Tag Archives | Wisconsin

Wisconsin Republicans Draft Bill Proposing 7-Day Work Week For Retail Workers

They say do what you love – and if you love working in a factory or the service industry, get ready to get excited. Via the Stevens Point Journal:

Wisconsin manufacturing and retail workers could work seven days straight without a day off under a bill two Republican lawmakers are circulating on behalf of the state’s largest business group. The bill promises to ratchet up tensions between the GOP and Democrats and their organized labor allies.

The measure’s authors, Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend and Mark Born of Beaver Dam, say the bill gives workers a way to make extra money and employers a way to boost production. But Democrats and labor leaders insisted bosses would use the bill to force their employees to work longer and effectively erase the weekend.

Current Wisconsin law requires employers who own or operate factories or retail stores to give their workers at least 24 consecutive hours off every seven days.

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‘Sikh Temple Shooter’ has White Supremacist Ties

Via Southern Poverty Law Center

The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.

In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to “figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways” and start “moving forward.” “I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back,” Page said. Later, he added, “The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole.” He did not discuss violence in the interview.

Page told the website that he had been a part of the white power music scene since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a motorcycle.

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Meet Command Central: The People in Charge of Wisconsin Voting Machines

Writes Barbara With, Marianne M. Moonhouse and John Washburn on Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op:

Command Central is one of Wisconsin’s leading vendors of voting machines and election supplies. They are distributors for Dominion Voting Systems, a privately-owned electronic voting equipment company. Founded in Canada in 2002, Dominion is now based in Denver, CO, since their acquisitions of Premier Election Solutions, from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), and Sequoia Voting Systems.

Command Central deals directly with Wisconsin county and municipal clerks and is closely involved in their selection of voting machines, ballots, and other election supplies. Command Central does all the maintenance on the voting machines and provides tech support throughout the year, with a special “hot line” should clerks need help with glitches, etc., on election day.

In June 2011, the Wisconsin County Clerks Association held their annual summer conference in Ladysmith. Seventy-five county clerks from across the state came together to, among other things, “assist the legislators in developing sound legislation that affects county clerks and county government by providing accurate and useful information.” WCCA Legislation Committee chair at the time was Kathy Nickolaus.

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Collective ‘Om’ at Wisconsin Capitol on Eve of Historic Walker Recall Election (Video)

Via Revealing Politics:

The night before Wisconsin’s recall election progressive activists gathered around the Capitol to “cleanse it of negative energy” and sing together in solidarity. The evening opened with songs, some of which were written specifically for the events, as lyric sheets were handed out to attendees. Attendees then practiced a meditational “Om” and then all pulled together to circle the Capitol building with their collective energy.

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The ‘Curses o’ Whoredom’: Rome’s History Turns Into Wisconsin’s Misery in Phase 3 of The Madison Uprising

Caligula

Caligula: a career model for the modern statesman?

“Elections may be lost by failing to energize the base, but they are only won by charming non-ideological voters who form the majority.  Milwaukee and Madison are the state’s most left-leaning cities, but in the eyes of Wisconsin’s rural and suburban majority, they are also the darkest pits of Babylonish whoredom.”

The wheels seem rapidly to be coming off the runaway freight train that was the effort to recall troubled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Nearly 1,000,000 people affixed their names and addresses to a petition to initiate the unprecedented recall procedures against Walker.  But as of late April, Walker is polling at least 5 % HIGHER than his most likely opponent, Milwaukee’s mayor, Tom Barrett. WTF?

Here is a brief recap of events since I last wrote about the Madison Uprising:

1.  Walker appointees refused to cooperate with a Federal John Doe investigation into Republican campaign violations. To date several minions have been charged with felonies ranging from appropriation of public assets to promote Walker’s candidacy, to embezzlement of funds intended for the surviving families of veterans in the Afghan and Iraq conflicts, to enticing underage boys into sexual relationships over the internet.  Walker made some attempts to distance himself from the actions underlings took on his behalf, but those were undermined by the revelation that he had retained legal counsel from a firm renowned for its specialty in defending against white collar criminal cases.… Read the rest

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Antibiotic Resistance Genes Accumulating in Lake Geneva Via Wastewater Treatment Plants

Lake Geneva

Photo: Christopher Down (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Large quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria enter the environment via municipal — and especially hospital — wastewater streams. Although wastewater treatment plants reduce the total number of bacteria, the most hazardous — multiresistant — strains appear to withstand or even to be promoted by treatment processes. This was demonstrated by Eawag researchers in a study carried out in Lake Geneva, near Lausanne.

