Conservative darling Ben Carson: Stop “demonizing Ray Rice”

And here’s conservative darling Ben Carson weighing in on the brutal assault of Janay Rice at the hands of her then-fiance Ray Rice with a defense of the perpetrator.

Former John Hopkins neurosurgeon and conservative activist Ben Carson weighed in on the termination of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s contract, warning people not to “jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy.”

Carson made the remarks on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show” only hours after the football player’s contract was ended by the Ravens on Monday, and his suspension was extended by the NFL indefinitely.

“Let’s not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy,” Carson said. “He obviously has some real problems. And his wife obviously knows that because she subsequently married him. So they both need some help. ”

I also wanted to address questions many may have about why Janay Rice has not only defended Ray Rice, but actually ended up marrying him. It goes without saying that while it seems counter to common sense for a victim of domestic violence to stay with her abuser, as this article rightly notes the reasons why victims often stay with their abusers are numerous and can be complicated.

Janay, who has since married Rice and taken his last name, has indicated that she regrets the “role” she played in the now infamous incident. On Tuesday, she posted a statement on Instagram criticizing the unwanted attention from the public and declaring that “we will continue to grow & show the world what true love is.” Her decision to remain loyal to her husband has confused a lot of observers — including several Fox News hosts, who claimed that women like Janay and singer Rihanna are sending a “terrible message” by remaining with their abusive partners.

But, at the end of the day, domestic violence experts say that’s the wrong way to approach a very complicated issue.

“When we solely focus on whether a survivor stays with or leaves their abusive partner, we place all the responsibility on the survivor rather than holding an abusive partner accountable,” Chai Jindasurat, the programs coordinator for the Anti-Violence Project, told ThinkProgress. “Intimate partner violence is about power and control, and leaving can be an extremely dangerous and frightening option for survivors.”

In fact, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the victims who leave their abusers are actually in even greater danger than they were before. Statistically, separating from an abuser increases a victim’s risk of being killed by 75 percent. Black women specifically account for a disproportionate number of intimate partner homicides, and half of these victims are killed while they’re in the process of leaving their abuser.

On top of the physical risk, there are countless other well-documented reasons why domestic violence victims struggle to break the cycle of abuse. Many of them are financially dependent on their abuser. They often have kids or other familial expectations to consider. Many victims don’t want the relationship to end; they want the violence to end, and their abuser has given them hope that it will. Women of color in particular may resist seeking legal protection because they’re more worried about how the police will treat their partner than they are about their own safety within the relationship.

Governor Walker Still Can’t Manage

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an article comparing/contrasting the positions of candidate Mary Burke and Governor Walker on the just announced $1.8 Billion projected deficit in the 2015 – 2017 Wisconsin State budget.

Governor Walker in one of his most captain obvious moments said:

Walker said the projections also reflected the effects of his tax cuts.

“Remember, the economy is better. …Revenues aren’t down because of the economy,” Walker said in a meeting Tuesday with College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “They’re down in large part because taxpayers are paying less in this state.”

Yes obviously revenues are down because taxpayers are paying less in taxes…but the flip side of the coin is…you didn’t anticipate reduced revenues? you didn’t take that into account for your budgets? And yes I mean budgets because the current budget is going to have a shortfall…for precisely the same reason.

oh wait…then there’s that little thing about reducing taxable pay for public employees!

Mr. Nice Guy

Across the 93rd Assembly district you’ll often hear people mention how GOP Rep. Warren Petryk is such a ” nice guy “. He sings at church on Sunday, he smiles and waves at folks while he walks in the parades, he votes to throw tens of thousands of working parents and children off of Badgercare, he votes to restrict Veterans opportunities to seek damages in court for asbestos related illnesses:  yep, he’s a nice guy all right, to the corporate funders who bankroll his party line votes.

Watch Jeff Smiths new Youtube video and decide for yourself if Petryk is so nice. And if you like what you see please make a donation at ActBlue to help the Smith campaign get the message out about Petryk and his votes.

