Monday, January 15, 2018

Athletes Attacked

By Jeff Simpson

I am starting to see a trend and it all fits within the same Venn Diagram.

First, Scott Walker lets us know that he and his van stealing son, were very disappointed and angry that Ryan Braun lied about taking steroids.   The Governor, who has a "true" rating on the right leaning politifact of 13%, is upset that Ryan Braun lied to him. 

It is easy when your one strength is dividing people:

  to attack pro athletes, most of whom are minorities, to get people turned against them.   We all love playing baseball, why cant they just enjoy the fact that they make millions playing a game we wish we could......  

It is a page right out of the right wing playbook and now Tom Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, is playing that card with Sammy Sosa.   Ricketts recently let everyone know, that before Sosa would be welcome back to Cubland, there were conditions needing to be met. 

"Players from that era owe us a little bit of honesty," Ricketts said Saturday during the team's annual fan convention. "The only way to turn that page is to put everything on the table."
"I just think we need to put everything on the table and move forward, full stop," Ricketts said.
Sammy Sosa was one of the greatest former Cubs, who helped bring fan interest back to the game of baseball after the strike and who also took steroids.  Sosa, has been demonized and ostracized ever since and while the rich white men of the era (Bud Selig) are immortalized, the players who brought the game back to major profitability were thrown under the bus. 

Even though, Ricketts, had absolutely no ties to Cubs during the Sammy Sosa era, he is going to make Sosa come begging to him to get back in the clubs good graces.

Ricketts, has different categories of who he expects honesty from.   Ricketts was a major donor to the Scott Walker for President campaign (he knows how to pick a winner), then when Scott Walker blew through over $10 million dollars in three months, received 0.0% support in the Republican presidential primary and went home with his tail between his legs, transferred his support to The Donald.   That support equaled over one million dollars!

While Mr. Ricketts says he wants to keep the Cubs and Politics seperate, that is fine, but he can not seperate from his own hypocrisy. 

While Ricketts has never had to pay a penny to Sosa, he expects a "little honesty" from him before he is allowed to be associated with the team he just bought.

Ricketts has given over $1 million to The Donald, who tells approximately 5.5 lies a day, and has never once asked for a "little honesty" from him.

Maybe, Ricketts just believes that everyone should follow the rules and that there should be no exceptions, even if they are on your team. 

Unfortunately that is not the case either, because TD Ameritrade (the company his father founded and allowed him his life of privilege), has been fined numerous times for breaking the law.  I doubt that Ricketts has asked his dad for a "little honesty" before he was allowed in the park.

The reality is too many politicians know how to push buttons to make sure that you are looking over there and not at them.

It is also one of the specialties of their good friend - The Donald!

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” 

While professional athletes make it easy to attack, they are fair game of the Walkers/Ricketts mainly because of their race.  They want to make sure that they know their place in our society. 

Gladiators only..... 

Is Serb Hall's Fish Deep Fried?

Long time readers of this here blog might remember back almost six years ago to the saga of Serb Hall and the Solidarity Fish Fry.

The management at Serb Hall were trying to bust their union, blaming the union workers for costing them too much money. When we learned of the news, Randy Bryce (yes, THAT Randy Bryce) and I spearheaded one of the most unique direct actions in labor history.  Instead of the usual informational pickets or even a boycott, we organized the Solidarity Fish Fry.

The idea of the Solidarity Fish Fry was, instead of avoiding Serb Hall, everyone would go to Serb Hall every Friday for the then famous fish fry and eat to their heart's content.  The thing though was that when the people were to be seated, they needed to ask for a union table.  If a union table was not available, then you'd say you'd wait for one. 

The effects were clear on the first night when scores of people showed up for dinner.  Randy and I did this week in and week out for six straight months.  We had people from all walks of life - and from all parts of the globe - come join us to raise their forks in solidarity.

Unfortunately, it did not work out the way we had hoped.  During negotiations, the management declared an impasse and broke the union.  As it turned out, they also broke their own backs at the same time with businesses dropping as word got out.

The reason that I bring all this up now is that over the weekend, I had run into one of the union waitresses Randy and I and few score of our closest friends tried to help.  She said that she was still at Serb Hall but only part time because things were going to badly.

As we talked, two things that she said really struck me.

One, she said that Serb Hall's business had cratered so badly that they were having problems meeting payroll.  Sometimes workers were going for days after payday before receiving their checks, putting the worker's personal budgets into tailspins.

