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Reposted from 1864 House by Sand Hill Crane

Long-time Kossack bleeding heart has entered hospice care.

She has been a tireless fighter for good in Wisconsin, a member of the solidarity singers at the Capital, a thorn in the side of elected officials, and a gentle reassuring presence in the lives of so many. Her spirit has pushed her physical being beyond its limits for so long. Please share some of your spirit with her during this time.

Whatever your personal tradition is... please share energy, light, thoughts, memories, prayers, chants, or messages of support.


With great sadness, I pass along this message:

Janet left us at 8:20 this evening.  She did it gracefully.  Thanks for your attention, caring, and support.

Janet Stonecipher - Services

A casual visitation will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL HOME, 5203 Monona Dr., Madison, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., on Friday, January 2, 2015.

A Memorial Celebration of Janet’s life will be held at LANDMARK AUDITORIUM, at the FIRST UNITARIAN SOCIETY OF MADISON, 900 University Bay Dr., Madison, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, January 31, 2015.

Donations in Janet’s honor may be made to the First Unitarian Society Music Program. Online condolences may be made at

Reposted from BlueSasha by Sand Hill Crane

We're three months out to the November elections, and things haven't looked better for Democrats in the Wisconsin State Legislature since six state senators were recalled in 2011!

All candidates running for public office released their campaign finance reports this week - there were some disappointments, but also many signs that parts of Wisconsin are ready for new Democratic leadership.

Seats are ranked as the 10 most likely to flip as to date.  

Key for maps

Dark Red: 15 points or more Romney
Red: 10-15 points Romney
Light Red: 5-10 points Romney
Purple: 0-5 points Obama or Romney
Light Blue: 5-10 points Obama
Blue: 10-15 points Obama
Dark Blue: 15 or more points Obama


     Location: Rural South Central Wisconsin
     Incumbent: OPEN
     PVI: D+8
     Rating: Likely Democratic


    Analysis: The 51st District hugs the Madison area in the west through Green,
     Lafayette, Iowa, and Sauk Counties. This is quintessential rural farm country - the
     largest municipality is Monroe, WI with a population of ~11K.

     Southwestern Wisconsin politically reminds me of the South, but in reverse. The area
     is rapidly trending blue, with Tammy Baldwin and Barack Obama performing very
     solidly in 2012; however, the area is historically very Republican, and the GOP tends    
     to still perform well on the local level. The 51st is a prime example of this. Obama
     won 59% here, and avowed Madison liberal Tammy Baldwin won here with 55%.

     Republican Howard Marklein reclaimed this seat from the Democrats in the 2010
     Wave and voted lockstep with the Scott Walker agenda despite the political nature of
     his seat. Despite this, he defeated Mineral Point School Board member Mo May-
     Grimm 53%-47%, running thirteen points ahead of Mitt Romney. Marklein is retiring      
     to run for the 17th State Senate Seat being vacated by the notoriously moderate
     Republican Dale Schultz.

     Without a Republican incumbent, I firmly believe that Democrats will retake the 51st
     in November. We have a very strong candidate in Dick Cates, a prominent farmer in
     Spring Green with strong business, family and political roots in Southwestern
     Wisconsin. Cates was actually being recruited to run for the State Senate due to his
     perceived strength, though he obviously declined.

Dick Cates, Democratic candidate for State Assembly, 2014
    Todd Novak is the Mayor of Dodgeville, and happens to be gay and has a politically
     moderate reputation. Given the nature of this district, Novak could keep this red, thus
     why I rate this as only 'likely' Democratic.  However, Cates is the dominant fundraiser,
     entering August with an impressive $58,682 cash on hand. Barring any major
     developments, Cates will be a State Assemblyman.

Click here to donate to Dick Cates via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural Eastern Wisconsin, Door Peninsula
     Incumbent: OPEN
     PVI: R+2
     Rating: Toss-up (tilts Dem)


    Analysis: The 1st District is just east of Titletown along the Door Peninsula, in Door
     and Kewaunee counties. This is honestly some of the most beautiful stretch of land
     in Wisconsin. This is a big site for natural tourism, and the largest population center
     is the City of Sturgeon Bay, population ~9K.

