Folkbum's Rambles and Rants

Recent Articles

Maybe They Were Punked — Again

Maybe They Were Punked — Again

Looking for light for what for them are the darkest of places, the right has been chaffing over the notion that their Stalinization program in the GOP led to a loss of the 23rd district for the Republican Party for the first time in over 100 years, based on what they call the mainstream media "meme."

Presidents, School Kids, and Wispy Spines
McIlheran Watch:  Swastikas
McIlheran Watch

Swastikas

Simple question: Who are you going to believe, McIlheran (conservatives would never use swastikas!) or your lying eyes?

Kudos to the Kohler

Kudos to the Kohler

On Sunday the New York Times ran a glowing feature about the job that the John Michael Kohler Arts Center does up in Sheboygan. One New Jersey artist, Gregory Van Maanen, praised it with a little bit of submerged East-Coast chauvinism. When we think of great museums, we think of places like the Whitney in […]

That’s not what I saw

That’s not what I saw

by folkbumWhen I got home from my morning at Marquette yesterday, I mentioned that at lunch--the program I teach with offered us a working lunch as part of the teacher orientation day--the dining hall was full of Teach for America kids. I think my exact words were something like, "It looked like the yuppie cloning machine had been stuck on high."This line from the paper this morning surprised me

The dumbest comment on the McFly affair to date

The dumbest comment on the McFly affair to date

by folkbumAnd I'm proud to say it was made right here in the comments section of this very blog!Regular (and blogger in his own right) Dad29 came by last night to say, "Frankly the biggest story is 'who sent the letters/emails?'--unanswered by Bice." (Original Bice story here, for the one or two of you who haven't read it yet.)This is dumb for two reasons: One, it suggests that somehow evidence

We Can Do It — Community Bands Together to Start up a Book Store

We Can Do It — Community Bands Together to Start up a Book Store

By Keith R. SchmitzThe disappearance in few months ago of the venerable Harry W. Schwartz bookstore tore a big hole in the fabric of community of life in the Milwaukee northshore.Around for 17 years, the store became a gathering place for residents to browse books, sip coffee and bump into neighbors. Plus, the store didn't do too bad despite Amazon. Like many stores, it was more than the products

That makes two choice provisions Doyle should veto

That makes two choice provisions Doyle should veto

by folkbumI am not a fan of the Milwuaukee Parental Choice Program, and if I could snap fingers and have it disappear tomorrow, I would.However, that doesn't mean Democrats in the legislature need to be stupid:Democrats who control the state Assembly voted Thursday to cap participation in Milwaukee's parents' choice program at 19,500 students for the next two years - about 500 fewer students than

Even Lt. Gov. Lawton beats the pants off of Walker, Neumann

Even Lt. Gov. Lawton beats the pants off of Walker, Neumann

by folkbumThere is no serious indication that Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is not running for re-election. There's also not any serious indication that he is, for that matter; I think we have all just been assuming that he will.Research 2000, for Daily Kos (so, salt grains perhaps necessary), not only polled the Doyle match-ups against his likeliest opponents (Scott Walker, Tosa Ranger and Mark

Conceal and Carry on Two Wheels

Conceal and Carry on Two Wheels

By Keith R. SchmitzDid you happen to notice that the still unnamed bicyclist who shot the two city of Milwaukee police officers was concealing and carrying?Kind of blows holes in the argument that if you carry a gun you are safer.Here were not one, but two, well armed and trained gentlemen who have to spend some time in the hospital. If someone gets the drop on you, a gun isn't going to provide

The police non-emergency number needs hold music

The police non-emergency number needs hold music

by folkbumSo I learned while waiting to report that some sonuvabitch broke out a window in my car last night. I keep nothing of value in the car, of course, but man, that sort of thing sure ruins a morning, ain'a?

