for the 21st century?

One can only marvel at how masterfully Gov. Scott Walker gutted Wisconsin's public employee unions. This was deft work, surgically precise in its neutering of 50 years of collective bargaining rights. Walker tightly limited bargainable items, made union dues voluntary, ended the lifeblood of payroll deductions for dues collection and mandated yearly certification votes for unions trying to represent public workers. >More
 Center for Media and Democracy exposes a legislative takeover with ALEC Exposed

Sometimes it only takes a handful of brave people to stand up to the most powerful forces and change society. Think of the young Ralph Nader taking on General Motors, remaking consumer protection laws and inspiring a generation of activists. Think of Daniel Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers, provoking the wrath of the U.S. military and eventually helping bring down the Nixon administration. >More
 Democrats drop the collective bargaining issue in the recall campaigns

I thought it was all about collective bargaining. Wasn't that the idea when activists began circulating recall petitions for eight Republican senators in the days following Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of the infamous budget repair bill, which stripped most public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining rights? >More
 Let's end Supreme Court elections in Wisconsin

You know there's serious trouble when your state's Supreme Court resembles a trashy daytime talk show. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused Justice David Prosser of putting her in a "chokehold" during an argument in her chambers. >More
 Wisconsin's war on the poor

Walk into any Wisconsin convenience store during the day, and you're likely to come across a familiar scene. A thick, tattooed woman with a child in each arm plunks down $10 on Powerball tickets. A skeletal old man reeking of fortified wine spreads change out on the counter to try his luck at Megabucks millions. It is the Wisconsin state lottery, and it is state government's way of robbing the poor without having to use a gun. >More
 Wisconsin loses: The GOP budget shows its contempt for citizens

Reporters were jammed into a stuffy room in the Capitol on the afternoon of June 14, waiting for debate on a bill that would deprive public employees of their collective bargaining rights in the state budget. The hearing kept getting postponed. A heavily made-up Fox News reporter kept checking her hair and adjusting her microphone as 4 turned into 5. Finally, a reporter sitting beside me got a message that the Supreme Court had reversed the injunction on Scott Walker's original union-busting bill. It was now law. There was no need for the hearing. >More
 Goodbye to Bailey, and to Isthmus

The other day my wife, Linda, and I dug a hole on some land we own in Richland County and buried our dog Bailey. This was shortly after I decided to leave Isthmus, where I've worked for 25 years, to take a new job. The two events are not really related, but I'll likely always regard them as such, and not just because they happened around the same time. >More
 Defeating Walker and the GOP's agenda will require patient vigilance

We are Wisconsin and we are winning! I came up with that slogan for the March 5 rally at the state Capitol that featured Michael Moore. I believed it then. I still do. Optimism was easy to maintain back then, when the rallies were getting bigger week after week, despite the bitter cold. The national spotlight was on Madison. >More
 Mayor Sourpuss

On election night, April 5, I was covering Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg's non-victory party at the Edgewater Hotel. Around 10 p.m., the results of the Madison mayoral race flashed on a large-screen TV with no sound. Dave Cieslewicz was addressing his supporters, smiling and waving. Then there was Paul Soglin, standing glumly before a microphone, looking as though he had lost not just an election but a loved one. >More
 Brat or not? Or, How Johnsonville's links to politics make Bratfest questionable

Perhaps my strongest food memory of the protests so far is of the first night MSNBC host Ed Schultz set up a stage in the intersection of Pinckney and East Washington. People were there, in the crowd, handing out free brats. And they were good. We stood there, on national television, cheering and shouting, many of us brat-in-hand. It's only fair, then, that brats take center stage on Memorial Day weekend. >More
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