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Alan Talaga: Restoring balance

The next two high court elections could swing power to liberals.

Bill Kaplan: Governing vs. rabble-rousing

Trump and defeated Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker have demonstrated again that they reject governing and embrace rabble-rousing.

Bill Kaplan: The economy and GOP sink lower

The party of Lincoln sinks lower in Wisconsin and nationally, while a troubled economy goes down.

Bill Kaplan: Worst week for Wisconsin GOP and Trump

On November 6, Wisconsin voters chose change. Wisconsin Republicans lost every statewide office on the ballot. However, Wisconsin GOP politicians have decided to disrespect voters.

Bill Lueders: Time for a change – please

The Isthmus delivers its Cheap Shots for 2018

Bruce Murphy: Evers embraces expertise

Hiring talented people, appointing expert advisors, who knew you could govern that way?

Bruce Murphy: Foxconn covets intellectual property rights

Besides $4.1 billion subsidy, it seeks IP rights of students, faculty, other companies.

Bruce Murphy: Republicans’ plan for permanent power

They began plotting last spring to retain power even if a Democrat won for governor.

Bruce Murphy: State facing endless lawsuits

Suits by governor, legislature, citizens coming on lame duck laws, gerrymandering.

Bruce Murphy: What do Democrats stand for?

They can’t just be anti-Trump or anti-Walker, they need a clear theme. Like what?

Bruce Thompson: Gerrymander is alive and well

Data from November election tells a tale of totalitarian tendencies.

Bruce Thompson: The Republican war against democracy

Details in lame duck bills show disdain for democracy by Vos and Fitzgerald.

Charlie Sykes: George H.W. Bush and the legacy of the Greatest Generation

Perhaps it is simply human nature that our appreciation often comes too late. Every generation is born ungrateful and our memories are selective and shaded by our own self-regard. But it was the singular misfortune of the Greatest Generation to be succeeded by that most self-absorbed of generations, the Baby Boomers, my own generation.

Chris Larson: Republican power grab unprecedented

Legislators “don’t trust” newly elected governor, so they want to take away Evers’ power.

Chris Rochester: Top 10 lies of 2018

We thought 2017 had more whoppers than the front counter at a movie theater. But from the lies that influenced the Wisconsin election to lies that changed the national narrative about a whole host of issues, 2018 proved even worse. It wasn’t easy, but we narrowed the list down to the top ten whopping lies.

Collin Roth: More training and support could result in more disabled workers remaining in...

The central problem with SSDI is that for disabled workers who could reasonably make a return to the labor force through training or rehabilitation, there are few incentives and often not enough support.

Dan O’Donnell: The forgotten man

So desperate were the outgoing governor and state legislative majority to pass what amounted to a sweetheart deal for some of their biggest political backers that they did what was until then unthinkable—they sprang Jeff Wood from jail so he could vote.

Dave Cieslewicz: Free speech and tolerance

Free speech is a powerful and messy thing, but for me at least, it is the very center of what it means to be free. And it can’t stand on its own. To continue to exist, free speech needs to come with a large dose of tolerance for the sometimes challenging and sometimes ignorant ways in which it is expressed.

Dave Cieslewicz: The small Republicans

Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald aren’t just limiting the power of the offices of the governor and attorney general. They’re undermining the basis of our system: that rules should apply equally regardless of who is in office.

Dave Cieslewicz: Walker’s final insult

His last-minute deal with Kimberly-Clark is not real economic development.

Dave Zweifel: Dec. 7 is right time to reflect on when to go to...

Here we are 17 years later and still bogged down in Afghanistan, even though that day FDR said would live in infamy should have taught us something about picking our fights — that we should know the enemy and how to beat him.

Dave Zweifel: GOP’s lame-duck session gives state a black eye

Our state was on the front pages of The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other papers because Republicans who control the state Legislature showed there is no limit to how low they will go.

Dave Zweifel: GOP’s spin on lame-duck session won’t wash with voters

My guess is that the Wisconsin Legislature's Republicans had no idea what kind of public relations blunder they had committed when they decided to pass a bunch of laws to make the jobs of the governor and attorney general the people of Wisconsin had just elected a little more difficult.

