Wisconsin Protests, Monday, April 25 - Sunday, May 1, 2011


9:05 a.m. - Rebekah Wilce reports for CMD:

Today in Madison, Immigrant Workers Union and allied groups marched from Brittingham Park down West Washington Avenue to the Wisconsin State Capitol, demanding worker's rights and immigration reform.

May Day, or May 1st, became International Workers' Day in 1886, when it was the beginning of a multi-day general strike in Chicago that demanded an eight-hour work day. On May 4, 1886, the strike ended in what became known as the Haymarket affair.

Read more here.


Bikers from all over the Midwest protest Scott Walker's attack on Wisconsin unions2:12 p.m. Summer Abdoh reports for CMD:

Hundreds of Wisconsinites lined Madison's Capitol Square, Saturday, to welcome bikers from all over the Midwest and to protest Scott Walker's attack on Wisconsin unions.

Just when Governor Scott Walker thought he memorized all the chants and signs, Wisconsinites revved it up a notch. Every kind of bike from Harley-Davidsons to Huffys descended onto the Square from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and South Hamilton St.

Eric Hartz, the organizer of the event, complemented the thunderous entrance with songs from the Raging Grannies, a social justice organization made up of older women. Other speakers included Sen. John Erpenbach, Sen. Mark Miller, Rep. Cory Mason, Rep. Peter Barca, Milwaukee Public School Teachers and the City of Middleton Fire Fighters.

Throughout the speeches you could hear the low rumbling from motorcycles surrounding the capitol building. "The sound from the engines and the crowd was overwhelming," said Miriam Kopelow, a teacher at Wringra Middle School. "I could feel the chants of the people and the rumbling of the bikes."





  • 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - People's Assembly, Madison WI
  • 1:00 p.m. - May Day March, Madison WI. Sponsors include: Immigrant Workers Union, Building Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin, Progressive Dane, AFSCME Local 1871 (Dane County workers), Industrial Workers of the World , International Socialist Organization, Chicago & MidWest Regional Joint Board of Worker's United, Workers International League, AFSCME Local 171 (UW Madison workers), Madison Worker's Rights Center, We Are Wisconsin.
  • 1:30 p.m. - May Day! (Sponsored by AFL-CIO), Milwaukee WI. Speakers include AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Christine Neumann-Ortiz
  • 4:00 p.m.: Ceremony to Honor Bayview Struggle (Sponsored by AFL-CIO), Milwaukee WI


10:00 a.m. - Mary Bottari reporting

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick comes to Milwaukee tomorrow as the featured speaker of the Democratic Party's Founders Day Dinner. You can hear the cackles from Governor Walker's office from here. His press team is delighting in sending out clips about Patrick's efforts to weaken collective bargaining in Massachusetts to the press including this gem from the Wall Street Journal:

Union Busting, Massachusetts Style

"Pop quiz: What political party, in what state, this week passed a bill in the dead of night stripping public-sector unions of their collective- bargaining powers? Republicans in Wisconsin? The GOP in Ohio or Indiana? Try Democrats in Massachusetts. Maybe the debate over public-sector benefits isn't all that ideological after all."

It will be fascinating to watch how the spinmeisters play this one.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker privatization plan brings warning from USDA

Madison — Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to privatize work determining who is eligible for food assistance in the state would violate federal law and could expose the state to a loss of more than $20 million in federal money, federal officials say. In an April 14 letter to state Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith and Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson, Ollice Holden, a Midwest administrator for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, warned that the work of interviewing applicants and deciding who is eligible for the Wisconsin FoodShare program needs to be done by public workers who are essentially civil servants. If not, he said, the state could lose some of the federal funds supporting FoodShare, the successor in Wisconsin to the food stamp program. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: Missing Verona ballots cause glitch in Supreme Court racerecount

Newly appointed Dane County Clerk Karen Peters initially had doubts that the county could finish hand counting some 182,000 Supreme Court ballots within a 13-day deadline. But on Thursday she expressed confidence that it could be done. But that was before the glitch. On Thursday afternoon official "tabulators" were busily counting ballots from the city of Verona when the votes came up more than 90 short of what the electronic readout from the voting machines said they should. That sent Verona officials on a hunt, and a rubber-banded stack of 97 ballots turned up in the office of Verona City Clerk Judy Masarik. "There's a table in the clerk's office, and there was a binder and some other papers on top of the ballots," said City Administrator Bill Burns, who found the stack. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Darling, other recall targets raising big money

