Maddow Blog: Wisconsin's New Concealed Carry Bill & The Man Who Planned to Murder Madison Doctors
With the arrest of a man accused of plotting to shoot up Planned Parenthood in Madison, Wisconsin, the news seemed to condense to a frightening cosmic singularity.
On the day Ralph Lang got arrested, a Wisconsin state Senate committee approved a bill that allows people to carry concealed weapons without permits or training. HuffPo reports that Planned Parenthood opposed the bill, and also that we’re just days away from the two-year anniversary of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita. And the states and federal government have continued chipping away at Roe v. Wade this week.
Mr. Lang’s hometown paper notes that he’d published 21 letters to the editor about abortion since 2004 — he was a frequent flier, as they say. In the one I found this morning, he sounds less than cogent
“…we’re in a strange state now where people who actually take textbook economics and simple arithmetic seriously are seen as dangerously radical and irresponsible, while people who believe in invisible bond vigilantes and confidence fairies, who claim to know what the market will want even though there’s no sign of that desire in current asset prices, are viewed as Very Serious.”—Paul Krugman (via azspot)
“What should you be reading? Everything. Don’t feel guilty if you spend the first 90 minutes of your day drinking coffee and reading blogs. Your ratio of reading to writing should be high.”—Nate Silver’s words of wisdom to the Columbia Journalism School’s graduating class of 2011.
Do you think Russ Feingold will run for and, if he does, win Sen. Kohl's seat next year? Also is he your preferred Dem candidate or would you like to see someone else, e.g. Tammy Baldwin, run?
Great question! I would love nothing more than to have Feingold represent Wisconsin again. In my mind, replacing Feingold with Ron Johnson epitomized everything tragic about the November 2010 elections. I just have to believe that Wisconsin learned from that mistake, knows better now, and would elect Feingold if he ran. But I’m not holding my breath that he’ll be a contender. Although I could see him entering the political arena again, I’d be surprised if it was for senate in 2012.
If not Feingold, I think Baldwin would be a good choice (especially among the people hinting at running). It might be a long shot, but I would really like to see Erpenbach make a run for it.
“The medical and mental health care provided by California’s prisons falls below the standard of decency that inheres in the Eighth Amendment. This extensive and ongoing constitutional violation requires a remedy, and a remedy will not be achieved without a reduction in overcrowding … The State shall implement the order without further delay.”—Brown v. Plata. The Supreme Court ruled today that the conditions of California’s prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. California has been ordered to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 prisoners in order to alleviate the overcrowding.
“This ghastly voter suppression legislation saves no money, creates no jobs, expands no rights, fixes no problems and makes no sense. In the past, Wisconsin led the way in ensuring the fullest participation in democracy. Now, in a move that will reek through history as the baldest of political grabs, Wisconsin shamefully leads the way in abridging democratic freedoms.”—Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, on the voter ID bill passed by Wisconsin Republican Senators in a 19-5 vote today.
Yesterday, Republican Ron Johnson voted against a bill that would repeal $2 billion per year in tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies, which isn’t surprising considering his funding sources. Does Mr. Johnson still own stock in BP? That was a campaign issue that I don’t recall ever being resolved one way or another.
Unlike Paul Ryan, Tommy Thompson has said he’ll run for Kohl’s senate seat. This is not exactly newsworthy, though, since he pullsthisstunta lot. He’s like the Brett Favre of politics (minus the creepy texts) in that he loves to play the “will he or won’t he?” game with the media.
Scott Walker Asserts That Wisconsin's Domestic Partnership Law is Unconstitutional
Scott Walker is seeking to stop hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples.
Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.
Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some - but not all - of the rights afforded married couples.
To hear Republicans tell it, the protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposals have been organized by “union thugs.” Professional troublemakers from big labor are pulling the strings to advance their self-serving agenda. In reality, many of the activists are ordinary citizens suddenly politicized by Walker’s approach. With no experience serving as leaders of a mass uprising, they’ve found creative ways to make themselves useful since the protests began in February.
Or: Reason #115 why somebody needs to be fact-checking Maureen Dowd’s columns.
