TCD’s weekly winners and losers
The Recall Walker effort
With reported signatures topping 300,000 in less than two weeks, the Recall Walker effort appears to be off to a strong start. Despite measures over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend that limited access to hordes of shoppers, United Wisconsin is on track to collect its goal of 700,000 signatures. To move forward with a recall election, 540,208 valid signatures are required.
There’s going to be a season, Bucks fans! (We exist!) The NBA lockout will end on Christmas Day, after owners and players finally came to an agreement over Thanksgiving weekend. Believe it or not, there is actually a chance for our hapless franchise to contend (albeit in a somewhat limited capacity) in the lockout-shortened season after a disappointing, injury-riddled 2010-2011. For now, let’s just savor the thought of a season and save any Herb Kohl/new arena/possible contraction/no chance to compete with Miami and Chicago arguments for later, shall we?
I know. I’m as shocked as you are. According to the story in Thursday’s Journal Sentinel, Gov. Walker’s administration is banning open carry of guns in state buildings. State Sen. Peter Barca (D – Kenosha) praised the move, as did other officials on both sides of the aisle. Mark the calendar folks, this could be the last one for a long time.
New jobs in downtown Milwaukee
Job loss has hit Milwaukee hard, so news of the new downtown Marriott is a positive for the 200 to 450 potential new employees at the coming-soon downtown hotel. The new Marriott will be the first hotel built in the area since 1988, and will open in 2013.
Vanity stock lovers
With four Grammy nominations and some high praise from the first wave of year-end, best-of lists (#1 on Paste Magazine), to say it’s been a good week for Wisconsin’s own Justin Vernon and Bon Iver is a quite the understatement. Bon Iver is nominated for Best Record and Best Song for “Holocene,” as well as for Best Alternative Music Album and Best New Artist (which is always a curious designation, as this is Bon Iver’s second album, and this seems to happen every year). The band also released a deluxe edition of the self-titled album, which includes short films for each of the album’s ten songs.
Potential voting shenanigans
Lena C. Taylor is in the news for allegations of voter fraud at a Milwaukee group home run by the Senator’s mother, Lena J. Taylor. Media Trackers “released records showing that 36 people were registered to vote using the address of Mama Delta’s Lovehouse, a group home and homeless shelter run by Lena J. Taylor,” according to the Journal Sentinel story. The report also indicates that Russell Collins, a convicted felon, voted under that address in the April 5 election. Addressing the issue in Eugene Kane’s Thursday column, Sen. Taylor contends that her mother’s role has been “miscast and misunderstood,” and she “strongly insisted that her mother was not participating in voter fraud.” The city is investigating the claims.
A boy named Suh
Ndomukong, that is, who is suspended without pay for the next two games after stomping on Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith during last Thursday’s Thanksgiving game. This comes one week after Suh met with Commissioner Roger Goodell about other disciplinary measures, as Suh has already accrued more than $42,500 in fines this season alone. The suspension will cost Suh another $164,000. This is a crucial loss for Detroit, as Suh is one of the team’s best defenders, and the Lions will be competing with Chicago, New York and Atlanta for an up-for-grabs wild card spot in the playoffs. I guess life ain’t easy for a boy named Suh.
As the Republican-controlled Budget and Finance Committee moves forward with enacting $554 million in cuts to Badgercare and Medicaid, removing up to 64,000 Wisconsin residents from the roles of the insured, 29,000 of them children. One in five families in Wisconsin is affected by Badgercare or Medicaid, and a round of what are sure to be heated public hearings are underway across the state. Don’t look for it to matter, though: it appears the horses are on the track for this devastating move.
(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek)
After UWM SA Vice President Brent Johnson was arrested last weekend under allegations of sexual assault. Johnson says he was stunned when he was arrested last Sunday afternoon, after accusations from a fellow student who accused Johnson of sexually assaulting her last fall. In the story on WISN, Johnson said, “One of our big initiatives since the start of this year is safety and sexual health of students. I don’t know where the accusations came from. I’m not the kind of person that would do something like this.” Though the District Attorney’s office declined to press charges,Johnson has been placed on administrative leave from his post. UWM officials hope to conclude their investigation in the next few days.
Obnoxious, recall-based behavior is running rampant through the state. It’s not exclusive to one side, though the pro-Walker camp seems to have the edge on poor conduct for now. Police in Madison are investigating an incident involving alleged destruction of recall petitions at Edgewood College. On Nov. 16, it was reported that someone threw a rock through the window of a café displaying a “Recall Governor Walker” sign. Two days later, Sun Prairie teacher and liberal political blogger Heather Dubois Bourenane said she received a death threat over the phone at 4 a.m. On Nov. 30 in Oconomowoc, recall petitioners reportedly egged a woman’s car when she declined to sign. To top it off, the cost of increased security for Governor Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefish has doubled – to over $600,000 in the past 10 months – after death threats were made against them and their families.