The other thing was that whatever money problems Serb Hall was having had nothing to do with the unions.  It turned out that one of the managers was embezzling tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.  But given the top manager's boorish and idiotic tendencies, I would not be surprised to learn that he new about it for a while but still blamed the unions.  I hope he's proud of killing the business out of spite and ignorant hatred.

Greed never wins.

ADDENDUM: Oh, Randy, if you're reading this, I'm supposed to tell you that the waitresses are cheering for you in your race to repeal and replace Lyin' Ryan!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ryan Reluctantly Calls Trump's Shithole Comments "Unfortunate, Unhelpful"

Lyin' Paul Ryan hadn't commented for a whole day after news of Trump's racist shithole comment broke. It was only when pressed to do did Ryan give a response to it, and to say it was lackluster would be an understatement:
"I read those comments later last night," he said. "So, first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful. But you know what I thought of right away, I thought about my own family.

"My family, like a whole lot of people, came from Ireland on what they called the coffin ships then. Came here and worked the railroads. The Irish were really looked down upon back in those days. I hear all these stories from my relatives about 'Irish need not apply.' We could basically get construction jobs, cops and firefighter jobs."
Ryan spent most of his time as he usually does, trying desperately to get someone - anyone - to like his tax cuts for the wealthy.

Of course there was no mention at all of censuring Satan's Oompah Loompah.

Ryan's Democratic opponent, Randy "IronStache" Bryce laid it out clearly:

Personally, I think Randy was a little harsh on Ryan. After all, I'm sure it's hard for Ryan to take a stand against evil when he doesn't even have a spine.

But the clear difference between the two candidates is part of the reason why IronStache continues to run such a strong campaign. He's connecting with people on their level. That would also explain why in the last quarter of last year, Team Stache raised $1.2 million from 82,000 people, averaging $24-25 per donation.

If you want to be part of the Blue Wave that sweeps Ryan out of Washington and replaced by Randy, you can help out here.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dan O'Donnell Outdoes Himself

By Jeff Simpson

Remember this:

Thanks to Dan O'Donnell - local radio hate talker, we have our own version.   While he sings the praises of ACT10, all but ending teachers unions, he also testified for a horrendous bill wrongly called - The Teacher Protection Act. 

After testifying, he went to a local blogger with MacIver and had this to say:

O’Donnell praised the bill, stating, “We have a system in which teachers do not feel they are being heard.
WOW, who woulda thunk it.  We eliminate Teachers Unions, then do a report on how teachers are not being heard!

Sometimes I wonder if these radio yakkers actually listen to the crap they spew. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Another Conservative Reformer Is Reforming

By Jeff Simpson

Conservative family values Gov. Eric Greitens, the guy who campaigned on family values:

His campaign capitalized on his military service as a Navy SEAL, his work as founder of a veterans’ charity “and most importantly, a proud husband and father”.
The problem is, Mr. Greiten was also sleeping with someone else's wife at the time(still checking to see if he is related to Robin Vos).   The thing is this Navy Seal knew how to keep himself out of trouble, because he tied his mistress up, took pictures of her naked and let her know that if she told anyone he would plaster her nude pics all over the Internet. 

Surprisingly, this did not set very well with Greiten's mistresses husband:

Looks like someone in Missouri did not vote Republican.   

The family values GOP rising superstar is so confident in his abilities that he has already purchased  Imagine the affairs he can have in the White House with Air Force One and the world at the palm of his hands.   

One thing we know for certain, is that wherever Greitens career takes him, we know who his biggest fan is:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Scott Walker: Public Relations Failure!

By Jeff Simpson

Scott Walkers, meltdown continues.  As we pointed out earlier, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin entering the Governors race has really gotten under Walker's skin.
The last thing we need is more Madison in our lives, says the Madison resident.   

But wait, there's more:

But wait there is even more yet! This is a big one:

Actually, the $1,000,000 figure is rather low, Scott Walker has asked for another $6.8 million dollars of taxpayer money, to expand their ad campaign of selling Madison, to our neighbors from the South.

Not that you need to sell Madison:

By the way Scott, to borrow one of your favorite taglines, It is Working!, at least in Paul Soglin's Madison!

I wonder if the stress of the campaign, especially with such a poor record to run on, is too much stress for Mr. Walker too handle! 

In a career full of saying really stupid things, this could top the list! 

Scott Walkers Bad Company

By Jeff Simpson

A man is known by the company he keeps 

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has entered the race for Governor and shortly thereafter, Scott Walker had a meltdown. 

He has shown a definite fear of Mayor Soglin entering the race for quite sometime. 

The "Moving WI Forward" Governor was tweeting this shortly after the new year.