     The first district is incredibly swingy - Mitt Romney narrowly won this
     district, as did Tammy Baldwin; both with less than 50%.

     Republican Garey Bies was first elected in 2002, and has since won re-election
     multiple times by very close margins. In 2008, he defeated Democrat Dick Skare
     51%-49%, and four years later in 2012, he defeated Democratic challenger Patrick
     Veeser by the same margin: 51%-49%. Luckily, Bies is retiring to run for Secretary
     of State (for reasons past understanding), giving us a prime opportunity to win a
     prime swing district.

     This is debatably the swingiest district in the state. Luckily, we seem to have
     avoided a primary. Joe Majeski is a recently retired school system principal with the
     backing of Patrick Veeser. He resides in the town of Sevastopol in Door County,
     and is very politically connected in the area.

Joe Majeski, Democratic candidate for State Assembly, 2014
    There was a delightfully crowded five-way primary for the GOP nomination, and Joel
     Kitchens - large animal veterinarian and Sturgeon Bay School Board President - emerged
     the victor. However, the primary took its toll on his campaign warchest - $14,561 on
     hand, lagging behind his Democratic opponent.

     Majeski was busily campaigning and
     entered August with $32,979 cash on hand without a primary, whilst the GOP fought
     one another. The race will undoubtedly tighten in the fall, but if Mary Burke wins or
     keeps the race ultra-close in November, Majeski probably has the upper hand, given
     the district's history of close elections.

Click here to donate to Joe Majeski via ActBlue!


     Location: Suburban Brown County (Green Bay)
     Incumbent: OPEN
     PVI: R+3
     Rating: Pure toss-up


    Analysis: The 88th District is immediately west of the 1st District, taking up the
     eastern section of Green Bay, WI, most of De Pere, WI and some conservative
     suburbs and countryside. The nature of this district is distinctly suburban.

     This district is also distinctly swingy, though it is a tad more Red on the federal level.
     Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson both won the 88th with about 50%. That said,
     Democrats do have slightly better luck downballot throughout the Fox Valley, so be
     prepared for a hotly contested race.

     Republican John Klenke beat Democratic Assemblyman Jim Soletski in the 2010
     Wave Election by just 267 votes. Democrats did not target this race in 2012 but
     despite that, teacher and Democratic nominee Ward Bacon still managed to hold
     Klenke to a small 52%-48% win. Suprisingly, Klenke is hanging up after just two
     terms, opening up a prime opportunity for the Democrats.

     The race for this seat formed remarkably quickly, and the Democrats have rallied
     around a strong candidate - Dan Robinson. Robinson is an elected official on the
     Brown County Board from De Pere (the more conservative city in the 88th), and is a
     College Administrator at St. Norberts.

Dan Robinson, Democratic candidate for State Assembly, 2014
    Similarly, the GOP very quickly rallied around one candidate - John Macco. Macco
     runs a major financial consultancy business in Brown County, and ran for State
     Senate last year against incumbent Democrat Dave Hansen, and ran at least one
     point behind Mitt Romney. Macco also lost very narrowly to Senator Hansen in the  
     88th district.

     There's a potential perfect storm brewing here if Macco cannot perform better in  
     November. Both Robinson and Macco enter the race with slightly over $20,000 cash
     on hand each, but Macco has been on the ballot here before, so he may have an
     advantage. I won't be surprised to see either candidate win, but if Mary Burke wins,
     I expect Dan Robinson will narrowly win as well.

Click here to donate to Dan Robinson via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural Southwestern Wisconsin
     Incumbent: Lee Nerison (elected 2004)
     PVI: D+5
     Rating: Toss-up (Leans Flesch)


    Analysis: The 96th District takes us back to southwestern Wisconsin, which like the
     51st is quintessential farm country. The largest population center here is Prairie du
     Chien, which has a population of ~6K, just to give you an impression of the sort of
     district we are dealing with here.

     The 96th is also much like the 51st district in its politically anachronistic nature.
     President Obama solidly won the 26th with 56%, and Tammy Baldwin received 54%
     of the vote. On paper, this district should go Blue no problem.

