Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Wisconsin Recall Petitions’ Category

Tired, ill, and reading

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This past week hasn’t been one of my best.

As to what’s wrong?  Well, I hit the six years, six months mark in my grief observance . . . what a passive way to say that I’ve now been without my husband for over six years and six months.  And I hate it, but can’t do anything about it, save remember my beloved husband Michael as he was while he was alive — and know to the bottom of my soul that we will be together again in eternity if at all humanly possible.

Oh, yeah.  And I’ve been sick, too — sinus stuff and flu symptoms, which hasn’t stopped me from looking for work (and wouldn’t have stopped me from accepting a job had one been offered) . . . still no luck on the job front.

Before I go on, I wanted to mention the passing of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to ever be nominated on a major party ticket for Vice President.  She’s still one of only two women to be nominated (Sarah Palin being the other) . . . Ms. Ferraro was a tough, strong, smart, capable and confident woman who would’ve made an exceptional Vice President and an even better President, had she ever had the opportunity. 

Ms. Ferraro was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton for President, and spoke for me as well as for many others after the 5/31/08 debacle that was the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee that decided the fate of Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic nomination — not at the hands of the voters, but instead at the hands of the DNC itself.  Ms. Ferraro was astonished and disgusted, and her clear, strong voice helped smooth the waters afterward and made our dissent as HRC Dems more forceful, coherent and logical.  I will miss Ms. Ferraro and her tenacity, and I hope “The Good Place (TM)” will appreciate Ms. Ferraro and bring her joy, peace and whatever else she wants as her productive and happy afterlife.

Now, on to less important stuff.

This past week I’ve read at least six books, most of which I’m going to review at and/or Shiny Book Review down the line.  The best of the lot was Louisa Young’s MY DEAR, I WANTED TO TELL YOU, as it’s a horrifically realistic portrait of World War I, but IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS by Erik Larson was also very good and very horrifying, the latter book being about Ambassador to Germany William Dodd and his family, who served during 1933-1937 being stationed in Berlin and saw first-hand what was going on with Adolf Hitler, Josef Goebbels, and all the others.  The only book I really couldn’t get behind was Gina Showalter’s UNRAVELED, this being the sequel to INTERTWINED (I liked INTERTWINED, mind you) . . . just didn’t buy most of it, and the reason I didn’t buy it was that the characterization wasn’t as solid as in the previous novel.  (When your main character, Aden, is a guy with a bunch of dead people inside his head, you need to believe in him or the concept doesn’t work.  I bought it in INTERTWINED, didn’t buy it in UNRAVELED.  Would still give Ms. Showalter one more chance to sell me on this universe down the line, though, because of the previous, far-stronger novel.)

I’ve also had a problem recently in focusing my attention on one thing, or even on any ten things . . . I believe this is due to exhaustion, and being ill, and trying to pretend I’m neither one.

Well, the time for pretending is over; I hope by saying out loud, in public, even (as blogging is a public endeavor even if no one reads it but me), that I’m going to take some down-time if I can makes sense.

Other than that, I continue to watch Wisconsin politics.  The Governor’s budget repair bill was stalled in the courts, but the Republicans tried an unusual end-around that I’m not even sure I can describe — they believe by doing this rather odd thing (you have to publish a bill specifically by the Secretary of State’s office in Wisconsin or it’s not legal, and after it’s published it takes ten days to take effect; this hasn’t happened as a Dane County court enjoined that with a temporary restraining order, but a different place in the government has published the bill and the Republicans believe that’s enough and the bill — which stops the state from collectively bargaining with employees in public employee unions — is now law.  I have my doubts on that score but have no doubt — zero — that the original judge who gave the temporary restraining order will have more to say tomorrow and that any legal action will be officially blocked by five PM tomorrow.)  Note that the Wisconsin Republicans did this weird “end-around” thing after 5 PM on a Friday because they wanted to make positive news, such as it is, and mute the negative news a little . . . tomorrow I’m sure all the crap will hit the fan, again.