Nothing says 2018 like a story and photo from 1975.   Of course there are more time relevant pics that Scott Walker has not tweeted out, so let me help a bit!

Scott Walker and the White Power conference:

Scott Walker and the Bad News Elephants:

 While it reads like a dime store rate Harry Potter knockoff, the reality is that Scott Walker, who has his own problems of picking friends, shows his desperation with his attacks on Mayor Soglin.  He is very vulnerable and he knows it!

Our character is reflected in our choice of friends.

Monday, January 8, 2018

WI Republican Gets Firm Finger Wagging For Ethics Violation

Last October, Wisconsin State Representative Bob Kulp (R - Stratford) was caught promoting his roofing company on his official state social media sites:
Bob Kulp is clearly proud of his Ford F-150. He tweeted a picture of the truck when it got new labels for his roofing company. He leaned against it for a Facebook snapshot. And this month, he tweeted a selfie with its logo-covered door.

Nothing unusual for a business owner in the digital age — except Kulp is an elected member of the state Assembly and the pictures of his truck were shared on social media via his legislative office's accounts.

State ethics laws forbid legislators from using government resources or their official positions for personal advantage, and violations could result in heavy fines. Yet over the past two years, the central Wisconsin lawmaker has often posted material referencing his roofing work on social media feeds that appear on his legislative website.

Beyond featuring his truck in social media posts, Kulp has shared pictures of a past project completed by his roofing business, the interior of his Stratford office and coworkers visiting the state Capitol. Two pictures of his truck have shown the company's phone number.

Image courtesy of

The Republican-created ethics panel jumped to action and really gave it to Kulp - a severe finger wagging he won't soon forget:
State authorities found "reasonable suspicion" last month that a central Wisconsin legislator violated state ethics laws, but he won't be referred to prosecutors or face other penalties, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin has learned.


State laws forbid legislators from using government resources or their official positions for personal advantage. Violations can result in heavy fines or prosecution. Or, as in Kulp's case, authorities may issue a warning rather than seek prosecution.
I hope that the ethics panel wasn't too harsh on Kulp. We wouldn't want him to have his fee fees hurt just because he violated the law. After all, he was just being a good Republican and trying to profit off of his office a little.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

QOTD: Charles Pierce

The esteemed and renowned columnist Charles Pierce hits it right on the head with this paragraph:
They [the Republicans] aren’t going to pull back. They aren’t going to stop. They aren’t going to do their jobs. Their patriotism extends only as far as a donor’s wallet and their devotion to the Constitution can be measured with an eyedropper. Nobody truly can be said to be NeverTrump anymore who is not also NeverMcConnell, NeverRyan, and, frankly, NeverGOP, at least in its current manifestation. The prion disease has triumphed completely. The patient is brain-dead, but still deadly in its contagion.
And since I'm quoting Pierce, I feel obliged to gratuitously share this picture of the time I got to meet him:

And yes, that's Randy Bryce photobombing us.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Adam Jarchow Sends A Message

By Jeff Simpson 

Sheila Harsdorf was appointed as Ag Secretary by Scott Walker leaving Senate Seat of District 10 open.  There is a special election on January 16th for this important Senate seat.

 Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow will face Democrat Patty Schachtner in a special election in western Wisconsin to replace state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf.Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, beat fellow state Rep. Shannon Zimmerman of River Falls in Tuesday’s Republican primary, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. Schachtner, the chief medical examiner for St. Croix County, won a three-way Democratic primary.Libertarian Brian Corriea is also running in the Jan. 16 special election.The seat came open when GOP Gov. Scott Walker appointed Harsdorf, a Republican from River Falls, to be his agriculture secretary last month.The district has long been held by Republicans, but Democrats argue they have a shot at winning given successes by their party around the country this year. Republicans control the Senate 19-13.In the GOP primary, Jarchow had 56% of the vote and Zimmerman had 44%, according to unofficial results cited by Wisconsin Public Radio.Schachtner got 70% of the vote in the Democratic primary, besting John Calabrese of Glenwood City and Reuben Herfindahl of River Falls.
As they get ready for their primary, Adam Jarchow thought it best to send a message and this is the billboard he came up with:

Overlooking that he is pirating a trademark of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, he is then showing us an image of his opponent, Ms. Schachtner, being hung by the Grinch. 

Apparently it is ok to threaten death upon your opponent in Wisconsin, knowing that the Attorney General will never prosecute a fellow Republican and any attempt by Dr. Seuss to sue for trademark infringement will end at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

One party rule is working very well for the one party, not so much for the rest of us. 

