Uppity Wisconsin

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Live from Hudson, WI - the recount

I realize that in a lot of ways this is like watching the drying paint channel - but for those of you who are so inclined, this is the live video coverage of the Wisconsin recount from Hudson, WI - courtesy of The Uptake.





Smoke clears, recount to begin Thursday

As you will see in the Storify article below, a lot happened yesterday RE: the recount. Please follow the links in the Storify for external documents. 

The Stein campaign made a wire transfer to the state of 3.5 million dollars shortly before the deadline.  An interesting sidelight is that somehow when tallying the estimates of all of the counties, a mistake was made, and the Stein campaign was invoiced for 3.5 million when it should have been 3.9 million.  My guess is that the esitmates were probably high (if I were a county clerk I would have decided to err on the high side rather than the low side too) so this may all come out in the wash.  In any case, the Stein campaign will be on the hook for the total recount costs, and will be given a refund if the cost is lower than the estimate, so this may all come out in the wash.  The estimate was considerably higher than anyone anticipated, so Stein is off raising more money to cover the other states in which they are issuing recount petitions.

Drama unfolded late last night as Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled that the Stein campaign had not met the rather strong standard in the law for requesting a totally hand recount. Therefore, individual counties will have the right to decide whether to use scanners to re-scan the votes filed by scanner ballots, or to hand count them .  In any case, all of the ballots are inspected as they are fed into the scanner. Votes made on totally electronic voting machines will be hand-counted from the paper tapes that provide an audit trail from those machines.  This is  long and laborious process - I did this as a volunteer during the last state-wide recall and it takes quite a while to count those votes and tabulate them. It is not clear how difficult it will be for the county canvasses to be completed by the deadline of 8 PM on Dec. 12, nor is it completely clear what will happen if the deadline is not met. 

The recount will start at 9 AM tomorrow morning. 





4:30 PM

The presidential recount in Wisconsin all boils down to 4:30 PM. 4:30 today is when the payment to the state is due to have the recount proceed. It's also the time that the hearing will take place in Madison to decide if the counties will be forced to do hand recounts of all ballots.

The list of estimated costs from the different counties also lists whether they intend to count all ballots by hand - it appears this is about a half and half mix. It's possible that a full hand recount will increase the cost of the recount, which the Stein campaign is already complaining about as being too high.  It will be an interesting afternoon in Madison.





The Best Idea for a Bill Comes from You!

By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“Where do you get ideas for bills?” a woman at a café recently asked me.

“The best ideas for bills come from people like you,” I told her 

December begins a brief time of calm in the Capitol. But behind the scenes, lawmakers are working on new legislation. In the next few weeks I will be drafting bills to introduce in January. I am looking for your ideas!

Lawmakers will open the 103rd session of the Wisconsin Legislature on January 3rd. On that day, and for perhaps the next fifteen months, legislators will introduce roughly 1,800 bills or proposals.





The Wisconsin Recount - where we stand

Update - It appears the Stein campaign is going to sue to demand hand recounts of all ballots:

Since two recount petitions were filed for a Wisconsin recount of the presidental election, procedures for the recount are now under way. County clerks around the state are currently providing cost estimates for their recount efforts, and must provide both a cost and the method that will be used to recount optical scan ballots by the close of business today. 

The method issue is important. Current state law allows the different counties to select whether they will count the optical scan ballots by hand and visual inspection, or by feedting them through an optical scan tabulator. Since there are some practical issues with recounting with the scanner (needing to obtain a separate memory cartridge, calibrating and testing the machine, visually inspecting each ballot before scanning it, etc.) it's very possible that many of the jurisdictions will choose to hand count, since it is in a lot of cases easier and faster than doing it by scanner. This is complicated by the fact that the Jill Stein campaign has requested hand-counting of all ballots. If a number of counties are planning on counting ballots with a scanner, it's very possible the petitioning campaigns will attempt to receive a court order forcing hand counting of all of the ballots. 





