After being snubbed by the GOP membership of the Wisconsin legislature, the Milwaukee native and former NFL Quarterback will be honored as part of Black History Month by the Milwaukee Common Council:

Colin Kaepernick will be honored by the City of Milwaukee after Republican lawmakers in Madison rejected efforts to recognize him statewide.  

Kaepernick, who was born in Milwaukee, will now be featured in the city’s “28 Days of Black History” project, seven African American aldermen said Friday.

The announcement comes just days after Republicans in the state Legislature rejected a move by black lawmakers to recognize Kaepernick as part of Wisconsin’s Black History Month.

“It is unfortunate that certain state legislators in Madison have worked in opposition to their African American colleagues to block Wisconsin native Colin Kaepernick from being included in a state Black History Month resolution,” the aldermen said. “Unlike some in Madison we are truly honored to feature Colin Kaepernick as part of our Black History celebration.”

The statement was signed by Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton, Alds. Milele Coggs, Russell W. Stamper II, Chantia Lewis, Khalif J. Rainey, Cavalier Johnson and Nikiya Dodd.

“We understand that Mr. Kaepernick is a controversial figure, but black history makers tend to be controversial by nature,” they added. “Few, if any, were accepted by the broader society when they were doing their work, but in hindsight, our nation recognizes that their counter-cultural actions were crucial to the growth of our country.”

Milwaukee’s move came after tempers flared at the state Capitol amid GOP opposition to honor Kaepernick, a former National Football League quarterback who has drawn attention — and stirred controversy — for kneeling during the national anthem to protest the treatment of black people.

“Mr. Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee and his willingness to stand up for what he believes and against the violent and oppressive (and sometimes deadly) treatment of black and brown citizens by law enforcement has brought attention to some of the most important issues of our time,” the Milwaukee aldermen said. “Quite simply, by doing so he has made history.”

Some, including Coggs and Lewis, wore shirts this week showing their support for the quarterback.

Coggs was recognized in the state resolution, which was approved at the Capitol after Republicans pulled Kaepernick’s name from it. 

The council members also noted that Kaepernick has “donated generously to help many worthwhile causes” including two Milwaukee groups, the I Will Not Die Young Campaign and Urban Underground.

Kaepernick will now be included in Milwaukee’s 28 Days of Black History project, which means he will be featured on the city’s website and on the City Channel. Others featured include Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Museum founder Clayborn Benson, state Rep. Kalan Haywood, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Henry “Hank” Aaron, Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik and others.

“Black history is still being written and is ever developing,” the group of council members said.

Update on February 16, 2019. In the initial article and resolution, Milwaukee’s seven African-American alderpersons were the official signees. But in the final release thirteen of the fifteen alders supported the resolution: : Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton, Alds. Milele Coggs, Russell W. Stamper II, Chantia Lewis, Khalif J. Rainey, Cavalier Johnson, Nikiya Dodd, Nik Kovac, Robert Bauman, José Pérez, Mark Borkowski, Michael Murphy and Tony Zielinski. The two who did not sign were Alds. Robert Donovan and Terry Witkowski.

Side note: it was announced today that Mr. Kaepernick and the National Football League have come to a financial settlement but terms will not be published.

If the Republican majority in Madison had just accepted the Black History Month resolution put forward by the Legislative Black Caucus…and simply approved it in a voice vote…there would have been no story. It would essentially have gone unnoticed outside of the state.

But once again the majority leadership had to make a ‘thing’ out of the inclusion of former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s as a black leader being recognized…and Wisconsin once again made the national news as a backwater.

The upside here is we’ve actually had something of a conversation about race in Wisconsin…not one that’s accomplished anything…but one that has opened more than a few eyes. So let’s build on this…can we push for more discussion on race in the state? Can we start a long term dialogue that will finally help accomplish the things that actually need doing in the state? Can we find ways to include everyone…urban/rural, black/white. conservative/liberal, and faith/non-faith and fix the things that Wisconsin needs to fix?

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After signing the budget bill and adverting another partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. This will supposedly allow him to divert other federal funds to his efforts to build a wall at the southern border.

As we’ve said in the past, if the GOP other than the president actually wanted a wall…we’d have had one before now…funded during the two years the GOP controlled the House as well as the Senate and White House.

But if this is actually a national emergency…should the president be heading out for another long weekend at Mar-a-lago?

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Judge Brian Hagedorn currently sits on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, a position that former Governor Scott Walker appointed him to after he served for nearly five years as Chief Legal Counsel to the governor. He was then elected to his current position in 2017. Judge Hagedorn is running against appeals court Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer in the April election to replace retiring Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

So far so good…except that while a law student he published a blog on political items of interest at the time. From his history above you can guess that his interests lean conservative as did his blog posts. He took a number of extremely right wing positions including positing that court rulings overturning the sodomy laws in Texas would lead to legalizing bestiality.

He called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning anti-sodomy laws a travesty that “should render laws prohibiting bestiality unconstitutional.”

He also wrote that the NAACP, the national civil rights group, was a “partisan hack” and a “disgrace to America.”

Hagedorn also wrote about “why I hate Planned Parenthood” and called it a “wicked organization” that was more devoted “to killing babies than to helping women.” Hagedorn, an evangelical Christian, said he was praying and lobbying to stop abortion.

You get the picture…but still so far so good…many of us have written blogs over the years…some that would get us in hot water of one sort or another over the years…and I imagine there is some serious fodder here if I were to run for something again.

