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Out in force: Massive women’s marches protest Trump

Women turned out in large numbers in cities worldwide on Jan. 21 to stage mass protests against U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hundreds of thousands of women —  many wearing pink knit “pussy”  hats — marched through downtown Washington, and also thronged the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston to rebuke Trump on his first full day in the White House. People — about 75,000 — also marched in Madison.

The Women’s March on Washington appeared to be larger than the crowds that turned out the previous day to witness Trump’s inauguration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Organizers of the protest had told police they expected 200,000 people to attend but the crowd looked substantially bigger than that, stretching for about a mile and estimated at 500,000.

Thousands filed past the White House and were ushered back by Secret Service officers on horseback.

A planned march in Chicago grew so large organizers did not attempt to parade through the streets but instead staged a rally. Chicago police said more than 125,000 people attended.

The protests illustrated the depth of the division in the country which is still recovering from the 2016 campaign season. Trump stunned the political establishment by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. party.

“We’re just disturbed by everything Trump wants to do,” said Bonnie Norton, 35. She and Jefferson Cole, 36, brought their 19-month-old daughter Maren to the Washington march.

Although his party now controls both the White House and Congress, Trump faces entrenched opposition from segments of the public as he takes office, a period that is typically more of a honeymoon for a new president.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump had the lowest favorability rating of any incoming U.S. president since the 1970s.

Thousands of women also took to the streets of Sydney, London, Tokyo and other cities in Europe and Asia in “sister marches” against Trump.

Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that “I am honored to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” but made no mention of the protests. He attended an interfaith service at Washington National Cathedral.

SUBWAY OVERWHELMED

The Washington march stressed the city’s Metro subway system, with riders reporting enormous crowds and some end-of-line stations temporarily turning away riders when parking lots filled and platforms became too crowded.

The Metro reported 275,000 rides as of 11 a.m. Saturday, 82,000 more than the 193,000 reported at the same time on Jan. 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration and eight times normal Saturday volume.

By afternoon, the protest rally had been peaceful, a contrast to the day before when black-clad activists smashed windows, set vehicles on fire and fought with riot police who responded with stun grenades.

Many protesters on Jan. 21 wore knitted pink cat-eared “pussy hats,” a reference to Trump’s claim in the 2005 video that was made public weeks before the election that he grabbed women by the genitals.

The Washington march featured speakers, celebrity appearances and a protest walk along the National Mall.

Crowds filled more than ten city blocks of Independence Avenue in downtown Washington, with more people spilling into side streets and onto the adjoining National Mall.

In the crowd were well-known figures including Madonna and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who waved to supporters as his walked his yellow Labrador dog, Ben.

WOMEN’S VOTES

Clinton won the popular vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election by around 2.9 million votes and had an advantage among women of more than 10 percentage points. Trump, however, won the state-by-state Electoral College vote which determines the winner.

Trump offered no olive branches to his opponents in his inauguration speech in which he promised to put “America First.”

“He has never seemed particularly concerned about people who oppose him, he almost fights against them instinctively,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

The lawmakers who Trump will rely on to achieve his policy goals including building a wall on the Mexican border and replacing the 2010 healthcare reform law known as “Obamacare” may be more susceptible to the negative public opinion the march illustrates, Levesque said.

“Members of Congress are very sensitive to the public mood and many of them are down here this week to see him,” Levesque said.

At the New York march, 42-year-old Megan Schulz, who works in communications said she worried that Trump was changing the standards of public discourse.

“The scary thing about Donald Trump is that now all the Republicans are acquiescing to him and things are starting to become normalized,” Schulz said. “We can’t have our president talking about women the way he does.”

Schedule: Women’s March on Madison

Madison’s solidarity sister march to the Women’s March on Washington will begin at about noon Jan. 21.

To keep track of march news — or share from the march — the Twitter hashtag is #womensmarchmadison.

Here are details from the organizing page on Facebook:

Marchers will meet up at the Library Mall near 728 State St. at noon and  march to the state Capitol for a rally that will last until about 3 p.m.

Scheduled speakers include:

• Sen. Lena Taylor.
• Sagashus Levingston.
• Abigail Swetz.
• Alder Maurice Cheeks.
• Grisel Tapia.
• Darla Lannert.
• U.S. Rep Mark Pocan

 

Performers include:

• Once A Month.
• Youth Spoken Word Poets
•Token Minority .
• Raging Grannies.
• Eastern Birds.

Other details:

A flash mob is being organized at: https://www.facebook.com/events/233712650388743/?ti=icl

Free shuttle busses are operating from East Towne Mall and Goodman South Library are full.

Grace Episcopal Church is opening its doors for marchers to use restrooms or seeking some quiet.

RESISTANCE: List of protests against inauguration of Donald Trump

The number of protests before, during and after the inauguration of Donald Trump continues to increase.