     GOP Representative Lee Nerison was elected to the 96th district back in 2004 and
     has fended off tough races before. War Veteran Tim Johnson ran against Nerison in
     2012, and Nerison managed not just to beat Johnson, but to trounce him
     60%-40%. In numerical terms, Nerison ran sixteen points ahead of Mitt Romney.
     Nerison is an adept politician who seems to understand campaigning in his district,
     and has effectively cultivated a reputation as a moderate. He is only one of three
     Republicans left in the State Assembly that voted against Act 10, the
     controversial budget repair bill that spurred the infamous 2011 Capital Protests.

     This year, however, Nerison faces by far his strongest Democratic challenger to date.
     Pete Flesch is the Crawford County Board Chair and a well-known farmer who has
     lived in southwestern Wisconsin for his entire life. Flesch is waging a very active
     campaign and edged out Representative Nerison in fundraising (Flesch has $26K on
     hand while Nerison has $25K).

Pete Flesch, Democratic candidate for State Assembly, 2014.
    In spite of Nerison's historical record of strength and prevailing moderate reputation, I
     feel comfortable calling this race a toss-up. Flesch is giving Nerison by far his toughest
     race in an area trending more and more blue, keeping up with fundraising and
     campaigning the whole time.

Click here to donate to Pete Flesch via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural South Central Wisconsin, North of Madison
     Incumbent: Keith Ripp (elected 2008)
     PVI: EVEN
     Rating: Toss-up (Tilts GOP)


    Analysis: The 42nd District lies about a half-hour north of Madison, WI, aka The
     Shire. This is also very rural country, stretching from Northern Dane County,
     through most of Columbia County, and stretching into conservative Dodge County.
     The largest Population center here is quite small: Lodi, WI, with a roaring population
     of 3K. Also proud home of Susie the Duck!

     Obama won this district with 51% (see very tight PVI) and Tommy Thompson also
     won it narrowly. Columbia County and the surrounded area, however, has been
     trending blue in a very dramatic way. Columbia County, for example, was one of just
     three counties to go from Red to Blue during the Recall Election (meaning Columbia
     County went for Scott Walker in 2010, but went for Tom Barrett in 2012).

     The incumbent here, however, is a tough cookie. Keith Ripp was narrowly elected in
     2008 over Columbia County Board Member and RN Trish O'Neill. He defeated O'Neill
     in 2010 by a larger 57%-43% in a rematch. Last year, he defeated Democrat Paula
     Cooper in an untargeted race by 57%-47%.

     Ripp is not a particularly compelling or charismatic figure, but he is ridiculously well-
     connected for a state legislator. The Ripp name is HUGE in Columbia County and
     northern Dane County, synonymous with Big Agriculture with multiple parks and
     establishments named "Ripp" in the area. He managed to raise 136K in his 2008
     election, which is considered extremely good for State Senate Races.

     But that was 2008, and the political nature of Ripp's district is rapidly changing
     underneath his feet. Democrats have been quick to support and campaign for
     George Ferriter, Doylestown Village President and military engineer. Amazingly,
     Ferriter has stayed competitive in fundraising (Ferriter enters August with $31K to
     Ripp's $50K). Ferriter probably deserves an award for most active campaigner of all
     these Democrats. I also had the privilege to meet Mr. Ferriter whose intelligence and
     work ethic I found inspiring - this is to say I may be a little biased. Despite this, I
     wouldn't be surprised if either Ferriter or Ripp won - I'd say Ripp has the upper hand
     still due to incumbency and a famous last name, but only ever so slightly.

George Ferriter, Democratic candidate for State Assembly, 2014
Click here to donate to George Ferriter via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural Southwestern Wisconsin
     Incumbent: Edward Brooks (elected 2008)
     PVI: D+3
     Rating: Leans Republican


    Analysis: The 50th District is also in southwestern Wisconsin, and is of a similar
     nature to the districts I already discussed. It's extremely rural, and the largest
     population center is in the city of Richland Center, population ~5K.

     President Obama also won this district by 54% and Tammy Baldwin won it by 52%,
     an observation that continually puts the 50th on Democratic target lists in
     November. That said, the district has been stubbornly GOP on the local level.

