The Progressive: How David Clarke Became American Right’s Sheriff

The Progressive: How David Clarke Became American Right’s Sheriff

How David Clarke Became American Right’s Sheriff, December 2016

Photo by Gage Skidmore


Just two days after Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory on Election Day, the short lists of prospective Cabinet members for the new administration began turning up in the press. Amid familiar and predictable national GOP figures and business leaders, two men whose highest office to date were in county government stood out—both as prospects to head the Department of Homeland Security. One was the just-ousted former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio. The other was the still-sitting sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, David Clarke. . . .

Milwaukee Magazine: The New Crop

Milwaukee Magazine: The New Crop

The New Crop, July 2016

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Photo by Arnaldo Aladana.

Big farms keep getting bigger. Midsized farms keep disappearing. In the shadow of these seismic changes in the rural Wisconsin landscape, tiny farms have proliferated, fed by consumer demand for local eats and healthy choices. A look at what’s driving the supersizing, and microsizing, and what it means for the rest of us.

Isthmus: The Believer

Isthmus: The Believer

The Believer, February 2016

I wrote about Mike McCabe’s “Blue Jean Nation” political reform project for Isthmus in 2016. None of the handful of prospective candidates whom he inspired succeeded in the subsequent fall elections. But McCabe remains active — and he’s now inspired an enthusiastic movement to draft him for the 2018 Wisconsin governor’s race.

Milwaukee Magazine: The Aftermath

Milwaukee Magazine: The Aftermath

The Aftermath, January 2016

What has been lost, teachers say, is their voice.

“We bring a lot to the table,” says Biebel. “Our voice has always been involved in the workday. When you remove that teacher voice, you’re left with people making those decisions that don’t have immediate contact – they’ve forgotten the immediacy of being in the classroom.” Administrators “want what’s best for students,” she continues. “But they’re not the ones in the trenches.”

Membership in a union meant a degree of protection that some teachers say was good for teacher professionalism. In the current environment, “We’re a little unclear,” says Balcerak. “Does disagreement equal insubordination? For that matter, isn’t it healthy within an organization to have dissenting voices, to have some intelligent discourse? But teachers are nervous to disagree…”

Milwaukee Magazine: Trial Separation

Milwaukee Magazine: Trial Separation

Why is Children’s Court so far away from Downtown Milwaukee?, July 2015

Photo by Beth Cortez-Neavel.

The Children’s Court’s comparatively remote location might once have been a considered a feature, not a bug. Now, though, the distance has become part of a quiet but intense conversation among professionals who work in and around the juvenile court. An emerging consensus holds that the time is approaching — has arrived, even — to move Children’s Court back Downtown from the county’s western rim, returning it to the area around the Milwaukee County Courthouse that was once its home . . .

Isthmus: Theologian Brian McLaren in Madison

Isthmus: Theologian Brian McLaren in Madison

Theologian Brian McLaren takes on the future of Christianity at First Baptist Church of Madison, March 2014

Photo by Daniel Tseng.

What is the future of Christianity? Few have thought harder about that question than Brian McLaren — a former Evangelical pastor and a prolific and popular author on the topic of Christianity’s past, present and future . . .

Milwaukee Magazine: Invisible No More

Milwaukee Magazine: Invisible No More

Invisible No MoreFebruary 2013

Operating under the radar locally, District Attorney John Chisholm has quietly become a national example of a new kind of prosecutor. With a series of high-profile cases, he’s been more scrutinized than ever before —  but not necessarily understood.

Isthmus: Wisconsin health care groups work with the feds on Obamacare

Isthmus: Wisconsin health care groups work with the feds on Obamacare

Wisconsin health care groups work with the feds on Obamacare, December 2012

While Gov. Scott Walker’s administration continues to give Obamacare the cold shoulder, groups outside of state government are stepping in to work with federal officials implementing the law in Wisconsin.