Deadlines

Deadlines

By Keith R. SchmitzHere's a disturbing aspect of the decline in news staffs.According to The New York Times as reported on the PoynterOnline site:Lawyers opposed to the death penalty have in the past provided the broad outlines of cases to reporters, who then pursued witnesses and unearthed evidence. Now, lawyers tell Tim Arango, they have to do more of the work themselves and that means it often

Here it is …

Here it is …

by folkbumYou had to know this was coming:Gov. Jim Doyle said Friday that falling tax collections will force him to propose new cuts of up to 5% in state spending for public schools and aid to local governments. [. . .]In February, before tax collections in this fiscal year fell by $925 million, the governor had proposed a small increase in aid to schools for next year.Now, with estimates of tax

Fact-free blogging on Gitmo continues

Fact-free blogging on Gitmo continues

by folkbumUnable to change course from the old standy of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt--as opposed to Füd, which is the restaurant inside the Shøp Ikea rip-off in Springfield), the Right has glommed onto President Obama's plan to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This necessitates moving the 240-ish people left there to somewhere else. James Wigderson offers the latest fact-free

Screaming headline decries union thoughtfulness

Screaming headline decries union thoughtfulness

by folkbumThe federal government is sending a fairly significant chunk of funds toward the Milwaukee Public Schools to be spent over the next two years. This money is part of the so-called "stimulus" package, which is designed to get money into communities, putting people to work and saving jobs--at least until the money runs out after 2011. The theory is that either the economy will be better

Fine Whine

Fine Whine

By Keith R. SchmitzOff the Wisconsin GOP web site:Campaigning for governor, Jim Doyle promised to eliminate 10,000 state government jobs. To date, the administration has actually taken on an extra 3,000 jobs since Doyle took office. On the other hand, the private sector has LOST 69,4000 jobs on Doyle's watch.Let's unravel this logic. We have lost nearly 70,ooo jobs in Wisconsin. The state GOP

What’s that smell?  Nothing!  Yippee!

What’s that smell? Nothing! Yippee!

by folkbumOf course, it's not final yet, but Wisconsin is all set to give up the title of Ashtray of the Midwest. However, it sounds like the compromises are such that it is likely to pass and be signed into law.And not a moment too soon. One of the most frustrating things about trying to live the cosmopolitan life here in the big city is the risk of reeking of smoke just because I wanted to

GOP Self-Inflicts Wound

GOP Self-Inflicts Wound

By Keith R. SchmitzYou bet Arlen Specter jumped the GOP for political reasons. Conservative Congressman Pat Toomey was ahead of him by at least 20 points in the polling, and it looked for certain Specter would not survive the primary.But the primary is the primary presented for the inspection, as Rod Serling would say, of an increasingly right wing party.A growing segment of not only Pennsylvania

Tea Parties nationwide = Obama in one city

Tea Parties nationwide = Obama in one city

by folkbumThe estimates I'm reading today are 100,000 people protested in the "tea parties" yesterday. Good for them; I'd much rather they dump a bunch of tea than troll my blog (unless they click on the ads ... please click on the ads, people!) or blow stuff up.100,000 people was Obama in St. Loius:

Interesting nuggets in the MPS audit

Interesting nuggets in the MPS audit

by folkbumWorking my way now through all 104 pages of the report (available in pdf form from the daily newspaper or the city's website). I'll be throwing up some of the more interesting things I see that were not reported by the media.In the last five years, enrollment is down 10%, but the number of full-time employees is down 17%. Anyone who tells you we're not cutting fat is lying to you."

Ravitch on mayoral control of schools

Ravitch on mayoral control of schools

by folkbumAs the discussion keeps winding up about "what to do" with the Milwaukee Public Schools, I want to throw another log on the fire. In addition to the studies from PPF and EPIC cited in my last post that suggest handing control of school districts over to mayors or governors is at best a wash and ay worst a thoroughly disruptive mess, I'll add Diane Ravitch:Actually, the record on

More on ASA’s emails

More on ASA’s emails

Dan Bice has the story in this morning’s paper, and he does give credit to the anonymous blogger for uncovering the Yahoo! group Advocates for Student Achievement was using to plot is strategy. Bice got a hold of more of them than I could before the group was shut down. I don’t have much to […]

McIlheran Watch:  Pardon me, but your straw man is showing.
McIlheran Watch

Pardon me, but your straw man is showing.