     Assemblyman Edward Brooks is an octogenarian Republican first elected in 2008. He
     fought off Town of Fountain Clerk Sarah Ann Shanahan in the 2010 Wave Election
     and narrowly defeated Shanahan in a 2012 rematch 50%-47%. He has something
     of a nice-old-man reputation over in Richland Center, but he recently had some
     negative headlines in which he skipped votes on a property tax cut to attend one of
     his fundraisers.

     Brooks has an exceptionally intriguing Democratic opponent this year. Chris Miller is
     a recently retired Lutheran preacher from Loganville, WI. He's effectively striking
     bipartisan chords in the vein of Dale Schultz, and there appears to be greater Party
     investment in taking back the 50th this cycle.

     Miller also pulled in a very good fundraising cycle, out-raising Rep. Brooks by about  
     $4K. Brooks still has $56K on hand, opposed to Miller's $21K so he still has the edge,  
     but the momentum is clearly on Miller's side.

Chris Miller, Democratic Candidate for State Assembly, 2014
Click here to donate to Chris Miller via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural Northwestern Wisconsin
     Incumbent: Warren Petryk (elected 2010)
     PVI: R+5
     Rating: Leans Republican

    Analysis: The 93rd District stretches from Eau Claire, through Pepin and Pierce
     Counties all the way to the Winnesota border. The district is rural, though it also
     bridges the Eau Claire and Twin Cities suburbs. Both Mitt Romney and Tommy
     Thompson won this district very narrowly. Long story short, it consistently tilts GOP,
     but only just barely.

     Warren Petryk defeated Democratic State Representative Jeff Smith in the 2010
     Wave by a stunningly close 74 votes. He narrowly held off Smith for a 2012 rematch
     51% to 49%.

    Jeff Smith is, yet again running for this district, making this third time in a row
    Petryk and Smith will face off (this may make them the John Sununu and Jeanne
    Shaheen of Wisconsin, for those who pay way too much attention to elections).
    Though the district has a GOP tilt, Smith outran Senator Baldwin and President
    Obama by about two points, showing that he has crossover appeal.

   Expect a close race no matter what: Smith has a good chance, but Petryk is favored
    to hold on: his seat is redder in redistricting, and he has a cash advantage. Petryk
    has an eye-popping $104K on hand, whilst Smith hangs behind with $17K. This
    situation can change, but Smith will need to fundraise fast.

    Click here to donate to Jeff Smith via ActBlue!



     Location: Central Wisconsin (Wisconsin Rapids)
     Incumbent: Scott Krug (elected 2010)
     PVI: R+3
     Rating: Leans Republican


    Analysis: The 72nd District is located smack-dab in the middle of Wisconsin to the
     immediate west of Stevens Point, WI. The district is rural, although Wisconsin Rapids is a
     legitimate population center of ~18K.

     This is one of only two districts (the other one is the 1st district) where Tammy Baldwin
     won, while Mitt Romney defeated Obama here. Suffice to say, this district is very swingy.

     Republican Scott Krug very narrowly defeated long-term incumbent Democrat Marlin
     Schneider (Snarlin' Marlin, as he's known up in Rapids) in the 2010 Wave elections. Two
     years later in 2012, Krug won re-election by just 109 votes against Wisconsin Rapids
     firefighter Justin Pluess in a race that nearly went to recount. To make matters worse for
     Rep. Krug going into 2014, he made headlines for reneging on a campaign promise
     in 2010 that he would not take any taxpayer per diem money. He later turned out to
     be one of the top-spenders of per diems and justified it with the worst possible
     response: "That was a different campaign." Democrats have obviously taken pains to
     use this to hammer Krug.

     Attorney Dana Duncan will be our candidate here barring an upset. He is the
     President of the Port Edwards School Board, a moderately conservative community
     adjacent to Wisconsin Rapids.

