A recap of the Plale/Larson debate

Having had a day to fully digest Tuesday night’s debate between State Sen. Jeff Plale and Milwaukee County Supervisor Chris Larson, who happens to be challenging Sen. Plale for the right to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the seat in the 7th Senate District, one thing is abundantly clear: there was no clear winner. Both Plale and Larson were effective in stating their positions on the issues discussed at the debate, with each candidate at times effectively attacking the other.

After some brief introductory remarks by the moderator (Bruce Murphy of Milwaukee Magazine) and each candidate, Murphy delved right into the issues:
Continue reading “A recap of the Plale/Larson debate”

Three Cheers For The Teachers!!!

Tomorrow I register my kids for the upcoming school year(already). I so rarely read the daily Kos, that I do not know how I even stumbled upon this gem but I did and wanted to share it. I think everyone should thank a teacher this year as they have one of the toughest most underpaid jobs there is.

Here are some highlights of the blog:

Regularly I read people arguing that bad teachers are the fault of teachers’ unions.

That is so wrong it is ridiculous.

Teachers’ unions exist to protect the rights of all teachers.

The Bill of Rights exists to protect the rights of all persons.

In both cases, people who may have done wrong have their rights protected.

That does not prevent prosecution and conviction of criminal wrongdoers, nor does it prevent the discharge of bad teachers who refuse to improve or who cannot improve.

Because of the Bill of Rights vindictive authorities cannot use either the criminal justice system nor the land condemnation system to punish political opponents, people of minority religious views, newspapers that criticize them.

Because of teachers’ unions, under union contracts teachers accused of inadequacy or wrongdoing are afforded due process rights so that abusive administrators or school boards cannot improperly use the power of firing and disciplinary action against those they may dislike.

Remember this about unions. States with unionized workforces have higher standards of living and make more money – that is why the Northeast and industrial Midwest traditionally had higher standards of living than did the right-to-work states in the South.

Remember this about teachers’ unions. If you want to use test scores as a criteria, states with active teachers unions, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, score far higher than right to work states such as Mississippi.

Also remember this. California, in which teachers are heavily unionized, discharges twice as many experienced teachers at twice the rate (percentage-wise) as does Mississippi, which is a right to work state.

Teachers’ unions are not the problem.

Read the rest here!

Drinking Liberally – next week!

From my email inbox today comes news of the next meeting of Drinking Liberally:

My dear and only friend,

I was talking with me droog the post-corrective advisor after our last round at the milkbar, and he says something I thought was real horrorshow: “Want to have Dave Westlake come here again?” After a sip of the old knifey moloko, I says, “Yeah, and, Tom Nelson will be showing up for a liberal tolchocking, too!”

Let me translate that if it’s been a while since you’ve read “A Clockwork Orange.” Tom Nelson and Dave Westlake, who are respectively Democratic and Republican candidates for lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate, will be at the next Drinking Liberally.

It’s the second time we’ll have Westlake pay a visit, and the first time we’ll have met Nelson. Last time we had Westlake, he and Congressional candidate Todd Kolosso had an impromptu debate. What will what happens this time? Come find out!

Speaking as Your Cordial Host, in no way do I endorses or espouses “tolchocking” a candidate for office, as Alex may have done in that infamous novel. But Drinking Liberally gives you the chance to give them a good verbal workout. Come armed with questions! I hope you’ll leave satisfied either with the answers you receive or with the beer you get at Sugar Maple. Speaking of…

Where: Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207

When: Wednesday 18 August, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Who: You, and fifteen of your new best friends.

Till the 18th!

Jason Haas
Your Cordial Host and Humble Narrator

It’s time to send Sheriff Clarke packing!

Reason number 1,987,221 why Milwaukee County voters need to send Sheriff David Clarke packing this year

On the day after the deadly accident at O’Donnell Park’s parking garage, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. took the unusual step of carving out a couple of hours to provide counseling to a staffer.

At least that’s the official description of what happened immediately after Clarke’s afternoon press conference on June 25 to discuss the O’Donnell Park investigation.

But the subject of the counseling session says it was something else entirely.

“Nothing discussed in my meeting with Sheriff Clarke had anything to do with my duties as a sergeant,” said Sgt. Rich Graber, the vice president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association. “It was all about me as a union official. So for (them) to say it was employee counseling is absolutely ridiculous.”

