He has succeeded in the sort of environment least conducive to producing a candidate capable of winning a national majority. Over the past few decades, Walker's home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee has developed into the most bitterly divided political ground in the country—"the most polarized part of a polarized state in a polarized nation," as a recent series by Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it.Wisconsin's governor will be announcing his intention to run for President of the United States in any... day... now. Last summer, TNR published a lengthy profile of his politics and persona: The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker. [more inside]
Thanks to a quirk of twentieth-century history, the region encompasses a heavily Democratic and African American urban center, and suburbs that are far more uniformly white and Republican than those in any other Northern city, with a moat of resentment running between the two zones. As a result, the area has given rise to some of the most worrisome trends in American political life in supercharged form: profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, a parallel-universe news media. These trends predate Walker, but they have enabled his ascent, and his tenure in government has only served to intensify them. Anyone who believes that he is the Republican to save his party—let alone win a presidential election—needs to understand the toxic and ruptured landscape he will leave behind.
Richard Posner last week issued a remarkable dissent destroying every rationale for photo voter ID laws. This is particularly notable because Judge Posner, a brilliant but conservative Ronald Reagan appointee to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, authored a 2007 decision later affirmed by the United States Supreme Court which upheld Indiana's voter identification law -- a decision he appears now to regret. Read Posner's powerful and persuasive dissent decimating the rationale for such laws here (beware, pdf format.) [more inside]
An appeals panel of the Seventh Circuit ruled yesterday (pdf) that Wisconsin may immediately implement a photo ID law, for the November 4th election. [more inside]
Pitchfork: "A few weeks ago, 4AD confirmed that musician Scott Walker and drone metal outfit Sunn O))) would release a collaborative album. Today, the two parties have announced that album. It's called Soused, and it's due out September 22 in Europe and 23 in North America." [more inside]
Andrew Collins started a blog in July 2013 - Circles of Life: The 143 - he's about half way through now. [more inside]
Scott Walker (not the politician) has a new record on 4AD, Bish Bosch, available December 4. The album trailer promises more of the visionary, challenging avant-rock that Walker has been creating since the first four tracks on 1978's Nite Flights, 1983's baffling Climate of Hunter, the scorched earth upsidedowntown of Tilt [nsfw, nudity] (1995) and the devastating The Drift (2006).
Chicago Tribune - Wisconsin’s fierce and emotional recall battle for governor appeared headed for a possible photo finish Tuesday as voters swarmed the polls: “I think we're having presidential turnout,” said Kenosha County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs as she watched voters flood the polls to choose between retaining Republican Scott Walker as governor or replacing him with Democrat Tom Barrett... This was only the third time in U.S. history that any state has voted on whether to recall its governor. Tuesday’s battle was effectively a redo of the 2010 race for governor between Walker and Barrett, which Walker won by 5 percentage points. [more inside]
To whet the appetite for the forthcoming collection of essays No Regrets: Writings on Scott Walker, longtime UK music magazine The Wire presents a 70-minute lecture on Scott [Engel] Walker from Electric Eden author, Wire contributor and No Regrets editor Rob Young.
A Million Wisconsinites Petition to Recall Scott Walker: "Petitions with the names of 1 million Wisconsinites were submitted to state elections officials today, in a move that will jump-start the process of removing the nation’s most notorious antilabor governor from office... In all, close to 2 million signatures were submitted Tuesday, building the historic in-the-streets popular uprising that rocked Wisconsin in 2012 into a electoral uprising that has the potential to rock the politics not just of the state but of the nation in 2012. The movement to oust Walker will have secured the support of a higher percentage of eligible voters than has ever before sought to recall an American governor." [more inside]
Scott Walker, Michele Bachmann, Robin Vos, Karl Rove, Joe Moore, Ron Paul, Scott Serota, Newt Gingrich, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Cantor, and, today, Barack Obama
After weeks of fake primaries, fraudulent mailers, special interest moneybombs, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud (later retracted). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring. [more inside]
On the same morning that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi struck down Wisconsin's infamous union-busting bill on the grounds that it violated the state's Open Meetings Law (PDF of decision, previously), Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed America's first state-level single-payer legislation into law. [more inside]
John Maus, a.ka. John Walker, vocalist, guitarist and one-third of The Walker Brothers (with Gary and, of course, Scott) has passed away at age 67 following a battle with liver cancer. [more inside]
To Madison, WI, to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where the Republican majority attempted to move newly-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill towards final passage, before the Democrat minority had even entered the assembly. The minority leader then proceeds to rip the majority a new one. The cheering of tens of thousands of protesters, composed of public-sector employees and their supporters, can be heard permeating the walls of the assembly chamber. A minority assemblyman responds to the tactic. [more inside]
The Music of Jacques Brel is an article by music journalist Amy Hanson about the career of pop music legend Jacques Brel and his effect on popular music in the English language. A lot of songs and covers are mentioned in the article, below the cut are links to the songs that I could find videos of online. [more inside]
Neil Hannon, aka The Divine Comedy, has both annoyed and charmed critics (often within the same song). Reviews of his most recent album, Bang Goes The Knighthood (released in Europe last May, now released in the US but only via iTunes) have described the split like this:
"Divine Comedy albums are always an arm-wrestle between two incompatible personas. One is the elegant and witty balladeer, a precocious hybrid of Scott Walker and Randy Newman, heard on such commanding cuts as The Dogs & the Horses and Sunrise. The other is the insufferably bumptious japester queasily evocative of Gilbert O'Sullivan, most notably culpable for the enragingly jaunty sing-along National Express (which, rather depressingly, remains The Divine Comedy's biggest hit)."[more inside]
Scott Walker's BBC TV program, simply titled Scott, ran for just six weeks in 1969. While footage has yet to surface (the 2006 Walker documentary 30 Century Man was unable to unearth anything), the audio portion of the two half-hour pilot episodes from 1968 has been made available [ep1-Aug 6] [ep2-Dec. 30], along with a thoughtful article. Scott performs some fine covers, including Jacques Brel's "Matilda" and "If You Go Away" in the August episode. (guest star: Kiki Dee)
Scott Walker has, after an 11 year break, released a new album (Statesiders will have to wait until the 23rd). If it's anything like his previous release, Tilt, I'll be more than pleased. He is also to be the subject of an upcoming documentary. [related]