Dana Duncan, Democratic candidate for State Assembly, 2014.
    Krug is not a popular representative, and this will likely be a third close race for the
     Assemblyman. However, his gaffe was months ago and voters can sadly have short
     memories. Also, despite being a top recruit Duncan reported rather disappointing
     fundraising totals, raising only about $7K and having less than $3K on hand. Most
     State Assembly have improved for Democrats in the past few months. This is one

Click here to donate to Dana Duncan via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural Northeastern Wisconsin and Suburban Eau Claire (Altoona)
     Incumbent: Kathy Bernier (elected 2010)
     PVI: EVEN
     Rating: Leans Republican


    Analysis: The 68th District to the immediate east of Eau Claire, a small college town in
     the northwestern section of the state. This area is suburban-to-rural, with Altoona
     being the largest population center, ~7K.

     This district - and the Eau Claire area in general - is very swingy both in federal and
     local elections. Obama won the district with 51% and Tammy Baldwin also won the
     68th with 50%. This district is very capable of electing Democrats on all levels of

     Representative Kathy Bernier was narrowly elected in the 2010 Wave Election,
     defeating incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Kristen Dexter by a 50%-50%
     margin. In 2012, Bernier faced a tough election against a candidate who wasn't
     considered to be highly targeted - Democratic Thorp School Board Member Judy Smriga.
     Bernier held Smriga back to a 52%-48% margin of victory.

Jeff Peck, Democratic Candidate for State Assembly
    Our candidate here is much younger than others on the list -  local farmer and Iraq
     War Vet Jeff Peck. Peck had - and still has to some extent - a low profile, which is
     why I rated this as a Likely GOP seat for 2014 a few months ago. However, Peck
     brought in a surprisingly large amount of money - - bringing this seat into higher
     competition. However, Bernier has fought tough races before, and has her own
     formidable campaign warchest (). However, Peck has exactly the right profile for
     a rural, midwestern democrat in this day and age.

Click here to donate to Jeff Peck via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural East Central Wisconsin (Watertown)
     Incumbent: John Jagler (elected 2012)
     PVI: R+6
     Rating: Likely Republican


    Analysis: The 37th District is located in East Central Wisconsin, nestled in Dodge,
     Jefferson, Dane and Columbia Counties. The major communities in the 37th are the
     Democratic cities of DeForest and Columbus, and the largest city - the Republican
     Watertown, population ~25K.

     This is a very small-c conservative part of the state, and it does usually vote for the
     GOP. Mitt Romney won the 37th with 53%, as did Tommy Thompson. That said,
     Jefferson County has had a much more active Democratic base since the Recall, as
     has northern Dane County and Columbus.

     John Jagler was a Radio Host before he was elected in the 2012 elections after the
     departure of Jeff Fitzgerald (the younger). He is mostly a blank slate for now, and is
     still green enough as a Representative where he is still vulnerable. He defeated
     Columbus School Board Vice President Mary Arnold 54%-46% in 2012.

Mary Arnold, Democratic Candidate for State Assembly
    Mary Arnold is setting up for a rematch, and is very committed to taking this
     reddish seat for Team Blue. Mary Arnold is a graduate and active member of Emerge
     Wisconsin, and therefore has political chops and connections. It also bears mentioning
     that she outperformed  Senator Baldwin by about 1.5-2 points and beat out President
     Obama in parts of the district, which would suggest that Arnold already has crossover

     However, neither Jagler nor Arnold had very strong fundraising periods - Arnold
     enters August with a little over $7K on hand, and Jagler with $24K on hand. Given
     the Republican margins on this district, we will need to do everything perfectly in
     this race. Unfortunately, I predict a Jagler victory if this election were held today.

     As a sidenote, I ought to point out of all the candidates on this list, Mary Arnold is
     by far the most prepared to be a state legislator - she also ran a remarkable
     campaign in 2012. Arnold will make whatever contribution you give her stretch.

Click here to donate to Mary Arnold via ActBlue!


     Location: Rural Southwestern Wisconsin
     Incumbent: Travis Tranel (elected 2010)
     PVI: D+5
     Rating: Safe Republican/Race to Watch


    The 49th District is located in the Southwestern corner of the State. It is similar to
     the other Southwestern district I already discussed in agriculture and politics. The
     largest population center here is the City of Platteville, population 11K, with an
     inflated population due to a local UW four-year campus. Obama was elected
     here with a 56% margin, and Tammy Baldwin with a 51% margin.

