Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rachel Duffy -Reality TV WIll Save Us

By Jeff Simpson

Milwaukee righty hate talker Charlie Sykes recently had world famous dancer Sean Duffy's wife, Rachel Duffy, on for an interview.  

As most elementary teachers will testify, when two children have a conversation, kids say the darndest things.   These two crazy kids did not disappoint!

Campos-Duffy: There is something that is limiting the indoctrination... reality tv shows kids like competition.

For those that do not speak right wing moonbat, and need an interpreter, Ms. Duffy is saying that we have reality TV, to counter indoctrination in our schools by Marxist Professors.
It’s worth noting that young people who don’t go to college have a more favorable view of capitalism than those who do. However, the indoctrination begins long before they meet their Marxist professors. In fact, children begin hearing messages that denigrate the notion of “competition” in the preschool years. It starts with kids shows that equate a desire to win with insensitivity to others. From Barbie to Dragon Tales, healthy competition is too often portrayed as a sign of anti-social behavior which needs to be addressed and rectified. These shows are the primer for the sports programs they’ll later join that de-emphasize competition, awarding medals just for participation.
She then gets on a roll of gobbeldygook

 The good news is that the left-wing indoctrination machine that seems to envelop our children from crib to grad school has its limits. No matter what the social engineers plan or do, or how much taxpayer funding they get, they can’t reverse the fact that my son will run faster to the mailbox if he runs with his sister than if he runs alone. They can’t take away the transcendent feeling of accomplishment my child feels when she gets an A, wins a scholarship, or takes first place in an art competition.
Now for the BIG finish:

 That’s why I am so encouraged by the popularity and growing number of television shows featuring young people, like NBC’s “The Voice”, the Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” or “Kids’ Baking Championship” – or even shows that you might not think are targeted to kids such as “Shark Tank”, “Cupcake Wars,” “Strong”, and “The Apprentice.”My kids and millions of others are drawn to these competition-driven reality shows. They cheer for their favorite competitors, and learn valuable lessons about character, dedication, hard work, and the sometimes unfair distribution of natural talent.
Sometimes they learn that having parents who can channel and nurture a child’s talent or interests makes all the difference. Other times they learn how hard work and passion can overcome everything, including poverty. Watch an episode of Bravo’s “Project Runway Junior,” “American Idol,” or any of the kids’ cooking competitions and you will walk away hopeful for the future of American genius and capitalism. You just know one day soon you’ll be downloading their hit song, purchasing one of their designer gowns, or waiting three months to get a reservation at their restaurant.
Umm Rach not sure if anyone has told you or not but Reality TV is NOT REAL.  As someone whose claim to fame is being on a "reality" show, I would think she would understand that.  I am not sure if she is now aware that there are not cameras all over her house anymore or not.   I mean no one really thought that her relationship with Puck was something that was not staged.    
A look at the shows she is touting reveal that yes, it does resemble America.  For instance, the Voice has not churned out a superstar yet but has helped make the judges bigger stars, In 15 seasons of American Idol and thousands of contestants, there have been 69 people who have released albums and most of those never even charted.   Take away Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson and how many past contestants can you name?  The reality is these are designed for the winner they want to win
Like Republican economic policy, family values and world view, Reality TV is divorced from reality.  
Thanks to Mrs. Campos Duffy for pointing that out to us! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Kevin Binversie Wants You Off His Lawn

By Jeff Simpson

Well not his lawn exactly, those crazy college kids in Madison.  The annual Mifflin Street Block Party has been a tradition in Madison since 1969 and now Binversie, the far right Republican Blogger whose resume includes calling women "Bitches" and wishing for Congressman Mark Pocans death, is now calling for an end to the annual college party.

Binversie, who lives in Sheboygan and attended UW-Eau Claire, has decided he knows whats best for Madison.  Madison is known as a liberal city after all and the right wing elected officials have a long history of trying to control Dane County.

Binversie, using his wingnut welfare position as (insert title here) for the Charlie Sykes loony website Right Wisconsin, complains about college kids having fun.    

