Jeff Plale and Scott Jensen, sitting in a tree….

Former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who once upon a time was convicted of abusing his office for political gain, has resurfaced in Wisconsin politics, and he’s apparently chosen the 7th State Senate District as the focus of his efforts. Earlier this year, Jensen became a senior adviser for government affairs for the American Federation of Children, an organization that advocates using tax dollars for school choice programs. State Sen. Jeff Plale (“D” – South Milwaukee) has been a proponent of school choice programs, so it’s being speculated Jensen and the AFC will be focusing a good deal of their time and money on Plale’s reelection bid:

Sources in Madison have said Jensen is raising money for the choice group so it can help out Plale, a moderate being challenged in the Democratic primary by Milwaukee County Supervisor Chris Larson, a liberal.

“He is going to be doing the pro-Plale independent (expenditures) in the primary through the school choice vehicle,” said one well-connected politico. “That appears to be where the money is being directed.”

Since 2004, Plale has received more than $17,000 in donations from those tied to school choice organizations. He also had Katy Venskus as one of his legislative aides for several years. After leaving his staff, Venskus went to work for School Choice Wisconsin and, more recently, Education Reform Now Advocacy, which supports charter schools and the mayoral takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools.

As James Rowen of The Political Environment notes, while the introduction of bucket loads of money into the race by the AFC will be a boon to Sen. Plale, the involvement of Scott Jensen and the AFC could serve as a powerful motivator for Chris Larson, Plale’s primary opponent, and Larson’s supporters.

Obviously I’ve made it clear which candidate I prefer in the 7th Senate District, but the fact that Sen. Plale is being supported by a group advised by ultra-partisan Republican Scott Jensen should give any Democratic (or independent) voters in the 7th Senate District a strong reason to consider casting their votes for Chris Larson in the Democratic primary on September 14th.

Forward Lookout has more on this story.

Are Ron Johnson & Charles Murray two peas in a pod on education?

As reported by the Oshkosh Northwestern, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson worked really really hard for over a year to bring controversial author Charles Murray to Oshkosh to speak about education. In his role as chairman of the Oshkosh Partners in Education (PIE) Council, a group of educators and business leaders who meet to discuss how best to prepare students for life after high school, Johnson pushed to have Murray come speak, despite the objections of other members of the PIE Council, objections which ultimately led to the resignation of two members of the council who did not want to be associated with Murray’s controversial views. Murray, who happens to be a a member of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, is best known for his controversial and bestselling book, “The Bell Curve,” which discusses genetic-based intelligence and differences in abilities among ethnic groups.

Johnson had started his push to bring Murray to Oshkosh back in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2010 when the PIE Council finally voted unanimously to bring Murray to Oshkosh – but only after two council members resigned and Johnson offered to pay Murray’s $5,750 speaking fee out of his own pocket.

While it would be tempting – and easy – to talk about the racial overtones of Murray’s beliefs, I’d rather focus on Murray’s belief – which Johnson apparently agrees with – that too many American students go to college when they instead should be satisfied with either not going to college or going to a vocational/technical school instead. While vocational/technical schools certainly offer invaluable training for individuals interested in learning a trade, I’d argue that one of the problems in our nation’s education system is that not enough young people are going to college. I was told from an early age that the two keys to success were education and hard work, and I’m a firm believer that the only limits to the potential of a student is the limits folks like Ron Johnson and Charles Murray want to place on those students based on race and standardized testing. While Murray – and perhaps Johnson – may believe that IQ testing is the end all, be all when it comes to determining which students deserve a chance to go to college, I’d argue that any student who wants to go to college should be given that chance, provided they’ve demonstrated an ability to do the academic work necessary.

Heck, by Charles Murray’s logic, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker, who was by his campaign’s account a “C” level college student – though we can’t know for sure because he won’t release his college transcripts – shouldn’t have been able to accomplish what he has, since he wasn’t among the educationally elite based on his grade.

I Hope it’s erasable ink!

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/08/01/palin-bush-cuts/

she writes crib notes on her hand like a senior in high school and still gets it wrong, more like an 8th grader….just think she another rising star in the republican party. Where is Britney Spears when you need her? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK1RRrwcbW0)

Congrats Chelsea BUT…….

Something is seriously wrong with our system. When we have very well paid government officials(the president makes $400,000 a year plus expenses, the governor of WI makes $136,000 yearly.) waiting until they get out of office so they can cash in. As Tommy Thompson so succinctly put it “”Everybody knows I was broke when I left the government five years ago, I’ve made a few shekels, not as many as you guys think I’ve made, but it’s tough to go back, there’s no question about that. But the country’s in trouble right now and I’m looking at that.”

While it was nice of Tommy to consider forgoing Millions of dollars of repayment of favors to come and bail us out. Most people consider $130+K a year with full benefits and expense account to be a pretty good salary.

Then there is this Gem from George W Bush “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With assets that have been estimated as high as nearly $21 million, Mr. Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets — it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Who knew how hard it was to live off a measly $400k a year with cadillac benefits!

To not blame republicans strictly for this, we know its a bipartisan effort as Bill and Hillary ($186,600/yr salary) just threw a wedding for their only daughter that costs somewhere between $2-5 MILLION dollars. (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/38444780/ns/today-today_weddings/)

I am all for rewarding public service and , as someone who ran for office before, think its great that people(regardless of party) devote their time to public service. I do not however think it should be a pass after service to “go directly to GO” and collect MILLIONS of dollars. Makes me wonder what kind of deals were made while in office(Google: Billy Tauzin).

Unfortunately, I do not know how to fix it, but the system is definitely broken!

Conservatives start criticizing Scott Walker’s campaign

Something tells me this is just the beginning of conservatives airing their discontent with the way Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaign has been run:

I know that Scott Walker doesn’t want to hear what I’m going to say. I guarantee that it won’t win me any friends within the campaign or RPW, but I don’t much care about that. What I care about is a conservative winning in November and getting Wisconsin back on track.

Right now, I don’t think that’s going to happen. The problems are best highlighted in the recent controversy over Walker and Barrett’s responses to the floods in Milwaukee. I know that Walker has insisted that the county was on top of things from the start, and that’s great that it was. It’s also great if the county got things under control so that Walker didn’t need to be there to get the cleanup underway. Unfortunately – and here’s the bad news – it doesn’t matter. There were homes on the verge of falling into sinkholes. Over 8 inches of rain in some places had fallen in a matter of a few hours. The county executive needed to be in the county, not on a campaign swing.

I’ve long maintained that while Scott Walker may be the front runner in the Republican gubernatorial race, he’s run a terrible campaign, hence Mark Neumann sticking in the race despite urgings by Republican Party insiders that he step aside and allow Walker to be coronated. Given the kind of campaign Walker has run thus far, Mark Neumann would be a fool to drop out, because I’m betting Walker’s campaign may still implode before the September primaries (anyone remember Darlene Wink?).