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Scuba

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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 44,592

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Wisconsin: Walker Says Wisconsin's Growing Trade Deficit is "Great News"

http://www.uppitywis.org/blogarticle/walker-says-wisconsins-growing-trade-deficit-great-news


Wisconsin was once the flagship manufacturing state of a United States that exported far more than it imported. Milwaukee, in fact, was once known as the "Machine Shop of the World" because, you name it, it was made there. Today, not so much: Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin's manufacturing is a shell of its former self. Wisconsin now actually imports more products from foreign countries than it exports. In 2014, Wisconsin imported $22.2 billion in manufactured products and exported only $20.2 billion worth. That's an imbalance of two billion dollars in a state that that should be leading the nation in trade surplus.

Overall, non-manufactured commodities (mostly agriculture) do help out Wisconsin's trade balance, but this category of exports offer a fraction of the jobs that manufactured commodities bring to the table. And even if you look at Wisconsin's total trade balance (manufactured commodities plus non manufactured commodities), Wisconsin still imports more than it exports, bringing its total trade deficit to about 100 million.

...

So, I was pretty much knocked of my chair when Scott Walker recently went to London and bragged repeatedly about Wisconsin's foreign trade triumphs. He even sidestepped the now-famous evolution question by saying "I love the evolution of trade in Wisconsin."

And in a press release on the same day, he described Wisconsin's "evolution of trade" as "great news." Truly "great news" on the "evolution of trade in Wisconsin" would be turning around a failed trade policy that has translated into a trade deficit that has cost Wisconsin hundreds of thousands of good jobs.

US Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wi) Quotes Lincoln to Convey Exact Opposite of What Lincoln was Saying

http://www.uppitywis.org/blogarticle/ron-johnson-quotes-lincoln-convey-exact-opposite-what-lincoln-wa

In July of 1858, Abraham Lincoln was giving a lengthy, anti-slavery speech in Chicago and one of the arguments he presented was that the actions of the framers of the Constitution demonstrated their intentions to phase-out slavery:

The adoption of the Constitution and its attendant history led the people to believe so; and that such was the belief of the framers of the Constitution itself. Why did those old men, about the time of the adoption of the Constitution, decree that Slavery should not go into the new territory, where it had not already gone? Why declare that within twenty years the African Slave Trade, by which slaves are supplied, might be cut off by Congress? Why were all these acts? I might enumerate more of these acts—but enough. What were they but a clear indication that the framers of the Constitution intended and expected the ultimate extinction of that institution. And now, when I say, as I said in my speech that Judge Douglas has quoted from, when I say that I think the opponents of slavery will resist the farther spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest with the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, I only mean to say, that they will place it where the founders of this Government originally placed it.


...

Now, let's fast forward 157 years into the future, to present day: U.S. Senator Ron Johnson just took the "let us then turn this government back in the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it" line out of the speech and posted it on his facebook page to recognize Lincoln's birthday.

Considering that Johnson is a vehement pro-states guy and opposes the Federal government enforcing Constitutionally-guaranteed rights and liberties onto the states in areas like abortion and gay marriage, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean to post a Lincoln quote that is calling for the Federal goverment to enforce the Constitution on the states. Obviously, Johnson or one his goons noticed that it was Lincoln's birthday and tried to find the most conservative Lincoln quote they could and thought the one above sounded perfect. Instead, they posted a progressive line from a progressive speech from one of the great progressives in our nation's history.

Wisconsin: Chris Larson explains the Walker budget

Reposted in full, with permission ...


http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/larson/eupdates/Pages/February.12.2015.index.htm

Last week, the governor announced his budget, which will cover the 2015-2017 biennium. People across Wisconsin tuned in hoping to hear the governor describe his plan for rebuilding Wisconsin, after the harm done by the last two budgets. Unfortunately, there was no long-term, sustainable vision conveyed.

