Schools are the Same or Better???

MSNBC had an Education Nation Summit and inexplicably invited Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s own Heather Dubos Bourenane from Monologues of Dissent, wrote a brilliant open letter to moderator Brian Williams.

…Scott Kevin Walker cut 1.6 BILLION dollars from the public education budget over the next two years, even as he passes out tax breaks like candy and increases public funding to private and charter schools. Most districts in the state were forced to deal with these cuts this year by forcing our top commodity, experienced teachers, into early retirement to get some short-term balance in hiring new, “less expensive” teachers. Programming cuts are rampant all over the state…

The cream rises and Heather’s letter went viral. It not only prompted appearances on the the Ed Schultz radio and television shows, but also Brian Williams turned her letter into his first question.(I wonder Chris Chocola and Jim Demint read our open letter?)

The pull quote here from Gov. Scott “tooljob” Walker is ” The key date is September 1st, when school started and people realized that it was the same or better as before.”

Scott Walker and the Republican legislature cuts $1.6 billion dollars from education and it is the “same or better”? How many schools has Governo Walker been inside to know that they are the same or better?

As Professor Thomas J Mertz says

“What the net is or will be is impossible to say, but “better” isn’t likely. I’d add that in education it is best to take the longer view, and next year looks bad and the following years look worse. Program and service cuts will increase, teaching will be less attractive, the “new improved” test-based accountability program is more of the same failed approach, the Reading initiative will likely be modeled on the corrupt and failed Reading First program. the long view is not good

.”

Yes, Our children will still go to school, they will still get a public education but things are NOT “the same or better”. Class sizes have increased, electives are dwindling, fees are constantly increasing, staff reductions,fundraising is prevalent, schools are crumbling, teachers are demoralized and demonized, many excellent teachers have retired, college students are being chased from the profession, supplies are short, valuable services that help the neediest of families are being slashed, poverty is exploding, and this extensive list goes on.

I call that a very expensive Net loss that we can not afford as a nation!

An Open Letter to National Conservative Groups from Wisconsin’s Liberal Bloggers

To: Chris Chocola, Club for Growth
The Honorable Jim DeMint, junior Senator from the Great State of South Carolina

It is with great disappointment that we have learned of the efforts of some conservatives on the national level to try to dictate to Wisconsin conservatives their choice for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl. This is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsinites to elect a second conservative senator worthy of being able to self-fund a campaign (at least until the unseemly outside contributions can be tallied and repaid) and one that Wisconsin conservatives will take very, very, very, very seriously. This is not only a choice of ideology and of who looks best in a tri-corn hat while eating a cream puff, but one of character, charisma and compassion, and it is our responsibility to bring Mark Neumann’s lack of those attributes to your attention.

We do not question Neumann’s past contributions to conservatism while he was a Congressman. He has been a reliable voice for intemperance, profligacy and sabre-rattling and understands that any notions of good policy making should be flexible depending on the occupancy of the White House. Still his actions during last year’s campaign are completely unbecoming of a conservative candidate. He had the temerity to tell the Badger State the actual truth about his opponent, to expose Scott Walker for a hollow fraud, a charlatan and a corporate shill, the very characteristics that endear him to us all.

We respectfully request the national conservative groups and individuals to take a second look at their endorsement of Neumann and at Tom Coburn’s choice in suits. We ask that, since many of them were so busy at clean-coal seminars, tanning sessions in the Seychelles, Climate Change is Good for Business golf outings and buy-policy-now ALEC fundraisers that, they missed the opportunity to come to Wisconsin during the recent battles over collective bargaining for state employees, the gutting of civil service protections, kowtowing to roadbuilders, polluters and Gadsden Flag sewers and the recall elections, that they buy a freakin’ map and come to Wisconsin now to talk to true Wisconsin conservatives to find out what they think of Neumann before attempting to foist their choice upon Wisconsin. Let our 2012 motto be heard throughout the land, “No foisting without confabulation!”

We do not write this under direction or duress from any candidate, potential candidate, or candidate’s campaign. We write this as a bald-faced attempt to remain relevant in an age of corporate-funded proto-news organizations and under the knowledge that, as the primary for United State Senate commences in earnest, we will likely go our separate ways and support any number of candidates according to fashion, whim, or cosmic message in the entrails of a broken dream. That is our right as Americans, to make sure that the voice of the truly deluded rings free in the hallowed halls of think tanks across the land.

