“Once again my Republican colleagues have turned these hallowed halls of Congress into a place for political theater or better yet a circus and the joke is on working class America. Today’s so called ‘Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act’ is another scene in this unfolding plot to undermine American workers. It would be comedy if it weren’t such a tragedy for the American people. Every day the American people are forced to play the part of the clown Pagliacci. They watch Republicans put on this performance, claiming to want to protect American jobs and workers while behind the scenes they work to dismantle the rights of the American worker and like Pagliacci the American people must learn to laugh with tears in their eyes.”—
Democrats Jon Erpenbach and Mark Pocan introduced a medical marijuana bill today. The bill would allow seriously ill patients access to marijuana to ease their pain. As always, Wisconsinites, if you want to get in touch with your state senators, here is the directory.
Taking a broad swipe at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s practice of allowing companies to settle cases without admitting that they had done anything wrong, a federal judge on Monday rejected a $285 million settlement between Citigroup and the agency.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Citigroup stuffed a $1 billion mortgage fund that it sold to investors in 2007 with securities that it believed would fail so that it could bet against its customers and profit when values declined. The fraud, the agency said, was in Citigroup’s falsely telling investors that an independent party was choosing the portfolio’s investments. Citigroup made $160 million from the deal and investors lost $700 million.
The deficit that should most worry us is a deficit of reasonableness. The problems the United States confronts are large but not insoluble. Yet sensible solutions that are broadly popular can’t be enacted.
Why? Because an ideological bloc that sees every crisis as an opportunity to reduce the size of government holds enough power in Congress to stop us from doing what needs to be done.
“For a couple of years, the left has joined the right in making Obama a pinata. That’s fair: it lets off steam, and it’s how we keep politicians in line. But think back to 2000. Many Democrats and journalists alike, feeling grouchy, were dismissive of Al Gore and magnified his shortcomings. We forgot the context, prided ourselves on our disdainful superiority — and won eight years of George W. Bush.”—Nicholas Kristof, President as Pinata.
“I think America’s broad center understands very clearly that the country is in trouble and that the Republican Party has gone nuts. But when they look at Obama on the deficit, they feel something is missing. People know leadership when they see it — when they see someone taking a political risk, not just talking about doing so, not just saying, “I’ll jump if the other guy jumps.” In times of crisis, leaders jump first, lay out what truly needs to be done to fix the problem, not just to win re-election, and by doing so earn the right to demand that others do the same.”—Thomas Friedman, Go Big, Mr. Obama.
“America’s violent culture wars had started before JFK was shot. They were all on display in Oswald’s Dallas. At least in 1963, polling showed that only 5 percent of the country—a fringe—subscribed to the radical anti-government views championed by the John Birch Society and other militants of the right. These days, that fringe, whether in the form of birthers or the tea party or the hosts of Fox & Friends, gives marching orders to a major political party.”—Frank Rich, What Killed JFK.
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
we are saying thank you and waving, dark though it is.
“Some opponents of the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker have claimed that the recall provisions of the Wisconsin State Constitution are intended solely to permit the recall of elected officials when they have engaged in criminal or grossly unethical conduct.
This statement is objectively false. The recall provisions contained in the Wisconsin State Constitution were never intended to be limited in such a fashion. The original design of the right of recall is, in fact, intended to permit voters to recall elected officials for virtually any reason.”—
-Edward Fallone, Constitutional Law Professor at Marquette. The Original Intent of the Recall Power.
I think this needs to be repeated again and again. The entire article is a worthwhile read for those interested in history and election law.
“You will make all kinds of mistakes. But as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her; she was made to be wooed and won by youth.”—churchill.
In recent years Marquette University has been accused of mishandling accusations of sexual assault by four athletes, and Arizona State has been faulted in handling a student’s rape, allegedly by a football player with a history of sexual aggression on campus.
The Penn State scandal has ended the reign of the university’s patriarch and longtime football coach, Joe Paterno, amid national expressions of shock. But the case is also emblematic of a parallel judicial universe that exists at many of the country’s colleges and universities.
On most of these campuses, law enforcement is the responsibility of sworn police officers who report to university authorities, not to the public. With full-fledged arrest powers, such campus police forces have enormous discretion in deciding whether to refer cases directly to district attorneys or to leave them to the quiet handling of in-house disciplinary proceedings.
The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation’s balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that’s crazy.”
Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. “Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver,” he demands, “or less?”
The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: “MORE!”
The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan. Today’s Republican Party may revere Reagan as the patron saint of low taxation. But the party of Reagan – which understood that higher taxes on the rich are sometimes required to cure ruinous deficits – is dead and gone.
Read the entire article here. It’s a beautifully written, well-researched, and really informative piece that I highly recommend.
“You simply cannot fix America’s schools by “scaling” charter schools. It won’t work. Charter schools offer proof of the concept that great teaching is a huge difference-maker, but charters can only absorb a tiny fraction of the nation’s 50 million public schoolchildren. Real reform has to go beyond charters — and it has to include the unions.”—Joe Nocera, Teaching With the Enemy: Why education reform needs unions.
Magic Johnson has finished giving a speech in a high school gymnasium when he asks the students if they have any questions.
A girl shyly raises her hand and moves to the microphone.
"I don’t really have a question," she says. "I just want to know if I can come up there and give you a hug."
Within moments, the entire student body descends upon Johnson, grabbing his massive hands, clinging to his broad shoulders, embracing him from to shoes to smile, covering his massive body with admiration and love.
"And to think, 20 years ago, some people were afraid to touch me," Johnson says.
Twenty years ago today, Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive. It was a courageous announcement and his role as an activist has helped advance our understanding of the disease.