Recount petitions received by Wisconsin Elections Commission

Recount petitions for the presidental election were received today by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, both from the Jill Stein campaign and from the De La Fuente campaign.  They were filed with a few hours to spare. The petitions and supporting documents are now up on the Elections Commission web site, which has been under a lot of strain this afternoon due to interest in the petitions. 

http://elections.wi.gov/node/4436

Personally I believe it's really unlikely that the recount will turn up anything beyond the normal distribution of slight clerical errors -- but the recount in Wisconsin is on.  The commission will have a press conference on Monday with details. The recount must be completed by December 13 by federal law, so this will be a very difficult thing to get done and will require quite a lot of extra work by county boards of canvassers. The recount needs to be completed in time for the Electoral College to cast votes.





School Budget Proposal Brings Needed Relief

Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Over the past four years, we have seen an increased reliance on referenda to keep the lights on,” State Superintendent Tony Evers announced as he released his school budget proposal.
 
“Around the state, local communities took the lead on funding reform through the ballot box, but the state has to be a good partner and do our share to help small town schools.”
 
Indeed. This year, Wisconsinites passed a record number of school referenda.
 
In the recent election, 82% of school referenda passed. Over the last four years, citizens in more than half of Wisconsin’s school districts voted to raise their property taxes to pay for schools.
 
Why? Because state spending for public schools this year is less than it was eight years ago, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This does not include public spending for the variety of private school options.




Trump settles Trump University suit

In a big surprise today, Donald Trump settled the Trump University civil suit in New York State for $25 million dollars. A statement was released on Twitter by the New York Attorney General - it is the attached image. Click on the image to enlarge it.





Draining the Swamp? Not So Much

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Trump's promise to "drain the swam" -





EPA Water Listening Session in Eau Claire

On Tuesday Nov. 15 approximately 300 people attended the EPA listening session at Chippewa Valley Technical College. The session was set up for the Administrator of US EPA’s Region V, Robert Kaplan to listen to citizens testifying about water quality in the state and to help determine if the EPA should take over the oversight of Wisconsin's compliance to the Clean Water Act. Wisconsin's DNR has been shrunk in size, and water quality enforcement has become much less of a priority, as the DNR is often not following its own rules or enforcing the law consistently. This is a (rather long) video of most of the citizen testimony on this issue. Many people testified at the meeting, requiring an extension of the meeting. The meeting was sponsored by the Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter, Sierra Club Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Lakes Association, Citizen Action Organizing Co-op of Western Wisconsin, and Clean Wisconsin

This unfortunately was the only such meeting held in the state, so may of the attendees had to drive in from other parts of the state that have been having water quality crises. You may submit your own written testimony to the EPA at the region 5 EPA web site . You may also find out more information about the situation in general at Clean Wisconsin and Midwest Environmental Advocates, who filed the original petition with the EPA.





Let's break the gerrymander. Here's how.

  Wisconsin is under one-party rule and it will remain that way under the current gerrymandered legislative districts.

  There are many districts now where it is pointless for the dems to put up a candidate. It is like leading a lamb to slaughter. 

  Instead the Democratic Party should perhaps think about taking the fight to the Republicans on their own turf and run primary candidates, listing themselves as Republicans and abandoning the inter-party contest altogether. The ersatz candidate would not need to hide his or her party background.  They would need however to have a populist message (minimum wage, voting rights, the environment,school funding) that would appeal to the independent voters. The dems could organize their base and with some luck, and a low-turnout election, the crossover dems and low-information Republican voters could deliver the goods.





Back to the Woods

By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“See that scrape?” Lisa pointed to a large area of bare dirt. “That’s not made by a tractor tire.”
 
“And look at the branches above,” she said. “They are all broken. The buck was standing here pawing his hooves and tossing his head.”
 
We were on the edge of one of our hay fields, just where the field dropped into a ravine. I could see over several pastures and fields to the northwest and through the woods to my neighbor’s pasture in the southeast – a commanding spot.
 
Lisa and I were tracking a big ten-point buck. I saw him many times - even running after a doe right outside my study window as I wrote last week’s column. He was muscular and alert with wide, heavy antlers – a deer hunter’s dream.




