Saturday, August 31, 2013

Caption This One Too!

Walker never disappoints.  No matter how ridiculous he looks, if he's in the picture, he'll post it.

Caption this one:

The Wisconsin School Bullies

From a horde of friends on Facebook:

Click to embiggen

Friday, August 30, 2013

Caption This

Got a caption for this Lt. Gov. Becky 4 Realz?

Lenny Kravitz Is A Wanted Man

By Jeff Simpson

Lenny Kravitz was walking by a choir practice and heard one of his songs being played, so he jumped in! 

Word has it that when Chief Erwin and Mike Huebsch saw a black man joining a spontaneous singing event, he immediately issued a  warrant for his arrest.   The next time Mr. Kravitz steps foot in WI, he will be tackled and detained.  

Singing is NOT allowed here, especially by people of color!  

Welcome to Wisconsin.     

Scott Walker's Re-election!

By Jeff Simpson

It looks like all of the back door dealings by Mary Burke and her friends on the inside, have been successful!  

Winnebago County Exec Mark Harris announced this morning he will not run for guv next year.

Would he have been the best candidate?  I have no idea and now we will never know.  The party choked him out of the race before anyone had a chance to find out.  

Looks like everyone is clearing the way for Mary Burke to be the next victim of the Scott Walker political machine.  

 “If (Burke) were to run she’d be an instant frontrunner and an exceedingly difficult opponent for Scott Walker,” Tate said, adding that she has put in more work than other potential candidates by traveling the state talking with local activists, business leaders and voters.
 Can you name me one person who she has "talked too" that is not a party insider?    Interview with local press?  a voting record to be proud of?   

My suggestion to you and everyone else in WI.  If her path is to only talk to party insiders to push everyone else out of the race, then she does not need you to win.    I would highly suggest that you hold all donations, or money that you had planned on giving the democratic party in protest of your voice not being heard.   

I would suggest you save your donations to give to a local candidate of your choice, or save it because when Scott Walker gets elected again, you will need it!   

Apparently their new 72 county strategy, means the democrats will now follow the republicans lead and pick all candidates for us.   I don't remember the choosing of the candidates being on the platform of the Democratic Party Platform.  

 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. - Timothy 6:10



Coffee Can Health Care - Ch. 4

 Tim Alsip was willing to give up his freedom because he can't pay for health care.

By Jeff Simpson

Tim Alsip, from Portland Oregon needed help, and he had no where to go to get it.   See Mr. Alsip has a  history of mental illness, addiction and dental problems(anyone who has ever had a toothache knows how terrible this can be).

Now turn quickly to Washington DC, where Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and John Boehner are in the midst of a five week paid vacation.   Before they left for their FIVE week paid vacation, they took up the very important business of voting to repeal Obamacare for the FORTIETH time!    Of course, Paul Ryan (R-Wall St.) had to check in with his bosses before he took his paid vacation, but that is another blog!


Now we switch back to Portland, Oregon.  While the republicans in Congress, have made their sole priority, making sure President Obama has no successes, Mr, Alsip was in too much pain and in need of so much help, that he had no where to turn.  So he turned, in desperation, to a crime.

He decided to rob a bank!   

On Friday morning, 50-year-old Alsip walked into a Portland-area Bank of America and calmly handed the teller a note: “This is a hold up. Give me a dollar.” Alsip then took his single dollar bill and sat quietly in the lobby, waiting for police to arrive. According to The Oregonian, he has a history of mental illness, addiction, and dental problems that seem to have gone untreated. Sacrificing his freedom was the price Alsip felt he had to pay to receive medical care.

Alsip is currently homeless and has no past criminal record in the state. He was arrested without incident and charged with second-degree robbery and bail set at $250,000.
 Things are so bad, in the real world, that an American, desperate for health care and homeless had no where to turn but to crime.  Luckily, for the people of Portland, Mr. Alsip's desperation, couple with mental illness, did not decide to arm himself with 6000 rounds.


Instead he choose to get help the only way he knew how.  Now the man who asked peacefully for $1, will be sitting in a jail cell with a $250,000 bail.   Hopefully he gets the medical help he so desperately needs, then they drop the charges.   

