The people of Aurora, Colo., had just begun returning to normalcy after the July 20 massacre at a cinema there when Milwaukeeans were hit with the news that a hate attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek had left six worshippers near the Texas A&M University campus, killing two and wounding four before he was gunned down by police.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Texas case was the 12th mass shooting in the nation since the beginning of June. FBI statistics show guns are used in 67 percent of all homicides.
For the first time since 1990, the International AIDS Conference 2012 will be held on American soil. This is a major development.
Hosting the conference helps put the United States back into the mainstream international scientific community. The nation is increasingly becoming a scientific backwater. We are the only industrialized country on Earth where evolution and global warming are heavily doubted and science-based sex education is demonized. The return of this internationally watched and esteemed conference lends stature to our scientific community.
Gov. Scott walker has received an obscene amount of money from donors in the fossil fuel, manufacturing and home-building industries. In return, he has represented their interests with unflinching determination, guiding their agenda – as articulated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – verbatim through the Legislature without debate.
On June 5, voters in Wisconsin will have an unusual opportunity to decide whether this agenda has benefitted the state.
Not long ago, freedom of religion meant freedom from others’ religions. This quintessential American principle was foremost among the goals of our nation’s founders, because early settlers came here to escape religious oppression.
But a growing number of right-wing religious leaders are on a crusade to overturn the great American doctrine known as “separation of church and state.” They’ve revised our history to read that our founders never intended the government to be free of religion, but rather to be a tool for enforcing their religion – fundamentalist Christianity.
Following the U.S. Census, the party in control of each state legislature gets to redraw the boundaries of its political districts, ostensibly to reflect population changes. The party so empowered inevitably uses the opportunity to design a map shamelessly serving its advantage.
In Wisconsin, the reigning GOP leadership used the occasion of the 2010 Census to implement a number of controversial maneuvers, including eliminating the former 22nd Assembly District. Among other things, Republicans folded the district’s white, upscale community of Shorewood into the 10th Assembly District’s inner-city boundaries, creating a super-majority Democratic district that politically unites two diverse populations.
We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down key elements of Arizona’s draconian, unapologetically racist immigration bill, dubbed the “Show Me Your Papers” law. Senate Bill 1070 has become a cause célèbre among the Tea Party crowd and other Americans who are terrified over the inevitable loss of the nation’s white majority status. The court’s ruling takes some, though not all, of the wind out of their sails.
A milestone in the battle for LGBT equality was quietly reached late last month.
On April 24, Brian Sims, a 33-year-old gay Philadelphia lawyer, won a Democratic state House primary. Since there is no Republican contender in his Democratic district, his victory put Sims on an inevitable path to becoming Pennsylvania’s first out lawmaker.
“We are everywhere” is a longstanding motto of the LGBT civil rights movement.
Two decades ago, it was printed on T-shirts, baseball caps and other items to assert that we’ve had a presence in all communities and at all times. Today the message remains critical, both for American society at large and for the countless LGBT people still living in isolation and fear.
GOP representatives in the U.S. House have now voted 31 times either to dismantle or hobble President Barack Obama’s health care reform act – known variously as Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Those votes in the House have been symbolic, since the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate has made it clear that any efforts to alter the legislation will halt at the door of its chamber. Thus the time spent on those votes is a waste of energy that would be better spent on developing policies to stimulate the lagging economy.
GOP House members hope to gain political traction by their opposition to Obamacare. They’ve focused enormous efforts on attempts to brand the bill as “socialized medicine.” Never mind that Obamacare is not remotely socialized anything. In fact, it delivers 30 million new customers to the private insurance industry.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, working with volunteers from groups such as We Are Wisconsin and We Are One, put together the most aggressive and effective get-out-the-vote effort possible in our recent gubernatorial recall election. Tom Barrett worked harder and showed more passion and command than ever before in his distinguished career of public service. He did not by any stretch blow this race. He and his backers should be proud of his performance.
In the days after Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill repealing Wisconsin’s pay equity law for women, Republicans put forth excuses even more contemptible than the measure itself.
Adopted in 2009, Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act allowed women to sue their employers in state court if they were being paid less than men for doing the same work.Women could already sue in federal court, but the state judicial system is more accessible and less expensive.
Gov. Scott Walker’s base loves him unconditionally. In the five surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling since Walker took office, his support among Republicans has grown from 86 percent to 92 percent. This slight gain has occurred despite the state having experienced the greatest political polarization in its history. Under his leadership, Wisconsin endured a six-month period of job losses that were among the very worst in the nation – and some months the absolute worse. Meanwhile, a John Doe investigation into corruption by Walker’s staff during his tenure as Milwaukee county executive inches its way closer way to the governor’s doorstep.
Yet Walker remains a virtual hero to the religious right, big business and the Tea Party. “I Stand with Scott Walker” yard signs flourish like ragweed on the lawns of Waukesha, Brookfield and other right-wing bastions.