     Travis Tranel was first elected in the Republican Wave of 2010, after handily
     defeating Democratic Assemblyman Phil Garthwaite. Tranel handily garnered an
     independent reputation for himself, voting with Rep. Nerison and the Democrats
     against the infamous Act 10 bill. This earned him a conservative primary challenge
     in 2012, but it probably ultimately help him stave off Union President Carol Beals,
     54%-46%. Given Obama's 56% margin here, this district will see competitive
     elections for a long time with Tranel in office, but he unfortunately has staying

     Democrats are running great races in the other three State Assembly seats in the
     southwest - as it turns out, sadly the fourth time is not the charm. Our candidate here
     is Chad Henneman. He unfortunately appears to have negligible visibility and
     fundraising, and I had to do a fair amount of digging to discover his campaign
     materials or more about him. Tranel will have tough races in his future. Unfortunately,
     I suspect he will skate by this November.

     Click here to donate to Chad Henneman via actblue!


What would you like to hear about next?

50%40 votes
39%31 votes
10%8 votes
0%0 votes

| 79 votes | Vote | Results


Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:33 PM PDT

The importance of small businesses

by Mary Burke

Reposted from Mary Burke by Sand Hill Crane

When I was growing up, I wanted to be in business, just like my dad. He was an entrepreneur even before he started Trek Bicycle in a barn in Waterloo, WI when I was seventeen years old. He passed away six years ago, but one of the things I’ll always remember about him was that he was always interested in and open to new ideas. My admiration for him was one of my biggest motivators when I decided to start my own business in my twenties, after I graduated from college and earned my MBA.

Continue Reading
Reposted from WI Budget Project by Sand Hill Crane

Governor Walker has given state agencies guidance on how to develop their proposals for Wisconsin’s next budget, giving some glimpses into what the state’s 2015-17 budget might bring.

Wisconsin has a two-year budget. The budget process starts in the summer of even numbered years – like now — when the Governor instructs agencies in how to develop budget requests. Agencies submit their requests to the executive branch by September 15, and the Governor takes the requests into consideration when developing his own budget proposal to submit to the Legislature. The Governor is expected to release his budget proposal in the early part of 2015. For more about the Wisconsin state budget cycle, check the Wisconsin Budget Project’s Budget Toolkit.

For the upcoming budget, Governor Walker recently instructed agencies to assume there will be zero growth in General Purpose Revenue (GPR) appropriations in each fiscal year. In other words, he wants agencies to submit budget requests that are not any higher their budgets were two years ago, even though inflation and other factors have pushed costs up.

The Governor does carve out some exceptions to his zero-growth policy, including ones for:


  • State support for K-12 schools. An increase for schools could help ease some of the very deep cuts that Wisconsin has made in education funding. The state budget provided 15% less resources per student in 2014 than in 2008. Only six states made deeper cuts to education over this period.
  • Entitlement and related assistance programs in the Department of Health Services, including Medicaid. Medicaid, like other entitlements, has routinely been exempted from spending freezes because there is typically growth in caseloads and increases in the cost per participant. Another factor in boosting Medicaid spending in the next budget is the much higher than expected enrollment of childless adults in recent months, which will create a large shortfall in the BadgerCare budget (unless state policymakers reconsider their decision to reject federal funding that would pay the full cost of newly eligible adults). Of course, just because there isn’t a hard spending freeze doesn’t mean that DHS and the Governor won’t propose policy changes to reduce costs.
  • State-level efforts to make sure children are safe in their own homes, or placed in safe foster or adoptive homes. This effort includes the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, which is run by the state, and has been in the news recently for caseload backlogs and high turnover of employees.
  • Employment services for people with disabilities. In the last budget, Wisconsin did not provide the state funding for these services at the level necessary to receive the full federal matching amount. Later in 2013, the legislature backtracked and provided additional state funding, thereby maximizing the federal match for these services. The inclusion of these services on the list of programs exempted from the zero-growth policy may mean that  this time around, the Governor favors providing the full amount of state match for the federal dollars in the budget; and
  • Basic cost-to-continue needs for the state’s institutions at the Department of Corrections and the Department of Health Services.