Here's How We Beat Those Frackers

Organize a bit more. That's it, with the corollary that we ought to consider supporting those involved in organizing. We do that we're home. Some details include extirpating the DNC pukes and replacing the lot with the like of Rep. Keith Ellison, (D-Minnesota), and hiring some folks and paying them a lot of money to reach out to the white, Christian, racist puke vote




Democratic Underground Hacked

So - in case you have been not paying attention due to a stupor of post-election depression, the popular lefty forum site Democratic Underground was badly hacked on election night and remains more or less down. It's believed that some user information may have been accessed during the hack. The site admins believe that password information was comparatively safe since the passwords were hashed in the site database.  I wouldn't put a lot of faith in that, so if you happened to have a password on Democratic Underground that you were re-using on other sites 

a:. Stop doing that

b. you probably ought to change your passwords elsewhere as a good cyber-hygiene practice.





The Mic and liberal talk radio gone from Madison

I will have rather a lot more to say about the political revolution that took place on Tuesday as time goes on, but I think one of the great ironies is that at the same time  that Donald Trump was elected president, liberal talk radio disappeared in Madison. The MIC, 92.1, is apparently going to be changing format. This is not a huge surprise in a lot of ways since I Heart Radio (formerly Clearchannel) has not been a big sympathizer for lefty causes. Still the timing is interesting. Nobody really knows what they are changing to, and apparently the current plan is to play Christmas music until the end of the year, at which time they will unveil their new format.

I am afraid this is a harbinger of things to come. We have just elected a president who has made it clear he does not believe in the first amendment and thinks that public figures should be able to sue those who disagree with them. All of this makes the need for community media and conversation more crucial. I'm trying to do something about that. Watch this space.





Trying to gather my thoughts.

A lot happened overnight. In many ways I think our country will never be the same. We have voted for sin due to fear. While I try to get my thoughts together, I'm going to give the floor to Keith Olbermann, who has something to say.  This is fairly close to my thoughts. 





Joining Hands and Respecting Differences

Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“We try very hard to not have political discussions at our family gatherings,” my friend told me over dinner.
 
“How sad,” I replied. This comment – one I’ve heard many times in past months – stood in sharp contrast to the enthusiastic spirit of community I felt the night before.
 
I joined many neighbors in celebrating the release of a new album of local music. The accomplishment is a collaboration of three local musicians – Yata, Sinz and Orfield - in a delightful compilation entitled Dancing in the Light.
 
The crowd was enthusiastic, clapping in time with the music. One couple joined hands to dance even among the standing-room-only crowd.
 
As we left the concert, neighbors reminded each other of the dinner coming up in Alma. Parishioners at St John’s Lutheran Church will join hands to host a fundraiser for the victims of the flood in Buffalo County.
 
Somehow, we must figure out a way of taking the “joining of hands” from our local neighborhoods and apply it to the big decisions we make at the state and national levels.




So - the time has come

It's time to vote. This election leaves us with real choices - Please, let's not hear the "both parties are the same" argument. All the way through the ticket we have people from both of the major parties who genuinely are different. 

I'm not going to re-hash the presidential race, as I am sure you are all tired of hearing about it. I know I am. Let's just say that you have a choice tomorrow that will influence the direction of the country for years to come, from treatment of the environment, our behavior toward immigrants, and perhaps most clearly, who will be on the supreme court for many years to come. I'm counting on all of you to go out and do right by your families, your kids, and yourselves. 





Think of the things we can do

If we had a Republican in the White House, a Republican majority in the house, and a Republican majority in the United States Senate, think of the things we can do.

Scott Walker last night during Donald Trump''s appearance in Eau Claire.

Frankly I have thought of little else for the past year. We might very quickly move from having a completely incapacitated government to a completely demonical one, laying the groundwork for regression in the US for decades to come. Imagine a more conservative Supreme Court for at least  a generation, continual suppression of voting rights, mass deportation, camps full of people on their way out, and a country headed by someone who has no respect for the law and who will be in court immedately after taking office both for business chicanery and child rape.

Think of the things they can do. Then on Tuesday go vote to make sure they can't do it.





