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Monday, December 22, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 34.0° F  
EMILY'S POST: Thoughtful commentary on politics, current events and culture in Madison
Emily's Post: Farewell and thank you, Act 21 and a Walker recall

Well, here we are. Today marks my very last Emily's Post for The Daily Page, and though it was fully my decision to leave, it is a little bittersweet. I've spent the last two years (since November 2, 2009) writing this mostly twice-weekly opinion column and it's been one heck of a learning experience. I am extremely grateful to the folks at Isthmus for giving me this platform, and for giving me almost complete editorial freedom to write about whatever struck my fancy in a given week. >More
Emily's Post: Cooperation instead of privatization, ideals instead of ideology

The Walker administration apparently dislikes the free market after all. A proposal by the Department of Public Instruction about to go up before the Joint Finance Committee illustrates this point well, as it would "designate one provider that all school districts statewide would have to use for their student information system services." If the bill passes it would mean at least one company (and likely others) would be forced to leave the state, taking 250 jobs with it. >More
Emily's Post: John Doe investigation circling ever closer to Walker

I haven't said much about the ongoing John Doe investigation out of Milwaukee County, but I have, like many people, been paying close attention. So far it's been an interesting study of a whole series of seemingly shady deals between Gov. Scott Walker and his various friends/aides and trying to figure out if any of them are connected to a larger corruption scandal, or if there isn't actually that much organization behind it all. >More
Emily's Post: The end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Paul Ryan's taxing hypocrisy, and a big announcement

As of today the policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" officially enters history's dustbin. I've always had deeply conflicted feelings about the campaign to establish full equality for LGBT members of society who wish to, or already do, serve in our military. >More
Emily's Post: Wisconsin Legislature avoids video accountability, Walker cronies in the spotlight

On Tuesday the Assembly met for its one and only September session, apparently still too hung over from August vacations and various recall activities to get it together for anything more. Naturally, then, Tuesday also saw an uptick in protest actions at the Capitol. >More
Emily's Post: Unions more transparent than corporate front groups, voter intimidation continues

The Men Behind the Curtain are clever, I'll give them that. I won't call them Republicans or any other specific name, though, because there are members of the MBC from all political parties. The only real requirement is a passion for shaping the world to fit your specific desires. >More
Emily's Post: Tammy Baldwin runs for Senate, local control over big dairy

I'd been hearing scuttlebutt about U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin's intention to run for Sen. Herb Kohl's soon-to-be-vacated seat for months now, so that she finally made the official announcement of her candidacy this morning didn't come as much of a surprise. It's no secret that I've been a Tammy supporter since I moved to Madison lo these many years ago. I first met the Congresswoman at a fundraiser for her that was being held at the Orpheum Theatre. >More
Emily's Post: In defense -- and praise -- of public school teachers

My mother was a public school teacher. She graduated college with a degree in elementary education and spent the rest of her life -- nearly up until the time of her death at age 50 -- teaching children. I remember the hours she spent at home working on projects, grading, and just making decorations for the classroom, and all this even though she spent most of those years as a substitute teacher. >More
Emily's Post: DHS head Dennis Smith spins health care reform, Prosser's poor temperament

When the results of a Doyle administration-requested study of how the federal health care mandates would impact Wisconsin were published last week I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise that DHS head Dennis Smith and his office handled things the way they did. Surprising, no, but definitely outrageous. >More
Emily's Post: Sovereignty, recalls and the long haul

The fact that no one has currently declared even an intention to run against Walker in a recall means the movement needs more time. Former Sen. Russ Feingold had been polling strongly in a theoretical match-up with Walker but now that he's announced that he won't be running for any office next year, it's back to the ol' drawing board. >More
Emily's Post: Reverse-Robin Hooding recalls, attacks on local law enforcement, legislators who actually want a healthier Wisconsin

It almost feels... strange... not to have another round of recall elections looming in the immediate future. August has gone back to being the quiet month, time for vacations and outdoor festivals (or just continuing to work, as many of us have to do). And reflection, of course. >More
Emily's Post: Two more Senate recalls, searching for a healthier Wisconsin

