I get it. The difference, I get it.  We are all good people who care about others, our families, friends, neighbors, community. It’s just that, as a Progressive, our sense of community goes so much further than that of Conservatives'. For Conservatives that sense of community only extends as far as their own interests. Progressives view our community as global.

Eilene Stevens 3721.60pc

Eilene Stevens

Eilene Stevens's activity stream

  • rsvped for Save Our State 2022-08-15 16:17:26 -0500

    Save Our State

    Governor Evers has rescued Wisconsin repeatedly from GOP attempts to steal our democracy, our environment, and our rights.


    and Democrats Mandela Barnes, Josh Kaul, Deb Andraca, Darrin Madison, Sara Rodriguez, and Doug La Follette.

    Find out how you can help Save Our State.

    September 18, 2022 at 3:30pm
    Doctors Park
    1870 E Fox Ln
    Fox Point, WI 53217
    United States
    Google map and directions
    23 rsvps rsvp

  • published Election Day is here. Go Vote. in Newsletter 2022-08-08 14:42:02 -0500

    Election Day is here. Go Vote.

    Last call: the primary election is TOMORROW: Tuesday, August 9, from 7am to 8pm at your polling location. A strong turnout for the August election is a sure sign of a strong turnout in November. And it is up to you to make that happen. If you have not yet voted, tomorrow is your last chance. To see a sample of what's on your ballot and to check where your polling place is, visit MyVote.WI.gov. To bone up on the candidates for all the contested races on the ballot, visit our elections page.

    And don't forget to vote in those uncontested primaries as well. Governor Evers, Attorney General Kaul, Deb Andraca (the Assembly Representative for AD 23), Bob Patterson (running in AD24), and Dan Larsen (running in AD 60) — all of them need your votes as well.

    Besides your vote — which is, as you know, a vital right and your civic duty — I hope you will get active with one or more campaigns. Dan Larsen, a Cedarburg attorney, has stepped up to run against Robert Brooks, the incumbent Assembly Representative for AD 60. It's a tough territory for a Democrat but Brooks favors banning some contraception and allowing guns in schools. We need to nix his votes on these terrible ideas. So if you have some time and energy, volunteer with his campaign. Like all candidates, he needs people to knock on doors, call voters, and donate funds to help him with the costs of yard signs, tv and online ads, and the like. You'll be pleased to get acquainted with him through his website. Or work with another candidate. You'll find links to their websites and other online sites on our Elections 2022 pages.

    Now the fall election begins in earnest. To kick things off, Governor Evers, Senator Baldwin, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, and a host of other political luminaries will hold a Unity Rally on Wednesday, August 10, at 3:45 in the Deer District: 333 W. Juneau Ave, Milwaukee. Let's give Governor Evers a show of enthusiasm! SIGN UP.

    Things are looking up for the general election on November 8. The Senate has now passed what Bill Gates has called a remarkable moment for congress and the country: — the Inflation Reduction Act. It includes truly fantastic investments in a clean energy future, the ability for Medicare to negotiate some drug prices, and much more. Not, of course, everything we wanted but a big breakthrough nevertheless. On the heels of several other major victories, this soon-to-be-enacted law is, as they say, a game-changer. Maybe for the November elections, but certainly for the future of the earth!

    In other positive news, the Five Thirty Eight poll agregator currently shows Democrats slightly favored to win the Senate. And now that Republicans in several states have nominated weak candidates for important positions, like governors and US senators and secretaries of state, the odds are improving. In the race for Wisconsin governor, Five Thirty Eight shows Evers polling well. The site currently rates the election as "lean R" but just a few days ago it rated the race as "Lean D." In other words, a toss-up. So we definitely have work to do! According to Charlie Cooke of the Cooke Political Report, "One thing that has been noted by both Democratic and Republican pollsters is that given the circumstances, Republicans seem to be underperforming on the generic congressional ballot test." So if we can really ramp up the turnout among our base voters and Dem-leaning independents plus reach a modest percent of disaffected Republican voters, November 8 could be a good day for Wisconsin and the country! Let's get to work!!

    The Events list is pretty sparse this week. So please connect up with a campaign you care about and volunteer. The Grassroots North Shore Election 2022 pages provide links to candidates' campaigns and will reflect the outcome of the primary as soon as firm results are known. We really need everyone to participate as fully as possible.

    Read more

  • published CHIPS ARE DOWN FOR ROJO in Econ4Voters 2022-08-05 12:29:43 -0500


             Microchips are incorporated in nearly every good and service these days, as well as the processes by which they are made.  A short list includes major appliances;  heating and air conditioning systems;  electric, internal combustion, and hybrid vehicles; waste disposal; and of course cell phones and computers.  A shortage of chips during the pandemic led to a shortage of all of those products, as well as slowing the effort to renovate the electricity grid, an essential step in addressing climate change.   The shortages also led to higher prices for those products and processes, contributing to the supply-side part of the inflation now disrupting the United States.

             With bipartisan support, the "Chips and Science" bill is working its way to President Biden's desk after the Senate passed the bill on July 27 by a margin of 64 to 33.  Officially known as Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors or CHIPS, this bill will allocate $52 billion to chip manufacturing within the United States, and $200 billion to research in the ongoing improvement of chips plus education and training programs to increase the number of chip-manufacturing employees.

             The CHIPS bill is designed to foster discoveries made in the USA that contribute to the ongoing improvement in speed, accuracy, durability, and capacity of chips.   To stay on the "cutting edge," microchip manufacturing requires ongoing research by firms in the private sector, by university technicians and professors as well as scientists at national and private labs.   The aim is to assure that conceptual breakthroughs and their applications take place in the United States, including in the advanced manufacturing sector of the State of Wisconsin with its 187,000 employees.   

             Wisconsin Senator Johnson voted against CHIPS. He labeled CHIPS "corporate welfare," and "socialism."  He also declared that the bill would be "inflationary."  These charges reveal economic misunderstanding that is harmful to the nation and to Wisconsin.     

             The core concept behind CHIPS is that these improvements in the US semiconductor industry are a public responsibility.  The alternative is unregulated market activity, or "free markets." As previous essays in this Econ4Voters series have argued, that free-market default is superior only when the pre-conditions for market efficiency, including competition, are present; microchips are a textbook example of the opposite.   In the worldwide market, the manufacturing of chips gravitated toward countries like China, where their highly precise labor input can be hired for very low wages. This natural result of market activity left the US vulnerable to cut-offs, whether due to the pandemic or to military threats.

             Similarly, the notion that the CHIPS bill would be inflationary has it backwards. An increased supply of microchips reduces the cost of producing the modern goods and services that require microchips and the production processes that supply them. Both economic principles and empirical evidence show that productivity and cost are inversely related; increasing the supply and quality of microchips will fight inflation, not cause it.  Moreover, making the US economy more competitive globally will strengthen the dollar as an international currency which in turn would also fight inflation by making foreign goods cheaper.

             Johnson’s "socialism" charge reveals a particularly worrisome misunderstanding of economics. A capitalist system requires an efficient public sector to support the market system,  providing those things that the market system needs but will not produce for itself. Market activity requires streets, roads, sewer, water services, the legal system, police and fire protection, national defense, and a host of other public services. It is also a public responsibility to support specialized research that produces very uncertain investor return, as in the case of advanced semiconductors.  To conflate capitalism's public sector with socialism is a demonstration of incapacity to evaluate public policy.   It is not conservatism. It is confusion.

    William L. Holahan is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • published only one week to go! in Newsletter 2022-08-03 08:33:19 -0500

    only one week to go!

    As you are probably aware by now, Tom Nelson, Alex Lasry, and Sarah Godlewski all dropped out of the race for the nomination for US Senate last week. All of them have endorsed Mandela Barnes. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin then endorsed Barnes too, in effect clearing the field for him ahead of the August 9 primary. Following suit, Grassroots North Shore has enthusiastically endorsed Mandela. But lest you think this development lets you off the hook, think again. There are a LOT of contested races on your ballot and those races need your considered vote. (See our election information pages to learn about all the candidates in these races.) Even uncontested races — like the one for Governor Evers and the one for Attorney General Josh Kaul — still need your love and attention. That goes double for Barnes where there are still four other candidates who have not dropped out. And indeed all eight names, including the three who have now stepped aside, will appear on your ballot!

    If you have voted already, either by absentee ballot or early in-person, and have cast your ballot for one of the candidates who has now endorsed Barnes, you can rescind your earlier vote and submit a new ballot. Here's the NPR account of how to do it. "To void a ballot, voters need to contact their local clerk, either in person or by sending a message through the mail or email. Once the clerk's office receives the request and locates the returned ballot, their office writes 'spoiled' at the top and makes a small tear in the envelope to ensure the ballot is not counted. After the original ballot is spoiled, the office will issue a new absentee ballot. The deadline for spoiling an absentee ballot by mail is August 4 at 5 p.m. To spoil a ballot in person, the deadline is August 7."

    In a reprise from last week's newsletter, here are some primary election reminders. Tuesday, August 9 is Election Day. But you can vote early all this week in your city/village clerk's office. In the 'burbs and Oz County, early voting runs through Friday, August 5. Our early in-person voting page will provide you with dates/times and contact information for North Shore and Ozaukee County clerks. For the city of Milwaukee, there are four early voting locations. Early voting hours run through Saturday, August 6. So, make a plan. And VOTE.

