Group Promoting Separation Of Church And State Sues Congress, UW-Extension Cuts And Wisconsin Idea, Cooking With Salmon

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

A political writer recently said state cuts to funding for the UW-Extension go against what it means to be a Wisconsinite. He explains his argument, and makes the case that the Extension is good for every resident of the state. We also learn some fresh ideas for cooking salmon, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing Congress after the U.S. Chaplain denied one of its members the opportunity to deliver a secular invocation to the U.S. House.

Featured in this Show

  • Political Blogger Says Walker 'Destroyed What It Means To Be A Wisconsinite'

    Gov. Scott Walker’s latest round of budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin System threatens the state’s identity and heritage, according to a online political blogger with Wisconsin ties.

    Last year, Walker cut $250 million in state funding from the UW System, which resulted in a $3.6 million loss to the UW-Extension, which helps provide online degrees, funds public media outlets — including Wisconsin Public Radio — and works with all of the state’s counties on agricultural and economic development issues.

    Charles P. Pierce, the lead writer for’s politics blog, recently wrote a piece titled “Scott Walker Has Destroyed What It Means to Be a Wisconsinite.” He said that under Walker, Wisconsin has turned into a “lab rat for all these experiments in extremist conservative government.”

    He said Walker’s agenda is a major change for the state.

    “To me, this was just an incredibly vivid example of the attack on the Wisconsin political tradition and what we all know is the Wisconsin Idea,” Pierce said.

    Pierce said that slashing funding from the UW-Extension did more than lower the annual budget. He called it a blow to the ideas Wisconsin was built on, including the Wisconsin Idea that “the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state.”

    According to Pierce, the state’s transformation happened as former Gov. Tommy Thompson left the state to serve in President George W. Bush’s cabinet, That leadership void, said Pierce, was filled by a new generation of extremely radicalized Republicans.

    “We have had a general assault over the past 30 years against the idea of a political commonwealth, against the idea that we own things in common in this country,” said Pierce. ” And I think that Wisconsin was the leader in promoting that idea in turn of the 19th into the 20th century.”

    But Walker isn’t only to blame, said Pierce. Voters put him in state Capitol, electing him three times in four years. He added that the state’s Democratic Party hasn’t mounted a strong campaign to swing the pendulum the other way.

    “I think we do in fact in this country get the government we deserve and to an extent the government we ask for,” he said.

  • Atheist Group Sues Congress After Being Barred From Delivering Secular Invocation

    The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing Congress after the U.S. Chaplain denied its co-president a chance to deliver a secular invocation to the House. We’re joined by Dan Barker, former minister and co-president of the organization, about their decision to sue.

  • Do Cuts To The UW-Extension Impact What It Means To Be A Wisconsinite?

    Last year, $250 million dollars in state funding were cut from the UW system, which also meant a loss of $3.6 million dollars in funding for the UW-Extension, which is charged with broadcast operations like WPR, providing online degrees, and working with all of Wisconsin’s counties on agricultural and economic development issues. We talk to a political writer who says that cutting funding to the extension service is contrary to the Wisconsin Idea and what it means to be a Wisconsinite.

  • Food Friday: Delicious Salmon

    On this week’s edition of Food Friday, we dive into cooking salmon. We’ll learn how to choose the right piece of fish and delicious ways to prepare it.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Charles P. Pierce Guest
  • Dan Barker Guest
  • Diane Morgan Guest