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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Issue of the Week: Bradley Foundation Extremism on Display

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Milwaukee's ultra-right-wing Bradley Foundation just lost a very public battle. The multimillion-dollar nonprofit is one of the largest funders of the climate-change-denying Heartland Institute, which gave in to public pressure (and public decency) by taking down a highly offensive billboard.

Fair-minded folks cried foul when they saw a Chicago-area electronic billboard featuring Ted (“The Unabomber”) Kaczynski with the tagline: “I still believe in global warming. Do you?” Additional billboards in the series were to feature Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro and Charles Manson.

But the sign was so offensive that Heartland was forced to take it down—without issuing an apology, of course.

Losing the support of beverage importer Diageo probably helped Heartland execs change their mind, as well as U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's (R-Wis.) threat to cancel his appearance at Heartland's climate-change-denying conference in late May.

When an ultra-right-wing group like the Heartland Institute loses someone like Sensenbrenner, you know it's really gone over the edge.

Unfortunately, the Bradley Foundation continues to support Heartland and other extremist organizations, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a slew of free-market faux think tanks, “news” outlets and media “watchdogs” as well as Gov. Scott Walker's administration. The Bradley Foundation's chief, Michael Grebe, led the Walker transition team and is the head of Walker's campaign committee. The foundation has supported Walker throughout his entire career by funding “free market” organizations, which provide Walker with his anti-democratic agenda, and underwriting friendly media coverage to prop up the embattled governor and attack his opponents.

On June 5, Wisconsin voters have a chance to reject the Bradley Foundation's radical agenda by recalling Scott Walker from office.

Correction:
The May 3 issue incorrectly stated that the drafters of the Wisconsin Constitution included the recall provision. The recall provision was added in 1926.

Heroes of the Week
: Nehemiah Project Volunteers

Founded in 1996, the Nehemiah Project promotes the physical and emotional well-being of youth through psychological, educational, leadership and transitional living services. The nonprofit runs two group homes for teenage boys, most of who have been abused sexually, physically and verbally, and who have had very few role models for how to act or live as responsible adults.

At the Nehemiah Project's two group homes, residents are taught independent living skills to enhance their self-reliance and self-confidence. Academic and job skills tutoring are provided, as well as counseling to help residents cope with anger and pain.

Full-time, part-time and occasional volunteers are needed to ensure the success of the Nehemiah Project's programs. Volunteers help with administrative functions and work as tutors, mentors, educators and supervisors.

Readers interested in supporting the Nehemiah Project can contribute through the United Way or by direct donations of needed materials such as bedding, clothing and school supplies. Those interested in volunteering are urged to call 414-933-8002 or visit www.nehproject.com
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