The Progressive: Refusing to Make a Monster out of God

The Progressive: Refusing to Make a Monster out of God

Refusing to Make a Monster out of God: Shane Claiborne on the Death Penalty, April 2017

Photo by Brian Yap.

Writer and activist Shane Claiborne spoke with The Progressive about why his faith calls him to the movement to abolish the death penalty—a movement that crosses religious and secular lines and even brings together the families of crime victims and those condemned to die.

Milwaukee Magazine: Can Ald. Ashanti Hamilton Rise to the Challenge?

Milwaukee Magazine: Can Ald. Ashanti Hamilton Rise to the Challenge?

Can Alderman Ashanti Hamilton Rise to the Challenge?, April 2017

A year ago, Hamilton stitched together a tent big enough for a half-dozen African- American council members – and three white South Siders – to elect him Common Council president in an upset that toppled incumbent Ald. Mike Murphy, a council veteran. But more than once since then, their tent has looked ready to blow away. This past summer, the council’s public safety committee, headed by Hamilton’s pick for chair, tough-on-crime Ald. Bob Donovan, fired off a draft plan calling for more cops, more jail and “boot camps” for potential juvenile offenders.

The Progressive: The Little School District That Could

The Progressive: The Little School District That Could

The Little School District That Could, March 2017

Photo by Victor Bjorkund.

Now, after stripping public employees of their union rights, squeezing the ability of public schools to raise revenues, and throwing open the doors for private schools around the state to get public money by expanding Milwaukee’s controversial school voucher program, the state’s Republican lawmakers had come back for more. In a measure aimed exclusively at Racine, the state legislature wiped out the Racine Unified School district’s long-standing tradition . . .

Isthmus: Judicial Oversight

Isthmus: Judicial Oversight

Marquette law professor takes a bite out of crime myth, February 2017

Photo by Matthew Muller.

Despite widespread belief that stiff mandatory sentences are to blame for Wisconsin’s high incarceration rate, Marquette University law professor Michael O’Hear argues that it’s a lot more complicated . . .

Politico: How Milwaukee Went Soft on Crime

Politico: How Milwaukee Went Soft on Crime

How Milwaukee went soft on crime, November 2014

Photo by Vincent Desjardins.

What makes Milwaukee stand out is not just that crime has fallen … but that it has done so in a town where 28 percent of the population falls below the poverty level, far, far above the national average, and where conventional wisdom has it that the entrenched problems that go along with such long lasting economic deprivation make it much harder to do anything about crime. The secret? . . .

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.

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 . . .