Dave Zweifel: Levitan’s book artfully captures Madison in the ’60s

Stuart Levitan's work provides new insights to a decade in which Madison somewhat clumsily dived into urban renewal, battled over civil rights, literally fought over the Vietnam War, turned the Monona Terrace civic center controversy into a fiasco and set the stage for the future of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Dave Zweifel: Look over here! Trump’s tweets distract from real damage

While the mainstream media and especially cable TV news have been preoccupied with Donald Trump's asinine tweets, his administration is laying waste to policies that for decades have helped and served the average American.

Dave Zweifel: Maybe General Motors’ news will awaken Trump die-hards

Maybe the news out of Detroit last week that General Motors is closing five plants and cutting 14,000 well-paid jobs will serve to give even Trump's most ardent backers a wake-up call. Part of the "MAGA" promises, you will remember, was Trump's insistence that if he was elected president not one plant would be closed.

Dave Zweifel: Trump’s climate denial puts us all in danger

America safer under Trump? Hardly. The dangers the country faces aren't primarily military ones, but are brought on by a man who has his head buried in the sand.

David Blaska: A role model who could laugh at himself: Bush #41

#41 called #43 “Quincy” on occasion, showing a fine sense of history and humor. Who else would dare wear those loud and colorful socks? Who else was so grounded that he could laugh at himself and not hold grudges? For Presidents, none since maybe JFK and a little Gerald Ford (“not a Lincoln”) and W, too.

David Blaska: George H.W. Bush was a real man

Mr. Bush is being rightly praised for his civility. His note to his successor upon departing the White House is legend: ‘Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.”

Dee J. Hall: Wisconsin lawmakers embrace secrecy, fast-tracking

One of the trends we identified as part of our Undemocratic: Secrecy and Power vs. The People series for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism was the increased fast-tracking of bills under Gov. Scott Walker.

Dominique Paul Noth: GOP grouches emerge when political power transfers

In national politics, there is a pattern of the incoming Republican administration seeking to unravel successes of the departing Democrats.

Dominique Paul Noth: No Christmas nostalgia just general disaster from Trump

Trump has now torn himself loose from all anchors the nation once respected, leaving us with the likes of John Bolton and Stephen Miller to advise him.

Dominique Paul Noth: State Republicans keep making an asp of themselves

There are special circumstances in Wisconsin that led to this deformed legislative effort to reduce or reverse the results of the 2018 election. But perhaps we are a prelude – and a warning – of what the GOP really intends everywhere beneath the surface. Rather than looking for ways to get things done for this country, too many are seeking to retain control or force their opinions about poverty and wealthy income on the unsuspecting public.

Dominique Paul Noth: The childish political game freezing our state

Not just Democrats are stuck in the childhood game of “Statues” – Stop Motion and Freeze! -- because of the lame-duck legislation dropped on Scott Walker’s desk, those controversial new laws that attack the new governor, the new attorney general, voting rights and basic protections for the citizenry against governmental overreach while tangling us in red tape.

Dominique Paul Noth: Wisconsin Republicans cementing their reversal of election results

A century ago, Wisconsin was famous for progressive thought. Now the state makes national headlines for its horror stories – Making a Murderer, Slender Man stabbings, Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, the state GOP. The last spent painful hours Dec. 4 and 5 joining the horror parade by refusing to accept the results of the Nov. 6 election.

Drew Slocum: The ROI of D&I: How diversity and inclusion fuels innovation and productivity...

Over the last 50 years, the United States has passed legislation outlawing discrimination based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation and political affiliation. Yet, as the racial and ethnic composition of the country continues to change, and the disruptive business landscape requires new skills and unique perspectives in the workforce, it’s no longer enough for companies to simply remain within the laws.

Ed Wall: The looming shadow of law-enforcement suicide

As secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, I had five officers commit suicide in three-and-a- half years. These events alarmed me and I dove deeper into those numbers and found that at that time, the department had lost 39 officers to suicide in less than 18 years. It was that sobering realization that drove me to start the DOC suicide awareness and intervention program with the help of very devoted staff who had suffered the effects of suicides in their lives.

Eric Bott: Instead of hysterics, let’s talk about what’s in the lame-duck reform bills

A far more objective review of the legislation reveals that several measures are helpful reforms that promote much-needed improvements in our state’s governance.