Well here we are, August 16 and the final round of senatorial recall elections are finally here, though it may feel like a bit of an anti-climax after last week's nail-biter. There are two Democratic senators defending their seats this time -- testing whether or not the gains made by their party last Tuesday will hold. >More
Emily's Post: The progressive fight goes on in Wisconsin, and nationwide

Tuesday night was not an easy one for just about anyone in Wisconsin who was paying attention. I sat with a group of pro-labor activists at Hawk's downtown, watching the returns from the six recall elections roll in on a big screen. We talked excitedly about the possibilities if three of the seats were to flip and control of the Senate changed hands. We checked our phones obsessively. We drank a lot of beer. >More
Emily's Post: Wisconsin Recall Day -- Do or die

To say the political air in the state is electric might be a bit of an understatement. The whole nation is watching us now, to see whether Walker's radical anti-union, anti-teacher, anti-working class mission will come out victorious, or whether the people will rebel against such a massive overreach. >More
Emily's Post: Walker's rejection of federal train money still hurts Wisconsin

Once there was a dream of passenger rail service connecting the major cities of the upper Midwest -- including Madison -- with one another via the power of locomotion. Commuters and recreationalists alike burned for the day when the dream would become reality, bolstered by the Doyle Administration's successful jockeying for federal stimulus dollars to make it happen. >More
Emily's Post: Wisconsin recalls, redistricting, and ridiculous Republicans

It's a big day, Wisconsin! Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen holds the dubious honor of being the first incumbent to face a full recall election today in District 30, with the six Republicans and two other Democrats coming up for their recalls next month. Today is also the day the Legislature is to take up the GOP redistricting plan in extraordinary session, which can only mean we'll be witness to the democratic process at its finest and most honorable. >More
Emily's Post: Republican abuse of elections should result in electoral defeat, not financial penalty

Did the Republican Party engage in a campaign to defraud the people of Wisconsin? I should say so -- but, perhaps unfortunately, nothing that they did in encouraging and endorsing right-wing candidates to run as Democrats to force primaries and delay the inevitable recall elections against six senate Republicans was illegal. It was an incredibly cynical, anti-democratic thing to do, yes, but it wasn't against the law. >More
Emily's Post: The recalls are coming! The recalls are coming!

Get to ringing those bells and sending those warning shots -- it's the start of recall season in Wisconsin. The first primary in those elections is happening today in the six Republican-held Senate districts. >More
Emily's Post: Senate bids, recall elections and dirty sexy money

So far the race for Herb Kohl's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat looks a lot like the race for the Republican nomination for President did up until very recently. No one has officially declared, but a lot of individuals are giving strong hints that they will. That means all us political junkies can do is speculate, which we love to do, about the future of Wisconsin's senatorial representation in Washington D.C. >More
Emily's Post: A response to Ann Althouse on the Wisconsin Supreme Court dust-up

Let's get to the meat of the thing, then: I don't know what happened in Bradley's chambers on June 13. No one but the people who were actually present at that time know exactly what occurred. I will wait, then, for a full and thorough investigation of the incident to come to some clearer conclusion. >More
Emily's Post: Wisconsin Supreme Court throttles its own credibility, respect for recalls

So it's come to this. Ever since news first broke about the allegations that Justice David Prosser had tried to choke fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley I've been vacillating between horror at the idea that anyone, let alone a Supreme Court Justice, could resort to such violence -- and dismay over the amount of victim blaming done in almost knee-jerk fashion by individuals looking to defend Prosser for partisan purposes. >More
Emily's Post: Shenanigans by Robert Cowles and Randy Hopper, Gogebic Taconite on hold

Glue a pair of wings to a pig and let 'er fly because I'm about to agree with Scott Walker. In an interview with WKOW a couple of days ago, the governor said he was likely to veto a provision in the state budget that would severely limit the public's access to legislator's financial records. >More
Emily's Post: What's the price of Gogebic Taconite for Wisconsin?