If the past election in Wisconsin has shown national conservatives anything, it is to trust in the faith of Badger State conservative activists. We had the foresight to supply the movement with past and current leaders and rock stars like Robert Welch, Joe McCarthy, Gordon Roseleip, Jeff Wood, Tom Reynolds, Randy Hopper, David Vander Leest, Paul Ryan, Former Reality TeeVee Star Sean Duffy, Recall Target Scott Walker, U.S. Senate Placeholder Ron Johnson, and even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince “Marginally Better than Michael Steele” Priebus. We assure you, there are plenty more where they came from. There is no shortage of candidates of this quality in Wisconsin. By allowing us to commit character assassination for you prior to the primary, there is no limit to the depth of the field of conservatives we might dredge up.

Don’t limit the choice of candidates too early in the game just based on past successes with Neumann. A Fred Thompson might yet emerge for us to find fault with.

Thank you,
(The Undersigned)

Cory Liebmann
Eye on Wisconsin since 2004
Milwaukee, WI

Jim Brooks
Blogger, The Happy Circumstance, since 1776
Evansville, WI, USA

Jay Bullock
folkbum’s rambles and rants
Union Thug since 1997

Bill Christofferson
Uppity Wisconsin
Blogging as Xoff since 2005

Steve Hanson
Uppity Wisconsin
Making Wisconsin safe for moonbats since 2006

Keith Schmitz
On Jay’s Team with Folkbum
People’s Republic of Shorewood

Zach Wisniewski
Blogger, Blogging Blue, since 2007
Cudahy, WI

Chris ‘capper’ Liebenthal
Cognitive Dissidence
4 years

Michael Leon
5767 Monticello Way
Fitchburg, WI 53719

Gregory Humphrey
Caffeinated Politics

Lukas Diaz
Forward Lookout

Jeff Simpson
Blogger, Blogging Blue since 2010
Cottage Grove, WI

blue cheddar
Since 2010
Madison, Wisconsin

Lisa Mux
Waukesha Wonk
6 months in the trenches of Waukesha

On taxes, let’s be like John F. Kennedy!

In one of his first acts as president, John F. Kennedy signed into law a bill cutting taxes – including taxes for the wealthy, which were cut by nearly 20%. Kennedy’s actions to cut taxes have drawn praise from Republicans like Speaker of the House John Boehner, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, and for once I actually agree with Republicans, because I’d like to see a return to the tax rates signed into law by President Kennedy, which included a top tax rate of 70% on the nation’s top wage earners.

The tax reform passed after Kennedy’s death cut the top marginal tax rate from 90 percent to 70 percent, twice today’s top rate of 35 percent. Kennedy explicitly called for a top rate of 65 percent, but added that it should be set at 70 percent if certain deductions weren’t phased out at the top of the income scale.

– Kennedy called for U.S. corporations to be taxed on all their profits, earned anywhere in the world, rather than the current system of allowing them to defer taxation until they bring those profits home. “The undesirability of continuing deferral is underscored where deferral has served as a shelter for tax escape through the unjustifiable use of tax havens such as Switzerland,” Kennedy said in 1961. During Kennedy’s time in office, corporate taxes made up more than 20 percent of total revenue. Today, it’s less than ten percent.

– Kennedy called for cutting tax preferences for the oil and gas industries, saying in 1963 that, “while these are complex as well as controversial problems, we cannot shrink from a frank appraisal of governmental policies and tax subsidies in this area.” Republicans have been adamantly opposed to cutting subsidies for oil and gas companies.

– Kennedy called for limiting itemized deductions for the rich, saying that they should receive the same benefit for things like charitable giving “as everyone else,” instead of preferential treatment (which they still receive). President Obama has called for the same system since he came into office, but the GOP has derided Obama’s proposals.

Perhaps Republicans like John Boehner, Jim Demint, and Scott Brown are starting to realize what most reasonable folks have already come to accept – that idea that tax cuts for the wealthy spur the economy and create jobs is a myth, kind of like unicorns, leprechauns, and the tooth fairy.

Everything old is new again(part 2)….

As I recently posted about the slime that is John Boehner and the possibility he will be the new speaker of the House, I wanted to give equal time to the Senate.

One of the kookiest and farthest right wing members Jim Demint, who unfortunately has to run against Alvin Greene(thats a whole different post(s))! In 2004, Demint received some heat on his idiotic remarks regarding gay teachers. So much so that he even slightly backed down.

Fast Forward to the 2010 election season and the “year of dumb”, and Mr. Demint felt so sure of the “tea parties” influence that he brought out some of his golden oldies…

DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.

full story here.

he is about to be re-elected for another 6 years, do we want to give him any more power than he already has???

Is it still “a fool’s errand” ?

While I posted a link up a while ago, that pointed out all of the jobs we are missing out on by not having a sane energy policy.