Understanding How Wisconsin Got Here

The 2011-2013 Biennial Budget not only divided Wisconsin and damaged the building blocks of our middle-class, but it also caused Wisconsin to be ranked 42nd in the nation for job growth and is dead last in the Midwest. Below are just some of the staggering cuts that were seen in the previous budget in order to provide $2.3 billion in special interest giveaways:

$1.6 billion cut from public schools, which was the largest education cut in Wisconsin history
$315 million cut from our UW System, which has campuses across the state to educate future workers
$72 million cut from our tech colleges, which are responsible for training the workers our local businesses are demanding

The 2013-2015 state budget continued Walker's pattern of creating budgets that are unsustainable, fail families on education and health care, and don't do anything to represent middle class values. In that budget, the governor expanded the unaccountable, unproven voucher system statewide, while at the same time also choosing to expand the per pupil budget for voucher schools by at least 9% for K-8 students and 22% for high school students. The governor also rejected funding from the federal government to increase health care access to thousands of people, by rejecting the federal Medicaid expansion money. This choice not only costs taxpayers more to cover fewer people, but it also turned away an estimated 10,500 net new jobs.

So how bad is the 2015-2017 budget?

What we heard from Governor Walker last week confirmed what we expected to hear: simply put, this is a Groundhog Day budget -- a repeat of two years ago. Once again, the governor lacks any long-term vision for Wisconsin -- he is ignoring Wisconsin's middle class families and students, in favor of special interest giveaways and unsustainable tax cuts for the wealthy. He is once again dividing our state into winners and losers by gutting $300 million from our UW System, while at the same time increasing spending on big highway and interstate projects, and borrowing an additional $1.5 billion to do it.

Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, he does nothing to address the more than $500 million Values Deficit he created when he made the largest cuts to public education in our state's history just a few years ago. At the same time he continues to allow more private, for-profit voucher schools to operate by expanding the voucher system statewide. To make matters worse, he directly attacks hardworking families, who are already struggling to get by in the Walker economy, by throwing up illegal road blocks for families in need of access to BadgerCare or FoodShare until they can get back on their feet.

Here is a breakdown of a couple of key issue areas of the budget, starting with ten things you may not know about Walker's proposed education budget:

It removes the cap on the unaccountable voucher program, allowing for unlimited enrollment statewide
It spends 17.2 million more of our tax dollars for the voucher program
It cuts per student funding by $126.9 million
It also creates a Charter School Authorizing Board, which will further privatize education and take resources from our traditional neighborhood schools
It cuts almost $90 million in funding for students with special needs
It allows voucher schools to take different tests than public schools to compare performance, creating an apples-to-oranges comparison
It mandates DPI assign schools with letter grades in both school and district report cards
It effectively bans Common Core Standards for WI
It permits people with no background in education, and no proven skills they can adequately teach our kids, to become licensed teachers
It cuts funding for school breakfast, school libraries, SAGE, grants for gifted and talented students, and school violence prevention programs


As mentioned earlier, the governor cuts $300 million from the UW System budget. This will have a huge impact on what was viewed nationally as a world class University System, and will negatively impact the education our kids will receive. Here is a table that outlines the cuts per campus:



Governor Walker's budget also makes significant changes to policies that that will greatly impact the condition of our shared lands and waters and the way we leave it for future generations.

If you care about our public land and water here are ten things you may not have heard about in Walker's budget:

It kills the Wisconsin Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund, rejecting investment in saving wild areas for public recreation and future generations
It guts citizen guidance of the DNR, by stripping the authority of the citizen-led Natural Resources Board
It cuts over 65 DNR staff positions vital to safeguarding our land and waters
It slashes investments to programs that protect our water, land, and forests
It eliminates public funding for our state park staff
It increases fees for entering and camping in our state parks
It shatters partnerships with groups and organizations who work to preserve and enhance conservation
It cuts DNR forestry staff, in favor of privatization and out-sourcing
It cuts millions from recycling grants, jeopardizing programs and efforts.
It stops the PECFA program, cutting clean-up of contamination sites


Finally, If you care about the health of Wisconsin's working families and seniors, this budget makes significant cuts and changes to programs that have been models used around the nation, because of their innovation in helping Wisconsinites and because of the quality of care they produce at a low cost to the individual and state.