As sometimes happens, my inbox was graced this afternoon with an email from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Patrick McIlheran, who retains a place of high regard in my rogues gallery even if I don’t bother writing about him much anymore. (Tom Foley has taken up a lot of the slack.) The email is pimping his […]

Voucher schools need a “turnaround team,” too, I guess

Voucher schools need a “turnaround team,” too, I guess

Cory Liebmann is my hero: Recently an analysis verified what many well informed people already knew, that Milwaukee voucher schools performed at just about the same level as Milwaukee Public Schools. People like DPI candidate Rose Fernandez and others on the extreme would have us “voucherize” the entire state claiming that these schools are somehow […]

They Closed the Curtains Too Soon

They Closed the Curtains Too Soon

Earlier this week, I wondered about Advocates for Student Achievement, a seemingly pro-privatization group that wants to influence the election of members of the Milwaukee Public Schools board. Another blogger, going by the monicker of "sixandsevens," has been tracking the group, too, at dKos and OWN. One thing this person caught--and, honestly, I have no idea who s/he may be--is that ASA and its members were on the Yahoo! together in an open email listserv. Well, open in the sense that anyone could stroll through and read their emails to each other, not that anyone could just chime in. Sadly, this is what's left of that group:

Sin of Omission

Sin of Omission

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) is obsessing this morning on MSNBC over the “non-partisan” Obama administration and how scary the coming deficit is. Again, somehow the Bush administration’s deficits that did nothing for America are to viewed in cozy perspective or totally dismissed. But now we have horror show. He talks about how foreign investors will […]

Imagine me doing an “I told you so” dance

Imagine me doing an “I told you so” dance

Actually, don’t. It’s probably not attractive, even in your head. But, still, I told you so: Summarizing a comparison of how matched groups of voucher and MPS students did across two years of tests, the researchers wrote: “The primary finding in all of these comparisons is that there is no overall statistically significant difference between […]

I’d love to see the simple answer to this simple question

I’d love to see the simple answer to this simple question

Here’s one thing I don’t understand, and haven’t for years now: Why on FSM’s parmesan-covered earth do pro-school-voucher forces get involved in the races for the Milwaukee Board of School Directors? I mean, seriously. The MPS board has about as much control over the voucher program as I do. And yet for many years, voucher […]

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Al Campbell, curmudgeon, is writing about the Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent’s new infatuation with year-round schooling for every student. At his MyCommunityNOW blog (his regular blog), Campbell writes, I began wondering about just what would happen with year-round education? Would we start this at the kindergarten level and continue it through the senior year of […]

What?  Conservative bloggers have double standards?  You’re kidding!

What? Conservative bloggers have double standards? You’re kidding!

Last week, Assembly member Don Pridemore (R-Bad Judgment) put out a press release, on Assembly office letterhead, with his Assembly office phone number as the contact number, urging people not to vote for Tony Evers for state superintendent on April 7. In fact, the closing line of his release is clear: “These issues alone make […]

Case not made for any “Turnaround Team”
Finally, Doyle will stop the scourge!

Finally, Doyle will stop the scourge!

One of the big stories of the day is that in the budget Governor J-Dizzle submitted to the legislature, there’s no funding for yearly vehicle registration stickers. I think this is a great idea. See, it would stop one of the greatest scourges known to Wisconsinites. And no, it’s not the problem named in the […]

Illinois Rejects Conceal and Carry

Illinois Rejects Conceal and Carry

Good news for those who dig civilization. A bill for conceal and carry in Illinois died in a State Senate committee. So that means people of Illinois — 1, the NRA and gun industry which sorely needs a market — 0. Looks like Illinois is as smart as we are.

How do we pay teachers?

How do we pay teachers?

The Journal Sentinel has not just ended its community education bloggers program, but has, at least as far as I can tell, let all the content disappear, too. But since Barack Obama announced yesterday his education agenda, including merit pay for teachers, I wanted to re-run something I wrote for them some time ago. Good thing someone invented the Google cache, eh? Here it is in full, with most of the links fixed, even.

