As election campaigns reach a fever pitch, voter disgust with political ads and campaign spending is soaring. Since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the amount of money private individuals and corporations can funnel through interest groups to influence elections, billions will be spent to buy our government and dictate its priorities this year and in the presidential election of 2016.
The justices who made the Citizens United decision in 2010 said that First Amendment free speech rights trumped concerns about political corruption, which courts could deal with on an individual basis. They evinced little consciousness or care about financial inequality in the United States, assuming a level playing field that would be fair to all interest groups. That’s hardly the case.
Suicide freaks us out.
In late July, a coalition of farm, consumer, rural and faith-based groups wrote the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the proposed merger of Tyson Foods, Inc., and The Hillshire Brands Co., which originated in Wisconsin. The coalition wants the department to oppose the early termination of the antitrust examination and take a second review of the merger, which the groups argue creates a monopoly, threatening small farms, reducing consumer choice, allowing for higher prices and possibly degrading the food quality.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin endorses candidates who support family planning and a woman’s right to choose. In the Nov. 4 general election, endorsed candidates include:
GOVERNOR: Mary Burke
In 1969, Angela Lansbury starred as the madwoman Countess Aurelia in the Broadway musical Dear World, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. The show was a bomb, but Lansbury won the Tony Award that spring and the show is noted for one great tune, a passionate anthem to denial called “I Don’t Want to Know.”
Last Shabbat, as my husband and I were walking home from a long, lovely lunch with friends, I noticed scribbling on the sidewalk. Since the letters were written in white chalk and were upside-down from where I stood, it took a moment to decipher their meaning, and another moment to get over the shock.
This was on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the epicenter of the liberal American shtetl, a place so ubiquitously Jewish that even the smallest grocery store posts Friday night candle-lighting times each week. So to see even this mildly anti-Israel graffiti was a surprise. For the first time since we moved to the neighborhood a couple of years ago, we felt uncomfortable, targeted, as people who care about Israel and as Jews.
I ran across the acronyms “LGBTQIAP+” and “GLBTQIZX” recently and had to look up what the heck they mean. This crazy alphabet soup of sexual minorities is getting out of hand.
I’m pumped about electing Mary Burke Wisconsin’s governor and ending Scott Walker’s divisive policies and incompetent administration.
Walker built his rep on standing firmly in support of Act 10, the GOP law that repealed the right to collective bargaining by public sector unions. This corporate-backed effort was sold as a means of government-streamlining and tax reduction. It intentionally targeted organized labor, the only force able to vie against the power and influence of private interest groups in the political arena.
40 years ago: In 1974, the Gay People’s Union worked with the Milwaukee Health Department to set up a free VD screening clinic for gay men on East St. Paul Avenue. The clinic moved to Farwell Avenue when GPU opened a center there in 1975. The clinic continues to serve people today as the BESTD Clinic on Brady Street.
Lesbians who had graduated from the “freespace” coming-out groups and were looking for ways to get involved in lesbian issues created Grapevine: A Lesbian Feminist Action Core in 1974. In its first years, Grapevine had a political focus. It evolved into a social group that sponsored potlucks and camping trips. It was revered for providing a non-bar atmosphere in which newly out lesbians could meet women and learn about the LGBT community in Milwaukee.
Thirty-five years ago, as editor of Amazon: Milwaukee’s Feminist Press, I reported on the murders of Heather Halseth, Alice Alzner, Joanne Esser, Janet Marie Bey and Nancy Lynn Radbill.