Paging Dr. Frankenstein. Your monster is out of control again.
Having never gone to UW-Madison I have no real opinion on the annual riot – I’m sorry, kegger – known as the “Mifflin Street Block Party.” There’s no affinity or hatred for the event; all I have to go on are the stories of friends who attended it while at Madison and recent headlines.

The irony of an opinion piece, that starts out with "I have no real opinion" is completely lost on Mr. Binversie, so is the fact that he has formed his non-opinion on hearsay(like we didnt know that anyway).   Anyone who has read Binversies posts know that facts, evidence and real world experience is not a major factor in his writings.

While there have been some problems at the Mifflin Street Block Party, throughout the years, the reality is it is a safer place to be than a GOP event with Republican Majority Leader Bill Kramer in attendance.  

For the record, the Mifflin Street Block Party was held this weekend and with the thousands of people there, no significant issues occurred at the party.   Turns out it is safer to attend the party now than a GOP frontrunner Donald Trump campaign event.

With only one person being arrested over the weekend at theMifflin Street Block party, it pales in comparison to the amount of people from Scott Walker's inner circle who have been arrested and convicted.

Maybe if the Republicans in Wisconsin spent more time taking care of their own house, instead of telling everyone else how they should live, we could have nice things(like schools and roads and jobs).  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Wild, Wild West Allis

My wife and I moved at the end of last year and moved back to the same neighborhood that I grew up in as a kid.

Back then, West Allis used to be a moderately liberal, working class, blue collar type of city.  Block parties were not unusual. When one of the neighborhood kids had a birthday, all the neighbors came over to have some cake and enjoy socializing with each other.

Oh sure, there were problems, like kids fighting, some drug use and Hwy 100 was clogged every night with cruisers.  But overall, it wasn't a bad place to live, work and raise a family.

But that's all changed.  It's become notably much more conservative.  Instead of a liberal mayor, we have a corporate Democrat.  Instead of family supporting jobs, we have check cashing places and fast food joints, including - oh, joy! - a Chick Fil A soon coming to the area.  We also have the damage done by the conservatives, like Scott Walker and Chris Abele, such as their reckless gutting of any gun laws and dismantling mental health services.

In the four short months that we have lived here, there have been three shootings within a three block line, with two of them less than a block away from each other.

At the beginning of the year, there was a shooting at Heartbreakers, a strip joint on 95th St and National Ave.

At the beginning of April, there was a shooting at a gas station just a block away.

Now, early this morning, there was another shooting just three blocks from the first ones.  Sadly, this one involves a fatality:
One person is reported to have been killed in a shooting that has sparked a manhunt Sunday in West Allis.

Police responded just before 7 a.m. to reports of a burglary and shots fired at an apartment building in the 2300 block of S. 92nd St., according to police news releases.

Officers found an injured man in the building and moved him to safety, but he died from his injuries — presumably from the gunshots, though the most recent news release didn't specify.
At the time of this writing, the shooter is still on the loose.

Remember when the gun nuts said that more guns would make us all safer?

Instead of West Allis, it's become the Wild, Wild West Allis.

Yet, despite all of this, I still feel no need to start carrying a gun, a switchblade or any other weapon.  Maybe I'll invest in some Kevlar to protect myself from these gun-loving idiots, but that's about it.

GOP Speaker of The House Is Child Predator

By Jeff Simpson

Recently, former GOP Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who actually served as the third in line from the Presidency longer than anyone in our history, is a child predator.  

Mr. Hastert is not only a child predator, but he will never be punished for his actions.   He was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison but it was because Hastert pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges of structuring financial transactions to conceal payments($3.5 Million) to an individual whom he had sexually abused decades earlier, when Hastert worked as a high school wrestling coach.  The Statute of Limitations has expired on his sexual preying on children(assuming he no longer does it).

Being in a 24 hour news cycle, let's take a quick refresher course on Denny Hastert and his career. Mr. Hastert was Speaker of the House from 1999-2007, when he resigned and cashed in for a few years as a lobbyist.   The former ALEC member, was rewarded for his years of service to them by a sweet lobbying job for a few years after he left office.   Has anyone asked if he was alone with any children at the lobbying office?   