George Mitchell: A more detached look at the Scott Walker legacy

In terms of lasting impact, Walker clearly will rank among the state’s most notable governors. His failed run for president will, I believe, be overshadowed by Act 10 and Foxconn. At the same time, his legacy also includes mismanagement of such key functions as transportation finance and corrections.

George Mitchell: Cue the outrage

But don’t buy the “outrage” for a moment. The prevailing feeling among Democrats instead is one of glee that Republicans handed them a p.r. advantage by mishandling “the optics.”

George Mitchell: Thompson’s challenges at the Department of Transportation

Time for a real discussion of Wisconsin transportation facts.

George Mitchell: Tony Evers faces tough choices

With a structural deficit and transportation fund debt, delivering a “people’s budget” won’t be easy.

George Mitchell: Transportation finance: Evers’ best chance for long-lasting reform

Governor-elect Evers has the opportunity, right out of the gate, to take the lead and propose fundamental reform in Wisconsin’s system of transportation finance.

Gregory Humphrey: Brazen affront by Wisconsin GOP

The machinations now underway by the Republican majority in the Wisconsin State Legislature are more in line with what one might imagine from a third-rate power which does not quite yet grasp the meaning of a working republic.

Gregory Humphrey: Fond memory of Bill Kraus, dead at 92

We have very few living reminders of how our political culture once was in this state. Perhaps no one characterized that better than Kraus.

Gregory Humphrey: George H.W. Bush, his mom, and civility in government

This week is going to be one of those very stark contrasts between the America we are recalling as we pay tribute to the life of former President George Herbert Walker Bush, and the one in which we now find ourselves.

Gregory Humphrey: High school choir got lesson in democracy at Wisconsin State Capitol

It might seem unfair to some that the students were sidelined by the actions of other citizens who were trying to stop anti-democratic actions in the Legislature. But that is the frothy side of our political process in action.

Howard Marklein: Tell me more about the lame duck

The legislature took steps to assert legislative authority so that we can operate as a co-equal branch of government and continue to represent the citizens of our districts.

Jake Curtis: How Wisconsin Republicans tamed the administrative state

The latest controversy stems from a years-long project that other states should admire.

James Rowen: The WI GOP’s little men launched a long game. Let’s beat them.

Every election loser knows the drill: you take the stage, speak into the microphone, concede to the winner, tough it all out and move on, because the people had spoken and that's how that game is played and completed. Refusing to do so, and then changing the rules and the import of the result out of spite, and in service to your often secret financial backers, is a serious and dangerous thing to do.

James Rowen: Walker’s 11th-hr. $25-$28 mil. biz gift blows up fake GOP power ‘concern’

Walker is moving on his own to give a subsidy of up to $28 million by decree--without any vote by the Legislature which had so suddenly embraced the need for power "rebalancing."

James Rowen: Walker’s embrace of secrecy & stealth are fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-Wisconsin

All signs point to Walker signing most if not all of the secretly-crafted 141-page elevation of legislative power awarded to Republican legislators at the expense of the Governorship from which voters ejected him.

James Rowen: WI GOP lame-duck authoritarians want Dem winners to be their interns

They're not just changing the rules in the middle of the game; they're tossing the rules - - even the concepts of rules or reasonable permanence and tradition - - after they lost the game to allow themselves a tighter grip on the privileges of winning.

James Wigderson & Steve Scaffidi: A Venn diagram, and how bad was 2018 for...

RightWisconsin Editor James Wigderson and WTMJ-AM’s Steve Scaffidi look back at 2018.

James Wigderson: Evers appointment refused to recite Pledge of Allegiance

Evers announced Dane County Supervisor Jamie Kuhn will be one of his policy advisors. Kuhn is in her second stint as a county supervisor, after she caused a stir her first time as an office holder when she refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at county board meetings.

James Wigderson: The peaceful extraordinary session

My least favorite complaint from the Democrats, their lefty allies, and the media is that Republicans are somehow interfering with the “peaceful transfer of power” from Walker to Governor-elect Tony Evers.

James Wigderson: The post-election legislative session and consequences

Evers may be the governor-elect, but he will only control one part of state government. That has consequences, too.

Janis Ringhand: Lame duck session truly extraordinary

Governor Elect Evers and Attorney General Elect Kaul won their elections fair and square. They deserve the opportunity to do the job the people of Wisconsin elected them to do.

