Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Buddy guy Ft. Rolling stones - Champagne & Reefer Live!

Milwaukee ranks one of the worst cities for marijuana ahead of 4/20, study says

From JSOnline:

Alex Groth
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As the day for celebrating marijuana, 4/20, approaches, a new report ranks Milwaukee as one of the worst cities in the country for weed.

Slightly under two-thirds of registered Wisconsin voters support legalizing marijuana, according to a 2022 Marquette Law School Poll. Despite that, marijuana remains illegal in Wisconsin, and Milwaukee is near the bottom of a list ranking the best cities for weed in the country, according to a report from Real Estate Witch, who worked with Leafly to rank 50 cities for weed.

Milwaukee is one of the worst cities ranked for weed

Marijuana buds

Milwaukee ranked No. 43, landing it amongst the worst ten cities in the country for weed, according to the report. Metrics included the legality of cannabis, dispensaries per 100,000 residents, number of medical cannabis-prescribing doctors per 100,000 residents, among others.

According to the report, Milwaukee has 2.86 marijuana retailers per 100,000 residents, and no cannabis prescribing doctors per 100,000 residents.

Marijuana use, both medical and recreational, is still illegal in Wisconsin. Penalties for possession vary. A first offense is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine. Additional offense are charged as felonies.

Transporting marijuana from one state back to Wisconsin is a federal crime because cannabis is still illegal under federal law. Wisconsin is entirely surrounded by neighboring states that have made marijuana legal for medical and/or recreational use.

What is 4/20?

April 20, also known as 4/20, is a day celebrated in support of marijuana and also serves as a rallying day for those advocating for the legalization of cannabis. People have celebrated 4/20 since the 1970s, according to National Day Calendar.

How many states have legalized marijuana?

More than a decade since Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow marijuana for recreational purposes, there are now 24 states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and another 14 states that allow the drug for medical use only. According to Pew Research, 54% of Americans live in a state where the recreational use of marijuana is legal. 74% of Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use.

Top cities for weed in the U.S.

According to the report, these are the top ten best cities for weed in the U.S.:

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Buffalo, NY
  5. Baltimore, MD
  6. Phoenix, AZ
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Sacramento, CA
  9. Kansas City, MO
  10. Providence, RI

Worst cities for weed in the U.S.

According to the report, these are the top ten worst cities for weed in the U.S.:

  1. Louisville, KY
  2. Dallas, TX
  3. Atlanta, GA
  4. Houston, TX
  5. Birmingham, AL
  6. Nashville, TN
  7. Charlotte, NC
  8. Milwaukee, WI
  9. Memphis, TN
  10. Indianapolis, IN

Monday, April 15, 2024

Foxconn delivers 50,000 masks to Milwaukee charter school. Plans to donate 2 million masks in coming weeks

From JSOnline:

Ricardo Torres
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Foxconn Technology Group plans to donate 2 million medical face masks to 40 Milwaukee area nonprofit and community groups.

Officials from Foxconn Technology Group, Advocate Aurora and Milwaukee Academy of Science pose with a sign in front of boxes of medical masks. Foxconn donated 50,000 masks to the school and plans to donate a total of 2 million to 40 different charity groups.

The first 50,000 masks were delivered to the Milwaukee Academy of Science, a public charter school, on Wednesday. Other deliveries are scheduled for the coming weeks.

“During the height of the pandemic, Foxconn produced approximately 13 million face masks in Mount Pleasant," the company said in a press release.

More:What's happening at the Foxconn site in Wisconsin five years after the company announced its plans

"The company recognizes that even after the pandemic, organizations still need masks that limit the transmission of respiratory illnesses. As a member of the community, we are happy to make this donation and thankful for the help of Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care in identifying community organizations in need of masks."

In April 2020, Foxconn donated 100,000 masks to the State of Wisconsin Emergency Operations Center and has supported the Mount Pleasant South Shore Fire Department with annual donations.

What else has Foxconn made in Wisconsin?

Aside from masks, Foxconn has produced microinverters and data servers at its Mount Pleasant facility.

The microinverters, which are used in solar technology, were built for Enphase Energy which is based in Fremont, California.

Foxconn has also been making data servers for clients with data centers operated by large-scale cloud management companies. The servers support information storage, online video platforms, smart phone apps and other big data functions.