Without getting too deep into his horrible political record, lets just take a look at the clues of his sexual preying.  The start of his downfall, was when he covered up the fact that fellow Republican Mark Foley was preying on interns in DC.   The GOP leadership knew what Foley was doing but as always, put party before people and allowed children to continue being prey.   

The interesting thing there, surprise surprise, was as Speaker, Hastert took a serious stand against child predators:

The longtime Republican lawmaker supported the Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act of 2000 and called for stiffer penalties for sex offenders before his own pattern of abuse was revealed, reported the Chicago Tribune.
“It is important to have a national notification system to help safely recover children kidnapped by child predators,” Hastert said in 2003, after Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart was recovered after a nine-month ordeal of kidnapping and abuse.
“But it is equally important to stop those predators before they strike, to put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives and to help law enforcement with the tools they need to get the job done,” Hastert said at the time.
The former GOP lawmaker also spoke out against President Bill Clinton’s private conduct during the impeachment proceedings, saying he had abused and violated the public trust.
Yes irony and shame are long gone from our Government these days.   This is why it made it so interesting when Hastert begged for leniency from the judge.  Hastert even had over 60 people write letters of support for him ( although 20 cowards withdrew their letters when the judge said they would be made public).    

Hastert even trumped his own hypocrisy(who knew that was possible) by asking one of his victims brothers to write a letter in support for him.   

A good but really tough read is the judge's remarks in sentencing Dennis Hastert.   

NY Times correspondent @juliebosman tweeted the sentencing and here are some low lights:
 Apr 27Judge, on Hastert: "The defendant is a serial child molester."

 Apr 27Judge to Hastert: Any sentence I give you today would "pale" to what you would have received in state court for committing sexual abuse.

 Apr 27Judge, on Hastert: "If there’s a public shaming of the defendant because of the conduct he’s engaged in, so be it."
Finally this one:

 Apr 27Judge's final words before exiting: "This is a horrible case.. horrible for our country. I hope I never have to see a case like this again."

One last thought:

Friday, April 29, 2016

RoJo Wants To Reform Something

By Jeff Simpson

Our Dumb Senator wants to "reform" something:

Ron introduces reform package aimed at wasteful govermnet spending

Posted by Staff
Apr 28, 2016 5:48:25 PM
Federal News Radio
By: Meredith Somers
April 27, 2016
Oil paintings, presidential allowances and administrative leave — the legislative package Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) plans to introduce covers a variety of federal programs and payments, with the singular goal of government reform.

Maybe that is why Mr. Johnson has done absolutely nothing in his six years of non work for the people of Wisconsin.    He does not know he works for the people of Wisconsin in the US Government.  

Vote for Russ Feingold in November!   Let's get intelligent adults back in our Government.

Paul Ryan Wants To Kill Me


By Jeff Simpson

Janesvilles own Paul Ryan (R - Wall St.), recently took over the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives, promised a new tone of civility within his party.

Imagine my surprise, when I read this story today:

U.S.  House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan called on Wednesday for an end to Obamacare’s financial protections for people with serious medical conditions, saying these consumers should be placed in state high-risk pools.
In election-year remarks that could shed light on an expected Republican health care alternative, Ryan said existing federal policy that prevents insurers from charging sick people higher rates for health coverage has raised costs for healthy consumers while undermining choice and competition.
The rule, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, has been praised by patient advocates for providing access to medical care for people who previously could not afford private health insurance. The Affordable Care Act also bars insurers from excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions.
“Less than 10 percent of people under 65 are what we call people with pre-existing conditions, who are really kind of uninsurable,” Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, told a student audience at Georgetown University.

I have never been shy about sharing my journey fighting Cancer publicly.   It is a club I would rather not be in but, as Mr. Ryan speaks so much about choice, it is a choice I(and millions of others) did not have.

While Mr. Ryan speaks of "ONLY 10 percent", which is approximately 27,481,309 million Americans that he is referring to.    A mass shooting is defined by four or more people being shot or killed, I hate to think what the needless death of 27.5 million Americans would be called.

Before I get accused of histrionics and hyperbole, I understand that allowing insurance companies to drop us "who are really kind of uninsurable," will not immediately kill all of us.   It will immediately kill some of us, and eventually kill a vast majority of us.   

