Home / News / Cover Story / What happened?
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007

What happened?

Test your Knowledge of 2007

Google+ Pinterest Print

The year started on a high note, at least for progressives. At long last, Democrats took control of both houses of Congress, as well as the state Senate in Wisconsin. With the shift in power came promises to bring the troops home, spend more money on domestic issues such as health care, and begin undoing the damage brought by six full years of the Bush administration.

Twelve months later, those promises have fizzled. In defiance of last year’s election results, Bush sent more troops to Iraq in his unpopular “surge.” Congress and the president deadlocked on funding for the war, the legality of torture, providing health insurance for children and the role of politics in governmental agencies such as the Department of Justice, where, it was revealed, U.S. attorneys were hired or fired depending on if they were “loyal Bushies.”

In Wisconsin, legislators had a similarly difficult time. The split in power between the Democratic governor, the Democratic state Senate and the Republican-controlled Assembly led to a stalemate over the state budget. Few other initiatives have passed, and issues such as pay for fired police officers, health care, campaign finance reform and ending corporate loopholes have been shelved until the Legislature reconvenes in January.

So how much of 2007 do you remember? Test your knowledge of the year that was in this Shepherd Express yearend news quiz.

1. Milwaukee police officers who have been fired from the department are able to collect pay until all of their legal options have been exhausted. How much has this practice cost city taxpayers since 1990?

A. $754,000
B. $1,893,000
C. $3,245,000
D. $4,380,000
Answer: D. City taxpayers have paid almost $4.4 million for police officers after they’ve been fired. In 2007 alone, fired officers still on the city payroll cost taxpayers $615,000. A bill was passed in the state Senate last week that would stop the practice; it’s pending in the state Assembly.

2. Wisconsin legislators battled over the state budget before finally agreeing to a “compromise” in October. Although just about every state-funded program was preparing to get by with limited state funds until the budget was finalized, which state functions were unaffected by the tardy budget?

A. The governor’s office
B. The courts
C. The state Assembly and Senate
D. All of the above
Answer: D. While many agencies were preparing to lay off employees because of the budget fiasco, the parties creating the fiasco—the governor and state legislators—didn’t have to share that pain.

3. Who said “Milwaukee certainly will be able to survive and get by” with the Republican Assembly’s planned budget cuts for Milwaukee?

A. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
B. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker
C. State Rep. Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin)
D. Assembly Majority Leader Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem)
Answer: C. Gundrum said “Milwaukee will survive,” showing a deep disregard for the state’s economic engine and largest city. In response to the suburban lawmaker’s disrespectful comments, Gov. Jim Doyle said, “My vision, and our vision, is not a city that survives, but a city that is thriving and is prosperous. Usually they don’t reveal their limited vision quite so clearly, but to say ‘Milwaukee will survive’ just tells the whole story.”

4. How much money did the conservative business group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) spend to help Annette Ziegler win a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court?

A. $250,000
B. $500,000
C. $1,000,000
D. $2,200,000
Answer: D. The WMC spent $2.2 million on negative advertising on Ziegler’s opponent, Linda Clifford, a record-breaking amount in a judicial race. In addition, the conservative Club For Growth spent $400,000 to support Ziegler. Ziegler, who was formally admitted to the state’s highest court at the same time she’s under investigation for ethical violations she allegedly committed while serving as a Washington County judge, spent $1.45 million on the race. That includes $840,000 of her own money spent on the campaign. The record-breaking spending is so troubling to the legal community that the Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee was just formed to monitor next spring’s race for the state Supreme Court.

5. In October, the Milwaukee-based SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Co. announced that they want to join forces as MillerCoors—location of headquarters, either Milwaukee or Denver, still to be determined. The massive brewery conglomerate would bring an equally massive number of beers under their fold, and not just the usual suspects such as MGD or Coors Light. If they do merge, which brand of beer will not be included in their portfolio?

A. Pilsner Urquell
B. Leinenkugel’s Red
C. Beck’s
D. Killian’s Irish Red
E. Blue Moon Belgian White
Answer: C. Beck’s, the top-selling German beer in America, is distributed in the United States by Anheuser- Busch. SABMiller brews Pilsner Urquell and Leinie’s Red, while Coors owns Killian’s Irish Red and a variety of Blue Moon beers.

6. Who earns the most money—Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent William Andrekopoulos or Milwaukee Area Technical College President Darnell Cole?

A. Barrett
B. Walker
C. Andrekopoulos
D. Cole
Answer: D. Cole earns the most. His new contract pays him a $209,815 salary. Andrekopoulos earns $169,680. The mayor earns $143,883 per year, while Walker earns $129,611 (although he currently returns about $60,000 of his salary to the county).

7. Who earns more—a state legislator, a Milwaukee County supervisor or a city of Milwaukee alderman?

A. A state legislator
B. A county supervisor
C. An alderman
Answer: C. Milwaukee aldermen earn $71,506. County supervisors earn $50,679, although the board chair, Lee Holloway, earns $71,912. A state legislator earns $47,413 at what is technically a part-time job, plus a per diem of $88 if the legislator doesn’t live in Dane County.

8. Which one of the following public officials running for re-election does not have a college degree?

A. Milwaukee Alderman Mike McGee
B. Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines
C. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker
D. Milwaukee Alderman Terry Witkowski
Answer: C. Walker attended Marquette, but never graduated. McGee graduated from UW-Milwaukee, while Hines graduated from Marquette University. Witkowski earned his bachelor’s from Marquette and his master of science degree from UW-Whitewater.

