Following Project Veritas' recent release of secretly recorded conversations by Republican Senate President Mike Ellis, the state senator has announced that he does not intend to run for re-election this fall.
Scott Kelly, spokesman for Ellis, confirmed that Ellis was concluding his 44-year legislative career, a decision that came just two days after Ellis was caught discussing the creation of a super PAC to attack his Democratic opponent, State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber. Such a move would be illegal under Wisconsin statute. Ellis said he did not pursue the idea after realizing it was illegal.
In a statement released by his office, Ellis had some parting comments as to the status of his departure, citing his pride in what the state had accomplished in his time of office but dismay at what he claimed was the increasing partisan nature of politics.
"Instead of being criticized from our opponents, independent thought is attacked by our own backyard. Like my dear friends, Tim Cullen, Bob Jauch, and Dale Schultz, I see that compromise is not valued in today's Capitol environment, and that means I don't fit in any more. Special interests hold too much sway instead of the voice of the people. I'm a senator from a different era, and I value my integrity too much to compromise it any more."
The tie between President Obama and Al Sharpton continues to grow stronger, as evidenced by Obama's decision to headline the MSNBC host's National Action Network (NAN) conference in New York.
Opposition is decrying the president's decision, claiming that it gives a sense of political legitimacy to the "controversial leader and his much-maligned organization". Sharpton's organization has been accused of engaging in "questionable financial practices" and yet owes the federal government $1.9 million in back taxes and penalties. Sharpton has been known to utilize boycott threats to force corporations to donate while providing himself the position of a consultant. According to the New York Post, some 50 companies, including industry giants like GM, Pepsi and Wal-Mart, had capitulated and donated to NAN.
The conference, which is reportedly meant to "not just commemorate the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination, but to honor his legacy by proactively engaging in dialogue that will spawn change", will feature a "who's who" of liberal leaders, including US Attorney General Eric Holder, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Al Sharpton has been a regular guest in Obama's White House, meeting for everything from jobs and the state of the economy to Obama's young black and Hispanic men initiative, and most recently partaking in the First Lady's 50th birthday celebration. This is the second time the president has been a guest at the NAN convention, having spoken there in 2011.
Brooklyn-born rapper Jay-Z caught a lot of attention last week when he attended a Nets game at the Barclay's Center. And no, it was not because he was sitting with his wife Beyonce--he was sporting a medallion symbolizing the controversial Five Percent Nation.
Attention to the Five Percent Nation has begun to rise of late, most notably in the case of the stolen Stradivarius. Universal Knowledge Allah, Salah Jones and Latoya Atlas were arrested in February for the high-profile theft, and their ties to the religion brought it to the forefront.
Known also by the name Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE), the Five Percent Nation is an off-shoot of the Nation of Islam which preaches racial inferiority since its inception in 1960. Black people are the "original people", according to the religion, and white people are wicked and inferior, created thousands of years ago by a black scientist.
Asked by a reporter if the medallion is meaningful to him, Jay-Z reportedly shrugged and said "A little bit".
This is not the first time Jay-Z has been tied to the controversial religion. The rapper was photographed wearing another similar medallion while giving radio interviews last year, and references the Five Percenters in a track named "Heaven" on his album Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Protesters in New Mexico got more than they bargained for when they paraded an upside-down American flag at their event. Unbeknownst to them, a Marine and another serviceman nearby did not find their means of protest acceptable at all.
The servicemen's response has sparked a fierce First Amendment debate over freedom of speech, as the video has quickly gone viral. Supporters praise them for demanding the flag be shown respect. Opposition cry that it is a violation of the protestors' First Amendment rights.
Be forewarned of the strong language contained.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Senate voted to repeal the controversial Common Core standards from their educational curriculum, joining an increasing number of states seeking to rid themselves of the standards.
The bill, which is now on its way back to the Oklahoma House, would allow for the Board of Education to draft new standards specifically tailored for the state's students, instead of continuing to implement the national standards as have 45 other states. Republican State Senator Josh Brecheen sponsored the bill, which easily passed the Republican-controlled Senate on a 37-10 vote.
