Conference on Youth Mental Health Strikes Hopeful Notes

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Coupled with an understanding of the seriousness of the issues, there was a sense of overall hopefulness at a conference on March 22 at Marquette Law School on youth mental challenges, including bullying and suicide.

An audience of about 200, many of them people who work with young people with mental health issues, heard that hopefulness not only from the professionals who spoke, but from a panel of four students who deal personally with mental health issues.

The students, ranging from one working on a graduate degree in counseling to a middle school student, described how they have made progress with their own issues, even as their challenges continue. And they emphasized the benefit of being open about mental health. Continue reading “Conference on Youth Mental Health Strikes Hopeful Notes”

Soledad O’Brien and the Girl with a Broken Front Tooth

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Soledad O’Brien remembers a girl in her high school on Long Island, New York, who broke a front tooth and went for many months without getting it fixed.

O’Brien grew up in a stable, comfortable home and never had to worry about shelter, food, medical care, or other valuable parts of stable living. And she never gave much thought to why the girl didn’t get her tooth fixed.

But the girl and her front tooth are still on her mind decades later. That girl makes her think about all the young women, then and now, who live unstable lives, who can’t meet daily needs that are met without much thought in other homes. “I was so naive and stupid about those things,” O’Brien said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Tuesday.

“What sixteen-year-old girl walks around (with a broken front tooth). Think about her family circumstances, and think about what this girl was going through that that was completely normal. I don’t think I ever thought about poverty, I don’t think I ever thought about access to health care, or all these things as a journalist I would really dig in to.” Continue reading “Soledad O’Brien and the Girl with a Broken Front Tooth”

You Want Less Violence? Build Stronger Communities, Speaker Says

Posted on Categories Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on You Want Less Violence? Build Stronger Communities, Speaker Says

Maybe it’s not fair to reduce to a few points an hour of conversation with Reggie Moore, director of the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention, at an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Feb. 6. But let’s hope it’s a way to drive home a few of his major points and perhaps to encourage you to watch the video of the program.

Moore’s effort is best known for the document it produced, “The Milwaukee Blueprint for Peace.” It offers goals and strategies aimed at reducing violence in the city, many of them dealing with community development and investment. “Every strategy in the blueprint is evidence based,” Moore said.

Here are eight short take-aways  from  Moore, a Milwaukee native with a long history of working with young people in the community: Continue reading “You Want Less Violence? Build Stronger Communities, Speaker Says”

Flint Water: Author Describes a Clear Crisis and Unclear Answers on Accountability

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Anna Clark admits there are thing she wishes she could have probed in greater depth for her critically-praised 2018 book, The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy. At the top of that list is the broad question of accountability for the actions that led to a nightmare crisis of lead contamination in water in the city near Detroit.

At the conclusion of an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Wednesday at Marquette Law School, Clark said, “There are lot of unanswered questions.” Investigations of Flint’s water problem are continuing, she said, and she had to stop work on the book at some point.

“If I had more time and more space, I would love to devote it to following a little more what this accountability question looks like,” Clark said. She said that her concern apples not only to Flint but also more broadly to questions of who and what to hold accountable when major environmental harm is uncovered anywhere.   Continue reading “Flint Water: Author Describes a Clear Crisis and Unclear Answers on Accountability”

New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More

Posted on Categories Legal Scholarship, Marquette Law School, President & Executive Branch, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More

The bald eagle symbolizes the strength of the United States, not least when the country uses its military power. The eagle on the cover of the Marquette Lawyer magazine, Fall 2018 issue, shows the determination, even the fierceness, of the eagle during times of war.

But the process involved in deciding where and how that eagle flies is more complex than many people may realize. In the cover story in the new Marquette Law School magazine, David J. Barron, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and formerly a Harvard Law School professor, insightfully examines three chapters in American history when a president and leaders of Congress had differing positions on use of power. Barron focuses on three of the nation’s most revered presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The article is an edited and expanded version of the E. Harold Hallows Lecture that Barron delivered at the Law School in April 2018. To read the article, click here.

Interspersed throughout the article are reactions by three individuals with different perspectives on the relationship between Congress and the commander-in-chief: Russ Feingold, former three-term U.S. senator from Wisconsin and currently distinguished visiting lecturer in international studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Julia R. Azari, associate professor of political science at Marquette University and a scholar of the American presidency; and Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

Barron’s article, together with the reactions, is only one of the thoughtful and thought-provoking pieces in the new Marquette Lawyer. Elsewhere in the magazine: Continue reading “New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More”

How the Basic Journalism of PolitiFact Has Changed the Political Landscape

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In 2007, with President George W. Bush’s second term as president coming to an end and Vice President Richard Cheney not aiming to succeed him, open races for both Democratic and Republican nominations for president were developing. Bill Adair thought it was time to bring more fact-checking into American political journalism.  Adair, then a Washington-based journalist with the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) began a project that the newspaper called Politifact.

The idea took off and, more than a decade later, PolitiFact and other political fact-checking efforts have become an important part of the national journalism landscape. PolitiFact is now an independent non-profit organization. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel became a partner with PolitiFact in 2010, ahead of the election that year in which Republican Scott Walker defeated Democrat Tom Barrett for governor, and continues to run PolitiFact pieces, with either national or local focuses, almost every day.