It was met with mild interest with mostly just attacking the source. In a recent NY Times column, Thomas Friedman, re-iterated what I said in my previous post.

So while America’s Republicans turned “climate change” into a four-letter word — J-O-K-E — China’s Communists also turned it into a four-letter word — J-O-B-S.

At the World Economic Forum meeting here, I met Mike Biddle, founder of MBA Polymers, which has invented processes for separating plastic from piles of junked computers, appliances and cars and then recycling it into pellets to make new plastic using less than 10 percent of the energy required to make virgin plastic from crude oil. Biddle calls it “above-ground mining.” In the last three years, his company has mined 100 million pounds of new plastic from old plastic.

Biddle’s seed money was provided mostly by U.S. taxpayers through federal research grants, yet today only his tiny headquarters are in the U.S. His factories are in Austria, China and Britain. “I employ 25 people in California and 250 overseas,” he says. His dream is to have a factory in America that would repay all those research grants, but that would require a smart U.S. energy bill. Why?

Biddle had enough money to hire one lobbyist to try to persuade the U.S. Congress to copy the recycling regulations of Europe, Japan and China in our energy bill, but, in the end, there was no bill. So we educated him, we paid for his tech breakthroughs — and now Chinese and European workers will harvest his fruit. Aren’t we clever?

The answer to WHY? is simple enough, it comes in the form of Ron Johnson, Jim Demint, Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan, Sean Duffy, the \"tea partiers\" etc…

As to are we clever? the answer there would be not so much. It is sad that Communist China has more responsible, capitalistic thinkers than the current republican party.

PS: Not a single mention of sunspots!

The phantom candidate

This is a fascinating story….

In 2008, the South Carolina Democratic establishment supported attorney Michael Cone for the thankless task of taking on Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). He raised almost no money and lost, in a massive upset, to an even-lesser known candidate named Bob Conley — a supporter of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) who managed to alienate most of his party with hardline conservative stances.

You’d think the local Democratic Party would avoid a disaster like that this year. Vic Rawl, a former state legislator, was not the party’s first choice — he raised about $230,452 and looked set to be the party’s sacrificial lamb against Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). He just went down by a 16-point margin to Alvin Greene. Who is Alvin Greene? A 32-year-old unemployed army veteran who paid the filing fee to run then promptly disappeared. When reached by Corey Hutchins to talk about his campaign, on the suspicion that he was a Republican plant, Greene was incoherent.

Asked if he thought it was a good investment to spend so much of his own money in a two-way Democratic primary to run against a popular Republican with millions in campaign cash, Greene replied: “Rather than just save the $10,000 and just go and buy gasoline with it, just take [it] and just be unemployed for [an] even longer period of time, I mean, that wouldn’t make any sense, um, just, um, but, uh, yes, uh … lowering these gas prices … that will create jobs, too. Anything that will lower the gasoline prices. Offshore drilling, the energy package, all that.”

It’s also worth noting Alvin Greene is facing felony obscenity charges related to an incident involving a college student from earlier this year, and the The Caucus blog, Mr. Greene’s campaign manager was also working for a Republican, Representative Joe Wilson, leading to allegations Greene was planted in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary by Republicans, an allegation which has a basis in South Carolina’s political history, as such a thing has happened before.

Waterloo indeed!

Back in July of 2009, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) famously said health care reform would be President Barack Obama’s “waterloo,” noting, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” As David Frum, a former GWB speechwriter, noted in an entry on his blog on Sunday, health care reform was in fact Waterloo, but not for President Obama:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

Abject and irreversible failure indeed.

Republican Senator holds up TSA chief nomination, endangers national security

So much for the Republican Party being the party most concerned about keeping America safe:

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) blasted Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Sunday for delaying the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration due to concerns about unionizing the TSA.

“This is the right guy for the job,” McCaskill said. “With all due respect, this is nuts holding him up over whether or not somebody’s going to be able to bargain for a better benefit.”

DeMint expressed worries that the nominee, Errol Southers, would push for collective bargaining, saying such a move would “bring the security concerns of TSA under the authority of union bosses.”

He also said, “the president has demonstrated some problems with the vetting process with other nominees.”

McCaskill shot back: “Playing games with the process – all it’s doing is hurting the traveling public because the most important front-line agency to protect Americans right now on flights is being held up over political stuff.”

I can certainly understand Sen. DeMint’s anti-union stance, considering it’s the stance of most rank and file Republicans, but it seems to me that holding up the confirmation of the individual who will lead the Transportation Safety Administration is a terrible decision. After all, the safety of our nation shouldn’t be held hostage by a politician looking to score cheap political points with his base.