    Speaking of the upcoming election, Milwaukee still needs election inspectors (aka poll workers). Go to the Election Inspector page of the Milwaukee Election Commission ASAP. And then sign up for the virtual training — the last one before the primary — on Saturday, August 6 at 9:30am. (You'll get the link for the training session after you apply.)

    While you focus on election matters this week and next, take some time for some fun! The Ozaukee County Fair runs from August 3-7. Visit the Oz Dems at the Ozaukee County Fair. Have fun completing the Scavenger Hunt for the fair! Meet local and state politicians and find out more about our local DPOC group. The fair runs from 10am Wednesday, August 3, to 8pm on Sunday, August 7. The Wisconsin State Fair, at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, runs from Thursday, August 4, through Sunday, August 14. Its hours of operation are Sunday – Wednesday: 10am – 10pm; Thursday – Saturday: 10am – midnight. Lots of fun, lots of good eats. And don't forget to stop by the Milwaukee County Democrats' booth and pick up some swag.

    Coming attractions: The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors recently approved two resolutions for advisory referendums to appear on the November 8 ballots in the county. One would advise banning military-style weapons and the other would legalize marijuana for personal use while regulating the sales and also raising some revenue by taxing the sales. I've put the exact language on our website.

    Say NO to RoJo

    COVID-19 is still very much with us. So here's a little trip through Senator Ron Johnson's various FALSE takes on its seriousness and how to treat it.

    December 6, 2021: "On a December 1 episode of the Brian Kilmeade Show on Fox Radio, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) suggested that Anthony Fauci, MD had “overhyped” AIDS and was doing something similar with Covid-19. Yes, that AIDS, the infectious disease that has killed an estimated 37.7 million people around the world. And that Covid-19, which has already killed over 785,000 people in the U.S since the beginining of the ongoing pandemic." In mid-2022, the number of people who have officially died from COVID-19 is 1.03 million!

    January 26, 2022: "We’ve heard story after story. All these athletes dropping dead on the field" after taking the vaccine.

    May 5, 2022: "Johnson said the way 'we've handled COVID has been a miserable failure.' Among those he criticized were 'Big Pharma, big media, big tech giants,' and doctors who 'don't want to admit that the vaccine they were pushing on their patients are injuring them, potentially killing them.'"

    Of course, all three claims are utter bunk. Keeping yourself and your loved ones out of a hospital or a morgue is worth two vaccine shots and two booster shots. So if you haven't completed the series by now, get on it.


    Read more

  • published breaking summertime news in Newsletter 2022-07-27 10:44:43 -0500

    breaking summertime news

    Over the past week, the news has been breaking at a furious pace, considering that we're in the middle of summer! Locally, we learned yesterday that Tom Nelson, County Executive of Outagamie County, has dropped out of the race for the Democratic Party's nomination for US Senate. His name, of course, remains on the ballot for the August primary. But if you were planning to vote for him, choose one of the other seven candidates!

    The Marquette Law School June poll on races in Wisconsin finds close races in the Senate and Governor primaries and in the November elections. You can also watch a video of Charles Franklin discussing the results. For a different look at the US Senate race in Wisconsin, you can read "Race to the WH."

    Marquette recently produced a poll that tries to measure the impact of the Supreme Court's abortion decision and another measuring approval of the Court. Those last two polls were taken in July using a national sample of voters, not just those in Wisconsin.

    In case you missed the prime time hearing on Thursday, July 21, you can see highlights at the Washington Post. You can see the complete hearing on YouTube. There are a lot of riveting details in the whole thing. The outtakes from speech The Former Guy (TFG) gave on January 7 are clear indications of his mental state. But the most hilarious (or Hawley-rious) bit is watching Senator Hawley run from the "peaceful demonstrators" — Hawleyng ass, if you will.

    Yesterday, Congresswoman Elaine Luria, a member of the January 6 Select Committee, released another video on Twitter showing revisions TFG made to his January 7 speech. The video seems to have been prepared for the July 21 hearing but was simply left out because of time constraints. The clip includes members of his inner circle and his family testifying to TFG's refusal to say that the election was over or that his StormTrumpers should be prosecuted for breaking the law. The clip runs a little more than 3.5 minutes. And it is damning.

    In momentous news, Marc Short, former Vice President Pence's chief of staff, confirmed that he has testified in front of a federal grand jury investigating the January 6 insurrection. His testimony is, of course, shrouded in secrecy so we cannot know what he was asked or what he said. But pundits are speculating that it's a big development not least because it reveals that the Justice Department has moved beyond trying those who invaded the Capitol to investigating those who were members the White House's inner circle. According to the New York Times, Greg Jacob, Pence's top lawyer, was also subpoenaed and testified in the federal criminal inquiry. "The testimony of the two Pence aides marked the first time it has become publicly known that figures with firsthand knowledge of what took place inside the White House in the tumultuous days before the attack have cooperated with federal prosecutors."

    Meanwhile, in Georgia, there was a strange development in the criminal case Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is pursuing. In what may turn out to be a relatively minor digression, the judge overseeing the special grand jury Willis is using ruled that she cannot investigate one of the fake electors because he is the GOP nominee for Lieutenant Governor and she hosted a fundraiser for a Democrat seeking to become the party's nominee for that position in a run-off primary. Apparently, State Senator Burt Jones will have to be investigated by another prosecutor. Here's the New York Times's account. DA Willis will still be able to probe Mr. Jones's role in the scheme to send a phony slate of electors to the Vice President and the National Archives by asking other fake electors and GOP officials about his actions.

    Politico reports that "six weeks into the committee’s public hearing schedule, an emerging consensus is forming in Republican Party circles — including in Trump’s orbit — that a significant portion of the rank-and-file may be tiring of the non-stop series of revelations about Trump." And Jennifer Rubin, a former Republican and a current opinion author at the Washington Post, thinks that "more Republicans are dumping Trump. But the GOP still imperils democracy." She goes on to note that even if prominent Republican rags like the Murdoch-owned NY Post and the Wall Street Journal are dumping Trump, "it’s arguably more important for Republican politicians to be warriors for Christian nationalism and generators of racial grievance than Trump apologists." She concludes: "So while it’s true that some Republicans are moving on from Trump, his two legacies — authoritarianism and ethno-nationalism — still dominate the GOP. The threat to pluralistic democracy remains."

    Finally, some primary election reminders. Tuesday, August 9 is election day. But you can begin voting TODAY in your city/village clerk's office. Early voting runs through Friday, August 5. Our early in-person voting page will provide you with dates/times and contact information for North Shore and Ozaukee County clerks. For the city of Milwaukee, there are four early voting locations and early voting hours on Saturday July 30, Sunday July 31, and Saturday, August 6. So, make a plan. And VOTE.

    And one more thing: the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County is looking for volunteers to staff their booth at the State Fair. The Democratic Party of Ozaukee County is looking for volunteers to staff their booth at the Ozaukee County Fair. Voting is super important, but showing up for party duty (and fun) helps the cause too.

    Read more

  • published It's time to VOTE in Newsletter 2022-07-20 17:58:01 -0500

    It's time to VOTE

    It's time to make sure you have a plan to vote in the August 9 primary. It's usually a low-turnout election but with so many important offices on the ballot, we can't afford to sit it out. When more people vote in a primary, the winning candidates represent a broader swathe of the voting public and are therefore likely to have greater appeal to general election voters. So do your part. BE A VOTER!

    Absentee Ballots:

    You cannot use a drop box to return your ballot. Plan to put it in the mail by August 2 or drop it off in your city/village clerk's office. Make sure you and a witness sign the certification envelop and that the witness includes a full address on the envelop. Voters who need help returning a ballot can have a spouse or friend put it in a mailbox. BUT a spouse or friend cannot take the ballot to the city/village clerk for you.

    Early In-Person Voting:

    Be sure you take your photo ID to the clerk's office when you go to vote. Business hours can vary from one city/village to another. You can visit our Elections 2022 page for early in-person voting to find the days, times, and phone number for clerks' offices across the North Shore and the southern half of Ozaukee County. For the city of Milwaukee, check the days, times, and places for early voting on the website for the Milwaukee Election Commission.

    August 9, Election Day:

    Polling places have a habit of moving around! Before you set out to vote, check to make sure you know where your polling place is for the primary at MyVote.WI.gov. You can also see a sample of the ballot for your specific location. Remember that Assembly District lines were redrawn after the 2020 census. That has made a difference for all residents of Shorewood and Glendale and some residents of Brown Deer and Milwaukee.

    Candidate Information:

    Our Elections 2022 pages have you covered. The links from the main page take you to the pages for each race: US Senate; Governor; Lieutenant Governor; Attorney General; Secretary of State; Treasurer; Assembly Districts 10, 23, 24 & 60; and Congressional District 4. (There is no Democrat running for Congressional District 6.) We also have a modest amount of information about candidates running for Milwaukee Count Sheriff.

    Yard Signs

    Would you like a yard sign for Governor Evers? We have some in various locations. To get one, send email to the person listed for your area to arrange a pick-up.

