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DIANE RAVITCH: Ex-charter school proponent: why charters are a mistake

The campaign to "reform" schools by giving public money to private corporations is a distraction from our system's real problems: poverty and racial segregation.

Los Angeles has more charter schools than any other school district in the nation, and it's a very bad idea.

Billionaires like privately managed schools. Parents are lured with glittering promises of getting their kids a sure ticket to college. Politicians want to appear to be champions of "school reform" with charters.

Diane Ravitch

CAP TIMES: New WMC ad makes misleading claim about WI economic growth

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce today replaced their spaceship Wisconsin ad with a more conventional paean to Scott Walker.

In the new offering — which since WMC recently purchased more than $400,000 in air time ($828,000 since Sept. 11) you're sure to see if you watch local news — job announcement headlines flash across the screen as a narrator says:

Steven Elbow

WI DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGN: Governor continues to rake in money from elite class of donors

Madison – Seventy-eight individuals and couples mostly from outside Wisconsin contributed nearly $1 million to legislative and statewide officeholders and candidates during the first six months of 2013, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

This elite class of donors who contributed $10,000 or more is similar to “whales” – a gambling industry reference to an exclusive cache of wealthy high rollers who make big wagers and generally receive lavish comps from casinos to lure them back in the future.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

STATE JOURNAL: State survey shows one third of teachers would change their profession

A new survey of thousands of Wisconsin teachers found that nearly a third would “probably not” or “definitely not” choose the profession again, and 63 percent said they did not think the public appreciated the role teachers play in their children’s education.

Of the nearly 2,000 pre-K through 12th-grade teachers who took the Voices from the Classroom survey, 85 percent said they would like to see more interaction between the schools and the business community.

Andrea Anderson

CAP TIMES: Job growth under Scott Walker - August 2013

Gov. Scott Walker famously promised during his 2010 campaign that he would bring 250,000 new private-sector jobs to Wisconsin by the end of his term in 2014. How's he doing? We're keeping track with this database.

The graph below shows Wisconsin's jobs growth according to Current Employment Statistics seasonally adjusted data since then and how it compares to its neighboring states. 

Capital Times

APPLETON POST-CRESCENT: Walker making excuses for slow WI job growth

When we last checked in with Gov. Scott Walker on his campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in the state in his first term, he was telling Rhinelander TV station WJFW that it wasn’t so much a promise as a goal.

“My goal wasn’t so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, ‘It’s really not about jobs, it’s about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,’” Walker told WJFW.

Appleton Post-Crescent

CAP TIMES: Walker aide requests removal of jobs story from Rhinelander station

Gov. Scott Walker is starting to get more national attention. Not because of his potential presidential run, but because of an apparent misstep by Walker's office.

Steven Elbow

WPR: WMC seeks rollback of Wisconsin's Family Medical Leave Act

The state's largest business group wants to do away with parts of Wisconsin's Family Medical Leave Act, saying it's redundant to federal law and makes Wisconsin less competitive.

Shawn Johnson

CAP TIMES: Women protest WMC's attempts to repeal Family and Medical Leave Act

On Women’s Equality Day 25 years ago, former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson signed the state’s Family Medical Leave Act into law, a stricter version of the federal version already on the books.

On Monday, hundreds gathered outside the state Capitol in Madison to mark Thompson’s action and to draw attention to past efforts by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby, to repeal Wisconsin’s version.

Jessica Vanegeren

CAP TIMES: Does freedom of the press still apply in state Capitol?

The U.S. Constitution is absolutely clear in its language:

There can be “no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

The Wisconsin Constitution is absolutely clear in its language:

“No laws shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.”

Yet Progressive magazine editor Matt Rothschild was arrested at the state Capitol last week while reporting on the arrest of participants in the Solidarity Sing Along.

Rothschild made it clear that he was a reporter doing his job.

Cap Times editorial board

STATE JOURNAL: Despite arrests, Capitol protest grows

Participation in the noontime Capitol protest against Gov. Scott Walker continued to crescendo Monday despite nearly four weeks of almost daily arrests for gathering in the rotunda without a permit.

New participants, many of them from local police and firefighters unions, said last Thursday’s arrest of a journalist, a Madison City Council member and a 14-year-old girl encouraged them to join the more than 2-year-old Solidarity Singalong.

Matthew DeFour

APPLETON POST-CRESCENT: Take first step towards nonpartisan redistricting

When it comes to redistricting, we have a simple request. We’d like a hearing.