I've been keeping my eyes on a story for the last several weeks now that hasn't gotten much, if any play in local media outlets. That isn't entirely surprising given that the saga is unfolding in far northern Wisconsin, in Iron and Ashland Counties, and it's not always easy to keep up with things happening elsewhere when so many ridiculous things are happening in your own backyard (although Gov. Walker thinks you're ready to put it all behind you). >More
Emily's Post: What just happened? A closer look at the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Something's rotten in the Badger State. I've had a day now to more thoroughly digest the decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court voiding Judge Sumi's ruling that the collective bargaining bill be permanently enjoined because its passage had violated the state's Open Meeting Laws. >More
Emily's Post: Wisconsin Supreme Court flouts rule of law, digging in the budget barrel

Yesterday ended up being quite the doozy for Wisconsin. With the stroke of a single Supreme Court ruling our state has thrown out the rule of law in favor of blatant power grabs. How else to explain such a breathtakingly partisan decision? I had been sitting in a meeting room at the Capitol, waiting for the Joint Committee on Retirement Systems to meet, when news of the Supreme Court's decision began to trickle in. >More
Emily's Post: Wisconsin legislature's Extraordinary Session a flurry of no good, very bad activity

There's almost too much going on these days to keep up, even for a political nerd like me whose job it pretty much is to do so. Frankly, that's probably the point: Rush through so much legislation at once that no one can keep proper track. That certainly makes it easier to sneak in things that might otherwise meet a lot of resistance. >More
Emily's Post: Local control is dead in Wisconsin, long live local control

According to Tenant Resource Center Director Brenda Konkel, one of the major issues with the bill is its focus on allowing landlords to set minimum income-to-rent ratios without allowing the tenant to prove that they've been able to make rent for the last two years at a similar rate (which is what current Madison ordinances allow). That means people on Section 8 or other forms of assistance would almost certainly be shut out of most housing, regardless of whether or not they could actually pay for it. >More
Emily's Post: An open letter to the #wiunion movement

I would simply urge better organization and planning -- and more respect for one another, even for the people with whom you disagree. Our movement is about recognizing and defending the common good -- for everyone. That means we all have to rise above petty name calling, personal glory, and the kind of rude, strong-arm tactics too often employed by the very individuals whose ideas we're fighting against. >More
Emily's Post: The Wisconsin GOP and its quest to blot out the sun

"The state Justice Department is representing the Republicans" tells you everything you need to know about the current hyper-partisan bent of our DOJ under Attorney General JB Van Hollen. I'd always thought the DOJ was supposed to represent the state -- i.e. the people of Wisconsin -- and not just whatever party happens to be in power at the moment. >More
Emily's Post: Lending a hand to tornado victims, Walker disenfranchising voters

I remember a night when 66 tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma (and Kansas) and flattened entire subdivisions around Oklahoma City -- all just two hours to the north of where I then lived. >More
Emily's Post: Tommy Thompson once again generating tension among Wisconsin Republicans

Over the weekend the state Republicans Party held its annual convention in the Wisconsin Dells, because who doesn't like indoor water parks? Apparently all that fun in the incandescent sun wasn't enough to keep out the tension, though. >More
Emily's Post: Women need to speak out against Walker's plan to cut funding for Planned Parenthood

Do I admit that I've turned to drink as a result of a vote by the Joint Finance Committee to defund Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin? Because I did pour myself a gin rickey last night after I read the news. It was either that or chuck my laptop across the room -- but I need that for work. >More
Emily's Post: Feingold, Kind, Baldwin, Thompson, Neumann generating early chatter for Kohl's Senate seat

Quite a weekend! Tens of thousands of people descended upon the Capitol once again, demonstrating the protest movement in Madison/Wisconsin is still alive and well, and long-time Senator Herb Kohl announced that he won't be running for reelection next year. >More
Emily's Post: 'Welcome to Wisconsin, Jim Crow'

It was one of the most difficult things I've watched in a long while: Last night, the Assembly debated AB7, the Voter ID bill, for almost six hours before a final vote saw the measure pass, 60-35. >More
Emily's Post: Jobs? Why would Wisconsin Republicans work to create jobs?

It came as little surprise to me when I read, in a recent Wisconsin State Journal article, that Republicans in the state Legislature were kicking into high gear to pass a series of their pet bills as quickly as possible. Enough of their colleagues, after all, now face recall elections this summer that there is the real potential for taking away the GOP's majority. >More
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