In an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Tuesday at Marquette Law School, Angie Drobnic Holan, now the editor of PolitiFact and a part of its team since the start, and Tom Kertscher, who has worked on the Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact team since its start, described the goals of what they do in terms core journalistic values. Continue reading “How the Basic Journalism of PolitiFact Has Changed the Political Landscape”

More Help Urged for Those Making “Re-entry” from Incarceration

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Marquette Law School Poll, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process2 Comments on More Help Urged for Those Making “Re-entry” from Incarceration

“When does the sentence end?“  Albert Holmes says he often faces that question as he works to help people who have been released from incarceration and who are re-entering the general community.

Holmes, president and CEO of My Father’s House, was one of the speakers Thursday, Oct. 4, at a conference at Marquette Law School that focused on what can be done to provide paths for more people in those situations to establish stable lives.

The conference, “Racial Inequality, Poverty, and Criminal Justice,” drew an audience that included two Wisconsin Supreme Court justices, several circuit judges, prosecutors (including Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm),  defense attorneys, and many who work in agencies that try to help those getting out of prison or jail or who are advocates on issues involved with the subject.   Continue reading “More Help Urged for Those Making “Re-entry” from Incarceration”

Posley Offers Optimism on MPS’ Future, Driven by Emphasizing Basics

Posted on Categories Milwaukee Public Schools, Public, Speakers at Marquette2 Comments on Posley Offers Optimism on MPS’ Future, Driven by Emphasizing Basics

You can’t build a home from the roof down. You have to start with the foundation and build upward. And that’s what Keith Posley, interim superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, is stressing in the early months of leading Wisconsin’s largest and most challenging school district.

Educators often get caught up in new programs and ideas for education that sound appealing, Posley said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Wednesday at Marquette Law School. But education – and building greater success for MPS – needs to be start with teaching the basics so that all students learn to read, write and do math early in their school years. Add to that building good school attendance and the ability to work well with others and you have grounds for a bright future for kids and for MPS, Posley said.

Posley offered Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, and an audience of about 200, including many key figures in education in Milwaukee, an optimistic vision of what lies ahead for MPS.

“Milwaukee Public Schools is alive and well and we’re going to do great things,” Posley said. “Give me five years,” Posley said, and MPS tests scores in reading and math will be above the state average. Maybe it can be done in three, he added. Overall, MPS scores as of last year were far below state averages.

Gousha asked how patient people should be with seeing improvement in the overall success of MPS students. It will take some time to see results, Posley said, but people should see right away how energized Posley and MPS as a whole are in improving. “We have to move at a fast pace and I am moving at a fast pace, my team is moving at a fast pace.” Posley said. “I know exactly what needs to happen.”

He said, “Everyone knows if we have a strong Milwaukee Public Schools, we’re going to have a strong Milwaukee and a strong Wisconsin. . . . We’ve got to continue to work – to work until we can get to where we need to be.”

Posley proposed to the School Board during its budget work in the spring that large cuts be made in the central administration of MPS rather than cutting budgets in schools. Posley said he did that because “if we’re going to make a change, it’s going to happen in the classroom.” He said, “I have to put every ounce of money we have – I put 89 cents of every dollar we have — in the classroom.” His goal for next year is to raise that to 90 cents, he said.

Concerns were raised in a recent report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum about the long-term financial picture for MPS. Asked about that, Posley said MPS could use more money, but he would not be deterred by finances. “I’m going to make it happen with whatever I have,” he said. What will he do if MPS gets fresh revenue in upcoming state budgets? “I’ve created a wish list already,” he said. The list, he said, includes reviving an effort of about a decade ago called the Milwaukee Math Partnership and doing more to strengthen offerings for children from birth to five.

Posley grew up in a small town in Mississippi and was recruited for a teaching job in Milwaukee almost three decades ago. He said he expected to stay in Milwaukee for one year. But he loved working in schools and advanced from being a teacher to an assistant principal to a principal to a series of administrative positions before being named to head the system.

His willing to make a long-term commitment to this job? “Mike, this is home,” he said. “Mississippi is in the rear-view mirror.” Posley wants to drop the word “interim” from his title, a step the Milwaukee School Board is likely to take soon. He certainly is not acting like someone who intends to fill the job for a short time. “I have the steering wheel now, and I’m driving,” Posley said.

To view the one-hour video of the program, click here.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Supreme Court Experts Warn About Impact of Partisan Nomination Fights

Posted on Categories Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Speakers at Marquette, U.S. Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Two Supreme Court Experts Warn About Impact of Partisan Nomination Fights

Two experts on the United States Supreme Court expressed concerns Thursday during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School that the level of partisanship in confirmation processes for justices is causing damage to the court itself.

David A. Strauss, the Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, said, “Things have become a lot more partisan in a way that I think is really damaging for the court as an institution.”

Strauss said, that, even though partisanship has long been a part of confirming court nominees, among senators overall, “there was a consensus that we really have to kind of make sure that we take care of the court.” That meant approving well-qualified candidates who would be respected and do their jobs well, with less attention paid to their partisanship. That has eroded, he said.

