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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
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Assembly Majority Leader from Kaukauna blames Milwaukee for Republicans' destroying Wisconsin


Assembly Majority Leader from Kaukauna blames Milwaukee for Republicans' destroying Wisconsin's State Budget and Economy

The Assembly Republican Majority Leader, Jim Steineke from Kaukauna (pictured at the left) tweeted that, “MN doesn’t have a first class city that is a drain on the rest of the state." This illustrates again how the Republicans are incapable of understanding anything about economy, demographics, cultural geography and society in general.

The recent article in the American Prospect that compares Minnesota’s “high road” to Wisconsin’s “low road” summarizes the difference in the two state’s major metropolitan areas below.

The two states’ metropolitan structures are shapers of population and economic growth paths. The Twin Cities metro of Minneapolis and St. Paul hosts the state’s capitol, the flagship public university, several highly ranked liberal arts colleges, many corporate headquarters, the state’s top arts and cultural institutions, the bulk of the region’s non-storefront financial sector (including the Ninth District Federal Reserve Bank serving Minnesota, northern Michigan, northwestern Wisconsin, and three states to the west), and the state’s major philanthropic foundations. The region may benefit from what economists call agglomeration economies, where the density of labor markets and employers attracts and hold jobs and incomes. In contrast, Wisconsin’s major private, nonprofit, and public employers are split between Milwaukee and Madison, with the state capitol complex and the state’s top-rated university (arguably superior to Minnesota’s to date) in the latter, and the state’s financial, manufacturing, and philanthropic leadership in Milwaukee.

Since the Republican Coup of Wisconsin in 2010, legislation has continually punished both Madison and Milwaukee. Steineke knows that because he has deliberately done it. The rejection of $810 million for the train to connect these two engines of the Wisconsin economy was just the first step. The most recent assault has been the on the University of Wisconsin’s budget and governance. The combination of ignorance and arrogance has enabled slow witted politicians to follow the ALEC script as if it was actually their own plan and devastate Wisconsin’s state budget and economy.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan to retire after next season


He will be missed.

Does this apply to all the scary talk about SCOTUS appointments?


(Bill) CLINTON: Now, one of Clinton's laws of politics is this. If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.

For those trying to scare us into voting for Hillary because "she has the best chance of winning" and "you don't want Republicans naming Supreme Court Justices" I say: I'm voting for Bernie who wants us to think and gives us hope. Besides, I think he has a better chance of winning the GE than Hillary.

"Eggs Benedict"


Milwaukee Art Museum's embrace of condom portrait of pope draws disgust

The decision by the Milwaukee Art Museum to acquire and prominently display a controversial portrait of Pope Benedict XVI fashioned from 17,000 colored condoms has created outrage among Catholics and others who see it as profoundly disrespectful, even blasphemous.

Many suggest that if a piece were as offensive to other faith traditions or communities it would not be tolerated, much less embraced.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki blasted the decision as insulting and callous. The museum acknowledged it has fielded about 200 complaints. A handful of patrons dropped their memberships; one longtime docent tendered her resignation; and at least one donor vowed never to support the museum financially again.

Museum officials said an equal number of people have voiced support for the piece and that memberships and pledges in general are growing. They said they regret that the portrait, by Shorewood artist Niki Johnson, has elicited such enmity. But they insist it was not their intent — nor the intent of the artist — to offend Catholics or anyone else. And they said they continue to enjoy the support of people of all faiths, including Catholics.

Wisconsin: What legislators would have heard about UW if they had listened

Excellent editorial; more at the link.


If the legislators had held public hearings, they would have learned that the flagship of the UW System, UW-Madison, is the most cost-effective public university in the United States, attracting more research money, at lower faculty salaries, than any other university. They would have learned that individual professors at UW-Madison are paid more than $30,000 less than the University of Michigan, while Wisconsin's university attracts almost as much outside research money as the University of Michigan, over $1.2 billion annually.

If the legislators had held public hearings they would have heard from senior faculty members who would have described their hiring many years earlier by senior, nationally regarded scholars who insisted on only hiring the best. They would have explained that they came to UW-Madison because of the excellence of our university and that they have worked to maintain that excellence. They would have described how the historically strong leadership at the university and from the state Capitol has made it possible for them to do their jobs, knowing they were protected and supported. They would have described how the famous Sifting and Winnowing statement, on the front of Bascom Hall for more than 100 years, has a special meaning to them. It represents a century-old commitment to academic freedom.

If the legislators had held public hearings, the faculty would have explained that they have not complained about their salaries, even though they are lower than their colleagues around the country and the increases in those salaries have been few and meager in recent years. They could have explained that their salaries for full professors are 13th in the Big Ten, above only the University of Nebraska, but that the quality of their university is equal to any of the 14 universities in the Big Ten.

If the legislators had held public hearings, the faculty could have explained how UW-Madison and its sister universities have weathered budget cuts of three quarters of a billion dollars over the last 12 years. While those cuts caused serious problems, they did not strike at the core values of Wisconsin universities.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Portions Of Federal ‘3 Strikes’ Sentencing Laws

Not just marriage equality and Obamacare...