State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) has raised $422,000 so far this year, according to a campaign spending report that shows she's well-armed for the recall challenge being prepared against her. Her campaign report, filed with the state Government Accountability Board this week, also lists $206,000 in campaign spending so far -- much of it for design and mailing of campaign literature and radio ads. Other Republican senators targeted for recall also reported campaign collections well into the six figures, but none approached her totals. They include Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, who has raised $180,000 this year and spent $90,000; Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, who has raised $131,000 and spent $39,000; and Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, $110,000 and $61,000. The one other GOP senator against whom signatures have been filed so far is Luther Olsen of Ripon, who reports $35,000 in collections and only $637 in expenditures in his mostly rural district. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: Democrats file recall petition for 6th GOP senator

Wisconsin Democrats have filed a recall petition against a sixth Republican state senator for his support of a bill that curtails collective bargaining rights. Organizers for the committee to recall Sen. Robert Cowles of Green Bay turned in approximately 26,000 signatures Thursday, far more than the 15,960 needed to trigger a recall election. The Government Accountability Board has 31 days to review the signatures but has asked a circuit court to give it until June 3 to certify all recall petitions. Once the petitions are certified, officials would call an election for the first eight petitions on July 12. Reid Magney, a spokesperson for GAB, said any recall election for Cowles may need to be held separately from the other eight because of when organizers turned in the petition. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

WisPolitics: Kloppenburg campaign says 'anomalies' warrant more review

JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign manager says the first two days of the recount in the state Supreme Court race have tuned up a number of "anomalies" that warrant further review. Still, Melissa Mulliken held off during a conference call with reporters from declaring any major shifts in the race, saying the process was ongoing. "This is what a recount does," Mulliken said. "It looks at the process, and we think that we're going to shine some light and find some places where there were anomalies, and that's what we're finding and the process has to work." David Prosser's campaign director Brian Nemoir said the issues that have popped up are small and compared them to the slight changes that happen to the vote totals during county canvasses. "As this thing trudges on, one thing remains the same and that's Justice Prosser won," Nemoir said, referring to the justice's post-canvass margin of more than 7,300. "The question is at what cost to the taxpayers to find this out again." Some estimates have put the taxpayer cost of a statewide recount at close to $1 million -- $500,000 of that in Milwaukee Co. alone. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Prosser: No meeting with governor, but possibly at at his office?

In an interview with WKOW27 News, state supreme court justice David Prosser denied meeting with Governor Walker the day after voters decided between Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in a hotly-contested race, but said it was possible he was at the governor's office.

"It is conceivable that during that week, I stopped down to the governor's office," Prosser told WKOW27 News.

Prosser told WKOW27 News any visit would have been to request gubernatorial mementoes for visiting international students.

Unofficial vote totals on the day after the election showed Kloppenburg leading Prosser by 204 votes. Waukesha County clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who was formerly a subordinate to Prosser when Prosser was republican assembly speaker, announced later she failed to include more than 14,000 votes to the unofficial tally. The inclusion of the votes swung the race in Prosser's favor. A recount began Wednesday.


GAB wants to hold all recall elections on one day -- July 12, 2011

The Government Accountability Board asked a Dane County judge Wednesday to give it more time to review recall petitions in a move that would allow the agency to hold eight of the elections July 12.

Under the GAB's proposal, the agency and those involved in the recalls would have additional time to review the petitions, file challenges and respond to those filings.

The GAB argued the additional time was needed, in part, because of the demands now placed on the agency by the ongoing statewide recount in the Supreme Court race and the thousands of signatures filed against state senators so far.

It also points out in the filing recall elections by themselves are very rare in Wisconsin. To have eight going on at the same time is extraordinary.

"In addition, this number of simultaneous recalls has never occurred anywhere in the United States," the Department of Justice points out in the brief.

The board's proposal calls for a meeting May 23 to consider the petitions filed against Sens. Dan Kapanke, R-LaCrosse, Randy Hopper, R-Oshkosh, and Luther Olsen, R-Ripon. The board would hold a second meeting May 31 to consider the petitions filed against Sens. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, and Jim Holperin, D-Cononver.