    Also, the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County has yard signs for other Democratic candidates in our area. You can pick them up at the office, 2999 S. Delaware Ave in Milwaukee, during office hours: M - F 10am - 7pm and Saturdays from 9am - 1pm. You might want to call ahead to check on which signs are available: (414) 269-9287.

    Finally, here are two Save the Date announcements for Town Halls from WISN 12 in collaboration with University of Wisconsin-Madison and Nō Studios:

    1. On Monday, August 1, 2022, from 7:00pm - 8:00pm, the Town Hall will include Republican candidates in the primary election for Wisconsin governor. Former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, businessman Tim Michels, and Wisconsin State representative Timothy Ramthun (R) Kewaskum are invited to take part in the town hall. Grassroots North Shore supporters might want to tune in to check out the competition!

    2. On Tuesday, August 2, from 6:30pm - 8:00pm, the Town Hall features the Democratic candidates for the state’s U.S. Senate primary election: Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Milwaukee Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry, Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

    If you want, you can submit questions for the candidates.

    And a coda: As you probably already know, the January 6 Select Committee will hold another hearing on Thursday, July 21, beginning at 7pm CDT. Because Chairman Bennie Thompson announced that he has COVID-19, Vice Chair Liz Cheney will helm the meeting. It promises to be a doozy. I'm sure most major news outlets will be airing it live. Tune in.

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  • published one month to primary day in Newsletter 2022-07-12 09:55:42 -0500

    one month to primary day

    So that I can watch Tuesday morning's January 6 Committee hearing at 9am CDT, I am writing this intro to the Events list on Monday afternoon. (You can watch the hearings live at MSNBC, CBS, the New York Times website, the Washington Post website and probably a lot of other channels.) So the news won't be quite so up-to-date. But there have been some important developments since last week's newsletter, not least of which is the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that voters MAY NOT USE DROP BOXES to return absentee ballots. All absentee ballots can be returned to the village/city clerk's office during business hours OR ballots can be sent by US Mail. Disabled voters can have a spouse or a friend put their absentee ballots in a mailbox for them, but the spouse or friend cannot hand-deliver a disabled voter's ballot to the village/city clerk.

    In essence the 114-page opinion and Justice Hagedorn's concurrent opinion simply stressed that the Wisconsin Elections Commission had exceeded its authority when it approved the use of drop boxes for ballots as one of many measures to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic. If you think this ruling is silly — after all, absolutely no voter fraud occurred with drop boxes in 2020 — you're clearly not a MAGA Republican. According to an article in Talking Points Memo today, Trump And Co. Seize On Wisconsin Ruling As PROOF 2020 Election Was Rigged. TFG was first in line to make the false claim. Read the piece for yourself so I don't have to quote his ridiculous words.

    You can still request an absentee ballot at MyVote.WI.Gov but you need to take care of this matter ASAP. You'll want to put ballots in the mail no later than August 2 to ensure that they arrive before 8pm on Election Day. Early in-person voting takes place on weekdays from July 26 through August 5. Check our webpage for exact dates and times for your municipality.

    In the spirit of the exhortation to organize instead of agonizing, let's all do more than moan! Grassroots North Shore has a number of activities taking place now to get out the vote for the August 9 primary. And a good turnout is tremendously important. The winner of a contested primary should appeal to the broadest group of voters, but only that's really only possible when we see a great turnout, as we did in elections in 2018 and again in 2020. Strong turnout translates to stronger candidates! Here are the actions you should sign up for this summer:

    We have yard signs for Governor Evers we'd like to place in visible and high-traffic areas. If that describes your location, here's how to get one. Send email to the person listed for your area to make arrangements to get a sign.

    And a reminder that our website hosts a lot of candidate information and links so that you can be a well-informed voter in the primary. Many of the nominations are contested. Those for Governor and Attorney General are not. But the US Senate, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State are. The new Assembly District 10 now includes all of Glendale and Shorewood. So voters there will need to decide which candidate to back for an open seat. And Brown Deer is now (mostly) in Assembly District 23, ably represented by Deb Andraca, who is running unopposed on the Democratic side but who needs your votes now also. Farther north, Bob Patterson is taking on Dan Knodl in the 24th Assembly District and Dan Larsen is bravely taking on Robert Brooks in the 60th Assembly District. If you live in one of these districts, you should visit our page for Assembly races.

    Let's end today's newsletter with a little hopeful sign for us lefties and normal folks: Candidate challenges, primary scars have GOP worried about Senate chances, exclaims the Washington Post. GOP "success in the fight for the evenly divided Senate and in gubernatorial races, where candidate quality and the unique political contours of each state tend to factor into the outcome, are less of a sure thing..." than the weak political environment for Democrats made it seem. So here in Wisconsin, be sure to vote for the strongest candidate we have to beat RoJo in November!

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  • published Anger begets ORGANIZING! in Newsletter 2022-07-06 08:27:40 -0500

    Anger begets ORGANIZING!

    Aside from the continuing coverage of Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony to the January 6 Select Committee  last week (highlights), the news has been a little light ahead of the July 4 holiday. Except of course that Highland Park, Illinois, held a 4th of July parade that was disrupted by a mass shooting, one that has killed at least six people and seriously wounded at least 24. A suspect has been detained but not yet indicted. Three other mass shooting events had already taken place in Illinois since last Friday. There have been several more across the country. We can't say that these latest atrocities stem from the recent US Supreme Court ruling that authorizes virtually anyone to carry a loaded firearm anywhere, but the ruling doesn't help quell such violence either.

    There's plenty to sigh and roll your eyes about in Wisconsin, but the latest ruling from our Wisconsin Supreme Court deserves a special shoutout. The conservatives ruled that Frederick Prehn could remain on the Department of Natural Resources Board even though his term expired more than a year ago. Prehn claimed that he could remain until the Wisconsin Senate confirmed his replacement — which they are refusing to do for an Evers's appointment. The Republicans seem to be following the Mitch McConnell playbook — refusing to seat President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court but then rushing through The Former Guy's (TFG's). In his Milwaukee Urban editorial on the subject, Matt Rothschild, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, explains how the State Supreme Court ruling reinforces gerrymandering.

    And in case you missed it, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel informs us that the Gableman "investigation" has lasted a year, has cost taxpayers $1 million, and has turned up NOTHING. Here's what the July 2, 2022, report offered:

    "[S]ince Vos announced his hire of former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to probe the 2020 election completely and Assembly Republicans' intent to pass bills based on Gableman's findings, the review has failed to accomplish those goals.

    Lawmakers did not receive any recommendations from Gableman before wrapping up their work for the year. And the review has turned up little information not previously known, and has not found evidence showing the 2020 election outcome was incorrectly called."

    In a delicious irony, the TFG is going after other grifters, the Washington Post reports. It seems he disapproves of other people using deceptive email and advertising to raise funds using his name and/or image. "While being known for his own false and misleading emails, Trump faces armies of unaffiliated fundraisers who ape his message and sometimes threaten Republicans in Trump’s name," reads the subhead. The article provides juicy examples of his own deceptions. I'm especially fond of this one: "In one small example on Friday, a text message to Trump’s fundraising list began, 'LIVE FROM MAR-A-LAGO! Pres Trump: It’s me, your FAVORITE President.' But Trump is not at Mar-a-Lago, having moved for the summer to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J." There are lots of giggle-filled moments in the piece but one seriously important one: "The problem has become more acute in recent months as small-dollar donations to Republican Party efforts have fallen, a trend strategists blame both on donors having less disposable income because of inflation and on their fatigue with the relentless fundraising appeals." Enjoy.

    Let me end with important ACTION ITEMS.

    On Friday, July 15, we're holding a brief training in how to use an online tool — MiniVAN — to aid in voter contact. You can download the app either from the Apple Store or from Google Play, depending on what kind of tablet or smart phone you have. The training will take place in Cheryl Maranto's back yard. To get the exact address, sign up to attend.

    We need people to make phone calls to follow up on the 3300 postcards we've already sent to strong Democratic women in Ozaukee County. These are easy, friendly calls to make. And if no one answers, we can often leave a voicemail and/or send a text message to a cell phone. These calls aim to encourage people to vote. Please reach deep and sign up!

    Voter protection, as I noted last week, is more important than ever as GOP interference with elections threatens to ramp up. You can help by filling out a general interest form for becoming a poll observer. You should also check out upcoming Voter Protection events. The Voter Protection Team is hosting three events in the next few days:

    For those of you planning to contact voters by phone or in person, it's really worth your while to attend one of the Research Collaborative Briefings online, Wednesdays, 2pm CDT. Sign up to learn about evidence-based messaging!


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  • published Sad. Angry. DETERMINED! in Newsletter 2022-06-29 08:25:36 -0500

    Sad. Angry. DETERMINED!

    Friday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade has left many people angry and demoralized. The anger is righteous, but we cannot afford despair. Read Rebecca Traister's article The Necessity of Hope In New York Magazine for inspiration and direction.

    A New England Journal of Medicine editorial is a blockbuster. It ends with this paragraph: “By abolishing longstanding legal protections, the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade serves American families poorly, putting their health, safety, finances, and futures at risk. In view of these predictable consequences, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine strongly condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.”