I know personally, without the quality health insurance I have, I would have died a horrible painful death by now.   There isn't a health savings account south of Janna Ryan's family Oklahoma oil money,that could even come close to putting a dent in the bills my medical issues have racked up.  

Now Mr. Ryan, who is third in line from the Presidency of the United States, has decided it would be best if insurance companies would not have to cover me for a reasonable rate.   

Let's take cancer for instance :  
Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world and its incidence continues to rise. Each year 12.7 million people discover they have cancer and 7.6 million people die from the disease. However, evidence shows that 30 - 40 percent of these deaths can be prevented, and one-third can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment.     That translates to 340,000 cases of cancer a year in the US alone that can be stopped or cured with early diagnosis and treatment.   
The only possible way to get early diagnosis and treatment is to have affordable health care and see your doctor regularly.    Without health insurance or with a ridiculously high deductible, people will not go to the doctor and get treated.  Nikolas Kristof of the New York Times gave us an incredible inside look of just this very instance that happened to a good friend of his.  It is a tough but very important read.

But wait there is more!    If an insurance company is allowed to drop you after a diagnosis, then you are stuck during the hardest time in your life(trust me it takes quite some time for the (you have cancer) news to truly sink in) calling around and pricing private insurance plans for the uninsurable.  
One thing for me, and I am sure most others, is consistency in care.   When you change or price insurance companies, you have to keep your doctors in mind.   My case is so incredibly complicated, I have at one time or another, spent time with 8 different groups of surgical specialists.  Can you imagine half way through treatment/diagnosis having to switch to another hospital and finding a whole new group of 8 different teams and get them up to speed while hoping that the insurance company I picked was not also planning on dropping me.

The stress on not just me, but my family, and wife and children was unbearable to begin with.   When a family member gets an illness the whole family and friends get it also.   Does Mr. Ryan also plan on allowing the insurance companies to drop my wife and kids also because I am expensive?   If that is the case, the 27.5 million Americans starts to increase exponentially.    

We know from experience and hindsight that many patients can not wait for treatment because of no insurance, shopping insurance companies or denial of services by the insurance company you have.

People have literally died because of this 

Many people on both sides of the aisle, realize that Obamacare is not perfect.   They realize that there are many different tweaks that need to be done to help insure all Americans.   Almost all people realize that the one good thing we can agree on is that insurance companies can no longer drop people who get sick and actually have to use their insurance.

That is all but the most extreme of us.  Paul Ryan is one of those people who are too extreme.  

Are we a nation that wants people who are unfortunate enough to get a debilitating disease to die off quickly to cull the herd?  Or are we a people that understands that "All (wo)Men Are Created Equal" and no diagnosis should be a death penalty?

I have been told many times that we have the government we deserve.   Let us come to common ground and understand that I do not deserve to die because I happened to have cancer.   I do not deserve to die a painful death early because I can no longer afford high risk insurance.

No one in Wisconsin deserves to have Paul Ryan represent them

It is time we retire Paul Ryan from Congress, for the sake of 27.5 million of your friends and neighbors and family members!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Law Bores The GOP

By Jeff Simpson

If you remember, the Bradley Foundations, latest employee to be given the power of elected office Rebecca Bradley.  

Also rememeber that Ms. Bradley was the appointed member of the Walker Crony squad and one of the first things she did as a Supreme Court Justice, and member of the highest court in the state, was to leave the court in the middle of oral arguments to run to a fund raiser put on by her bosses.  

Well disrespect for the law and their position goes even higher than the Wisconsin Supreme Court, all the way up to Supreme Court of the US.  Justice Clarence Thomas, he of the wife who is crazy tea party fame, apparently is up too late at night trying to think of an actual question to ask, that he can not stay awake during his day job.  

A recent Supreme Court Sketch artist released a drawing of inside the courtroom:


Notice anything there?  Yes that is a sketch artists drawing of Justice Thomas sleeping.   I guess the case was boring him, and since he is a far right ideologue and joke on the court, and like Bradley, he knows how he is told to vote, so who needs to listen to the details?

