Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Recall Drive Starts Tuesday


Posted on 13th November 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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So far two Wisconsin state senators have been recalled. The question now is whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker will get his walking papers, so to speak.

On Tuesday the drive to have Walker recalled will begin, payback for his support of successful legislation that essentially put an end to collective bargaining for most public workers, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. That controversial law filled the state Capitol in Madison with protesters.   


They threatened to recall legislators who supported the anti-union law, and so far have succeeded in the recall of the two senators. But seven other legislators remain in officer after recall efforts against them failed.

Wisconsin Democrats have teamed up with union members to spearhead the petition drive to recall Walker, a drive that starts Tuesday. They had to wait until the governor was in office for a year before the recall effort could kick off.

The recall organizers will have to collect more than 540,000 signatures by Jan. 17 in order for there to be a recall election.

Good luck, folks.

Girl Falls 40 Feet In ‘Free Fall’ Ride Accident In Wisconsin Dells


Posted on 11th August 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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 A 12-year-old girl was injured on a ride at a Wisconsin Dells amusement park after falling 40 feet when the mechanism that was supposed to break her fall didn’t work, according to the Associated Press.


The girl was at the Extreme World amusement park on the Terminal Velocity, which is supposed to give riders the feeling of  “an unattached, controlled free fall,” when she had the accident July 30. Riders are strapped into a harness, brought up an elevator, and then released straight down into an airtube-supported net. 

But when the girl was released for her free fall, a safety net mechanism failed to break her fall, and she hit the ground, according to Lake Delton police.

The girl was visiting the Wisconsin Dells with her family, who live out of state. She was taken to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison for treatment, and details of her injuries weren’t disclosed.  


Why Wisconsin Needs A Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law


Posted on 18th July 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Early this Sunday morning at about 3 a.m., which is roughly the witching hour when bars close. a motorcyclist with a female passenger crashed into a car in West Milwaukee. The accident took place at the intersection of Miller Parkway and West National Avenue.

 The motorcyclist was killed. His passenger, who sustained traumatic brain injury, was taken to Froedert Hospital.

Neither of  them was wearing a helmet. Police declined to identify them. But the Milwaukee motorcyclist, 43, had lost his motorcycle license in April for operating under the influence. His badly injured woman passenger, 41, Sunday was from West Allis. 


Is that fatal accident an argument for Wisconsin to pass a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets? I think it is, but it’s a controversial topic that people feel strongly about. The Wilwaukee Journal Sentinel story about the accident had 36 comments posted on it, most of them debating whether or not Wisconsin should make helmets mandatory, as they are in some states.

Those who oppose a helmet law believe that such legislation amounts to the government intruding on their freedom (comments printed as written, typos and misspellings intact).  

“It’s unfortunate what happened to these people, but we don’t need a helmet law,” November 2012 posted. “The Government doesn’t need to make a law for every little thing. These people are adults and made a choice NOT to wear a helmet. Society does not need Government involved in every decision we make.”

 And plenty of other people, like Milltowngurl, agreed with him.

“No, the government does not need to make laws for every little personal choice in MY life, Thank you very much,” she posted. “If I want to be an idiot and not wear a helmet when I ride a donor cycle, then so be it. If I do not want to wear a seat belt when driving a car, then that should also be my choice. The only time it should not be a choice is when it applies to minors who are not mature enough to make adult decisions. Get a grip. Get the government out of our personal lives already! (or do you need someone to tell you how to live your life? If so, join the military!)”

 Those who were in favor of mandatory helmets for motorcylists were just as vocal about the need for a helmet law, not just to protect the motorcylist, but so that Wisconsin — and ultimately its residents —  aren’t burdened with the costs that are repercussions of accidents.

 “It is the govt’s role (to mandate helmets),” wrote Leatherface49. “Let’s say the passenger needs extensive hospitalization and doesnt have insurance. there’s $5 million costto society!! wear helmets you doofus’s”

Lannonresident, who was actually at the fatal accident site, agreed with Leatherface49.

“I counted 5 different law enforcement agencies that were involved when I left the scene: West Milwaukee, West Allis, City of Milwaukee, Sheriff, and State Patrol,” Lannonresident posted. “I will also let you know that all of this support came at a cost- the freeways were left unpatrolled and the drunk that almost hit me got to drive home as their were no units available due to the accident. My drunk was able to from the zoo interchange north all the way up to his far nw-side home without any law enforcement in sight. As far as more laws, remember that we do have mandatory auto insurance now and we will soon have mandatory health insurance.”

LMinMKE put it succinctly.

“Your personal freedoms end when my tax dollars have to pay for the remains of your stupid decision not to wear a helmut,” LMinMKE wrote. “Laws are made to protect me from stupid people. Sadly, they don’t always work, but they reflect SOCIETY values.”

The statistics about how helmets save lives are overwhelming. The American College of Emergency Physicians back in May, motorcycle safety month, put out a press release urging helmet use.

“People are riding bicycles, motorcycles and ATVs more often at this time of year,” Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the doctors’ group, said in the release. “Now is the time to get in the habit of wearing a certified safety helmet, because it only takes one tragic crash to end your life or cause serious injuries to your brain that can alter your life forever.”