    Governor Evers spoke strongly in his response to the immediate resumption of an 1849 law banning abortion in Wisconsin. Here's Channel 3000 in Madison coverage: "Gov. Tony Evers said he will grant clemency to any abortion providers who are convicted under the state’s 1849 abortion ban, during a rally Saturday ahead of the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention in La Crosse."

    And here's a quotation from Governor Evers published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online on June 25, 2022: "I don’t think that a law that was written before the Civil War, or before women secured the right to vote, should be used to dictate these intimate decisions on reproductive health."

    In spite of everything, Grassroots North Shore must persevere. And as I remind you frequently, the organization cannot continue to do its work without you. One thing you can do to help: make a donation to support our election work.

    Just a reminder: absentee ballots for the August 9 primary are being sent out already. I received mine on June 25! But it's not too late to request one at MyVote.WI.gov. COVID-19 is not the only or even the chief reason to vote absentee or early in person (see info about early voting). One vital thing you can do voting absentee or early allows you to do: apply to be a poll worker (i.e., an election inspector). In Milwaukee County, residents can find the qualifications and an online application at the Election Commission. In Ozaukee County and elsewhere, check with your municipal clerk. (Find contact information on our website.)

    Just as important: Voter Protection. The Voter Protection Team for the Wisconsin Dems sends out a newsletter listing volunteer opportunities:

    1. answering voter's questions on a hotline (use the "contact the organization" button to send email inquiring about the possibility);
    2. making phone calls to recruit people to help protect voters;
    3. becoming a poll observer (at a polling place on election day).

    Getting out in force to protect voters has never been so important, given what the GOP is doing to undermine elections at local, state, and federal levels. Here's what we know about GOP plans in an article by Heidi Przybyla on June 1, 2022: ‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections. "Video recordings of Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts: Install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys." We need to help protect voters and that means stepping up to do our part in these crucial elections.

    Another way to turn out voters is to participate in voter registration at MATC in the fall with the American Federation of Teachers Local 212, representing the faculty of MATC. We need volunteers. We are in need of volunteers to help students register to vote at all four campuses. We will be conducting registration from 11:00-1:00 several days of week from the end of August through election day. Part of the role is to help students understand the importance of voting as well. We are asking volunteers to pick one or maybe two days per week to help. We understand that some weeks you might not be there but it is easier to coordinate if we have you on a specific day. If you are interested or have questions contact Dave Weingrod.

    Say No to RoJo
    My Goodness! Does Senator Ron Johnson prevaricate?

    Here's a brief account of a string of events that began with last Thursday's January 6 hearings: Ron Johnson now says he helped coordinate effort to pass false elector slates to Pence, but his new explanation drew a quick rebuke.

    "After initially claiming to be 'basically unaware' of an effort by his staff to get fake presidential elector documents to Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Thursday he coordinated with a Wisconsin attorney to pass along such information.... [He] acknowledged he coordinated with Dane County attorney Jim Troupis and his chief of staff by text message that morning to get to Pence a document Troupis described as regarding 'Wisconsin electors'" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 23, 2022).

    A glimmer of welcome news? A Politico article June 26, 2022, is headlined "Trump fatigue sets in: ‘Some donors are getting sick of the sh--show'." "As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots lays out Donald Trump’s obsessive efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Trump allies have responded with the political equivalent of a collective eye roll." The SCOTUS decisions on gun safety, abortion, and religion in public schools haven't helped either. Here's the Daily Kos roundup of weekend polls on the impact of the Dobbs decision: Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The fallout continues as the GOP's regressive plan comes into focus.

    Bottom line: We need every Democrat, Independent, and disaffected Republican — all those who support women's rights — to elect Democrats at all levels to mitigate the damage that the GOP plans to do to the social fabric of this country. We're counting on you to help us get all like-minded voters to the polls in August and November. And to support our election work. We're the majority. We need to act like it and win like it!

    Finally, I want to leave you with a view of our political present and future by Ronald Brownstein in The Atlantic, June 24, 2022:

    What’s becoming clearer over time is that the Trump-era GOP is hoping to use its electoral dominance of the red states, the small-state bias in the Electoral College and the Senate, and the GOP-appointed majority on the Supreme Court to impose its economic and social model on the entire nation—with or without majority public support. As measured on fronts including the January 6 insurrection, the procession of Republican 2020 election deniers running for offices that would provide them with control over the 2024 electoral machinery, and the systematic advance of a Republican agenda by the Supreme Court, the underlying political question of the 2020s remains whether majority rule—and democracy as we’ve known it—can survive this offensive.
    The Trump model, in other words, is more the South in 1850 than the South in 1950, more John Calhoun than Richard Russell. (Some red-state Republicans are even distantly echoing Calhoun in promising to nullify—that is, defy—federal laws with which they disagree.) That doesn’t mean that Americans are condemned to fight one another again as they did after the 1850s. But it does mean that the 2020s may bring the greatest threats to the country’s basic stability since those dark and tumultuous years." 

    The whole article is worth a read.

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  • published How we're getting ready in Newsletter 2022-06-22 09:13:04 -0500

    How we're getting ready

    The January 6 Committee hearings continue today at noon CDT, but there are plenty of places to read about the three that have already occurred and to catch a recap of today's action on MSNBC beginning at 7pm CDT. So this week's newsletter is focused on what Grassroots North Shore and other organizations are undertaking ahead of the August 9 primary.

    We've all but completed our candidate information for the upcoming election. In our Elections 2022 section, we provide links to online information for each candidate in each race — including Governor Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Assembly Districts 10, 23, 24, and 60. Plus, of course, US Senate and the 4th Congressional District. In contested races, we also provide a questionnaire with candidates' responses. In addition, we provide information on early in-person voting and videos of candidate interviews. We hope you will use these materials to become a well-informed voter. And of course that you will vote in the August 9 election.

    In addition to the candidate information we provide in our Elections 2022 section, there's a recording of Kathleen Dunn interviewing the top four candidates for the nomination for US Senate. If you missed it or simply want to review it, you can find it on our YouTube site.

    You can still request an absentee ballot at MyVote.WI.gov for the August and November elections. If you live in Milwaukee County — and you vote absentee by mail or early in person at your municipal clerk's office — you can sign up to be an election inspector in the county. (By the way, we're still waiting for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to rule on the use of drop boxes and whether someone can deliver a ballot to your mailbox or your municipal clerk for you. Stay tuned.) The Milwaukee Election Commission needs 1,500 election inspectors for the fall primary on Tuesday, August 9th, and 2,500 for the General Election on Tuesday, November 8th. New and returning election inspectors must take a training class. They will be paid $30.00 to take the class. Election inspectors will be paid a $220 stipend for working a full shift and $113 for working a half shift on Election Day. It's just one of the ways you can help Wisconsin vote! You can find information about qualifications and apply online.

    We're already sending out 3300 postcards contacting voters in the hard-to-canvass areas of Ozaukee County and will be sending material to people who now find themselves in Assembly District 10 after the redistricting required every ten years. As the August election nears, we will be making phone calls, dropping literature, and knocking on doors. We'd love to have your help. So stay tuned for specific volunteer opportunities with Grassroots North Shore.

    Among our ambitions around the November election, we plan to do what we can to support Ann Roe who is running for Congress in the 1st Congressional District (encompassing much of southeast Wisconsin). The district is winnable: it's one of two truly competitive congressional districts in this election cycle. Those of you who have wanderlust or happen to be in the district at some point ought to consider pitching in. You can find Ann's website here.

    Right now, Supermarket Legends is running voter registration drives at two DMVs: the Chase Street locale and the one on Teutonia. Volunteers have been at the DMVs for many weeks, and no one has reported getting COVID. Volunteers wear masks, so the organization feels this is a COVID-safe activity. They need more volunteers to fill all the shifts daily. Please consider volunteering for a two- or three-hour shift. Supermarket Legends will provide training and you will work with someone. They have a real impact at the DMVs as people registered to vote are more likely to vote, and turnout will be key in the midterms. To volunteer, contact Jim Balk.

    On a bittersweet note, WAVE (Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort) has announced that it's longtime program director Heidi Rose is retiring this week. In her role as program director, Heidi has done so much. Her work has touched (and even saved) countless lives in Wisconsin and beyond. She is truly irreplaceable. Those of you who know her and/or been involved with WAVE may want to honor her. Contact the organization for more information.

    As for the investigation of the long-decided 2020 presidential election in our state, there was an interesting development this month. As WisPolitics reported: Judge fines Gableman, refers him to OLR for ‘unprofessional behavior.’

    A Dane County judge is fining Michael Gableman’s office $2,000 a day — the maximum allowed — for a “pattern of intentional disobedience” in defying to fully comply with an open records request.

    Judge Frank Remington also referred Gableman to the Office of Lawyer Regulation to review what he referred to as the former justice’s “unprofessional behavior.” Among other things, Remington wrote in yesterday’s order Gableman made misogynistic comments about a fellow attorney.

    Finally, let me leave you with Paul Waldman's profound insight into where the Republican Party is right now: "When [Republicans] say they fear for democracy’s survival, what they’re afraid of is the idea that we might continue to have a competitive system, in which elections are contested, sometimes Democrats win, and when they do, they get to implement their policies." We have to defeat the Republican Party at every level of government. I hope we can count on your vote in August. And your volunteer efforts!