Friday, April 12, 2024

You Can't Shop Your Way Out of Climate Change

How cars have gotten better by getting worse

Michael Gableman, the onetime prober of the 2020 election, is now working to oust Robin Vos

From JSOnline:

Molly Beck
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON – A former state Supreme Court justice who spent more than $2 million in taxpayer dollars to review the 2020 election is now representing a group of supporters of former President Donald Trump in their effort to unseat the legislative leader who hired him to probe the last presidential election.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman represented a group of Racine County-area supporters of Trump who have launched two recall campaigns against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos during a Thursday night meeting of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Commissioners rejected the group's first recall effort citing a lack of valid signatures.

Representing the group attempting to recall Vos is the latest move by Gableman to target Vos after the speaker hired him being in 2021 to review the last presidential election, a probe that catapulted Gableman to a national platform with election conspiracy theorists and made him a favorite of Trump.

The former Supreme Court justice's contract with the state began in July 2021 after Trump leveled public criticism of Vos and other legislative leaders for not doing more to litigate his Wisconsin election loss in 2020. 

Vos hired Gableman to probe the 2020 election and continued to renew his contract for a year even though the review never revealed any evidence of significant fraud or new facts related to the election not previously known.

Vos ended Gableman's contract with the state that provided more than $100,000 in salary to Gableman over 14 months. The review cost state taxpayers more than $2 million through costs for salaries and legal fees related to lawsuits filed against Gableman and Vos over ignored requests for public records. 

Ultimately, Gableman turned on Vos and endorsed Vos' primary opponent and publicly encouraged Vos critics to consider recalling him.

On Thursday, Gableman became combative with commissioners and commission staff and at one point suggested the efforts of the group he represented had been "infiltrated" and alluded to potential involvement by Vos without providing evidence.

"(The petitioners), in fact, had a two hour meeting with the FBI because they, and based on what I've heard and read, I believe that recall 1.0 was intentionally sabotaged, it was infiltrated by outsiders from New York and Florida," Gableman said. "I can't say whether it was done at the behest of Robin Vos or on his behalf."

Petitioners did not gather enough valid signatures during the first recall attempt and have been accused of employing circulators who forged signatures.

Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson as of March was investigating nearly 30 complaints from area residents who said their signatures were forged by the recall organizers.

Matthew Fernholz, an attorney for Vos, told commissioners Thursday a review of the petitions revealed signatures from people who were not old enough to vote, who were not citizens, or who were incapacitated at the time the petition was allegedly signed, among other allegations.

Vos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Molly Beck can be reached at


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Daily Dose Of Internet: Worst Time to Get Pepper Sprayed

Effort to recall Robin Vos lacks enough signatures to force a vote, Wisconsin elections staff say

From The Journal


The first recall petition this year against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has failed to secure enough valid signatures to force an election, Wisconsin Elections Commission staff concluded.

After the state’s previous legislative maps were ruled unconstitutional late last year by the state Supreme Court, and with new maps not set to go into effect until November, agency staff counted signatures in three possible districts in which the recall might be held: Vos’ old 63rd Assembly District, the new 33rd District where he now resides, and the 66th District, where some of Vos’ previous territory now falls.

A staff memo recommends the commission find the petition “insufficient regarding all three districts.”

Recall elections are triggered if petitions are signed by enough qualified electors — equal to at least 25% of votes cast in the previous governor’s election — living within the recalled lawmaker’s district.

Commission staff determined organizers failed to secure enough valid signatures in both the old 63rd District and the new 33rd District. While enough signatures were collected in the new 66th District, staff note that Vos was neither elected to that new district nor lives in it.

According to staff, petitioners needed to secure at least 6,850 valid signatures in the old 63rd District, 7,195 in the new 33rd District and 5,270 in the new 66th District. The final tally of valid signatures came in at 4,989 , 3,053 and 5,472 , respectively, according to the staff memo.

The bipartisan elections commission is scheduled to meet Thursday to make a final determination on the petition.

Recall leader Matthew Snorek last month filed paperwork indicating his intent to circulate new petitions to recall the long-standing speaker. Snorek created a new recall committee for the effort, and petitions containing signatures will be due no later than May 28.

The recall effort was launched in January by Republicans angry that Vos, R-Rochester, had refused former President Donald Trump’s request to overturn the 2020 presidential election, something the speaker cannot do.


Friday, March 29, 2024

Daily Dose Of Internet: Dumb Thief Didn't Realize the Camera Was On

Group seeking to recall Speaker Robin Vos launches second effort

From The Journal

After their first attempt appears to have failed due to an apparent lack of valid signatures and allegations of fraud, supporters of former President Donald Trump have launched a second attempt to recall Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Matthew Snorek, a leader of the recall effort, on Wednesday filed paperwork with the Wisconsin Elections Commission indicating his intent to circulate new petitions to recall the long-standing speaker. Snorek created a new recall committee for the effort, and petitions containing signatures will be due no later than May 28.

