Meet Ruthelle Frank. She was born on Aug. 21, 1927, in her home in Brokaw, Wisconsin. She has voted in every election since 1948.
But thanks to Wisconsin’s new voting restrictions, she no longer has the ID required to vote.
What she never had — and in 84 years, never needed — was a birth certificate.
But without a birth certificate, Frank cannot get a state ID card. And without a state ID card, according to Wisconsin’s new voter ID law, she won’t be able to vote next year.
Though Frank never had a birth certificate, the state Register of Deeds in Madison has a record of her birth. It can generate a birth certificate for her — for a fee. Normally, the cost is $20. ”I look at that like paying a fee to vote,” Frank said.
And for Frank, that might not be the end of it. The attending physician at Frank’s birth misspelled her maiden name, which was Wedepohl. To get a birth certificate that has correct information, she will have to petition a court to amend the document — a weekslong process that could cost $200 or more.
Many Republicans don’t regard government jobs as actual jobs, and are eager to see them disappear. Republican governors around the Midwest have aggressively tried to break the power of public unions while slashing their work forces, and Congressional Republicans have proposed paying for a payroll tax cut by reducing federal employment rolls by 10 percent through attrition. That’s 200,000 jobs.
But every layoff, whether public or private, is a life, and a livelihood, and a family. And too many of them are getting battered by the economic storm.
Announcing the best job numbers of his tenure with a splash last summer, Gov. Scott Walker left out the fact that his office had been told in an internal report that the monthly numbers were “very questionable” and “suspect.”
The snapshot of jobs in the state is normally announced each month simply through a news release, but in July Walker traveled to Milwaukee to announce that the month before the state had gained a net total of 9,500 jobs, a big chunk of the net total of 18,000 new jobs nationwide for that month. It was announced at the time as the biggest monthly increase in jobs since September 2003.The unusual announcement was made in the run-up to pivotal Senate recall elections last summer that were seen as a referendum on Walker’s policies.
But three days before the announcement, Walker’s office received a report from the state labor department that raised serious concerns about the numbers. The PowerPoint presentation was released to the Journal Sentinel under the state’s open records law.
"Results, while (federal Bureau of Labor Statistics) approved, are very questionable," reads the first line of the report.
Jon Hunstman is very conservative. This is news to no one, save for conservative commentators.
But they’re coming around. As they continue their desperate quest to find an alternative candidate to Mitt Romney, conservatives are starting to come around to Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and Obama ambassador to China who kicked off his campaign with a full-throated endorsement of the Ryan Budget.
“If A Christmas Carol was performed by the “Tea Party Dramatic Society,” it would be a cautionary tale about how the hero, Scrooge, a “blameless job creator,” is turned into a socialist through the corrupting influence of Tiny Tim. And the play would end with a simple plaintive question from Mr. Scrooge: “Just how much of my wealth does Mr. Tim think he’s entitled to?”—Bill Maher.
Gov. Walker’s new policy to restrict access to the capitol building (and all other state buildings) was enacted today. The policy was announced this afternoon and went into effect immediately. Groups of 4 or more will now be required to obtain a permit at least 72 hours in advance in order to enter the capitol. Additionally, permits will be required for groups of 100 or more outside of the capitol.
You can read the whole policy here. I think my favorite line is: “spontaneous events may occur in public areas only.”
“Once again my Republican colleagues have turned these hallowed halls of Congress into a place for political theater or better yet a circus and the joke is on working class America. Today’s so called ‘Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act’ is another scene in this unfolding plot to undermine American workers. It would be comedy if it weren’t such a tragedy for the American people. Every day the American people are forced to play the part of the clown Pagliacci. They watch Republicans put on this performance, claiming to want to protect American jobs and workers while behind the scenes they work to dismantle the rights of the American worker and like Pagliacci the American people must learn to laugh with tears in their eyes.”—
Democrats Jon Erpenbach and Mark Pocan introduced a medical marijuana bill today. The bill would allow seriously ill patients access to marijuana to ease their pain. As always, Wisconsinites, if you want to get in touch with your state senators, here is the directory.
Taking a broad swipe at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s practice of allowing companies to settle cases without admitting that they had done anything wrong, a federal judge on Monday rejected a $285 million settlement between Citigroup and the agency.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Citigroup stuffed a $1 billion mortgage fund that it sold to investors in 2007 with securities that it believed would fail so that it could bet against its customers and profit when values declined. The fraud, the agency said, was in Citigroup’s falsely telling investors that an independent party was choosing the portfolio’s investments. Citigroup made $160 million from the deal and investors lost $700 million.
The deficit that should most worry us is a deficit of reasonableness. The problems the United States confronts are large but not insoluble. Yet sensible solutions that are broadly popular can’t be enacted.
Why? Because an ideological bloc that sees every crisis as an opportunity to reduce the size of government holds enough power in Congress to stop us from doing what needs to be done.
“For a couple of years, the left has joined the right in making Obama a pinata. That’s fair: it lets off steam, and it’s how we keep politicians in line. But think back to 2000. Many Democrats and journalists alike, feeling grouchy, were dismissive of Al Gore and magnified his shortcomings. We forgot the context, prided ourselves on our disdainful superiority — and won eight years of George W. Bush.”—Nicholas Kristof, President as Pinata.
“I think America’s broad center understands very clearly that the country is in trouble and that the Republican Party has gone nuts. But when they look at Obama on the deficit, they feel something is missing. People know leadership when they see it — when they see someone taking a political risk, not just talking about doing so, not just saying, “I’ll jump if the other guy jumps.” In times of crisis, leaders jump first, lay out what truly needs to be done to fix the problem, not just to win re-election, and by doing so earn the right to demand that others do the same.”—Thomas Friedman, Go Big, Mr. Obama.
“America’s violent culture wars had started before JFK was shot. They were all on display in Oswald’s Dallas. At least in 1963, polling showed that only 5 percent of the country—a fringe—subscribed to the radical anti-government views championed by the John Birch Society and other militants of the right. These days, that fringe, whether in the form of birthers or the tea party or the hosts of Fox & Friends, gives marching orders to a major political party.”—Frank Rich, What Killed JFK.
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
we are saying thank you and waving, dark though it is.
“Some opponents of the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker have claimed that the recall provisions of the Wisconsin State Constitution are intended solely to permit the recall of elected officials when they have engaged in criminal or grossly unethical conduct.
This statement is objectively false. The recall provisions contained in the Wisconsin State Constitution were never intended to be limited in such a fashion. The original design of the right of recall is, in fact, intended to permit voters to recall elected officials for virtually any reason.”—
-Edward Fallone, Constitutional Law Professor at Marquette. The Original Intent of the Recall Power.
I think this needs to be repeated again and again. The entire article is a worthwhile read for those interested in history and election law.
“You will make all kinds of mistakes. But as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her; she was made to be wooed and won by youth.”—churchill.
In recent years Marquette University has been accused of mishandling accusations of sexual assault by four athletes, and Arizona State has been faulted in handling a student’s rape, allegedly by a football player with a history of sexual aggression on campus.
The Penn State scandal has ended the reign of the university’s patriarch and longtime football coach, Joe Paterno, amid national expressions of shock. But the case is also emblematic of a parallel judicial universe that exists at many of the country’s colleges and universities.
On most of these campuses, law enforcement is the responsibility of sworn police officers who report to university authorities, not to the public. With full-fledged arrest powers, such campus police forces have enormous discretion in deciding whether to refer cases directly to district attorneys or to leave them to the quiet handling of in-house disciplinary proceedings.