MacGyver Updates

MacGyver Updates

A couple of updates related to my post below. One, the badly written blog post about that inaugural poll from the MacGyver Institute's inaugural poll has been updated--with no notice that a correction has been attempted. Compare before (above) and after (below). Of course, the correction is still misrepresenting the results of the poll, at least according to the group's own press release (.pdf). That claims, "35% of residents blame the state’s budget woes on the downturn in Wisconsin’s job and economic situation." Which is not what the updated post says.

See DPI Candidates in Milwaukee Tonight, Next Week

See DPI Candidates in Milwaukee Tonight, Next Week

by folkbum In one of a long series of joint appearances, the candidates for state superintendent of public instruction (Tony Evers and Rose Fernandez) will be discussing issues related to children and adults with disabilities here in Milwaukee tonight. They'll be meeting at 7 PM at Independence First, 540 S. 1st St. More information is in this .pdf from Disability Rights Wisconsin.

Kill the union.  Yeah, that’ll work.

Kill the union. Yeah, that’ll work.

by folkbum Dad29 points us to Marquette Professor John McAdams's blog, where he's running with a study on teachers unions. Conservative hatred of teachers unions is a happy--for them--confluence of their hatred of unions, distrust of the public sector, and general freakishness about educating children. We're the trifecta, if you will. And they're always on the lookout for reasons to toss us aside.

Lost your house?  Job?  Pension?  National economy?  Our bad.

Lost your house? Job? Pension? National economy? Our bad.

by folkbum Wisconsin's conservatives, tired of being recruited as WILFs, have a new and exciting toy, called the MacGyver Institute. Its inaugural blog post* is about a poll the institute is releasing today. Among the shocking findings:

Oh, what a tangled etc.

Oh, what a tangled etc.

Rose Fernandez seems sincere enough in her efforts, but the people around her …

Deep Thought

Deep Thought

It’s a good thing Jim Burkee lost last September, or else he’d have to apologize tomorrow.

Fernandezistas:  Hey, look over there!
Fernandezistas

Hey, look over there!

The (blog) headlines are scary with two es: “Tony Evers’ Scandal?” reads one. “CRG files complaint in DPI race” reads another. The writers are near giddy with the idea that there’s a there there that will sink the campaign of Tony Evers for state superintendent. McIlheran, the former newsman of the group, at least sounds […]

Hey GOP. They’re Just Not That Into You

Hey GOP. They’re Just Not That Into You

In an updated version of Lord of the Flies, the CPAC convention this weekend in grasping for all the straws then can put in their mitts are agog over a 13 year old. The kid’s book outsold Sam the Unlicensed Plumber.

Weasel Speak Hits Wall Street

Weasel Speak Hits Wall Street

Milwaukee County Executive wrote an editorial piece which was published in the Wall Street Journal. The editorial was nothing more than a revision to his campaign stump speech which he pretended was his State of the County address. I do find it bemusing on why he would choose to put in the Wall Street Journal, […]

Outrage Machine in 3 … 2 …

Outrage Machine in 3 … 2 …

It seems that a major print publication has once again identified a Republican who holds non-partisan office, but who has done something stupid, by party affiliation. As the outrage machine likes to tell us, they never do that to Democrats.

Abstaining from Intelligence

Abstaining from Intelligence

What do you call people who have their kids follow abstinence only sex ed? Grandparents. More and more studies are finding that yet another conservative fairy tale fails to play well in the real world. As usual this is a their answer to a complex problem that this simple, straightforward…and wrong.

But for the Grace of God

But for the Grace of God

I am getting tired of reading the smug, callous and yes, brutish accusations against those who have found themselves in a fix — often a terrible fix — during this housing crisis. You know. Calling those left with the short end of the stick losers, lazy and worse.

The Powerful Poor

The Powerful Poor

One of the cherished myths of the sullen and resentful on the right is that programs such as the Community Reinvestment Act caused the housing crisis. Fed chair Ben Bernanke ain’t buying it.

Two legs good. Four legs bad. GOP “Consistency” on Deficits