More than 30 groups have applied for permits to protest in Washington, D.C.

Protests also will be taking place in cities across the nation, including in multiple sites on multiple dates in Wisconsin.

A look at protest plans…

Women’s March on Washington

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department has issued a permit for the  Women’s March on Washington, which takes place Jan. 21 — the day after the inauguration.

Police expect 200,000 participants for the event, which will start near the Capitol. Marchers will walk along Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue — and more details are being worked out.

Roundtrip bus rides to and from the event are available, including from  Madison, Green Bay, Stevens Point and Eau Claire. Coaches from Milwaukee also were booked.

Here’s the statement from the march organizers:

On Jan. 21, we will unite in Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice.

For more information about the Women’s March on Washington, go to womensmarch.com.

Sister solidarity marches

Women’s marches on Jan. 21 also will take place in many other cities in the United States, including in Madison.

The Madison action will take place noon-5 p.m., with demonstrators gathering at Library Mall and marching to the state Capitol.

For more on the Women’s March on Madison, go to facebook.com/events/361478110866299

Women’s March on Chicago

In the Midwest, the largest women’s march will take place in Chicago on Jan. 21.

March organizer Liz Radford, in a release from the ACLU, said, “We are marching to voice protests and concerns because our rights, safety and values are at stake. The mission of this march is to connect, protect and activate in our communities. … We are varied races, ethnicities, ages, religions, sexual identities, economic situations, politics and countless other diversities, and we will share space on Jan. 21 to protect our rights and our humanity.”

The march is expected to begin at about 10 a.m. in Grant Park.

For more about the Women’s March on Chicago, go to womens121marchonchicago.org or facebook.com/womensmarchonchicago

Earth2Trump roadshow

TheEarth2Trump roadshow kicked off on the Pacific coast earlier this month and the two-route, 16-stop tour moved eastward, building a network of resistance againstTrump’s attacks on the environment and civil rights.

The shows feature live music, national and local speakers and a chance for participants to write personalized Earth2Trump messages that will be delivered to Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.

The Center for Biological Diversity is organizing the shows in coordination with groups around the country.

For more on the tours, see a map at www.Earth2Trump.org or follow the tours on social media at #Earth2Trump.

Occupy the Inauguration!

At 2 p.m. Jan. 20, demonstrators in Madison will stage Resist Trump—Occupy the Inauguration! at Library Mall in the 700 block of State Street on the UW campus.

An announcement said demands include “No border wall. Stop the deportations of undocumented immigrants. Tax rich millionaires like Trump. Fund health care for all. Make college free. Black Lives Matter! End rape culture. Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline! Green jobs now!”

The demonstration is sponsored by the Madison Socialist Alternative.

For more details, email madison@socialistalternative.org.

Candlelight vigil

Activists are organizing a candlelight vigil for 7 p.m. Jan.  20 at the intersection of Lake and State streets in Madison. Plans include a march and a program. Organizers ask people to bring flashlights for the vigil, called to denounce “despicable acts of bigotry, hatred, prejudice and xenophobia.”

Immigration prayer vigil

An immigration prayer vigil will take place in Juneau on Jan. 20, which is Inauguration Day.

An announcement to WiG invited people to attend and “stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

The vigil will take place at the Dodge County Detention Facility at 3 p.m. The facility is at 216 W. Center St. in Juneau.

Organizers expect more than 100 people to attend the rally coordinated by WISDOM, a faith-based organization and affiliate of Gamaliel, which also will be present.

For more information, including car pool opportunities, call contact organizer Bernie Gonzalez at 262-443-7831 or .

No Nukes! No Trump protest

A “Homes Not Bombs” anti-nuclear protest and concert are being organized in Washington, D.C, in advance of the inauguration.

John Penley of North Carolina and Bruce Wright of Florida are organizing the protest Jan. 19 in Washington’s Franklin Square. The organizers have secured a permit for the event in the park and hope to secure permission for overnight camping.

Speakers will include Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin, Col. Ann Wright, attorney Stanley Cohen and others.

Room Full of Strangers will perform.

Looking to spring

Organizing also is taking place for the People’s Climate Mobilization, a major march in Washington, D.C., set for April 29 — the week after Earth Day.

350.org holds a leadership post in organizing the march.

For more about the march, go here.

Editor’s note: This list will be updated as we collect additional information or as more details are provided. Please check back.

If you have details about a protest or other related event, please post a comment to this page or email Lisa Neff at lmneff@www.wisconsingazette.com.

RESISTANCE: List of protests against inauguration of Donald Trump

The number of protests before, during and after the inauguration of Donald Trump continues to increase.

More than 30 groups have applied for permits to protest in Washington, D.C.

Protests also will be taking place in cities across the nation, including in multiple sites on multiple dates in Wisconsin.