Whats next?  If I did not know better,  I would think that the GOP would have such a lack of respect for the law that Scott Walker will appoint David " Ike Turner" Prossers appointment as someone who did a barnstorming tour in local bars speaking with hate talker Vicki Mckenna on a perverted version of freedom.  

Nah!  Nat even Scott Walker is that brazen with that little respect for the law?


Scott Walker and Beelzebub

By Jeff Simpson

The quote of the day comes from former Speaker of the House John Boehner.  The orange man lets it fly when asked about Ted Cruz.

Asked about the 2016 presidential candidate at a forum hosted by Stanford in Government (SIG) and the Stanford Speakers Bureau, Boehner drew laughter for making a face of disgust, according to the Stanford Daily.

"Lucifer in the flesh," Boehner said, according to the paper. "I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."

He added that he would vote for Donald Trump in a general election if he becomes the Republican nominee but that he would not vote for Cruz.

If there is anything that shows how extreme and out of touch the WISGOP is with not only Wisconsin but the rest of America also, by the fact that the hate talkers and most electeds got together, collaborated and pushed Ted Cruz to victory in the WI primary.

Scotty himself gushed over Cruz

 "After eight years of the failed Obama-Clinton Administration, Americans are looking for real leadership and a new direction. Ted Cruz is a principled constitutional conservative who understands that power belongs to the states — and to the people — and not bureaucrats in Washington," Walker said in a statement released as he announced his decision on Sykes' show. "Just like we did in Wisconsin, Ted Cruz is not afraid to challenge the status quo and to stand up against the big government special interests. He is the best-positioned candidate to both win the Republican nomination and defeat Hillary Clinton. That’s why I endorse Ted Cruz for President of the United States."

In citing his reasoning for backing Cruz, Walker said, "I just fundamentally believe that he is a constitutional conservative," in addition to favorably 
comparing Cruz's style and policies as more suitable to the middle of the country. 
"I wanted to make sure I was supporting someone ... I wasn't against someone," said Walker, who said he plans to campaign on behalf of Cruz ahead of the state's primary on April 5. "I want to be for something."

Maybe its the fact that the WISGOP, follow Ted Cruz's policies that they are so uptight, petty and angry,  

Walker, GOP To Strengthen Chokehold On State Supreme Court

After seeing his colleague, Patrick Crooks, die in office and after the death of Antonio Scalia, Wisconsin Supreme Court Injustice David "Choke Hold" Prosser has announced his retirement before he becomes number three:

The gentle reader would be smart to wonder if this move was just a retirement and not a political move by the Wisconsin GOP. Since Scott Walker's appointee Rebecca Bradley and her corporate sponsors successfully bought her election in the spring, the state supreme court would be able to avoid the deadlock we see at the United States Supreme Court. Furthermore, whomever Walker anoints, er, appoints as Prosser's successor would be safe until at least 2020, when the next election would be for that seat on the bench.

All of this naturally leads to speculation on whom Walker will anoint, er, appoint at his masters' bidding.

While no names have been floated out there yet, rest assured that this person already as a predated application sitting on Walker's desk.

A couple of names that immediately comes to mind would include Jim Troupis, whom Walker appointed to circuit court last year. Troupis' "qualifications" include working on the GOP's gerrymandering scheme as well as successfully defending Walker's Act 10, the right to work law for public sector employees.

Another name worth watching would be Brian Hagedorn, Walker's former state solicitor, whom Walker appointed to the appellate court last year, despite his only qualification being keeping Walker from having to face accountability in the John Doe investigations.

Whomever Walker appoints to the seat, rest assured that they will have taken a vow to protect and serve their corporate sponsors, the GOP agenda and will never, ever let that silly old constitution get in the way of their mission.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Christian Schneider - Stupid M@th@rf$ck$r

By Jeff Simpson

For a time everyone respected and was sad to hear the news that Prince had passed.

 Apr 21Wow. Growing up in the 80s, the music of Prince was a big deal. What a shock!
Christian Schneider

Politicians went crazy with tweets after Prince's untimely death Thursday, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did it best.

 Apr 21Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today. To get through this thing called life...