While the country was busy celebrating the Supreme Court’s long-awaited marriage equality ruling, the justices issued another ruling in the Johnson v. United States case that dealt a crucial blow to the prison industrial complex. The SCOTUS ruled that a key provision of the Armed Career Criminal Act, which lengthens the sentences of “career criminals,” is unconstitutionally vague. The ruling paves the way for thousands of prisoners to have their sentences reduced and will cause the private prison industry to lose millions of dollars in profits.

In 1984, Congress passed the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), the law required judges to sentence people to 15 years to life if they have three prior convictions for “serious drug offense” or “violent felonies.” However, what exactly qualified as a “violent felony” was frustratingly vague and was used as a sentence enhancer in many non-violent cases. A “residual clause” in the ACCA allowed third time felons to be sent to prison for any crime that ” presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.” That potential risk could include drunk driving, fleeing police, failing to report to a parole officer and even attempted burglary. It seemed to be used as a catch-all sentence enhancer for the sole purpose of throwing people in prison for years longer than they deserved to be. This practice has become increasingly more common as more states allow for-profit prisons in their states.

In the Johnson case, the government used the ACCA to enhance Samuel Johnson’s prison sentence because of a prior conviction of possession of a sawed off shotgun. Johnson argued that he shouldn’t be subjected to a harsher sentence, because the definition of what was considered “violent” was unconstitutionally vague. The SCOTUS agreed with Johnson and issued a 7-1 ruling in his favor.


Now, prosecutors across the country will have to figure out who qualifies to have their sentences reduced, a move that is probably making private prison CEOs weep in despair. The private prison industry has been a long-time supporter of harsh mandatory minimum sentences because that means higher profits for them. The two biggest private prison corporations–GEO and Corrections Corporation of America— make about $3 billion annually off of incarcerated Americans; in turn they spend millions of dollars on lobbying efforts.

In Colorado, Scott Walker details why he can beat Clinton


"To beat a name from the past, we need a name from the future," he said, repeating a dig he has made in the past against Republican candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Secondly, he said, Clinton is a consummate Washington insider. "We are the anti-Washington," he said.

Finally, he said, Clinton failed to accomplish anything of substance during her term as secretary of state. "We've actually got things done," he said.


Walker's spoke before the question-and-answer period. The theme of his speech was freedom, which he said "does not come from the mighty hand of the government."

"We've actually got things done" said the college dropout and grammar-challenged governer (sic).

A right-of-center acquaintance just told me he was surprised to learn ...

... that his preferred policy positions align with Bernie Sanders more than any other candidate (85%).

He took this short survey .... http://www.isidewith.com/political-quiz

I'm not surprised. Bernie is the mainstream candidate.

White leaders silent again.


Kenny Chesney fans rowdier than Packers fans: Hundreds ejected from Lambeau

Police say dozens of people were ejected from Lambeau Field during a concert featuring country music star Kenny Chesney.

Press-Gazette Media reports between 250 and 300 people were kicked out of Saturday's concert, far more than the average during Green Bay Packers games this past season. The highest number of ejections at a game since 2002 was 91 during a 2012 playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Green Bay Capt. Paul Ebel, who oversaw concert police operations, says he doesn't recall ever having a game as busy as Saturday's event in his 27 years.

Reasons for concertgoers being ejected included fighting, harassment and extreme intoxication. Twenty-five people were arrested at the concert that was attended by roughly 53,000 people.

Wisconsin State Journal axes veteran journalists


The Wisconsin State Journal has launched a new round of staff cuts that look more like slashes, laying off four staffers and announcing that three key departures will go unfilled.

Among the layoff victims are columnist Doug Moe, a veteran Madison journalist whom the paper hired away from the jointly owned Capital Times in 2008; sports columnist Andy Baggot, who has written for the paper since 1978; and sports columnist Dennis Semrau, who has covered local prep sports and the Milwaukee Brewers for decades. Brandon Storlie, who joined the paper in 2009 and has worked as a reporter and sports copy editor, has also been laid off.


Moe, whose resume includes freelancing for Isthmus, serving as editor of Madison Magazine and writing a series of books, is widely regarded as among the best writers in Madison, with vast contacts and community knowledge. Baggot, Semrau and Simmons also have broad followings and deep experience covering their beats. And Kolker almost single-handedly covered the local book beat, in a city where there is a great deal of interest in books.

But in fact, experience is exactly what papers seeking to trim staff seem most determined to lose, because longer-tenured staffers receive slightly higher salaries. In February, the Scripps Washington Bureau laid off journalists including four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Sydney Freedberg and two-time Polk award winner Marcia Myers. Other Pulitzer Prize winners to get the ax in recent years include Chicago Sun-Times photographer John White, San Diego Union-Tribune reporter David Hasemyer, and Newsweek/Daily Beast fashion journalist Robin Givhan.

Clearly, knowing something about journalism runs counter to the desired skillset of those who own the "free press" in Wisconsin.
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