Civil rights attorneys in Washington on Jan. 5 declared victory after the National Park Service announced it would be issuing permits soon, particularly for the Ellipse near the White House.

The park service typically reserves space on and around the National Mall for use by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. But attorneys representing protesters said the agency went too far this time in blocking access to public space. And they had threatened to sue if permits weren’t granted.

Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard called the park service announcement “a significant victory for free speech.”

A look at protest plans…

Women’s March on Washington

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department already has issued a permit for the  Women’s March on Washington, which takes place Jan. 21 — the day after the inauguration.

Police expect 200,000 participants for the event, which will start near the Capitol. Marchers will walk along Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue — and more details are being worked out.

Roundtrip bus rides to and from the event are available, including from  Madison, Green Bay, Stevens Point and Eau Claire. Coaches from Milwaukee also were booked.

Here’s the statement from the march organizers:

On Jan. 21, we will unite in Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice.

For more information about the Women’s March on Washington, go to womensmarch.com.

Sister solidarity marches

Women’s marches on Jan. 21 also will take place in many other cities in the United States, including in Madison.

The Madison action will take place noon-5 p.m., with demonstrators gathering at Library Mall and marching to the state Capitol.

For more on the Women’s March on Madison, go to facebook.com/events/361478110866299

Women’s March on Chicago

In the Midwest, the largest women’s march will take place in Chicago on Jan. 21.

March organizer Liz Radford, in a release from the ACLU, said, “We are marching to voice protests and concerns because our rights, safety and values are at stake. The mission of this march is to connect, protect and activate in our communities. … We are varied races, ethnicities, ages, religions, sexual identities, economic situations, politics and countless other diversities, and we will share space on Jan. 21 to protect our rights and our humanity.”

The march is expected to begin at about 10 a.m. in Grant Park.

For more about the Women’s March on Chicago, go to womens121marchonchicago.org or facebook.com/womensmarchonchicago.

#HereToStay immigrant rights actions

Nationwide rallies in support of immigrant rights will be staged in more than 20 states Jan. 14 in a show of resistance against Trump’s harsh rhetoric about Mexicans, Latin Americans, Muslims and others.

Organizers describe the rallies as “a mass mobilization of allies set to build community, celebrate our immigrant heritage and defiantly pledge to protect immigrants, Muslims and refugees from hateful attacks and policies.”

As many as 5,000 people are expected to participate in the Milwaukee action coordinated by Voces de la Frontera .

Protesters will gather at about 11 a.m. Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S. Fifth St., Milwaukee, and then march to the Milwaukee County Courthouse, where a rally will take place.

Buses will bring demonstrators from Madison and Racine.

Participating groups in Milwaukee include United We Dream, Center for Community Change, Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Service Employees International Union, America’s Voice Education Fund, American Federation of Teachers, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood, Color of Change and National Domestic Workers Alliance.

For more about the march and the rally, go here.

Earth2Trump roadshow

Hundreds of people in Oakland and Seattle this week kicked off the cross-country Earth2Trump roadshow.

The two-route, 16-stop tour is building a network of resistance againstTrump’s attacks on the environment and civil rights.

The shows include live music, national and local speakers and a chance for participants to write personalized Earth2Trump messages that will be delivered to Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.

The Center for Biological Diversity is organizing the shows in coordination with groups around the country.

The central tour travels by train. One stop, in Portland, Oregon, featured Portland singer Mic Crenshaw and American Indian storyteller Si Matta, who was part of the water-protector occupation at Standing Rock.

The southern tour that began in Oakland will be in Los Angeles on Thursday from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. at Global Beat Multicultural Center. The show features Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez and musicians Casey Neill and Allyah.

For more on the tours, see a map at www.Earth2Trump.org or follow the tours on social media at #Earth2Trump.

Occupy the Inauguration!

At 2 p.m. Jan. 20, demonstrators in Madison will stage Resist Trump—Occupy the Inauguration! at Library Mall in the 700 block of State Street on the UW campus.

An announcement said demands include “No border wall. Stop the deportations of undocumented immigrants. Tax rich millionaires like Trump. Fund health care for all. Make college free. Black Lives Matter! End rape culture. Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline! Green jobs now!”

The demonstration is sponsored by the Madison Socialist Alternative.

For more details, email madison@socialistalternative.org.

Candlelight vigil

Activists are organizing a candlelight vigil for 7 p.m. Jan.  20 at the intersection of Lake and State streets in Madison. Plans include a march and a program. Organizers ask people to bring flashlights for the vigil, called to denounce “despicable acts of bigotry, hatred, prejudice and xenophobia.”

Day Against Denial Rally Milwaukee

On Jan. 9, demonstrators will gather at 5:30 p.m. the federal courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, for the Day Against Denial Rally.

Actions are taking place across the country to protest Donald Trump’s cabinet choices — specifically Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator, Rick Perry for energy secretary and Ryan Zinke for the Interior Department.