If you are in the 10th Senate District, do you really want to reward someone who thinks its funny to threaten his female opponent with a hanging?   I guess that is why Mr. Jarchow made such a good delegate for The Donald, at the Republican National Convention. 

At what point do we hold our elected leaders accountable for their actions?  Al Franken was just forced out of office for an old photograph while he was on a comedy tour, and it is now time to hold both sides up to the same high standards! (Standards SHOULD be high)! 

Please contact Adam Jarchow and let him know that as someone who wants to represent the people that you expect more and an apology!

Mailing Address

2071 Glacier Drive,
Suite 3 PMB A182
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024
Phone: 866-895-0939

Ask Adam how he would feel if that was his wife, mom or daughter depicted being hung on a billboard for everyone to see! 

Edit note:  A couple other things stand out to me from the billboard.  

1.   One of the two things that Jarchow focuses on is drug testing welfare recipients and calls Ms. Schachtner out for not supporting that program.  Since it has been ruled UnConstitutional, she should be commended for her stance there! 

2.   The line "Vote AGAINST Patty Schachtner" is a telling one.   When you have nothing to run on,  all you can do is trying and smear the competition.  I hope at some point, if Mr. Jarchow does manage to win, that when he says the people have spoken and they want more of the GOP policies, that someone has the cajones to point out that he is running on how scary that his opponent is and not anything about what the GOP has done the last 8 years of one party rule!    

Paul Ryan Has Special Visitors

By Jeff Simpson 

I know it is only January 4th, but we already have a contestant for the picture of the year:

Who is that you might ask?  - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray.  

What is so interesting about these two guys walking in the Capitol?  The fact that they are going unannounced to Speaker Paul Ryans (R-Wall St.) office. 

Don't look for Ryan to use this as a 5 minute photo op the way he did with childhood cancer survivors!

Maybe one day, Wisconsin will stop electing politicians who spend so much of their time running from the law!    

My New Years Resolutions!

By Jeff Simpson

1.  I will resolve to continue to fight for public education.  There is now, more then ever, a concerted effort to profit off of public education.  With sham "non-profit" organizations like Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty(for some) and extremist propaganda blogs like Right Wisconsin , mediatrackers, Maciver, and the inexplicably employed Christian Schneider continue to not only have a forum but are also treated as legit news sources by our statewide media.   We will continue to bring you the unadulterated facts and point out the spin and the lies. 

2.  We will also continue pointing out the hypocrisy, blandness, sucking up and ignoring of the facts of the Wisconsin media.   While many of them are good people, and occasionally stumble upon a real story, they have also buckled under the pressure of our friends mentioned above, and have been scared to do much real reporting on the state takeover of the Republican party.

3.    I also resolve to focus my energies on getting rid of the worst offenders and dead weight in Wisconsin politics.  Special focus on the biggest offenders - Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Robin Vos, Dale Kooyenga, Leah Vukmir, Scott Krug, among many others.   

4.  While I also resolve to focus almost exclusively on Wisconsin politics and happenings, I also resolve to never call the imbecile in the White House the President.  He will always be referred to as "the Donald". 

5.  I also resolve to stay out of the first Congressional Race.  I like and dislike things about both candidates so I will let the people of the 1st CD decide who they want to represent them.  I will however not stay away from writing about how bad Paul Ryan(R-Wall St.) is, even though it is low hanging fruit, there is so much bad to report on.

6.  I resolve to continue to hold the Democratic party, Democratic candidates and others in public service accountable, who are supposed to be and have to be better than the members of the WISGOP.

7. I resolve to continue the political conversation with everyone of all stripes and opinions respectfully.  I resolve to give all candidates the respect they deserve and let everyone who has the guts and gumption to put their name on the ballot.    I also resolve to look at candidates financial reports the same way I look at standardized tests scores of schools - with disdain.

8.   Finally, I resolve to continue using less of everything, shopping local when possible, drinking only WI craft beers, eating better, turning out lights, and doing everything I can to lower my carbon footprint! 

What are yours? 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Randy Bryce: It Takes A Lot To Do A Little

Six months ago, Randy Bryce took the State of Wisconsin and the nation by storm when he announced his candidacy to run against Lyin' Paul Ryan and launched one of the most amazing videos in this cycle. It struck a chord with almost everybody because it accurately portrayed Randy as an every day guy - a guy who is struggling to meet the needs of his families but finding it harder and harder to do so.

If the gentle reader thought Randy's first video was powerful, grab a tissue as you watch the second one. This time, Randy points out that his campaign is not about him - it's about all of us. In just a few short days, during the holidays even, the thing has gone viral.

