News Articles By Mary Bottari

Gates Foundation Drops ALEC

Roll Call reports that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will join Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft and Intuit in withdrawing its financial support from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Roll Call rarely writes about ALEC, but did have an exhibition booth at the ALEC 2011 meeting in New Orleans.

Gates spokesman Chris Williams, while careful to note that Gates has never been a formal ALEC member, told the paper that it does not plan to renew its financial support for ALEC's education initiatives. "We have made a single grant, narrowly and specifically focused on providing information to ALEC-affiliated state legislators on teacher effectiveness and school finance," said Williams.

Shocker! FOX asks Tough Questions and Paul Ryan Flubs

Congressman Paul RyanCongressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace talking about his new GOP budget plan. After the disastrous roll out of last year's budget plan, widely panned for its $6,000 Medicare voucher, Ryan has polished up his approach. He says the new plan would simplify the tax code, "broaden the tax base," and close tax loopholes. You can watch the interview here.

Judges Slam Wisconsin GOP for "Needlessly Secret" and "Partisan" Redistricting

Voces de la FronteraA federal court ruled yesterday that new election maps drawn by Wisconsin Republican lawmakers last year violated the Voting Rights Act and must be redrawn.

A panel of three judges ruled that Latino communities on the Southside of Milwaukee were disenfranchised by the overly partisan maps. The maps for Assembly districts 8 and 9 must be redrawn by the state legislature, which is now split 16-16 in the Wisconsin Senate, or the court will redraw them. However, the judges upheld all the other legislative and Congressional districts that Republicans drew last year stating that even though the maps caused problems for some one million voters and disrupted long-standing political relationships, the resulting population deviations were not large enough to permit judicial intervention under the law.

Greta Van Susteren Falls for Walker’s Waterloo Ballyhoo

Scott Walker as NapoleonIn an interview with Fox News legal eagle Greta Van Susteren, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says his upcoming recall election will be a "Waterloo" moment for national unions that will "invest everything possible to try and take me out to send a message."

Van Susteren fell for Walker's Emperor Napoleon spin, giving him ample time to describe how he is being unfairly persecuted by big-money, out-of-state unions who apparently imported all the protestors last year who surrounded and occupied the Wisconsin State Capitol. "When that started to happen, when you see the buses of people come in, the charter planes coming in -- and the money they spent. I mean, they dumped $4 million to $5 million even before any campaigns last year," Walker said.

Will Wisconsin Newspapers Write about the Smoking Gun?

A video has surfaced that by any measure is critical to understanding Wisconsin's recall fight.

Ever since he unveiled his plan to put an end to collective bargaining for public sector workers and make it much more difficult for them to organize, Governor Scott Walker has consistently argued that he campaigned on the measure and no one should have been surprised by his actions.

On Anniversary of Prank Call the Real David Koch Wants to "Stop Union Power" in Wisconsin

David KochOne year ago this week, blogger Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beast pranked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by posing as billionaire David Koch on a phone call. As the crowds at the Capitol protesting Walker's bill to end collective bargaining were increasing in size and volume, the fake Koch inquired how Walker's efforts to "crush that union" were going. Walker's fawning response helped rocket the Wisconsin protests into the national media limelight.

Now the real David Koch reveals that crushing unions is indeed at the top of his agenda. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Koch talks about Walker, unions and the historical importance of the Wisconsin recall fight.

Students and Teachers Rally on Anniversary of Wisconsin Uprising

A student holding and "I still *heart* UW sign in front of the State Capitol.With two rallies on Valentine's Day, students and teachers commemorated the first anniversary of Wisconsin's historic struggle against Governor Scott Walker's attack on the state's 50-year tradition of peaceful collective bargaining.

Walker introduced his proposal to end collective bargaining for most state workers on Feb. 11, 2011. On Feb. 14, 2011 the Teacher's Assistants Association, the graduate student union at UW-Madison, organized a march from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to the Wisconsin State Capitol to deliver thousands of Valentine's to Walker to protest the measure and planned cuts to the UW system.

Will Walker's Love Affair with Realtors Come Back to Haunt Him?

Scott Walker and his new team of criminal defense lawyers will be meeting with the Milwaukee County District Attorney soon to answer questions in a multifaceted "John Doe" probe being conducted by the DA into potentially illegal activities of Walker's staff during the time he served as Milwaukee County Executive. Because everyone involved in the investigation is subject to a gag order, the scandal has the state guessing about the next shoe to drop.

One of them may shine a light on Walker's long-time love affair with big money realtors.

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