Fair Maps

Daily Bread for 2.20.24: New Maps

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 53. Sunrise is 6:43 and sunset 5:33 for 10h 49m 27s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 85.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM. The agenda for the meeting appears immediately below: 

On this day in 1943, The Saturday Evening Post publishes the first of Norman Rockwell‘s Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms.

  Gov. Evers has signed new state election maps for Wisconsin that are drawn to his own recommended boundaries. Baylor Spears reports that 

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed new state voting maps Monday morning, which he had proposed and which were passed by the Wisconsin Legislature, creating new legislative districts in time for the 2024 election cycle before the Wisconsin Supreme Court was to choose new maps.

The legislative maps represent a break in Wisconsin Republicans’ grip on legislative power and give Democrats the chance to win additional seats — and majorities in the Legislature — for the first time in over a decade. 

“It’s a new day in Wisconsin,” Evers said at a press conference in the state Capitol to the cheers of surrounding advocates.

“To me, the decision to enact these maps boils down to this: I made a promise to the people of Wisconsin that I would always try to do the right thing and keeping that promise to me matters most, even if members of my own party disagree with me,” Evers said. 


“I wanted fair maps, not maps that are better for one party or the other, including my own,” Evers said. “Wisconsin is not a red state and it is not a blue state. Wisconsin is a purple state and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact. I believe that the people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.” 

Republicans said that they would rather have the maps picked through the legislative process, rather than by the state Supreme Court. Some lawmakers also expressed fears that the Court would choose maps that were worse for Republicans. 

There is a remaining issue of when these new maps take effect.  Rich Kremer reports that 

Democratic state senators, who got their first look at the legislation just before the Senate voted, accused Republicans last week of including the exception [whereby the maps would take effect in November] to guarantee Vos can run under his old district in a potential recall election. That contest is being pursued by conservatives who are angry he’s stood in the wayof impeaching Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe. 

But that effective date was added to the maps bill by the Legislative Reference Bureau, not Republican lawmakers. A bureau memo said the addition “is our standard practice for addressing the initial applicability of a legislative redistricting plan.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor of Law Robert Yablon, who signed onto a legal brief in the redistricting case, told WPR it’s “an open question” as to which maps should apply between now and the November election.

“So, if an early election needed to be held, the likelihood is that someone would need to go back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and ask what map would be applied,” Yablon said. “And the Wisconsin Supreme Court would need to provide some kind of guidance or remedy.”

Yablon said that because the court has already declared the existing Republican-drawn districts illegal, “it will have to be another map, perhaps the Governor’s map,” even though that map doesn’t go into effect until the fall. 

On Monday, Evers said he will ask the court “to clarify that these maps will be in place for any special elections between now and the fall.”

Yesterday was a good day for Wisconsin.

Monkey Eats From Bird Feeder After Escaping Scottish Wildlife Park:

Daily Bread for 2.14.24: Speaker Vos Rushes While the Rushing is Good

 Good morning.

Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 45. Sunrise is 6:52 and sunset 5:25 for 10h 32m 57s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 28.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 2018, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 17 injuries.

Baylor Spears reports Legislature adopts Evers’s maps in second attempt to choose before state Supreme Court (‘Most Democrats vote no, saying they don’t trust Republicans’):

Six parties submitted maps to be considered and consultants recently said that the two sets of legislative maps submitted by Republican lawmakers and the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) amounted to more partisan gerrymandering.

The consultants did not pick a preferred map, but said the other maps, including Evers’ submission, were “nearly indistinguishable.” Those proposals have been projected to reduce Republican control of the Legislature from its current near-supermajority status 

Republicans lawmakers have found Evers’ maps, which would likely keep a Republican majority, although a smaller one, in the Legislature, preferable to the other submissions before the state Supreme Court. 

“Republicans were not stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Sen. Van Wannggard (R-Racine) said in a statement about the vote. “It was a matter of choosing to be stabbed, shot, poisoned or led to the guillotine. We chose to be stabbed, so we can live to fight another day.” 


Vos, who was the only representative to speak during the floor session, also rejected the idea that the move was a legal strategy.