Wisconsin: Vote for Clean Water on Nov. 8

Here are four candidates who have pledged to protect clean water and stand up to Big Ag: Lynn Utesch (WI State Assembly District 1) David Gorski (WI State Assembly District 72) Mary Hoeft (U.S. House of Representatives, District 7) Russ Feingold (United States Senate)




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Yesterday, February 19

  • Steve Hanson
    7:30pm

    Changes to Body
     
    In general anyone who believes that in the highly-charged partisan atmosphere of the state and the country that judicial candidates will not bring their own viewpoints to the court is fooling themself. You have a choice between a candidate who is running openly as a progressive/Democrat, one who has clear leanings in that direction, and one who is clearly of a conservative bent. Personally I believe we have had quite enough of a court that seems to always back the current conservative state government, and it would be nice to have another person on the court who would be more open to ruling against big business in the state. But it's your choice, and your vote - all I ask is that you actually get out to the polls and express your opinion.
     
    In general anyone who believes that in the highly-charged partisan atmosphere of the state and the country that judicial candidates will not bring their own viewpoints to the court is fooling themself. You have a choice between a candidate who is running openly as a progressive/Democrat, one who has clear leanings in that direction, and one who is clearly of a conservative bent. Personally I believe we have had quite enough of a court that seems to always back the current conservative state government, and it would be nice to have another person on the court who would be more open to ruling against big business in the state. But it's your choice, and your vote - all I ask is that you actually get out to the polls and express your opinion.
     
    Other primary elections are sprinkled across the state. In the Chippewa Valley most people will have an opportunity to vote for local school board candidates. These are extremely important seats and will guide the schools in your local district. Your vote matters. Don't throw it away. Some links are provided below to help you out with finding your polling place, registering on-line (yes, you can do this on-line, bring the paperwork and your documentation, and finish your registration at the polls). 
     
    Other primary elections are sprinkled across the state. In the Chippewa Valley most people will have an opportunity to vote for local school board candidates. These are extremely important seats and will guide the schools in your local district. Your vote matters. Don't throw it away. Some links are...
    Read more
  • Steve Hanson
    7:11pm

    Too many differences to list. See Revisions for details.

  • Steve Hanson
    7:11pm

    Changes to News Link
     
    Find your polling place, register, and see what is on your ballot (https://myvote.wi.gov)
     
    Find your polling place, register, and see what is on your ballot (https://myvote.wi.gov)
     
    Wisconsin Elections Commission (http://elections.wi.gov)
     
    Wisconsin Elections Commission (http://elections.wi.gov)
      +
    Voter ID Information (https://www.bringitwisconsin.com/)
    Read more
  • Steve Hanson
    7:08pm

    Too many differences to list. See Revisions for details.

  • Steve Hanson
    7:06pm

    Tomorrow is election day in Wisconsin. Important elections are up throughout the state. Everyone in the state has an opportunity to vote in the primary election for State Supreme Court. the Supreme Court race is interesting as it has candidates of very different judicial attitudes. Tim Burns is running as an unabashed liberal, and essentially as a Democrat, despite this being a non-partisan race. Sauk County Circuit Judge Michale Screnock claims to be non-partisan, and that he will not create law from the bench - yet he is endorsed by the NRA, has hired GOP consultants for his campaign, and has accepted in-kind donations from the state Republican Party. He has also made a large point in his advertising of the fact that he was appointed by Governor Walker, which I can only take as a conservative dog-whistle statement. Rebecca Dallet has criticized the president, and has made a strong point of having values that are not reflected by the national Republicans. Dallet has a long history as a judge, but has been highly criticized by progressives for some of her rulings. 

    In general anyone who believes that in the highly-charged partisan atmosphere of the state and the country that judicial candidates will not bring their own viewpoints to the court is fooling themself. You have a choice between a candidate who is running openly as a progressive/Democrat, one who has clear leanings in that direction, and one who is clearly of a conservative bent. Personally I believe we have had quite enough of a court that seems to always back the current conservative state government, and it would be nice to have another person on the court who would be more open to ruling against big business in the state. But it's your choice, and your vote - all I ask is that you actually get out to the polls and express your opinion.

    Other primary elections are sprinkled across the state. In the Chippewa Valley most people will have an opportunity to vote for local school board candidates. These are extremely important seats and will guide the schools in your local district. Your vote matters. Don't throw it away. Some links are provided below to help you out with finding your polling place, registering on-line (yes, you can do this on-line, bring the paperwork and your documentation, and finish your registration at the polls). 