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  • published Willful Blindness in Newsletter 2022-06-16 10:24:34 -0500

    Willful Blindness

    The focus of this week's newsletter is, of course, the January 6 Select Committee hearings. If you missed the opening hearing last Thursday evening, you can see it on PBS's website (beginning at 1:06) or see key bits and a written account in the New York Times. The second hearing, on Monday, June 13, is available online starting at about 19:30, in case you missed that one.

    The first hearing provided an overview of the whole case and included a 7-point plan the former guy used to try to steal power. You can read a synopsis of it on Talking Points Memo. The second hearing focused on the number of times the cast of White House and campaign officials repeatedly told the ex-president that the election was not stolen, there was no widespread voter fraud, and the voting machinery did not "flip" votes from him to President Biden. Former US District Attorney Joyce Vance, commenting on MSNBC, noted that the lies tRump kept issuing and still issues will not provide an adequate defense in a criminal court because he exhibits what is known as "willful blindness." You can read a slightly different version of the same idea in an op-ed piece by Jennifer Rubin, a former Republican, in the Washington Post this morning.

    The schedule and guide to how to watch is available with the caveat that the hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, has been postponed for technical reasons and has not, as of this writing, been rescheduled.

    And in case you missed the big local news last week, a judge finds Michael Gableman's office in contempt during tense court appearance in which the former justice refused to respond to questions."

    On Sunday, June 5, Grassroots North Shore sponsored a forum with the four top candidates for the Democratic nomination for US Senate. Watch it on YouTube.

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  • published the hearings are here! in Newsletter 2022-06-08 13:33:20 -0500

    the hearings are here!

    The first hearing of the January 6 Select Committee will take place Thursday, June 9, in prime time at 7pm CDT. Even if you think you already know enough about the previous administration's numerous efforts to stay in power illegitimately, it's absolutely MUST SEE TV. Why? Because like the Watergate hearings 50 years ago, these hearings promise to weave a riveting, coherent, and above all comprehensive narrative tying together all the numerous strands and major participants and showing what Liz Cheney believes is an "extremely broad..." and "well-organized" conspiracy that took place over months.

    There are numerous ways to watch. The Washington Post is reporting that ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN will all air the proceedings in full. "The Washington Post will have anchored coverage and analysis beginning Thursday night on www.washingtonpost.com. Whether you watch at home or join with others, make a plan to see the whole thing.

    Carlene Bechen and the Oregon Area Progressives are hosting a watch party. Although the Zoom is fully subscribed, the event will also be in a live stream on Facebook. Watching with others adds to the fun!

    The primary election is coming up fast. And there are several things you need to do to prepare.

    1. Make a plan to vote:
      • request an absentee ballot for the August 9 primary and the November 8 general election at MyVote.WI.gov;
      • or plan to vote early in person, beginning no later than July 26 and ending on August 5 (consult our early in-person voting page for community-specific information);
    2. inform yourself about the candidates in every race on our Elections 2022 pages;
    3. meet and greet some of the key candidates in our area at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County from 4pm to 6pm on Sunday, June 12 (drop in any time during the event).

    Voting may be the most important action you can take for every election. But it is definitely not the only thing you can or perhaps should do to help safeguard our elections. The Milwaukee County Election Commission is soliciting Election Inspectors, also called poll workers (for people who live in Milwaukee County).

    The Fall Elections are right around the corner and we will need approximately 1,500 Election Inspectors for the Fall Primary on Tuesday, August 9 and 2,500 for the General Election on Tuesday, November 8. Please let us know if you are available by completing this online form:

    This online form also contains information about training classes. Every returning Election Inspector needs to take a refresher training this summer or in the fall. We will offer in-person and virtual options. Please use the online form to sign up for a class.

    Assignment emails will be sent in July.

    Election Inspectors will be paid a $220 stipend for working a full shift and $113 for working a half shift on Election Day. Chief Inspectors will be paid a $325 stipend for a full day shift. They will also be paid $30 for the training class. The Election Commission will continue to provide PPE supplies like KN95 masks for Election Inspectors, surgical masks for voters, face shields, surface disinfectant and hand sanitizer.

    If you have any additional questions, please contact us by sending email or by calling us at 414-286-3491.

    Help make elections in Milwaukee County run smoothly if you can.

    While we're talking election information, I want to alert you to some important information in this year of redistricting. Although many people won't notice any changes to their electoral districts, it's important to know what happened, why it happened, and where those who have been moved finally landed. Cheryl Maranto and Deborah Patel are offering a series of "Know Your District" meetings. For Assembly District 10, sessions will take place on Thursday, June 16, and on Wednesday, July 13, at 7pm. For Assembly District 23, the sessions are Monday, June 20, and Thursday, July 14. For Assembly District 24, the sessions are Tuesday, June 21, and Friday, July 15. All of these programs begin at 7pm. You can sign up here.

    Finally, we are sad to announce that Mike Maher, a long-time and active supporter of Grassroots North Shore, has died. The viewing and funeral were last week but you can read his obituary in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.



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  • published Memorial Day approaches in Newsletter 2022-05-24 16:08:06 -0500

    Memorial Day approaches

    Let's start off with an announcement from the Ozaukee County Democrats: "Exciting news! Our very own Bob Tatterson (24th Assembly) and Dan Larsen (60th Assembly) announced their candidacies for state assembly at this week's Ozaukee Democrats meeting! .... And here's a link to Larsen's nomination form." Be sure you live in the district before signing his nomination papers. And that goes for any nomination papers you sign.

    It's really important that the Democrats field candidates in every race. Not only do nominees help get the message out; they really help elect others up and down the ballot. How? They make it more likely that people will turn out to vote. We're going to need every last blue vote we can muster to return Governor Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul to their offices. And we need to elect a new Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer. Plus, the Secretary of State is also on the ballot in the August 9 primary and the fall general election. We need to win all five statewide offices plus the race for US Senate if we want to keep our rights and our democracy from falling into the hands of would-be autocrats.

    Behind the scenes, right-wing operatives are ginning up ways to thwart the will of the voters. Here's one you've probably never heard of: a Talking Points Memo/ProPublica article about Jay Stone and his role as Big Lie proponent in Wisconsin.

    Last weekend, the Wisconsin GOP held its convention. Can we say Republicans in Disarray? Here's how Urban Milwaukee announced the fact that Republicans failed to endorse a gubernatorial candidate ahead of the August 9 primary. As the article notes, "After a weekend of extreme politics, the race to the bottom for the WisGOP gubernatorial nomination continued at the state convention. It appears that the chaos will not be ending any time soon: the Republican Party of Wisconsin chose not to endorse a single candidate ahead of the primary on August 9." At the same convention Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was booed when he said the 2020 election results cannot be decertified. "We need to focus on going forward," he told the audience. Let chaos reign!

    A few more nomination papers have trickled in. To sign any candidate's papers, you must live in the district the candidate is running in. You need to sign nomination papers and get them back in the mail (email and fax won't cut it) ASAP. You can search on your own address to make sure you know what district you're in.

    • Peter Peckarsky is running for the nomination for US Senate. Because it's a statewide race, you don't need to look up a district map. You can download his nomination papers and send them back by mail (Peckarsky For Wisconsin, 1345 N. Jefferson Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202). In the event of a delay in seeing the papers and snail mail will not be fast enough, please contact the campaign by email ([email protected]) or telephone (414-719-1838) and the campaign will schedule someone to pick up the fully signed papers from you.

    • Steven Olikara is also running to be the Democrats' US Senate nominee. Here is his nomination form and a Cap Times piece about him. Send nomination forms to Olikara for Senate, P.O. Box 510216,Milwaukee, WI 53203.

    • Darrin Madison is running for Assembly District 10. You can help him get on the ballot if you live in the new AD10. (Look up your new voting district here.) Send his nomination papers to 4080 N. 21st St. Apt#4, Milwaukee, WI 53209. Or you can phone or text his campaign and someone can pick them up from you: 414-303-2404 or 414-366-5778. WisPolitics.com published an article about him recently.

    You can find others' nomination forms on our Elections 2022 pages.

    Say NO to RoJo

    Here's an oldie but a goodie op-ed from Urban Milwaukee, December 2020: Paging Dr. Johnson. The article begins "Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson is an impostor pretending to be a health care expert and a U.S. senator. But Johnson is in over his head and oblivious of facts. He is an object of ridicule, even from other Republican senators." Johnson says COVID is similar to “a cold or a normal flu.” He rejects mask mandates and recommends discredited treatments. He also calls the Affordable Care Act “the greatest single threat to my freedom…” and repeats erroneous statements about it.

    Even though 1 million Americans have already died from the disease, he's still at it. We MUST defeat him in November. But to do that, we have to vote August 9 to nominate a US Senate candidate who can WIN! Request your absentee ballot at MyVote.WI.gov today! Or plan to vote early in person at your municipal clerk's office. Early voting will begin on July 26. Make a plan and VOTE.

    Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, everyone! I can smell the grilling already.


    Visit Grassroots North Shore on Facebook and Like Us!