An announcement for the Milwaukee protest said, “The climate is changing and anyone who denies it shouldn’t be in the White House cabinet. It’s up to the Senate to stop these nominations — and up to us to show up in person to tell our senators to fight Trump’s climate-denial cabinet.”

For more information, email organizer Mark Haag of 350 Milwaukee at marklhaag@yahoo.com.

Day Against Denial Rally and March Madison

In Madison, the rally and march to protest Trump’s cabinet choices will be at 4:30 p.m. beginning near the old MATC building, 200 Wisconsin Ave.

After the action, activists will gather for a potluck supper at the Friends Meetinghouse, 1704 Roberts Court.

For more, email Nick Berigan at nberigan@gmail.com.

Coast to Coast ‘OurFirst Stand’ protests.

UPDATED: More than a dozen rallies have been scheduled from coast to coast on Jan. 15 — and more are being planned — in a major show of grassroots support for critical health care programs under assault by Republicans in the new session of Congress.

The nationwide day of action — “Our First Stand: Save Health Care” — is being organized by Senate and House Democratic Leaders Charles E. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the leader of outreach efforts for Senate Democrats.

Schumer and Sanders will speak at a major event at a United Auto Workers hall in Warren, Michigan. Pelosi will speak at a rally in San Francisco. Other events are set for Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities nationwide. More rallies will be announced in the coming week. (To see the list, click here.)

“The American people will not allow Republicans to throw 30 million Americans off of health insurance, privatize Medicare, make massive cuts in Medicaid, raise the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and, at the same time, provide massive tax breaks to the top 1 percent,” Sanders said.

Despite campaign promises by  Trump not to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, Senate and House Republicans began in the opening days of the new Congress to take away health insurance for more than 30 million Americans, end Medicare as we know it, threaten nursing home care for seniors, choke off support for Planned Parenthood and jack up prescription drug prices.

“If Mr. Trump allows the Republican Party to go ahead with its plans, it will dismantle the health care system and jeopardize the economic security of millions of Americans,” Sanders said. “Our message to the Republicans is simple and straightforward. You are not going to get away with it. You are not going to punish the elderly, disabled veterans, the children, the sick and the poor while you reward your billionaire friends.”

Health care activists, trade unions, senior citizen groups and others are working to coordinate the rallies on Jan. 15.

No Nukes! No Trump protest

A “Homes Not Bombs” anti-nuclear protest and concert are being organized in Washington, D.C, in advance of the inauguration.

John Penley of North Carolina and Bruce Wright of Florida are organizing the protest Jan. 19 in Washington’s Franklin Square. The organizers have secured a permit for the event in the park and hope to secure permission for overnight camping.

Speakers will include Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin, Col. Ann Wright, attorney Stanley Cohen and others.

Room Full of Strangers will perform.

Looking to spring

Organizing also is taking place for the People’s Climate Mobilization, a major march in Washington, D.C., set for April 29 — the week after Earth Day.

350.org holds a leadership post in organizing the march.

For more about the march, go here.

Editor’s note: This list will be updated as we collect additional information or as more details are provided. Please check back.

If you have details about a protest or other related event, please post a comment to this page or email Lisa Neff at lmneff@www.wisconsingazette.com.

Things to know about the new Wisconsin legislative session

Wisconsin legislators will start their next two-year session with plenty of pomp and circumstance Tuesday but the honeymoon will end quickly as lawmakers dive into a thicket of divisive budget issues.

Some key things to know about the upcoming session:

MEET THE NEW BOSSES, SAME AS THE OLD

Republicans rode President-elect Donald Trump’s momentum to their largest majorities in both the Senate and Assembly in decades. The GOP goes into the session with a 64-35 advantage in the Assembly, their largest since 1957, and a 20-13 edge in the Senate, their largest since 1971. Republicans re-elected Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to their leadership posts days after the results came in. Republicans have now held complete control of state government since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2011. The party will be free again to pass whatever it can agree upon internally.

INAUGURATION DAY

The session kicks off Tuesday with legislators taking the oath of office. The day is full-fledged production, complete with corsages for lawmakers, prayers and judges swearing them in. Then come handshakes, back-slapping and photos with family members and other well-wishers.

WHEN WILL THE GLOVES COME OFF?

Almost immediately. Republican Gov. Scott Walker gives his State of the State speech a week later, on Jan. 10.

Governors typically use the speech to outline their priorities and introduce new programs and initiatives, sending ripples cascading across the state.

In February he’s expected to introduce the executive version of the 2017-19 state budget.

Deliberations on the budget will consume the Legislature through mid-summer.

If the State of the State speech is a thunderstorm, the budget is a hurricane as both parties try to fund key constituencies or protect them from cuts.

BUT IF REPUBLICANS ARE IN CHARGE, WILL THE BUDGET BATTLE BE THAT BAD?