Bob Dylan responded to allegations by Dowd and others that he censored his lyrics to comply with demands from the Chinese government. The last paragraph is especially hilarious. From Dylan’s website:
As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There’s no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play.
Everybody knows by now that there’s a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I’m encouraging anybody who’s ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them.
Among the police reports from the capitol protests is this gem describing a drunken Republican staffer.
On Feb. 19 a state trooper responded to a report of an “intoxicated subject” and found a staffer for Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, sitting on a bench. When approached, a deeply besotted Jonathan Pollitt informed the cops that he’d locked his “f—-ing keys” in Ballweg’s office and wanted help retrieving them, the report says.
Turns out, Pollitt had the keys, but he was trying to get into the wrong office.
The trooper opened Ballweg’s door with a key provided by Pollitt, but because Pollitt didn’t have any identification, the trooper didn’t let him in.
"You are so fired," Pollitt reportedly told the officer. The trooper agreed to take Pollitt to the Capitol Police office so he could be identified. At the office Pollitt continued to berate the officers. "You think you’re exempt from the Senate bill, but I’ll have you fired," he told officers, apparently referring to the fact that Walker’s proposal to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights didn’t apply to public safety employees.
Long story short, Pollitt was given a chance to walk away, he didn’t, and was eventually handcuffed and taken to detox.
“I’m proud to vote for a faculty union at UWGB. As we have seen this past year in Wisconsin, it is vital that working people join together and fight for our rights: our right to make decisions which affect the quality of education here in our state and our right to decent benefits. Working together, as a union, makes our voices stronger.”— Aeron Hayne, Associate Professor of English & Humanities at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. UWGB faculty voted 117 to 2 to unionize and affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin. Turnout in the election was 71 percent.
“Even though I continue to love this job, I have decided that the time has come to give someone else the opportunity to serve. Therefore, I am announcing today that I will not seek another term as your Senator. Rather, I will devote all my energy and time in the next 19 months to continuing to serve the people of our state.”— Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, announcing his plans to retire. He is the sixth senator from the Democratic caucus to announce he won’t be seeking re-election.
Wisconsin’s voter ID bill moves to the Senate after being approved by the Assembly. linked above.
Widespread voter fraud remains unproven, as does the allegation that photo ID laws suppress turnout. One thing is clear: The bill could cost the state millions at a time when Republicans are also fighting to dramatically cut the budget.
On election night in November, after it was clear Republicans would take control of the Legislature, the soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, listed passage of photo ID as one of his top priorities.
Wisconsin’s bill, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, would cost more than $5.7 million to implement.
The [Wisconsin] Assembly has passed AB 23, which would, unless mandated by federal law, end a DNR requirement that municipal water systems be continuously disinfected. The bill passed 58-35.
Dems charged that the law meant the state was walking away from its commitment to provide clean drinking water to the public, listing a wide range of potential water-borne illnesses. “We put this new standard in place to protect Wisconsin citizens,” said Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine. “We’re now rolling back those standards to go down to the lowest common denominator.”
Republicans countered that the DNR requirements are an unnecessary burden on communities with already strong water standards. “Why don’t you want these communities to make their own choice on this?” asked [bill author] Rep. Severson.
Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature have moved quickly to weaken a string of environmental and energy programs as they contend with a budget deficit and make economic development their top priority.
The governor and GOP lawmakers have pushed more than a dozen initiatives that would reverse the course set by Democrats when they held power.
Among the changes:
• Trying to eliminate mandatory requirements for recycling and the subsidies to local government that went with it.
• Weakening the state’s commitment to wind power by making it more difficult for developers to meet siting requirements.
• Canceling a major state contract to burn homegrown biomass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
• Delaying costly water pollution rules to control weed-producing phosphorus in waterways.
Today marks the 125th anniversary of the Bay View Massacre. After 5 days of protests demanding an eight-hour work day, thousands of striking workers from the Milwaukee area gathered at the Milwaukee Iron Company rolling mill. The National Guard, under orders from Republican Governor Rusk, shot into the crowd of demonstrators, killing seven unarmed people (including a child) and injuring countless others.