When Randy introduced his video, this is the message he sent with it:
We used to have something waiting for us. Footsteps to follow. A trade. The promise of better times for our families if we paid our dues.

But now, that promise has been broken.

CEO's close factories to avoid paying pensions to workers who have been loyal for twenty-plus years, just so their stock price goes up and they can make more money.

Drug companies that used to sell decades-old drugs for a few dollars a bottle sell-out to private hedge funds and wealthy investors who jack up the price of that same medicine hundreds and thousands of times over.

Politicians cut pay for teachers, close public schools, and increase our kids' class sizes so they can give billionaires and corporations another tax break.

So we break a sweat and we break our backs, single moms, and line workers, and teachers, moving mountains, working our fingers to the bone, pouring every ounce of blood and sweat, making sure the foundation of the work today makes tomorrow better for our families, for our brothers and sisters, and for our communities.

Because it's about survival.

From the beginning, this campaign has been about whether ordinary people can come together to build each other up like we do in our neighborhoods and shake the foundations of Washington.

Paul Ryan and his allies have made it perfectly clear they don't care about us anymore. After giving the top 1% another massive tax cut at our expense, Ryan now wants to decimate Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. And that's not even a surprise.

When we defeat Paul Ryan, and swing the massive arm of change back towards working people, all of this hard work will have been worth it. This is why we're going to win. It's what separates us from the other side: We care about everybody -- and they don't.
When Randy is saying that this campaign isn't about him, it's about all of us, he's not just offering up empty rhetoric. He's no Paul Ryan. Ryan will say what he thinks the people want to hear and then go about doing the dirty work that his dark money masters tell him to do - giving them massive tax breaks, even if it means breaking our backs to do so.

Randy is a good union man and not only knows, but lives, the meaning of solidarity. He knows that no one person can do this alone but it will take all of us, pulling together, to overcome Ryan's masters and make ourselves a seat at the table. The rich aren't going to give us anything just because we ask for it. We have to wrest it away and make it ours.

Let me remind you that it took all of us to show Randy that we had his back and we were going to be with him every step of the way.

Now, we still have 10 long months to go. The fight to win this won't be easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is. Randy needs us to support him and help carry him just as much as we need him to take on Lyin' Ryan and put him out of office. Please help out Randy - help out us - see this all the way through. You can give Randy your support by sharing his video and by chipping in whatever you can afford to get this done.

But what ever you do to help, don't think of it as just giving another politician a bit of your money. Think of as investing in your future, just like paying union dues.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

It's Time for a Hard Look at How We Pay for Schools

By Kathleen Vinehout 

"It’s important, every so many years, we take a good look at how we fund schools,” said Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). “How do we … make sure our schools have what they need for the next 20 to 50 years.”

Co-chairs Senator Olsen and Representative Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) recently convened a Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding. I serve as the only Senate Democrat on the new Commission.

Wisconsin has seen studies to change the way our schools are funded come and go throughout the years. The co-chairs emphasized they did not want the work of the Commission to sit “on a shelf and collect dust.” The impression that the Commission existed only as an election-year “talking point” was clearly on the minds of some members.

As I mentioned in the hearing, I’ve long been an advocate for changing Wisconsin’s approach to funding schools. We pay for schools, largely, with a combination of property tax and state aid. Schools are paid on a per-pupil basis.

Many school funding problems come from demographic changes happening in our state. Shifting patterns in our population affect schools. For example, Wisconsin has more children living in poverty today, than ten years ago. Rural areas have seen a decline in students.

Not all students have the same needs. Different school districts have different costs. These needs are not adequately reflected in the funding formula.

To add to problems, the fallout from Act 10 and the criticizing of public school teachers had a profound effect on our schools. Teachers left or retired. Fewer college students are going into education. School districts have trouble filling vacancies. Standards for teachers were lowered. Morale is low. Student opportunities were diminished. Cuts in state aid forced taxpayers to pass referenda and raise property taxes just to keep their schools running.

Of the two major problems with our school funding, the first is the level of state aid.
Despite increases in the recently-passed budget, schools haven’t recovered from the massive cuts to state aid in 2011. In real dollars, public schools will be getting less in the next two years than a decade ago.

The second problem with how we pay for schools, is the state aid formula itself.

At the heart of the problem is the economic disconnect between district revenues and district costs. Revenues assume education is a constant cost activity. In other words, you get so many dollars for every student.

Education, however, is not a constant cost activity. Schools have high fixed costs and low marginal costs. Fixed costs are those bills that are the same regardless of how many students attend the school. For example, keeping the building heated or the lights on are costs that don’t change much even as the number of students change. As time passes, this disconnect between the way the state pays for schools and the way the schools incur costs, causes a lot of problems. Difficulties are particularly acute for districts with declining enrollments.