Oh, yeah.  I nearly forgot to add that one of my friends, whom I respect highly, has told me that he thinks I should not write the Elfyverse (my universe, my concept, my voice) or Michael’s universes (granted, all of those were Michael’s concept and me trying to match Michael’s voice, which is very tough) and instead should think of something else to write and do that.

Well, here’s my thought on that — it’s up to me what I do, and these days I’m glad to get any ideas at all.  If I can get one story consistently talking to me so I can do more with it, I’m going to work with it — whether it’s a new story, an existing story in my Elfyverse or an existing story in Michael’s, it doesn’t matter.  Only the strength of the story matters . . . I just hope I’ll start hearing something after I heal up a little, because right now none of my stories are talking to me, at all.

Note that I appreciate my friend for saying what he did even though I feel he’s flat wrong.  Being able to honestly communicate is important, even if you don’t always agree — probably because you can’t always agree, it’s important to have some real communication going on even if it’s, “I really don’t like what you’re doing, Barb, and wish you’d stop.”  (My response wouldn’t be printable, I’m afraid, but that’s the drawback to free, honest and open communication.)

Oh, and last, Writers of the Future bounced both of my stories out in the last two quarters . . . what else is new?

Recall in WI continues to gain steam

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Folks, this is encouraging news for those of us in Wisconsin who can’t abide what Governor Scott Walker and 18 of the 19 state Senate Republicans have done to our state since the first of this year.

Note that the writer of this article is Markos Moulitas, who owns the Daily Kos; he is obviously a partisan Democrat, yet this is a non-partisan article that explains where the polling lies currently in the eight districts where active recall efforts are occurring at present.  This article also states that the Democrats have already obtained 45% of the signatures in two weeks to recall all eight Republican state Senators eligible to be recalled right now.

The two guys that look like they’ll definitely lose are Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke.  But after that, things get tougher for the Dems . . . or do they?

This particular story says that Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, is currently beating a generic Dem. challenger by 8%.  However, the guy who’d challenge her is already known — it’s Sheldon Wasserman, who is a former Assemblymen (Wisconsin’s lower house), and he only lost to her by about 1000 votes in 2008.

My thought here is that the students at Marquette most likely were not polled as they mostly have cell phones (and anything from a dormitory which might be a landline probably wouldn’t be polled anyway), and I know those students are fired up.   I believe every Democratic activist on campus and off in Milwaukee has told every student who attends any college or university in Wisconsin to make sure to file for an absentee ballot to vote in these recall elections — and they certainly would do so for those students in residence at Marquette who live out of state (or even elsewhere in the state where no recall is occurring).  Getting an absentee ballot is quite legal, and asking for one in advance, while rare, isn’t unheard of — often it’s soldiers who get these — and in any event, getting the information in advance as to how to request an absentee ballot is always a good idea whether you’re in a recall district or not.

Anyway, my hunch is that the polling is really wrong regarding Ms. Darling.  As stated, she only won by about 1000 votes the last time she ran; people are enraged now, and many Republicans are mad at her because she was the person who ran the committee in the state Senate which let that awful “budget repair bill” out of the committee and into the whole Senate.  Note that it’s not just Democrats and Independents who are furious with her; many rank-and-file Republicans are angry, too, because she’s the one who had all the power in the world — she could’ve stopped this very easily early on, saying that this bill was too much, too soon, or at any rate took too much power away from the Senate/legislative branch and gave it to Walker and the executive branch instead.  But she didn’t.

My hunch remains that Alberta Darling will be the first one recalled, and that she will be recalled because she screwed up so badly by refusing to just kill the bill at the committee level.

And all the Dems need is three Rs to lose their seats . . . as Markos Moulitsas says, the Dems are in striking distance of six of these seats right now (including Alberta Darling’s), with only Mary Lazich and Glenn Grothman, for the moment, appearing safe.

