How ironic. In his first budget, Walker slashed public education funding by $800 million to $900 million. Walker and his administration have also sought to cut Medicaid funding, in effect booting more than 50,000 low-income families from the program, better known as BadgerCare Plus. The $9 million price tag for his recall election pales in comparison to the cost-cutting now pinching some of Wisconsin’s students and some of its most vulnerable citizens.
The New York Times has a fascinating piece on the phenomenon of false confessions:
If you have never been tortured, or locked up and verbally threatened, you may find it hard to believe that anyone would confess to something he had not done. Intuition holds that the innocent do not make false confessions. What on earth could be the motive? To stop the abuse? To curry favor with the interrogator? To follow some fragile thread of imaginary hope that cooperation will bring freedom?
Yes, all of the above. Psychological studies of confessions that have proved false show an overrepresentation of children, the mentally ill and mentally retarded, and suspects who are drunk or high. They are susceptible to suggestion, eager to please authority figures, disconnected from reality or unable to defer gratification. Children often think, as Felix did, that they will be jailed if they keep up their denials and will get to go home if they go along with interrogators. Mature adults of normal intelligence have also confessed falsely after being manipulated.
“I learned a long time ago to stop questioning life. I believe that everything that’s thrown at us we’re able to handle, and there’s a reason for it. I have yet to figure out exactly what the reason for this is, but I don’t question that. I’ve always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who’s been wrongly accused, and everybody who’s ever had to stand up for what is actually right. Today isn’t about me, it isn’t just about one player – it’s about all players. It’s about all current players, all future players and everybody who plays the game of baseball.”—Ryan Braun. He did an outstanding job at his press conference today. His complete statement is here.
“If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”—Eisenstadt v. Baird.
Julie Underwood, dean of UW’s School of Education, and Julie Mead, professor in the School of Education, studied education-related legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a conservative group that develops “model legislation” to be implemented at the state level. After noticing that nearly identical bills were being presented in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio (states with Republican Governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures), the professors decided to look further into the influence the group has over legislation related to public education.
ALEC’s interest in education is ambitious and multifaceted, and includes promoting dozens of model acts to its legislative members (Ladner, LeFevre, & Lips, 2010). Proposed bills seek to influence teacher certification, teacher evaluation, collective bargaining, curriculum, funding, special education, student assessment, and numerous other education and education-related issues. Common throughout the bills are proposals to decrease local control of schools by democratically elected school boards while increasing access to all facets of education by private entities and corporations.
“The facts are the facts and what has occurred here is beyond the pale in terms of lack of transparency and secrecy. Appearances are everything and Wisconsin has prided itself one generation after another on openness and fairness in doing the right thing. And to be frank we have seen everything but that in the way this case has proceeded”—
This morning, Judge Stadtmueller told the GOP lawmakers they could have until 5:30 today to consider redrawing the maps. As Charles Pierce explained “This is the court telling these clowns to redo the maps, and fast, or else face a judgment that’s going to make them all look like fools and throw the state’s politics into a minor kind of chaos.” Alas, Republican lawmakers failed to redo the maps.
“The issue, for Republicans, is not just that Santorum would lose in November. It’s that he could be a drag on House and Senate candidates as well. Imagine, say, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) trying to explain to his constituents why someone who doesn’t fully understand women’s participation in the workforce should be president.”—Eugene Robinson, Rick Santorum Could Take Republicans Down With Him
“Despite a growing number of studies showing that charter schools, financed with public money and operating in 40 states, are often worse than traditional schools, the state and local organizations that issue charters and oversee the schools are too hesitant to shut them down. That has to change if the movement is to maintain its credibility.”—The New York Times, Shuttering Bad Charter Schools
“We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years. We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”—David Koch, talking about his support for Scott Walker.
On Saturday, while campaigning in Ohio, Rick Santorum expressed his disapproval with the government’s role in education:
At one appearance here, he said the idea of schools run by the federal government or by state governments was “anachronistic.” Mr. Santorum did not say public schools were a bad idea, and he said that there was a role for government help in education.
But it was the latest in a series of comments by the former Pennsylvania senator — who is tied in polls in the critical Ohio and Michigan primary contests — suggesting that he takes a dim view of public schooling. He and his wife home-schooled their children.
For the first 150 years, most presidents home-schooled their children at the White House, he said. “Where did they come up that public education and bigger education bureaucracies was the rule in America? Parents educated their children, because it’s their responsibility to educate their children.”
Santorum wasn’t always so opposed to government-run schools—especially one Pennsylvania cyber charter school that offered students free computers, internet service, and online classes. Between 2001 and 2004, that online school allowed the Santorum family to live in Virginia, while sticking Pennsylvania taxpayers with a $100,000 bill.
“First, Atlas shrugged. Then he scratched his head in puzzlement. Modern Republicans are very, very conservative; you might even (if you were Mitt Romney) say, severely conservative. Political scientists who use Congressional votes to measure such things find that the current G.O.P. majority is the most conservative since 1879, which is as far back as their estimates go.”—Paul Krugman, Moochers Against Welfare.
A three-judge panel on Thursday told Republican lawmakers to turn over 84 documents to a group of Democrats in a blistering order that said Republicans had engaged in an “all but shameful” effort to keep its efforts hidden from the public.
The court promptly released the documents that showed, among other things, that Republicans who drew new election maps last year largely orchestrated the public testimony given in support of them.
The three federal judges - two of them appointed by Republicans - were unanimous in their decision.
The state budget panel approved $123 million in budget cuts, and education is once again taking the biggest hit. The vote was strictly along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor of the cuts and all Democrats voting against. The cuts include:
$46 million from the UW system. Damn.
$227,000 from the Government Accountability Board, which was supposed to implement the new voter ID law.
$18.6 million from the Department of Health Services, which was supposed to provide assistance to uninsured children.
$9.5 million from the Department of Corrections, specifically programs related to juveniles and sex offenders.
“It is no coincidence that so many state legislatures have spent the last year taking the same destructive actions: making it harder for minorities and other groups that support Democrats to vote, obstructing health care reform, weakening environmental regulations and breaking the spines of public- and private-sector unions. All of these efforts are being backed — in some cases, orchestrated — by a little-known conservative organization financed by millions of corporate dollars.”—The New York Times, The Big Money Behind State Laws
The state’s budget projections have deteriorated by $216 million, opening a new budget shortfall for Gov. Scott Walker to confront amid the political dogfight of a recall election.
The state was projected to have $73 million reserved in its main account, but a drop in tax revenue means the state will likely have a deficit of $143 million. The state also faces a shortfall of $141 million required to fund Medicaid programs. Gov. Walker said he will not consider any tax increases as part of a solution to this problem.