9. Anumber of notable people were found guilty of committing crimes and were sentenced to time in jail or prison. Of the following list of “lawbreakers,” who spent the least time in jail this year?

A. Paris Hilton
B. Lindsay Lohan
C. Former vice presidential aide I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby
D. Alderman Mike McGee
Answer: C. Scooter Libby was convicted on four federal charges and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. But in July, before Libby could set foot in the clink, President Bush commuted his prison term because the punishment was “harsh.” In contrast, McGee has been held in jail since Memorial Day pending his state trial.

10. Although many people were tried in the press and in the court system, some high-profile individuals eventually had their names cleared this year. But which one of the following did not?

A. Most of the 21 anti-war protesters who demonstrated in front of the Army recruiting center on the East Side
B. Georgia Thompson, the state employee who was accused of improperly steering a contract to a travel company to gain favor with her boss
C. Scott Jensen, the former Republican Senate majority leader who was found guilty of three felonies relating to campaigning on state time
D. Jeff White, who was charged with loitering/prowling outside an East Side CVS/pharmacy because he was protesting the store’s refusal to stock the Shepherd Express
Answer: C. Jensen’s case was overturned on appeal and he will be given a new trial. The others were cleared of any wrongdoing.

11. In July, the head of Pro-Life Wisconsin, Peggy Hamill, attended Paul Hill Days in Milwaukee, an event that honored a man who:

A. Was falsely convicted of being a member of the IRAaffiliated Guildford Four and bombing a pub B. Shot and killed a doctor who performed abortions and also his bodyguard
C. Acongressional candidate who is planning on running against Gwen Moore
Answer: B. Hill was later executed for the murders. Hamill told the Shepherd that she was merely “praying the rosary” in front of an abortion clinic while the event was taking place at the same site. The event had been denounced as “appalling” by state Rep. Jon Richards, and even Susan Armacost of Wisconsin Right to Life condemned the event by saying, “It’s just plain wrong to go around killing people.”

12. Milwaukee’s airwaves are dominated by right-wing ranters who demonize those who have an opposing viewpoint. Which attack did not happen this year?

A. WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes vs. religious tolerance (Sykes promoted as “pure genius” a bumper sticker “parody” that changed the Star of David into a swastika)
B. Former WTMJ talker Jessica McBride vs. Democrats (McBride challenged Democrats to prove how their political agenda differs from Osama bin Laden’s aims)
C. WISN’s Mark Belling vs. breast-feeding mothers (Belling equated breast-feeding in public with his right to “take a crap” in public)
D. WISN’s Vicki McKenna vs. taxpayers (“Because they’re stupid enough to pay for government workers”)
Answer: D. McKenna targeted public employees, not taxpayers, at an anti-tax rally by erroneously saying that the public employees were getting paid while attending the counter-rally. McKenna said, “They [public employees] say they pay taxes, too, but they pay taxes on our dime. We’re paying to be here, and we’re p a y i n g for them to be here, too. That’s messed up. The least you [public employees] could do is say, ‘Thank you.’”

13. In 2007, a number of children’s toys were recalled due to unacceptably high levels of toxic chemicals that could endanger a child’s health. According to the Ecology Center, what percentage of the 1,200 toys they tested had some level of lead, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), mercury, cadmium or arsenic?

A. 35%
B. 42%
C. 58%
D. 72%
Answer: D. A full 72% of the toys tested by the Ecology Center contained traces of these common but potentially dangerous substances. For more information on safe toys, go to www.healthytoys.org.

14. In October, President Bush vetoed the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a wildly popular program that he derided as “socialized medicine.” Which member of Wisconsin’s Republican delegation to Congress voted to override that veto?

A. Rep. F. Jim Sensenbrenner
B. Rep. Tom Petri
C. Rep. Paul Ryan
D. All of the above
Answer: B. Petri, who represents the Fond du Lac area, defied Bush and sided with the majority of the country in voting to expand the SCHIP program, which in Wisconsin is known as BadgerCare. All of Wisconsin’s Congressional Democrats voted to override Bush’s veto. In contrast, Sensenbrenner and Ryan both supported Bush’s veto.

15. South Side Alderman Bob Donovan is known for being quotable, even if his rhetoric doesn’t always match reality. Which one of these quotes did not come from him?

A. “Some will argue that the [National] Guard should only be used for civil disturbances. Well, if the chaos we call cruising doesn’t qualify as a civil disturbance, I don’t know what does. If we don’t engage the help of the Guard, the events this summer will be the final indicator of whether these MPs could have been a benefit to the city.
B. “Can I ensure that every citizen is issued a Kevlar vest? No, but I can darn well make sure that our streets and neighborhoods have an adequate level of police presence and law enforcement activity.”
C. “I think people should not underestimate the strong opinions that many smokers have on this unfair and, in my opinion, un-American proposal [the proposed statewide smoking ban].”
D. “The empty wagon makes the most noise.”
Answer: D. Yes, Donovan actually said statements A, B and C. That statement about the “empty wagon” came from Mayor Tom Barrett, in response to Donovan’s criticism of Barrett’s plan to add police officers to public schools.

Extra Credit: The Milwaukee Brewers had their first winning season since 1992. How many games did they win and lose? A. 85 wins, 77 losses B. 84 wins, 78 losses C. 83 wins, 79 losses D. 82 wins, 80 losses Answer: C. The Brewers ended the season with a .512 average, landing them in second place in the National League Central.

Results 

13-16 points: Congratulations! You’re no dummy, no matter what your spouse says. 
9-12 points: We’re sort of impressed. 
5-8 points: Do you need help finding your car? 
0-4 points: 2007?