But what that doesn’t reflect is this: Grothman, providing they get the signatures to force him to a recall, and Lazich too, may be primaried by other Republicans.  Meaning they may well be gone when it comes time to a general election against a Democrat or Independent; if they aren’t gone by then, my hunch would be an Independent would be likely to knock off Grothman or Lazich because once again, people are furious and people want some legislators who will really represent them at the state level — not just rubber stamp legislation because Scott Walker tells them to do so.

Until these polls start asking in those two districts whether other Republicans or perhaps a conservative-leaning Independent has a shot against Grothman or Lazich, I will continue to believe that even in these “reddest of the red” Republican districts, those Senators are likely to end up going home for good.  Because you cannot underestimate the fury in Wisconsin, and as John Nichols and another commentator (a woman who works for Grit-TV; sorry, I can’t recall her name) recently said on Ed Schultz’s MSNBC show, “The only thing that trumps big money is a fired-up populace, especially at the grass-roots level.”  (Then both of them, Nichols and the other lady, said that they have never seen an electorate more fired-up across the entire state of Wisconsin than what we have right now.  And that in their opinions, it’s likely all eight of these Senators will face recall elections.)

Finally, here is Moulitsas’s opinion regarding Scott Walker’s fate:

As for Walker, state law requires an elected official to have served one year before being recalled, which means the governor has a reprieve until January 2012. But it’s pretty clear he’ll get his turn.

And it will be fitting, because Walker has done more to activate Democrats than anyone since George W. Bush scurried back to Texas.

I agree with him, and wish to once again state for the record that many other Republican state Senators who were elected in 2010 will be recalled and replaced (by Dems or possibly Independents, and maybe even a different Republican or two in the “reddest” districts) along with Walker, including my own state Senator, Van Wanggaard, because they have refused to listen to their own constituents and that, my friends, is a no-no that’s way too big to ignore.

I can’t wait to sign the recall petitions.  (Hurry up, November!)

Scott Walker signs union rights stripping-bill into law; recalls pending.

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Just a very brief note, folks . . . following the possibly illegal behavior of the Senators on the Senate-Assembly Conference Committee, Scott Walker today signed the noxious bill which strips public employee union-members of their rights to collectively bargain.

But this is not the end . . . oh, no.   This is far, far from over, and I, for one, will be avidly awaiting the results of the recall elections which will happen in at least seven of the eight districts where Republican Senators can be recalled. 

UPDATE:  All eight Republican state Senators now have active recall efforts going against them.  People are furious about what the state Senate Republicans did here in passing the union-stripping measures without an abstract of the bill in question, without giving the public time to look at it and without even giving two hours notice as required under the Wisconsin Open Records law.  Note that the Conference Committee, especially the Senators on it like Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, are far more likely to get into trouble than the WI state Senate on its own as the Senate most likely voted legally — it’s that the Conference Committee was a) called before the WI state Senate voted and b) didn’t get two hours either that’s most likely to get this bill stricken from the record and a re-vote may well become necessary down the line.

And while we wait to see what the courts will do with this bill, it’s time for the recall process to begin on the eight Republican Senators vulnerable to recall at this time.  (Note that there are also eight Dem. Senators who could possibly be recalled, but the guy funding those recalls is a very wealthy man in Utah who doesn’t live in WI at all.  My best guess is that if any of the WI Dems has to run in a recall election, he or she will win re-election, but it’s possible one, maybe two of them might have people in their district who are madder about them going to Illinois to prevent a quorum than they are about Scott Walker.  I don’t think that’s the case, mind you — I think people are irate regarding Scott Walker — but anything is possible, including the potential stupidity of voting out any of the courageous Democratic Senators who left the state in a legal procedural move to delay this process until everyone in the state following the news could be informed of what was truly going on.)