The emergency doctors then provided these numbers:

  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of more than 1,800 motorcyclists in 2008. 
  • An additional 800 lives could have been saved if all of those motorcyclists had worn helmets. 
  • Motorists without helmets are 40 percent more likely to die from a head injury.

“Helmet use is the single most important factor in people surviving motorcycle crashes,” Dr. Gardner said. “They reduce the risk of head, brain, and facial injury among motorcyclists of all ages and crash severities.” 

 Wisconsin needs a helmet law.



Milwaukee Aldermen Approve $170,000 For Lawsuit Settlements


Posted on 18th June 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Milwaukee’s aldermen cleaned up some legal affairs Tuesday, settling three lawsuits against the city for $170,000, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 


One of the settlements, for $75,000, stemmed from a federal civil rights suit that Earl Cosey and his ex-girlfriend Michelle Brown filed against the city. In 2005 Cosey, a parolee, was being shook down for guns by a Milwaukee police officer, Ala Awadallah.

Cosey collected evidence against Awadallah by recording some of his phone calls with the police officer, and with incriminating voicemails that Awadallah sent him. 

Awadallah in 2005 pleaded guilty to depriving a citizen of civil rights, and went to prison for a year. 

Milwaukee paid a second settlement, a final payment of $75,000, to city police Det. Philip Sliwinski, who lost his job after following a 2000 sting operation that had actually had targeted another detective, Edwin Bonilla. Sliwinski was fired by then police chief Arthur Jones in 2002, even though he was never criminally charged. 

Sliwinski sued over his firing. He won his case and was rehired, and was awarded more than $220,000 in back pay. But this week’s $75,000 settlement is for legal fees and penalties against the city.

The third settlement this week, $20,000, went to the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center. The group alleged that the Milwaukee police department violated the First Amendment when it shut down the play “Naked Boys Singing” in 2005. 



AAA Lauds Wisconsin For Being 25th State To Pass Driver Texting Ban


Posted on 26th May 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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AAA has commended Wisconsin for being the 25th state to outlaw text messaging by all drivers, as the organization’s effort to pass bans in all 50 states has reached its halfway point.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed the bill into law earlier this month, making Wisconsin the sixth state this year to ban text messaging while driving.  AAA expects several more states to enact similar legislation this year.

“Wisconsin gets us halfway to AAA’s campaign goal of passing text messaging bans for all drivers in all 50 states,” AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a prepared statement. “Last year, 12 states enacted text messaging bans for all drivers and we anticipate that several more states will act against this dangerous source of driver distraction this year.”

Darbelnet continued, “Texting while driving is associated with significant physical and cognitive distractions and the proliferation of the practice is endangering all users of our nation’s roadways. Surveys show the overwhelming majority of Americans agree that this behavior is dangerous and they support text messaging bans. AAA urges legislators in states without texting bans to pass laws this year.”

The AAA has plenty of research to back up its concerns about the dangers of texting and driving. Research conducted over the last two years by the Auto Club of Southern California speaks to the benefit of California’s texting-while- driving ban.

 Observations in Orange County in July last year showed that texting had dropped about 70 percent, to 0.4 percent of all drivers, in the first six months of California’s ban.

Observations conducted in late March and early April this year showed that texting had increased to 1.1 percent, but remained below the 1.4 percent usage rate observed prior to the law taking effect.

The Southern California research offers evidence that legislation outlawing text messaging by all drivers can have a positive effect on driver behavior, but the upturn in texting rates shown in the latest research illustrates the need for visible enforcement, significant penalties and continued public education.

Legislation to establish or  improve an existing ban on text messaging while driving is currently being considered in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Vermont.

The states that now prohibit text messaging by all drivers: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The District of Columbia also has a texting ban.

 “AAA Wisconsin applauds the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor Doyle for passing thisnew law that will significantly enhance driving safety across our state,” AAA Wisconsin regional president Tom Frymark said in his prepared statement. “We’ll continue to make drivers aware of the dangers of texting while driving and of the importance of obeying this new law.”

Wisconsin’s law will become effective Nov. 1, as the Badger State joins Michigan, Kentucky, Nebraska, Iowa and Wyoming in enacting text messaging bans for all drivers this year.

 The dates when those respective laws take effect are:

  • Michigan – July 1, 2010
  • Kentucky – Effective immediately when signed on April 15, penalties effective Jan. 1, 2011
  • Nebraska – July 15, 2010
  • Iowa – July 1, 2010, penalties effective July 1, 2011
  • Wyoming – July 1, 2010


Wisconsin Drivers Must Buy Car Insurance, And Carry Proof Of It, Effective June 1


Posted on 24th May 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Starting June 1 Wisconsin’s new mandatory car insurance law will kick in, and drivers will be required to carry proof with them that they’re insured. http://www.jsonline.com/business/94712009.html

Once the law is effective, drivers who get stopped by police and don’t have a proof-of-insurance card or letter with them will be subject to  a rather stiff $200 fine. 