The Cap Times: Recount begins in state Supreme Court race

The third statewide election recount in Wisconsin history began Wednesday morning with Dane County's clerk expressing doubt that she will have time to sift through the county's more than 182,000 ballots by the May 9 deadline. "We only have 13 days, and I believe ours will take longer," said clerk Karen Peters. Each of the state's 72 counties is recounting ballots in the April 5 state Supreme Court election, which saw Justice David Prosser defeat challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, assistant state attorney general, by less than half of 1 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: Biz Beat: Unions take lumps out East

Not that it's going to make workers in Wisconsin feel better but public employee unions are losing fights in other states -- including a traditional Democratic stronghold. In Massachusetts, the House this week voted 112-42 to strip police officers, teachers and other municipal employees of the ability to bargain over health care. But unlike Wisconsin, where Republicans are looking to curb union power, this vote was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor and benefitted from their campaign cash. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: John Nichols: It's official: Obama is as American as Trump -- and Romney

Aside from the genuinely wacked-out folks who actually bought in to the fantasy that Barack Obama refused to release his long-form "Certificate of Live Birth" in order to conceal details of his foreign birth, the whole point of the "birther" movement has always been to emphasize that the president's father was an African. Yes, yes, of course -- Obama wrote a best-selling book about his father's Kenyan roots and residency. But the "birthers" aren't all that into books. They wanted a nice, simple way to say: "Obama's a foreigner." READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Vote on photo ID measure expected in May

Madison — Lawmakers plan to vote in May on a bill requiring photo ID at the polls, but before then Republicans have to work out differences on changes to absentee voting. The Assembly version of the bill would allow people to get absentee ballots only for specific reasons, such as being out of town or disability. It would also limit in-person absentee voting in municipal clerks' offices to the week before the election, down from the current 30 days before the election. The Senate did not include those provisions on absentee voting in its version of the photo ID bill. Its author, Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan), said he did not know if he could support them. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.


7:05 p.m. - Brendan Fischer reports for CMD:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's op-ed in the New York Times last week advocated for a Medicaid that promotes innovative, self-managed and flexible care that would allow individuals to stay in their own homes. Despite these statements, Governor Walker is eliminating a Wisconsin Medicaid innovation that worked toward these stated principles, a newly-created and relatively inexpensive statewide registry that helps vulnerable people with disabilities stay out of assisted living facilities and control their home healthcare.

Read more here.


4:05 p.m. - Mary Bottari reports for CMD:

Remember when the fight broke out in Wisconsin over the right to collectively bargain and President Obama and a phalanx of national democratic leaders spread out across the country fighting for the rights of American workers?

Right, we don't remember that either.

As unions battled for their very existence, the thunderous silence from Washington, D.C. did not go unnoticed by working families fighting for their livelihoods or by powerful political players. At least one organization has decided to hold a few of their former friends accountable.

Read more here.


2:00 p.m. - Jennifer Page reports for CMD:

Rumors have been circulating about a little-known initiative to subject Wisconsin local governments to "stress tests" and other new constraints. Many believe the proposal resembles the "martial law" bill that was recently passed in Michigan, which allows the state government to dissolve local governments in a "fiscal emergency," and worry that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker or his friends in the legislature could be cooking up a similar plan.

Progressive commentator and former Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Ed Garvey sounded the warning in a blog post for FightingBob.com that snowballed all the way to Forbes.com.

Read more here.

"Ryancare" Panned By Wisconsinites

Yesterday marked the start of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan's town hall tour in Wisconsin to garner support for his "Path to Prosperity" budget. And it started with a bang in Kenosha, WI, where at-capacity crowds came to debate with Ryan about his budget plan that includes turning Medicare and Medicaid into a voucher program and lowering taxes 10 percent for the wealthiest and corporations in the country.

Mainstream news caught wind of these town hall meetings and their potential for a firestorm atmosphere similar to the town hall meetings about Obama's health care reform plan that caused such vehement reactions by Tea Party members two years ago. As usual, Wisconsinites were passionate but polite and never shouted the Congressman down.

