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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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Walker administration to pay $1.7 million to outside companies to identify state buildings to sell


As reported by Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has committed to paying nearly $1.7 million to four private companies for their assistance in determining whether the state should sell heating and cooling plants and other state-owned properties.

Studying the issue is expected to cost even more. The state is working with four other firms on the matter, but has not finalized contracts with them. State Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, said he was surprised by the costs and thought Department of Administration employees would have been able to do such work. “Don’t we have anybody on staff that can do that kind of thing?” he said.

Department of Administration spokesman Cullen Werwie said in an email the agency “doesn’t have the expertise to provide the type of analysis that is needed to fully evaluate these assets. We decided to move forward and have independent, outside evaluators come in to provide an unbiased, accurate analysis (of) the assets that we could potentially sell or lease.”

The Walker administration has pushed the idea of selling off state-owned properties as a way to help pay down the state’s $8 billion in debt – debt that has actually grown larger thanks to Gov. Walker’s budgets. If these efforts by Gov. Walker’s administration to sell state-owned properties are successful, I have no doubt they will be viewed as having been a short-sighted “band aid” on a problem made worse by Gov. Walker’s borrow and spend budget decisions.

Wisconsin - Report: WEDC awarded taxpayer funds to four MORE companies that outsourced WI jobs


Just a few weeks ago news broke that the WEDC, Gov. Scott Walker’s “job creation” agency, had awarded millions of taxpayer dollars to companies that outsourced Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries. In response to that bad news, Gov. Walker’s reelection campaign went on the offensive to attack Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Mary Burke for supposedly profiting off outsourcing done by Trek Bicycles, but the news just got worse for Gov. Walker, as a report by Greg Neumann of WKOW has revealed that four more companies that outsourced Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries have received over ten million dollars from WEDC.

Kohl’s Corporation has received $10.8 million of a possible $62.5 million enterprise zone tax credit originally awarded in July 2012 for a project in Waukesha. U.S. Department of Labor records show Kohl’s employees in Milwaukee received Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits on two separate occasions. TAA benefits are only awarded to employees who have lost their jobs because the work was outsourced overseas. In the case of Kohl’s, some of the Wisconsin jobs were sent to India.
Serigraph, a custom graphics company based in West Bend, has received $832,036 in WEDC tax credits for a January 2013 award. TAA records indicate Serigraph shipped production jobs from Wisconsin to Mexico in 2011

Polaris, an Osceola manufacturer and dealer of snowmobiles, ATV’s and motorcycles, has received $940,000 in tax credits from a March 2012 award. TAA records show Polaris shipped production jobs from Wisconsin to Mexico in 2010.

Laserwords, a Madison internet and television sales call-center, has received $47,232 in tax credits and is eligible for up to $375,000 from a December 2013 award. Earlier that year, former Laserwords employees in Wisconsin received TAA benefits after their jobs were shipped overseas.

It’s important to remember that Gov. Walker serves as the Chairman of the WEDC Board of Directors, so it’s not as if he’s only tangentially involved in what goes on at WEDC. As Chairman of the WEDC Board of Directors, Gov. Walker should bear some responsibility for the decisions being made by the very organization he created in order to dissolve the state’s Department of Commerce, but I’m guessing that instead of accepting responsibility, Gov. Walker will just run another attack ad against Mary Burke.

Related news ...


U.S. Labor Dept: Wisconsin Again Ranked #1 in Workers Lost Due To Outsourcing

For the third year in a row, Wisconsin takes home the dubious crown of the nation's biggest per-capita outsourcer.

Every fiscal year, the U.S. Department of Labor releases the total number of workers, by state, enrolled in their "Trade Adjustment Assistance" (TAA) program, which certifies and helps retrain workers that have lost their jobs due to overseas outsourcing. Although only a small percentage of workers that lose their jobs due outsourcing actually go through the tedious TAA certification process, the numbers are the best measurment of outsoucing in a particular state.

In the past fiscal year that ended on March 31, Wisconsin with nearly three thousand workers, tied with Arkansas and Pennsylvania as the largest per-capita leader of workers enrolled in the TAA program.

Earlier post, this topic ...