“I think it has taken a turn for the much more partisan,” Strauss said. ”What’s really troubling about it . . . Once that happens, it is very hard to dig yourself out of it.” Continue reading “Two Supreme Court Experts Warn About Impact of Partisan Nomination Fights”

A Milwaukee Native Describes His Work as the City’s Police Chief

Posted on Categories Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on A Milwaukee Native Describes His Work as the City’s Police Chief

Ed Flynn was a complete outsider to Milwaukee. The city’s police chief from 2008 to 2018, he never lived in Milwaukee before he became chief, he left Milwaukee as soon as he was done, and some people questioned how much he was connected to the life of the city as a whole while he was serving as chief.

Alfonso  Morales, Flynn’s successor, is a complete insider to Milwaukee. Born in the city, grew up on N. 33rd St., graduated from Milwaukee Tech High School, as it was then called (it’s now Bradley Tech). After graduating from Carroll College, he became a Milwaukee police officer and rose through the ranks until he was named chief in February 2018.

Flynn appeared several times at “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” programs at Marquette Law School. Morales was an “On the Issues” guest for the first time on Thursday (Sept. 13, 2018). The differences between them in personal styles, in priorities, and in connecting with the community were clear. Continue reading “A Milwaukee Native Describes His Work as the City’s Police Chief”

Tommy Thompson Describes Lessons from His “Journey of a Lifetime”

Posted on Categories Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Tommy Thompson Describes Lessons from His “Journey of a Lifetime”

There are few people in recent Wisconsin history – maybe all Wisconsin history – who could work a crowd better than Tommy Thompson, and he showed he still has that ability in an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Eckstein Hall on Wednesday that was interesting, insightful, provocative and entertaining.

Elected four times, he was governor of Wisconsin from 1987 to 2001, followed by four years as health and human services secretary in the administration of President George W Bush, Thompson, now 76, spoke on the day after his autobiography, Tommy: My Journey of a Lifetime, written along with journalist Doug Moe, was released officially. Continue reading “Tommy Thompson Describes Lessons from His “Journey of a Lifetime””

Reporter Describes Reporting Behind Story That Sparked the #metoo Movement

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Do you think anybody’s going to care?

New York Times reporter Megan Twohey recalled asking that question during a cab ride with her reporting partner, Jodi Kantor, just before a demanding investigative story they had been working on was to appear in print. The two had been told they would never get the story in the paper. The two had been told few would care if it did appear.

During an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Eckstein Hall on Friday (May 11), Twohey described what led up to printing their story on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s record of sexually abusive misconduct. Their first story ran at the top of the Times’ front page in October, 2017.

Other journalists had set out to do publish stories on Weinstein’s long-rumored treatment of women. None had succeeded in getting something published. Women who are victims of such treatment are often reluctant to talk publicly, and that was especially true with Weinstein, who had great power and influence in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, Weinstein had fought strongly against such stories being published. Kantor and Twohey were told he would intimidate the Times into withholding publication.

Twohey said the two realized they had to build a case based on evidence that went beyond he said-she said versions of what happened in specific incidents. They were able to do that using materials such as corporate documents and records of out-of-court settlements. She said the Times set rigorous standards for what could be put in print.

Twohey said that once the story appeared, she and Kantor were so involved in follow-up work, they didn’t pay much attention to the impact in the first few days. But the impact was huge – their work played an important part in sparking the #metoo movement that has made harassment and abuse of women in the work place a national issue. Twohey called it a time of reckoning for those who have been involved in harassing women.

Among other recognitions, Twohey and Kantor have won a Pulitzer Prize and been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in America. They have signed a contract to write a book and an option on movie rights to their story. Twohey was in Milwaukee to be honored by the Milwaukee Press Club at a banquet.

Gousha asked Twohey what it was about the Weinstein story that triggered such strong reactions. Other prominent figures, such as television commentator Bill O’Reilly, already had lost their jobs over similar allegations.

Twohey said a big factor seemed to be that in this case, the perpetrator, as powerful as he was, was not as famous as some of the victims who agreed to speak on the record. Twohey said the fact that such well-known movie figures were willing to say they had been victimized and wanted justice motivated  women across the country to speak up about their own experiences.

“The real moral horror (about the Weinstein situation) . . . was that he was able away with this for 40 years,” Twohey said. What she called “the complicity machine” in which Weinstein’s aides, associates, and friends protected  him was just as important, she said. She and Kantor did a follow-up story on the systemic failures and assistance that allowed Weinstein to intimidate people into staying silent.

“It was remarkable at every turn what we uncovered,” she said, when it came to the extent of sexual harassment problems in many different settings. Twohey, who has a 14-month-old daughter, said she hopes the revelations reported by the Times and other  news organizations will mean her daughter will not find herself years from now in workplaces where there are such problems.

“I think this has been a big teaching moment for families,” Twohey said.

To watch the hour-long conversation, click here.

To watch Gousha’s  interview with Twohey on the “Upfront with Mike Gousha” television program, click here.