Jennifer Shilling: Republicans need a lesson in sportsmanship

Rather than be gracious in defeat, Republicans responded with sweeping proposals to consolidate more power, eliminate checks and balances, and restrict access to voting in future elections.

John Nichols: Fitzgerald and Vos want to cheat voters

If the timid men who control our Legislature — for now — are allowed to attack the infrastructure of democracy in Wisconsin, the liberty of the people to choose their leaders and their judges will be every bit as threatened as Jefferson feared.

John Nichols: Paul Ryan sends a chill down Scrooge’s spine

Last week, when the whole world was demanding urgent action to end the Saudi-led bombardment and starvation of Yemen, the Janesville Republican used all of his considerable authority to block an urgent response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

John Nichols: Scott Walker ends his miserable governorship with a final blow to democracy

By signing lame-duck legislation to disempower his successor, the Wisconsinite confirms his scorching contempt for the will of the people.

John Nichols: The 2018 Progressive Honor Roll

Progressives were on the move this year, and they weren’t just resisting Trump—they were outlining the alternative to Trumpism.

John Nichols: Tony Evers is already renewing Wisconsin Idea

While the dead-enders in the Legislature will always put politics ahead of public service, Evers is reasserting the independent, nonpartisan ideal that has always underpinned the Wisconsin Idea.

John Torinus: Avoid gridlock, let Wisconsin voters make big calls

Now that Wisconsin faces at least four years of partisan gridlock, as evidenced by the rocky transition from Republican Scott Walker to Democrat Tony Evers, how can we get big issues revsolved for the state? An answer might be found in a greater use of direct democracy, namely the referendum.

John Torinus: The war against ala carte medical pricing

It's the most expensive way to go and payers are increasingly rebelling.

Katrina Shankland: Lame duck legislation will be costly to taxpayers and our democracy

Here in Wisconsin, we value decency and fairness. That’s why it was astounding to see Republicans convene a lame duck legislative session, overriding the will of the voters.

Marc Eisen: Man with a plan

WARF is rich and respected, but needs to evolve. Enter Erik Iverson.

Matt Kittle: The Walker legacy: An unprecedented time of reform and taxpayer victories

Walker set the tone and the agenda for sweeping conservative reforms over arguably the two most active terms in Badger State history and steeled the courage of the Republican lawmakers who swept into office in 2010’s red wave.

Matthew Rothschild: Top 10 stories of 2018 concerning democracy in Wisconsin

Rothschild shares his top 10 stories of the year.

Matthew Rothschild: Walker, the weasel

In his letter this week foreshadowing his signing of the lame-duck bills, Gov. Scott Walker tried to pretend that he’s out protecting the interests of Wisconsinites. But Walker is a weasel, and he uses words like a weasel would: to disguise what he’s actually been doing.

Michael W. Wagner: It’s up to the people to save democracy in Wisconsin

If anyone is unsatisfied with the results of an election, the remedy is not to change the rules, it is to try and win the next election.

Neil Kraus: Meaningful campus-community connections require some difficult, yet obvious, questions

Unless the discussion about all of our campuses becomes a discussion about the economy, public higher education will end up digging our own grave as we become the best closers around.

Noah Rothman: The Wisconsin ‘coup’ that wasn’t

The activities of American office-holders after they have been voted out of office have vexed incoming politicians since at least the “Midnight Judges” appointed by John Adams in March of 1801, much to the consternation of President Thomas Jefferson. It’s rough politics—unsavory and often untoward—but it is not unprecedented, and it is not a usurpation of power.

Owen Robinson: Legislature has a full plate for the holidays

The conservative revolution in Wisconsin has come to an end. Now it is time for Republicans to protect the gains we made.

Paul Fanlund: In Michael Johnson’s return, a holiday gift for Madison

Johnson reassumes his job as CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, a position he had held for eight years before departing this past summer to head Cincinnati’s United Way.

Paul Fanlund: In these populist times, media ethicist knocks ‘neutrality’

In his latest book, Stephen J.A. Ward evangelizes for an evolved approach to journalism that challenges the profession’s historic preoccupation with neutrality.

Paul Fanlund: Our toxic state politics began but won’t end with Scott Walker

Throughout this decade, Gov. Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos made Wisconsin politics an ugly, zero-sum blood sport, and even with Walker defeated, that playbook is unchanged.

