WiGWAG: News with a twist, Jan. 29, 2015

Written by Lisa Neff, Louis Weisberg,
Matthew Reddin
Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:16

A “patriot” restaurant owner in Wyoming, Michigan — a town that appears to suffer from identity issues — has banned Michael Moore and Seth Rogen from his Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille for their outspoken criticism of the Oscar-nominated movie American Sniper. Our hunch is the two well-fed celebrities can find elsewhere to chow. 

Oxfam: Richest 1 percent sees share of wealth jump

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 07:06

The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, according to an analysis released by Oxfam International.

Walker forms political organization to boost potential 2016 presidential bid

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 28 January 2015 09:57

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced this week that he formed a political organization to help boost a potential 2016 presidential run, the first concrete step toward a possible campaign that comes as others are also ramping up efforts to seek the GOP nomination.

The tax-exempt group, Our American Revival, was formed on Jan. 16 and can raise and spend unlimited cash to help Walker push his agenda. But if he were to become an official candidate, Walker would not be able to move the balance from his tax-exempt group to a presidential campaign.

Right-wing bias, political jockeying conspire to derail Milwaukee’s streetcar proposal

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 12:50

Passengers look out from an Atlanta streetcar.
— Photo: AP/David Goldman

Streetcars and light rail systems are central to America’s growing re-urbanization — the counterpunch to last century’s urban flight. Although critics often dismiss them as “trendy,” you’ll find such systems today in down-to-earth cities such as Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Cincinnati. Leaders in conservative metro areas such as Salt Lake City rave about them. They’re an integral part of 21st–century urban landscapes in nearly every corner of the nation — Portland and Seattle, Tucson and Phoenix, Atlanta and Nashville, Philadelphia and Boston.

Amid presidential campaign, Walker’s deficit balloons to $2B

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 08:32

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will have to plug a roughly $280 million budget shortfall by the end of June, and the state faces a two-year deficit that could be as large as $2 billion, based on new estimates released from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

High court sets stage for historic ruling on marriage

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 05:54

The U.S. Supreme Court this spring will take up cases seeking to overturn bans on same-sex marriage in four states, setting the stage for a national — and historic — ruling on the freedom to marry in America.

Walker proposes $300-million cut, more freedom to UW system

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 28 January 2015 06:30

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to give the University of Wisconsin System more freedom would allow it to impose unchecked tuition increases that could price students out of college, one of the system’s toughest critics and student leaders said.

Debunking objections to the Milwaukee streetcar

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 12:02

A conceptual drawing of the Milwaukee streetcar.

Ald. Bob Donovan claims Milwaukee’s streetcar project would divert $100 million of taxpayer money from education and other beneficial programs, but that’s simply not true. Here are some of the other popular objections to the streetcar, followed by responses from Jeff Fleming, spokesman for the Milwaukee Department of City Development.

Senate says climate change is real, but build KXL

Written by WiG
and AP reports
Thursday, 29 January 2015 07:26

UPDATE on Jan. 29: The U.S. Senate on Jan. 29 voted to approve legislation to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The vote was 62-36. Nine Democrats voted with 53 Republicans for the measure.

Obama promotes religious, gender equity in India speech

Written by From AP reports Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:08

President Barack Obama gently nudged India to fulfill its constitution's pledge to uphold the "dignity of the individual," drawing on his own experience as a minority in the United States as he closed out a three-day visit to New Delhi.

Obama said that while he has had extraordinary opportunities, "there were moments in my life where I've been treated differently because of the color of my skin." As he touted the importance of religious tolerance, he noted the persistent false rumors that he is a Muslim, not a Christian.

Judge allows felony abuse-of-power case against Rick Perry to move forward

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 27 January 2015 20:31

A Texas judge has refused to dismiss a felony abuse-of-power case against former Gov. Rick Perry on constitutional grounds, ruling that criminal charges against the possible 2016 presidential candidate should stand.