However, when will people ever learn?  Steal $1 go to jail, "lose" $80,000,000 and you get elected Governor.   

Quote of the Day

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." - Martin Luther King, Jr. King 
Sadly, there are many today who will try to rationalize not only their tolerance of evil, but their aiding and abetting it.

It's Time For Women To Stand Up

Planned Parenthood is striking back against the barrage of attacks they have had to endure during the past two years.  Their target is State Senator Mike Ellis, one of the most misogynistic idiots in the state:

From their press release announcing this ad:
Today, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin launched the first phase of an ad campaign highlighting Senate President Mike Ellis and his abysmal record on restricting access to women’s health care. The ad features the public debate in the State Senate earlier this summer around a bill (SB 206) that was quickly passed to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion. The ad campaign comes on the heels of a successful rally earlier this week that gathered hundreds of people from across the state to call on their legislative leaders to stop the attack on women’s health and rights. The media campaign targets the Senate President Mike Ellis because he has used his power to shut down debate and facilitate the quick passage of an unprecedented number of bills that restrict women’s healthcare access and rights. Since the start of his reign as Senate President, Senator Ellis has facilitated the passage of many bills that include:

  • 2011 Act 32: State Budget that ended funding at Planned Parenthood for patients receiving cancer screenings, wellness exams and birth control resulting in the closure of four rural Health Centers,
  • 2013 Act 20: State Budget which cut thousands of hardworking Wisconsin citizens from Badgercare,
  • 2011 Act 219: which repealed equal pay protections for women
  • 2011 Act 216: which repealed medically accurate age appropriate sex education guidelines for our youth to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy and the spread of STD’s
  • 2013 Act 37: to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion by adding unnecessary regulations for doctors providing abortion and additional requirements for women seeking this medical care.

“Senate President Ellis has shown himself to be a career politician who doesn’t listen to his constituents and consistently votes against women’s ability to access essential healthcare,” said Tanya Atkinson Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin right now, women are struggling more than ever before when it comes to getting health care. Over the last three years, Governor Scott Walker and the Legislature’s Republican leadership have introduced, moved and passed over a dozen bills restricting women’s access to everything from equal pay protections, health insurance coverage, sex education and birth control to abortion. Because of these laws women’s health will suffer. Our health care costs will increase. There will be more undiagnosed cancers, sexually transmitted disease, unintended pregnancies, delayed prenatal care and yes, more abortions. Walker and the Republican majority are playing politics with women’s health and reversing decades of bipartisan progress.

“Wisconsin voters who value commonsense, quality women’s health care have voices that matter,” concluded Atkinson. “It is up to us to insist that our leaders protect our health and wellbeing and stop this assault on women’s access to health care.”

As part of this campaign Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin will be educating our supporters to make sure they are aware of the dangerous bills that have already been passed restricting women’s access to healthcare and the danger of even more policies will have on the health and safety of women, families and Wisconsin communities.

“Through this campaign we will remind community members that we can prevail in protecting women’s health and rights, but only if we remain engaged and hold our elected leaders accountable and call on them to represent our best interests as a state.”

Pennsylvania Government Compares Gays To 12 Year Olds

From the Wisconsin Gazette:
Marriage licenses given to same-sex couples in the state are invalid because the couples were barred from marrying, just like 12-year-olds, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's attorneys said on Aug. 28.

Corbett's administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to block same-sex marriage licenses in suburban Philadelphia, where Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes has issued more than 150 to gay and lesbian couples since July 24.

State attorneys said in a court filing that the marriage licenses given to gay people have no "value or legitimacy" and can't be defended in court. They compared gay and lesbian couples to children, who can't marry because a 1996 law says marriage is between a man and a woman.

"Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old ... is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his `license'?" the state wrote, according to a story on the news website.
I wonder if they called Becky Kleefisch in as an expert witness so they could also compare gays to dogs and claim that gay marriage is like marrying furniture.

Conspicuous By Its Absence

Scott Walker sent out his weekly e-newsletter/campaign report a day this early, undoubtedly so he could go hit bikers up for campaign donations.