It remains unclear how the new effort would differ from the first one, which was launched in January by Republicans angry that Vos, R-Rochester, had refused former president Donald Trump’s request to overturn the 2020 presidential election, something the speaker cannot do.

A preliminary review by elections commission staff earlier this month found the group’s first attempt appeared to have fallen short of the required number of signatures needed to force a recall election.

In his statement of intent for the second recall, Snorek wrote that Vos should be recalled for several reasons, including his “lack of commitment to election integrity” and his “flagrant disrespect for his own constituents by calling them ‘whack-jobs, morons and idiots,’” in reference to comments Vos made in Madison last week about the people behind the initial recall attempt.

Vos and Snorek did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The new effort comes amid ongoing questions surrounding Snorek’s first recall petitions, which were handed over to the elections commission earlier this month.

While members of the group said they submitted more than 10,000 signatures, commission staff said a preliminary review found just over 9,000 were potentially valid across multiple legislative districts. The review also found the effort appears to have fallen more than 900 signatures short of the 6,850 needed in Vos’ old district to force an election.

It’s also unclear which legislative boundaries would apply after the Wisconsin Supreme Court in December ruled the state’s previous legislative maps are unconstitutional, barring their use in any subsequent election.

Vos was elected in the 63rd Assembly District, but new maps signed earlier this year by Gov. Tony Evers place Vos in the new 33rd Assembly District. Some of Vos’ previous territory also falls in the new 66th Assembly District

In his challenge, Vos argues a recall can only take place in the new 33rd Assembly District.

New maps signed into law earlier this year don’t go into effect until November, though the elections commission has asked the state’s high court to clarify which boundaries apply to elections held before then.

After Evers requested an additional week to try to reach consensus with all parties in the case on what boundaries should be used, Assistant Attorney General Faye Hipsman wrote in a Thursday court filing the parties couldn’t reach an agreement, but urged the court to use the state’s new maps.

The recall group had until Thursday to respond to Vos’ challenge to the petitions, but instead filed a request in Dane County Circuit Court on Monday seeking an extension to the challenge period, citing “ongoing uncertainties surrounding the legislative district boundaries which are crucial for the analysis of the petition.” A status conference on the matter has been scheduled for Friday.

A Thursday statement from the new recall committee notes that the first recall effort has not been withdrawn and organizers await a court decision on legislative boundaries. The group claims the first effort was “fraught with unexpected challenges” and the new committee will implement “stringent quality control measures.”

Vos claimed in his challenge of the first recall effort that petitions were “plagued with fraud and criminality,” citing forged signatures and missing or incomplete signee information. The Racine County District Attorney’s office is investigating the matter.


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

'Whack jobs' and 'morons': Robin Vos rails at organizers of recall effort

From JSOnline:

Molly Beck
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says his campaign has identified "a huge number" of potential forgeries among the signatures gathered by organizers of a recall effort against him — a group of detractors he described Tuesday as "whack jobs" and "morons."

Vos said Tuesday his campaign in recent days hired a private investigator and assembled dozens of volunteers to comb through the hundreds of pages of petition documents submitted by a group of Donald Trump supporters seeking to recall Vos over his unwillingness to grant the former president's requests to undo Wisconsin's 2020 election.

The campaign has found forged signatures and felons working for the recall campaign, Vos said.

"In Wisconsin, if you're a felon, you're not allowed to circulate. Well, they brought in people from out of state who are felons!" Vos told reporters following an event in Madison hosted by

Recall organizers earlier this month submitted to the Wisconsin Elections Commission more than 10,000 signatures — nearly 4,000 more than required. But last week, elections commission staff determined the recall organizers did not obtain enough signatures from residents in the district Vos was elected in when the recall began, falling about 945 signatures short.

At the same time, Racine County prosecutors began receiving reports of area residents who did not agree to sign the petitions finding their names on the documents anyway. Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson told WISN 12 her office is investigating 27 complaints alleging forged signatures.

On Monday, the recall committee in a statement acknowledged the signatures the group submitted included forgeries but blamed the crime on "sabotage" and unidentified participants "recruiting individuals from outside Wisconsin."

"While the orchestrator remains unidentified, we are dedicated to uncovering the truth in collaboration with law enforcement," the group said in the statement. A spokesman for the committee did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

Vos has until Thursday to challenge the signatures submitted by the Recall Vos committee. He said Tuesday he expects to show up to 400 are duplicates along with "a ton of fraud," including affidavits from Racine County residents who say they were lied to about what petition they were signing.