The stage is already set for GOP infighting.

The hottest topic will be how to fund road projects. The state pays for roads with the transportation fund, which is built on gas tax revenue and vehicle registration fees.

The fund faces a $1 billion shortfall but Walker, who faces re-election in 2018, has said he won’t raise the gas tax or fees to make up the difference.

Instead he has said his budget will delay major projects and rely on borrowing.

Assembly Republicans have said the governor’s plan is a short-term political solution. They say all potential revenue increases should be on the table, including raising the gas tax and imposing tolls.

The governor also has promised to increase funding for the University of Wisconsin System after cutting it by $250 million and extending an in-state tuition freeze in the last budget.

But the system has become a popular punching bag for Republican lawmakers, raising questions about what, if anything, the system will end up getting.

Some GOP lawmakers are already saying the system doesn’t deserve any additional money as long as a course on racism called “The Problem of Whiteness” is offered as planned this spring at UW-Madison.

WHAT ELSE IS ON THE GOP AGENDA?

Budget deliberations will consume lawmakers until mid-summer, when the Legislature’s budget committee finalizes revisions and kicks it to the full Senate and Assembly for approval. After that, anything could happen.

Some Republicans have talked about preventing candidates with no chance of winning from requesting election recounts after the Green Party’s Jill Stein forced a pre-Christmas recount of Wisconsin’s presidential election that changed nothing. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has talked about limiting early voting times and locations, even though a federal judge struck down attempts to do just that last session.

Republicans also are expected to resurrect failed bills forcing transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender at birth, and to allow concealed weapons in college classrooms and on school grounds.

Lawmakers also could be forced to redraw their district boundaries after a federal judge in November tossed out GOP-drawn lines. They also could be forced to grapple with the fallout if Trump repeals President Barack Obama’s health care reforms.

KEY DATES

State of the State speech: Jan. 10.

First floor session: Jan. 17.

Governor’s budget introduction: Late February.

Final legislative budget approval: Late June or early July.

Last scheduled floor session: May 9, 2018.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

The Wisconsin Legislature’s website, allows visitors to track bills’ progress. It also offers a list of all legislators, their phone numbers and their email addresses.

Communist Madison? City bristles at Sean Duffy’s remark

A Republican congressman from northern Wisconsin who derided Madison as a communist haven is not backing down from his comments even as those in the capital city that prides itself as being “77 square miles surrounded by reality” take offense.

Rep. Sean Duffy, who lives about 140 miles north in Wausau, called Madison a “communist community” in a recent Fox News interview and blasted the ongoing presidential recount. He alleged that election officials in Dane County, where Madison is located, were purposefully stalling so Wisconsin would miss the Dec. 13 deadline for certifying the vote.

After Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan demanded an apology on Wednesday, both sides took to Twitter to battle it out.

“The PC crowd is humorless,” Duffy, a former star of MTV’s “The Real World” in the 1990s, tweeted. “For those offended by my ‘communist’ comment, I’ll send a therapy dog to your ‘safe place’ of choice in Madison.”

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin called Duffy a “liar,” ”moron” and “charlatan.”

“I’m probably giving him too much credit by calling him a moron since he is so adept in misleading the good people of his district, folks who deserve better in regards to jobs and the future of their children,” Soglin said.

The only thing communist about Madison is that revenue generated there is redistributed to help economically struggling communities in Duffy’s district, Soglin said.

Residents of Madison, where the main campus of the University of Wisconsin is located, have long embraced their liberal leanings, taking pride in the city’s unofficial motto as “77 square miles surrounded by reality.” Democrat Hillary Clinton received 80 percent of the vote in Madison, while Donald Trump won Duffy’s home county with 57 percent of the vote.

Duffy is a vocal supporter of Trump and has been a frequent commentator on national news programs discussing his transition to the White House. He is also on the executive committee for Trump’s transition team.

Duffy’s northern Wisconsin district voted for Trump in the Republican primary, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the state by about 22,000 votes. With 70 percent of the general election vote recounted, Trump has only lost 82 votes so far to Clinton.

Duffy said in the Fox interview last week that Dane County, was taking “as long as they can” in recounting the votes. He falsely claimed that it was the only county doing a hand recount. It is one of 47 counties doing hand recounts. Another 13 are doing both hand and machine recounts, according to the state Elections Commission.

Dane County Election Clerk Scott McDonell said Thursday that workers have been recounting ballots 14 hours a day since the recount began to finish by the deadline, rejecting Duffy’s claims they were stalling.

“It’s a sad state of affairs for these Democrats who don’t believe in democracy and freedom and free elections,” Duffy said of Madison, which he described as a “progressive, liberal, communist community.”

Pocan, who represents Madison in Congress and used to live in the city, said Duffy ignores the fact that Madison is an economic driver for the whole state.