Treated wastewater from the city of Lausanne — around 90,000 m3 per day — is released into Vidy Bay (Lake Geneva); the discharge point is located 700 m offshore, at a depth of 30 m. The Lausanne region does not have a pharmaceutical industry or intensive animal production. However, the Lausanne treatment plant receives wastewater not only from the region’s 214,000 inhabitants and a number of smaller healthcare centres, but also from a major healthcare facility — the University Hospital of Canton Vaud (CHUV).

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Bank ‘Activity’ Required For Wisconsin Voter ID

In the state of Wisconsin, you may be denied the ability to vote for lack of sufficient recent “bank activity”. A woman surreptitiously filmed the interactions as her 18-year-old son leaps through hurdle after hurdle in an attempt to get a constitutionally-guaranteed state ID so that he could vote. At the DMV, the pair is told that voter IDs were not issued when voters’ bank accounts did not show enough “activity.” The clerk had no answer when asked what would happen in the case of a resident who was homeless or unemployed, or too poor to maintain the minimum balance required for a checking account.

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Do You Smell The Chum?

Jaws ChumWell, this past Tuesday certainly was freaky. In case you hadn’t noticed it, a massive disturbance rippled through the Force with enough power to knock the shoes off of anyone paying attention. It’s unclear to me precisely what it all adds up to, but I suspect that the universe just passed through a Paradox Inflection. Just possibly the forces of Right Wing Corporatist Perversion have actually begun to turn on themselves.  Here’s just three examples of what I mean:

1.  Rupert Murdoch retreats on his big to monopolize Britain’s largest satellite service BSkyB.  In the wake of the recent phone hacking scandal where person’s in the employee of Murdoch’s flagship publication News of the World was forced to close up shop for illegally eavesdropping on the survivors of terrorist attacks and bribing police officials. Many initial reports saw that as a savvy move to divert attention from Murdoch’s attempt to acquire control of a much more lucrative and influential television market, but apparently British politicians are reacting more like a shark sensing blood in the water.… Read the rest

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Luntz and Counter-Luntz: The Word You’re Looking for Is “Dissent”

LuntzBlueRedLuntzIn recent weeks I’ve had number of interesting discussions with friends, Facebook and otherwise, about the bizarre shift towards totalitarianism in American politics. Of course, no political movement is possible without a corresponding cultural alignment, and the most lamentable trend in this regard seems to me to be the ascendancy of misanthropic polemical whores like Frank Luntz, who function more or less as the shock troops against the American tradition of anti-ideology, perverting our traditional inclinations into a cult of Mammon.[1]

Wisconsinites, whom I believe to be reasonably typical victims of Luntz et alia, demonstrate some pretty mixed reactions to the word “protest”, judging by some friends’ anecdotes surrounding pre-recall canvassing going on in this state.  One friend’s story particularly resonated with me:  a man who angrily turned a canvasser away from his door saying that he was tired of all that protesting going on in Madison, and thought the “Wisconsin 14″ had shown bad faith by leaving the state to forestall passage of Governor Walker’s union busting bill.  In his mind, the Democratic senators should have “negotiated” with Walker.… Read the rest

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Happy Bloomsday, America!

Hand drawing of Bloom by Joyce

Hand drawing of Bloom by Joyce

June 16th is the annual celebration of Leopold Bloom’s doomed wanderings through Dublin in 1904, as chronicled in James Joyce’s classic novel “Ulysses”.  And in the 21st century, reality finally catches up with and overtakes fiction.

In 1921 a U.S. court banned Ulysses on the grounds that some of its graphic depictions of nudity and sexuality constituted pornography under the Postal Code. And while that decision was reversed in 1933 by a judge who could only have failed today’s more rigorous selection processes for illiteracy and cretinism, the private sector came to the rescue of public morals when Apple banned an online illustrated version from its iStore last year.

However, that victory had an even shorter half-life. A couple months later, presumably realizing that it would lose it’s investment completely if it maintained the ban, and that nobody would likely access anything remotely smacking of literary merit anyway, Apple decided to give it a go after all.… Read the rest

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