Nor was there much counseling going on.

Graber – whose group often is critical of Clarke – describes it more as an expletive-filled, anti-union rant. During the two-hour session, Graber said, Clarke called him a “terrorist” to the agency, a “cancer” and a whole variety of expletives.

Graber’s written and verbal summaries of the get-together have the second-term sheriff using the F-bomb again and again. He used it as a noun, verb and an adjective, the union official said. Clarke initially was upset that Graber wouldn’t let the sheriff ignore the contract when selecting deputies to work mandatory OT monitoring the site after the accident. But the conversation went far beyond that to host of other complaints, Graber said.

According to his written summary, one exchange went something like this:

“Why do you keep calling me a (expletive)?” Graber asked. “I’m not a (expletive).”

“You’re a (expletive),” Clarke countered, repeating the term.

“Well, you don’t know me well then,” Graber said.

“I don’t want to know you – I want to get rid of you,” Clarke said. “I want to rid this agency of waste like you.”

This isn’t the first – or the second or the third or the fourth – time we’ve heard an account of the leadership style (if you can call it that) employed by David Clarke in his dealings with his subordinates, and it’s time the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department had some grown up leadership. Fortunately, voters in Milwaukee County have an excellent alternative to Sheriff Clarke, in the form of Milwaukee Police Detective Chris Moews.

A few thoughts on the Plale/Larson debate

State Senator Jeff Plale and his opponent in the Democratic primary, Milwaukee County Supervisor Chris Larson, had a debate last night. I’ve got a lot of thoughts to share about the debate, but not nearly enough time to get them all gussied up, so here’s just a few quick thoughts:

  • There was no clear winner from last night’s debate. Sen. Plale did a good job of highlighting his accomplishments during his time as State Senator for the 7th District, while Larson did an equally good job of making the case for why voters should send him to the State Senate.
  • At the end of the debate, audience members were given the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates, and when asked whether they supported paid sick leave – including paid sick leave for victims of domestic violence, Sen. Plale didn’t directly answer the question. While both candidates agreed that the issue of paid sick leave needs to be addressed on the state level to avoid a hodgepodge of different standards in different municipalities, Sen. Plale never actually provided an answer as to whether he supported paid sick leave or not.
  • Larson also took more than a few shots at Sen. Plale for taking a majority of his campaign contributions from special interests and individuals outside the district and who are associated with corporate special interests.

I’ll have a more complete analysis of the Plale/Larson debate tomorrow morning.

Feingold campaign releases new radio ad

Senator Russ Feingold’s campaign released its latest radio ad, titled “Stuff,” yesterday. The ad features a lifelong Wisconsin hunter and gun owner (and who happens to be an actual real person!) talking about Sen. Feingold’s strong record in support of Second Amendment rights and freedoms. In addition to talking about Sen. Feingold’s strong record in support of the Second Amendment, the ad also contrasts Sen. Feingold’s record with the stated position of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson, who previously said the federal government should regulate guns “like we license cars and stuff…I don’t have a real problem with federal regulation…I don’t.”

Here’s the ad:

While Sen. Feingold’s record of support for the Second Amendment may not win him much support in some liberal circles, his support for the Second Amendment demonstrates that he’s not unafraid to “get all mavericky” on some political issues.

Tim John challenges Tom Barrett to debate

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim John, the underdog in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, wants to debate Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and despite repeated calls for a debate by John, Barrett’s campaign has been silent, prompting John to send out an email to supporters including this challenge:

While my complaints are many, they don’t matter. What matters is where we go from here? How can we reach out to people with whom we have little in common, saying, “Come on, let’s fix this problem together.” What do we accomplish when we only speak to people like us? Can Republicans and Democrats swallow our pride and work towards the common good?

The Republican governor candidates are debating, though without the third Republican Scott Paterick, while we Democrats aren’t debating at all.

Tom Barrett let’s debate! Let’s lay the important issues on the table and make this state the best in the land!

Mr. Barrett, I humbly await your response.

While I get that John’s candidacy isn’t being taken very seriously by pundits, I’d still like to see the two Democratic candidates have a debate so voters will have a chance to hear the two candidates share their vision on how they’d move Wisconsin forward as governor.