Today, we’re using Post-Crescent Media’s editorial voice as part of a statewide effort to urge our lawmakers to take the first steps on redistricting reform. We’re asking them to schedule hearings on Assembly Bill 185 and Senate Bill 163 when they return to Madison this fall.

It’s time to move in the right direction.

Appleton Post-Crescent

MIKE MCCABE: Public and pols far apart on money in politics

There is a conspicuous and growing disconnect between the public and the elected officials who are supposed to be representing the citizenry. Nowhere are the representatives and the represented more disconnected than on the subject of money in politics.

Mike McCabe

STATE JOURNAL: Walker creates stir with talk of stripping police, firefighter union rights


Gov. Scott Walker stirred things up Monday with talk about extending the state ban on public sector union rights to police and firefighters, before downplaying the idea Tuesday.

Walker and Republican lawmakers exempted police and firefighters from Act 10 of 2011, saying that they couldn’t risk strikes by public safety personnel.

Steven Verburg



In the past he’s employed illegal tactics and abused his power to round up votes, but Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) didn’t have to break a sweat to win this contest. 

For racking up a record that has veered from unethical conduct to staggering incompetence, CREW’s voters awarded Gov. Walker the title of Worst Governor in America.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

A BAGFUL OF CASH: How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Orchestrated a Corporate Takeover of Government

The US Chamber of Commerce-- a 101 year-old organization formed as corporations’ first union—is the chief agent behind Congress’ kowtowing to corporate interests, the Supreme Court’s favorability to corporations in its rulings, and presidents of both parties’ insistence on accommodating the wishes of multinational corporations at the expense of working-class people all over the world.

Carl Gibson

FLOWERS & ZEESE: Learn to build economic democracy at the Democracy Convention!

Another jobs report is in and it shows continued waddling along in job creation, just enough to keep the unemployment figure stable. The reality is the collapse has cost the nation 3 million jobs and that number is not shrinking. The “Lost Out-Put Clock” shows the nation has lost $4,602,667,601,6089 in national income and counting since the 2008 collapse.

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

JOHN NICHOLS: 16 states call to overturn 'Citizens United'

The most undercovered political movement in the United States — and there are a lot of undercovered political movements in the United States — is the broad-based national campaign to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that ushered in a new era of big-money politics.

John Nichols

MIKE JOHNSON: Chamber-backed pols defeat Madison donation disclosure proposal

A recent Madison City Council vote left me pondering a line from "The Simpsons" TV show: “Y'know, a town with good legislation is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it!”

Mike Johnson

WI Citizens Media Cooperative: Citizens testify for strong mining ordinance

On July 1, 2013, over a hundred people attended the Iron County Zoning Committee’s public hearing on a proposed mining ordinance in Hurley, Wisconsin.

Twenty-three of the twenty-eight people who testified urged the Committee to develop an ordinance containing the strongest possible protections for public health, safety and shared natural resources.

Rebecca Kemble

CAP TIMES: Walker joins Koch brothers' pledge to oppose climate action

You’ve no doubt heard about Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” Well, there’s a new pledge in town, and several Wisconsin conservatives have signed on.

This pledge is called the “No Climate Tax Pledge,” but it might as well be called the “Koch Brothers Protection Pledge,” since it was devised by a group co-founded and backed by the billionaire brothers whose companies, according to the EPA, emitted over 24 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2011.

Steven Elbow

NYT: Big companies paid a fraction of corporate tax rate

The biggest, most profitable American companies paid only a fraction of the taxes they would owe under the official corporate rate, according to a study released on Monday by the Government Accountability Office.

Using allowed deductions and legal loopholes, large corporations enjoyed a 12.6 percent tax rate far below the 35 percent tax that is the statutory rate imposed by the federal government on corporate profits.

Nelson D. Schwartz

ISTHMUS: Scott Walker's high-speed fail: Train service would have started now

Train cars are referred to as "rolling stock." Now, thanks to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators who run this state, Wisconsin is thought of as a "laughingstock."

Had Tom Barrett won the election for governor in 2010, right now, June 2013, would have seen the opening of Madison's high-speed rail station, connecting us to Milwaukee and Chicago immediately and the Twin Cities eventually.

Dave Cieslewicz

ISTHMUS: Wisconsin goes back to budget deficits

Andrew Reschovsky is disappointed.

The economics professor at UW-Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs has been studying the state's problem with budget deficits for decades.

And say what you will about Gov. Scott Walker, one thing he did do was eliminate that pesky deficit in his last budget. But, Reschovsky says, the 2013-15 $68 billion budget recently approved by the Legislature and awaiting Walker's signature shows a government up to its old tricks.

Joe Tarr