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

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Voucher school receives $4.6M in taxpayer dollars; only 2% of its students read at grade level.

The looting of our public school budgets continues ...


The two schools this year stand to receive at least another $4.6 million in voucher payments if enrollment holds.


Academic performance at the schools is very low. Last fall at the academy, only 2% of the students could read on grade level. Only 3% could do math on grade level.


This fall, the DPI received complaints via email from a former Ceria M. Travis employee who named several staff members teaching in 2013-'14 who did not have bachelor's degrees. She said the academy had sent DPI degree credential information for employees who weren't actually the ones teaching. "The teachers in K4-1st grade don't have a bachelor's degree," the former employee wrote to the DPI. "Instead they lied and said that staff members who do have degrees were teaching the class."

Another former employee said she once witnessed an on-site visit by the accrediting team where employees with degrees, such as a security person, were ushered into a class to act as a teacher while the person teaching, who didn't have a degree, was told to act as an assistant.

Wisconsin: Government Accountability Board not corrupt enough. Republicans plan makeover.

I've posted previously about the GAB, especially Director Kevin Kennedy's efforts in lobbying FOR the use of Diebold electronic voting machines and outsourcing parts of our elections to Accenture (See Andersen Consulting, Enron).

I've posted about how the GAB allowed Kathy Nichols to create her own vote-counting system in Waukesha County.

But even those bad behaviors aren't enough for our Republicans in Madison. They'll "reform" the GAB all right, and further erode the agency's ability to assure clean and fair election.


“I promise you that two years from now, when we are sitting here, the GAB will not be in the current format,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told a crowd at a Madison luncheon as reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.


In other activities of the GAB, the audit found over 90% of lobbying groups and over 85% of campaigns filed required reports on time. But GAB staff did not consistently track or enforce penalties for late reports and violations of lobbying laws. Staff did not have written policies when making exceptions to the assessment of penalties. The oversight of the GAB could not be completely evaluated by the LAB because an Attorney General’s opinion this summer limited release of documents to the auditors. The action of the Attorney General affected auditors’ ability to review complaints investigated by the GAB. Over 1,900 complaints were received but auditors could examine less than a third of these complaints.


Administrative rules took a backseat to agency duties at a time of great demand on the GAB’s strained human resources. During this time period, the GAB repeatedly asked for additional staff and was turned down by the Governor. More than a quarter of its state funds were cut since 2011. At the same time the GAB faced unprecedented challenges: historic recall elections; the enactment of 31 separate pieces of new legislation and lawsuits affected the agency, including several over photo ID. To make compliance more difficult, a 2011 law changed the length and complexity of the rule-making process leaving many agencies – not just the GAB - with delayed or eliminated permanent rules.


But lawmakers can’t starve the agency, load it with additional work, and then complain staff isn’t doing the job fast enough.

I mean why should the media bother to cover a couple hundred crackpots?

Published on Dec 13, 2014
View from 6th Ave and 29th St. Approximately 90 minutes of footage. #MillionsMarchNYC

Stopping by a woods on a snowy (and foggy) evening ...

Warm, moist air moved into Wisconsin over the weekend, creating dense fog over the cooler snow. Took this shot in the late afternoon at Hartman Creek State Park.

Wisconsin: The next Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin? Jeff Smith interview.


After the disastrous results of the 2014 election here in Wisconsin, many Democrats here in Wisconsin have called for Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate to step down from his position. Many (including yours truly) have criticized Tate for what’s seen as a lack of success in helping Democrats across Wisconsin win elections, and as a result a number of individuals have begun preparing to challenge Tate when his term as DPW Chair is up. It’s been speculated Tate may not seek reelection when his current term is up, but there’s no doubt that whether Tate seeks another term or not there will be no shortage of candidates vying to replace him.

One such candidate is former Democratic State Rep. Jeff Smith of Eau Claire (pictured, above), who told me during a recent conversation that he’s “pretty far down the road” towards formally announcing his candidacy and that he expects to make a decision shortly after the holidays. Smith noted that while other individuals have expressed interest in vying to become the next DPW Chair, he believes his abilities and experience make him the most well-prepared of anyone considering a run for DPW Chair.


Smith also cited his strong roots in a largely rural part of the state as something that would benefit the party, given the difficulty the Democratic Party has had in bringing rural voters who largely support Democratic Party issues into the fold. “Voters like the issues that Democrats support,” Smith noted, “but they still vote Republican,” adding that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin needs to figure out how to engage and educate those voters to bring them back into the Democratic Party “tent.” Smith added that it’s his belief the Democratic Party has focused on winning votes in urban centers for too long, and he noted that in his experience staff were often sent by the Democratic Party to work in the Party’s Eau Claire office with orders to only send volunteers or do phone banking in the city of Eau Claire while largely ignoring the rural areas surrounding the city.