In his newsletter, Walker covers four topics:

  1. Third Annual Governor's Small Business Summit
  2. Wisconsin's Credit Rating
  3. Wisconsin's Exports Increase
  4. Celebrating the 110th Anniversary of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company
What's most noticeable by not being listed anywhere is any sort of Labor Day greetings.  Then again, who in their right mind would have believed Walker was sincere in the first place?

Victim Of Capitol Police Brutality Speaks Out

Earlier this week, Dave Erwin and his storm troopers took things to a new level of depravity by becoming violent against people observing and photographing the Solidarity Singalong.  I'm sure it was purely coincidental that both men who were brutalized happened to be black.

Workers Independent News, which has been taking a keener and keener interest in the SSA, has a special report including testimony from C.J. Terrell, one of the victims of the police brutality:

I have no idea what they hope to gain with this continued idiocy, but what ever it might be, it's already starting to backfire on Walker and his presidential pipe dreams. The left will only hate him more for his fascist ways and the right will be disappointed in his inability to intimidate the singers.

Hmm, maybe that's what he meant with Unintimidated. He must have meant unintimidating.

Voucher Program Expands While Public Schools Receive Less State Aid...Again

From State Senator Chris Larson's weekly e-newsletter:
During this time last year, legislative Democrats warned that schools would face drastic funding cuts, fewer educational opportunities, and reductions in teachers and staff. This was the result of legislative Republicans passing Scott Walker's first budget as governor, which decreased state aid support for Wisconsin's neighborhood schools by over $800 million. Unfortunately, many schools are expected to fare even worse this school year under Governor Walker's recently passed second budget.

Cuts to General School Aid in Our Community

While general school aid statewide increased overall by 1.1%, including in the local Oak Creek-Franklin and South Milwaukee school districts, much of the increase is being diverted to private voucher schools as a result of Republicans expanding the program statewide. According to recent estimates by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), more than half of Wisconsin public school districts will receive less general aid in the 2013-2014 school year than they did for the 2012-2013 school year. In fact, 229 of Wisconsin's 424 school districts, or 54%, will receive less general aid in the current school year. This includes our very own Cudahy, St. Francis, and Milwaukee school districts, which will see a decrease in state aid of $104,435; $199,455; and $1,407,778 respectively. In contrast, schools in the voucher program will see an astronomical increase of up to $1,414 per pupil.

Click here to view the break down of state aid for each school district.

Vouchers for Kids Already Attending Private Schools

Those of us residing in Milwaukee and Racine counties are already familiar with the damage our children, property taxes, and communities suffer as a result of expanding unaccountable voucher schools. Over the past 20 years, we have spent $1.5 billion on a voucher experiment that has failed the students of Milwaukee and Racine. In fact, study after study has confirmed that voucher school students fare no better and often worse than their public school counterparts. Unfortunately, rather than learning from the mistakes of Milwaukee and Racine's voucher programs, Republicans have instead decided to take the rest of the state down with this sinking ship.

Earlier this month, DPI announced the names of schools that would now be eligible to participate in the voucher program, which was recently expanded statewide. The schools took applications for 2,069 prospective voucher students for the upcoming school year and are located in the following districts:

  • Appleton
  • Beloit and Janesville
  • Chippewa Falls
  • Eau Claire and Altoona
  • Fond du Lac
  • Green Bay and De Pere
  • Kenosha
  • La Crosse and Onalaska
  • Madison
  • Manitowoc
  • Marshfield
  • Oshkosh
  • Plymouth
  • Sheboygan
  • Stevens Point and Plover
  • Wausau and Rothschild
  • Wisconsin Rapids

However, it has become clear that while these students may be new to the voucher program, the majority of them are not new to private schools. In fact, 1,393 students, or 67.3% of applicants, attended a Wisconsin private school in the previous school year. This means that the parents of two-thirds of eligible applicants were able to afford private school tuition or obtain funds without public assistance. The voucher program was created to provide parents of public school students with a "choice" they may not be able to afford on their own, but it looks like Republicans have quietly changed the program to instead offer taxpayer-funded handouts to the parents who can already afford to send their kids to private school.