When You're Poor, Money Is Expensive


But by other important measures, it's awfully expensive to be poor. As Barbara Ehrenreich wrote in her book Nickel and Dimed, many entry-level jobs pay next to nothing with unpredictable schedules. This makes savings, second jobs, affordable loans, and child care all but impossible to arrange. Inescapable poverty changes the way we think about money and time, as short-term concerns glare so blindly that it's almost impossible to make long-term plans. It's expensive to be poor, Ehrenreich says. It's true. In fact, when you don't have enough money, money itself is expensive.


Instead of direct deposit, many rely on physical pay stubs. Instead of checking accounts, they have to drive to check-cashing services, like Pay-O-Matic. Instead of automatic payments, they drive again across the suburbs to pay utility bills in person. In lieu of a credit history that qualifies them for bank loans, they have a history of cash that is disqualifying. Instead of low-interest loans, they rely on payday lenders whose services can ultimately cost three- or four-times the original loan. And so, replacing the services of a bank on your own becomes a second part-time job, an odyssey of stripmalls, check-cashing storefronts, money orders, prepaid cards, and miles and miles on the road. Ron Brownstein has called it the "archipelago of alternative finance."


This is Melissa and Alex's story, and it's one of many stories of underbanked Americans told with impressive authority and tenderness in Spent: Looking For Change, a digital documentary produced by American Express that aired at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June. "Turning to pawn shops, check cashing services, and using payday loans to meet basic financial needs can be costly for many of us, with $89 billion a year going to fees and interest for using these types of alternative financial services," they write. Unbanked families spend 10 percent of their money replacing traditional banking services. That's as much as most families spend on food.


But it's also a opportunity for technology. It doesn't have to be so terrible to spend the money we earn. There are many ways that mobile apps can begin to replace the infrastructure of banks, allowing us to send money to friends, family, and businesses, and manage the sum that's left over. Digital prepaid accounts that allow online payment can turn paychecks into bill payments without aggressive fees or hours of traveling the archipelago of alt-finance. To spare individuals from the clutches of payday lenders, banks can find ways to measure trustworthiness in ways that go beyond official credit reports.

Emphasis mine.

One couple found a creative way to counter-protest pro-lifers

(Note: For the record, I prefer the term "anti-abortion" to "pro-life".)


In late June, the Supreme Court rejected a law, enacted in 2007, that required 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics in Massachusetts. This law was intended to help minimize episodes of violence and harassment against women and families entering clinics, but the Supreme Court decided it violated the First Amendment.

While some pro-life advocates will continue to resort to violence and hate to get their message across, other protesters have more subtle techniques. One Raleigh, N.C., couple—Grayson Haver Currin, a writer for Pitchfork and music editor at Indy Week, and his wife Tina, a copywriter and creative strategist—has been protesting alongside pro-lifers at a clinic in Cary, N.C., every Saturday morning since March. But their signs take a different approach.


“There's no big-box hardware store very close to where we live, so we were driving toward a suburb of Raleigh called Cary, which runs over with strip malls. We were getting supplies for a garden box. We both grew up not too far away, and we've seen the clinic in question hundreds of times. But for some reason, on this morning in particular, the protesters got under our skin a little more than normal. I'm full of crazy ideas and jokes, and Tina tells me which rare ones are good. I suggested that we make a sign that said ‘Weird Hobby’ and point at one of the protestors. She loved the idea and vowed that, if they were there when we passed back by, we'd do it.

“We tried to buy poster board at Home Depot, but they don't carry it. As we were leaving, Tina ripped a vinyl sale sign off of a display and took a Sharpie to it. We posted the results to Instagram and Facebook, and people flipped. We vowed to keep doing it, and most every week we've been in town since then, we've counter-protested with a new sign. Some are surreal, and some are serious. We do our best to not talk to the pro-lifers, but they often pray for us and sometimes tell us that the righteous will destroy the wicked, us included. They've told us that we believe in God and are simply ashamed of it. In turn, we've dug pretty deep into their online network of craziness, and it knows no bounds of joy and sadness. We plan to keep doing it as long as they can. Already, they've taken to putting their signs down when we show up, which we consider an important if brief victory.”

Wisconsin - Take a Stand Against Gun Violence: Donate a Pair of Shoes


Every year an average of 467 men, women, and children are killed by guns in Wisconsin.

