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Commentary from us and our readers.

State School Funding Cuts Hit Home PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 14:36

teacherVoters in the Prescott School District face yet another school referendum, the 27th in just 15 years, due to Wisconsin’s convoluted school funding formula. The school funding system is definitely not working for Prescott.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 May 2016 16:15
Blue Jean Nation - "Seeing beyond old labels" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Monday, 23 May 2016 14:08

public_hearingBlue Jean Nation is a grassroots uprising of commoners, anchored in bedrock that can be summed up in four words: Freedom. Democracy. Equality. Service.

ALTOONA, WI - I’d like nothing better than to see the No Labels movement succeed. But deep down I know it won’t.

Labels can be helpful and they can be harmful, but they are inevitable all the same. They are a basic human need, we depend on them. They serve as shorthand. Like a picture, a label is worth a thousand words. They also enable us to categorize, put things in order. Even if the slate could be wiped clean and all of today’s labels suddenly vanished, new ones would be created in no time.

Come to think of it, wiping the slate clean and starting over would be a great blessing, especially in politics. The old political labels have grown worthless, even toxic.

Like most Americans, I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a Republican or a Democrat. I am politically homeless. Neither “liberal” nor “conservative” accurately defines me. Only in the political world do people try to pass themselves off as purebreds, as 100% this or 100% that. Normal people are mutts. I am a mutt, and so are you. Here’s my proof. Try finding someone — anyone — who agrees with you about everything.

Being a mutt doesn’t leave you or me without a world view or philosophy of life. It does make us uncomfortable when others try to slap one of the old labels on us.

The label of my choosing is commoner. Blue Jean Nation is a grassroots uprising of commoners who look at things a certain way, but those views are anchored in bedrock that can be summed up in four words: Freedom.DemocracyEqualityService.

Freedom means being able to be who you are and live the life you want. But it doesn’t mean doing as you damn well please. True freedom is more than individual liberty. With freedom comes responsibility. Exercising one’s own freedom carries with it an obligation to respect and protect the freedom of others. Contrast this with the warped, sociopathic mindset that, for example, leads the filthy rich to believe “freedom of speech” entitles them to spend as much money as they want to amplify their voices, even if it drowns out your voice and denies you representation.

Democracy is more than a form of government, it is a way of life. Yes, the government needs to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. But so does the economy. And democracy cannot just be something we have, it has to be something we do too. It’s more verb than noun.

Equality is a core American value rooted in the rejection of royalty. It comes out of a sense of fairness and distaste for privilege. No one should get to start out at third base. A commitment to equality plus democracy plus true freedom equals social and economic justice.

Service is about looking out for each other. It is neighbors helping neighbors. It is communities coming together. It is concern for the common good. It is civic duty. It is thinking less about what we are entitled to and more about debts we owe to society. It is caring for the planet we call home and all of its inhabitants.

For us blue jean commoners, the good life and a great society stand on these four slabs of bedrock.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 May 2016 14:19
$42 Million Reasons Walker Goes Easy on Polluters PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 20 May 2016 11:58

walkerMADISON - One thing we like to do here at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is to amplify the work of other fine nonprofits and enterprising reporters.

This week offered us three opportunities to do just that.

When the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation came out with a report showing that the enforcement of DNR regulations was at a 30-year low, we showed all the money that polluters have given to Walker & Company:

(1) Walker has $42 million reasons to reduce pollution enforcement

Last Updated on Friday, 20 May 2016 12:10
Milwaukee Bucks Labor Agreement PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7   
Thursday, 19 May 2016 14:25

milwaukee_bucksMADISON, WI – Today, the Milwaukee Bucks came to a historic agreement with our neighbors in Milwaukee that seeks to protect workers’ rights and improve the economic standing of Milwaukee families. Making sure that workers receive fair pay for an honest day’s work was a demand that many legislators brought to the table as their bottom line in negotiations on the Bucks arena last year.

While there were other pieces of the Bucks deal that I disagreed with, the promise of bringing good jobs to our neighbors put me in the ‘yes’ column when the final vote was tallied. I’m glad the Bucks made good on their promise, and am hopeful that this is just the beginning of a strong, mutually beneficial relationship between Milwaukee residents and a business that listens to them.

Permanent, living wage jobs to our neighbors who need them the most and the ability to unionize freely without interference or intimidation were paramount in getting support for the Bucks arena deal. The agreement announced today is a ‘first of its kind’ in Milwaukee that will protect employees and ensure a brighter future for our neighbors by guaranteeing they have the jobs they need to get ahead. These priorities represent the shared values of our community and should be made whenever our public resources are given to a private project.

With the signing of this agreement, the Bucks and the community have issued a simple challenge to other major developers hoping to come to Milwaukee: respect and contribute.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 May 2016 14:36
Blue Jean Nation - "Fed up with one, let down by the other" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 09:38

bernie-sandersDemocrats have a habit of compromising with themselves. Democratic voters love the ideas Bernie Sanders is putting out there, yet Hillary Clinton is considered the safer presumptive nominee.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 11:08
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