Click here for more information about who is receiving voucher funds.

Additionally, as our public school students and their parents continue to be penalized by having to support two separate and unequal school districts, the parents of private school students will be further rewarded in this current budget with a tax break totaling $30 million in the 2014-2015 school year for an annual per student deduction of up to $10,000.

Study After Study Confirms Voucher Failure

Yet another study was recently released factually proving that voucher students fare no better and often worse than their public school counterparts. The study, released by the American Educational Research Journal and the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, has conclusions that are nothing short of shocking. Below are the findings:

  • Students leaving voucher schools are the same children the program was designed to help. While the voucher program was created to give poorer, low-achieving students the opportunity for a better education, most of the children leaving voucher schools and returning to public schools are these poorer, low-achieving students. Such data reinforces that the voucher program is failing the very kids it was supposed to help.
  • Most students who transfer from the voucher program back into public schools realize significant achievement gains after doing so. Such achievement growth is even more significant for low-performing students. This statistic highlights that students who return to MPS truly do better once they are back in public school.
  • Voucher schools are less likely to identify and assist students who require special education. This means that children needing greater assistance are left behind.
  • Parental dissatisfaction was the most common reason cited by parents for students leaving the voucher program. Next in line was inadequate handling of special needs students. Such results verify that voucher schools do not always live up to the hype they have created and are frequently found to be a worse option for our children than traditional public schools.

Click here to access the voucher study mentioned.

In addition to this study, data recently collected by DPI shows a snapshot of just how voucher school students are performing compared to their public school counterparts. This data analyzes how all voucher and public school students in 4th, 8th, and 10th grade performed in reading, math, and science during the 2010-2011 school year. According to the data, Milwaukee Public School students outperformed voucher students in eight out of nine categories.

Much of the failings of schools participating in the voucher program can likely be attributed to the lack of accountability and transparency measures in place. Below are a few of the following standards that are in place in our public schools but are not required by schools in the voucher program:

  • Teacher Licensure--Require all teachers to be licensed by DPI
  • Background Checks--Require background checks on all staff and prohibit a school from employing an individual convicted of certain class felonies, such as sex offenses specified in Wis. Stats. 115.31
  • Open Records Law Compliance--Require that schools be subject to Wisconsin's Open Records Law
  • Special Education Staff--Require schools to employ special education teachers or therapists if pupils needing such services attend the school to prevent discrimination
  • Corporal Punishment Ban--Require schools to follow current laws governing corporal punishment
  • Uniform Graduation Credits and Standards--Require schools to conform with specific graduation requirements
  • Due Process Procedure for Expulsion--Require a due process procedure when determining expulsion at a school

Voucher Schools Raise Property Taxes

In 2010, state law compelled Milwaukee Public Schools to levy over $50 million in taxes to subsidize the private and religious schools making up the unaccountable voucher program, which amounts to 17% of the total Milwaukee Public Schools tax levy. Due to policy changes in the last Republican budget, the cost of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) rose significantly, exceeding the state's official 2012 estimate and increasing the financial responsibility of taxpayers to 22.6% of the total Milwaukee Public Schools tax levy.

In truth, Milwaukee taxpayers are now being billed for both the largest school district in the state, Milwaukee Public Schools, AND the fourth largest, which is what the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has grown to be with 22,400 students. The tax levy for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program already exceeds the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District by nearly $10 million and is expected to exceed Milwaukee Area Technical College's in the next few years. With the expansion of vouchers statewide this is a burden that may now be endured by all Wisconsin communities. While my Milwaukee colleagues and I were able to successfully achieve some transparency by providing separate cost information for MPS and MPCP schools on Milwaukee property tax bills, such transparency does not exist in the other 423 school districts.