Ahead of the floor sessions, some Democrats expressed concerns that Republicans wanted to pass Evers’ maps and then back a federal legal challenge before Republican-nominated U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Diane Sykes, formerly a conservative justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Such a challenge “could ultimately keep the state with its current gerrymandered maps, Democrats told the progressive news platform Democracy Docket

“If we get these new maps, the governor’s maps, signed by the Republicans, it’s more than likely that there’ll be a challenge in the 7th Circuit Court,” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said over the weekend. “We’re fearful the Republicans are finally trying to come around to do what they should have done in the first place, but they’re doing it with — I guess the technical term would be ‘with sh-t-eating grins on their faces.’ We can assume that this is not done because of the idea of good government.”

Evers’s maps would be an improvement, but Vos’s trustworthiness is discernible only with an electron microscope. Delays in Evers’s maps, either as implementation within the legislation or by litigation against implementation, would be objectionable. 

Vos does objectionable quite well. 

Note to the special-interest men (movers & shakers, lobbyists, p.r. men, whatever) in Whitewater: looking up to Robin Vos is like looking up to the pigeon that’s gonna relieve itself on a car. Normal people do not respect the men, or the pigeons, who do that.

Ukraine’s forces claim to have destroyed a large Russian landing ship in the Black Sea

Daily Bread for 12.29.23: Procedures in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling on Gerrymandering

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 39. Sunrise is 7:25 and sunset 4:29 for 9h 04m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 93.3% of its visible disk illuminated. 

On this day in 1812, the USS Constitution, under the command of Captain William Bainbridge, captures HMS Java off the coast of Brazil after a three-hour battle.

  On Wednesday, FREE WHITEWATER posted on A Story on Federal Review of Wisconsin’s Recent Gerrymandering Case. The Journal Sentinel story described avenues and prospects for federal review of Wisconsin’s high court decision. (See Republicans likely to take Wisconsin gerrymandering case back to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two other recent stories describe the legal process the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ordered on redistricting. At the State Journal, Alexander Shur reports Who are the 2 referees the Wisconsin Supreme Court named to review new maps?:

When the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week ordered parties to a redistricting lawsuit to draw new legislative maps, it also named two referees to evaluate the maps’ adequacy.

The two consultants — University of California, Irvine political science professor Bernard Grofman and Carnegie Mellon University postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Cervas — may not be household names in Wisconsin, but they have played prominent roles in settling map disputes in other states.

In Wisconsin, they’ll weigh in on whether the maps abide by the court’s standard that any new maps contain equally populated districts; be bounded by county, precinct, ward or town lines; include only contiguous territory; be as compact as possible; and comply with federal law.

They’ll also assess whether the maps preserve communities of interest, reduce municipal splits and are drawn so that no party benefits more than the other.

On Tuesday, the consultants sent out a letter to parties in the case specifying how they will evaluate the proposed maps. They called for each party to note themselves when their proposed maps may go up against one of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s proposed metrics, and said they’ll independently verify each claim.

The new maps must be submitted by Jan. 12, and the professors’ evaluations are due by Feb. 1.

Rich Kremer of WPR spoke with Morning Edition about the upcoming legal processes:

AC [Alex Crowe of Morning Edition]: There’s going to be a big fight now over drawing some new maps. With this ruling, are we going to get new maps right away before the election in 2024? What does that process look like?

RK [Rich Kremer of WPR]: The court didn’t immediately draw new legislative districts to replace those deemed unconstitutional, but like you said, they have to be in place prior to the 2024 elections. Justice Karofsky said she’s hopeful that the GOP-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will agree on new maps.

In the meantime, they’re going to be proceeding toward adopting what they call remedial maps. What that means is in a separate court order, the majority laid out deadlines for maps and they appointed two national experts to oversee the process. Parties in the case have until Jan. 12 to submit remedial maps. These consultants have until Feb. 1 to file a report on the competing proposals.

The majority also said it will consider partisan impact when evaluating the remedial maps. But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said in recent months that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the last word on the redistricting litigation in Wisconsin. This week, he said the Legislature will pursue all federal issues arising out of the case. 

And so, and so — there are state processes certain to take place, and federal litigation likely to take place. 

