A Wisconsin Lawmaker Asked How You Can Stop the Virus When You Can’t See It


(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To This Post)

Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin’ gets done, and where to live outside the law, you must be honest.

Here is a member of the Wisconsin state legislature who is about to become very Internet Famous. His name is Treig Pronschinske, and he represents the district surrounding the city of Mondovi, a lovely place in Buffalo County along the Buffalo River where somewhere short of 3,000 people live.

(For the record, Wisconsin killed off its wild buffalo population somewhere around 1830, but, thanks to a good Wisconsinite named Wallace Grange, who reintroduced bison to the state in the 1940s, there is now a small population in the Sandhill Wildlife Area. It’s nice that the old buffalo herds have a county and a river for us to remember them by. And I know that bison and buffalo are different, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. Wisconsin used to make so much sense.)

Sayeth Pronschinske:

If you can’t see the virus, how’re you going to do it? How you going to do it? How can you stop it? You physically cannot see the virus. You don’t know if it’s in this room or outside or if it even exists right now in here. You have no clue. How’re you going to stop that?

Is someone going to tell him that he can’t see oxygen, but that doesn’t mean he should stop breathing?

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From Wisconsin, we follow a thin ray of light to Ohio, where the state supreme court decided that the state legislature embarrassed itself with its proposed legislative maps. From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Ohio Redistricting Commission – which is tasked with drawing legislative maps and dominated by Republicans – could not ignore parts of the Ohio Constitution that required them to attempt to match the statewide voting preferences of voters, according to the court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Melody Stewart. Those preferences, according to Stewart’s opinion, were 54% for Republican candidates and 46% for Democratic candidates over the past decade.

See, in 2015, the voters of Ohio passed a referendum prohibiting partisan gerrymandering because the Republicans in the legislature, and on the state election commission, had gone hog wild with it. Smart voters. Nevertheless, this time around, the hogs remained wild and some voters sued. During the arguments, the lawyer for the election commission tried to run a riff that the referendum was largely “aspirational.” Justice Stewart, alas, did not arrive in chambers on a turnip truck.

“The commission is required to attempt to draw a plan in which the statewide proportion of Republican-leaning districts to Democratic-leaning districts closely corresponds to those percentages,” Stewart wrote. “Section 6 speaks not of desire but of direction: the commission shall attempt to achieve the standards of that section…We reject the notion that Ohio voters rallied so strongly behind an anti-gerrymandering amendment to the Ohio Constitution yet believed at the time that the amendment was toothless.”

So the maps go back to the election commission, where Ohio Republicans can devise subtler ways to subvert the will of the voters. But that might be tough this time around because the Republican chief justice of the state supreme court has had about enough of these shenanigans.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor was the key vote, breaking with her party to rule against the maps. O’Connor, a Republican, joined the court’s three Democratic justices and the three GOP justices dissented…“Having now seen firsthand that the current Ohio Redistricting Commission – comprised of statewide elected officials and partisan legislators – is seemingly unwilling to put aside partisan concerns as directed by the people’s vote, Ohioans may opt to pursue further constitutional amendment to replace the current commission with a truly independent, nonpartisan commission that more effectively distances the redistricting process from partisan politics,”

Madame Justice O’Connor is watching, people. And she is not pleased.

mandatory credit photo by tony dejakapshutterstock 9953653c
judge melody stewart speaks at the kilcawley center at youngstown state university, in youngstown, ohio
election 2018 ohio, youngstown, usa   29 oct 2018
Justice Stewart wasn’t born yesterday.

Tony Dejak/AP/Shutterstock

We move along to Hawaii. A while back, we mentioned that some fuel storage tanks owned and run by the Navy were leaching non-potables into local water supplies. The problem has since become worse, and the residents have since become angrier. From the Washington Post:

A November leak of 14,000 gallons of jet fuel at the long-troubled Red Hill underground storage facility at Pearl Harbor flowed into a Navy-operated well. It sickened “thousands of people,” Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said, and drove 3,500 military families from their homes between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The fuel-storage facility sits 100 feet above Oahu’s main freshwater aquifer.

The Navy has responded with an investigation and promises to make changes, but officials told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that while the review is not yet complete, the incident was probably due to “operator error.” That description appeared to irk lawmakers who suggested the Navy had obfuscated how dire the situation remains.

At first, the Navy tried to dodge its responsibility for the leak. But, under pressure from residents and Congress, it now has copped to it and has generously agreed to comply with a damn order from the Hawaii attorney general’s office. Which is mighty mainland of the Navy, I must say.

Nearly a dozen families told The Washington Post last month that they had experienced health problems consistent with fuel exposure as early as spring, feeding suspicions that there was more extensive contamination than the Navy has disclosed.

I know which way I’m betting.

And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, whence Blog Official Conch Measurer, Friedman of the Plains, still operating remotely from the Bahamas, brings us the tale of how the state’s attorney general is still struggling with this whole church-and-state business. From Tulsa Public Radio:

…a Sand Springs Leader article published Saturday, which quotes O’Connor as telling the Sand Springs Rotary Club that “there’s no such thing as an ideal godless America,” that the legal system “has to be based… on God the creator,” and that he believes Americans must stand “very vigorously… in favor of a God-based country.”

It should be noted that the previous administration tried to make this guy a federal judge. This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.

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