We need to move toward an “adequacy formula” that takes into account fixed costs, recognizes that some students cost more to educate than others, and recognizes that school districts in different situations face different costs.

We also need to reduce our reliance on the property tax to fund schools. The cornerstone of school funding should be state aid.

We must address today’s school funding problems. But we must also plan for how we educate our children of tomorrow.

For too long, rules, regulations and testing requirements stifled the creativity, excitement and challenge of teaching. Our state spends so much time and money on testing and evaluating, that teachers don’t have the time to teach or the resources and energy to try innovative approaches. We need a different plan to meet the needs of tomorrow.

Our children and our schools are our future. A lost opportunity for a child is often forever lost.

Since the formula was first enacted, our demographics have changed and our economy has changed. Tinkering around edges is not enough.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Free Tuition for Two-Year and Tech Colleges Means Freedom to Learn

By Kathleen Vinehout 

 "Every Wisconsinite should have access to education or training past high school… To be pursued at whatever point and pace makes sense for individual workers and industries,” wrote researchers at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) eight years ago.

Long before the current shortage of skilled workers, COWS anticipated the need for additional training. In 2009, the Center teamed up with the Workforce Development Board, Skills2Compete and others to study “Wisconsin’s Forgotten Middle-Skill Jobs.”

Middle skill jobs are those jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. The study I quoted above, found “Middle skill jobs still represent the largest share of jobs in Wisconsin – some 54 percent – and the largest share of job openings into the next decade.”

Georgetown University just released a study that found similar conclusions. “Across the nation, good jobs have shifted toward Associate Degree holders and away from workers with a high school diploma or less.”

In response to the demonstrated need, I am proposing free tuition for Wisconsin residents at our Technical Colleges and University of Wisconsin two-year campuses.

Expanding our skilled workforce is the surest way to grow our economy and raise wages. Raising wages in Wisconsin should be a top priority. We are ranked 18th worst in the nation in average wages and salaries.

My proposal, Freedom to Learn, allows students to learn at their own pace and choose their own course of study.

Long ago, I worried about how to pay for college. My only option was a two-year campus. I know firsthand what it’s like to not know how to make ends meet and also go to college. Many see tuition as an insurmountable obstacle. I want to eliminate any hesitation someone might have in pursuing his or her opportunities and dreams.

I want to make it possible for someone who is already working or has family obligations, doesn’t have the cash and can’t afford to take time off, to get the education and training they want. Freedom to Learn, in allowing students to attend school part-time, and learn at their own pace, goes further than tuition programs in other states.

In 2014, Tennessee became the national leader in eliminating tuition and fees for incoming full-time students. Since then, several states followed including most recently, California.

Like other states, my proposal uses state tax dollars as the last dollar scholarship. This means students apply for financial aid. Free tuition grants kick in after all other federal and state aid are used. Wisconsin already has a similar last dollar free tuition program for our veterans.

My program is modeled after Tennessee. Republican Governor Bill Haslam showed the nation what works. As Tennessee added dollars for tuition, the number of students applying for student loans dropped by 17%. In addition, the number of students enrolled in two-year and tech colleges increased by 30%.

Under the proposal I recently released, the cost of free tuition at two-year and tech colleges is funded by repealing the manufacturing portion of the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit. This tax credit is one of 43 different tax credits claimed by businesses in the past year. The effect of this specific tax credit is to reduce state taxes owed to near zero.

Corporate profits and corporate cash reserves are at an all-time high, while wages are stagnant. Companies have the money. They don’t have the workers. Trading one manufacturers’ tax break for a pool of skilled workers is a good exchange.

Freedom to Learn is a great opportunity to invest in the potential of our own Wisconsin workers and grow our economy from the inside out. It makes more sense than trying to lure workers from other states or giving billions to one foreign corporation.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Glenn Grothman Hits The Trifecta Of Stupidity

When Congresscritter Glenn Grothman (R-WI) opens his mouth, it's a very sure bet that something stupid and inane will come out of it. Some of Grothman's greatest hits include his war on Kwanzaa, saying that people who vote "inappropriately" vote for Democrats, and that Planned Parenthood is not needed because he's a guy.

He kept the streak alive just before Christmas by going on CBS58 in Milwaukee and getting a hat trick of absurdity.

