Watchdog Wednesdays: Open Government Resources
Transparency in government is vital to a healthy democracy. Wisconsin has a long tradition of openness with regard to public meetings and records, including what may be the nation’s first state records law, enacted in 1849.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has put together a great resource guide for understanding the state’s open meetings and public records laws.
Watchdog Report - ATF Uses Rogue Tactics in Storefront Stings Nationwide
Aaron Key wasn’t sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.
But the guys running Squid’s Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.
They would even pay him and a friend $150 apiece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.
Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.
He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid’s. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, “Squid,” and the store clerks.
So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.
It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid’s were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.
The tattoos had been sponsored by the U.S. government; advertisements for a fake storefront.
The teens found out as they were arrested and booked into jail.
Read more from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s outstanding report here.
Game Changer | This American Life
One of my very favorite episodes of This American Life:
A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation, to discover that his state is sitting atop a massive reserve of natural gas—enough to revolutionize how America gets its energy. But another professor in Pennsylvania does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: that getting natural gas out of the ground poses a risk to public health. Two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences
We wanted to post a video of this hilarious CNN story featuring current high-ranking Senators living in squalor, but then we found this even better clip of Bill Murray cursing while brushing his teeth and shaving during his “Alpha House” cameo, so we said screw it and ran with it.
Another aide to Scott Walker sends racist tweets
For the second time in less than four months, Gov. Scott Walker has fired an aide for making demeaning comments about Hispanics on social media.
Read more here.
Also note that these tweets were made before Taylor Palmisano was hired for Walker’s campaign, meaning Walker and his campaign staff either knew about these tweets at the time of hiring or were too lazy to even bother checking.
Watchdog Toolkit | WisconsinWatch.org
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has launched this project to help residents track the actions of people in power.
Follow the link above for concise tips on how to gather information on:
- Campaign finance
- State legislation
- Corporations and nonprofits
The Googlization of the Far Right: Why Is Google Funding Grover Norquist, Heritage Action and ALEC? | TruthOut
Google, the tech giant supposedly guided by its “don’t be evil” motto, has been funding a growing list of groups advancing the agenda of the Koch brothers.
Organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference), and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action.
Suspended Milwaukee Police Detective Rodolfo Gomez, Jr. Files Duty Disability Claim
Detective Rodolfo Gomez Jr. is currently suspended from the Milwaukee Police Department for beating a handcuffed suspect. He also has a lengthy history of disturbing behavior. And he, like 4 other officers currently suspended for disciplinary problems, has filed a duty disability claim that would allow him to continue receiving 75% of his salary, tax-free, despite being suspended.
Asshole of the Day, November 25, 2013: Scott Walker
Gov. Scott Walker is exploring a run for president in 2016, so he’s out there saying things and trying to sound presidential.
On Friday Gov. Walker was talking about ENDA, the bill to ban workplace discrimination for sexual orientation. And while he was at it, he discussed Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage:
Walker insisted that he had not looked at the Senate measure barring workplace discrimination, but said that Wisconsin had similar laws in place for years.
“They’ve worked quite effectively,” he explained. “We’re also a state that has a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as one man, one woman.”
“We’ve had no problem… limited problems with that,” Walker added. “At the same time, we have a constitutional amendment that defines marriage.”
“There’s a healthy balance there.”
A healthy balance? What exactly do you think is being balanced here, asshole?
Are you balancing the demand by citizens to get the same rights that everyone else gets against the desire of bigots to discriminate against gays and deny them rights?
And then you’re calling that a healthy balance?
I would also like to remind everyone that Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch once said that if gay people can get married, soon clocks, tables and dogs would be able to get married, too.