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April 2015
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A $34 Dollar an Hour Minimum Wage

Yes, you read me correctly. The CEO of a Seattle based credit card payment processing firm with 120 employees announced Monday he plans to raise the salaries of every single employee to at least $70,000.00 annually over the next three years, which translates roughly to $34.00 per hour for a 40 hour work week.

Kind of makes Walmart’s announcement of an increase to $10.00 bucks an hour by next year look down right puny and miserly, eh?

Democratic State Rep. Melissa Sargent submits marijuana legalization legislation

Yesterday Democratic State Rep. Melissa Sargent wrote an op-ed piece making a strong case for the legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin. Here’s a snippet from Rep. Sargent’s op-ed.

Last session, I was proud to author a bill to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. I did this after extensive research and the realization that the most dangerous thing about marijuana in our society is the fact that it remains illegal. That is why I am re-introducing this bill.

We stand at a point in our state’s history in which we must examine what has gone wrong in Wisconsin. Revenues are down, our racial disparities rank the worst in the nation, and our jail-to-prison pipeline is at a crisis point.

While legalizing marijuana would not be a cure-all to turn our state around overnight, it would enhance personal freedoms, increase financial opportunity, and lead to safer communities.

Adults choosing to use marijuana in the safety of their own home is a matter of personal liberty and freedom. As a matter of philosophy, the government must have a compelling reason to make something illegal in our society. If an individual action does not harm yourself, your neighbors, or your community, it is no business of the government. Likewise, Wisconsinites with ailments that could be alleviated through marijuana should have the freedom to use inexpensive and effective medicine that works for them.

Later on Monday Rep. Sargent acted on her op-ed piece, submitting legislation that would legalize marijuana possession in Wisconsin.

A Democratic state representative rolled out a bill Monday that would allow Wisconsinites to roll joints.

“Legalization is a solution to increasing freedom and liberty in our society,” Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) said at a Capitol news conference.

The bill would have Wisconsin join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as states where marijuana is legal. Twenty other states allow marijuana use for medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislature and Governing magazine.

With Republicans controlling both houses of the Legislature, the measure has virtually no chance of passing. A similar bill by Sargent in the last legislative session never got a hearing.

But Sargent said she’s met numerous conservatives who back the idea, with the belief that the government shouldn’t be involved in matters that she said don’t hurt anyone.

“This is not a bill we should be considering as a party issue. It’s a values issue,” she said.

Not surprisingly, the Journal Sentinel’s report notes Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos indicated Rep. Sargent’s legislation is unlikely to come up for consideration, because bringing up the idea of marijuana legislation would require Republicans to think outside the narrow little boxes that frame their narrow world view.

Democrats Chris Sinicki and Dave Hansen to introduce equal pay legislation

This is great news, but of course Republicans who control the legislature will never let it see the light of day.

State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Representative Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) announced today that they will be introducing the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, legislation aimed at closing the gap in pay between and men and women.

The Equal Pay Enforcement Act which was signed into law in 2009 was repealed when Governor Walker and Republicans took control of the Legislature in 2011. It is being introduced in honor of Equal Pay Day which is taking place tomorrow, April 14th.

dave-hansen-gb“Even though equal pay has been the law federally since 1963 and in Wisconsin since 1945, women are still often paid less than men 60 years later. This holds true even when women match or exceed their male colleagues in education, skills and experience,” said Sen. Hansen. “This gap in pay is costing Wisconsin women and their families on average $10,000 per year. As a result, Wisconsin families have less money to support their families and our economy.”

The Trolls Are Already Running Amok Over Hillary Clinton

I have a Facebook politician page left over from my campaign for Milwaukee School Board back on 2011. It’s been a quiet backwater since then…a place to repost my Blogging Blue efforts and articles of interest around politics, foreign policy, economy, education, etc. The sort of stuff I rant about around here.

Recently I posted about the magical mystery tour campaign that I and a few equally unlevel headed progressives bandied about the past two years…heading out to New Hampshire to run up and down the state in a Trolley Bus just before the Democratic primary…suggesting that I have a few better ideas.

So with great aplomb, I reposted a number of links to articles relating Ms. Clinton’s entry into the fray as my first official opponent. It didn’t take but minutes before people who I have never heard of from around the country found my little page and blasted Ms. Clinton.

She’s that much of a threat that they followed a link to my site to diss her? Really?

Maybe I really should run!

BTW 1: I will post a few things here and there on this site under the heading Campaign 16, relating my positions if I were a candidate.

BTW 2: Hillary stole my drive around to meet real people gig…but instead of a trolley bus she is using a mini-van…so I guess I have had at least one good idea this campaign season already!

Why I’m backing Jeff Smith for DPW Chair

First off, Jeff is the only candidate who has won a state level election against a multi-term incumbent Republican in rural Wisconsin. Jeff’s first race was in 2004 when he defeated a handpicked DPW candidate in the 93rd Assembly district primary and went on to lose in the general election. He came back in 2006 and, with no help from the ADCC, went on to defeat 14 year GOP incumbent Robin Kreibich. The significance of this cannot be overstated. Jeff is the only DPW Chair candidate who’s been successful turning rural Wisconsin from red to blue.