To remember the victims, we will travel the state with a powerful display of 467 pairs of empty shoes. At each stop, we will demand that our leaders address the gun violence crisis.

Please help build this display by mailing shoes to our office (address below) or bringing them to one of the following locations:

Shoe Drop-Off Sites ( July 23 - September 7 )

If you are donating shoes in honor of a loved one who was lost to
gun violence, please contact us so we can make special arrangements.

Harmony Café - Fox Valley, 233 E. College Ave.
Mon – Sat, 8am – 9pm in the Program Room

Eau Claire:
Bolton Refuge House, 807 S. Farwell St.
Mon - Sat, 8am - 8pm

Eau Claire City-County Health Dept., 720 Second Ave.
Mon - Fri, 8am - 5pm

First Congregational Church, 1609 University Ave.
Mon - Thu, 8am - 6pm, drop off at south entrance off Lathrop St.

Casa Maria Hospitality House, 1131 N. 21st St.
Mon - Sun, 9am - 1pm

Non Profit Center, 2819 W. Highland Blvd.
Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm

Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Pl.
Mon - Thu, 9am - 7pm / Fri - Sat, 9am - 5pm / Sun, Noon - 5pm

Urban Ecology Center - Washington Park, 1859 N. 40th St.
Tue - Fri, Noon - 6pm / Sat, 9am - 5pm

Urban Ecology - Menomonee Valley, 3700 W. Pierce St.
Tue - Fri, Noon - 7pm / Sat, 9am - 5pm

George Bray Neighborhood Center, 924 Center St.
Please call 262-770-4906 for drop-off hours.

First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau, 504 Grant St. Phone number: 715-842-3697
All week, box located in the covered entrance just off the Grant St. parking lot.

Shoe Mailing Address
WAVE Ed Fund
P.O. Box 170393 Milwaukee, WI 53217

If you would like to help by collecting shoes at your place of worship
or business or in your neighborhood, please call us at 414-351-9283.

Shoes will be donated to charities after use in display.

Wisconsin Groundwork Racial Justice Workshop


Racial Justice Workshops

Groundwork facilitates racial justice workshops for organizations that are interested in more inclusive, racial justice-centered practices within their group. If you are interested in having us facilitate a workshop with your group, please contact Colin Gillis (colinrgillis AT gmail DOT com) to discuss details and compensation.

Groundwork holds an intensive 6-week workshop every two years in Madison, WI that is open to all community members. Our workshop examines how racism and white privilege affect our lives, communities, institutions, and movements for social justice, while developing strategies for prioritizing racial justice both individually and collectively. Our methods seek to engage heads, hearts and voices in a creative, transformative process. Workshop participants share food and stories to build community and deepen our learning. Childcare is provided. Our next workshop will be in the Fall of 2014. Details are included in the application ...

These workshops focus on the experiences of white, European Americans, but are open to all.

Here’s what a past participant has to say about the workshop:

“The Groundwork Fall workshop was the first time I had an intentional space to talk with white people about racism. The workshop laid a solid “groundwork” for me in thinking about these issues and was a great mix of “heart stuff” and “head stuff.” While the focus was on racism, it did a great job of talking about Queer oppression, anti-Jewish oppression, and other issues as well. The first four weeks were focused on building a Racial Justice analysis, understanding the history of racism in the United States, and reflecting on our personal experiences with racism and white privilege; while the last four weeks were more focused on organizational, social change stuff. This mix worked really well! I’d recommend this workshop to anyone wanting to talk in depth about racism with white people, deepen their analysis of racism, and develop concrete strategies on how to work for racial justice as a white person.”

Walker Republicans

They repealed the Equal Pay Enforcement Act. They eliminated state funding for family healthcare planning services. They passed 8 laws that limit women’s access to sex education, birth control, cancer screening, and abortion services. Wisconsin now ranked among nine worst states for reproductive rights.

More great "Walker Republican" graphics at: https://www.facebook.com/DoorDems courtesy of the Door County Democrats!

Sherrod Brown on Big Oil

Lemme see .... there's veteran care, mental health care, public schools, clean energy and water ...

Funny thing about where we're seeing complaints about undocumented workers

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