First up was his defense of the GOP tax scam, saying it was only the wealthy that were complaining about it:
"The biggest cut was to the average guy," Grothman told the CBS 58 News at 4. "The few people who are complaining are people in high tax states and they're the wealthiest people complaining. Even Barack Obama wanted a corporate tax cut to make us more competitive with other countries across the world."
Yeah, well that sure explains why billionaires were running an ad thanking Trump for the tax cuts. They're just average Joes, right?

Grothman said that his next priority would be to cut welfare and other benefits for the people and then gets confused on who the denizens of Trump Swamp really are:
Grothman says when he returns to Washington after the holiday break, he hopes to see action on welfare. But he's preparing for a fight from those within his own party.

"It will be one more time Donald Trump and a republican like me want to take up welfare reform. Mitch McConnell said he wouldn't. There's going to be a fight, I think, between Donald Trump and reform minded republicans against kind of the republicans stuck in the swamp. I hope I"m able to win on that one and get welfare reform."
It is the third comment that is the most mindboggling and gobbersmacking one. When all of the indictments and convictions from Trump's Russiagate were laid out, the reporter, Michele McCormack, asked Grothman if he still thought that the Russian involvement was no big deal:
Since that time, two Trump associates have been indicted and a third admitted to lying to the FBI about contacts with the Russians.

So, has his view changed?

"We don't feel there's going to be a problem with the Trump campaign," insisted Grothman. "I think the Russian meddling may have been more something for the Clinton campaign. We're not focused on that. It's been weeks since any republican talked about the last campaign.

We've been in meetings looking at welfare reform and doing tax reform."
Say what?

Let's review: Trump campaign - 3 down and more to come; Hillary campaign - No indictments.

I wonder what is the color of the sky on Grothman's home planet.

Cross posted from Crooks & Liars

Janesville Gazette Changes Name to the Paul Ryan Messenger

By Jeff Simpson

Lost in the Magic of the Christmas season, was an apocalyptic op-ed from the Janesville Gazette, which was a jumble of drool over the Boy Wonder child from Janesville - Paul Ryan.  

Politico recently broke a story about how Speaker Ryan was considering retiring at the end of 2018.  As Joel McNally pointed out, the "leaked" retirement story was just a front, to get the national political reporters to talk about what a great guy Paul Ryan (R- Wall St.) is.     

The Janesville Gazette, abandoning all pretense of objectivity, liberality and honesty, took the story - hook, line and sinker.  

Just in time to be buried the day before they reposted - Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus (showing us the best of what an editorial is meant to be), the Janesville Gazette posted - Please Don't Go Paul.  

Let's take a look:

Rumors about House Speaker Paul Ryan possibly leaving Congress next year dampened excitement over passage of the nation’s first tax overhaul since the Ronald Reagan era.
Some athletes try to retire at the top of their games, and maybe Ryan is having similar thoughts as he contemplates this major legislative victory.
The majority of people do not like the new tax overhaul bill, as they know it is a huge give-away to the rich and will increase the deficit approximately $1.5 trillion! 

Despite its depth, the report reveals little about Ryan—“friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center”—that we don’t already know or suspect. The story highlights Ryan’s torn feelings over his job, zooming in on the dysfunction afflicting our nation’s capital.
Small wonder Ryan should want to leave. He’s endured withering, often unfair criticism from both the left and right not to mention a parade of protesters stalking his home in Janesville.
We can hardly blame Ryan for wanting to escape the spotlight and spend more time with his family. For many politicians, “spending more time with family” is code to cover up their real reason for leaving. But Ryan has been sincere in his dedication to his family, notably insisting on coming home during weekends as a condition of accepting the speaker job.

Can we please stop with the Paul Ryan family man myth?  Does he really come home every weekend to "spend time with his family"?  Or is he running around the country on weekends fundraising and trying to sell The Donalds border wall?   

$10,000 a plate is a hefty price for a kid's meal.  

Ryan exhibits a kind of humanity and decency too often missing in politics today. D.C. lost its way long ago, and much of the cynicism directed at Congress is justified, though Ryan pulled off a minor miracle by shepherding several bills through the House this year.
Like the Obamacare repeal bill, which Ryan passed through the House, but would have left millions of Americans without healthcare but was too extreme for the Senate to pass.   It would have also ended the pre-existing condition clause in the ACA, which means it would have killed me(literally).   