The car-insurance requirement is the last step in an overhaul in state car insurance laws that was part of Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget last year, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Proponents of the auto-insurance overhaul argue that drivers should have adequate liability insurance to pay for the damage they do to vehicles and other drivers.

Those who opposed the changes in the law maintained that the regulations were good as they were, since roughly 85 percent of Wisconsin drivers right now are purchasing liability coverge voluntarily.   

The law’s critics had also complained that low-income residents who don’t have the money to buy car insurance or pay the fines could lose their driver’s license — and as a result lose their jobs, as well. 


After A Father’s Crusade, Gov. Doyle Signs Bill Ending 180-Days Notice To State Of Malpractice Suits


Posted on 12th May 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Dr. Eric Rice fought long and hard on behalf of his deceased daugther, and Tuesday he succeeded in changing Wisconsin law.

That’s because Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill Tuesday that eliminates the need to notify the state within 180 days if a malpractice suit is planned against a government health care provider. http://www.wisjustice.org/WI/index.cfm?event=showPage&pg=180DayBillsigned

Dr. Rice, a Middleton resident, lost his daughter Erin in 1999 and soon learned of the 180-day notice, which he felt was unfair.  His spearheaded a fight to change it, with the goal that Wisconsin families should be afforded fair and equal treatment under the law, regardless of which hospital or health care provider is used.

Simply put, the new law basically means that government health care providers will now be  subject to the same statutes of limitations for medical malpractice as privately run health systems. The new law is expected to be effective in about two weeks.

 The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, and Rep. David Cullen, D-Milwaukee. They are to be congratulated on behalf  of Wisconsin’s citizens.  

The Wisconsin Association for Justice lauded the legislation, saying, “The new law will be of great benefit to citizens of this state who use University of Wisconsin health facilities or other state or local government health care providers. By eliminating the need to file notice of a malpractice suit within 180 days, more people who have been harmed or wronged will be able to seek justice and restitution for their injuries.”

More than a decade after her death, Dr. Rice won one for Erin.  

“Measures such as this help protect the citizens of Wisconsin and continue to make the Badger state a wonderful place to live and work,” the Wisconsin justice association said.

Judge In Wisconsin Pedophile Priest Case Denies He Was Ordered to Drop Case


Posted on 6th April 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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The cleric who was the judge in a Catholic Church trial of a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting 200 deaf boys on Thursday denied that he was ordered to drop the proceeding, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/features/religion/89747067.html

The judge, the Rev. Thomas Brundage, is a canon lawyer who was told by then-Archbishop Rembert Weakland to handle the trial of the Rev. Lawrence Murphy in 1996. Father Brundage is now in the Diocese of Anchorage.

In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Father Brundage disputed some of the reporting and interpretation of documents uncovered by The New York Times in a story about why Father Murphy was never defrocked.

Father Brundage denied that the Vatican office led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, blocked the trial of Father Murphy. Father Brundage also insisted that Weakland never told him to abandon the trial, and maintained that the tribunal was proceeding Father Murphy died in 1998.

“I would have directly appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the church,” Father Brundage told the Journal Sentinal. “I would have tried to get it to Pope John Paul II.”

Wisconsin Bill Would Revamp State Election Laws


Posted on 4th April 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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A Wisconsin bill that would bring huge change to the state election laws is progressing through the Legislature. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303601504575154163023746980.html?KEYWORDS=aviation+regulators

Under the proposed law, the Government Accountability Board would have to automatically register people to vote when they get their driver’s licenses. The bill is also seeking to encourage absentee voting, and make it less difficult for the military members who are stationed outside the United States to vote.

The proposed voting bill was the topic of a joint public hearings Wednesday, which lead to the Senate and Assembly committees to vote in favor of it Thursday.

Wisconsin Democrats are fighting for the bill, while Republicans, including the Republican Party of Wisconsin, blasting it. The legislation’s lead sponsors are Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, and Sen. Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee. They argue that the bill will lead to larger voter turnouts.

The bill limits who can challenge a vote’s qualifications. That will promote fraud, according to Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend.

Larger turnouts mean Democratic wins. The positions on this bill are just that political.

Wisconsin Archbishop Stands Up for Pope, And Reaches Out To Sex Abuse Victims


Posted on 1st April 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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It’s Lent, the time for the forgiveness of sins. And Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Lisecki this week defended, and absolved Pope Benedict XVI, of any blame regarding the handling of pedophile priest Lawrence Murphy. http://www.jsonline.com/features/religion/89519542.html

During a Holy Week service, the Chrism Mass, the archbishop referred to the press coverage over the Vatican’s halting of a church trial of the Rev. Lawrence Murphy, who allegedly admitted sexually assaulting 200 boys at St. John’s School for the Deaf beginning in the 1950s.

“The Holy Father has been firm in his commitment to combat clergy sexual abuse, root it out of the church, reach out to those who have been harmed and hold perpetrators accountable,” Lisecki told parishioners.

The New York Times broke a story that said that a top Vatican office, led by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, had opted not to defrock Father Murphy.

Lisecki reached out to sex abuse victims in Wisconsin, and said that a number of parties were responsible for the way the Father Murphy cases was botched.