Wisconsin county limits bar service amid virus

Officials are closing indoor service at bars in Madison as the Fourth of July weekend approaches and as the number of reported coronavirus cases accelerate, many involving young people in Wisconsin’s largest college community. (July 1)

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Wisconsin National Guard activated after violence

Wisconsin’s governor activated the National Guard on Wednesday to protect state properties after a night of violence in Madison that included the toppling of two statues outside the state Capitol. Wednesday night’s protests were reported to be peaceful. (June 25)

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National Guard called in and curfews imposed for multiple cities as protests continue across the US

What’s happening

– New protests underway in Newark, Philadelphia, Madison and other cities

– President Trump returns to the White House amid tightened security

– Attorney General Barr gives a statement

– Governor Walz is fully mobilizing the state’s National Guard for the first time in Minnesota history

– St. Paul mayor says he was wrong to say “every single person” arrested on Friday was “from out of town”

– Cities announce curfews as protests escalate

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Voters visit polling place despite virus fears

Voters visited a polling place in Madison, Wisconsin, despite fears of the coronavirus. (April 7)

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Fires knock out power for thousands in Wisconsin

Fires at two transmission substations in Madison, Wisconsin knocked out power to about 13,000 customers as the Midwest deals with a heat wave. (July 19)

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A Sommelier Compared Cheap Wines And The Winner Was Clear

Sara Lehman is the private sommelier and lifestyle director of 160 Madison, which is a luxury, residential high-rise building in Manhattan. She also owns the wine and travel blog Somm in the City. We gave Sara 11 different low-cost wines to try from big-box stores like Costco, Target, BJ’s, and Trader Joe’s. Watch the video above to see how she ranked bottles of cabernet sauvignon, pinot grigio, and rosé, all under $10.

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A Sommelier Compared Cheap Wines And The Winner Was Clear

Dog that survived wildfire guarded home for weeks

(10 Dec 2018) A dog that survived the catastrophic wildfire in Paradise, California protected the ruins of his home for almost a month until his owner returned. Madison was there waiting when Andrea Gaylord was allowed back to check on her burned property. (Dec. 10)

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Wisconsin Republicans Are Trying To Strip Power From Newly Elected Democrats (HBO)

MADISON — Republican lawmakers passed a series of bills designed to strip power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general today, in an extraordinary session that started on Tuesday afternoon and didn’t end until after dawn on Wednesday.

The laws included measures that would force the incoming governor, Tony Evers, to seek legislative approval for any changes to the state’s public benefits programs, including Medicaid, and severely curtail the ability of the new attorney general, Josh Kaul, to bring or leave lawsuits on behalf of the state. Evers and Kaul ran on a promise to end the state’s legal fight against the Affordable Care Act.

The laws now go to Republican governor Scott Walker for final approval. Walker didn’t respond to a VICE News request for comment, but he has previously said he would be willing to sign the bills.

The Wisconsin Capitol dome has been home to a furious protests during the eight years under Walker, most notably in 2011, when he sought to end the state’s longstanding practice of collective bargaining for public employees.

The outrage this week was far more muted. But Democratic lawmakers decried the Republican policies as an attempt to change the rules of government in the aftermath of an election loss, and part of a trend that has also seen Republican legislatures cut the powers of newly elected Democratic governors in North Carolina and Michigan in recent years.

“It is ridiculous that Republicans are more concerned with clinging to power, than accepting an election,” said Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) in a speech on the senate floor late Tuesday night. “Your antics today are what the voters rejected on November 6.”

Republicans, meanwhile, were relatively scarce. None of the dozen or so contact by VICE News agreed to an interview.

To some degree, that’s because their position in the legislature is secure. Gerrymandering in the state has all but guaranteed Republican control, even as the statewide vote tilts back Democratic. In November, for instance, while Democrats won most statewide elections, Republican candidates for the Assembly won 64% of the seats. They also gained one seat in the Senate.

If signed into law, the bills are likely to face legal challenges from none other than the incoming attorney general.

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4 wounded in Wisconsin workplace shooting

(19 Sep 2018) A city official says four people have been shot, but none fatally, during shooting at software company near Madison, Wisconsin. (Sept. 19)

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Aziz Ansari Didn’t Address His #MeToo Moment At A Sold Out Show In Knoxville

Aziz Ansari is making a comeback.

Over the last month, the comedian has started hosting “pop-up shows” in cities across the country. They’re billed under the title “Working Out New Material” with the intent of doing exactly that.

With only a few days’ notice, he’s sold out venues in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Madison, Bennettsville, South Carolina, and most recently, Knoxville. They’re some of the first advertised stand-up sets Ansari has done since sexual harassment allegations were made against him in January by an anonymous 23-year-old photographer in a Babe.net article, which added his name to a long list of powerful men swept up in the #MeToo movement. Ansari subsequently shrank himself from the spotlight: no performances, no interviews, barely any paparazzi shots.

Ansari’s position in the constellation of Hollywood #MeToo stories is a complicated one. It happened on a date, while many of the other incidents happened under more professional guises. It’s one woman’s story, in contrast to the scores of victims who have shared stories about Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose. These details, however, don’t render Ansari’s accuser’s story or feelings any less valid. If anything, they warrant an even more nuanced conversation about enthusiastic consent and victim-blaming.

But so far, if anyone has gone to one of Ansari’s shows looking to gain clarity on his accusations, they haven’t found it.

