MADISON --Sarah Palin gave a fiery speech in Madison this past Saturday as Tea Party supporters cheered and union supporters booed. She was preceded by speakers who made some controversial comments of their own.
Conservative commentator and columnist Andrew Brietbart started his remarks with a sarcastic nod to the pro-union crowd that flanked three sides of the Tea Party rally.
"Good to see you guys, good to see you," chided Brietbart. "Do you know what you're seeing on the periphery of here and what you're hearing? The death of community organizing."
As the union supporters shouted and booed, Brietbart shouted back, "Go to hell. No serious, go to hell. Go to hell. You've been so rude, you're trying to divide America."
Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund used his brief remarks to talk about the need to prevent election fraud, which he said was on its way to Milwaukee.
"Chicago-style voter fraud, I have seen it creeping north. It's time to keep it, send it south."
Fund suggested ending same day registration in Wisconsin, an idea supported by many Republicans. But at an otherwise partisan rally where other speakers were bragging about the April 5th election results, Fund said the contest between Justice David Prosser and Joanne Kloppenburg showed the need for bi-partisan election reform. He criticized Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nicholaus for failing to report until Thursday 14,000 votes from the Tuesday election.
"What happened in Waukesha County was a disgrace," said Fund. "That clerk did not have transparency on her website, we didn't know what cities were reported on election night. That should never have happened. It undermines confidence in the election."
While Fund did not refer to Nicholaus by name on Saturday, in a recent column he said she should resign her position out of a sense of shame.
-- Shawn Johnson, WPR
Committee to review whether proximity to nuclear power plants boosts cancer risk
A national committee looking at cancer risks near nuclear power plants was to hold a public meeting in the Midwest Monday.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently asked the National Academy of Sciences to look at the possibility that living near a nuclear power plant boosts the risk of getting cancer. UW-Madison provost and medical physicist Paul DeLuca is on the study committee. He says cancer rates vary across the U.S. and the scientists are looking into whether having a nuclear power plant close by might raise local cancer rates or lower them.
DeLuca says if there's a local nuclear power plant, it's less likely a big polluter like a coal-fired power plant will be nearby. The study committee will hear testimony in suburban Chicago from scientific experts, including on the NRC's mission to keep radiation doses near nuke plants as low as reasonably achievable. The panel started its work before the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan. Professor DeLuca says he expects those problems to affect the federal study.
The panel will first try to complete a scoping study to identify scientifically sound approaches for carrying out an epidemiological study of cancer risks near nuclear plants. Then phase two will be an actual assessment of those risks.
-- Chuck Quirmbach, WPR
Congressman calls on White House to ease up on deportations
MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds of Latinos came to a church basement in Milwaukee Sunday night, to hear a Congressman ask President Obama to pull back on deporting undocumented people.
Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez has been traveling the U.S. urging the president to order more discretion in who is deported. Rep. Gutierrez says he particularly wants to protect non-violent undocumented resident from being sent out of the country, because that can split families if they have children born in the U.S. Gutierrez told the Milwaukee audience that he's not worried about fracturing the Democrat Party over the deportation issue.
Gutierrez says he wants to support President Obama's re-election bid. But Saturday in Chicago, he claimed the president's backing from Latinos may depend on how the immigration issue is handled.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said broad immigration reform is needed but says the president won't exempt whole categories of people from the current law.
-- Chuck Quirmbach, WPR
Legal ruling may allow outdoor night music again in Hayward
HAYWARD -- An ordinance that banned outdoor music late at night in Hayward has been ruled unconstitutional.
The Hayward ordinance prohibiting outdoor music after 10 pm was passed September 26, 2007. Two days later and a few minutes after 10, police raided Molly Scheer's club and wine bar while her band was performing outside.
Her attorney, Glenn Stoddard of Eau Claire says it's a victory for live music.
"It's a victory for freedom of speech and freedom of outdoor music, which is protected speech," says Stoddard. "There's been solid legal precedence protecting music as protected speech under the First Amendment for many years but many municipalities including the city of Hayward have in the past adopted ordinances limiting outdoor music as well as in some cases indoor music."
Stoddard says local governments can limit decibel levels but not one type of sound like music. He says the decision April 8 by the Western District Court of Wisconsin could lead to a settlement paid by Hayward for lost profit and to damage Scheer's reputation. A trial has been set for late September.
Attorneys for Hayward and the city were not immediately available for comment.
-- Mike Simonson, WPR
Wisconsin village is latest to add fluoride to its water
HOLMEN -- Just over half of Holmen voters passed a referendum in 2008 to add fluoride to the village's water. Supporters say it helps prevent tooth decay. But critics say fluoridation is forced medicine.
Holmen Resident Tony Horvath has been vocal about his opposition. He says he feels like the issue is being forced on his family.
Each individual should be able to decide for themselves and monitor," says Horvath. "When it's put into a community's water supply, that ability is taken away."
Horvath has bought a reverse osmosis filter to remove the fluoride from his water. He says he'd like it if people who wanted the additional fluoride bought it themselves.
Small traces of fluoride are naturally found in Holmen's groundwater source, and more fluoride will be added.
Holmen Public Works Director Robert Haines says they're adding the Wisconsin Division of Public Health's recommended minimum concentration.
"There's also proposals floating around out there at the Environmental Protection Agency, proposals to reduce the recommended dosage. Because we know those proposals are floating around out there and they're expected to pass, we're going to start putting fluoride in at the lowest recommended dose, which is one part per million."
Haines says if the EPA lowers the minimum fluoride recommendation, they would lower Holmen's levels over time.
-- Maureen McCollum, WPR