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  • Roe v. Wade Repeal: Predicted Economic Impact on Women and Families

             On May 10th, in her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated,  “I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades.”  She predicted that the labor force participation of women would fall, that their incomes would fall, and that their career paths would be delimited. Committee-member  Senator Scott (R-SC) responded by labeling her analysis "callous." He spoke over her while she was talking, smothering her response: "... that's the truth."     A few days later,  Scott posted an opinion piece in the Washington Post stating that his extremely hard-working single mother had raised her children while working multiple jobs (which would seem to buttress Yellen’s argument, not his). [1]

             Economists have produced a large body of economic research on the relationship between abortion access and the economic status of women. An excellent place to initiate study of the topic appeared on November 30, 2021, on the Brookings Institution website, entitled  "What can economic research tell us about the effect of abortion access on women's lives? [2]" by two economists, Professor Caitlin Myers of Middlebury College and economist Morgan Welch of the Brookings Institution. They point out that in their plea before the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the State of Mississippi asserts “there is simply no causal link between the availability of abortion and the capacity of women to act in society” and hence no reason to believe that abortion access has shaped “the ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation.”  In strong disagreement, 154 distinguished economists provide hard evidence in their September 20, 2021 amicus brief ("friend of the court brief")[3].

    The amicus brief is rather long, but a few samples of the findings can be summarized here. From page 10: ”For young women, the estimated reduction in birth rates due to abortion legalization was three times as much as that of all women. Legalization of abortion, together with policies specifically granting young women the ability to obtain an abortion without parental consent, reduced teen motherhood by 34% and reduced teen marriage by 20%.”

    Several findings appear on Page 14, which can be summarized: Abortion legalization has shaped families and the circumstances into which children are born, reducing the number of children who lived in single-parent households, lived in poverty, received welfare and social services, suffered child neglect and abuse. Moreover, children in those families with abortion access had increasing rates of college graduation. 

    And, from page 23: “Approximately 49% of women who seek abortions are poor, 75% are low income, 59% already have children, and 55% report a recent disruptive life event such as the death of a close friend or family member, job loss, the termination of a relationship with a partner, or overdue rent or mortgage obligations.”

                  Because the amicus brief was submitted in mid-September,  the justices and their interns had two months to consider the arguments and evidence presented in it.  But during those oral arguments in December, Chief Justice Roberts interrupted the presentation of the economic evidence and waved it off as irrelevant. Furthermore, in the famously-leaked draft opinion written by Justice Alito, there is no evidence that the economics studies detailed in the amicus brief were taken into consideration, or even read. Evidently, the predictable economic consequences of the court's decision are not considered a part of the decision-making process.[4]  


    [1] (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/17/tim-scott-abortion-single-black-mothers-economic-problems/)

    [2] (https://www.brookings.edu/research/what-can-economic-research-tell-us-about-the-effect-of-abortion-access-on-womens-lives/)

    [3] (https://www.supremecourt.gov/ DocketPDF/19/19-1392/193084/20210920175559884_19-392bsacEconomists.pdf).

    [4] Anyone wishing to pursue this topic further would be well served by first reading the Myers/Welch article in Brookings before reading the wealth of information and references contained in the economists' amicus brief.  

    William L. Holahan is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


  • published Let's go! in Newsletter 2022-05-18 09:23:05 -0500

    Let's go!

    his week's newsletter will introduce a regular feature: Say No to RoJo. But before we get to that, some upcoming Grassroots North Shore events you won't want to miss. On Sunday, June 5, we're holding a Zoom webinar for the top four candidates for the US Senate nomination. And on Sunday, June 12, we're holding an outdoor meet-and-greet with those same four candidates plus candidates for Lt. Governor at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County.

    And I have a few more links to candidates' nomination papers to share with you.

    In a final note this week, there's news about a current lawsuit that seeks to to knock Senator Ron Johnson, Representative Tom Tiffany, and Representative Scott Fitzgerald off the ballot for aiding the insurrection on January 6, 2021. Our own Grassroots North Shore co-chair, Cheryl Maranto, is one of the plaintiffs bringing the suit.

    Unlike previous efforts in North Carolina (to get Madison Cawthorn off the ballot) and the one in Georgia (to get Marjorie Taylor Greene off the ballot) — both of which failed, this one is in a federal court. An article in UpNorthNews provides a clear explanation of what the suit entails. A hearing on what's known as "standing" — whether these specific plaintiffs are entitled to bring this suit — will take place soon.

    Now we turn our attention to the main electoral event of the year: the November 8 election. Let's start with some excellent reasons to re-elect Governor Evers! Although I do not usually include graphics in the newsletter, this one is just too good to pass up. We need protection from the shenanigans the GOP legislature gets up to. And Tony's our guy!


    MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE! And request your absentee ballots for the August 9 partisan primary and the November 8 election, if you have not already done so. Absentee ballots can be returned either by mail or by delivering the ballot to your municipal clerk. Right now we are awaiting a decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court on the availability of drop boxes. You should also make sure you know what Assembly district you are now in by using the search icon — in the lower right corner.

    Say NO to RoJo

    In an article published last month, Politico notes that "Ron Johnson’s approval ratings are underwater in a swing state that President Joe Biden won." And they touch on a few of the most egregious lies he has recently told "He has said that gargling mouthwash can kill the coronavirus, Jan. 6 was a mostly 'peaceful protest,' and unvaccinated people around the world are being sent “'basically into internment camps.'" Time to turf him out, don't you think?


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  • published A FIRST LOOK AT MARKETS AND POLICY in Econ4Voters 2022-05-14 09:43:21 -0500



             To foster the economic prosperity of a society of 330 million people, the US relies on both a market system and different levels of representative government.  Often public policy questions center on the proper role of government in complementing market activity, and when to let the market self-regulate.  Contemporary headliner examples include whether to control or end the use of fossil fuels; or to regulate health insurance markets or nationalize that service; or to subsidize higher education tuition versus enabling students to finance their education through long-term borrowing.   Questions of this type are inherently political questions, often accompanied by great polarization, angst, and concern over election outcomes.

            Advancement of public discourse about economics requires a common "language," i.e., an understanding of what people mean when they use key economic terms and concepts.  Of particular concern is the frequent use of the misunderstood term: "free markets," a term at odds with core economic analysis of markets.  

            The powerful forces of markets can be used to complement the regulation of utilities such as electricity, natural gas, and cable TV; to guide the construction and operation of infrastructure projects such as streets, roads, bridges, and airline flight paths; and to modulate climate change.  Examples such as these, and many more, show the importance of economic understanding in the development of public policy and in the evaluation of politicians at election time.

           Although every societal problem has a significant economic component, Democrats seem disinclined to use economics in their policy development and public discourse, preferring to frame issues with vague references to fairness and justice.  Meanwhile, self-branded conservatives invoke with gusto the verisimilitude of economics, confidently asserting that economic goals of growth and prosperity can be met within a robust market system that is free of government intervention.   In their telling, "free markets" are self-regulating,  serving the public better than if the government were to intervene.   

    Model-Building in Economic Education

       In contrast to contemporary liberals and conservatives, economists are more cautiously analytical in determining whether and how markets can serve the public interest.   Economists introduce economics through the  "competitive market model," a composite of principles describing the conditions required for a market to help society improve its economic well-being despite Nature's scarce resources.

     Profit and Loss

       The process of competition coordinates myriad choices. When buyers can choose among a large number of sellers, those sellers are incentivized to provide goods and services of reliable quality, durability and price. Price is determined by the interplay between sellers’ supply and the buyers’ demand for goods and services.  Investors enter an industry when profits can be expected, and exit to avoid expected losses. Price is forced down by entry or up by exit, until a "Goldilocks" price level is reached at which shortages and surpluses are eliminated: at that price the amount buyers want to buy equals the amount sellers want to sell.  


    The most surprising and counter-intuitive result from this model is that each of the competitors intends to improve their own profit but the process of competition transforms that intent into a greater quantity and lower price for the benefit of buyers.   This was first proposed by Adam Smith: self-interested profit-seekers  guided by the process of competition – – "as if by an invisible hand" -- to serve the public interest "even though that is no part of their intent."   Smith referred to this as a “system of natural liberty.” 

       This competitive market outcome requires key preconditions, including a large number of independent sellers as well as well-informed buyers.  Economists beginning with Smith have warned against over-reliance on the beneficent outcome of competitive markets without regard to these preconditions. He emphasized the incentive for individual sellers to attempt anti-competitive efforts:   "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."  For example, if firms obstruct the process of competition by forming cartels -- i.e.,  agreements among competitors to reduce total output to force prices up --  consumers are denied the benefits of competition, such as reasonable prices for drugs or gasoline or meat.

    Further Toward Realism: Competitive Markets Require Rules Set by Government

       Markets cannot function free of government. Instead, they require certain foundations provided by government, including rule of contract law, property rights law, ownership rights law, and other sectors of the law that form the “rules of the game.”  Because mutually beneficial exchange is central to the functioning of the competitive market, tradable ownership rights must be created and protected.  Although these legal systems are prerequisites for markets to function, they are a public responsibility; markets cannot provide them. 