Seriously, USA Today called out Scott Walker as being brilliant for plagiarizing Prince's lyrics on the day Prince died.   Not to mention that a quick search of twitter and you see too many tweets to count with the same thing.

 Apr 21Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to get through this thing called life. And if the elevator ever brings you down

Apparently Scott Walker says the same things everyone else is saying but he says it best!    I wonder if Paul Singer has ordered his fathead of Scott Walker for his office wall yet or not?

Speaking of fatheads. Christian Schneider has had enough.

See while everyone jumped on the bandwagon of a private phenom who kept to himself, a funny thing happened along the way.  We found out that Prince was such a private person, that he had actually been giving to and supporting many causes without feeling the need to broadcast it.

Prince supported Black Lives Matter.  He also forced InStyle Magazine to hire a black woman to interview him in 2000. sent money to the family of Trayvon Martin, paid for solar panels for people tp put on their houses in the poorer areas of Oakland(double whammy, minorities and alternative energy), helped start the #Yeswecode, was a forty year Union member and strong supporter of the working class, made a point to elevate and mentor women in music.

The stories are endless and still trickling out, including one more I want to share.  A few years ago, the great drummer from Madison, Clyde Stubblefield, was diagnosed with bladder cancer and like most musicians was without insurance.  While his friends held some fundraisers for him(remember we have a coffee can healthcare system in America), it was Prince who heard about it and stepped up and paid the $80,000 bill that Mr. Stubblefield still owed.   Most of these stories being told now were done with the condition of anonymity.    That is who Prince Rogers Nelsen was.  

All of these stories coming out has made our friends on the far right very uncomfortable.  How can someone with Prince's resources dedicate his life to helping the poor, the working class, women and minorites instead of chasing every single dollar he could?   How could he do acts of kindness and not brag about it?   How could there be more to the person than the tiny talented recluse we see pop up on rare occassions?

That kind of human spirit and giving character is what leads to stories like this from Christian Schneider.    Schneider is employed by the Bradley Foundation and on loan to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as the person they call when they need to get ahead of a stroy or change a narrative.   Mr. Schneider desperately tries here and fails as miserably as New Coke.

Good grief. First of all, there's a 95% chance none of you mourning Prince's death had listened to anything he recorded in the past quarter of a century. When he played at halftime of the Super Bowl in 2007, you said to yourself, "Hey, he used to be great!"
 And no, Prince did not make you the person you are today. You know no more about sex or life or the color purple than if he had never existed. If you learned about "compassion" from a guy who reportedly didn't allow employees to look at him in the eyes, perhaps some counseling is in order. (The only lasting effect Prince had on preteen boys in 1984 was forcing them to daydream about the feminine wonders to be found in Lake Minnetonka.)
 But the compulsion to grieve so publicly is simply too much for people today to resist. It's almost as if there is some government bureau taking note of who expressed sadness over Prince's passing and who didn't. It's not like saying "so sad Prince died!" on Twitter goes into your compassion bank, to be cashed in at a later date. You won't be on trial, and the judge says, "Well, he did steal that car and ram it into that hospital for puppies, but then again, he also seemed pretty shaken up about Bowie's death."

I could point out that social media is part of community and when some people grieve, they need community to help them.  However I am certain that it would go right over Mr. Schneiders head(unless it had a check attached).

 “Supporting people in grief means being with them in their pain and sorrow and taking our cues from them and what they need. It’s not helpful, logical or useful to pass judgment, and in fact, I think it’s precisely that judgment that often causes grievers the most pain.”

The reality is Schneider does not care of you grieve, how you grieve or that the great and talented Prince is no longer with us. Schneider's task was to try and diminish his legacy and get you to not look under the surface to who Prince was.  

The more we admire and hold up people who use their celebrity and gifts to help mankind, the more their silly version of "I built this and no one helped me" or the "drag yourself up by your bootstraps" and other just as ridiculous memes of the far right wing are becoming.  

In the age of information, the goal of certain people is to make sure you are not privy to certain information.  It is unfortunate that the largest newspaper/media outlet in our state allows that to happen and gives him a forum of faux credibility.