Scott Walker’s hours are numbered also as Governor, because there’s no way in the world Wisconsin voters will stand for what he and the Fitzgerald brothers (Scott as the Senate Majority Leader, Jeff in the Assembly as its Speaker) just forced down our throats.  We cannot get signatures to recall Gov. Walker until November, but my best guess is that we will get many more than the 540,000 signatures (1/4 of the total of the last vote for Gov. statewide) needed to force a recall election.

For those of you who do not live in Wisconsin, a recall election is a “do-over” election.  And as many people who unfortunately voted for Walker now feel betrayed, it is very likely our next Governor will be a Democrat — whether it’s Russ Feingold (former US Senator) or Tom Barrett (current mayor of Milwaukee, who ran unsuccessfully for Gov. in 2010) makes no nevermind as either would be far, far better as a Gov. for the state of WI than Scott Walker could ever be.

Please go to this Web site for further details as to how the “Republican 8” Senators vulnerable to recall right now will be recalled (the signatures are being gathered right now):

Also, see this site for further details: — for those wishing to get state Sen. Mary Lazich out, there’s a number of places working to recall her from this site.

And see this very good opinion from the Capitol Times (in Madison, WI):

And go, go, recallers!

Odds and Ends

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Today’s post is going to be a catch-all of various things.

First, I had been pursuing a job in Madison, WI; it was a writing/editing gig and I felt I could really help the particular company in question, and that it would be something I could do that would not set off my particular round of health issues (I am partially disabled, physically, though there’s nothing wrong with my mind or work ethic).  But this job has said “no” even though I apparently got to the very last round . . . this might be considered a triumph after eighteen months of unemployment (I’m certain my late husband Michael would find it so), but it’s hard to see it that way now as I’m still among the ranks of the unemployed, nor do I have a job that’s right up my alley as I’d truly hoped this job would be.

So back to the drawing board, there.

As for the Wisconsin protests against sitting Governor Scott Walker and his atrocious “budget repair bill” that would strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights and would drastically cut Medicaid and our low-income health program Badgercare (I’m on the Badgercare waiting list as I qualify, but last I knew there were nearly 100,000 on the waiting list before it was frozen last September), they are still happening.   There are protests all over Wisconsin; there was a protest in Racine a few days ago that I unfortunately was unable to attend that netted two hundred or so in the freezing rain, while in La Crosse a bunch of university professors joined the local teacher’s union (perhaps the one their teaching assistants belonged to; I’m unsure on that — note that when I was a graduate teaching assistant at Nebraska, we were not unionized, though my brother, who is a teaching assistant at Indiana, is) even though they didn’t need to do so for their jobs in solidarity with the protestors.  There have been protests in Superior, which is across the Mississippi River from Duluth, MN, against this “budget repair bill” of Walker’s . . . there have been protests in Oshkosh, Green Bay, Eau Claire, and elsewhere along with the usual places to protest, Madison (our state capitol) and Milwaukee.  In addition, many Republican legislators homes are being picketed, including my own newly-elected state Senator, Van Wanggaard (it’s not a constant thing, but it has happened in the last ten or eleven days more than once, and with more than one person) . . . the state remains opposed to Walker’s union-busting provisions while being divided on whether or not Walker’s budgetary proposals are good or bad for the state.

However, many commercials are being aired by the so-called Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is no such thing — that is a front group funded by the wealthy Koch brothers (they of the infamous “prank call” fame, where Gov. Walker admitted he was trying to bust the unions along with many other things that may get him into hot water with the Government Accountability Board here in WI), and is headquartered in Washington, DC — to recall state Senator Bob Wirch of Burlington/Kenosha.   These commercials are obnoxious, and offensive, aping the “All Points Bulletin” of a policeman’s call to his dispatcher . . . when I heard them, I immediately wrote a letter to Wirch expressing my support for his position and told him I’m glad he’s sticking up for Wisconsin’s voters because goodness knows, aside from the “WI 14” Democratic Senators, no one else is.  (That they’ve had to flee the state in order to avoid a quorum is the only thing they could do to slow this process down.)