    One last note - weather and roads are likely to be terrible tomorrow in some parts of the state. This may impact people getting out to vote, and may even impact the elections sites in some places. Note that there is no way to postpone an election (short of a state of emergency being issued by the Governor) so the election will be tomorrow no matter what the weather is like. So - go vote, it's important. But be careful and stay safe.

  • Steve Hanson
    4:36pm

    Voter registration booths will be set up at locations across the Chippewa Valley where knowledgeable volunteers will be ready to work with anyone who needs help registering to vote in advance of the upcoming spring election on Tuesday, April 3rd.

    --- Eau Claire, LE Phillips Public Library, Chippewa Room, 12-7pm
    --- Eau Claire, UWEC Davies Center, 1st floor, 10am-2pm
    --- Eau Claire North High School (students only) 10am-2pm
    --- Menomonie, Menomonie Market Food Coop, 2-7pm
    --- Chippewa Falls, Public Library, Meeting Room 12-7pm
    --- Colfax, Public Library, 4-7pm
    --- See below for detailed location addresses

    Individuals wishing to register should bring a proof of residency document such as a utility bill, paycheck, bank statement, residential lease, or a cell phone bill. If an individual possesses a current DMV-issued photo identification card, they should also bring it along. If an individual has moved since last voting, they must re-register in order to vote.

    This regional voter registration drive is part of a non-partisan effort called “Chippewa Valley Votes”, organized by local volunteers, that helps citizens participate in the democratic process through services including registration, education, and assistance with navigating the photo ID process. The event is held in partnership with the League of Women Voters-Greater Chippewa Valley chapter.

    --- LE Phillips Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St, Eau Claire Chippewa Room (downstairs)
    --- UWEC Davies Center, 77 Roosevelt Ave, Eau Claire downstairs, 10am-2pm
    --- North High School, Eau Claire (students only) 10am-2pm
    --- Menomonie Market Food Coop, 814 Main Street East, Menomonie
    --- Chippewa Falls Public Library, 105 W Central St, Chippewa Falls, Meeting Room (near front entrance)
    --- Colfax Public Library, 613 Main St, Colfax

  • Your profile picture
    1:26pm

    Last Friday afternoon we learned of the 79 bills up for a vote on Tuesday. I spoke with my neighbor shortly after seeing the long list.

    “How can they possibly know what they are voting on?” she asked me. I replied there is no time to talk with people and learn the effects of these changes.

    Legislation moving quickly through the process makes changes to protections of our wetlands; specifically, wet areas not connected to a navigable body of water.

    Wisconsin has more than one million acres of “isolated” wetlands. These areas are our swamps, meadows and marshes. Isolated wetlands are regulated by the state, hence the ability of state lawmakers to remove protections.

    Talking to scientists and engineers is key to understanding the importance of wetlands and the implications of removing state protections. However, legislation moving at warp speed with little public notice make it nearly impossible to have these conversations.

    Wetlands are key to our ecology. They provide habitat to an immense array of creatures and plants. Wetlands recharge ground water, help control erosion, and store excess water caused by severe weather.

    Our farmstead sits 50’ above a large swamp and marsh. The wetlands capture flooding waters from the swollen Buffalo River. In the past several years, we saw several serious floods. The flooding in our wetlands eased possible destruction by the unusually intense storms.

    “In the last six years, Wisconsin has seen five 100-year floods and one 1,000-year flood,” wrote Tyler Esh, the Eau Claire Emergency Management Coordinator. “Rains are becoming increasingly severe.”

    These severe floods led many people I represent to question current state policies. For example, a town official asked for help with a washed-out road. He wanted to double the size of a culvert that washed out in a severe storm. We could not get adequate state help to pay for the improvements. The following year, the road and culvert washed out again.

    Floods know no boundaries. Folks in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties remember last summer flooding when up to 8 inches of rain fell causing sewers to overflow. Filling in wetlands makes things worse in urban as well as rural areas.

    The City of Houston learned a hard lesson this summer. Part of the reason Houston flooded so badly was because they...

    Read more