It is important to note that there are private schools in our community that provide a great educational experience to families interested in receiving a faith-based education. Unfortunately, it is impossible to weed out the bad from the good without the necessary transparency measures in place. As it stands, the voucher program remains unaccountable. Our children and Wisconsin's property taxpayers cannot afford to support the bad, unaccountable institutions that have failed our children and taken advantage of the voucher program. If we continue down this path, it is not only Wisconsin's future workers that will suffer, but also our state. Our children's success or failure dictates whether Wisconsin will succeed or fail.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cartoon Of The Day

From the incomparable Stuart Carlson:

Abele Continues To Use Veterans As Political Pawns

A couple of days ago, I pointed out that even the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - which just adores Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele - had to tell Abele to grow up, suck it up and just sign off on the deal between the War Memorial Center and the Art Museum.  The agreement would allow the two entities to finally address some long neglected maintenance and repair issues.

Just about everyone in the entire community is behind this agreement but Abele.  And instead of just doing the right thing, Abele keeps showing himself to be an overgrown spoiled brat.

The latest from the Emperor is how it would be better to spend the disputed $300,000 on direct services for the veterans instead of repairing some old building meant to honor them.

This is a false choice.  There is no need whatsoever that it has to be either the War Memorial Center or services.

First of all, because of his excessive gouging on the workers - more than twice what Scott Walker is doing to state workers (and that's still not enough for him) - and cutting vital services, Abele has a "surplus" of tens of millions of dollars.

In other words, Abele's got more than enough money.  He just doesn't think that the vets are worth spending it on.

Secondly, even if he doesn't want to touch the surplus, he wouldn't have to.  He could first rescind the exorbitant pay raises he gave to his staff.  Hell, just the raises that he gave to his Chief of Staff, Amber Moreen, and his Director of Human Resources, Kerry Mitchell, alone would cover 20% of the $300,000.

And if you throw in the fact that he can't keep half of his office and department head slots filled for more than a few months at a time, there is surely a lot of unspent money that could go to fill the gap.

The other problem with Abele's attitude is that even if all the parties that had made the agreement stipulated to his demands and gave up that money, you know damn well that Abele wouldn't spend a dime of that on the veterans.  He would use that money to help pay for his plutocratic pals develop some county land or to pay for the courthouse fire and all the damage it caused.

Now if Abele was smart, he would sign the agreement and then match the amount in funding for services for veterans.  He's got more than enough money to do so.

But Abele is not smart.  He will continue to pout and have his temper tantrums about being told "no" again.  And when it's said and done, the agreement will be approved, whether because he finally signed it or because the County Board overrode his veto.

The only thing that this will accomplish for Abele is to prove once again that he is a self-serving plutocrat who doesn't care about the veterans unless he can use them.

Fairy Tale of the Day

By Jeff Simpson

H/T Jud Lounsbury @ UppityWI

And even though Montgomery was also the epicenter of the civil rights stuggle and where Rosa Parks famously stood her ground, Walker chose to ignore that and instead talk about his own struggle, claiming that his mother and and son were spit-upon in 2011 when Walker took away public workers' right to collectively bargain:  
"He said he received death threats, and his mother and son were shouted at and spit upon during a trip to the grocery store." 
Hmmm... this doesn't pass the smell test.  This is the first time Walker has claimed that anyone in his family were spit upon and I find it hard to believe that Walker, who is perhaps the most opportunistic victim in Wisconsin history, would have waited for nearly two years to tell anyone about it. 

With the republicans ability to claim victim to pebbles in the road and work hard to turn their son's drunken beating into an attempt to score political points, does anyone think that if Scott Walker's kid would have actually been spit on, that Walker would not lead every story and speech with that example? 

Me either! 

Attorneys Representing Capitol Dissidents Deplore Capitol Police Brutality and Racial Profiling

From the inbox (edited only to provide hyperlink for video at the end)::
Two well publicized arrests of African Americans at the Solidarity Sing Along August 26 in the Wisconsin State Capitol showed Capitol Police officers using excessive force and pain compliance techniques. Christopher (C.J.) Terrell’s arms were wrenched behind him and police applied to pressure to the front and side of his neck to immobilize him, after he sat down during his arrest, then he was dragged out with arms pinned behind him. Six officers tackled Damon Terrell, pinned him to the marble rotunda floor, twisted his wrist, and carried him out in a prone position face down; he was later charged with felony assault of an officer although he appears to be the victim. On August 21 a young woman was arrested using pain compliance as well.