CBS News: Paul Ryan holding Wisconsin town meetings

NBC Nightly News: Power point: Paul Ryan pitches budget overhaul

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart: Hall and Response

Paul Ryan will be holding several more town hall meetings this week:

* Paul Ryan Budget Listening Session

Event Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 9:45am - 10:45am

Taking place at: Waterford Village Hall, 123 North River Street, Waterford, WI

* Paul Ryan Budget Listening Session

Event Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 10:30am - 11:30am

Taking place at: Veterans Terrace, 589 Milwaukee Avenue, Burlington, WI

* Paul Ryan Budget Listening Session

Event Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 11:15am - 12:15pm

Taking place at: Franklin Police Department, 9455 West Loomis Road, Franklin, WI

* Paul Ryan Budget Listening Session

Event Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Taking place at: Oak Creek Police Department, 301 West Ryan Road, Oak Creek, WI

* Paul Ryan Budget Listening Session

Event Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 3:00pm - 4:15pm

Taking place at: Greenfield City Hall, 7325 West Forest Home Avenue, Greenfield, WI

The New York Times: House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In central Florida, a Congressional town meeting erupted into near chaos on Tuesday as attendees accused a Republican lawmaker of trying to dismantle Medicare while providing tax cuts to corporations and affluent Americans.

At roughly the same time in Wisconsin, Representative Paul D. Ryan, the architect of the Republican budget proposal, faced a packed town meeting, occasional boos and a skeptical audience as he tried to lay out his party's rationale for overhauling the health insurance program for retirees.

In a church theater here on Tuesday evening, a meeting between Representative Allen B. West and some of his constituents began on a chaotic note, with audience members quickly on their feet, some heckling him and others loudly defending him. "You're not going to intimidate me," Mr. West said.


The Ed Show: Ryan budget picked apart at town hall


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bill affects more than voter ID

Madison — The latest version of a bill requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls would make sweeping changes to Wisconsin elections -- moving the September primary to August, tightening rules on absentee ballots and ending straight-ticket voting. A hearing on the bill is slated for 10 a.m. Wednesday, and Republicans who run the Assembly will meet in private later in the day to discuss any changes to the measure. Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) said his caucus is largely behind the latest version by Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), but may want to tweak it. He said he hopes to pass the bill in May and forward it to the Senate. Stone's bill leaves in place the ability of people to register at the polls. Some Republicans have wanted to eliminate election-day registration, but Stone said he did not believe they needed to take that step. "This is going to go a long way to restoring confidence in elections," Stone said of his bill. Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) decried the plan, saying the photo ID measure and changes to absentee voting laws would make it harder to vote while not preventing voter fraud. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Some GOP lawmakers line up against key Walker budget plans

Madison — Republican lawmakers are forming ranks against high-profile planks in Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget that would cut recycling grants and sharply restructure the state's flagship university and a prescription drug plan for seniors. But GOP legislators remain firmly behind the Republican governor's 2011-'13 plan to solve a $3.5 billion budget shortfall without relying on tax increases. That means that to undo any spending cuts proposed by Walker they could have to come up with difficult and potentially controversial spending cuts of their own. On Tuesday, the 16 members of the powerful Joint Finance Committee dug into Walker's budget document, which uses $1.16 billion in cuts in aid to schools and local governments to balance the budget. Committee co-chairs Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) both said that Walker's budget would see changes in coming weeks. "While Governor Walker's budget is a good framework, it's not perfect," said Vos, who later added, "At the end of the day, we will not be spending more money than the governor. So that means we'll have to reprioritize." READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Daily Reporter: Walker's budget would relax policies on the environment

Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to ease environmental standards survived the Legislature's first swing of the budget axe Tuesday. But state Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington, a co-chairman of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, offered assurances his Republican-dominated panel would remain independent of the state's executive branch. The JFC will spend the next several weeks reworking the budget. "When we have finished this process, what will be created is a budget that is in the middle ground," Vos said. "We will not accept all of the governor's things that he has proposed, and we will not accept all of the changes that are offered by people that have concerns." It's important, Vos said, for the Legislature to retain and exercise its separate power. "I can say there are some areas where I know we are going to be different than the governor," he said. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: John Nichols: Recount reasonable -- just ask a Republican

