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School Funding: It’s about More than Money

Kathleen Vinehout
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Public education in Wisconsin should provide high quality learning for ALL children no matter who they are or where they live,” Eau Claire School Board President Chris Hambuch-Boyle recently told me.
 
Chris and education leaders across the state read with interest details of the Governor’s plan for our next state budget. Governor Walker gave money to a number of new initiatives and reaped the praise of some education leaders.
 
The plan picks and chooses among various proposals advanced over the last few years. Some new programs are funded and some existing programs get more money. The plan is a compromise.
 
However – as with any political compromise – we should know what is not included and what is not being done.
 

Paul Ryan Defends Trump - sort of

Paul Ryan

On this morning's NBC NEWS' Meet The Press with Chuck Todd Paul Ryan defended the position of the president on many issues, with just enough pull-back to make himself sound sane. It is interesting to watch the line that Republicans are treading at the moment as they need to defend the antics of the increasingly erratic president while remaining loyal to their party and still looking like they are the adults in the room. He starts by back-tracking on the Iran sanctions

CHUCK TODD:

Speaker Ryan, welcome back to Meet The Press.

PAUL RYAN:

Thanks for having me.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's start with news of the-- of Friday. Iran sanctions, new executive order signed. There is wide support in Congress for more sanctions on Iran—

PAUL RYAN:

That's right.

CHUCK TODD:

That is clear. Let me ask you this, though. Would you like to see the beginnings of trying to get out of the nuclear deal?

PAUL RYAN:

Well, a lot of that toothpaste is already out of the tube. I never supported the deal in the first place. I thought it was a huge mistake. But the multilateral sanctions are done. So—

CHUCK TODD:

Done meaning you're not going to be able to put that back together--

PAUL RYAN:

Yeah, I don't think you're going to go back and reconstitute the multilateral sanctions that were in place.

CHUCK TODD:

Should we try, though?

RYAN:

So, I don’t think we-- I think we should expend our effort where it can pay off the most. And that's why I think what they're doing now does make a lot of sense. So I think the key is to rigorously enforce this deal. But also, remember, they're testing ballistic missiles. They're still the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Human rights abuses galore.

And so those are where I think we also need to ratchet up sanctions. I think what this administration is doing, which I agree with, is saying, "We have a new administration, and we're going to hold you, Iran, to account." This last administration did not do that. This new administration needs to do that. And I think that's what you're getting here.

CHUCK TODD:

Is there-- Where is the line here? Are you concerned that Iran might retaliate, and suddenly we're a part of the proxy war in Yemen? I mean--

PAUL RYAN:

But look what they were doing, we're appeasing them already. So it couldn't get worse--

The alternative to Scott Walker's Budget

Scott Walker is gearing up to present his new budget, which will be more of the same predictable stuff - tax cuts to the rich, small amounts of money to schools and broadband, which will only slightly make up for previous gutting of these items, and more.

We need to remind ourselves that there are alternatives.  Citizen Action of Wisconsin has an alternative budget for all, which you can read at the link below. It is a big shift in priorities from what we are doing now. I am including a video of Dr. Rober Kraig at Citizen Action, where he explains what went into making this alternative budget.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Presents Alternative Budget

Scott Walker - Abuser

I used to have a friend who was in a terrible abusive relationship. Several times her boyfriend put her in the hospital, once having broken several bones in her face. Despite the pleas of all of her friends to leave this guy, she stayed. I'm not finding fault with her, lots of women in this situation stay, with a number of different reasons, though I suspect in her case it was a matter of astoundingly low self-esteem.

Why do I bring this up?  The story here is not that someone was abused - but the behavior of the abuser.  He knew exactly what buttons to push to keep this relationship going. He came to the hospital, was profusely sorry, always bringing a gift, something soft and cuddly and feminine like a teddy bear. She several times explained to me that he was incredibly good to her because he was always sorry for what he had done, and besides, they had amazing sex. I have to admit that I could never understand the concept of having amazing sex with someone who was physically and emotionally abusive, but this apparently works differently for other people.

Scott Walker as of late is coming to us with the ol' teddy bear. Because he senses we are getting restless. The state has suffered a fair amount of abuse at his hands.  Unions?  - Gone.  Schools? - Underfunded. Roads? - Barely passable, despite spending a wad of cash. But now the budget is suddenly flush ( well, in theory anyway) and we're making little tiny baby steps to get some of the money back. Our schools may get a little more cash, but only if we're all good girls and do like daddy says. We'll get some broadband money -- oh nowhere near what we could have had from the feds years ago, but taking our own tax money back from Washington would have been wrong.  They take it away in 100 dollar bills, and make up for it with loose change. The current administration is really good with the abuse, and they know that eventually we'll just give up and re-elect them because it's too dangerous to stand up for ourselves. And we don't even get great sex. 

It's time to walk out. CItizen Action of Wisconsin and several other nonprofits in the state are promoting an alternative budget. It is full of great ideas for shifting the state's priorities. Let's fight for change, and for getting people in Madison who care about us all the time, not just once in a while to convince us they still care.

Progressive Talk Radio in Wisconsin

Progressive Talk Radio returned to Wisconsin yesterday.

Mike Crute, one of the hosts of Devil's Advocates, recently purchased 1510 AM in the Milwaukee area, changing the format from Spanish-Language Sports to all-talk progressive radio. The station has limited coverage in the state (mostly the Milwaukee area) but is available via live stream everywhere.

A great deal of encouragement for this came from the Citizen Action Radio-Active project in Milwaukee, which has been monitoring right-wing talk radio in the Milwaukee area for some time now.

This is a commercial radio station, which means that to succeed they will need support from advertisers. If you are interested in supporting them as an advertiser, please just drop me a line on the contact form on the web site and I will get you hooked up with the appropriate people.

Current programming includes some of your favorites - Devil's Advocate, of course, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, and new programmers Earl Ingram and Leslie Marshall. Links for program guides, live streaming, and Facebook are listed below.

Hmm -- Indivisible Guide web site is down

Update --- Seems to be back up and running --- good deal.

I note that the Indivisible Guide seems to also be Invisible at the moment.  Their site is failing in ways that would lead me to believe that either they are just being overwhelmed with traffic or that they are under a DDOS attack.   SO --- if you need a copy of the guilde I DID just download a fresh version a couple of hours ago which you can download here.

Who Has Been Watching Spending at DOT?

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Let me see how much you spent,” my mother said when I returned from the store. As the oldest of five children, I was often sent to the store to buy groceries. When I returned home, my mother checked the grocery bag, the receipt and counted the change.
 
I knew I could buy no more than exactly what was on her list. She knew how much everything should cost. I needed to answer for every penny I spent. Everything needed to add up.
 
This simple accountability seems to be completely missing at our Department of transportation (DOT).

Audits Raise Cautions about Pension Fund Management

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“GOOD NEWS” read the text with a short article about how our pension funds grew 8.5%. My friend forwarded the article with a cryptic note, “apparently the lies keep working.”
 
In what seems to me to be an effort to get ahead of a bad story, the agency responsible for investing almost $100 billion in pension funds – the largest single pot of money anywhere in state government - issued a press release touting an 8.5% increase in its core fund.
 
As radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story.

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