Thursday night’s Knoxville show at the Tennessee Theatre was announced a week ago and just a few days after Louis C.K. made a surprise appearance at New York City’s Comedy Cellar. Tickets went for $42 and sold out quickly despite the short-notice. Par for Ansari’s previous “Working Out New Material” shows, the audience was warned that phones and smart watches would be locked away during the show. It’s a practice that’s become de rigueur at comedy shows to prevent jokes from hitting the internet and spoiling the experience of future audiences.

After brief sets from Wil Sylvince and Phil Hanley, Ansari made his way to the stage, wearing a T-shirt from Kanye West’s Yeezus tour, and was welcomed by roaring applause. A bit about staying off his own phone rolled seamlessly into jokes about how quickly and incisively the internet vilifies people — without leaving room for a nuanced conversation. He talked about Roseanne, the CEO of Starbucks, and the teen who was accused of cultural appropriation for wearing a Chinese qipao to prom.

At one point, he quizzes the audience on a new outrage he saw online: Pizza Hut is embroiled in scandal because some customers thought they were delivered a pizza with the pepperonis arranged in the shape of a swastika. But some people online think it looks more like a Star of David. Other people think it just looks like a regular pizza. He likens it to the Laurel/Yanny auditory illusion that went viral in May and encourages the audience to weigh in.

Clap if you saw a swastika. Clap if you saw a Star of David. Clap if you just saw a pizza. (There are no visual aids, he’s operating on the assumption that you know what he’s talking about.) At the end of the poll, Ansari reveals he made the whole thing up, but everyone who clapped chose to take a side anyway. It’s a believable premise, and the bit easily functions as an allegory for a variety of outrage greatest hits like The Dress, “fake news,” or even Ansari’s own experience with the Babe.net article.

To be clear, there is no “Babe.net,” no “#MeToo,” no “Louis C.K.” no “Harvey Weinstein” in this show. The majority of Ansari’s Knoxville material meditated on race in America, especially his own experiences as an Indian actor in Hollywood — getting mistaken for Kumail Nanjiani, his take on The Problem With Apu, having difficulties casting a younger version of himself for Master Of None, and the realities of dating as part of a mixed race couple in the public eye.

Ansari goes on to explain that sometimes his girlfriend doesn’t pick up on racist microaggressions because she’s a white woman from Denmark. He had to explain to her why publications refer to her as “Becky.” When someone yells at them on the street that she probably gets a lot of free taxi rides with him as her boyfriend, she takes it to be a comment on her being perceived as a gold digger, only dating him for his wealth. But Ansari explains to her that the man is using the stereotype that Indian people are taxi drivers to make fun of him.

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KKK demonstrators clash with counter-protesters in front of snipers & heavy police control

White supremacists known as the ‘Honourable Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan’ held a heavily-guarded rally in the Indiana city of Madison on Saturday. Disruption occurred when a larger group of counter-protesters approached the rally but police kept the situation under control.

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Most Black Kids Can’t Swim. It’s Not Just A Stereotype, It’s History. (HBO)

In 2014, the CDC found that an 11-year-old black child is 10 times more likely to drown than a white child the same age. The idea that “Black people can’t swim” may sound like a stereotype, but this disparity is rooted in a history of discriminatory access to swimming pools.

This summer has produced three high-profile incidents of white Americans calling – or threatening to call – the police on Black pool goers.

A South Carolina woman was charged with multiple accounts of assault for accosting a 15-year-old boy and a police officer. A North Carolina man lost his job after a video of him calling the police on a woman who refused to show him her identification. A property manager at a Memphis apartment complex also lost her job for calling the police on a man for wearing socks in the pool.

These episodes are just the most recent in a long history of discriminatory access at American swimming pools, going back almost 100 years. VICE News spoke with Jeff Wiltse, a professor of History at the University of Montana, and the author of “Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America.”

“It was socially normal for blacks and whites to swim together at these public pools during the late 19th and early 20th century but that all changed during the 1920s and 1930s when cities opened up large resort like pools,” says Wiltse. “That permitted males and females to use them together.”

Wiltse said that it was at that point that white swimmers and public officials imposed racial segregation because most whites did not want to allow black men to interact with white women at such intimate public spaces.

Pools were desegregated after World War II — frequently by court order — but like America’s public schools, integration in the water was more of a legal concept than a cultural one.

Racial desegregation of public pools rarely lead to meaningful sort of interracial use, said Wiltse. “In general, whites abandoned public pools that black swimmers started to use.”

“Swimming became broadly popular within white communities and was passed down from generation to generation. Because of African-Americans more restricted access, swimming did not become a broadly popular activity among Black families.”

In 2017, USA Swimming, the governing body for the sport of swimming in the US, has found that African-American children and their parents are three times more fearful of drowning than Caucasian children and parents. Additionally, 64% of African American children have low or no swimming ability.

Dezria Holmes knows how to swim, but wouldn’t call herself a strong swimmer. She’s trying to change that for her children, 12-year old Madison and 7-year old Mason. Both are enrolled in a Chicago swimming program launched by USA Swimming, Chicago Park District, and Illinois Swimming to get a more diverse group of young people in the water.

“My grandparents couldn’t swim because of segregation,” said Holmes. “So when I saw the opportunity for my daughter to swim, and then my parents were able to see their granddaughter swim. They were actually crying, because no one in our family swims like Madison. So to be afforded this opportunity has just been amazing.”

USA Swimming has found that Black children and their parents are three times more fearful of drowning than white children and their parents. Safety was the main reason Holmes wanted her kids to learn how to swim.

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Powerful Explosion In Wisconsin Town

At least two firefighters were taken to a hospital after a powerful explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, near Madison. The blast occurred after a contractor reportedly struck a natural gas line. (July 11)

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