If you want to read a truly great and comprehensive eulogy of Prince I recommend this one.

Here is Prince's iconic performance at the half time of the 2007 Super Bowl! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Referenda Sustain Schools During time of Decreasing State Support

By Kathleen Vinehout 

School districts these days more or less live and die by these referendums in terms of their ability to sustain programs and staff,” Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) recently said as reported by the 

So far in 2016, voters approved more than three-quarters of the 85 ballot referenda to raise property taxes to send more local dollars to schools. The nearly 77% pass rate is much higher than a few years ago.

People are voting to raise property taxes to keep their schools alive.
Recently I met with officials from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to understand school funding trends. I learned there was a big shift in the success of referenda. Prior to 2011 (and the deep school cuts that year) about half of school referenda passed. In the past five years about two-thirds passed.
Historically, communities voted to raise school property taxes to build buildings. Prior to 2011, nearly two-thirds of referenda votes were for the purpose of raising debt for building projects.
After 2011, over half of the votes to raise school property taxes are to fund current educational costs. But there is a limit to how much people can raise their property taxes to pay for current operations.
Back in 2012, the community of Gilmanton raised the school portion of their property taxes by over 40% to keep their beloved school alive. After the vote, many constituents told me “voters will never again” be able to afford such an increase in property taxes.
At a recent legislative breakfast, local school officials pleaded with lawmakers to increase state aid. School officials spoke of local “referenda fatigue” meaning people just can’t afford to raise their property taxes even though they want to keep the school district afloat.
Superintendent Dr. Connie Biedron reviewed the different ways the state cut funds to schools: cuts in state aid, local school districts paying for Milwaukee charter schools, local school districts paying for private school vouchers.
“I’m so grateful people are supporting schools by passing the referendum, but we are facing a continual decline in state funding”, said Dr. Biedron, “Communities can’t continue to tax more. They just can’t support taxing more.”
Prescott is a community that recently voted down a referendum for “existing educational programs and staff”. The February loss means the district is facing cuts of nearly 10% of its budget.
Just over river from Prescott, in Minnesota, voters do not face the same harsh realities of raising property taxes or facing deep cuts to schools.
Minnesota funds about two-thirds of school budgets with state aid. Only 30% comes from local sources like property taxes. Todd Langenfeld, a Prescott resident active in the referenda discussion, told me, “Wisconsin made a commitment to fund schools with two-thirds state funding. But we are well below that.”
The state of Wisconsin contributes about 45% (compared to Minnesota’s 64%) of the cost of schools, while locals contribute almost half.
Mr. Langenfeld continued, “To make up the difference, Prescott goes to referendum. If the state kicked in more, people would pay less in taxes.”
When the state pays less, people face awful choices; raise property taxes just to stay even with the cost of educating children or keep property taxes the same and cut children’s educational opportunities.
For Prescott, state funding this year covers about 53% of students’ costs. But two years ago, the state aid covered about 55% of the school district budget. Given rising costs and the expiration of a “non-recurring” referendum (renewed since 1999), it is not surprising voters faced a hard choice.
Prescott voters will get another opportunity to support their schools on May 25, 2016 when a special election will be held on another referendum. This time voters will be asked to make permanent (or recurring) the expiring referendum.
The immediate lay-off of teachers, cuts in student activities, canceling bus routes, and closing buildings may be averted with the passage of the May referendum.
However, voters all around the state must solve long-term problems by electing a Legislature willing to tackle the tough questions of how to increase permanently the state share of money for our children’s education.  

Madison Office
108 South, State Capitol
(608) 266-8546

Mailing Address
PO Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707-7882

Rep. Taylor Urges GAB to Request Critical Funds for Voter ID Information Campaign

Rep. Taylor Urges GAB to Request Critical Funds for Voter ID Information Campaign
Legislature has an obligation to fund needed campaign