Secondly, numbers don’t lie. In the 2014 election cycle Jeff did better than our candidates in 10 other ADCC targeted races based on his performance matched against the expected Democratic performance. And he did this, again, with no help from the ADCC. I worked on Jeff’s campaign and we developed his message and campaign lit/TV ads using local talent and by raising his own money, over $60,000.00. If other Dem Party challengers, and even a pair of incumbents, had matched Jeff’s performance we would have kept two Assembly seats that were lost, won four more, and won back a Senate seat. Think about that for a minute. Go ahead, think about that for another minute or two.

Next up, everybody says they stand with Labor. It’s easy. All one has to do is say it out loud and write it up for one’s campaign website. Jeff has literally and repeatedly stood with Labor. Actions really do speak louder than words.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Jeff is willing to admit to, and learn from, his mistakes. He’ll be the first to tell you that the biggest mistake of his political career was buying into the ADCC program in 2010. He lost a heartbreaking election that year by only 74 votes, after which the 93rd Assembly district was redrawn to favor the GOP. Some of the candidates and their supporters talk like they have all the answers. Sure they do. Right.

During the two plus years I’ve known Jeff I’ve found him to be an open, honest and accessible guy who genuinely wants to hear what others think, who’s willing to incorporate other people’s ideas into his thinking and strategy, and who will give credit where credit is due. He’s very popular in the Eau Claire area with a wide range of Democrats and progressives, and people on his own home turf are mobilizing to elect him as the next DPW Chair.

I’ll be going to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention in June, my first ever as a delegate, and I’ll be voting for Jeff Smith. I highly recommend that you contact your county party chair and find out how you can become a delegate too. You have until May 15th to do so. Get at it. Times a wastin’.

Top Clinton campaign advisor: Hillary’s campaign will focus on “helping working families succeed, building small businesses, tackling climate change & clean energy.”

From John Podesta, a top advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, comes this Tweet outlining what the focus of Clinton’s presidential campaign will be.

As noted by Judd Legum of ThinkProgress, the very mention of global climate change as a top of the list agenda item for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is unprecedented, as no other major presidential campaign has ever made combating climate change a central issue.

Hillary Clinton is in for 2016

Earlier today former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president in 2016. In her two minute announcement video (see below) Clinton notably takes the emphasis off herself and the inevitability of her candidacy and instead attempts to portray her run for president as a natural outgrowth of a mass, populist movement.

Here’s Hillary Clinton’s 2016 announcement video.

Clinton’s announcement video has gotten some good reviews, which should certainly be encouraging for her campaign, considering how widely panned her 2008 announcement video was.

Walker Should Be Going to California Instead of Europe

Apparently the governor is trying to strengthen his foreign policy credentials with another trip to Europe.

Where he should be is in drought ridden California. As that state continues to impose water use restrictions and experiments with sea water desalination, Wisconsin is still a safe water haven (well ignoring the DNRs lack of over sight of factory farm operations that is).

Maybe he should be sweet talking California companies to consider moving to Open for Business Wisconsin, where they don’t (yet) have to worry about a water crunch. A few of those hip high tech companies just might see the advantages! Well, except for our conservative state house maybe. Just sayin’

A Redneck Can Dream

I’ll warn you up front that this probably isn’t safe for work due to a whole lotta cussin’ going on, but this is one of the most inspiring rants I’ve ever seen on Youtube. For years my wife and I have been trying to convince Wisconsin Democrats that the white working class isn’t who we think they are, and this is some strong evidence to support our claims. God love the epiphanized redneck.

The GOP will regret pushing Wisconsin constitutional amendment regarding state supreme court chief justice position

This excellent post from the blog of Dominique Paul Noth, called Dom’s Domain, is much like the law suit filed recently by Shirley Abrahamson. The current Chief Justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has filed a beautifully planned law suit to the effect that she should remain Chief Justice until her term expires in 2019. Noth’s analysis of the situation is, likewise, beautifully thought out and presented.


When most of us lose an argument, or an election, there is a tendency to lash out in spite – and an equal tendency on the part of media to expect that any lawsuit after losing an election will just be sour grapes.

Wisconsin just witnessed a prime example of expecting the petty and being outmaneuvered.  A novice political class in power that lives on the petty and a media that expects pettiness now look ridiculously naïve. They forgot that Shirley Abrahamson is a abrahamson2009principled shrewd cookie who relies on the slow pace of the courts rather than pumped up pressure of legislative politicians.

No matter which party was in power over the last 40 years, Abrahamson brought a devotion to judicial temperament even as the Wisconsin Supreme Court around her got nastier. She never indulged as her opponents do in public tongue-lashing or throttling– and she wasn’t spiteful April 8, just a shrewd stubborn chess player executing her backup plan.  Maybe that’s what really drives them crazy.

Both the GOP and much of the media tried to paint her lawsuit filed in federal district court a day after a statewide ballot decision on April 7 as the desperate act of a sore loser caught in a rigged partisan game, rather than seeing how long it had been in the works, what it really was and how on pure grounds of constitutional rights it is likely to succeed eventually through various appeals, according to practically every legal expert I interviewed.  Even liberal commentators presumed the April 7 chief justice vote was a victory for the GOP – until Shirley struck. And she may have struck deliberately before injury to freeze action against her as she works her case through the courts.