Dan Shafer
Winners & Losers

TCD’s week in review

The Packers win big, President Obama has a strong debate, Kevin Kavanaugh is convicted of stealing from veterans, and 85 anti-voting billboards pop up.

By - Oct 19th, 2012 04:00 am
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WINNERS

Punjab Singh

Punjab Singh, the last patient still hospitalized after the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Aug. 5, was released from Froedtert Hospital on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Singh was moved to a long-term care facility, where he will require 24-hour care. Singh’s family released a statement saying, “We are grateful to the doctors and nurses at Froedtert Hospital for their compassionate care, and to the people around the world who have kept him in their thoughts and prayers.”

The Green Bay Packers 

Led by a six-touchdown, zero-interception, 338-yard game by Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers went to Houston and dealt the Texans their first loss of the season on Sunday night. Rodgers was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his critic-shushing performance, and the Packers record now stands at 3-3 (but really, 4-2).

Milwaukee Ballet 

The Milwaukee Ballet’s 2011-2012 season was one of its most successful to date, with box office receipts topping $1.7 million and contributed income topping $2.5 million. The Ballet begins its 2012-2013 season tomorrow with the world premiere of La Bohème, and you can see Tom Strini’s preview of the show here.

President Obama

Though it wasn’t exactly the political equivalent of six touchdown passes on the road against an undefeated team, President Barack Obama delivered a strong performance in the second presidential debate. Though much of the town hall debate included much of the usual question evasion and campaign-manufactured talking points from both candidates that are to be expected nowadays, there were a few of Romney’s arguments that Obama completely dismantled, and the momentum gained by former Massachusetts governor in the first debate may have been slowed by his less-than-stellar performance in the second debate.

The third debate, focusing on foreign policy will be held on Monday, Oct. 22, in Boca Raton, Fla., and will be moderated by Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation on CBS News.

LOSERS

Kevin Kavanaugh: Thief

Kevin Kavanaugh was found guilty on Friday, Oct. 12, of stealing more than $51,000 from the veterans support group Military Order of the Purple Heart while he was the organization’s treasurer, and now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The money he embezzled was donated to help veterans and their families, a significant amount of which came from an event called Operation Freedom, an annual picnic and veterans event at the Milwaukee County Zoo that was hosted by Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive.

Charges that led to this conviction came from the ongoing John Doe investigation into work being done in Milwaukee County while Walker was in charge. Kavanaugh is now the second to be convicted in this investigation, the first being Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s deputy chief of staff at the County, who pleaded guilty last week to felony misconduct in office.

Anti-Voting Billboards

More than 85 billboards around the Milwaukee area blast the message that “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY: Up to 3 1/2 YRS & $10,000 Fine.” Many of the billboards are in the city’s black and Latino neighborhoods. On Monday, community groups, including the African-American Civic Engagement Roundtable, the Latino Roundtable and Citizen Action of Wisconsin, protested the signs and asked for Clear Channel (the billboard’s owners), take them down.

The billboards were “paid for by a private family foundation,” according to WUWM, and though it is the policy of Clear Channel for advertisers to identify themselves, none of the billboards provide any information on the source of the ads.

Clear Channel VP of Communications, Jim Cullinan, told Fox 6, “This was not done on this ad which was a mistake, but we can’t change the contract now and the ads will remain up. This is a free speech issue since the ads are factual and are not attack ads.” The same ad-purchaser (who is unfortunately yet to be identified) also bought billboard space in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio.

At the protest, Jennifer Epps-Addison, Economic Justice Program Director at Citizen Action, (rightfully) said this:

“Is there any number on the billboard? Is there any information on that billboard that would help a voter cast their ballot in a responsible way? There is not because that billboard is not aimed at helping people have access to the polls — it’s aimed at suppressing black and Latino votes.”

Whomever is behind these disgraceful messages should come forward and apologize (at least) 85 times.

Gubernatorial Priorities

Two-thirds of Wisconsin school districts saw a decrease in state aid from the 2011-12 school year to the 2012-13 year. This is the second year of Gov. Walker’s controversial budget that brought record cuts to education. This wasn’t the only budget-related news this week, as the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s annual report shows a $108.7 million deposit to the state’s rainy day fund, the largest such deposit in state history.

Logic would dictate that this means Wisconsin’s economy is well on its way to Gov. Walker’s 250,000-job pledge made when ran for governor, and that the state’s economy is experiencing a boom.

Such does not appear to be the case. Recent figures published on Daily Kos show a significant disparity between national job growth and job growth in Wisconsin. The data also shows Wisconsin trailing all other midwestern states in job growth by a significant margin. The article also notes that scottwalker.org no longer includes the 250,000 jobs pledge that was the cornerstone of his campaign.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. 

Problems continue to mount at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The public-private jobs agency, formed in 2011 to replace the Department of Commerce and chaired by Gov. Scott Walker, is frequently mentioned in the “It’s Working” section of the governor’s website, and recently underwent an online overhaul (the virtually un-google-able “In Wisconsin“) that was championed by the governor in the Sept. 28 E-update from the Desk of Governor Scott Walker.

This week, Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the “agency failed to track whether businesses are repaying loans from state taxpayers – leaving the public in the dark about how much they are owed on a total of $8 million in past-due loans to 99 businesses.”

Toss-up

Battleground: Wisconsin

The two major elections on the ballot in Wisconsin this fall are both at a virtual dead heat. President Obama’s lead over Gov. Romney dropped from an 11-point lead to a one-point lead, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s four-point lead turned into a one-point lead for former Governor Tommy Thompson in the race for U.S. Senate.

This puts Wisconsin into the hotly-contested “toss-up” category, which is brought a campaign visit from Paul Ryan on Monday, and former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are also campaigning in Wisconsin this week. Wisconsin also ranks number two in the nation for outside election spending, at $21.6 million, behind only Virginia at $23.7 million.

It’ll be another 18 days of a situation to which Wisconsin has become accustomed—relentless campaigning, unavoidable attack ads and divisive political arguments. This does end at some point, doesn’t it?

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