Monday, February 11, 2008

Civil Liberties News in Review - 02/11/08

Check out some of the civil liberties related news that has been making headlines recently.

Safe and Free
Warantless wiretapping

Russ Feingold makes a statement on the Senate agreement over FISA bill Feingold's recent press release details the amendments that Feingold and other Senate civil libertarians are supporting and why they will protect American's privacy from the government's abuse of power through warantless wiretapping. The New York Times weighs in on the issue in a recent editorial.

Visit the national ACLU website for a complete background on the ACLU's work to protect American's privacy through FISA.

Voting Rights
After Wisconsin's noted author Lorrie Moore wrote in an New York Times opinion piece chastizing Democrats for a failure of leadership to restore voting rights for disenfranchised felons, ACLU member Mary Jo Schiavoni responded in a letter to the Wisconsin State Journal about what work the ACLU and the Restore The Vote partners are doing to fix our outdated, racist law. If Moore thinks that not enough is being done nationally, the ACLU of Wisconsin can point to specific work being done in our backyards to make it so anyone who isn't behind bars can vote.

Upcoming Community Events
Here are some upcoming events in the Madison community that civil libertarians might be interested in. The ACLU of Wisconsin is not a co-sponsor or official endorser of any of these events, so please look below for event contacts for more information.

"Revolution's Wallpaper" art show
Now through March 11
UW-Madison Memorial Union, Class of 1925 Gallery (2nd F.)
Revolution's Wallpaper - a collection of Vietnam War-era posters, broadsides, flyers, leaflets, newspapers, and photos. These are all items collected in Madison between 1967 and 1975 by then UW student and now Regent St. Co-op finance officer, Chris Huberty.

Kicked to the Curb, Yet Again - Community Activists' Story Brings to Light Plight of Homeless
Tuesday, February 12, Noon
1001 Dane St. (corner of Dane & Old Park)
Homeless activists, their allies, and community leaders will hold a press conference in preparation for a second meeting with the mayor and other city officials. Operation Welcome Home, a community organization of mostly Black low-income people and their allies organizing for their rights, basic needs, individual empowerment and community self-determination will share their story of moving off of the streets and renting a house - that is, until they got kicked out. For more information, call (608) 345-0545 or visit the Operation Welcome website.

Privacy as a Political Value lecture
Wednesday, February 13, 4:00 p.m.
UW-Madison, Rm. 206 Ingraham Hall
Privacy as a Political Value – talk with Prof. Sarah Igo, Dept. of History, Univ. of PA. Sponsored by the A.E. Havens Center.

For the Love of Liberation! A Music & Poetry Benefit for Juan Ruiz' Legal Defense Fund & for Universal Immigrant

Fri. Feb. 15th 9:00 pm Emma Goldman Co-op (625 N. Frances St.)
Event will feature:
* DJ Pain1 & MC Starr (hip-hop)
* Son Jarocho (Mexican folk)
* Ali Muldrow (spoken word)
* Lifeline (hip-hop)
* Sofia Snow (spoken word)
* Synchronized Minds (hip-hop)
* Cecilia León (spoken word)
* John & Juelz (beatbox kings)
* Daniel Dharam (acoustic)
* hosted by Josh Healey
* and featuring Juan Ruiz (poetry/drums/spirit)

Plus indymedia footage of the November '07 demonstration at the U.S.-Mexican border where Juan was beaten, arrested, and threatened with deportation. Suggested donation $5-10. Find out more about Juan Ruiz' arrest at

American Blackout film screening and discussion
Monday, February 18, 7:00 p.m.
Escape Jave Joint (916 Williamson St.)
To mark President's Day, there will be a screening and discussion of American Blackout, the Sundance Film Festival's 2006 Special Jury Prize Award. The film tackles the issue of contemporary U.S. disenfranchisement of Africa–Americans by exposing the fraud behind presidential election results in 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio), and parallel efforts (ultimately successful) by centrist Democrats and "cross-over" Republicans to unseat Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her struggles against them. Donations welcome to cover room rental. Sponsored by the Peregrine Forum, (608) 442-8399.

Criminal Justice in Wisconsin: Effective Strategies for Change
Saturday, February 23, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Edgewood College, Anderson Auditorium

Morning speakers will include Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, speaking on the Governor’s Commission on Reducing Racial Disparity in Wisconsin’s Justice System; Representative Mark Pocan on the work of the ad hoc committee on Effective Strategies for Community Justice; Anthony Streveler of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections discussing the Council of State Government’s Justice Reinvestment Project; and Judge Carl Ashley, who serves on the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s sub-committee for more effective strategies for justice; Rev. Jerry Hancock who will address current trends in Restorative Justice; District Attorney John Chisholm speaking on Milwaukee County’s efforts to develop community alternatives; and County Executive Kathleen Falk and Scott McDonell, chair of the County Board, addressing what is happening in Dane County.

The final portion of the forum will include three concurrent sessions: the first will continue the discussions of the morning to explore future needs; the second will focus on what Catholics can do to minister to those who are incarcerated; and the third session will be the annual general meeting of the Task Force on Money, Education and Prison.

There is no fee or formal pre-registration, but if you plan to attend please contact Edgewood College by Feb. 20th at or (608) 663-2218.