Attorney Jeff Scott Olson, who represents some of the cited activists, said, “Efforts to seek injunctive relief in court against these unlawful police tactics have been contemplated for some time, but have been on the back burner awaiting developments on other fronts. It's pretty clear we have to put them on the front burner now, before someone gets seriously hurt."

Observers have noted that the only disturbance or threat to the public safety at the daily Sing Along occurs when Capitol Police emerge to arrest participants. Many participants and spectators were shocked by the degree of physical force used by four to six officers against the Terrells Tuesday and Emily Hoppe last Wednesday. All have been present at recent noontime Sing Alongs along with renewed attendance by union members, teachers, police and fire fighters.

According to attorneys who represent many of the more than 140 people arrested since July 24, the defendants have generally been polite and cooperative, and use of handcuffs and physical force has been far out of proportion to what police need to issue a civil forfeiture ticket. Most people arrested have been charged with participating in an “unlawful assembly” under the Wisconsin Administrative Code, which is not a crime and carries a maximum fine of $500.00. However an increasingly younger and more diverse crowd has turned up the volume and energy of the two and a half year old singing event in response to the July and August “crackdown.”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was taped during a fake phone call from “David Koch” in February 2011considering planting provocateurs to instigate violence to discredit opponents during the protests that gave rise to the Sing Along. Activists now speculate that the Capitol Police use of force in arrests may be a deliberate attempt to provoke a violent reaction for a public disturbed by the sight of mass arrests for peaceful protests.

Video of the events, showing excessive use of force by police officers, is available here.

Walker Is Gearing Up To Give Up Rest Of Public Education Money

Scott Walker has been trying to gain some positive press by touting an agenda for the fall that would focus on "workforce development."

Of course, we already that by "workforce development:," Walker is referring to taking unskilled workers, giving them the minimal training - at taxpayer expense -so that they can work for a third of the prevailing wage. And if they get hurt, well, workers are more expendable when you don't invest a lot of money in them.

I might be dating myself, but I remember when companies would train their own workers or let the unions bring on apprentices and get trained that way.

Anyway, as we have learned, when it comes to Walker, there is more.  There is always more:
Walker’s newsroom visit followed a Wednesday meeting with Competitive Wisconsin Inc. in Milwaukee, a nonpartisan coalition whose research has shaped some of Walker’s key economic development initiatives as governor.

Competitive Wisconsin’s “Be Bold Wisconsin” study proposed creating a public-private economic development arm that resulted in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The group’s “Be Bold 2” report last year, along with a related skills gap study headed by local manufacturing exec Tim Sullivan, heavily influenced the $15 million training bill.

Walker told Competitive Wisconsin officials on Wednesday that if the group produces more “tangible” economic development recommendations, his administration will consider acting on them.

“In the first two plans I didn’t necessarily take the plan and put it right into law, but I joked and I said we came pretty close,” Walker said. “There’s a receptiveness on our part if they come back with a plan based on real needs and real opportunity for economic development in the state that we would largely embrace it as we did the first two plans.”
Wonderful! Walker has publicly opened up Wisconsin for more pillaging by the same miscreants and reprobates who gave us WEDC, which has lost tens of millions of dollars of our tax money in sweet heart giveaways to Walker's campaign donors.  And that's not counting the money they spent on iTunes and Badger game tickets for themselves.

Now, the gentle reader might be asking themselves, "Who the heck is Competitive Wisconsin?"

That is a very good question with a very bad answer (emphasis mine):
Now that he’s a free agent, Sullivan is stepping out as a leader in the multi-pronged assault on public education under the guise of “strengthening workforce development.” He’s using these councils to create the illusion of bipartisan and inter-agency consent to drastic changes in state policy that shift control away from democratically elected bodies to “public-private partnerships,” and to other drastic changes in the state budget that privilege the interests of manufacturers over the needs of Wisconsin kids.

