“Milwaukee is a baseball town, by far the best in the major leagues. Baseball there is part of the civic personality, just as theaters are in New York, and motion pictures are in Los Angeles and culture used to be in Boston. It’s as personal a part of the town as beer. Under it and over it and beyond it is the impressive fact that everywhere you go people talk baseball. Baseball, like the weather, is part of the atmosphere. It serves to make going to a baseball game a real pleasure.”—Sports Illustrated article about baseball in Milwaukee, 1955.
Gov. Scott Walker’s chief spokesman has been granted immunity in the ongoing John Doe investigation of the governor’s current and former aides, it was learned Friday.
Former Waukesha County Judge Neal Nettesheim, who is overseeing the secret criminal probe, said he had granted immunity to three people, including Cullen Werwie, spokesman for Walker, in this part of the case. All three were given immunity several months ago, Nettesheim said.
Last year, Werwie joined Walker’s campaign after the September primary and stayed with it through the transition before joing the Walker administration in January.
“The Georgia pardon and parole board’s refusal to grant him clemency is appalling in light of developments after his conviction: reports about police misconduct, the recantation of testimony by a string of eyewitnesses and reports from other witnesses that another person had confessed to the crime. This case has attracted worldwide attention, but it is, in essence, no different from other capital cases. Across the country, the legal process for the death penalty has shown itself to be discriminatory, unjust and incapable of being fixed.”—The New York Times, A Grievous Wrong.
“If we really are a country that would rather kill potentially innocent people than accept the reality of doubt, I’m not sure we have much hope left.”—Emily Hauser for The Atlantic, Troy Davis and the Reality of Doubt.
Funding for Wisconsin Public Schools Slashed, While State Spending for Private Schools Increases
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has an outstanding piece on education funding and the influence of political donors.
Public schools in Wisconsin will have to make do with $800 million less from the state over the next two years, under the budget passed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-led Legislature. But state spending on programs that provide public dollars to private schools will see a net increase of nearly $17 million. And, for that, these private schools can thank Alice Walton [a resident of Texas] and her family.
Walton, the multi-billionaire heiress to father Sam Walton’s Walmart empire, was the largest individual contributor to successful state legislative candidates in the 2009-2010 election cycle that brought Republicans to power in Wisconsin…
But the Waltons’ contribution to the state’s choice program — which allocates tax dollars to private schools, most religiously affiliated — goes well beyond campaign contributions. The Walton Family Foundation is a major funder of School Choice Wisconsin, the state’s leading voucher advocate, and other state and national groups that play a role in school choice efforts in Wisconsin.
In just the past several months these efforts have produced major gains, including expanding school choice in Milwaukee and extending it to Racine. A vast and interconnected array of choice proponents, many from out of state, is changing the face of education in Wisconsin.
I absolutely recommend reading the entire article, which can be found here.
“It’s his vision and not a legislative compromise being crafted to garner some number of votes in the House and the Senate.”—Unnamed White House official, describing President Obama’s deficit plan. (via andrewgraham)
Pay Raises for Gov. Walker's Friends Thanks To Collective Bargaining Law
The law that eliminated collective bargaining for public employees also increased the number of appointments Scott Walker could make, allowing the governor to hire his friends and pay them generously. Cindy Archer, the woman whose home was raided by the FBI as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, was just one of the beneficiaries.
The governor could funnel such a huge increase into the job because earlier this year Republicans who control the Legislature went along with his plan to give him more political appointments. The change allows department secretaries to go around the normal hiring process and name whomever they want as chief counsel, communications director and legislative liaison.
Archer isn’t the only one benefiting from the new system. One employee kept the same job and saw an 18% boost in pay; another is making 10% more than what her predecessor did.
The political appointments were created in the same legislation that eliminated most collective bargaining for public employees and required them to pay more for their health care and pensions. Paying more for benefits is costing an average state employee making $50,000 a year about $4,400, or 9%. Walker insisted most employees had to pay those costs because the state is “broke.”
But by far the biggest boost has gone to the job held by Archer, who is making 65% more than the woman who held the job before her.
Archer started drawing a paycheck for the job Aug. 22 but has never shown up for it because she is on paid medical leave. Administration officials say she earned the paid leave during an earlier stint as a state employee that ended eight years ago, in 2003.
Until taking the new job, Archer was making $124,000 as Walker’s deputy administration secretary. Before that, she was Walker’s top aide when he was Milwaukee County executive.
Texas’ Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice, Don Clemmer, later testified that his office didn’t have the resources to investigate allegations of sexual abuse at a TYC facility in Ward County because at the time the local agent was busy investigating charges of voter fraud by a 68-year-old Hispanic woman.
“Has he finally realized that you can’t rub the belly of the beast that wants to eat you? Does he have any interest in becoming the Obama of people’s imaginations, the one they thought they saw through the showers of streamers, and explosions of confetti in 2008 — the man who only ever existed in their own minds?”—Charles Blow, writing about Obama, in his article The Rise of the Fallen for The New York Times. It’s a very interesting read.
“Here’s why I find it impossible to be a Republican: any crowd that instantly cheers the execution of 234 individuals is a crowd I want to flee, not join.”—Andrew Sullivan on the debate crowd’s positive response to the large number of executions that Perry resided over while governor of Texas. (via liberal-life)