The Governor’s budget instructions also note that “the state has a goal of increasing the ongoing receipt of federal funds where the use of federal funding is consistent with state program goals.” This is an interesting choice of words, given that the Walker administration has made several high-profile decisions to turn down federal money, including funding for improving BadgerCare and for building a high-speed rail line.

Tamarine Cornelius


Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 07:11 AM PDT

Welcome Back Home, Wisconsin Chautauqua

by jorogo

Reposted from jorogo by Sand Hill Crane

This is was gonna be short (o.k., I got carried away), and maybe not so sweet to some, but…...perhaps the cheese curd can ease any discomfort.

Continue Reading
Reposted from Puddytat by Sand Hill Crane

Sadly, the forced birthers are winning.

They're not just shutting down facilities where abortions are performed, but there are very few doctors willing to enter the specialty area.  The problem is nationwide due to an increasing number of gynecologists unwilling to endure the harassment, threats, and violence that has been growing worse.

The Guttmacher Institute, a group that researches and advocates for abortion rights, reports that 84% of clinics experienced at least one form of harassment in 2011. Fifty-three percent of clinics were picketed 20 times or more over the course of a year.
(bolding is mine)
Abortion physician Dennis Christensen wants to retire. But he can't, the 71-year-old says, because no one wants to take over his Milwaukee clinic, a condition he set for himself for retirement.

Christensen and his professional partner, Bernard Smith, both of whom have performed abortions for more than four decades, hope they can hand over the reins of the Affiliated Medical Center to younger physicians, but so far no one has come forward.

The worst part, however, is that Affiliated Medical Center is the only facility in Wisconsin that provides abortions to women beyond the 19th week of pregnancy.  It's not only the period of time when serious fetal abnormalities are diagnosed, but also the point in time when a pregnancy begins having health effects on the woman.  Being unable to terminate a pregnancy at this time has life-threatening consequences for women.
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Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by Sand Hill Crane
Wisconisn Governor Scott Walker gestures as he addresses the second session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012 REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
My fourth cousin twice removed needs a new job, and I promised my mom I would help him out...
This past week we have seen the highest court in the land rule against home healthcare workers and against women. A week where the rights of the common people were overridden by the rights of corporations. Not exactly a winning week for progressive causes.

This is not the first time in our nation's history when business interests overruled the interests of those of us who are not incorporated. At the turn of the 20th century, this very same fight was going on. The names have changed, but the fight has not, as you can see below the fold.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Sand Hill Crane
Rep. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost us between $4 and $6 trillion dollars, but that is not the true cost of war. The true cost of war is counted by the dead and wounded, 6,640 U.S. service members who were killed and 50,540 who were wounded through Feb. 5, 2013. Of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deployed, 103,792 were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 253,330 service members were diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of some kind. A total of 1,715 service members received wounds that required amputations and 1,493 lost an arm or leg.

The cost of war includes those whose lives will never be the same whether they have visible wounds or not. Horrific scenes will haunt the dreams of the young men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of their lives. Suicides, alcoholism and drug abuse will take even more of those who served. The costs of war are counted in broken marriages, domestic abuse, and homelessness. The costs of war will be counted for more than just the generation that served.

On December 8, 2004, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, was asked this question by Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard:

We’ve had troops in Iraq for coming up on three years and we’ve always staged here out of Kuwait. Now why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromise ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles and why don’t we have those resources readily available to us? .... Our soldiers have been fighting in Iraq for coming up on three years.  A lot of us are getting ready to move north relatively soon.  Our vehicles are not armored.  We’re digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that’s already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat.  We do not have proper armament vehicles to carry with us north.
To which Rumsfeld responded, as you can read below the fold:
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Reposted from jorogo by Sand Hill Crane

According to the latest from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the largest volume flow of tar sands from Canada and North Dakota via pipeline (1.2 million barrels per day), has been approved for operation across Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources....on an "air permit". Actually, though the MJS repeatedly referred to the pipeline contents as "oil" in it's online article, diluted bitumen (dilbit), a mixture of tar sands and a proprietary mixture of chemicals to enable tar and sand to flow through both pipelines and pumps is what even Enbridge admits will flow in, and hopefully not spill out of Line 61.

