Steve Hanson's blog

Things that go bump in the night


Last night was another of those "monster rears its head in the middle of the night" events in Wisconsin. The JFC has opened yet another chapter in their "Little Golden Book of Bad Ideas" and have created a new school funding monster.

Where to start? It's another one of those "we'll take away a gazillion dollars from the schools, then give some back so we'll look good" moments. Only the amount they give back is nearly impossible to determine.  New school funding formulas confuse the issue. People with a bachelor's degree in - well, anything - get to be teachers. Expanded vouchers confuse the issue. And a new absolutely crazy idea to take over "failing" schools by a school czar in the Milwaukee County Government perhaps takes the cake as the worst idea to come out of the legislature yet.  Wisconsin education is recently subject to a lot of give and take, but take seems to be winning by a landslide.

The new school takeover plan not only allows Milwaukee County to usurp power over schools, but it also potentially expands the scheme to "failing" schools in Racine and Madison. It seems the legislature is hell-bent to privatize schools at any cost, and to not even consider programs to improve what we already have. And the impact on the schools and taxpayers in the state?  They don't really care. 

If only the monster they were creating was as friendly as the one here. He actually cared about kids.  Please note that there are two meetings in Milwaukee tonight to fight this - they're in the site calendar.  If you want to know more, i've provided a link to a great blow-by-blow of this at Monologues of Dissent, as well as a link to the bill.  Read 'em and weep. 

Scott Walker, foreign policy expert

Now that our governor has visited -- several - foreign countries, he is proclaiming himself the candidate with foreign policy experience. Unlike, say, Hillary Clinton who has never been out of the house much because she's a woman, after all.

In that light I would like to offer up a little mnemonic for Scott Walker. This will help him to remember what proper US Foreign Policy really is. As always, Tom Lehrer has a solution for everything.

Tom Lehrer - Send the Marines - with intro - widescreen

Russ is in!

Russ Feingold

This morning Russ Feingold announced that he is running against Ron Johnson for US Senator.  This isn't a big surprise since there have been indications over the last few month that he is running.  Good luck to Russ in the upcoming election - you have the support of progressives throughout the state.

The Uppity Fund 2016 donation pool will be set up and running within the next few weeks, so you'll be able to donate to Russ and other progressive candidates right here.

Watch the Announcement Video

Officer Matt Kenny will not be charged in Tony Robinson case

A few minutes ago Judge Ismael Ozanne ruled that officer Matt Kenny will not be charged in the fatal shooting of Tony Robinson.  Looking distinctly nervous during the press conference, Ozanne first spoke to the issue that racial discrimination is still a serious issue in law enforcement in this country, and discussed the events leading up to the shooting and the evidence that he used in coming to his decision.

This perhaps softened the blow of the decision in a community that has been very concerned about this shooting since it happened. There will certainly be marches and protests over the next several days, including a scheduled march tonight. Here at Uppity Wisconsin we ask you to please help to make these marches peaceful and respectful to all - there's no point in any escalation of violence in this truly sad case.

Tony Robinson decision: WISC LIVE coverage

Sao Lue Vang's attacker gets 10 days jail time

Vang Protest

A contentious court case in Northwestern Wisconsin ended today with the sentencing of Kevin Elberg. Elberg beat Sao Lue Vang last year after he accidentally trespassed on Elberg's land while squirrel hunting. Many in this part of the state saw this as a test of whether a Hmong immigrant who served in support of the US military could receive justice after being beaten by a much younger and stronger man who appeared to have been drinking at the time.  A 10 day sentence with 2 years of probation and some community service hardly seems just.

The previous sentencing hearing for Elberg was cancelled due to an inability to reach a successful plea bargain. Muliple protests in Durand over the last several months were held in concern that the case would be plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor, which it was. Sao Lue Vang received multiple injuries in the beating, including a lacerated liver and many internal injuries.

RIP UW Independent Authority


John Nygren says the UW independent authority proposal supported by the governor and the regents of the University is dead in the water. This proposal was part of a package that included a huge cut in money to the University system, but with the independent authority as a way for the University to get back some of the money.

Now what remains to be seen is if the legislature still makes draconian cuts to the budget while taking the authority away.  This is another of those recent rebellions against Walker's plans and I'm certain we will be seeing more of it. Normally I would congratulate changes against Walker's budget proposals, but it sounds likely that this will set up a lose-lose situation for the University system.

I used to believe that the big print giveth and the small print taketh away.  In the Walker administration it's beginning to look like the small and big print are both taking.



In the past there were several different services in the state providing a web widget holding the latest posts from different blogs around the state.  All  of these have stopped publishing for one reason or another. We're diving into the void left there and publishing our own progressive blog widget called Cheddarwire.

Anyone is welcome to take this web widget and put it on their own blog. It updates automatically throughout the day, bringing you the best progressive blog links. You can install this on your own web site by going to the Cheddarwire page on this site, and copy and pasting the code at the bottom of the page into your own site.  You will need to do this (depending on what software you are using) in such a way that it will not be stripped out of the site - it's a simple javascript widget that does an iframe embed on your site.

We may publish some other widgets in the future, including a progressive calendar list you can also put on your own site.

Please let me know if you use this and let us know how it works out for you --

Guest Post - Jonathan Rosenblum on Rana Plaza and the local-global march against sweatshops

Rana Plaza

Rana Plaza and the Local-Global March Against Sweatshops

By Jonathan Rosenblum

Today is “Rana Plaza Day.” That's not a good thing. More than a thousand apparel factory workers died two years ago as they sweated literally to keep the sweat off your backs. The building collapsed on top of them, just after a dramatic street side negotiation in which managers forced the workers back into a tectonic building.

All this is pretty far from Madison, WI--in fact, 7261.1 miles from central Madison to the Savar industrial section of Dhaka Bangladesh on Mapquest. You can’t take a bus. You can get a one-stop from O’Hare on Qatar Air.

Happy Earth Day -- 57 DNR staff receive layoff notices

As the anti-science anti-environment drumbeat in Wisconsin continues, 57 staff at the DNR have received layoff notices (they're not officially laid off yet --- just being warned that they may be).  As expected a lot of these are in the science division - science has no place in our current policy-making.

I think that mystery noise heard in some parts of the state the other day may have been Gaylord Nelson turning in his grave.


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