Perseverance Rover Zooms in on Ancient Mars River:

After 1,000 Martian days of exploration, NASA’s Perseverance rover is studying rocks that show several eras in the history of a river delta billions of years old. Scientists are investigating this region of Mars, known as Jezero Crater, to see if they can find evidence of ancient life recorded in the rocks. Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley provides a guided tour of a richly detailed panorama of the rover’s location in November 2023, taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument.

Composed of 993 individual images and 2.38 billion pixels, this 360-degree mosaic looks in all directions from a location the rover science team calls “Airey Hill.” Portions of the rover itself are visible in the scene, appearing more distorted toward the edges as a result of the image processing.

A color enhancement applied to the image increases contrast and accentuates color differences. By approximating what the scene would look like under Earth-like lighting conditions, the adjustment allows mission scientists to use their everyday experience to interpret the landscape. The view on Mars would be darker and more reddish. The panorama can be explored and downloaded at:

Daily Bread for 12.27.23: A Story on Federal Review of Wisconsin’s Recent Gerrymandering Case

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 41. Sunrise is 7:24 and sunset 4:27 for 9h 03m 09s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.7% of its visible disk illuminated. 

On this day in 1929, Soviet General Secretary Stalin orders the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class” leading to a Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, or executions of millions of kulaks (prosperous peasants) and their families. 

  Jessie Opoien and Molly Beck report in a general readership story that Republicans likely to take Wisconsin gerrymandering case back to the U.S. Supreme Court:

In order to get the U.S. Supreme Court to look at the case, the Legislature and its allies will need to make the argument that there was a violation of federal law. That’s because, explained Rob Yablon, University of Wisconsin Law School professor and co-director of the State Democracy Research Initiative, the core legal claim in the case — contiguity — is a matter of state law.

The case brought to the court argued the maps violate Wisconsin’s Constitution because some legislative districts include pieces of land that are not connected.

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court has the last word on state law questions,” Yablon said.

A request for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a state Supreme Court decision (or a federal appeals court decision) is known as a petition for certiorari, or cert petition. Under U.S. Supreme Court rules, four of nine justices must vote to accept such a case.

“(The majority) did a really intentional job of sticking to very narrow state constitutional issues, which has the effect of insulating a lot of the decision from U.S. Supreme Court review,” said Daniel Suhr, a Republican attorney who served in former Gov. Scott Walker’s administration. “When a case is decided on only state constitutional grounds, there’s not a U.S. constitutional hook for the Supreme Court to rely on in intervening.”

In their story, Opoien and Beck consider two principal arguments for federal intervention (Protasiewicz’s participation in the Wisconsin decision and if any new maps have an unlawful racial bias) but report through interviewed experts that both lines of argument have uncertain prospects. 

In any event, while it’s four to take the case, it’s five to overturn on federal grounds.

What ChatGPT is and what it’s not: A three-minute guide:

Daily Bread for 8.3.23: Nineteen Wisconsin Residents File Suit Against Gerrymandered State Legislative Districts

Good morning. Thursday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:49 AM and sunset 8:12 PM for 14h 23m 43s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets at 6 PM. On this day in 1977, Tandy Corporation…

Daily Bread for 6.19.23: Worse than Embarrassing for Robin Vos

Good morning. Monday in Whitewater will be increasingly sunny with a high of 84. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:36 PM for 15h 20m 21s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM.  On this day in 1865, two years…

Daily Bread for 6.6.23: How Influential Will Janet Protasiewicz’s Supreme Court Win Be?

Good morning. Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 77. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:30 PM for 15h 13m 43s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 92.4% of its visible disk illuminated.  Whitewater’s Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.  On this day in 1944, Operation Overlord begins…

Daily Bread for 9.23.21: But Whose New Maps for Wisconsin?

Good morning. Thursday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 68.  Sunrise is 6:44 AM and sunset 6:49 PM for 12h 04m 28s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 93.8% of its visible disk illuminated.  Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM.  On this day in 1889, Nintendo Koppai…

Fair Maps

I am proud to stand with @GovEvers tonight as he calls for non-partisan redistricting in Wisconsin. In 2011 Republicans drew some of the worst gerrymanders in the country. It’s time to change that and make things fair. It’s time to give power back to the people-where it belongs. — Eric Holder (@EricHolder) January 23,…