Here is a list of ten changes in Walker's budget that will hurt Wisconsin's working families and seniors:

It makes low-income adults, who are already struggling to get by, pay even more for BadgerCare coverage
It limits access to basic health care services to 48 months
It slashes SeniorCare funding by almost $97 million
It pushes seniors out of the SeniorCare program
It eliminates IRIS, a program for people with disabilities
It limits participation in the Wisconsin Works program from 60 months to 48 months
It allows for removal of people from Wisconsin Works without notice or reason
It privatizes the Family Care program and puts the integrity of the program in jeopardy
It makes it easier for the state to take a widow's money through estate taxes
It doesn't accept federal Medicaid money to cover more people under BadgerCare for less money The aforementioned health care cuts could be avoided by expanding BadgerCare, which would save the state around $300 million between January 2016 and June 2017
In this budget, Governor Walker makes it clear that he is more distracted by his own ambitions of appealing to Tea Party voters in other states, than articulating a long-term vision of hope for Wisconsin, which should start by cleaning up the mess he has already made over the past four years.

Instead, Walker's Groundhog Day budget once again doubles down on failed schemes and perpetuates a values deficit by choosing campaigns over classrooms, highways over high schools, and borrowing over Bucky. This budget does not reflect the priorities and values of the people of Wisconsin, period.

As I continue to dig through the budget, I will make sure to update you on other provisions and concerns as they arise. If what we have seen at first glimpse is any indication of things to come, I imagine I will have much more to share with you in the coming weeks and months.

Governor Walker's proposed 2015-17 state budget was introduced as Senate Bill 21 (SB) 21 on February 3, 2015, and was referred to the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC). Since being introduced, there have been strong, bipartisan criticisms expressed over portions of the governor's budget. I will ensure the views of our neighbors are considered as the state budget makes its way to the Wisconsin State Senate for a vote.

Additionally, JFC will be holding public hearings as they review the budget, and will make changes over the coming months, before approving a final version to be voted on by the full Legislature, which typically occurs in June. I am strongly advocating for having one of these committee hearings in the Milwaukee area, so the voices and concerns of our neighbors can be heard. I will be sure to keep you updated as details become available.

The 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse


The Indian Chief Dark Horse, unveiled Friday afternoon at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Chicago, is a cruiser with a retail price starting at $16,999.


More pics here ...

http://www.jsonline.com/multimedia/photos/dark-horse-gallops-into-market-b99444670z1-291917181.html

Wisconsin: What is it that they cannot see?

http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/what-is-it-that-they-cannot-see-b99443999z1-291872771.html


Aldo Leopold: the father of the conservation movement likely would not understand recent moves to cut funding to education and conservation.

Those of us who love Wisconsin can't explain why our affection runs so deep, but I am afflicted deeply with it and have been since I was a boy 70 years ago and my parents drove us three brothers north from Illinois to spend weeks in the woods and on the lakes. I can't put into words the profound power of this love but it absorbs my whole being in an all-consuming way. Those of us who are so afflicted instantly recognize it in others, including Increase Lapham, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Gaylord Nelson, Warren Knowles, Fran Hamerstrom and Lorrie Otto among the many great hearts and minds who preceded us. We also recognize it in our peers who reside in this grand natural mansion, a home that comforts, welcomes, entertains and thrills us. This recognition bonds us tightly. "You love Wisconsin?" I ask quietly when I see this thing in others as I hike, hunt, fish and witness the symphony of its life. "I share it," I confide and we need say no more. We are now bound permanently in a community best described as family.

From this mysterious, shared attraction to our natural home, our Eden, sprang two of its greatest institutions:

■The progressives, who dedicated themselves to understanding, protecting and sharing the natural assets that spark such intense good feeling, who left us with methods to regenerate the forests, protect the "beautiful sheets of water" that are the inland lakes and wild rivers, guard the integrity of habitats that support our nonhuman relatives. These men and women replanted the forests and prairies, saved threatened species, protected shorelines and wetlands. They spent their votes, energy and taxes on the technologies to keep running water clear and breezes pure, on purchasing and restoring the special places, including glacial moraines, savannas, prairies, cliffs, beaches, wetlands and the ancient pockets of rare plant and animal communities.