And then share the video. A guy as nice as Warren Petryk should be known far and wide!

Mary Burke vs. Scott Walker on school vouchers

Mary Burke vs. Scott Walker on school vouchers….discuss.

As we draw closer to casting that ballot, Governor Scott Walker and gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke are speaking out on a variety of hot button issues including the state’s school voucher program.

The program offers taxpayer-funded tuition subsidies for students to attend private, mostly religious, schools.

Gov. Walker wants to significantly increase participation in the program, particularly for low-income families. On Friday, Gov. Walker called Burke out on her choice, as a member of the Madison school board, to not have her district participate in the program.

“I think there’s a little bit of question as to whether or not Mary Burke, both on the school board and eventually if she was Governor, would not be beholden to them,” Gov. Walker said. “Madison is the only school district in the state that hasn’t used those reforms to save money. They’re horribly out of touch with everywhere else across the state and it’s hurting not just the tax payers, it’s hurting students.”

Burke has pledged to reduce the number of vouchers offered by the state and eliminate the program.

“The credible research that has been put out shows that there is no improvement in student learning under the private voucher programs,” the gubernatorial candidate said Thursday. “We have limited resources. We need to spend them wisely and with nearly half of the school districts in Wisconsin seeing cuts in their state aid for the school year, I ask Governor Walker how is he going to fund this expansion?”

Meet Chris Rockwood in Greendale on September 14

From my email inbox comes news of this upcoming opportunity to meet Chris Rockwood, the Democrat challenging incumbent Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner in the 5th Congressional district.

This Sunday, September 14 I want you to come meet a friend of mine. Chris Rockwood is running for Congress in the 5th District against Rep. Sensenbrenner.


Chris is an electrical engineer who knows that to create good jobs we need to invest in our future. He has strong progressive values, and will work to represent all Wisconsinites, regardless of gender, race, class or sexual orientation.


So I urge you to join Chris at the home of Thomas and Paula Spehert, 8421 W. Midland Drive in Greendale, WI. The event is from 12:00 – 2:00pm, so you won’t miss the Packers game at 3:25.


The suggested contributions is $25. You can contribute online here or RSVP via facebook here.


I hope you’ll join Chris in Greendale. Together we can turn this state blue again.

Scott Walker’s budget projected to leave state with $1.8 billion shortfall

Looks like there’s more budgetary bad news here in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin.

The expected shortfall for the next two-year state budget starting in July has risen to nearly $1.8 billion, or about half of what it was when Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011.

Meanwhile, the state’s projected gap in its current budget ending June has risen to $396 million — or about 1.2% of the spending planned for the 2013-’15 budget.

The Republican governor resolved a more than $3 billion budget shortfall in the months after taking office, but the latest projections show the state is running through the resulting surplus. The state is again facing a gap in the 2015-’17 budget because of tax cuts enacted by Walker and lawmakers and lagging growth in other state taxes in recent months.

The myth of Scott Walker as a budget hawk should be dead just about now, dontcha think?

VIDEO: Fox News’ Steve Doocy makes a funny about domestic violence!

Watch as Steve Doocy and the rest of the Fox & Friends crew joke about how the message to take away from NFL player Ray Rice’s brutal assault on his then-fiance is that she should learn to “take the stairs.”

Legislative Fiscal Bureau: Wisconsin could need budget repair bill

According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Wisconsin could need a budget repair bill by next summer if its economic situation doesn’t improve quickly.

That projection is still subject to change, and an Oct. 15 report from Gov. Scott Walker’s administration could give a clearer picture about whether a repair bill is needed, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau found in its latest memo

Last week, the Walker administration reported that state tax collections fell short of expectations by $281 million last fiscal year.

Now remember, Scott Walker was elected governor in 2010 largely on the strength of his argument that he could put Wisconsin’s fiscal house in order, so the fact that we’re now facing the prospect of yet another budget repair bill during Walker’s first term in office belies his acumen in regards to balancing Wisconsin’s state budget.