The Council on Workforce Investment and the College and Workforce Readiness Council are working closely with Competitive Wisconsin, an alliance of politically connected businesses organized by Jim Wood, president of their family PR firm Wood Communications. Jim also sits on the board of the Wisconsin Mining Association. Wood Communications has a long history of promoting controversial mining projects in the state such as the Flambeau mine in Ladysmith and the Exxon mine in Crandon.

Competitive Wisconsin’s Be Bold campaign, launched in 2010, resulted in the proposal to break up the Department of Commerce and create the semi-privatized Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that is in the business of handing out corporate tax credits to “job creators.” At a meeting in Madison last week, Jim Wood told participants that both candidates for Governor in 2010 – Democrat Tom Barrett and Republican Scott Walker – agreed to adopt the recommendations of that campaign. Indeed, Scott Walker decided to adopt Be Bold’s ready-made proposals as his own agenda once in office. A brief comparison of the Be Bold website and the Governor’s website shows a remarkable resemblance in content and language.

Though Competitive Wisconsin describes itself as a nonpartisan policy group, the interests they serve are easily discovered by a perusal of their policy papers. They make no bones about who they are promoting in the document BE BOLD: The Role of Capital in the Building and Maintaining of Wisconsin’s Entrepreneurial Economy:
“The public and private sectors must also focus now on encouraging and enabling current employers who have expansion and growth potential to maximize that potential as quickly as possible. Strong exporting cluster industries, such as defense manufacturing, medical devices, and minerals, would fall into this category.”
“Be Bold 2: Focusing on Jobs” is their new initiative. It would more accurately be subtitled, “Raiding Public Education Budgets.” Competitive Wisconsin hired Manpower, Inc. to do a study called “The Talent Mismatch” that will analyze the demand for vs. supply of job skills in the Wisconsin labor force. According to Wood, they hope to show that “a lack of resources creates tension on the high demand skills market and constrains business growth.”

Plainly speaking, they want to make the argument that public K-12 schools, tech colleges and universities should be aligning their curriculum and programs of study with the jobs demanded by manufacturers in the defense, medical device and mining industries, with health care as an afterthought. The results of this study will then be reported to lawmakers, perhaps through the Committee on Improving Educational Opportunities in High School that met for the first time last week, and then legislated into policy next year.

That is also the goal of Tim Sullivan and his workforce development groups. Although on the face of it they seem to be bipartisan policy research groups, these councils and consortia are actually private clubs of the corporate elite and their allies in government agencies where they build consensus about how to best pursue their interests. In this case, the interest is focused on the jackpot that is the $33 billion biennial public K-12 education budget.

Sullivan wasn’t pulling any punches on Thursday during a meeting of the Workforce Investment Council. After a presentation of a map of all federal and state workforce development money available for job training and work-readiness programs, the group’s conclusion was that $406 million a year is not nearly enough to meet the training needs of companies that claim they can’t find qualified workers, and the unemployed workers themselves.

But Tim Sullivan has a plan, and it involves getting access to some of that $33 billion of the public education budget.
Now, Sullivan recently left his position to goldbrick in the private sector again, but don't think for one second that this is anything but a minor hitch to these special interests that have their eyes on the whole education budget.

I wouldn't be surprised if we learn that they are also after the higher education funds as well.  It would explain the faux outrage that the Teapublicans expressed at the money that the University of Wisconsin had squirreled away and why they were so eager to get their hands on it.

Perhaps Walker should consider a slogan change from "Wisconsin - Open for Business" to "Our Kids - Up for Sale."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Was Martin Luther King Jr. A Republican?

By Jeff Simpson

Why no.  He absolutely was NOT!

King was not a partisan and never endorsed any political candidate. In a 1958 interview, King said “I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.”

King did, however, weigh in on the Republican party during his lifetime. In Chapter 23 of his autobiography, King writes this about the 1964 Republican National Convention:
The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right. The “best man” at this ceremony was a senator whose voting record, philosophy, and program were anathema to all the hard-won achievements of the past decade.

Senator Goldwater had neither the concern nor the comprehension necessary to grapple with this problem of poverty in the fashion that the historical moment dictated. On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represented a philosophy that was morally indefensible and socially suicidal. While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulated a philosophy which gave aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand. In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.

