Deathmatch 2011: Prosser versus Walsh-Bradley


Yes, it appears to have come to this-

The poster could also be of a Rashomon parody, since none of the eye witnesses seem to remember the incident quite the same way. As AP reports via The Northwestern

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A liberal state Supreme Court justice told detectives a conservative colleague put his hands on her neck but never applied pressure, while he claims he was simply trying to ward her off as she charged him with a clenched fist, according to investigative reports released Friday.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused Justice David Prosser of putting her in a chokehold in front of four other justices during a June discussion about a lawsuit challenging Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious law eliminating most of public workers’ union rights.

The incident exposed the depth of animosity that has been building between the court’s liberal and conservative blocs. The two groups have been feuding openly for years, but none of the justices laid hands on each other until this summer.

Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett, who is acting as a special prosecutor in the case, announced Thursday she wouldn’t file criminal charges against either Walsh Bradley or Prosser, saying the accounts of what happened differed too greatly.

According to Walsh-Bradley:

Walsh Bradley said she remembered Prosser accusing the liberals of holding up the decision. She said he was “getting worked up again” and told Abrahamson he had no confidence in her leadership.

Walsh Bradley, 61, said she got up from her desk and walked toward Prosser, saying, “Buddy, don’t raise your voice again. I’m no longer willing to put up with this.” She said she got face-to-face with him, pointed at her door and said, “You get out of my office.”

Prosser, 68, then grabbed her by the neck in what she called a “chokehold,” but she told detectives she didn’t remember Prosser squeezing or applying any pressure. Justice Patience Roggensack separated the two.

Thank goodness there was an aptly named and competent referee in the ring – uh, I mean room.

Perhaps only a dedicated Freudian could adequately comprehend Prosser’s description of events-

Prosser, for his part, told detectives that Walsh Bradley doesn’t like him. After he told Abrahamson he no longer had faith in her, Walsh Bradley “exploded” out of her inner office and charged at him with her fist clenched. He described Walsh Bradley and Abrahamson as “soul mates” and said Walsh Bradley is very protective of Abrahamson.

He said when he leaned away from Walsh Bradley, his arms came up automatically and his hands touched her neck. His said his first thought was, “Oh my God, I’m touching her neck.”

He said his hands were open and he remembered how warm her neck felt, but he never applied any pressure. After the two were separated, he said he went “limp” and left the office as quickly as he could.

In any case, poor Justice Prosser was apparently taken aback by Walsh-Bradley’s boxing acumen, particularly her mean jab-

Conservative Justice Michael Gableman said Walsh Bradley came at Prosser with a clenced fist and even jabbed the air in front of his face three or four times. Prosser tried to push her away by placing his hands on her shoulders, near her neck, he said.

Thank the good lord above that those hands didn’t slip down to even more controversial body parts… But honestly, if you don’t find any of this funny at all, I understand. In certain moods, neither do I. But, then again, I’m not in one of those moods at the moment.

Put This Anecdote In Your Pipe And Smoke It


Montana Public Broadcasting has produced an interesting documentary on the controversy surrounding medical marijuana. Critics will no doubt cite the anecdotal nature of the evidence in favor of medical use, but supporters will point out the weaknesses of the objections to medical use and the apparent inconsistencies in the federal government’s policies. Did you know, for instance, that federal law allows Schedule II drugs – which include methamphetamine, cocaine, opium and morphine – to be prescribed for medical purposes, but not marijuana, which is listed on Schedule I as a drug with a high potential for abuse but no medical use?

We embed, you decide-

Watch the full episode. See more MontanaPBS Presents.

The Funny Side of Class Warfare


Thanks to Warren Buffett’s editorial in the New York Times last Sunday, entitled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”, there has been more publicity this week on the growing wealth inequality in the USA than I can remember in ages. Of course, Fox News regards any discussion of the issue as class warfare. And who better to bring out the funny side of class warfare than Jon Stewart-

And here is part II-

Paul Solmon: Land Of The Free, Home Of The Poor


This week Paul Solmon has had an interesting series of reports on the ever-growing inequality of wealth in our country. Here’s the first of them; I highly recommend the whole series-

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

In case you might want to meditate on those pie charts, here they are-

Equal Wealth Distribution (Exists Nowhere)

Sweden's Wealth Distribution

USA's Wealth Distribution

No, you don’t need glasses. That last pie chart really does illustrate data showing that the bottom 40% of the USA’s population controls just .3% of the wealth. Keep that in mind as you evaluate the positions of the political candidates running in 2012.