“His insinuation that my constituents are somehow un-American for exercising their political views is extremely alarming,” Pocan said in a statement. “At a time when our country stands divided, Congressman Duffy’s ‘Trumpizing’ of Wisconsin is the wrong direction for our state.”

After Duffy reacted to that by accusing people in Madison of being humorless, Pocan shot back on Twitter.

“Humorless is better than being senseless about Dane County providing 73% of new jobs in WI,” Pocan said. “Perhaps a $175K salary distorts your views.”

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who lives just outside of Madison and represents Dane County in the Legislature, called Duffy’s remarks “extremely offensive” and “beneath” a congressman.

“Their job is to build bridges, not burn them,” Erpenbach said. “I expect that out of a talk show radio host but not a congressman.”

Madison’s ‘Smart’ music history

Continue reading Madison’s ‘Smart’ music history

Wisconsin student accused of assaulting 4 more women

A University of Wisconsin-Madison student already accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment this month has been charged with sexually assaulting four other women since early 2015.

Alec Cook, 20, of Edina, Minnesota, faces seven counts of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts of strangulation, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.

The complaint prosecutors filed Thursday accuses Cook of assaults dating back to March 2015. Prosecutors said one of the women was assaulted multiple times during a ballroom dancing class she was attending with Cook this past spring. Cook also is accused of assaulting a woman he met at a party in March 2015; a woman he met in a human sexuality class in February; and a woman he met during a psychology class experiment in August.

Cook was charged last week with assaulting a woman in his apartment the night of Oct. 12 after the two studied together.

Media apeports of those charges have driven dozens of women to report to police their encounters with Cook.

Officers searching Cook’s apartment found a black book listing women he’d met and documenting his “sexual desires” and including the word “kill” without explanation, authorities said.

Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner Brian Asmus set Cook’s bail at $200,000 cash during a brief hearing. Cook made no statement at the hearing.

His attorneys, Jessa Nicholson and Chris Van Wagner, told reporters after the proceeding that they believe the ballroom assaults never happened. The rest of the encounters, they claimed, were consensual.

Van Wagner showed reporters a page from Cook’s book with the word “Killed?” written at the top and said it’s unclear what it means.

He said Cook has been vilified on social media but the prosecution’s case is “just dust.” Women are coming forward because they’ve seen social media postings about Cook and have become frightened, he said.

“He’s been painted as the face of evil,” Van Wagner said. “That’s wrong.”

According to the complaint, the accuser from the Oct. 12 incident says she went to his apartment after studying with him at a campus library. She said he assaulted her for 2 1/2 hours, maintaining what she described as a “death grip” on her arm or body.

Another woman came forward two days after charges were filed in that case. She said she met Cook at her friend’s birthday party in March 2015. Two weeks later she visited his apartment, where he began kissing her forcefully, then sexually assaulted her.

The same day that Cook was charged with the Oct. 12 assault, two other women reported being assaulted by him.

One woman told police she was in a ballroom dance class with Cook during the spring 2016 semester. She accused him of repeatedly touching her while they were dancing despite her telling him to stop. The touching occurred 15 to 20 times over the semester, she said.

The class instructor told investigators she got an email from the woman saying she was uncomfortable with how Cook touched her. The instructor responded by speaking to the class about appropriate contact during dances. Another woman told police that she met Cook during a human sexuality class and began dating him in January, the complaint said. She said he assaulted her at his apartment in February.

Another woman told police that she met Cook during a psychology class experiment. They had consensual sex at his apartment in August, the woman said, during which he tried to choke her. After taking a break to smoke marijuana, Cook tried to have sex with her again, this time slapping her and leaving bruises.

Wisconsin Sound #7

 

Tenement at Panther Arena. [PHOTO - Joe Kirschling]
Tenement at Panther Arena. [PHOTO – Joe Kirschling]
PUNK ROCK AT PANTHER ARENA

“They’re America’s greatest rock and roll band,” Joe Kirschling told me as we stood in the lobby of the UWM Panther Arena in downtown Milwaukee. The photographer and SIN BAD drummer was referring to Tenement, a cult punk band from Appleton. “I used to think I was the only one saying that, but they’ve been written about in The New York Times and Grantland.”

Indeed, Kirschling’s words weren’t mere hyperbole. And yet there we were, hanging out in the lobby of the UWM Panther Arena before a motorcycle race, waiting to see “America’s greatest rock and roll band.” It was an odd affair to be sure, with (free) music starting at 5:30 p.m. from Platinum Boys, Milwaukee’s premier power-pop party band.

Tenement at Panther Arena. [PHOTO - Joe Kirschling]
Tenement at Panther Arena. [PHOTO – Joe Kirschling]
Arena employees were seen complaining about the volume being too loud. Luckily most kids came prepared with ear muffs for the motorcycles. There wasn’t a big crowd hanging around to see the bands. Most people just walked on by. But for about 15 minutes or so that lobby got an unanticipated performance from one of the best bands in Wisconsin, if not America.