Candidates in close races who find themselves contemplating whether to seek a recount of the ballots -- and the resolution of related questions about the quality and character of the initial count -- need to have some standard for determining when it is reasonable to make the demand. Certainly, if the difference is a handful of votes, no one would argue with seeking a recount. But what about when the margin is larger, such as the 7,316-vote difference between Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg and Justice David Prosser in the hotly contested race for state Supreme Court? Was it unreasonable for Kloppenburg to seek a recount? Not if you ask a Republican. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Hill: More town-hall heckling for Ryan

Attendees at Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) town hall meeting on Tuesday heaped more scorn on the powerful congressman for backing an extension for the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Protesters chanted "Ryan stop lying!" at the House Budget Committee chairman outside his event in Kenosha, Wis. and several members of the capacity crowd interrupted Ryan as he defended his budget plan, according to WTMJ-TV. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: Why give payouts for failure?

April 25, 2011 - What do Bruce Pearl and departing M&I executives have in common? They are receiving generous payments on their way out the door. For jobs well done? Not exactly.

The University of Tennessee terminated Pearl's coaching contract with the men's basketball program there after the NCAA charged him with unethical conduct and more recent violations surfaced. Despite a series of embarrassing incidents and allegations, the university paid Pearl nearly $1 million when he left.

In M&I's case, the hometown bank suffered huge losses stemming from its decision (bet?) to invest heavily in the Arizona and Florida real estate markets prior to the recent recession. The financial hit left M&I vulnerable to being acquired by Montreal-based BMO Financial, leading to the prospect that many employees in Milwaukee may lose their jobs.

Read more here.


4:45 p.m. - Rebekah Wilce reports for CMD:

The "World's Largest Brat Fest," which will take place over Memorial Day weekend at Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center, will serve brats donated by Johnsonville Sausage of Sheboygan Falls, WI. Johnsonville owners (the Stayer and Stayer-Maloney families) and other principals of Johnsonville Sausage contributed a total of $48,450 to Scott Walker's gubernatorial and other 2010 Republican state campaigns, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's Campaign Finance Database.This prompted Madison activists such as Sam Hokin to call for a boycott of Johnsonville and other corporations that contributed to Scott Walker. Tim Metcalfe, president and co-owner of Metcalfe's Market and organizer of the "World's Largest Brat Fest," issued a statement on March 20th that "Brat Fest has, and continues to be, truly apolitical... My hope is that these traditions and civil accord can continue."

Read more here.

2:45 p.m. - Steve Horn reports that community activists Ben Manski, head of Wisconsin Wave, Allen Ruff, and Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of the top ten nationally ranked blog Eduoptimists are present.

2:25 p.m. - Steve Horn reports that students are currently occupying Bascom Hall and are waiting to meet with Chancellor Biddy Martin. Follow Steve on Twitter for more live updates: @SteveHorn_1022


This Is Our HouseThe Nation reported this week:

On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State -- which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter, Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda. Legal experts interviewed for this story called the blatant corporate politicking highly unusual, although no longer skirting the edge of legality, thanks to last year's Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which granted free speech rights to corporations.

The Dylan Ratigan Show: 'Thought-control' at Koch?


9:30 a.m. - Brendan Fischer reports for CMD:

The recount in Wisconsin's Supreme Court race begins this Wednesday, April 27. Why was the recount called, how will it be carried out, and how can individuals get involved?

Read more here.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Rove heaps praise on Walker

There Is No "T" In DemocracyRepublican strategist Karl Rove praised Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Monday evening for pushing his plan to sharply limit collective bargaining for public employees. "Your governor did an extraordinarily courageous thing by standing up," Rove told hundreds of cheering attendees at his address in the Wisconsin Room at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union. Proposals similar to Walker's, which is the subject of a court battle in Dane County, already have gained traction in other states, Rove said. "Every state's facing the same issue," he said. For decades municipalities and school districts across the country have "basically bought the peace" when they couldn't offer pay raises by increasing benefits that won't have to be paid for until long after local officials have left office, he said. "We either have reform or we have systems that go bankrupt," Rove said. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Common Cause in Wisconsin: Most Restrictive Voter Photo ID Measure in the Nation Gets a Hearing on Wednesday/Big Crowd in Kenosha to Discuss Reform