He said the recall organizers represent a fringe segment of the Republican Party, describing them as "whack jobs."

"The challenge that we have is the people who organized this are so out of touch with reality," Vos said. "And I'm just going to keep saying it over and over again − they are morons. They are stupid."

Molly Beck can be reached at


Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Wait trial pushed back, files motion to dismiss

From The Journal

Harry Wait of Union Grove faces two counts of election fraud and two counts of unauthorized use of another person's identifying information for his alleged role in requesting false absentee ballots in July 2022. 

RACINE — The trial for Harry Wait was taken off the calendar after the defense filed motions to dismiss the charges against him — two counts of unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information and two counts of election fraud.

Wait is accused of ordering absentee ballots in July 2022 through the My Vote Wisconsin website using the names of Racine Mayor Cory Mason and Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Wait reportedly admitted to ordering the ballots to expose vulnerabilities in the absentee voting system. He pleaded not guilty to all charges Oct. 21, 2022.

Wait was scheduled to go to trial March 19, but the date has been removed to allow the defense and prosecution time to address the motions.


The defense filed two motions to dismiss the case Feb. 29, alleging the charges against Wait are unconstitutional, infringe on constitutional rights and lack probable cause.

One motion claims that the election fraud charge infringes on the right to vote because it “imposes substantial penalties on voters” who make false statements.

The motion states the charge has a chilling effect, meaning it will deter people from voting in fear of making false statements and being penalized.

The second motion claims that the complaint filed in the case had “reckless and materially misleading statements” and lacked probable cause for the unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information charges.

The complaint alleges Wait claimed to have successfully ordered the absentee ballots to be shipped to his address, and that he was ready to be charged for “exposing these voting vulnerabilities.”

The motion claims that Village of Rochester Clerk Sandi Swan and City of Racine Clerk Tara McMenamin deactivated the ballot requests he submitted. One ballot was sent, but was deactivated before it was received, according to an interview with McMenamin attached to the motion.

The motion claims that even if Wait did admit to ordering the ballots, it does not matter because they were inactive, therefore no crime was committed.

“No matter what the Defendant admitted about his conduct, he never got those active absentee ballots and he never will,” the motion states.

During a status conference Friday, the defense was given until April 19 to file an opening brief. The state will have until June 21 to file a response, and the defense will have until July 12 to file a rebuttal.

Wait is scheduled to appear in court again Aug. 16 for an evidentiary hearing.


Friday, February 16, 2024

A husband and wife went to Ascension for their annual checkup. One of them walked out with a $600 bill.

From JSOnline:

Quinn ClarkTamia Fowlkes
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In May 2023, Dan and Helen Lococo entered Ascension Hospital Southeast in Milwaukee for their first-ever annual wellness checkup.

The couple sat in the room together for the appointment as their doctor checked their height and weight and ticked through a series of questions about their medical history.

When they left, they anticipated Medicare would cover the routine appointment. 

But when a billing statement landed in their mailbox in September, the couple found that Dan Lococo had been charged for two additional services — an "established patient periodic preventive medicine examination" for $399 and an "office/outpatient established low MDM" for $180.

Helen Lococo, who had sat through an identical appointment, was not charged at all.

The billing discrepancy caused Dan and Helen Lococo over six months of emails, calls and sleepless nights while the couple pushed for answers from Ascension, culminating in a collections warning letter they received in the mail in December.

"This is your FINAL NOTICE," the letter read. "Your account may be placed with a collection agency and reported on your credit report if we do not receive payment immediately."

Then, on Jan. 23, Dan Lococo received a voicemail from Ascension letting him know all charges from the visit had been suddenly dropped, including some that he never disputed. The company's representative didn't give an explanation.

Now, the Lococos are asking why Ascension, one of the country's largest health care systems, was unable to explain the incorrect charges.

"(An annual wellness checkup) seemed like the right thing to do," Dan Lococo said. "But I have to say, I don't know that I'll ever do one again."

Experience working with insurance companies provides some answers

When Dan Lococo got the initial bill, he assumed Ascension had accidentally charged him too many times. When he asked Ascension, representatives told him he had to contact his doctor, he said.

He said his doctor attempted to dispute some of the charges, without success. By the end of October 2023, Dan Lococo still maintained over $600 in overdue payments to Ascension.

November and December were restless months for him and Helen Lococo, who said they toiled over documents, emails and old communications with Ascension. At night, she lay in bed replaying the appointment and billing dispute process in her head.

Early in their careers, both had worked in the health care industry on insurance billing and financial analysis. Based on their experience, the couple decided to request their appointment's insurance codes from Ascension.