    Another implication of the model that becomes explicit in practice: for the competitive process to serve the public interest, exchanges must be mutually beneficial to all parties affected by the transaction.  Consequently, all costs must be borne by buyers or sellers or shared between them, not shed to "third parties" external to the market's buyer-seller transactions. An example of such external costs would be an agreement between buyers and sellers that imposes noise, or danger, or the sight of ghastly architecture onto people who are not parties to the arrangement.  

    "Free Markets" versus Economics   

           The term "free market" is used very frequently in public discourse, particularly by people who brand themselves "conservative," and whose all-purpose policy prescription is tax cuts and deregulation.   When the word "free" is affixed to "market" it conveys a market that is free of government involvement in its operation.    

           Because the economics profession has devoted a great deal of attention to the benefits of competition, "free markets" are often conflated with "competitive markets."  This is a mistake; they are very different concepts.    Economists frame economic problems as seeking ways to improve economic well-being by overcoming some of Nature's constraints on resources -- land, labor, capital equipment, and time.   In that conception, economic freedom rises or falls depending upon whether the society's access to resources increases or decreases, whether that involves government or not.    

    Fossil Fuel Freedom?

           The competitive market model not only lays out the preconditions for market efficiency, but it also pinpoints possible remedies when those preconditions are not met.   That is, if those missing pieces can be provided through regulation, then economic freedom rises even though the market is less free from government.  For instance, as the competitive model shows, the market will tend to ignore external costs of the use of fossil fuels (i.e., pollution, emission of heat-trapping gas), and consequently underprice and, thereby, encourage overuse of those fuels.    To correct for the too-low price of fossil fuels, economists recommend implementation of a carbon tax to force buyers and sellers to factor in the external costs to their decision-making. With that correction, economic efficiency rises because of, not in spite of, increased government involvement.  While the market will be less free, economic performance and economic freedom improve.   This example and many more show the inherent contradiction between free-market concepts and the peer-reviewed findings of the economics profession.  

    William L. Holahan is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

    [1] This is the first of several articles on markets and public policy, written with the conviction that misunderstanding of this concept, deepened by dis-information from economic opportunists, is central to the polarization facing the nation.  


             The college education is an exploration of the amazing achievements of the human race as well as enabling students to discover their own talent and passion within a galaxy of opportunity.  It is an expensive endeavor; borrowing from the student loan program is an essential part of the strategy to maximize the value of the educational asset.   This is the first of two essays on student loans for the Grassroots North Shore.  It focuses on ways to make high-valued use of student borrowing.    The second essay will present a two-part plan to improve the market for student loans to reduce the burden of repayment. 

             A college education is a costly service and must be paid for somehow.  Students do not pay full cost; in addition to the student share of cost, the remainder is split between state and federal support of higher education,  as well as fund-raising and yield on endowment.   While the total cost of an education has gone up at about the rate of inflation, the state share of the cost has gone down, requiring the share of cost paid by the students to rise faster than inflation.

             45.5 million college students and graduates have built up $1.75 trillion in student loan debt.   It is not uncommon for individual graduates to have ten or twenty thousand dollars of indebtedness,  in some cases much more. Hefty monthly payment obligations begin soon after graduation.  Proposals to ease this burden include making tuition "free" and canceling some or all of the debt already accumulated. 

              Free tuition and student loan cancellation would constitute a  transfer of costs from the student share to taxpayers.  Taxpayers are already under strain, saddled with the cost of public health, prisons, pensions, and the trillions of dollars of debt inherent in neglected infrastructure. Students are under strain, too,  which makes the student loan issue one of the more nettlesome of the prominent issues facing the nation and its voters.

    Does Borrowing Make a Borrower Worse Off?

                The math boils down to this:  if  borrowed money is invested in an asset with a rate of return greater than the rate of interest on the borrowed money, the borrower becomes better off financially; if the rate of return is less than the rate of interest on the borrowed money, the borrower becomes worse off.[1]   

             Put more simply: if the borrowed money is invested in a way that enhances ability to repay, the borrower's financial position improves over time.     If a student borrows money to buy the time needed to build an educational asset that will not only be personally rewarding but will also enable a net economic gain after loan repayment.[2]  However,  students who borrow money for college and then earn low grades will not add much to ability to repay. 

    Should Low-income Students  Borrow Less or More than Middle-income Students?

              Borrowing does not make poor students poor; they are already poor. Poverty is the problem to be solved; for many poor students, a rigorous college education is a way to solve that problem. A well-regulated student loan program enables the poor students to earn the same degree as the higher income student who doesn't have to borrow from the student loan program.   

     Strategies for Growing the Net Benefits of College 

             Targeted high school preparation can reduce college costs and grow the benefits.   First up:  computer skills.   College is high-tech these days in virtually all disciplines across campus,  from science and engineering to social science, humanities, and fine arts.      Textbooks come with ancillaries such as websites,  electronic problem sets,  video clips, and tutorials.  Similarly, modern technology enhances communication with professors, teaching assistance, and other students.   The high school years are a good time to enhance computer skills.  

             Second: English and math are the languages central to the study of the wide range of knowledge available for guided study in college. The non-routine projects required during a rigorous college education require skill in writing,  revising, and editing essays as well as the intricate strategies for math problem-solving.   High school elective courses that require expository writing and word problems in math help prepare. 

    The Danger of Borrowing Too Little

              Working at low-paying jobs that consume a lot of time and energy could be counterproductive.  Often the time would be better spent in pursuing high grades in a rigorous education, even though that path might require additional borrowing.    When prepared and mature enough,  students should borrow to buy the time needed to earn high grades.   

    The Double Major Option

             As Payscale.com reports, some college majors have a higher lifetime financial pay-off than others.      Students whose passions are enlivened by a major with little likelihood of financial payoff might combine that interest with a more financially promising second major. For example, one of the high-paying engineering majors, or business finance or economics could combine with social science or humanities major. Such combined study can fulfill both intellectual interest and financial security, including the ability to repay student loans.  

             Education is a lifetime asset of greater value than any other. Borrowing enables students to enhance that value.  The next essay in this series includes suggestions for improving the loan repayment formulas to reduce the repayment burden so that students can more fully enjoy the benefits of their asset.     


    William L. Holahan is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.




    [1] Private sector banking industry requires borrowers to pledge guarantees to the bank, called "collateral," of assets that the bank can take possession of should the borrower default on repayments. Federal student loan guarantees substitute for that collateral, and direct federal loans do not require collateral.


    [2] See Payscale.com for data on the returns to college by type of degree and major course of study.


  • published stormy weather in Newsletter 2022-05-10 20:18:37 -0500

    stormy weather

    We are living through very dark days. As I'm sure you're aware, a draft opinion on the Dobbs v Jackson case at the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) leaked and was published by Politico last week. You can read the draft opinion yourself. If it stands as written or even if the opinion is modified a bit but the heart of it stands, Roe v Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood will both be overturned in their entirety. For Wisconsin, that means abortion will be illegal once again, as it was before Roe v Wade made reproductive healthcare a universal right under a right to privacy seven Justices wrote that the Constitution implied.

    While the opinion drafted by Justice Alito goes out of its way to try to distinguish between abortion cases and all the other rights that have relied on the same legal reasoning about privacy that forms the basis of the Roe v Wade decision, the truth is all sorts of other decisions — access to contraception, same sex marriage, and interracial marriage, to name just a few — are likely to be challenged on the same grounds. Alito holds that because there is no mention of abortion in the Constitution, and there is also no explicit right to privacy, Roe and Casey were "wrongly decided."

    Our current Attorney General, Josh Kaul, has announced that his office will not prosecute cases of abortion. Milwaukee's District Attorney, John Chisholm, was a bit more circumspect but both note that such cases would deflect resources from more urgent matters. On the other hand, Republicans running for Attorney General support prosecuting abortions should the 1849 Wisconsin law that banned abortions once again be in force.

    It's easy to fall into despair over this turn of events. After all, there does not seem to be a clear avenue to protect reproductive health rights at the federal level. And our state legislature, dominated as it is by radical Republicans, will certainly not repeal the draconian anti-abortion laws already on the books here. (See this account of Wisconsin's abortion laws in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.) But we must not. Our recourse is simple: on Mother's Day thousands of people took to the streets in protest. Public pressure of that sort, though, won't reach the stony hearts of the five Justices who have already signaled that SCOTUS will overturn Roe v Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood. The important thing to do now: VOTE FOR PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT OUR RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE! What stands between us and a rash of new legislation attacking all sorts of other rights to privacy is the veto pen Governor Evers wields and the determination of Josh Kaul. Re-electing them in November is our ONLY WAY to protect our personal privacy in Wisconsin.

    And in other startling, but perhaps not shocking, news, Russia's infiltration of the GOP goes back at least to the McCain campaign in 2008. So says Steve Schmidt, who, as campaign advisor for the 2nd half of the campaign, ought to know. Politico has the Twitter thread and the story. Plus Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense under the former guy, reveals more of *Rump's viciousness and stupidity in an interview with Norah O'Donnell. So our president wanted to shoot missiles into Mexico and try to pretend we didn't; to shoot Black Lives Matter protesters; and to remove all US troops from South Korea. And he called his VP and other officials "f'ing losers." Nice, right? And we might be seeing this dangerous clown act return in 2025! Again, we must vote like our country depends on it. Because it does.