The discord between EMILY’s List and the progressive left

This is an interesting read…

“We have two very compatible set of goals, but different sets of goals,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America, which has found itself on the opposing side of EMILY’s List in recent years. “We are focused on electing progressives to office, and they are focused on electing pro-choice women. It’s a Venn diagram, and there is a big swath of women in the middle.”

Although some progressives would like EMILY’s List to alter its criteria for endorsements to include factors behind gender and reproductive rights, others say the group could simply make better decisions about where it spends its resources. Why, they ask, should the group get involved in places where there already is a progressive Democratic incumbent running, even if that incumbent is male, as was the case this year in Hawaii and has been true in other races around the country? They point as well to progressive female candidates who could have benefited from a more robust involvement by EMILY’s List, including Shenna Bellows, running for U.S. Senate in Maine, and Amanda Curtis, running for U.S. Senate in Montana.

“The part I don’t get about their decision-making is how they decide which races to target,” said Mike Lux, a Washington, D.C-based progressive political consultant. “They don’t get involved in every race, and for some of these races, they could easily see what other progressive allies are doing and be willing to back up.”

Lori Saldaña was one candidate who says she could have benefited from more EMILY’s List support. A self-described “champion of choice,” she squared off unsuccessfully in 2012 against the more conservative Democrat Scott Peters in California’s 52nd Congressional District. And although EMILY’s List backed her, it did so only half-heartedly, she says, because she could not raise enough money.

“It was all about the money: What you could bring in on your own before they would help you out at their end,” she said.

Saldana said that in one conversation with EMILY’s List officials, they pointed to the gangbuster fundraising that Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, was doing in her congressional race in Iowa.

“I thought, ‘OK, I am not married to a Cabinet member. I would love to do a fundraiser in Washington, but I don’t have those connections,’” Saldaña said.

“I wouldn’t even say they supported me. Everything was met with resistance because we weren’t wealthy enough.

“To me,” Saldaña added, “It’s the old 99 percent argument. They are for the 1 percent of women candidates.”

Gov. Walker’s administration announces economic growth, job creation failures

Republican Gov. Scott Walker got a bunch of bad news earlier today, as his administration announced tax collections for the fiscal year that ended in June were $281 million less than Walker’s administration had anticipated, leaving the biennial budget on pace for a $115 shortfall.

Walker’s administration also announced on Friday that private sector job growth was just a lackluster 1.3% from March 2013 to March 2014.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tried Friday to put a positive spin on the one-two punch of lackluster job numbers and a drop in tax collections that will likely put the budget in the red next year, while Democrats said the news shows that his policies are failing.

Walker’s administration reported Thursday that tax collections were $281 million less than anticipated for the fiscal year that ended in June. That puts the two-year budget on pace to be at a $115 million shortfall by June 30.

Adding to the bad news, the state Department of Workforce Development reported late Thursday that private-sector jobs grew just 1.3 percent during the 12-month period ending in March. State-by-state comparisons won’t be available until Sept. 18, but the slow growth is on par with Wisconsin’s last quarterly report when the state ranked 37th nationwide for 2013.

Predictably Gov. Walker downplayed the importance of his administration’s announcement of lackluster tax collection and job creation, saying the problems his administration created could be rectified by controlling expenditures and continued economic growth.

The real problem with Gov. Walker’s “solution” of controlling expenditures and continued economic growth is that Walker’s administration has tried to use “controlling expenditures” as a means of shoring up the state’s budget, but despite those efforts (efforts Walker has been touting in campaign ads no less) here we are with a hundred million dollar hole in the state’s budget. What’s more, relying on “continued economic growth” isn’t a solution, because the less-than-anticipated tax collections are a very real result of poorer than expected economic growth.

The fact of the matter is that what we’re now seeing is the end result of the policies enacted by Gov. Walker and his Republican rubber stamps in the Legislature, and the only way to “right the ship” is to start enacting policies that put more money into the hands of the poor and middle class residents of the state, instead of into the pockets of big corporations and the wealthiest Wisconsinites.

Blogging Blue’s “14 in ’14”

Goal Thermometer