The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers

Don't blame me - blame Shakespeare. Or Dick the Butcher if you're character-driven. Some days it seems like a reasonable sentiment.  Let's compare and contrast two news stories that have passed over my desk in the last day or so. They're related both to my little neck of the woods and the state as a whole.

From the Eau Claire Leader Telegram re: the last Menomonie City Council Meeting:

 Approved Knaack’s appointment of the law firm Weld Riley, which has offices in Eau Claire, Menomonie and Black River Falls, for general legal counsel. John Behling will serve primarily as city attorney. Weber Law Office of River Falls will serve as the prosecution for traffic court issues. Allyson Baier will serve as the primary lawyer for that portion. City attorney Ken Schofield retired.

Remember when using the bathroom was simple?


Okay, maybe not this bathroom, but -

I note that Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) is saying that he's going to bring back the transgender bathroom bill that failed to pass in the last legislative session because ""This North Carolina law has taken the blinders off for a lot of people," 

Well yes, it has taken the blinders off for me. It has made it clear that people proposing these ridiculous bills around the country really don't care about "protecting children" so much as they care about ridiculing and persecuting people for the crime of "being different". Which is apparently enough these days.

Mississippi River is One of America’s Greatest Treasures

Kathleen Vinehout
Mississippi River is One of America’s Greatest Treasures
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“A single drop of water falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota would travel the river for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico.” Gayle Harper, author/photographer, read this detail on the National Park Service website.
“Every cell in my body felt the impact of that and came to full attention. It felt as if someone had hit the ‘pause’ button on the world.”
She was captivated. How would it be to voyage the entire length of America’s Greatest River for 90 days with an imaginary raindrop?

Citizen Action - Yet Another Walker Outsourcing Scandal

For Immediate Release--April 29, 2016

Yet Another Walker Outsourcing Scandal

Statewide: Thursday it was revealed that yet another multinational corporation receiving public dollars for job creation actually sent more jobs overseas than it created in Wisconsin. This is only the latest example of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Governor Walker’s semi-privatized jobs agency, paying companies to create jobs which in turn outsource more jobs.

According to a report by Greg Neumann of WKOW TV in Madison, W.W. Grainger company outsourced jobs from Janesville to Panama. The corporation created no jobs in Wisconsin, despite receiving WEDC tax credits.

Robert McChesney interview with John Quinlan

John Quinlan has been running a series of interviews on his site Forward Forum - this is his most recent interview, with Robert McChesney.  You may know him from various media-related books and forums - most recently he has written a book with Wisconsin's own John Nichols called  People Get Ready and John interviews him here.

Will Broadband Show Up in Rural Neighborhoods?

Kathleen Vinehout
Will Broadband Show Up in Rural Neighborhoods?
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“I don’t want to promise you fiber where fiber is not going to come,” Kent Disch, AT&T Wisconsin External Affairs Director, told Ellsworth community leaders.
Pierce County business leaders and elected officials gathered with telecommunication company representatives and local cooperatives to push for resolution to Internet problems.
Business leaders asked companies why they would not or could not bring services to businesses that were more than willing to pay. A concrete company owner noted his company is growing but lack of good broadband “is a bottleneck.”  Broadband is needed to prosper.
One after another, the business leaders, county board members, and a former mayor shared community problems. People could not join mandatory webinars or attend virtual conference meetings. Locals frequently experienced dropped Internet connections. The Internet would not work at certain times of the day.

Referenda Sustain Schools During Time of Decreasing State Support

Kathleen Vinehout
Referenda Sustain Schools During Time of Decreasing State Support
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“School districts these days more or less live and die by these referendums in terms of their ability to sustain programs and staff,” Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) recently said as reported by the Isthmus.
So far in 2016, voters approved more than three-quarters of the 85 ballot referenda to raise property taxes to send more local dollars to schools. The nearly 77% pass rate is much higher than a few years ago.
People are voting to raise property taxes to keep their schools alive.
Recently I met with officials from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to understand school funding trends.  I learned there was a big shift in the success of referenda. Prior to 2011 (and the deep school cuts that year) about half of school referenda passed. In the past five years about two-thirds passed.
Historically, communities voted to raise school property taxes to build buildings. Prior to 2011, nearly two-thirds of referenda votes were for the purpose of raising debt for building projects.

How the maker of TurboTax fought free, simple tax filing - Propublica

How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing

by Liz Day ProPublica, March 26, 2013, 5 a.m.

Update, April 14, 2016: In 2013, we detailed how Intuit has lobbied against allowing the government to estimate your taxes for you. So this week, we called Intuit and asked if they still oppose free, government-prepared returns. The answer: Yes. "Our legislative, our policy position on that hasn't changed," said spokeswoman Julie Miller. She called Intuit "a staunch opponent to government prepared tax returns." Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill yesterday to allow free government-prepped returns. Her office also released a report on the tax industry's opposition to simpler filing solutions. It cited the article below as well as another story we did on how a rabbi, civil rights activist, and others were misled into supporting Intuit's campaign.


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