The GOP tax bill is by no means a perfect document, and we cannot claim the middle class emerges as a clear winner. But the bill is a genuine attempt to simplify the tax code, placing limits on, for example, deductions for mortgage interest and paid property taxes. The bill also seeks to make American companies more competitive by lowering the corporate tax rate.
"We cannot claim that the middle class is a winner"?  Yet you declare it a major victory?  What do you think Janesville is made up of?  Will the private jet deduction be a big hit in your circulation area? By the way any responsible journalism, would tell us that the US does NOT have the highest corporate tax rate and a corporate tax cut will not spark the economy

 Under a Republican-controlled Congress and presidency, the tax overhaul should signal greater legislative victories to come. But in this fractured Congress, many Republicans are greeting the tax bill’s passage with a sigh of relief, not so much the jubilation of conquerors.
You are really calling the GOP "conquerors?  I agree but it is hardly a compliment. 
As anyone familiar with Twitter knows, Congress is operating under unusual circumstances thanks largely to President Trump’s unpredictable leadership. Ryan has fortunately avoided getting into a tweet war with Trump, which might explain why Ryan has been spared from Trump’s infamous 140-character assaults. Nevertheless, working with Trump must be exhausting (in the daycare sense).
Paul Ryan(R-Trump's lackey), has not been attacked by The Donald lately because HE AGREES WITH EVERYTHING THE DONALD DOES.   Why would anyone attack a yes man?  

Through it all, Ryan has refused to debase himself by hurling insults at his critics. He reminds the Beltway of what life used to be like before Twitter, and he’s an example of how a leader should behave.
Let's just pretend incidents like this have never happened:

 Or this:

Or This:

“Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes,” Ryan said. “So we’re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America and that will be tough to come back from that. They’ll be dependent on the government for their livelihoods [rather] than themselves.”
Or this:

 But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.
Brit Hume, FOX News: What is your view of Ayn Rand? Are you an Ayn Rand disciple? 
Rep. Paul Ryan: No. I really enjoyed her novels, Atlas Shrugged in particular. It triggered my interest in economics. That's where I got into studying economics. That's why I wanted to study the whole field of economics.
I later in life learned about what her philosophy was, it's called Objectivism. It's something that I completely disagree with. It's an atheistic philosophy. But I think what she's done is she's showed -- she came from communism. She showed how the pitfalls of socialism can hurt the economy, can hurt people, families and individuals and that to me was very compelling novels. Which says freedom, free enterprise, liberty is so much better than totalitarianism and socialism. Those novels, I thought were interesting. But her philosophy, which is different, is something I just don't agree with.
There is a reason why Charles Pierce calls Ryan a "zombie eyed granny starver" and the "Biggest. Fake. Ever." 

Charles Pierce describes perfectly, what the folks at the Janesville Gazette think a true leader is:
 As the deciding votes were cast—recorded in green on the black digital scoreboard suspended above the floor—the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, threw his head back and slammed his hands together. Soon he was engulfed in a sea of dark suits, every Republican lawmaker wanting to slap him on the shoulder and be a part of his moment.

His moment. Thirteen million Americans lose their health care.
 Paul Ryan, threw his head back and slammed his hands together.
His moment. Eighty-percent of the benefits going to the top one-percent.
 Paul Ryan, threw his head back and slammed his hands together.
His moment. Millions of dollars shoved upwards to people who already have billions of dollars. A deficit entering the orbit of Mercury.
 Paul Ryan, threw his head back and slammed his hands together.
His moment.
William Rivers Pitt @truthout had a similar disgusted reaction: 

When the president of the United States of America signs this bill into law, he will, among many other things, be signing a check to himself and men like Bob Corker. That check has a great many zeroes to the left of the decimal. These are the people the Evangelicals embrace as "theirs," though their pockets will be picked and their futures plundered, once again.

They cheered. It would be bad enough if they did this with their heads hung low in shame, knowing as we all know that this is only happening because the big GOP donors demanded the key to the Treasury and refused to donate again until they got it. We're sorry, they could (but would never) say, but they made us do it. We had to, we're sorry.  
 Instead, they cheered.  They actually cheered.
But Wait there is more:

 It’s not fair to blame Ryan for the antics of a president with little self-control.Congress would lose a great deal—namely integrity—if Ryan were to leave. Paul, please don’t go.
Yes if you were to ignore the career politicians complete record and just be mesmerized the one day a year he graces the Gazette with an interview, then you would definitely think that Paul Ryan was a man of integrity.   

However if you look at his record, listen to his words and as the late great Maya Angelou told us - "When someone tells you who they are. Believe them.".   Then you would know that there is not now, nor has there ever been an ounce of integrity coursing through Paul Ryan's body. 

Please Please Please Paul Go AWAY...and do not let the door hit you on your way out!  

Biggest. Fake. Ever.   

Edit Note:  There are two people running to dethrone Paul Ryan and actually for the first time allow the people of the first CD to be represented in Washington.   

Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce

Let's make sure one of them does!