Insurance codes are the set of letters and numbers representing the health care treatment or service given to a patient during a visit.

Through the codes, the Lococos confirmed that their annual wellness visit, coded G0439, was covered and not subject to copays and deductibles. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an annual wellness visit includes a personalized health issue prevention plan.

Still, Ascension maintained the validity of the charges.

"Somebody did contact us back, left a voicemail and simply said, 'Yes, we looked at the billing, and the coding is all correct,'" Dan Lococo said. "'These are valid charges. If you have any other questions, you have to contact customer service.'"

The couple said the struggle to speak with someone who could justify the extra charges became increasingly frustrating.

More:If you're having a health insurance dispute in Wisconsin, these organizations may be able to help

At one point, the Lococos said they requested a meeting with a representative from the hospital and a patient advocate to negotiate their case. Ascension did not respond, according to Dan Lococo.

By the time the couple received the collections notice in December, they had not spoken to Ascension in more than a month, they said. They decided to ignore the notice.

When Dan Lococo received the news in January that the charges had suddenly been dropped, he felt relieved, but remained frustrated with the lack of explanation.

Because Ascension also dropped his vaccination charges that he had never disputed, he suspects Ascension simply didn't want to deal with him anymore.

"I don't want to be that person that just (says), 'Well, you know what, I'll just be a complete jerk, and they'll back down,'" Dan Lococo said. "That doesn't sit well with me."

More:Ascension Wisconsin was blasted for poor staffing, lapses in care. Here's what the new CEO Daniel Jackson plans to do.

Shortly after Journal Sentinel inquiry, Ascension calls with explanation

The Public Investigator team contacted Ascension Wisconsin on Feb. 5 for an explanation of the Lococos' dropped charges.

Dan Lococo said the following day — Feb. 6 — he received a voicemail from Ascension's director of revenue cycle operations, Karly Wagner.

When he called her back the next day, Wagner confirmed that he never should have been charged in the first place, he said.

"She went on to explain that this was an educational issue at the practice and customer service level, and that education will take place to avoid future problems," he said.

The same day, Matthew Hanselman, Ascension Wisconsin's chief financial officer, told Public Investigator that he could not comment on the Lococos' situation for patient privacy reasons.

In general, he attributed potential errors in billing and other "reimbursement challenges" to variations in insurance companies' internal systems for processing claims.

As commercial insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid have widely varying reimbursement and coverage policies, as well as different prior authorization and medical necessity requirements.

"These variations create reimbursement challenges, and payers, clinics, billing departments, and other parties occasionally make mistakes which could impact the consumer’s balance due," said Hanselman.

He added that Ascension appreciates when patients ask questions about their bills.

"We thoroughly investigate those instances and work to put solutions in place, so subsequent patients benefit from those learnings," Hanselman said.

Even with their charges removed, Dan and Helen Lococo worry that other patients might fall victim to billing mistakes if they lack the free time and energy to dispute incorrect charges.

"I got the sense that the goal of the call was to provide me with the impression that this was an isolated incident and to solicit a response indicating that I was completely satisfied with the outcome," Dan Lococo said in an email to Public Investigator reporters following the call.

The couple wonders if similar incidents have happened to others.  

"I can't imagine people who have tons of bills, how they keep that straight and go through at all," Helen Lococo said. "This was just one bill."

Quinn Clark is a Public Investigator reporter. She can be emailed at Follow her on X at @Quinn_A_Clark. Tamia Fowlkes is a Public Investigator reporter. Reach Tamia at 414-224-2193 or Follow her on X at @tamiafowlkes.

Questions or tips? Contact Public Investigator

Public Investigator

Government corruption. Corporate wrongdoing. Consumer complaints. Medical scams. Public Investigator is a new initiative of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and its sister newsrooms across Wisconsin. Our team wants to hear your tips, chase the leads and uncover the truth. We'll investigate anywhere in Wisconsin. Send your tips to or call 414-319-9061. You can also submit tips at


Ascension is notorious for failing patients regularly.  I'm an Aurora client.  They are no better.  I have been lied to by their doctors numerous times.  When called on their lies, the doctors drop you as a patient.  At this point, I've gone through numerous doctors.  Thirty years ago, when I first went to Aurora, things were quite different.  However, all of my doctors from that time have retired and the "new breed" are absolute crap.  There is an MD there that will kill someone, if she hasn't already.  Completely incompetent.  She had Aurora send me a threatening certified letter.  Of course, a patient has no chance against one of their MDs.  They will gladly take your money but they suffer criticism very poorly.  I wish we had a Froedtert in this area.