I truly hope Bob Wirch isn’t recalled, mind, but even if he is, it’ll take time.

Speaking of recall, I know I’m already planning on recalling Van Wanggaard in a year’s time, the first permissible date as he’s newly-elected, because he obviously does not represent Racine voters — according to a recent article in the Racine Journal-Times, Racine Assemblyman Cory Mason has had 1057 calls against the “budget repair bill” of Scott Walker’s, while he’s had 97 for it, and Racine Assemblyman Robert Turner (my particular Assemblyman) has had over 1000 calls against while only 20 in favor as of earlier this week on Monday.  (What does that tell the rest of you about what Racine thinks about this, hmm?  Do you really think Wanggaard, who’s said he’ll vote “yes” on this bill, is properly representing Racine on this issue?  I know I sure don’t.)

In sports news, Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has had surgery on his right pinkie finger (his throwing hand) and may miss the start of the season as he’s not supposed to throw for a month.  They put a pin into his right pinkie finger and Lucroy says he will catch (but supposedly not throw; how is that supposed to work again?  Will he have a coach sitting there who will take the ball out of Lucroy’s glove, then toss it back to the pitcher in question in the bullpen before the pitcher throws again?) and that he doesn’t plan to miss any time whatsoever.

What is a little bit frustrating about Lucroy’s assertion is that he’s a very young man.  He needs to be careful of his health.  If he tries to come back too soon, he’ll be hurting himself, long-term.  He seems to be worried he’ll lose his starting position, or maybe he’s even worried about being sent back to Triple A (AAA) ball due to injury, but I think that’s highly unlikely.  If Lucroy rushes himself now, he may end up worsening this injury down the line and perhaps even shortening his overall career (as throwing arms are important, and messing with your motion due to an injured finger is very common) if he over-does.  I hope the Brewers new training staff (with a new manager came new coaches and staff) will “sit” on him and get him to back off working so hard; it’ll be difficult for Lucroy to sit and watch, but it’ll be much, much better for his team overall if he just lets this heal without hindrance.

Other than that, in Brewers’ news, Zach Greinke said he’s having issues with his new medicine for Social Anxiety Disorder (or SAD) and the sports talkers in Milwaukee seem concerned about it as Greinke said that the new med makes him “more tired” but didn’t really clarify in what way; some talkers seem to believe that means he’ll have trouble with his stamina on the mound, but I doubt this . . . I’ve never had SAD, but my grandmother needed anxiety medicine in her last years of life — I know this isn’t exactly the same thing, mind you — and changing a medicine’s dosage, even, can make you feel more tired at the end of the day, or perhaps when you wake up.  These feelings wear off after a little bit, but can get in your way if you don’t know what’s going on at first . . . anyway, Greinke probably meant that he’s getting used to the new dosage, doesn’t like it, and would rather not have to deal with it, but not that he’ll have any trouble pitching.

At any rate, the way Wisconsin is going right now, I’ll be glad to see the Brewers in action.  I know that I’m ready for some baseball, and I’m more than ready for some healthy interest in something beyond the asinine behavior of our current, sitting Governor.

Gov. Scott Walker Miscalculates over “Budget,” Tries to Bust Unions — Battle Ongoing

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Folks, I’ve never seen anything quite like what’s going on in Wisconsin this past week.

I’d said last November, right after Scott Walker won the right to be incoming Governor, that if he and the Republicans believed him being elected was a “mandate” to do anything other than what he’d said he’d do — that is, govern wisely and well, with consensus — he had another think coming.   The Democrats had miscalculated their position in 2008, which is what led to the 2010 elections going so much in the direction of the Republicans . . . and now, with Scott Walker’s insistence on getting rid of the collective bargaining rights for state public employee unions as part of his “Budget Repair Bill,” he, too, has miscalculated.