If it passes,the bill requires the adoption of new standards as soon as August 2015.
Jeremy Rossetto, a maintenance worker who shot and killed two teens on March 12 will not be charged, according to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office. Rossetto had been held in the Milwaukee County Jail on two charges of possible first-degree homicide following the altercation in an apartment building in the 1400 block of N. 27th Street.
Police reported that an argument broke out between 39-year old Rossetto and three people: the two teens and a twenty year old man. The teens, 17-year old Anmarie Miller and 19-year old James Bell Jr, attacked him with a baseball bat. That's when Rossetto, who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, drew it and fired, killing both of the teens. The third man fled the scene unharmed, but has since been taken in and is being held in jail on a potential substantial battery charge.
Rossetto had legally obtained the weapon and the necessary training in using it for personal safety concerns at work. And on March 12, it appears as though his preparation and forethought may just have saved his life.
The results are in...and the Kenosha Unified School Board is set to receive a major facelift. Normally a strong union region, Kenosha has since voted for change, removing incumbent Jo Ann Taube and going with two candidates who campaigned against the current board majority's actions.
The union was on the receiving end of defeat in the spring school board elections, with their candidates solidly trounced by reform-minded candidates Dan Wade and Gary J. Kunich. Wade, the former Kenosha Police Chief, finished in first with 6,858 votes, while his fellow campaigner Wade was also elected with 6,346 votes. Wade and Kunich ran on a reform-based platform determined to "put kids first".
With this recent election, conservatives have now flipped the board in a strong showing for potential further future political change.
Voters in Milwaukee County will have a unique opportunity Tuesday to voice their support or lack thereof for their local politicians. Only this time, their voices will have some teeth to them, as they will be able to "hit" their elected officials where it hurts the most-the pocketbook.
Last year's state law cut the budget and the powers of the Milwaukee County Board, while also mandating a referendum asking Milwaukee County voters whether their county supervisors should have their pay cut in half. Such a move would effectively give the members a part-time status beginning in 2016, while also removing certain future health and pension benefits.
Not surprisingly, the referendum has both supporters and detractors.
"There just isn't enough work for a supervisor to sit in an office eight hours a day," said state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis), a former county supervisor and author of the legislation mandating the referendum.
Others agree with Sheila Cochrane, the secretary-treasurer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, who argued that such a referendum would lower the caliber of candidates running for supervisor. Doing the job properly would require full-time attention and compensation, reportedly.
For the proposed reduced pay of $24,051, down from the current $50,679, "who in the hell is going to do that job?" Cochrane said. "We can always look for the market value of a CEO, but when it comes to our public servants, we drive that wage down so low."
Voters will ultimately decide on Tuesday their stance on the controversial referendum.
Basketball seems to be on everyone's minds these days, what with the Final Four shaping up to be a series of exciting match-ups! But for basketball star Kobe Bryant, the attention and social media frenzy is over an entirely different matter: his recent comments in regards to the controversial Trayvon Martin case.
In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Kobe shared his thoughts on the reaction of the Miami Heat to Martin's case, wearing hoodies in a sign of solidarity.
"I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” the NBA player said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense?"
Kobe's comments have ignited a firestorm across social media, with supporters coming to his defense and those opposed equally vocal. But for Bryant, he does not appear fazed with his stance nor the response it has garnered.
"Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society?” he asked. “Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”
Strikingly simple response, it would seem.
Governor Scott Walker has been a regular in the news of late. But this most recent case of newsworthiness comes not over the Governor's economic policies but over a social media status citing a popular Scripture verse.
Philippians 4:13— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) March 16, 2014
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," goes the popular verse from Philippians.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has reportedly written a letter to Walker demanding that he delete the message from his official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
"We're waiting to hear from the Governor," Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation said. If Walker does not comply, the organization has threatened to "explore all options" including possible legal action.
"A lawsuit is always a possibility," Barker said. "We can't take every lawsuit and you can't talk about lawsuits too early because there's too many factors."