The traditional Tenement trio was joined by an endearing tambourine/vocal duo for a fiery three-song set. Frontman Amos Pitsch is a fantastic guitar player, even when tucked into what my girlfriend described as “a public bathroom.” Tenement’s brief set made us regret missing the band at Eaux Claires and Mile of Music.

Milwaukee hardcore group Midwives finished off the lobby lineup, eliciting some “rock on” hands and air drumming from the crowd making their way to the motorcycle event. Free pre-game lobby rock (or rap/folk/jazz/electronic/etc) would be more than welcome during the Admirals debut season in the Arena.

THE ECLECTIC BACK ROOM @ COLECTIVO

Siren at The Back Room @ Colectivo [PHOTO - David Szymanski]
Siren at The Back Room @ Colectivo [PHOTO – David Szymanski]
The Pabst Theater Group began revitalizing Milwaukee’s live music scene in 2002. Renowned artists who once skipped Milwaukee on tour now find themselves playing sold-out shows at The Riverside, The Pabst, and Turner Hall Ballroom. Last year the Pabst Group extended their reach by adding The Back Room at the Colectivo on Prospect to their roster of venues.

The Back Room debuted last summer and in just over a year has established itself as one of the best (albeit only) intimate all-ages venues in town for national touring acts. While it has stuck mostly to folk and acoustic-leaning indie rock acts, The Back Room has expanded its jazz programming and began featuring harder rocking bands.

Gosh Pith at The Back Room @ Colectivo [PHOTO - David Szymanski]
Gosh Pith at The Back Room @ Colectivo [PHOTO – David Szymanski]
Local bands have been added to a few Back Room shows, but on October 7, Detroit’s electro-rock duo Gosh Pith were joined by three of the finest and most eclectic local artists. The lineup was curated by Sam Ahmedbetter known as experimental hip-hop artist WebsterXand included his New Age Narcissism collaborator Siren, synth wave rockers NO/NO, and electronic artist Liquid City Motors.

While you might not think the back room of a coffeehouse can fit that many people, the capacity in The Back Room is 297. It’s a warm space with wood floors, plants, brick, and a quality sound and lighting system. The Gosh Pith show did not reach capacity, but those who made it out were attentive and engaged. It was an early start and early finish, ideal for the all-ages crowd. It was also my first time seeing Gosh Pith and they impressed with a unique blend of electronic, rock, and hip-hop.

HALLOWEEN CONCERT PREVIEW

Madison Halloween 2005. [PHOTO - Joey Grihalva]
Madison Halloween 2005. [PHOTO – Joey Grihalva]
The highlight of my one semester at UW-Madison was the chaotic, riotous, entertaining, and momentarily scary Halloween. The night did not become frightening because of some spooky holiday vibes, but because riot police eventually marched down State Street, blanketing the thoroughfare with pepper spray and making mass arrests.

After bar close State Street got out of control, with huge piles of costumes set ablaze, storefront windows being broken, and all kinds of drunken revelry. I went to visit Madison for Halloween the next year and the situation got worse. That year police used sound bombs, rubber bullets, floodlights, pepper spray and a brigade of police horses. That was 2005.

In 2006 the City of Madison decided to finally do something to curtail the violence and vandalism associated with Halloween. They began charging a small admission fee to enter State Street, which was gated and contained. Arrests were cut in half. In 2007 the city partnered with Frank Productions to bring live music to what is now called Freakfest. The event has grown into the region’s largest Halloween party and music festival, having featured headliners such as OK GO, Matt and Kim, Mac Miller, and Atmosphere. The city reported only 9 arrests in 2015, down from 334 in 2005.

Freakfest 2016.
Freakfest 2016.

The 2016 edition of Freakfest has arguably the best lineup to date, with one of hip-hop’s hottest stars headlining. Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals delivered my favorite set at the Soundset music festival this year and that was early in the afternoon. The rest of the State Street mainstage lineup includes Minneapolis dance-pop rocker Har Mar Superstar, ex-Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming’s solo project Diane Coffee, Sweet Spirit, and St. Paul and The Broken Bones.

Freakfest 2016 will also have a country stage on Gilman Street headlined by Kip Moore, plus Jon Pardi, Wheelhouse, Greta Van Fleet, and Adam Bartels Band. There will be a third stage on Frances Street featuring regional talent including Madison’s own rap phenom Trapo, Milwaukee-based/Madison-born hip-hop producer/rapper Mic Kellog, Chicago indie rockers The Kickback, Minneapolis rapper Lucien Parker, and Chicago rapper Rich Robbins.

img_7729Milwaukee will have a number of options for Halloween weekend concerts. Gloss Records is hosting a two-night Spooktacular. Friday will feature Sex Scenes, Surgeons in Heat, Rio Turbo, and Soul Low at Cactus Club. Saturday will feature Moon Rats, Piles, Soup Moat, and NO/NO at Riverwest Public House.

