What Would Scott Jensen Do?

The wisconsin assembly republican recently passed Assembly Bill 110, which is just another in a long line of attacks on public education. While it is billed as a bill which would permit families of special needs students to send their students to private schools with tax dollars. As is true with everything the republicans have given us, Not so much!

The lack of quality and help for special needs in the bill is not what I want to focus on. I would like to guide people to why bills like this make the assembly floor and pass(along party lines) MONEY!

A spreadsheet on political contributions prepared by the office of Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, using data from the Government Accountability Board (see link), shows that Howard Marklein received $31,500 from national advocates for school choice, including individuals from the Walton family (Wal-Mart), and the De Vos family (AmWay), who are long-time backers of voucher school programs and other alternatives to public education. Marklein was also supported by issue ads paid for by the American Federation for Children, the organization which sponsored a national summit on school choice last week in Washington D.C. where Walker was a keynote speaker.

But Marklein was not the only lawmaker to receive thousands of dollars from these individuals and groups, according to Roys’ figures, released last week by Assembly Democrats in a special media session covering school vouchers and other legislative issues relating to schools.

Other Wisconsin legislators from across the state who benefited from school choice political contributions according to Roys’ figures include: John Klenke, R-Green Bay, $63,500; Andre Jacque, R-Bellevue, $44,200; Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, $43,200; Tom Larson, R-Colfax, $44,950; Erik Severson, R-Star Prairie, $44,250; Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, $50,000; Jeffrey Mursau, R-Crivitz, $34,000 and Karl Van Roy, R-Green Bay, $75,750.

It is nice that the Walton family and the De Vos family care so much about our children’s eduction here in Wisconsin…now here is Mark Pocan explaining it even further:

Out of state investment banker Eric Hovde to announce U.S. Senate run tomorrow

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, out of state investment banker Eric Hovde is set to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on Thursday.

While born in Wisconsin, Hovde has spent the past 24 years living and working in Washington, D.C., where he currently serves as the chief executive officer of Hovde Capital Advisors, which manages a series of hedge funds.

According to Hovde’s Washington, D.C. voter registration form, he is still registered to vote in Washington, D.C., but that’s not going to stop him from carpetbagging to Wisconsin to take a crack at putting his family’s millions to work to buy himself a U.S. Senate seat, much like Sen. Ron Johnson did in 2010.

No word yet on Hovde’s Senate campaign theme, but I have a suggestion: “Hovde for Senate: I may not want to live in Wisconsin, but I’d sure like to be your U.S. Senator!”

Heck, here’s another suggestion: “Hovde for Senate: Elect me and I won’t have to buy a home in Washington, D.C.; I already have one!”

Report: Sen. Tim Carpenter was going to vote with Republicans on mining bill..as of Monday night

From News Radio 620:

So the training initiative was inserted into the bill. And sources say that in exchange for the initiative, Carpenter committed to voting for the bill. The unions are happy, Republicans are relieved, and fellow Democratic Senators don’t yet know anything about his decision, as of Monday night.

Speaking of Monday night, we were kinda busy here on the blog, if memory serves me.

Oh, and before anyone comments about Ed’s post about this, I wrote this post because I felt to add my own two cents.

Time Goes By

I was at the library today doing some work on my laptop and downloading a new version of Norton. The download was taking some time, so I looked over to the shelf to my left and saw the book Nixon, by Stephen Ambrose. I had scanned through this book several years ago, so my interest piqued I grabbed and opened it to a random page. This section caught my eye.

Ambrose was writing about the post-election blues Nixon was facing. Nixon faced problems not related to Watergate that vexed him. The Democrats controlled Congress so he knew he was in for a tough time. While Nixon had managed to place four men on the Supreme Court, a number of issues he felt strongly about such as Miranda v. Arizona (not overturned), prayer in schools (not reinstated), banning of pornography (not banned), and the court’s refusal to allow prior censorship of the Pentagon Papers also had him in a funk. Additionally, the rights of welfare recipients was upheld.

All of this caused Nixon to quiver, especially with Watergate looming.

What I found especially interesting was this comment from Ambrose.

With regard to the fourth estate, Nixon had no cause for complaint. In the 1972 campaign, American newspapers had overwhelmingly endorsed him (753 newspapers endorsed Nixon, to 56 for McGovern). Both the press and the television news had given him magnificent coverage of his trips to Peking and Moscow. In addition, they had supported him on the opening to China, on detente, and on SALT. And they had cooperated in downplaying Watergate.

Yet, Nixon still accused the press of being too liberal and used choice phrases such as “cut them”, “hit them” and such, and instructed his minions to go after the press.

This reminds me, that as far as conservatives go, the more time goes by, the more things stay the same.

Maybe we weren’t crying wolf after all on Gogebic

Report: Senator Carpenter flipped position on mining bill; caused bill to fail

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald joined Charlie Sykes on Wednesday to talk about his disappointment surrounding the bill’s failure. “There was some real indications that one of these Democrats was going to vote with us and move this bill forward.”

On Monday night five labor unions and Gogebic Taconite’s thought they saw an opening. According to sources, Senator Carpenter was indicating that he might be willing to vote for the mine and its thousands of jobs. But Carpenter apparently voiced concern about how a mine up near Lake Superior would benefit his constituents in Milwaukee. Carpenter, John’s (Mercure ~ my edit) told, expressed an interest in having a fully funded mining and manufacturing program developed in inner city Milwaukee — specifically he wanted the program to train high school students in his district for future mining and manufacturing jobs. And Carpenter was apparently insistent that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce administer the program. Why the Hispanic chamber? It turns out that Senator Carpenter’s Senate District has the largest population of Hispanics of any of the state’s 33 Senate districts.

So the training initiative was inserted into the bill. And sources say that in exchange for the initiative, Carpenter committed to voting for the bill.

About 5 p.m the vote was called. Nervously, Democrats and Republicans filed into the chamber. Both sides though they had the votes to win. Both sides were also very nervous. State Sen. Tim Carpenter is the first one in the roll call. All eyes were on him as the roll was called. Almost immediately there was confusion. John reports there was a murmur and he looked confused. Senate President Mike Ellis asked Carpenter if that was how he intended to vote and he abruptly changed his vote and cast the vote that would ultimately defeat the measure.

Republicans were stunned. The labor unions that had negotiated the Milwaukee based training deal were angry — and confused. One union guy John spoke with Wednesday said he feels that Carpenter betrayed them. 95% of the thousands of jobs created would have been family supporting union jobs

While Zach was originally publishing the rumor about Senator Carpenter’s inclination to vote in favor of the mining bill, I was talking on the phone with another source who was giving me the same information. Despite subsequent denials from the Democratic Party later that evening…it looks like there was more to the rumor than idle gossip.

The Incompetence of Incompetence

New research confirms earlier findings that people who are incompetent don’t really know that they’re incompetent.  It’s known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect and is one of my favorite cognitive biases.

The results are uniform across all the knowledge domains: People who actually did well on the test tend to feel more confident about their performance than people who didn’t do well, but only slightly. Almost everyone thinks they did better than average. “For people at the bottom who are really doing badly — those in the bottom 10th or 15th percentile — they think their work falls in the 60th or 55thpercentile, so, above average,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries. The same pattern emerges in tests of people’s ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess. “People at the bottom still think they’re outperforming other people.”

Study participants' estimation of their ability to tell what jokes are funny relative to their peers, compared to their actual percentile ranking in tests where they had to assess jokes rated by professional comedians. Credit: David Dunning | American Psy

What’s really interesting is that truly competent people underestimate their capabilities.