But it’s the 21st Century…there are all of ‘these things’ out there. He certainly had to expect that someone would find fault with his positions and that they would go public and be very vocal about it. And the good judge should have been prepared…had a little stump speech explanation…a rationale…freedom of speech…and all that…and shrug it off even though his opposition wasn’t going to do that. Could he do that?

No…he decided to play the victim card:

Hagedorn, who is seeking a seat on the state Supreme Court, said criticism over the blog posts and calls for promises to recuse himself on cases involving Planned Parenthood and same-sex relationships are attacks on his evangelical Christian views.

“If you have ever been a Catholic or Christian of various stripes you’re going to get attacked for your faith,” Hagedorn said in an interview with WTAQ’s John Muir, a conservative radio show host. “I think it’s unfortunate and that’s not the way things are supposed to be.”

Hagedorn did not on Monday directly address the issues raised in his law school blog posts, but said the criticism is an attack on his faith and that he has always set aside his personal views when hearing cases and will continue to do so if elected to the Supreme Court.

An attack on his faith? I didn’t even know (or care) what his faith is. I do sense a bit of irony that in my lifetime…the first presidential campaign that I can remember…the Republicans were trying to make hay out of the fact that Senator John F Kennedy was a Catholic and was going to get his marching orders from the Vatican…but I digress.

And it is fine that Judge Hagedorn minimizes the influence his faith and beliefs have on his role as judge. That’s the ideal…the perfect…but we wouldn’t have conservatives and liberals backing ‘their own’ candidates if it didn’t matter.

But what I am getting at here isn’t his positions from his blog or his religious affiliation that trouble me. What bothers me is he decided to run directly to a victim hood of his own devising instead of standing up and taking the heat. I found that far more troubling. I find that a disqualifying trait in a judge. It belies the promise to rule based on the law…because in the heat of a campaign…he can’t keep the emotional out of it. Judge Hagedorn gets a thumbs down from me.

It is Black History Month in the United States and the Black Caucus of the Wisconsin Legislature would like to pass a resolution celebrating black leaders in America. As I said in the headline, something like this should come flying out of committee and pass on the floor by acclamation.

But wait, the GOP, all of whom are white, object to two of the black leaders included in the resolution: Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and Milwaukee Pastor Greg Lewis. Because they are dangerous revolutionaries? Because they are insidious law breakers? No…because they are…dare I say it…controversial.

Controversial? Let us keep in mind that 50+ years ago the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was controversial. And why are they controversial? Because one protests the continued racism rampant in America and the other points out the obstacles still in the way of voting equality in America. So aren’t these black leaders?

So it gets murkier as the GOP presented their own version of the resolution removing Mr. Kaepernick and Pastor Lewis and replacing them with current Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and former Wisconsin Secretary of State, the late Vel Phillips. Both dignitaries worthy of the honor but…not the choices made by the black caucus. Wow.

Well my feeling is controversial is a good thing. It gets the conversations flowing and maybe now is the time to have a discussion about racism on the floor of the state legislature. And if the GOP wants to feel good about itself…maybe it should accept the resolution of the black caucus…and amend it to include LG. Barnes and Ms. Phillips. And then pass the resolution by acclamation!

For the second time in as many years, Wisconsin lawmakers clashed on party lines over how to honor Black History Month as some Republicans objected to a resolution offered by the Legislature’s Black Caucus, which is composed of only Democrats. 

There are no African-American Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature. 

“Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure,” ( Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna) Steineke said, adding that the Assembly should be “all in agreement” on anyone its members honor. 

“The biggest issue for us as a black caucus is people choosing to pick our leaders for us,” (David) Crowley, a Democratic state representative from Milwaukee, said about Republican opposition to the caucus’ resolution. He said the Republican leaders’ decision not to allow a vote on the caucus’ resolution is a “slap in the face.”

It’s time that the healing get started in Wisconsin and here’s the perfect opportunity.

the President of the United States can hold an hours long rally within one and a half miles of it…at night!

Viva El Paso!

Indentured servants? I just can’t….

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Congress has until Friday to come up with a solution for the current budget issues and to avoid triggering another partial shutdown of the federal government. It is unlikely that the Democrats or Republicans want another shutdown and without the influence from the White House…this would probably have been resolved by now. The president, who accepted the continuing resolution two plus weeks ago that he declined in December, seems to be clamoring for another shutdown if he doesn’t get his $5.7 billion for a wall.

This needn’t be that hard given the Democrats interest in improved border security sans a wall. I don’t think the Republicans would find additional border security measures to be that unpalatable either. So here’s the compromise:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hammer out a compromise that provides money for additional border security…without a wall…or maybe a bit of money to replace/repair some existing barriers that are in disrepair. Make it clear that they both will deliver a two thirds majority of their respective chambers if the president vetoes the bills. And Senator McConnell just needs to make the president understand…that this is it. This is the bill…this is what he’s gonna get…sign it or not, it will be the law.

Some of the Democrats will bemoan providing funding for any kind of permanent barrier and some Republicans will bemoan not getting the $5.7 billion. Bemoan all you want in public…compromise means giving and getting…and then get behind your leadership and pass the bill! And then you can get on to other matters…like immigration reform!

And if it goes down like that and the president signs it…he can tweet all day that Nancy caved…and Speaker Pelosi can just smile with the knowledge that 534 other members of Congress know what went down. The lynch pin here? Is Senator McConnell still afraid of the president or has he started to see the light?

For those of you questioning the photo:

Whoops…my bad…that’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

And this meme from Twitter:

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