On Wednesday, April 27th the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Election and Campaign Reform will hold a public hearing on ASSEMBLY BILL 7 -- which, if passed and enacted into law, would be the most restrictive voter identification law in the nation. This measure would likely mean that tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of voters in Wisconsin would find it too difficult and onerous to cast their ballots on election day, and take Wisconsin from being one of the top two states in the nation in voter turnout to one of the lowest. It would be easier to vote in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and even Georgia (currently the second most restrictive state in the nation, after Indiana, in which to vote) than in Wisconsin if this measure becomes law. And why? For no other reason than for partisan advantage. It is one of the most undemocratic and misguided pieces of legislation ever proposed in Wisconsin's history. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: May 9 deadline set for Supreme Court recount

Madison — The recount in the race for state Supreme Court is to be completed by May 9, though that deadline could be extended by court order. The state Government Accountability Board on Monday issued an order formally requiring counties to conduct the recount. The recount will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The tight timeline means the recounts may be conducted in some counties on weekends, said Mike Haas, an attorney for the board. The schedule was spelled out in a conference call Monday between the accountability board and county clerks. Nearly all of the 72 clerks participated, many of them with their staff and members of their local canvassing boards. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: John Nichols: Voters tell Ryan to keep hands off Medicare, but tax the rich

Polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to GOP proposals to start hacking away at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to cut deficits. Instead, voters favor raising taxes on the wealthy. How overwhelmingly? Eighty percent of Americans oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. Just 18 percent agree with the approach approved by most House Republicans. In contrast, 64 percent of Americans back using tax hikes for the rich to balance budgets, while just 33 percent oppose. But voters aren't just telling it to the pollsters. They are telling it to Republican members of the House and Senate. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Nation: Gov. Christie Goes To War With Working Families

Rev. Al Sharpton will join national union leaders in scheduled rallies today across New Jersey to draw attention to hardships facing working families. The adversities in question include budget cuts that squeeze the middle-class, according to labor leaders. The American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Lee Saunders, the international secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, will also join Sharpton. The trio plan on leading a morning rally to protest the closing of a psychiatric facility in Vineland, followed by a panel discussion with state lawmakers at noon, culminating with an evening rally in Newark. Gov. Christies has proposed a 7 to 11 percent cut in the state's general assistance program, while simultaneously vetoing 2010 legislation that would have temporarily raised taxes on those in the top income brackets. Overall, Christie slashed $820 million in state aid last year and $1 billion from school funding. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Ed Show: Walker takes credit for the jobs his predecessor created



2:00 p.m. - Jennifer Page reports for CMD:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has pledged to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin. He has an interesting way of going about it. Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker visited Curt Manufacturing near Eau Claire, WI last week to award the state manufacturing plant a $625,000 transportation grant and congratulate himself for creating 125 extra jobs as a result. "This project directly creates 125 new jobs and indirectly creates 129 jobs, resulting in $12.6 million in annual wages right here in Wisconsin," Walker said in a news release. "By providing these funds, we are bringing quality jobs to Wisconsin while improving road access to Curt Manufacturing's expanded facility." But credit for the same 125 jobs was already claimed back in December by then-Governor Jim Doyle when the Department of Commerce announced the administration was giving the same company $400,000 in tax credits and $11 million in tax-free bonds under a 2009 stimulus program. Doyle said the extra money would "create 125 extra jobs and result in $12.8 million investment to the community." Could the firm be creating 250 new jobs? Er, no says a company spokesman. Curt has committed to adding 125 positions by 2014. So Walker simply ladled out an extra $625,000 for the same 125 jobs. That amounts to a whopping $96,000 in taxpayer support per job. Let's hope they pay more than minimum wage.

Read more here.


The Nation: The Koch Brothers: America Oligarchs

For a while, the consequences of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision seemed abstract, but the effects are quickly becoming more concrete. Just before the November midterm election, Koch Industries -- the massive conglomerate owned by the libertarian Koch brothers -- sent materials to its 50,000 employees advising them for whom they should vote. Mark Ames, one of the authors of The Nation's exclusive report on this political intimidation, joined The Dylan Ratigan Show to discuss the new vulnerabilities workers face as the relationship between politicians and big corporations deepens. The election packets explained to Koch Industries employees that their jobs could be in jeopardy if the proper candidates were not placed in power to cushion large corporations. Employees are actually being led to believe that lower wages are in their best interest, says Ames, and Citizens United has helped position the Koch brothers, some of the wealthiest men in the world, as American oligarchs. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker takes credit for creating 125 jobs, and so does Doyle