When Scott Walker campaigned in Wisconsin, he said he was a centrist, who wanted a balanced budget, who would do modest and effective things — and how that was interpreted was that he wouldn’t change very much (trust me, changing whether state public employee unions are allowed to collectively bargain with the state is a huge change, especially as we’ve had these provisions in place for well over fifty years).  Yet Walker’s view of “modest” is exactly what he put up — a bill that would strip all public employee unions of their right to collectively bargain; a bill that would force unions to re-certify every year; a bill that has caused massive unrest throughout the entire state of Wisconsin, massive protests (over 35,000 today was estimated; 30,000 on Thursday; 25,000 on Wednesday; 15,000 to 20,000 on Tuesday, in Madison alone, with additional protests outside Republican lawmakers’ homes throughout the state and at least two protests at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus andthe University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus, with over 2,000 people showing up to protest at Eau Claire and an unknown number in Oshkosh), and 56% of the state being against Gov. Walker’s so-called “modest proposal.”

Here’s a link to the most recent story, where the Wisconsin Assembly (our lower house) was going to take a vote without the Democratic members even being present; when the Dems showed up and demanded their rights to be heard, the vote was “rescinded” — meaning it’ll have to be taken again, with the Dems present.  That vote will take place next Tuesday, as President’s Day is Monday.

And that’s not all; our Democratic state Senators (upper house) have walked off the job, all fourteen of them, and have gone to neighboring states (currently, they are supposed to be in Illinois) so the Senate will not have a quorum and cannot pass this bill; here’s a link to that story:

There also are many, many stories about how Gov. Walker insists this is a “modest” proposal which shouldn’t “shock anyone,” and a story was aired tonight by Greta Van Susteran on Fox News that quoted Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, as once again calling this a “modest” proposal that “shouldn’t have taken anyone by surprise.”

Yet this is a surprise, folks, precisely because Walker and Kleefisch didn’t explain what they planned to do to balance Wisconsin’s budget.  They certainly didn’t say that they planned to de-certify unions, public or private; they certainly didn’t say anything about that in this particular state, where unions have a rich history, the state that gave the United States as a whole the forty-hour work week, vacation pay, worker’s compensation and a form of Social Security for retirement.  (Yes, Wisconsin was first in the nation for all of those things.)  Because if they had, I can assure you, they would’ve lost.  Big-time.

At this point, Walker and Kleefisch are on the “recall road,” because Wisconsin taxpayers truly didn’t expect this out of their elected officials and are protesting in record numbers against this bill.  The Wisconsin constitution allows for government officials to be recalled if they’ve been in office for one full year; right now, Walker and Kleefisch have been in office only about five weeks, so we have a long way to go before we can recall.  But protests like this will not be forgotten, not in a year, not in five years . . . not ever.

All I can say, aside from the fact that I am against Gov. Walker’s proposal because he didn’t campaign on it and it looks like a naked power-grab to me, is that soon, the (R) in back of both Walker and Kleefisch’s name will not stand for Republican.  Instead, it will stand for “recall,” or better yet, “recall and replace.”

I’m telling you now, and for the record — unless Gov. Walker backs down with the demands to disallow collective bargaining in the state of Wisconsin for public unions, he can and will be recalled.  (Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, too.)   Guaranteed.

So I urge you, please do not believe the hype, or Gov. Walker’s attempt to frame the narrative.  The non-violent, peaceful protests here are because of one thing and one thing only: because Gov. Walker overstepped his authority.   Wisconsin’s voters do not like what Walker has done here even if they think he has a point about the budgetary shortfall. **


** Note: I am in this category.  I also believe that anyone who supported the Tea Party’s right to protest should support these folks’ right to protest against a Governor trying to take too many rights away, too quickly, without a public debate. 

** Gov. Walker proposed this “budget repair bill” last week Friday.  And in a week’s time, the state is up in arms.  (Does that really tell anyone out there the state supports Walker?  How about that survey saying 56% are against him I talked about before?  Were those 56% all in error?)