Tom Barrett to Appear at Netroots Wisconsin

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We're happy to announce that Tom Barrett will be one of the candidates appearing at Netroots Wisconsin in our Meet The Candidates session. Tom Barrett (Democratic candidate for Governor) will appear with other progressive candidates at the Netroots Wisconsin conference on Saturday.  We hope to have other candidates to announce as confirmed through the rest of the week.

Advance Registration for Netroots Wisconsin ends at 6 PM on Wednesday, Sept. 22.  We will accept at-the-door registrations at the same price, but cannot guarantee lunch for those who register at the door. Come to Madison on Saturday for a great opportunity to meet and talk with progressive activists from around the state.

We will attempt to live-stream some of the conference for those who cannot attend at our web site  More information on the conference is available there.

Latest NRSC Press Release Again Refers to Ron Johnson as a "Self-Made" Man

Despite claims that the campaign is not intentionally trying to propagate an image that Ron Johnson is a "self-made" man, the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee had the nerve to actually use the term in their latest press-release:

Ron Johnson is a self-made, successful businessman with a 30-year record of creating good jobs in his state.

This comes despite the fact that Johnson has recently feigned surprise that supporters and the media frequently refer to him as a self-made man and untruthfully claimed that he had no role in giving the media and supporters that impression. 

The truth, is that Johnson is about as far as one could get from being a "self-made" man:  His father-in-law, billionaire plastics titan Harold Curler, created PACUR when Ron Johnson (by his own admission) wasn't even in the state.  

Huge voter suppression plot exposed

A massive, coordinated and illegal plan to suppress Wisconsin voter turnout in November was exposed today by One Wisconsin Now (OWN).

The plan, targeting minority voters and students, is a joint effort of the Republican Party, Americans for Prosperity, and Tea Party groups. OWN has somehow obtained both copies of the plan and a recording of a meeting at which it was discussed, both available on a new website,

OWN Executive Director Scot Ross said the group will request investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as well as the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Election Integrity Task Force and the Government Accountability Board, to insure the right to vote is not stolen by these plans.

The term for what the right-wing intends to do is called "vote caging," and involves sending mail to addresses on voter lists and using returned mail to challenge voters at the polls on election day.

Gag law on county secrets?

Well, here's a novel idea, from one of Milwaukee County's public servants, Sup. Joe Rice: Let's make it illegal for people who work for the taxpayers to tell the people what they know.

It's prompted, although he says it's not,  by Sup. Lynn DeBruin's disclosure of shocking comments made at a closed meeting by the guy who was running the county's mental health complex.

Her whistle-blowing set off all sorts of outrage, discussion, and proposals to correct the deplorable situation.

The county board -- I am not making this up -- censured her for disclosing what was said behind closed doors. But the guy who made the outrageous statement that sexual assaults of women were a "trade-off" to reduce the violence likely in an all-male ward, has been demoted and is no longer in charge, although County Exec Scott Walker has refused to fire him. 

Now Rice wants to fine elected officials or county employes who disclose what happens behind closed doors.

Oh, and it would be part of the Ethics Code.

A hint for Calumet DA: Quit now

Ken Kratz, the Republican Calumet County district attorney suffering from a serious case of unrequited love at first sight, is in deep doo-doo.

How do you know? When Jo Engelhoff, rabid right-wing Republican, says this in her FoxPolitics.Net blog:

Kratz outright refuses to resign - and says there's nothing more to say. Oh my. Actions, Ken, have consequences.

Kratz is up for re-election in 2012 and according to news accounts, plans to run again. No Ken. It’s time to resign. Now. Do the right thing.

The Republican tax hell

The Journal Sentinel's cursed Politifact is at it again, this time with an "analysis" of Scott Walker's claim that Wisconsin is one of the highest taxed states in the country. They rate it half true.

> The teaser for the piece actually says:

"If Walker was running a decade ago, he'd be right on target"

Walker wouldn't have made that claim 10 years ago, of course, because Tommy Thompson was the governor and Walker was a Republican legislator loyally voting for Tommy's big spending spree, which put the state into a deep deficit.  The point of Walker's charge, of course, is that Gov. Jim Doyle and the Democrats are responsible for Wisconsin's high tax ranking, when the opposite is true.

The newspaper's "analysis" even refers to its own April article, which said:

Wisconsin's tax burden ranking under Gov. Jim Doyle fell from No. 5 among the states to the current No. 14 since his tenure began in 2003. It hovered between No. 3 and No. 8 under Gov.

Fighting Bob Fest

I'm trying to interject a little balance here.  We see the Tea Partiers everywhere in the news these days.  Our local news has been showing little Tea Party rallies where 20 or 30 people show up to demand - well, whatever it is that they're demanding.

Yet - there is a yearly rally in Baraboo that brings together thousands of people decidedly not of the Tea Party point of view, and we hear very little about it.  We'll occasionally be bringing you some of the highlights of this year's Fighting Bob Fest, thanks to the great On The Earth Productions.  Here, Russ Feingold speaks to a standing-room-only audience at the Bob Fest Kickoff event at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison.

By the way, Senator Feingold is in Eau Claire today having yet another non-debate agains the non-showing Ron Johnson.  6:30 PM, Tamarack room at Davies Center.  If you can. go show some support.

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold speaks to thousands at the Barrymore Theater


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