Little did anyone know that Gov. Scott Walker was such a huge fan of recycling. Just look at his latest jobs announcement. Walker recently took credit in a widely reported press conference for creating 125 jobs at a state manufacturing plant, even though then-Gov. Jim Doyle announced the same new jobs back in December. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: DAs say state can't lay off prosecutors

The possibility of compromise on Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate the state's mandate on recycling programs is promising. Even better would be some help from the governor on paying for the programs. Walker's initial budget proposal eliminated the mandate that communities run recycling programs as well as the state subsidies that helped fund the programs. But the pushback -- including some from Republican legislators and Republican counties -- has been strong enough that folks are now talking compromise. That's not surprising. The recycling program is popular, and the state law requiring recycling of some material hasn't been revoked. Under a possible compromise, the state mandate on municipal programs would remain in place and the state would encourage municipalities to become more creative or efficient or collaborative. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: Plain Talk: It's a bit late for Ryan to get religion on deficit

There was a time when I'd pooh-pooh pundits who insisted that the deficit spending by Republican administrations -- Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush -- had a sinister motive behind it. Running up the national debt to new heights would make it all the easier to achieve a conservative goal that dates back decades, the elimination of "socialist" programs like Social Security and Medicare, the pundits insisted. Turns out they were right. Ironically, Wisconsin's own Paul Ryan, who was first elected to Congress when President Clinton was balancing budgets, is their poster child. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

The Cap Times: Teachers retiring at high rate, many because of collective bargaining changes

More than 130 Madison teachers -- many of them worried that Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining law could lead to changes in post-retirement benefits -- are retiring in June, a big increase over recent years. As of the April 15 deadline, 138 Madison teachers have decided to retire, Superintendent Dan Nerad said. That's a 62 percent increase over the average number of retirements over the previous five years. The district plans to fill all of the positions, Nerad said, though the loss of so many more veteran teachers than usual could have a more noticeable effect on students and novice teachers. "A lot of these people have been working with generations of students and influencing people for a long, long time," Nerad said. "Our intention is to replace them with knowledgeable people, but as a rule they will be less experienced." READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Senate recall campaigns move to next phase: Lawyers

With recall signatures filed against six Wisconsin state senators last week -- making eight in all this month -- those campaigns now shift in earnest to their next phase: vetting thousands of signatures, preparing objections to them and responding to objections. That's the next battleground for the recall campaigns before the state Government Accountability Board decides whether to schedule recall elections for any of the eight. And while the soldiers on the first battlefield -- gathering signatures in the Senate districts -- were grass-roots volunteers and paid organizers and circulators, this round is directed by lawyers. The first shots in this new battlefield already have been fired in the two campaigns that submitted their signatures earlier in April, the ones to recall Republicans Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac. Lawyers for those two focused on what they say is a flaw in the way campaigns filed their registrations in March. It seems likely the lawyers will take the same tack to counter campaigns against the other Republican senators, because all those campaigns were launched in the same way. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Count on some chaos in state Supreme Court recount

This is what a recount looks like: An indoor sports arena is filled with poll workers from every municipality in Milwaukee County, each in their own area. At each station, poll workers examine and count ballots one by one. And as they count, campaign volunteers, attorneys and journalists watch their every move -- with the campaign representatives sometimes challenging the poll workers' decisions -- while sheriff's deputies stand guard. It could be the biggest show in Wisconsin. And, with a few variations, it opens next week in every county in the state. Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg sought the statewide recount after final results showed she lost the state Supreme Court race to incumbent Justice David Prosser by more than 7,300 votes. Under a deal reached Thursday in Dane County Circuit Court, ballots will be tallied by hand in all or part of 31 counties and by machine elsewhere. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.


9:00 a.m. - Brendan Fischer reports for CMD:

The White House is circulating a draft Executive Order requiring disclosure of contributions to "third party" or "independent" expenditure groups by corporations receiving government contracts. During the 2010 elections, much of the unlimited election spending made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision was kept secret by groups taking advantage of the 501(c) section of the tax code. The President's proposed order would lift the veil on secret spending in time for the 2012 elections.

Read more here.

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