Paul Fanlund: Tony Evers on good advice, bipartisanship and getting involved

In a Q&A as his inauguration nears, the incoming governor looks ahead to his first year.

Rick Esenberg: The flawed legal challenge to Wisconsin’s early-voting reforms

Rather than challenge the new law on its own merits, the liberal groups are asking the judge in Madison to determine that his rulings back in 2016 on the previous statute somehow apply to the new statute.

Robin Vos: Sensationalized rhetoric serves no one

The extraordinary session of the state Legislature was not a “coup” or a “power grab.” It wasn’t even a so-called lame-duck session because voters re-elected strong Republican majorities in both chambers for next session. The extraordinary session was merely an effort to ensure that in divided government, every branch of government has an equal seat at the table.

Roger Utnehmer: Sore losers and lame ducks should not overturn the will of the...

Sore losers and lame ducks are about to try to steal a Supreme Court seat, restrict voting in Wisconsin and subvert the will of the people expressed in the elections of Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

Sheila Plotkin: We the irrelevant people

Citizens overwhelmingly opposed long list of legislation passed by Republicans.

Steven Walters: 5 reasons for Republican power play

One key reason: they see Tony Evers as weak.

Steven Walters: Evers surrounded by legions of advisers

As he prepares to become Wisconsin’s chief executive on Jan. 7, Gov.-Elect Tony Evers has named more than 100 members of his senior transition team and advisory councils on economic development, health care, the environment and agriculture, and criminal justice.

Steven Walters: How Walker transformed Wisconsin’s courts

One-third of all judges in state appointed by Republican governor.

Tom Loftus: Bipartisanship happens when leaders decide it should happen

Ambassador Tom Loftus, ambassador to Norway, 1993-1998, was the keynote speaker at an event entitled "Statesmanship" Nov. 27 at the Madison Club. It was jointly sponsored by the Wisconsin Education Association Council and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. These are his remarks.

Tom Still: Business Plan Contest attracting more quality entries from across Wisconsin

In its earlier years, the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest tended to have more entries from the Madison area and, as a result, more Dane County finalists. It’s a testimony to progress of Wisconsin’s startup support system that the contest has steadily become more statewide in its geographic mix of entries, as well as those who advance to the final rounds.

Tom Still: The late Bill Kraus defined what it meant to be a citizen...

Kraus was the right hand to Lee Dreyfus, the red-vested former chancellor of UW-Stevens Point who had surprised almost everyone by winning election as governor in 1978. Kraus was one of the architects of that unconventional campaign, which captured the imagination of young and old alike with its barnstorming nature and its banner of “Let the People Decide.”

Tyler August: Protecting our reforms

The bills we passed focus on ensuring the governor cannot unilaterally go around the legislature to change state law.

Will Flanders: Milwaukee Public Schools should look to their own record on selective admissions

The ability for students to have an education tailored to their needs can sometimes mean that schools may select students whose needs align with the school. This could be a school that is focused on Montessori education, a school for gifted students, or a school for students with special needs. But if MPS deigns to end this practice for its charter schools, it should first take a hard look at its own backyard.
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WisOpinion.com: ‘The Insiders’ discuss how lame-duck legislation affects Evers

With Gov. Scott Walker's signature in place on the lame-duck session legislation, the WisOpinion Insiders, Chuck Chvala and Scott Jensen, consider the laws' impact on Gov.-elect Tony Evers. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association and Michael Best Strategies.
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WisOpinion.com: ‘The Insiders’ discuss Walker’s legacy

As Gov. Scott Walker prepares to leave Wisconsin's political stage, the WisOpinion Insiders, Chvala and Jensen, size up his political legacy. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association and Michael Best Strategies.
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WisOpinion.com: ‘The Insiders’ evaluate Evers’ transition progress

Midway between the November election and Tony Evers' inauguration, the WisOpinion Insiders, Chvala and Jensen, evaluate the progress of the governor-elect's transition. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association and Michael Best Strategies.
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WisOpinion.com: ‘The Insiders’ share their biggest political stories of the year

As the books close on 2018, the WisOpinion Insiders, Chvala and Jensen, share their biggest political stories of the year. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties...

WisOpinion.com: Vote for WisPoliticos, best ads of 2018

Voting is now open for WisPolitics.com's annual Dem and Republican "WisPolitico of the Year" and "Ad of the Year."
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