■The University of Wisconsin, which was guided by a generous vision called "the Wisconsin Idea" under which the university extended its reach to the state's boundaries to help local citizens learn how to nurture and maintain their place in order to live prosperously, in harmony and at peace. In the classroom, the task was to instill a love of learning and to ask, if only that we assume some humility: What primal forces of creation gave us our blessed place, our Garden of Eden? From this need to understand and search for truth evolved the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Idea, which together have brought us honor and respect.


Today, both institutions are under attack from those seemingly confined by the limits of personal ambition, who lack the wonder that guides us, who see our home as a thing to be sold to the highest bidder, to be closed off, carved up and carried away in boats, trains and trucks, leaving wounds that will take centuries to heal, if ever they do heal.

Wisconsin: Cuts to UW System could seriously hurt state's economic growth

http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/cuts-to-uw-system-could-seriously-hurt-states-economic-growth-b99443996z1-291853951.html


UW-Madison is a premier public university and is especially strong in scientific research. The university generates $1.1 billion annually in research funding, a significant amount of which is spent in Wisconsin, putting it fourth nationally in academic research and development and fourth globally in U.S. patents received. This research generates incredible innovations that can and do create new high-growth companies in many industry sectors, from software to medical innovations to advanced manufacturing technologies.

Many successful start-ups have emanated from Wisconsin's research universities, and this entrepreneurial activity seems to be increasing, though there is much room for improvement. Recent examples include the launch of the next generation of computer network intrusion detection systems, developed by UW-Madison computer science professor Paul Barford, and the UW Carbone Cancer Center's discovery, development and patent of a cancer treatment that limits radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. The goal should be to increase the number and quality of companies that emerge from the entire UW System.

As significant as any products emerging from these campuses are the highly educated and innovative leaders they create. A recently released study from The Brookings Institution ranked Madison the top U.S. metro area for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates, with one in four of the area's graduates earning a degree in these fields. That's nearly double the national average.

UW System graduates are fueling the growth of many strong Wisconsin companies. As members of the business community, we see this first hand. Exact Sciences, one of the state's fastest-growing biotech start-ups, emerged from two employees in UW's Research Park to an expected staff of 800 by the end of 2015, with more than half of the current R&D and lab team coming from the UW System. Similarly, Wisconsin start-ups that The BrightStar Foundation invested in during 2014 are projected to make 775 new hires over the next three years.

Wisconsin: School choice group seeks personal data on students

http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/voucher-group-hits-districts-with-big-student-data-request-b99444484z1-291915981.html


School choice advocates have requested the names, addresses, phone numbers and grade levels of every student enrolled in 30 different public school districts, gearing up for a marketing campaign should lawmakers lift the enrollment cap on Wisconsin's statewide voucher program.

But what School Choice Wisconsin sees as a legal way to augment its mailing list, public school supporters see as a legal affront on personal privacy. The issue is prompting some district leaders to revisit options for limiting the release of student data, including reminding parents of their ability to opt out.

"While the district must comply with the request required by law, I find it difficult to believe that this was the intended purpose of the (open records) law," Green Bay Area School District Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld wrote in a letter to parents this week, informing them of the data request.

School Choice Wisconsin, which lobbies for public money to support the education of children in private schools, made requests under the state's open records laws recently to obtain student directory information from Green Bay, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Wausau and at least two dozen other districts.



Non Sequitur: The Assault Rifle Sportsman

Wisconsin: Letter from John Forester, the Director of the School Administrators Alliance

from my email ...


As you know, Governor Walker formally introduced his 2015-17 State Budget proposal and it is clear that the all-out attack on public education continues in Wisconsin. And, the lion’s share of the attack can be categorized in three general areas: 1) the proposed $150 per pupil categorical aid cut in the first year of the biennium, 2) dramatic expansion proposals for private school vouchers and privately-run charter schools, and 3) damaging education policy prescriptions on Common Core, school accountability, assessments, and teacher preparation and licensure; as well as the elimination of the Local Government Property Insurance Fund.

