A Mind of Her Own: Helen Connor Laird and Family, 1888-1982 (Wisconsin Land and Life)

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Only at income extremes, 15 percent of the voter population, does it indicate class division. They were for Bush with 70 percent of the vote, reflecting both the findings regarding wealthy Milwaukee suburbs factored by liberal well-to-do Madison suburbs.

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On the lowest end, the 10 percent of the voters making the least, the outcome was reversed between the candidates. Exactly the same pattern repeated itself with education as a class measure, though here the differences were even softer. While the Wisconsin exit poll mildly exaggerates the support for the Republicans at 14 percent among African American voters a figure that my detailed analysis shows is in error , it is particularly suspect in its claim that 47 percent of the Hispanic vote in Wisconsin 2 percent of the total went for Bush.

There is no other sign of that, certainly not in precinct analysis in Milwaukee.

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Table 1. Percent Vote in Voting Units. Milwaukee suburbs. North Shore and northwest. New Deal suburbs. Rest of Milwaukee Co. Waukesha Co. Ozaukee Co. Washington Co. African American. American Indian: Menominee Co. German Protestant. German Catholic. Dutch Protestant.


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Abramson, John H. Aldrich, and David W. Equivalent Democratic correlations were. Canon was helpful in my thinking about the Wisconsin results. The book is available through libraries and book retailers statewide and online at www.

The book is also available as an e-book. From to , William Proxmire was a major figure in Wisconsin politics, serving one term in the legislature before running for governor. Denied the governorship three times in six years, he shocked everyone by winning a special election in to replace the late U. Senator Joe McCarthy, and he went on to win reelection six times.

Proxmire began the Golden Fleece Awards—which would become his most popular and longest-lasting attack on federal spending—in It set the tone for ridicule that would characterize the award for the next thirteen years:.


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  6. I object to this because no one—not even the National Science Foundation—can argue that falling in love is a science. Professor Ellen Berscheid, the lead researcher, quickly defended the study as part of a larger project studying psychological dependence and interpersonal attraction begun in that would benefit psychologists and therapists and therefore have practical application.

    She accused Proxmire of not trying to understand a complex and relevant field of research and instead going after a cheap laugh and political points. Roland Hutchinson of Kalamazoo State Hospital on why rats, monkeys, and humans clench their jaws. Proxmire repeated this story in his constituent newsletter and on the Mike Douglas television show. Ironically, Schwarz, a former economics professor himself, had indeed done his homework, contacting each of the granting institutions and obtaining documents that supported the grants.

    Before making the announcement, Schwarz contacted Hutchinson and read him the press release. Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution granted members of Congress legal immunity for statements made on the floor in order to guarantee free debate and prevent reprisal for controversial statements. But did that immunity extend to statements repeated in print or on television? Senator Barry Goldwater pointed out the hypocrisy of Proxmire himself receiving federal funds to defend himself for attacking others for receiving federal funds. In July , the US Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling, stating that by accepting public funding for his work, Hutchinson had become a public figure.

    As a public figure, therefore, Hutchinson had to prove that Proxmire had acted with malice in his statements. Without evidence of malice, Proxmires statements were protected free speech. Hutchinson refused to give up and appealed the verdict to the US Supreme Court, which agreed to take the case in January In June, the court ruled in an 8—1 decision that Hutchinson was not a public figure and had to prove only injury, not malice, and that the congressional immunity clause did not apply to statements made outside of Senate debate, meaning that Proxmire could be sued for libel.

    The court remanded the case back to a lower court, but in March , Proxmire agreed to a settlement. Proxmire gradually repaid, beginning with royalties he earned from a book about the Golden Fleece Awards. The lawsuit was an expensive ordeal, but Proxmire continued to make his monthly award during the suit and for the remainder of his time in the Senate. Every month, his legislative assistants spent hours meticulously researching some instance of wasteful government spending, often tipped off by someone working for some federal agency, and the office would decide on a winner.

    Administrative assistant Howard Shuman was responsible for editing and releasing them. Some government agencies were targeted more frequently, like NASA and the Armed Forces, and the amounts were sometimes tiny compared to other federal spending, but the press releases were always written to outrage the American taxpayer.

    Sometimes Proxmire issued special merit awards to those individuals or agencies that saved money, such as the Smithsonian Institution, which completed the Air and Space Museum ahead of schedule and under budget. Although the Golden Fleece Award remained quite popular with Wisconsin voters and certainly generated good press, not everyone was entirely comfortable with a prominent US Senator ridiculing research. He bestowed an award on the Smithsonian Institution for producing a Tzotzil dictionary, a language spoken by a few thousand inhabitants of southern Mexico.

    Even some of his staff were uncomfortable with them, seeing some as petty. Such criticism may have had an impact. Over the years, Proxmire and his staff tended to focus on government agencies funding sometimes embarrassingly inappropriate expenses rather than getting pulled into the merits of research, and later awards avoided naming names. Legislative director Ken Dameron, who had a law degree, took on the responsibility of reading the awards to make sure there would be no further legal issues.


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    Even after Proxmire had been out of office for years, the Golden Fleece Awards remained probably his best-known work. Copyright A Terrace book. Reprinted by permission of The University of Wisconsin Press. Connor pdf. By the evening of March 11, —the day that Governor Scott Walker signed his legislation repealing most collective bargaining for most public employees—the website of the group United Wisconsin had , signatures of people who said they would sign petitions to recall Walker and his lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.

    The wild success of the website was creating an immense amount of work, and stress, for its outsider founder, Michael Brown. He was just a young web developer and marketer with a sometimes contrarian political outlook; now he had the responsibility of representing the views of a group nearly twice as large as the population of his home city of Appleton.

    As a single father, he also disliked the time he had to spend away from his son, and he needed help. He got hundreds of responses, so many that he ended up limiting attendance. Scores of people packed the meeting room as Brown explained that he wanted a field presence for what had been an online-only organization. To guarantee that there were enough legal signatures, Brown was seeking to gather more than , because inevitably some signatures would be found invalid.

    Brown was approached after the meeting by a reporter from The Capital Times and found himself a little panicked by the idea of getting broader exposure.

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    Twice, strangers showed up at his duplex to harass him about starting the recall and ask him why he had done it, prompting him to threaten to call the police. At the meeting, Brown met four others who would become board members of United Wisconsin by the end of the month. One of them, Kevin Straka, soon became the chairman.

    Brown served as a simple board member, scaled back his involvement, and within seven months left the group. By April 1 the group had , pledges, but the real work was just beginning. In the coming weeks the board and organization had to branch out, drawing in volunteers and eventually paid staff who could send mass e-mails, field media questions, and organize the public. Board members began to establish a delicate relationship with the Democratic Party as Brown, Straka, and other political independents in the group learned to work with the partisan operatives and union activists who were crucial to reaching their shared goal.

    United Wisconsin clearly had its own profile.

    August Wrap Up (Pt. 1)

    When Brown talked by phone for the first time with Mike Tate, the state Democratic Party chairman, Tate started the conversation with a question.