As his son says:

 However, in a 2008 Associated Press story, King’s son and namesake Martin Luther King III said:"It is disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate, and there is certainly no evidence that he ever even voted for a Republican. It is even more outrageous to suggest he would support the Republican Party of today, which has spent so much time and effort trying to suppress African American votes in Florida and many other states."

Next time a republican tries to tell you that MLK Jr. was a republican, or buys a billboard to announce it, now you know the rest of the story! 

Return of the Solidarity Fish Fry

Almost a year ago, the members of Local 122, who worked at Serb Hall in Milwaukee, came to the Milwaukee Area Labor Council asking for help.  The management at Serb Hall was trying to bust the union and was mistreating the workers.

To show our support for the beleaguered workers, Randy Bryce of Ironworkers Local 8 and I started a little Solidarity Fish Fry.  Every Friday evening, Randy and I and a large group of people would go to Serb Hall and would ask to be seated at a union table.  Then we would make sure we left the union waitress a large tip and made sure that management knew that it was the union that kept us coming.
thing we called the

Sadly, management at Serb Hall bargained in bad faith and tried to sabotage the union at every turn.  Eventually, they just stopped even dealing with the union.  At that we ended the Solidarity Fish Fry and started to boycott the place.

Sadly, the union is done.

Fortunately, the solidarity remains, strong as ever.

To commemorate that fact, we thought that there would be no better way to start off a Labor Day weekend than with some solidarity.  And the best way to do that is with the Return of the Solidarity Fish Fry.

So with that, consider this an open invite to join us this Friday for some very good fish (everyone agrees that Clifford's is much superior to Serb Hall) and some great solidarity.

And as a special treat, Randy has been working on a new dance.  It's based on the Carlton and he calls it the Tartar Ton.

Quote of the Day

Shakespeare did have some good soundbites, especially this one:
"It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Tonette Owes Madison Metropolitan Schools an Apology!

By Jeff Simpson

In a little read puff piece, by WPRI stenographer Sunny Schubert, Tonette Walker had this to say about the Madison School District:

 Then the protests erupted, and Scott’s mother volunteered to move in with the boys so they could stay in Wauwatosa.If they had been in a Madison school, it wouldn’t have been very nice for them,” she adds. “They didn’t sign up for this job.

What exactly was that based on?  Does she have any examples of the Madison Metropolitian School District and/or the Madison administrators, teachers and support staff being anything but professional in the way they deal with the children in their district?  

To say that the professional staff of the MMSD, who have dedicated their whole lives to making sure ALL kids get a chance in life and a quality education would unequivocally treat her kids any different than anyone else in their classes is beyond the pale.  

**Tonette Walker owes an apology to every employee in the Madison School District.**

Also, one last little tidbit from the interview(I read it so you dont have too):

“It makes me sick — and very, very sad. I’ve heard people say that they still won’t speak to their cousin or that they lost a good friend over the recall, and it hurts to hear that.”

I wonder where that divisiveness comes from?

Scott Walker Gets His Wish

By Jeff Simpson

In case you need reminding, Scott Walker took the fake Koch Brothers phone call no questions asked.  He figured it was just his boss checking in on how things were going!

MURPHY: What we were thinking about the crowds, was planting some trouble makers?

WALKER: Well, the only problem, because we thought about that, my only gut reaction to that would be, right now, the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this. The teachers union did some polling and focus groups, I think, and found out that the public turned on them the minute they closed school down for a couple days. The guys we have left are largely from out of state, and I keep dismissing it in my press comment saying, ‘eh, they’re mostly from out of state.’”
I’m saying hey, ‘we can handle this, people can protest, this is Madison, you know, full of the 60s liberals.’ Let them protest. It’s not going to affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes, and the majority of people are telling us we’re doing the right thing, let them protest all they want.

As Capper points out, Scott Walker finally got his wish:

I wonder if Scott Walker opened up a $350 bottle of Wine to drink with his friends at WMC and celebrate the beating of a Wisconsin citizen?  i can not think of too many other things that would have made Walker happier.