The Case Against Randy Hopper


In this August 6th editorial, the Oshkosh Northwestern, which endorsed Walker for Governor and disapproved of the current recall elections, endorses – albeit tepidly – Democratic challenger Jessica King against Republican Randy Hopper. Here is part of their argument:

Just days before Walker introduced his budget repair bill, we warned the governor about exercising the “nuclear option” of outlawing collective bargaining. The governor took that step without holding a single negotiating session with unions. Furthermore, the rollbacks enacted by the Legislature amid the drumbeat of protesters contain provisions that seriously undermine the ability of unions to collect dues and remain certified. Those steps, like others, were not taken to balance a budget, but to cripple the political opposition and guarantee Republican majorities for a generation. Consider what’s happened since the recall drives were initiated, including:

» Drafting legislative and Congressional re-districting maps in secret that favor Republicans and passing the new boundaries and procedures to change the process in less than two weeks with a single public hearing.

» Rolling out a statewide expansion of private and religious school vouchers following a speech by Walker to a special interest group in Washington.

» Eroding local control of local governments and school districts with blanket restrictions on property tax rates.

» Passing a budget that gradually reduces taxes on agriculture and manufacturing profits to near zero while increasing taxes on the poor and seniors through the Earned Income and Homestead taxes.

» An ill-advised plan to break up the UW System and later in the state budget cutting $800 million from K-12 education, reducing aid to the Technical College System and maintaining large tuition increases at public university campuses across the state.

» Restricting women’s access to health care and capping enrollments in BadgerCare, a health insurance program for the poor.

These are all measures championed by Hopper, who sat on the powerful Joint Finance Committee. Hopper’s seat is one of three needed to switch to give Democrats a majority in the senate.

Where Have You Gone, Kurt Di-Gibson-O?


Let’s face it, it’s been a lousy week here in the once-great U.S. of A. A first-in-history downgrade of our credit rating (due, in part, to a month-long spectacle in Washington in which, for the first time, a large-enough faction of a political party declared that it just didn’t care if the country defaulted on its past financial obligations: special tax breaks for billionaires and ridiculously profitable corporations were simply off the table); the worst single day of casualties yet in the now decade-old war in Afghanistan; and the stock market falling 634 points in one day – far more over the last week or two.

It’s time to change the channel.

Imagine that it’s October, 1988. You’re sitting in a tiny studio apartment in North Hollywood, watching the Dodgers play the first game of the World Series against the Oakland Athletics on an aging 19″ RCA color TV that has seen far better days. Speaking of having seen better days, things aren’t looking too great for the Dodgers at the moment either. The Dodgers are down 4-3 with two out in the bottom of the ninth, and the opposing pitcher is none other than Dennis Eckersley, this season’s American League Championship Series MVP. Out of the dugout hobbles Kurt Gibson, bad knee, hamstring pull… poor guy can hardly walk. Then… well, heck, why don’t you just watch it for yourself?

The moral of this story is: America, get off your sorry depressed hindquarters, lift up those aching legs and hobble on over to the plate. The game ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Oh, and by the way: if you’re in a Wisconsin recall election district, get out and vote tomorrow.

How Not To Write A News Story


Anyone who’s perused this blog knows where my political sympathies lie. And with media outlets like Fox News (The Conservative Channel), MSNBC (The Liberal Channel), and CNN (the Mostly Vacuous Channel), I still look to the PBS Newshour and my local newspaper – The Oshkosh Northwestern – for relatively serious and “straight news” (at least away from the editorial pages). But occasionally a reporter for The Northwestern reveals his political bias, as Jeff Bollier did near the beginning of this page 3 story entitled “Feingold urges King supporters to vote early, volunteer during rally“-

Count former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold among those who have answered Jessica King’s call for supporters to do everything they can in the final days before the Aug. 9 recall election.

Feingold is the most recent Democrat to visit the 18th Senate District to support King’s campaign to unseat state Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Empire, and help secure a Democratic majority in the Senate that would represent and support working families.

Now, I strongly support King against Hopper, but even I find the second paragraph here worded in an offensively biased way, for the clear implication is that the current Republican Senate does not represent and support working families. Arguably, it does not. But that conclusion should be argued for in an editorial, not implied in a news report about a political fundraiser. Otherwise, more ammunition is given to those who hold (falsely) that the media in general have a liberal bias.

My guess is that Jeff Bollier would reply that the second paragraph was written to express Feingold’s intentions in attending the rally, not to give a neutral description of the event’s purpose. But the paragraph is not written from Feingold’s point of view; it’s written from the reporter’s point of view. I have nothing against reporters sharing points of view with those on whom they report, but when they do, they should be extra-careful to set it aside when writing their report.

What Teachers Make


Teachers, are you tired of being the door mat for political conservatives and other folks who know what’s truly valuable? Well, here’s your knight in shining armor-