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Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 05:56 PM PDT

Thank you

by Mary Burke

Reposted from Mary Burke by Sand Hill Crane

Dear Daily Kos,

I'm honored to have the endorsement and support of the Daily Kos community. Thank you so much. Your support fuels our campaign and gives us the ability to reach voters across Wisconsin. With your support, we are one step closer to achieving our goals.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Sand Hill Crane
Mary Burke for Governor portrait
Mary Burke
Goal Thermometer
Yesterday we endorsed Michael Michaud, who will become the nation's first LGBT governor. Today, we're endorsing another trailblazer—Mary Burke—who will soon be Wisconsin's first woman governor.

We're well acquainted with Wisconsin's, er, troubled leadership. Heck, we enthusiastically backed the failed effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Problem is, even anti-Walker voters were unhappy with the recall mechanism. He won on process, not substance. Lesson learned.

Of course, things didn't turn out so great for Wisconsin. Thanks to Walker, the jobs picture has been abysmal, and not getting any better. Indeed, Walker's much-heralded promise to create 250,000 jobs during his administration isn't going to happen. Who knew that destroying unions and cutting taxes wasn't the path to prosperity?

Walker fancies himself presidential material, so he's playing to the worst tea party impulses—opposing marriage equality, requiring ultrasounds for those getting abortions, eliminating state funding for Planned Parenthood, opposing minimum wage, and standing in the way of Obamacare expansion in his state. Needless to say, that's all history in a Burke administration.

There's plenty to care about even if you don't live in Wisconsin. There's the whole thing about Walker wanting to run for president. It would be fun to prematurely squash those dreams. But more tangible, President Barack Obama won the state by six points, yet Republicans hold five of its eight congressional districts. Yup, that dreaded redistricting again. If Burke wins, she's the incumbent in 2018, with all the advantages that entails. We hold the governorship in 2020, and we're well on our way to improving the map—worst case, the two parties negotiate a compromise map (better than current gerrymander) or a judge draws fairer lines (better than the current gerrymander). We win this seat, and it would be the equivalent of a 1-2 seat gain in the House. It's a 2 for 1 deal!

So let's get rid of Scott Walker, this time for good. Give $3 to Mary Burke!

Oh, and it's a winnable race.

Reposted from Giles Goat Boy by Sand Hill Crane
UPDATED Saturday March 1, 2014 16:30 CST - WisPolitics is reporting that Rep. Kramer has checked himself into a treatment facility and has no other comment at this time.

UPDATE II Saturday March 1, 2014 19:20 CST -



For More Information Please Contact: Speaker Robin Vos 608-266-3387

Statement from Assembly Republican Leadership

Madison…The Assembly Republican Leadership released the following statement in response to the news that Majority Leader Rep. Bill Kramer has checked into rehab with no further comment on whether he will resign from his leadership post.

"The allegations made against Rep. Kramer are very serious and we are glad he recognizes the need to seek treatment. We hope in so doing, he will come to terms with his problems so that no woman will ever again be subject to this alleged inappropriate behavior.

"We believe the serious nature of the alleged incidents require us to ask the Assembly Republican Caucus to remove Rep. Kramer from his position as the Assembly Majority Leader. It is clear he has lost our trust and confidence. On Tuesday, Assembly Republicans will take a vote to remove him from his leadership position and we will then determine how best to fill the position of Majority Leader."


Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Wisconsin Assembly Rep. Bill Kramer may soon resign from his post as Majority Leader after being accused of sexual harassment.

According to Bice:

Sources said the allegations against the 49-year-old Republican lawmaker involve a 33-year-old female lobbyist and at least one other woman. The Journal Sentinel has decided not to name the women.


Kramer is accused of groping at least one of the women and making lewd and inappropriate remarks to at least two women.

According to the story, the incidents are alleged to have taken place while Kramer and other Wisconsin Republicans were attending a GOP fundraiser in Washington D.C. and on the plane when they were returning to Wisconsin on Thursday.

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