There is a lot of detail in this budget which impacts public education. It will likely take the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) until the end of February or more to complete their analysis of this budget. DPI may have something late next week. We will pick up the fight against voucher and charter school expansion, and policy in the budget next week. For now, SAA members need to focus on the impact of the proposed $150 per pupil aid cut in the first year of the biennium. Consider the following:

§ Anything less than an inflationary increase in per pupil revenues will require reductions in educational opportunities for public school children.

§ Governor Walker’s budget plan includes no revenue limit per pupil increase in either year of the biennium.

§ Although the Governor indicated in his budget address on February 3rd that school revenues remained essentially flat, his budget plan actually imposes a $150 ($127 million statewide) cut in the per pupil categorical aid in the first year of the biennium. This $150 per-pupil categorical aid was in the 2014-15 state budget base and expected in each year of the 2015-17 biennium.

§ Therefore, even though the Governor proposes to add about $142 million (about $165 per pupil) to the per pupil categorical in the second year of the biennium, the net result is a cut of approximately $135 per pupil ($112 million) over the biennium. But, the biggest issue is the impact of that first year cut on your budget and your ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities for the children you serve.

§ In addition to the $142 million in the per pupil categorical in the second year of the budget, the governor also proposes spending

$211.2 million in increased school levy credits ($105.6 million in each year) and $108 million in increased general aid with no corresponding revenue limit increase. Therefore, this $319 million is “school funding in name only.” It simply flows to taxpayers as property tax relief and schools cannot spend one dime of it on the educational needs of their students.


The battle lines have been clearly drawn and there is no denying that the threat to public education is very real in this budget process. I call on each district administrator to assemble your leadership team, collaborate on your district message and craft your plan for influencing your parents, your staff, your community, your media and your lawmakers — and then coordinate the delivery of that message. This budget will harm your school district and the children you serve. Never has it been more important for you to reach out to your legislators and your community. In your communication, please cover the following:

§ Invite your legislators to your school(s). Use the opportunity to show them some of the great educational opportunities that kids in your district are afforded. Show them what learning looks like today in your schools.

§ Highlight the budgetary and human impact that the Governor’s proposed $150 per pupil aid cut in the first year of the budget will have on your school district. Emphasize the lost educational opportunities for your students.

§ Encourage your legislators to support putting the $211 million in school levy credits and the $108 million in increased general aid (with no revenue limit increase) into a form that you can spend on the needs of the children you serve. Many legislators have already said that they support putting more money into schools if May revenue estimates show more revenue is available. I say, “Pay the Kids First!” I believe our civic-minded Wisconsin citizens will say keep my $5 or $10 in projected property tax relief from this “school funding” and use it for the children.

§ Tell your district’s story. They need to hear it.

§ Encourage your legislators to stand up for Wisconsin school children.

§ Thank them for listening and for working for the citizens of Wisconsin.

Please send a letter (phone calls work too) using the information discussed above to the members of the Joint Finance Committee and your legislators as soon as possible. I know many of you have already contacted your legislators, and I thank you. I also ask that you contact them again. For your convenience, I have provided links to the Senate Directory, the Assembly Directory and Who Are My Legislators. Please copy your letter to the SAA.

In my 13 years of representing the SAA, I may have been in a few fights that, upon reflection, maybe I should not have been in. This isn’t one of those. So let’s fight. Let’s fight for everything that is good in public education. Let’s fight for all the reasons we made education our life’s work. But, most importantly, let’s fight for the children we serve today . . . and for those we will serve tomorrow.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for all your efforts on behalf of Wisconsin school children.

John Forester
Director, School Administrators Alliance

Dear Scott Walker, thanks for the memories ...

Within weeks of being sworn in as Governer (sic) of Wisconsin, Scott Walker had earned a unique mix of scorn and contempt from our best and brightest citizens. For your pleasure, here's a small sample of what Wisconsinites told Scott they think of him.
























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