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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Overcast


The suddenly liberal Scott Walker

In recent weeks, Walker has sounded more like uber-lefty Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison), who has criticized Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke for not being liberal enough. For starters, Walker has run two campaign ads blasting Burke for allegedly "making millions of dollars sending jobs overseas." Burke and her defenders say any such decisions by her family's company Trek Bicycle were made after she no longer worked for it. >More
 Don't believe the anti-environmental lobby

As vice president of government relations for the big business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Scott Manley's fun job is to convince us the new regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency will destroy our economy. Its requirement that coal emissions be cut by 34% by 2030 could be "devastating," he has warned, forcing Wisconsin to "commit an act of unilateral economic disarmament." >More
 The mystery of Eric O'Keefe

Precisely what brought Eric O'Keefe to Wisconsin isn't completely clear, but he is having a huge impact here and may ultimately put a stop to the second John Doe investigation targeting Gov. Scott Walker and various conservative advocacy groups. >More
 Does anyone really impersonate another voter?

It was not so long ago that Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson had so much appeal for Democrats that he carried both Dane and Milwaukee counties. Thompson pushed to get 65% or 70% of the vote, but nowadays, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the parties say, "How do I get to 50% plus one?'" >More
 How to suppress the vote in Wisconsin

Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl grew up in the small town of Edgerton, population 5,494, where voting was pretty simple. "Everyone lived in walking distance of the clerk's office. I never had to wait when I voted absentee." >More
 Ten points where Gov. Walker is vulnerable

There is a theory among Democrats that Mary Burke has a good chance of defeating incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker. "I can tell you in D.C., everyone thinks the race is in play," a well-connected Democrat says. This is based, among other things, on the idea that Walker has high negatives as measured by polls of Wisconsin voters and that Burke will get considerable out-of-state campaign money because Democrats nationally will target Walker for defeat. >More
 Why Wisconsin's new John Doe probe scares conservatives

To understand the John Doe probes that have continued to dog Gov. Scott Walker, it's instructive to remember the "caucus scandal" from a decade ago. For many years Republican and Democratic legislators maintained caucus staffs that essentially were paid by the taxpayers to campaign on public time. In 2002 prosecutors launched an investigation of ringleaders in this sleazy system, which resulted in convictions of five legislators and several staff members from both parties. >More
 The attack on local control by Wisconsin Republicans

The last budget session was a lovely one for AT&T and other wireless phone providers. Lobbyists for these companies had pushed for legislation in countless states to end local control over the installation of cell phone towers, with mixed success. But no state was more receptive to these lobbyists than Wisconsin, where Republican legislators on the Joint Finance Committee grabbed the bill as written by telecom lobbyists, plunked it into the budget bill and sent it on to the full Legislature, which passed it. >More
 The downfall of Dennis Smith

Just two months into his governorship, Scott Walker signed a law removing 37 state positions from civil service requirements, including 14 general counsels. The law was criticized by Wisconsin Common Cause and others, who argued it would politicize these positions and make information less accessible to the public. >More
 Wisconsin has become a richly rewarding place for the über-wealthy

Once known as a progressive state, Wisconsin is now deep into what might be called the post-progressive era. The poster boy for the new Gilded Age is home-improvement retailer John Menard, the 57th wealthiest American, according to the most recent Forbes 400 list. >More
 How Gov. Doyle lowered the average tax level in Wisconsin

Poor Jim Doyle. Never Mr. Excitement as a governor, he was the sort of charisma-challenged chieftain even Democrats had trouble getting excited about. In the 2010 election, as Wisconsin was being ravaged by the Great Recession, Scott Walker and the Republicans swept to power by pounding on him mercilessly, though he wasn't the opposing candidate. The GOP caricature of Doyle, of course, included the idea he was taxing us to death, but the latest figures from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance remind us that this was not so. >More
 Wisconsin will fall out of love with concealed carry gun law

Welcome to the Wild West, Wisconsin style. In July, two Milwaukee men "traded dozens of shots in a rolling shootout through two sides of town and down a freeway," as the press reported. Each driver had a state permit to carry a concealed weapon. >More
 The Wisconsin budget's private bail bond system spells the return of debtors' prison

Of all the measures included in the mammoth budget bill that was recently completed, none is more questionable than a provision that returns commercial bail bonds to Wisconsin. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn called bail bondsmen "basically legal loan sharks" who "prey on the poorest communities." >More
 Should Wisconsin's politicians or voters decide when a recall is warranted?

The 10th Senate District is a mostly rural area bordering the Mississippi River in northwestern Wisconsin that has been something of a family fiefdom. Republican Jim Harsdorf served it from 1981 to 1989, and his sister and fellow Republican Sheila Harsdorf has held it from 2000 to today. Prior to this, Sheila served an Assembly district for 12 years that her brother had previously held for four years. >More
 Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack wins second term as big liberal money sits out race

Pat Roggensack's reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court solidifies her power and that of the conservative bloc she often leads. The Supreme Court is a veritable fortress for incumbents. In its 161-year history, through more than 120 elections, just two justices seeking reelection have been defeated. >More
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