MADISON – Today, the Government Accountability Board (GAB) held their April 2016 board meeting. Rep. Taylor (D-Madison) appeared at the meeting and urged GAB members to formally request funding from the legislature for a comprehensive Voter ID information campaign. Though Democrats strongly oppose this law, which suppresses individuals’ ability to vote, particularly people of color, individuals with disabilities and students, most legal challenges to the law were unsuccessful and Wisconsinites are now required to present a specific photo identification for voting. Under the 2011 Voter ID law, the state was also required to fund a public information campaign but has failed to provide funds to execute this campaign. After her remarks in front of the GAB, Rep. Taylor issued the following statement:

“Few things are more precious in a democracy than a person’s right to vote. The enactment of one of the most restrictive Voter ID laws in the country is compounded by the fact that Republicans have failed to provide the funding necessary to execute a public education campaign that, for the most part, the GAB has already prepared and is ready to launch. It is imperative that every person eligible to vote is able to do so in the August primaries and the November general elections, but the Voter ID law is very restrictive and complex. The state has an obligation to make sure each voter knows what they will be required to present to be able to vote.”

“The GAB needs to immediately request funds from the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) to begin this desperately needed campaign, and the JFC should immediately provide these funds. We saw a high turnout in the April election, but it would have been even higher if everyone knew what documents they needed to cast their vote, and we have heard many stories of individuals who were turned away from the polls or simply gave up waiting in long lines.  We know that approximately 1 million more voters are expected in the general election this November. It is our responsibility to ensure that the millions of Wisconsinites who want to exercise their right to vote have the necessary information and documentation to vote. As legislators, we should be doing everything in our power to make it easier, not harder, to vote.”


PO Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
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Meet The GOP Education Czar


By Jeff Simpson 

I am not sure how I missed this story earlier but its time to catch up.  The Republicans passed a law stating that they can make a charter school in any district that has more than 25000 students(Milwaukee and Madison).    
The BIG Government Republicans in our state decided the best way to improve our public educational system is by hiring some young kid from out of state, who  has never taught in our schools or probably even stepped foot in a public school in Madison or Milwaukee. to run a NEW Government agency

The chief of staff for state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, has been hired by the University of Wisconsin System to oversee the creation of independent charter schools in Madison and Milwaukee.
Gary Bennett, a former public school teacher, will begin April 1, according to the UW System.
Not only did they increase the Government, they made him a  "special assistant to the President" of UW further stretching their resources because they also are going to pay him $95,000(with Cadillac Benefits).   Its amazing how the Repubs, keep putting their otherwise unemployable party members in high paying state jobs.   

In his new role, Bennett will earn $95,000 and report to UW System President Ray Cross as a special assistant to the president. 

For those of you scoring at home, the 7 members of the Madison School Board get paid $8000/yr with NO medical insurance.    That means the 7 members make $56000 a year while Mr. Bennett makes this plus an extra $40k and benefits.  Or about the cost of TWO classroom teachers and Mr. Bennett is not accountable to anyone and has no contact with children.

The taxpayers are very generous wth Mr. Bennett, especially when no one knows what he does all day.  Let's go to Mr. Bennett for his explanation.

Bennett declined comment Thursday.
$95,000 does not buy as much as it used too.

Because I am late with this story, we have the benefit of some hindsight to see how it is working so far.  

Thanks to Rep. Sondy Pope we know. 

The private voucher and charter school lobby spends millions every year padding Republicans’ campaigns, and this session they were gifted with another big return on investment in the Office of Educational Opportunity and its newly appointed "czar."
A partisan "czar" was appointed to oversee the newly created OEO. This individual can authorize charter schools in Wisconsin’s two largest districts, Madison and Milwaukee. Students can live in any district and still attend these new charter schools.
This “czar” will have vast power over schools in Wisconsin. His authority overrides that of locally elected school boards in Milwaukee and Madison. His salary and benefits, and those of his staff and office, will be paid by the already cash-strapped UW System.
In Summary, the Wisconsin Republicans passed a non fiscal, policy in the budget(to avoid debate), where they increased the size of Government and created a new "czar". interviewed in private, hired a former staffer(cronyism to the extreme) who has never even taught in WI, who makes double the taxpayer funded salary or what a teacher does, who will be completely unaccountable to anyone but the Republican party and his sole job is to take away local control from democratically elected school boards in Madison and Milwaukee.  

Sounds about par for the course under the Walker regime.