Home / News / Expresso / Event of the Week: Phoenix Rising
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008

Event of the Week: Phoenix Rising

Plus Heroes and Jerks of the Week

Google+ Pinterest Print

The literary community was saddened by last week’s news that Broad Vocabulary bookstore would be closing for good at month’s end. Owned by Jennifer Morales and Tina Owen, the enterprise fell victim to big-box media stores and online sellers. Happily, a community group is organizing to save one of Milwaukee’s few remaining independent bookshops.
“A Broader Vocabulary” will stage a “Phoenix Rising” party on Sunday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Broad Vocabulary (2241 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.), and attempt to reopen the store as a cooperative venture. Anyone wishing to donate their time, talents, ideas or dollars to save this community resource is invited to attend.

Hero of the Week: Rev. Joseph Ellwanger

On Nov. 14, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute honored Milwaukee’s Rev. Joseph Ellwanger with the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, citing his “outstanding legacy as a civil rights advocate.” Following a church bombing in which the daughter of one of his parishioners was killed, Ellwanger stood out in the 1960s as a white Southern minister who actively supported the civil rights movement. He organized demonstrations in Birmingham, Ala., to support voting rights for minorities and faced openly hostile crowds who wanted the franchise to remain “whites only.” His activism caught the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who sent him to speak with Alabama Gov. George Wallace and President Lyndon Johnson about the necessity of the Voting Rights Act. Still active locally, Ellwanger works for WISDOM, a multi-congregational group working for social justice.


Jerk of the Week Milwaukee: City Attorney Grant Langley

Even though Milwaukee residents overwhelmingly approved the Paid Sick Days referendum, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) is in the process of preparing a lawsuit to challenge this ordinance. Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Langley stated that his staff would be in the courtroom, but he made it clear to the Shepherd that he is not going to vigorously defend the city in this lawsuit by the MMAC.

Whether sick leave should be a state law and not a city ordinance is a valid policy question and one that was debated before the election. Whether one likes the ordinance or believes it will drive some businesses out of the city is not currently the issue: The question that will be before the court is whether the city has the constitutional right to enact such a law, not whether it is a good law. It is the mandate of the city attorney’s office to defend all of the laws of Milwaukee. One of those laws is that businesses in the city must offer paid sick days to their workers. The city attorney’s office does not make policy; it enforces policy. Milwaukee taxpayers pay Langley $143,306 a year to defend the city against lawsuits. He can’t simply pick and choose which laws he will defend. Actions like this make Grant Langley the Jerk of the Week.


Blog of the Week: The Town Hall
By Cory Liebmann for One Wisconsin Now www.onewisconsinnow.org

Will Gableman Pursue His “Right” to Libel Next?

Wisconsin Manfacturers & Commerce’s empty suit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Michael Gableman, has responded to the complaint filed against him by the state Judicial Commission. Gableman ran what is widely acknowledged as one of the sleaziest campaigns in the history of the high court.

The specific charges in this matter surround Gableman’s Willie Horton-style TV ad against his opponent, former-Justice Louis Butler. It clearly implied that Butler, while serving as a public defender, enabled a sex offender to be released and that the offender then went on to commit more egregious crimes. At best the Gableman ad was a clear effort to mislead the public, and at worst it was a premeditated and contemptible lie. Either way Gableman’s actions clearly violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, which is the case being made by the Judicial Commission.

Part of Gableman’s breathtaking “defense” against the Judicial Commission is that the state’s statutes on judicial candidates making misleading or confusing statements is unconstitutional. Based on that, he apparently believes that he has the right to mislead the public whenever he chooses! Only in Gableman’s small world would an elected official fight tooth and nail to defend his perceived “right” to lie to the public without repercussion. What is next from Gableman? A passionate argument defending his imaginary “right” to libel? Actually, as absurd as that may sound, one could very reasonably suggest that he is trying to make that very case right now.

 


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“A bailout was necessary—but this bailout is an outrage: a lousy deal for the taxpayers, no accountability for management and quite possibly inadequate, so that Citi will be back for more. Amazing how much damage the lame ducks can do in the time remaining.” —Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, on the $290 billion bailout of Citigroup


PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Salty, by Scott Lucey

Taken with a Lomo LC-A 35 mm camera.  Location: Port of Milwaukee's salt mountain.

Join ExpressMilwaukee Flickr.  Get published.