    So here's a little help sorting out who should be the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Three declared candidates visited virtually with the steering and advisory committees. We're sharing the video on our YouTube channel. It's about 50 minutes long, but take the time to watch it. All three candidates — Peng Her, Sara Rodriquez, and David Bowen — are impressive. Mr. Her, founder and CEO of the Hmong Institute, declares on his campaign website that he is running because he is "a strong advocate for building strong and safe communities, helping small business succeed, and increasing access to quality health care." Sara Rodriguez, currently a member of the Wisconsin Assembly representing Waukesha County, is a nurse and public health professional, according to her campaign website. David Bowen is also a current State Assembly representative. You can find out more about him on his campaign Facebook page. You can help get one of them on the primary ballot by downloading and circulating their nomination papers from their websites. But remember you can nominate ONLY ONE.

    We will be interviewing and meeting the top candidates for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in June. It's a two-part event. On June 5, Kathleen Dunn, former NPR host, will speak with the candidates on Zoom. You can sign up to watch. We will also make the video available if you can't attend the event. And on June 12, we will hold a safe outdoor event at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County. You can meet and talk to the Senate candidates in person. The candidates for Lt. Governor will also be available for you to meet. Sign up for part two here.


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  • published Roe v Wade is a goner in Newsletter 2022-05-04 08:53:50 -0500

    Roe v Wade is a goner

    By now you have undoubtedly heard the news, either from watching cable news channels last night or from Journal Sentinel, the Washington Post, the New York Times, or indeed any national news outlet. A draft majority opinion is poised to overturn Roe v Wade. Once the ruling is final, Wisconsin's 19th century state law banning doctors from performing most abortions will be immediately enforceable again, as it was before the 1973 landmark Roe v Wade decision. In much of the country, women will not be able to access abortions. And that's not all. Many other rights depend on the right to privacy that the Roe decision relied on but that the current court seems to believe does not have constitutional protection. Contraception may in fact be the next target of the theocrats who want to turn back the clock on women's rights.

    In case you had previously doubted the meaning and importance of elections, this pending decision should settle the matter. It also MUST GALVANIZE YOU TO VOTE AND TO WORK to elect candidates who will support a national law protecting a woman's right to choose. The primary election, in which we will determine which Democrat will run against — and DEFEAT — Senator Ron Johnson, will take place on August 9. Absentee voting will begin in early July. So get yourself informed and ready to vote by attending a special two-part event Grassroots North Shore is hosting on June 5 and June 12. On June 5, Kathleen Dunn, a former NPR host, will interview the top four senate candidates: Mandela Barnes, Sarah Godlewski, Alex Lasry, and Tom Nelson. (By then, we should have information about these candidates and many others on our Elections 2022 pages.) Register for that Zoom event here. On June 12, we will hold an outdoor, in-person meet-and-greet with the four top candidates at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County. Here's the sign-up. Candidates vying to be the Lieutenant Governor nominee — David Bowen, Peng Her, and Sara Rodriguez — will also be there.

    If you have not already done so, please request an absentee ballot. You can take care of that task at MyVote.Wi.gov. You can also check your registration, track your ballot so that you know your request has been received, when your ballot is mailed to you, and when the municipal clerk's office has received it. Absentee voting is safe and secure. It is also the best way to make sure you are available to help run elections, either as a poll worker (aka election inspector) or as an election observer. If you live in Milwaukee County, you can work at the polls in the city. Apply here. Or you can contact your municipal clerk to ask whether poll workers are needed in your municipality.

    There are a few upcoming events of note that are not yet on the list because they're farther in the future than the list usually covers. But I want to bring them to your attention now so you can put them on your calendar. So, for those of us who live in Ozaukee County, you should know that the 6th CD Convention will take place on Sunday, May 23rd, at the La Sure Supper Club in Oshkosh. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Cost: $30 general fee, $25 for students, $40 at the door. The Oz Dems can send 35 delegates. This is a gateway to the state Dem convention. If you want to be considered, contact the Oz Dems to get information: (262) 423-7578.

    On Thursday, May 19, the Wisconsin Justice Initiative will feature Mark Joseph Stern, staff writer at Slate, discussing the court's justices decisions, and trends and the dangerous paths the Court may be taking. Stern covers the Supreme Court and the law. Given the Court's blow to a woman's right to choose, this program is especially timely. You can register now.

    The events list is modest again this week and is likely to continue to be until the primary heats up in early June. So in the meantime, you might want to send postcards to support Senator Warnock in Georgia. Activate America, with whom Grassroots North Shore worked in the 2020 election, is organizing the effort. Sign up with them. You will have to supply your own postcards and stamps so you'll need to get right on it. The primary in Georgia is on May 24. Grassroots North Shore will begin its own postcard campaign in June. Watch for it and sign up when it's time!

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  • published let's get ready in Newsletter 2022-04-26 17:07:20 -0500

    let's get ready

    August 9 may be months away but the time to register and educate voters about the new districts, rules for absentee voting and like is NOW. Supermarket Legends legend Linea Sundstrom is holding on online voter registration training on Sunday, May 1, at 7pm. To attend, send an email to her at [email protected]. The Zoom link will arrive in your email on Saturday, April 30. Grassroots North Shore is organizing efforts to register eligible high school students at Nicolet, Brown Deer, and Whitefish Bay schools. And we could use a lot of help. So more about this volunteer opportunity as plans firm up. Also keep in mind that we will be sending postcards and organizing some phoning ahead of the August election. More information coming soon.

    If you have not already done so, request an absentee ballot at MyVote.WI.gov. Voting absentee is still the safest method and it also allows those who can work the polls as election inspectors or election observers to do so on Election Day. To be an election inspector, you can contact your municipal clerk to find out what's needed. You'll find phone numbers for many North Shore municipalities on our page for early in-person voting. If you live in Milwaukee County, you can also apply to be an election inspector for the city. Here's a link to the Milwaukee City Election Commission information about election inspectors. You'll find a link to the online application and other helpful bits at the bottom of the page. To help with voter protection, both before and during the elections, volunteer with the Voter Protection Team.

    The matter of drop boxes and also the question of assisting voters with disabilities to return absentee ballots were argued at the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 13. NPR has extensive coverage of the hearing and the issues. No decision has yet been rendered but one could be issued in the next few weeks.

    Also, be sure to mark your calendars now for the Grassroots North Shore US Senate candidate forum. We're going to have two parts to this event: first, an online virtual forum moderated by Kathleen Dunn on Sunday, June 5, and second, a meet-and-greet outdoor gathering at Virmond Park on Sunday, June 12. I can't tell you how vital voting in this primary will be. Choosing a candidate for the general election in November is always important but this year we have an excellent chance to give Senator Baldwin a partner instead of an opponent. A lot of really interesting candidates are vying for the nomination. This event will give you a chance to meet and talk to them in person.

    And while I'm forecasting the future, here are two other events you might want to pencil in. On Thursday, May 12, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and also the county chapters in Dane, Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties are presenting a talk by Reggie Jackson on "How We Got Here: The Hidden History of Diversity in America." You can sign up here. And on Sunday, May 19, a Wisconsin Justice Initiative featuring Mark Joseph Stern (staff writer at Slate) will tackle the question "Can Democracy Survive This Supreme Court?" Stern will discuss the court's justices, decisions, and trends and the dangerous paths the Court may be taking and will entertain questions from attendees at the event, which will be held from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at The Cooperage. Get more information and sign up.

    There's a lot of shrugging about the virus going on, but you should know that, according to the New York Times Tracker, cases of COVID-19 in the Milwaukee Metro area have increased by 50% in the last two weeks. While the seven-day average stands at 303 daily cases, that's an 18% increase over Monday's seven-day average. In other words, cases are beginning to increase at a fast clip. You should definitely order home test kits from the federal government. You might also want to consider masking in indoor public spaces and observing social distancing for the next few weeks as this wave waxes (and then, we hope, wanes).

    A new Marquette University Law School poll will be released on Wednesday, April 27, at 12:15pm CDT. The survey looks at preferences for the Republican and Democratic primaries being held in August as wall as a host of salient issues. Poll director Charles Franklin will talk with Alan Borsuk, senior fellow in law and public policy, about the findings. You can watch the video beginning at 12:15. Just click on the "WATCH NOW" button. The full poll will also be posted after 1pm.

    As you're probably aware, richest-man-in-the-world Elon Musk is apparently going to buy Twitter and take it private, assuming that the deal passes regulatory muster. What that will mean for the social media behemoth remains to be seen. But there's plenty of speculation. He says he's a "free speech absolutist" who believes that anything that's legal should not be removed from the site. So no content moderation. However, there's what he says he'll do and then there are the downstream effects. As NPR points out, "[e]xperts who study social networks fret about Musk's push to loosen the rules of engagement on Twitter. They say that could give license to harassers, trolls and others who abuse the platform to target people. They also worry relaxing the rules on Twitter will empower those looking to exploit the platform by spreading misinformation, or flat-out lies, about political events, government officials and matters related to public health and safety." In short, the prospects are like dark clouds: threatening stormy weather.


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