Nurses Take the Message "Heal America Tax Wall Street" to 60 Congressional Offices

Heal AmericaAcross the country on September 1, nurses will converge on local congressional offices to demand a tax on Wall Street financial speculation, a move they say is a step towards healing the nation, trimming the deficit, and preserving social programs.

National Nurses United (NNU) is planning a day of action in over 60 congressional offices in 21 states. In Wisconsin, the group is sponsoring a soup kitchen outside of Rep. Paul Ryan's Janesville office "to provide residents with the sustenance they are not getting from Paul Ryan," says NNU spokesman Charles Idelson.

Wisconsin Workers Feel the Bite of Walker Bill

After trying to have children, but finding themselves unable, Madison, Wisconsin resident Chris Bering and his wife were hoping to adopt. But then Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed a radical overhaul of public employee collective bargaining rights. Although the battle over the Walker proposal took place in the depths of winter, August 25th marked the first day that the payroll changes took effect for Wisconsin workers. The cutbacks will force public workers to change their daily spending habits and for many -- their vision of their future. As a public employee, Bering has estimated the family will see about a $400 decrease per month. The cuts mean that he and his wife are now unsure whether they can financially support a child and their dream of adoption may be put on hold.

ALEC, For-Profit Criminal Justice, and Wisconsin

profitprisonsAs the first half of 2011 has revealed, Wisconsin is not a moderate "purple" state, but a state divided between staunchly "blue" progressives and righteous "red" right-wingers. That rift is particularly apparent in legislative conflicts over the criminal justice system, a debate spurred by corporate interests represented in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and perpetuated by ALEC legislative members, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Wisconsin's history and public policy reflects the red/blue divide. It is the state that gave birth to the Republican Party, which supported slavery abolition, and the John Birch Society, which opposed the civil rights movement. In the first half of the 20th Century, the state elected both progressive hero Robert "Fighting Bob" LaFollette and right-wing extremist Joe McCarthy. It is the state that elected both former Senator Russ Feingold (D) and Representative Paul Ryan (R).

Wisconsin also produced Paul Weyrich, who in 1973 co-founded both the Heritage Foundation and ALEC (and in subsequent years, Free Congress and Moral Majority). Weyrich's ALEC, it seems, has been a factory for many of the state's most recent right-wing policy initiatives.

ALEC and "Tort Reform"

On October 23, 2009, Harrison "Harry" Kothari celebrated his second birthday by blowing out candles on a cake decorated with a giant airplane. At age two, Harry could ride a tricycle, stack blocks, and say words like "mama," "airplane," and "thank you." A month earlier, surgeons at a Houston hospital had removed a benign cyst from Harrison's head without problems. In follow-up visits, nurses drained cerebrospinal fluid to test for infection, and following normal protocol, wiped the area around the drain with what they assumed were sterile alcohol wipes. On December 1, Harry was dead, his tiny brain swollen by a Bacillus cereus infection apparently caused by contaminated alcohol wipes.

Strangling Dissent: David Prosser Accused of Attacking Fellow Justice

David ProsserThe Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and Wisconsin Public Radio broke the latest blockbuster from Wisconsin. The story alleges that recently-elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser grabbed fellow Justice, Ann Walsh Bradley, in a chokehold earlier this month. The incident took place on June 13, the day before as the Justices issued their split ruling on Wisconsin's controversial collective bargaining bill. Bradley released a statement late Saturday to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel confirming the incident. Prosser's defense? An unnamed source said that Bradley had charged Prosser with fists raised and somehow her neck fell into his hands. Bradley responded by saying, "You can try to spin those facts and try to make it sound like I ran up to him and threw my neck into his hands, but that's only spin." According to news reports, Bradley was asking Prosser to leave her office after he made disparaging remarks about the Chief Justice. In March, the Journal Sentinel reported that Prosser had called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a "total bitch," threatening to "destroy her." The story dropped like a bombshell into a hotly contested Supreme Court race that was widely considered a referendum on the governor's anti-union policies. Prosser was declared the victor after a recount and investigation into the discovery of 7,300 misplaced votes in Waukesha County. The latest incident involving Prosser's abusive behavior has been brought to the attention of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission and the Capitol Police. While calls for Prosser resignation rolled in, FOX News anchor and Wisconsinite Greta Van Susteren had a unique take on Prosser's behavior. She called upon the Chief Justice Abrahamson to step aside for not keeping control in her court.


Labor Radio/WORT-FM's "Heart of the Rotunda" Special 89.9 FM (Don't Mourn, Pledge!)

Event Details
Event Date: 
Friday, June 17, 2011 - 5:30pm

For more than 114 days since the February 14 start of the Rotunda Uprising, a single helium heart has roamed the high elevations of the Capitol dome.  The mysterious constant occupier of the Capitol  (no one knows exactly who launched it or when) beguiles children, inspires the noontime singalongers, makes grown Capitol cops quiver, and somehow evaded the $7 million Capitol clean up required by uncouth union thug hippies. Jonathan Rosenblum captures rare audio of the heart and its minions.


Wisconsin State Senate Passes Budget in Party-Line Vote

The Wisconsin State Senate passed the Assembly's version of the budget late Thursday night after nine hours of spirited debate, sending the $66 billion spending plan to Governor Walker for his signature.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved the measure 19-14 along strictly partisan lines. Lawmakers debated late into the evening amid audible reactions from gallery spectators and a boisterous rally on the front steps of the Capitol. Several audience members in the Senate chamber were removed during the course of the debate for disrupting the legislative session.


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