Dan Shafer
Winners & Losers

TCD’s week in review

The season ends for the Milwaukee Brewers (and Ben Rouse), the first presidential debate is held, and a La Crosse news anchor has a message for bullies.

By - Oct 5th, 2012 10:48 am
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Jennifer Livingston

WKBT La Crosse news anchor and reporter Jennifer Livingston eloquently and intelligently responded to an email bullying her about her weight this week. The inspiring response (below) has now been viewed more than 275,000 times on YouTube.

Milwaukee manufacturing partnership 

Mayor Barrett’s Manufacturing Partnership, which began in April, has already helped nearly 200 people. The job training and placement program initially received $500,000 in federal workforce development funds, and an additional $207,000 was allocated through the Milwaukee Common Council’s Milwaukee Jobs Act. According to reports, “the program has helped 38 job seekers gain employment through employer-driven training, made 17 on-the-job placements and 81 direct employment placements. Another 61 people have completed customized manufacturing training programs.”

Ben Rouse 

25-year-old Ben Rouse completed the “Brew Mission” this week, attending all 162 games in the Brewers 2012 season. Rouse was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007, but has been in remission since 2009, after receiving a “umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant.” He graduated with a degree in economics from UW-Madison in 2010 and worked in Madison afterwords, but had dreams of following the Brewers for an entire season. His journey has been chronicled on his blog on the MLBlogs network, “Ben Rouse’s Brewer Mission 162,” where he has also raised awareness and funds for Be The Match, a national donor registry program.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Attendance at the Milwaukee Art Museum in the most recent fiscal year (ending Aug. 31, 2012) surpassed 395,000 people. Visitors came from all 50 states and more than a dozen nations. It was MAM’s third-most attended year ever, behind only 2002 and 2003 when the Calatrava-designed addition first opened.

An active, peaceful response 

On Sept. 22, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Gina Barton broke the story of the tragic death of Derek Williams. After a revised ruling from the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office, his death was ruled as a homicide. Williams died in police custody, in a squad car, in July, 2011.

Now, members of the community and local leaders are responding, and rightly so.

On Monday, Sept. 24, District Attorney John Chisholm and Police Chief Ed Flynn held a press conference responding to the matter, calling for a public inquest into Williams’ death. U.S. Attorney James Santelle said he is weighing a federal criminal investigation on the incident along with a larger investigation into civil rights abuses in the Milwaukee Police Department. On Sept. 25, State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and State Rep. Gary Bies (R-Sister Bay) announced plans to reintroduce legislation mandating new training and education standards for police officers, and Journal Sentinel columnist James Causey wrote in a column, “I’ve lost confidence in Ed Flynn. He has to go.”

Calls for Chief Flynn’s removal were voiced at a community forum held on Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters Hall. On Friday, Sept. 28, family members, Milwaukee aldermen, and other community leaders protested outside the MPD District 3 building. Also on Friday, the Milwaukee Common Council called for new rules at the Medical Examiner’s office.

On Monday, Oct. 1, the Milwaukee NAACP released a statement calling for a restructuring of the Fire and Police Commission, strengthening of the City Equal Rights Commission, re-establishing the County Human Rights Commission, and creating a state Office of Human Rights.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, special prosecutor John Franke, a former Milwaukee County judge and assistant U.S. attorney, was named to re-examine the case. Also on Tuesday, county supervisors authored legislation to revamp procedures at the Medical Examiner’s office, and met with the District Attorney. Protestors gathered Wednesday, Oct. 3, to demand changes in the police department. Pastors and activists met with Chief Flynn in a closed door meeting that night and demanded his resignation.

Undoubtedly, there is more to this story that is yet to be told. But the community response has been peaceful and fair, many local leaders have responded with action, and this case is not being dealt with lightly. Whatever ruling is ultimately handed down will be closely watched and must be fair and just.


The First Presidential Debate

The “domestic issues” debate was a lackluster affair. Little outside of the standard campaign talking points were discussed, and moderator Jim Lehrer lost control of the debate early on. President Barack Obama provided little energy or enthusiasm in defense of his domestic agenda, and while Republican Mitt Romney took an aggressive tone was hailed as the night’s winner, it was really just the first time in months where he did something that did not result in a campaign disaster.

But perhaps the biggest problem in the debate was the amount of half-truths, evasions and missteps from both candidates. Both the Associated Press and the Washington Post provided detailed fact checks of the night, pointing out the numerous mathematical distortions made by both Romney and Obama.

Before the next presidential debate—a town hall at Hofstra University on Tuesday, Oct. 16—is the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Headed to Court: John Doe targets 

The ongoing John Doe investigation that became a major talking point during the spring recall election is far from over. On Monday, Oct. 15, the trial begins against former aide to then-County Executive Scott Walker, Kelly Rindfleisch, who is accused of doing campaign work on the taxpayer’s dime. Another former Walker aide, Timothy D. Russell, is scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 3.

On the witness list for both trials is Gov. Scott Walker.

Asian carp

Political consensus has been extremely rare as of late in the state of Wisconsin, but a recent poll indicates that addressing the problem of Asian carp in the Great Lakes is something that the majority of both parties agree on. 60 percent of those surveyed agreed that a barrier should be built to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes, and 75 percent said federal funding to improve the condition of the Great Lakes should be continued in some manner.

Voter ID

Even staunch voter ID advocate state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is now conceding that the new legislatively passed, but judicially shot down rules regarding identification at the polls will not be in effect for the Nov. 6 election.

The Milwaukee Brewers 

Despite an outstanding stretch run by our beloved Brew Crew, there will be no playoff baseball in Milwaukee this year. The team finished third in the NL Central and five games out of the Wild Card race with a record of 83-79. Even so, finishing above .500 is something of an accomplishment, since they were 11 games under .500 as late as Aug. 5. There are reasons to be hopeful for 2013.

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