MADISON–Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) issued a statement today following the Joint Finance Committee’s executive session on the 2015-17 State Budget, which took up issues on Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). After calls for a federal investigation in corruption and criminal violations of Governor Walker’s flagship state agency WEDC, Republican JFC members voted to remove Walker from his position as Chairman of the WEDC Board
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.
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.
Audit Affirms Complaints but also Satisfaction with Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
Last April I wrote about many complaints I received concerning rides to medical appointments for folks in BadgerCare and other Medicaid programs.
People complained drivers didn’t show up, rides were late, drivers didn’t arrive for the return trip home and – at least in one case – the heater did not work in a van taking an elderly woman for her dialysis appointment.
Often patients were told no drivers were available. But local transportation companies told me they were not getting enough business. Local drivers thought the St. Louis-based contractor, Medical Transportation Management, Inc. (MTM) favored a few large companies over small local ones. MTM is the statewide Non-Emergency Medical Transportation ‘broker’ the state hired to arrange rides for eligible patients.
As expected the US Supreme Court has rejected the lawsuit brought forth to halt the John Doe II investigation permanently. The state Supreme Court will now hand down rulings on the multiple suits before it on the John Doe probe. Rulings on these cases are expected this summer.
Separated at birth: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial writers and Sen. Ron Johnson. At least it looked that way reading Sunday's newspaper. Note the oddly similar constructions in the news pages and the editorial pages regarding former Sen. Russ Feingold's decision to run against Johnson next fall (boldfacing added):
1. News story: "Russ Feingold is a career politician," Johnson said in his speech. "He's addicted to it... ."
The Center for Media and Democracy has made it easy to read the recently-released John Doe documents and court briefs. If you're the sort of person who loves burrowing through this stuff, have at it. And if you find something really interesting, please let us know. It's all there in its embarrassing glory.