TCD’s week in review
Lt. Brian Murphy, the Sue Black firing, Rembrandt Etchings at UWM, J.B. Van Hollen's voter ID crusade, and a whole lot of crazy in this week's Winners & Losers.
Lt. Brian Murphy
Rembrandt Etchings at UWM
“Rembrandt Etchings: States, Fakes and Restrikes” will be on exhibit at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Art History Gallery at Mitchell Hall on Downer Ave. beginning on Thursday, Sept. 6. The etchings, along with more than 500 pieces of 20th century African art and funds to renovate the Art History Gallery, were given by Emile H. Mathis II, a Racine art connoisseur, collector and dealer, who died on July 15. The multimillion-dollar Mathis collection is the largest bequest of its kind ever made to the UWM Art Collection. In his honor, the Art History Gallery will be renamed the Emile Mathis II Gallery.
2,800 volunteers from GE spent their Wednesday at 15 MPS and Waukesha schools “painting hallways, sprucing up landscape, preparing classrooms and providing other needed support.” Community Service Day is part of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar partnership between MPS and GE.
A slight increase
The Marquette University Law Poll shows a slight increase for Romney/Ryan in the state poll for the presidential election, the first conducted since the Wisconsin congressman joined the ticket. The gap between the candidates narrowed from five percent (50-45 lead for Obama in the Aug. 8 poll) to three percent (49-46, Aug. 22). However, not unlike eventual winners Gov. Scott Walker in the gubernatorial recall and Tommy Thompson in the recent GOP Primary, President Obama has not trailed in a single MU Law Poll.
Though Wisconsin still ranks among the top in the nation and ahead of the national average in ACT test scores, the Class of 2012 recorded the state’s lowest composite score since 1996, at 22.1. Increases were seen in schools in suburban Milwaukee, while decreases were seen in predominately African-American schools. Testing, of course, never tells the whole story, but the state’s already alarming achievement gap is showing few signs of improvement.
The Sue Black firing
When County Executive Chris Abele fired Milwaukee County Parks Director Sue Black, many were surprised. Black had a track record of success at her position, and had won national awards for her work. Abele, the sometimes-refreshing, sometimes-confounding county executive, has largely sidestepped giving any direct reason for firing Black, and appears to be moving on, having named Jim Keegan as interim director of the parks. Though it’s possible that the situation behind the scenes wasn’t as amicable as it may have appeared, and perhaps there are issues in which the public has not been made aware that may have effected Abele’s decision, but Sue Black deserved better. She is now pursuing “some level of justice,” and has hired attorney Frank Gimbel.
Voter fraud rarely happens in this country, but that’s not stopping Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen from continuing a crusade to enact the state voter ID law that has twice been struck down for being unconstitutional. Van Hollen is now asking the state supreme court to consider the matter so that it is enacted for the Nov. 6 election. Perhaps the best response to the GOP’s continued push for stricter voter regulations was said by former President Bill Clinton when campaigning for Tom Barrett in Milwaukee. He said, “We certify elections around the world and now we make it harder for people to vote.”
Duly elected crazy
It’s been a banner week for crazy people saying idiotic things in the good ol’ U.S of A. First we had Missouri congressman and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Todd Akin introducing the world to the now-well-documented hairbrained concept of “legitimate rape.” Akin, who has served on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science since he was elected in 2001, has committed to staying in the race, despite the requests of many high-profile members of the GOP, including Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Karl Rove Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, Sean Hannity, and many others. It couldn’t hurt for those requests to go a step further to request that Akin leave his congressional seat, or at very least, request some remedial science classes, you know, the kind that could be easily understood by someone not serving on a national committee for science.
Akin wasn’t the only duly elected member of Congress to spew rape-based crazy this week, as Iowa Representative Steve King (aka Akin Lite) told a reporter that he’s never heard of a woman getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and as Talking Points Memo notes, “A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.””
The crazy wasn’t limited to the fiercely anti-women wing of the House GOP, as Ohio Republican Doug Priesse, advisor to Gov. John Kasich, said “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.” Kasich and other Ohio Republicans have been taking heat for restricting early-voting hours in Democratic counties and extending hours in Republican counties.
And then there’s Lubbock County Judge Tom Head, who is seeking a tax increase in his rural Texas county because he is concerned that President Obama’s reelection will “Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war, maybe. And we’re not talking just a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.” Head said he fears Obama, if reelected, will hand over U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations causing said civil unrest/war. Head’s job as Judge, like Akin and Akin Lite, is an elected position.