In 2015 Company Brewing held their first annual Nightmare on Center Street, which was a sold-out affair featuring Chicago’s Kweku Collins, Minneapolis’ MaLLy, Soul Low (in full KISS costume), Klassik, Foreign Goods, and New Age Narcissism. This year the event has expanded to include nearby Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts (all-ages), Club Timbuktu and High Dive. You can buy a $15 wristband for entry to all venues and gets you a free beer at High Dive.

There will be a wide array of musical talent at this year’s Nightmare on Center Street. Carl Nichols (guitar player for New Age Narcissism, De La Buena, Painted Caves, RAS Movement) will debut a new hardcore punk band at the Jazz Gallery that includes Bo Triplex, Taj Raiden, and Jake Diaz. Funky reggae, hip-hop influenced jam band Recalcitrant will headline Club Timbuktu, while High Dive will feature the No Stress DJs and performances by Kyndal J. and Chakara Blu.

Company Brewing will host a “Dinner and a Movie” at 7 p.m. featuring the Joshua Backes (New Boyz Club) led DIY Chamber Music ensemble accompanying the 1915 silent film Alice in Wonderland with a soundtrack written by four local composers. Beloved local psych-pop rockers The Fatty Acids will headline Company Brewing. There will be a special late night menu and drummer/dancer extraordinaire Christopher Gilbert will host a costume contest.

nightmareoncenter

NEW MUSIC FROM SEX SCENES, FIVY, AR WESLEY, CHAKARA BLU, AND ZED KENZO.

Back in the fourth installment of this column I mentioned running into Connor LaMue of Bad Wig at High Dive in Milwaukee. He told me about a new hardcore band he was in with Harrison Colby (Gloss Records, NO/NO), Zach Otto, and Chelsea Hayes. It didn’t take long for the band to release a fast and dirty demo, which you can listen to by clicking here. They hope to put out a record before the year is up.

fivyOur friends at Explain News premiered a new EP from Milwaukee songstress Fivy last week. The 5-track release is entitled “Dreamscape” and is definitely worth a listen. For more head over to Explain News.

Explain News also wrote up the new release from Milwaukee rapper AR Wesley. Check that out by clicking here.

Two Milwaukee femcees, Chakara Blu and Zed Kenzo, each put out a new track recently. Chakara’s is a woozy, bass-heavy track produced by Mr. Kou that you can listen by clicking here. In anticipation of her first project since moving back home to Milwaukee from Los Angeles, Zed Kenzo has released a single, “Scary Spice.” Listen to it by clicking here.

NEW VIDEOS FROM HEAR HERE PRESENTS

Last night Hear Here Presents celebrated one year of capturing live music performances from Wisconsin and touring musicians by doing what they do best, video recording new performances by the Rusty P’s and Klassik. In the fourth installment of this column I wrote about an experience attending a Hear Here Presents shoot in their new studio space. In the last month they’ve released four new videos from Lex Allen, King Courteen, New Boyz Club, and Chicago’s Grood. Watch them all below.

ITT Technical Institute flop puts Madison students in limbo

The shutdown of ITT Technical Institute’s 130 campuses has left former students at the for-profit college’s Madison campus in educational limbo.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports students’ questions about whether, or how, to continue their education still linger since the Sept. 7 announcement that it was closing.

In August, the U.S. Department of Education barred ITT from enrolling new students who used federal financial aid, saying the company had become a risk to students and taxpayers. ITT blamed the closure in part on that action.

Over 40 students were enrolled at the Madison campus. Another 250 were at a campus in Greenfield.

Those who took out loans to pay tuition can apply for a loan discharge from the federal government, but the move will also require them to forfeit their class credits.

Students’ other option is to keep their loans and credits and try transferring to another college.

Chris Crandall was only six credits away from graduation when ITT closed its doors.

“Infuriated,” Crandall says when he recalls the day he found out about the closure. “Then all the worries came through: Are my credits going to transfer? Where am I going to go from here? Am I going to be starting all over again?”

Keith Cornille, Madison Area Technical College’s senior vice president for student development and success, said students need only provide the college with their transcript to get the process started. She was surprised by the difficulty Crandall faced.

“We’re here to support any of those students and answer their questions … whether (they are from) ITT or any other institution,” Cornille said. Three former ITT students have enrolled at MATC so far, he said.

Although state regulators have sought to provide students with information about their options, several said their former school has not been helpful.

“ITT, in my eyes, is not helping anybody,” said Jerry Field, a student from Watertown who, like several others, said his calls and emails to the college haven’t been returned. “It’s like all the faculty and the school itself disappeared overnight.”