“The Party can’t continue to win by engaging urban voters only,” Smith told me, adding that the Democratic Party can win rural voters back by listening to them. “All people want is someone to listen to them,” Smith said, noting that the results of referendums in which Wisconsinites opposed corporate personhood and the idea that money equals speech, supported the state accepting federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare, and supported an increase in the minimum wage show that Democrats are on the right side of the issues but simply lack the right message to convince voters to vote for the Democrats who will address those issues. As an example
Smith cited the fact that many rural voters care deeply about preserving their community schools, as many small rural communities are faced with the prospect of losing their community schools due to education funding cuts. “Many people are concerned about losing their community schools, yet they continue to vote for the very Republicans who cut education funding,” Smith said.

Former Green Bay Packer guard Fuzzy Thurston dead at 80.

(I gotta wonder if watching Sunday's game against Buffalo is what killed him.)

http://cognidissidence.blogspot.com/2 014/12/rip-fuzzy-thurston.html

Sadness struck Packer Nation on Sunday when it was announced that famed Fuzzy Thurston passed away: Fuzzy Thurston, a key player on Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers championship teams of the 1960s, died Sunday after a long illness. He was 15 days shy of his 81st birthday.


Thurston became the Packers' starting left guard upon his arrival in Green Bay. He missed part of the 1965 season because of injury. Thurston's last year as a starter was 1966. He was a backup to Gale Gillingham in his final season, 1967.

Thurston was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1975. He was inducted to the Wisconsin Athletic and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association halls of fame in 2003 and was a member of the Valparaiso Athletic and Indiana Football halls of fame.

Slave labor is making a comeback in Republican-owned businesses.


Probably the biggest surprise when Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos gave me a tour of his Burlington popcorn business was the female inmates working there.


It's not surprising that Boss Vos would support this. In his twisted worldview, it's a win-win-win scenario. He gets to exploit prisoners who work for next to nothing, he gets to use taxpayer dollars for their healthcare and he has an operation to help cover his graft.


Republican (US Senator) Ron Johnson, who has campaigned against government subsidies to business, employs up to nine prison inmates at his plastics factories whose health care costs are paid by the state, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. Public records show that Pacur Inc. and Dynamic Drinkware LLC, two companies run by Johnson, employ up to nine inmates at a time through a state Corrections Department jobs program.

Johnson's companies offer private health insurance to the regular employees at the Oshkosh factories. But Melissa Roberts, an executive assistant with the Corrections Department, said the companies don't have to cover the inmate workers. "The benefit is that they don't have to pay health benefits," she said.

Slave labor, with taxpayers footing the bill for food, housing and medical care. It's a Republican's wet dream.

The Progressive: Young Women Love Elizabeth Warren


It was enormously gratifying to watch Senator Elizabeth Warren come out swinging against those sneaky provisions in the $1.1 trillion federal spending bill that would roll back regulation on big banks and allow the wealthy to donate ten times more money to political parties. Warren is modeling the kind of progressive politics she argued for forcefully in an op-ed for The Washington Post just after Election Day, when she pointed out that people “see a government that bows and scrapes for big corporations, big banks, big oil companies and big political donors—and they know this government does not work for them.”


Voters are listening, too. In “Not Ready for Hillary,” an article in the March 2014 issue of The Progressive, Abby Scher interviewed young feminists all over the United States who are reluctant to climb aboard the Hillary bandwagon. Their hero: Elizabeth Warren.

Warren’s leadership on student debt relief is a big reason young people are attracted to her: she speaks to one of the very most important issues on their minds. Likewise, her strong stance against inequality and the rigged system that favors big banks and big corporations over the needs of students, workers, and families hoping to build a better life, resonates with the Occupy generation. No wonder young women like Warren so much. And no wonder the campaign to get her to run for President just got a new burst of life.

“She’s amazing!” Adriana Cortes, a twenty-five-year-old organizer with Feminist Campus in California told The Progressive. “She’s doing a really good job going after bankers and folks who are really responsible for the economic situation we’re in. I wish there were more politicians with that kind of integrity.”

Sean Hannity: "Black congressional staffers walked out over police violence today ..."

Sean Hannity: "Black congressional staffers walked out over police violence today. Always an excuse not to work with those people, huh?"

That awkward moment when Congress funds government for 2 days and then realizes they have to work on Saturday like some minimum wage nobody.


There's a reason Democrats can support the budget bill.

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