Friday July 21, 2017

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Republican Budget Cuts UW Classrooms PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Saturday, 27 May 2017 08:00

uw-mdsn-studentsWalker and the Republicans who control the legislature are pushing the biggest budgets in the history of Wisconsin, yet they have cut $800 million from the UW.


MADISON - A budget is all about priorities and Republicans and Governor Walker have made it very clear that the UW is not their priority.

Since elected, Governor Walker’s state budgets have spent nearly $282 billion dollars – over $127 billion in GPR alone. These are the biggest budgets in the history of Wisconsin, yet Governor Walker and Republicans have cut $800 million from the UW in the last few budgets.

The funds are there, but Republicans have chosen not to restore their $800 million cut.

Democrats will not agree to continue this cut to the UW because we value the UW and the economic engine it is. Wisconsin deserves better than another state budget with cuts to our UW classrooms.

Truly the great state of Wisconsin deserves a strong UW system and the educational opportunities a strong investment in our UW schools brings for our people.

 
Democracy Campaign 'Recap of Inspiring Event!' PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 26 May 2017 07:42

matthew_rothschildA recap of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's summer meeting this week and more on the Walker follies in Madison.


MADISON - In case you couldn’t make our annual meeting on Monday night, I’d like to give you this recap of the inspiring event.

Longtime members Roger and Kristi Williams provided a tremendous testimonial about our work, and urged everyone to consider doing as they have done: leaving something for the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign in their planned giving.

Then Kim Wright of Midwest Environmental Advocates spoke, noting that “the same money that is clogging the arteries of our democracy” is also imperiling our clean water future. She added: “We really rely on the Democracy Campaign to give us the information that we need.”

Deshawn McKinney, president of the UW-Madison Wisconsin Union and a spoken word artist, performed a couple of his powerful poems and urged people to get out of their silos and their comfort zones and to lift up those from marginalized communities.

Kevin Kennedy, former head of the Government Accountability Board, denounced the “quagmire of selfishness” that the current leaders in our state capitol have fallen into. He also gave a short history of Wisconsin’s efforts to ensure clean and transparent government. “Recently, we’ve taken more than a step backwards,” he noted. He urged us to “persist like Sisyphus.”

The question and answer period was lively, and everyone had a good time, and we hope you can make the event next year. In the meantime, you can view this year's event in its entirety on WisconsinEye.

Meanwhile, we’ve continued to crank stuff out this week.

We noticed that Walker again has gone on public visits to companies whose employees just happened to have showered him with a lot of dough:

Walker celebrates with donors who gave him $100K+

We also noted that the DNR just gave a permit to an out-of-state company, Meteor Timber, to destroy rare wetlands in our state:

Approved sand plant will destroy rare wetlands

And we posted a speech I gave recently on the threat that Donald Trump poses to our democracy:

Video of WDC Executive Director Matthew Rothschild on Trump and fascism

I’ll be giving another talk on this same urgent topic on Memorial Day at 1:00 at the Gates of Heaven, in James Madison Park in Madison. View our calendar of speaking engagements and other WDC related events for more information.

Hope to see you there.

 
Blue Jean Nation 'Work at the crossroads' PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Saturday, 20 May 2017 14:11

matc-studentsWe can steer clear of the social, political and economic turmoil and upheaval this new economy has the capacity to create. If heads are buried in the sand, chaos will reign.


ALTOONA, WI - Those in power in Wisconsin’s Capitol want everyone to notice that the state’s unemployment rate has come down some. They are equally eager to have everyone to look past other troubling facts, such as wage and job growth that is lagging behind the national average, a poverty rate that’s higher than it’s been in 30 years, and a middle class that’s disappearing faster than anywhere else in the country. They pay no attention to rising economic inequality and hope no one notices that the income gap is growing faster in Wisconsin than in other states.

As unwilling as they are to acknowledge much less do something about these politically inconvenient realities, they are even more reluctant to engage the public in any kind of discussion about even greater challenges that lie ahead.

There is a reason why most Americans believe our kids will be worse off than their parents. The U.S. is hurtling toward an increasingly jobless economy and everyone can see it coming. Even the politicians can see it but don’t want to deal with what is plainly visible on the horizon. Instead they look for scapegoats, telling frightened workers that immigrants are stealing their jobs. Or they offer empty promises that closed factories can be reopened and lost assembly line jobs will somehow magically reappear. This is the cruelest kind of hoax.

sherman-park-youthToday’s immigrants aren’t replacing yesterday’s factory workers on the assembly lines, robots are. Immigration is not the culprit, technology is. Even if new factories replace the old shuttered ones, how many people will work in those plants? Driverless vehicles are coming. When they arrive, what happens to the truck drivers and bus drivers and cab drivers?

Call this emerging American economy what you will. Some call it global, some call it high-tech. Others label it an information or knowledge economy. Still others see little left but a service economy. Probably the most accurate description is post-human. Workers have every reason to feel vulnerable, and those feelings are only going to intensify.

Fewer and fewer workers have union representation. There was a time when virtually every American household included at least one union member. Today, less than 11% of all Americans and only 6% of private sector workers belong to a union. Labor unions were an outgrowth of the industrial revolution. That revolution came and went. In what came after, unions struggled to adapt and steadily lost membership. Workers lost bargaining power.

In the short term, steps can be taken to empower working people, from affordable and debt-free education and job training to universal access to everything from health care to high-speed Internet. But in the longer term, if our society is going to hold together in an increasingly jobless economy, we are going to have to renegotiate the social contract. Totally new approaches to maintaining social cohesion are going to have to be considered. Maybe part of the answer is moving to the 30-hour workweek that Amazon and other companies are trying out. That would make work available to more people. Maybe the time will soon come for a universal basic income. That would require all of us to see the value in making sure no one is left behind. Maybe making union representation a civil right could be a piece to the puzzle. Perhaps some combination of these or other ideas will light the way.

If minds are open, we can steer clear of the social, political and economic turmoil and upheaval this new economy has the capacity to create. If heads are buried in the sand, chaos will reign.

— Mike McCabe

 
When Officers Die, Words Are Not Enough PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Janet Bewley, State Senator Dist 25   
Saturday, 20 May 2017 13:37

police-officersTime for Assembly to Step Up for Spouses and Children of Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty.

Read more...
 
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