BREAKING NEWS: Wisconsin John Doe Probe Halted Once Again

The John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups has once again been halted after a federal judge on Thursday dismissed as “frivolous” an interim appeal by the prosecutors in the case.

Wisconsin Democrats Can Also Be Fiscal Conservatives

I found it interesting that there was a bit of a shudder recently when Mary Burke, Wisconsin’s Democratic candidate for governor, stated she was a ‘fiscal conservative’.  It may seem strange to hear those words from a Democrat, but it should not make anyone feel uneasy.

Simply because Republicans have over-played their lingo on the campaign trail about my party being wild with spending and taxing does not make it true.  Everyone can recall President Clinton, who operated with fiscal constraints when it came to policy-making, left the White House with a budget process that worked and one that was balanced.   The nation yearns for a time like that again, and minus the economic implosion and off-budget warmongering we very well could again be enjoying such a fiscal climate.

Being sound managers when it comes to fiscal matters should not be a partisan game.  What we do with our monies collected from taxpayers usually is a heated and contentious matter for all concerned, but the starting point in fiscal responsibility should be a given.

I was reading a report from New York City and found it interesting that  Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio  also caught some heat for labeling himself as a ‘fiscal conservative’.  When asked to expound on his label he offered the following.

There is no contradiction between good fiscal management and an activist government, a government that seeks to address inequality.  The only way to achieve my progressive goals is by being fiscally responsible.”

And so it is with anyone, anywhere who is serious about education, health care, clean water, public transportation, and a long line of projects worthy of public investment.

The public has long been deluded with partisan attacks on Democrats about fiscal matters.  It is time, once again, that the record be set straight.

Mary Burke is trying to make that case in Wisconsin.

What We Do With Books

How we read, and what we do with books is just one of those nerdy things I find of interest.  So it is no wonder that this article caught my attention this morning.

BookTraces is a new project to track down the human markings in 19th-century books that, in the era of digitization, will (at best) end up in deep storage throughout the nation’s library system.

A woman named Ellen received a book by the sentimental poet Felicia Hemans. Years later, her seven-year-old daughter died, and she adapted lines from Hemans to create a memorial inside the book. Mary, Mary, Mary. 

Moved by this, Stauffer looked at another edition of Hemans in the UVA library and found a similar tribute to a lost child. “This really tells us something about how people were using Hemans and this book to refract their own grief,” he said.

But there’s a second kind of story that the books can tell, too: the history of reading in the 19th century. 

Each book-object contains pages of paper, which might have been prized—at any given moment—more as scrap paper for making a laundry list or doing longhand math than for its literary value. At the beginning of the century, Stauffer explained, paper was pretty expensive, as processes for turning wood pulp into clean sheets had not been developed. “The whole 19th-century is the story of paper getting cheaper,” he said. “It’s a little like digital access, the way bandwidth is getting better. There was just more and more paper available.”

“In the early days [of the century], people are using whatever scrap they can because it is hard to come by,” he continued. “But by the mid-19th century, I’m not sure we know what people thought about books. They had to think that it was cheap enough they could write on it, but it wasn’t so cheap that it was like writing on a magazine or the New York Times.”

 

Federal Appeals Court Steps In, We Have Right To Know More About John Doe Probe

UPDATE–Following the writing of this post breaking news occurred in relation to this probe. 

The John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups has once again been halted after a federal judge on Thursday dismissed as “frivolous” an interim appeal by the prosecutors in the case.

Prior to this news I wrote the following this morning.

###

The news has been fast and furious this week concerning the John Doe probe into the way special interest groups might have worked with the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker.  The close working relationship between groups such as Wisconsin Club For Growth and the actual campaign of Walker is a topic that does matter as it gets down to the very essence of what type of elections we want to have in this this state.  This does concern you and me!

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa wrote a troubling opinion on Tuesday that stated prosecutors were somehow improperly investigating conservative groups and individuals for undertaking what has long been a troubling area–that being issue advocacy.  The rules for that ‘freedom of speech’ is one I sum up as allowing for everything for a wedding to be conducted and concluded with the exception of the consummation.  In other words such advocacy ads can talk about issue’s, but are not to state the ultimate thing, in this case support (or not) of a candidate.  It would take a total lack of awareness from a consumer of these ads not to know which side such interest groups are promoting, and who they are opposing from their efforts.

Issue advocacy is not a healthy part of our political process, and if  there was evidence to suggest that wrongdoing by collaborating between interest groups and a campaign was taking place the matter should he investigated.  The citizenry of the state deserve at least that much concerning the truckloads of special interest money that landed here in 2012 during the recall elections.

Now some relief from the judge’s ruling has appeared as a result of a three-judge appeals panel in Chicago ruling that Randa’s ruling failed to follow proper procedure in issuing his ruling.

The part of appeal ruling that I found most important was the portion that nullified Randa’s order requiring the Milwaukee County prosecutors to return the evidence they had collected and “permanently destroy” all copies of it.

The words in Tuesday’s ruling that sent shock waves through me were the ones that allowed for evidence to be destroyed.  Randa wrote that the John Doe investigators must “permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation.”

I can not fathom how that makes any sense given that once gone there can be no more review of potential illegal activities, and surely the investigators are not, and should not be sidetracked from just one judge’s ruling when others are clearly going to be brought into the legal quandary.

The next step, as the Wisconsin State Journal notes today is now back in Randa’s courtroom.

The appeals court decision returns the case to Randa’s courtroom, where he must first rule on whether an emergency appeal filed by the prosecutors is frivolous. If he determines it is, the judge can re-issue his ruling. If he finds the appeal has merit, the stay will remain in effect until the appeals court can rule on the appeal.

For the sake of our election system which is more and more becoming bought by the large monied interests let us all hope that sanity prevails, the probe is allowed to continue.  For better or worse concerning the players who are caught up in the mess we need to have the truth come forth as there is a strong indication from the law-and-order investigators  who are at the heart of the probe that the system was not played fairly during the recall.  For us voters that demonstrates fundamental problems are needing to be corrected with our election process.

We have every right to know what is happening with that process in  Wisconsin.