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Game Changer | This American Life


One of my very favorite episodes of This American Life:

Philadelphia Closes 23 Schools, Lays Off Thousands, Builds Huge Prison


Philadelphia laid off thousands of school employees last week after the state of Pennsylvania continued its austerity measures against public schools. And while the state is essentially destroying Philadelphia public schools through under-funding (claiming budgetary concerns), it somehow found enough money to build a $400 million prison just outside of the city.

"Don’t listen to the cynics.  That’s the only piece of advice about which I am certain.  They were wrong about my generation and they are wrong about yours."

Vice President Biden gives the Commencement Address at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Virginia GOP Connected to Destruction of Voter Registration Forms


Colin Small, a 31-year-old resident of Phoenixville, Pa., worked for Pinpoint, a company hired to register voters on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice.

[T]his promise of free voter ID is a mirage. In the real world, poor voters find shuttered offices, long drives without cars, and with spotty or no bus service, and sometimes prohibitive costs. For these Americans, the promise of our democracy is tangibly distant. It can be measured in miles.


--Brennan Center for Justice, The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification

The Rush to Abandon the Poor


While some governors and lawmakers are searching for new revenue sources, others are using the downturn as an excuse to end a long tradition of states being the final backstop for society’s neediest.

Over the last year, for example, eight states have cut or eliminated cash welfare payments to their poorest residents. It happened last week in Pennsylvania, where 61,000 residents — almost all of whom are disabled and poor — were told that they would abruptly lose their $200 monthly general assistance payments, all to save $150 million a year. Our hands are tied by a tightening budget, welfare officials told astonished recipients, though Gov. Tom Corbett’s hands didn’t seem restrained when he handed out $300 million in business tax cuts earlier this month.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has cut hundreds of millions from education, but when the state found itself with a $235 million surplus a few weeks ago, he announced that it would all go into a rainy-day fund, doing nothing to deal with rising classroom sizes. In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage — who compared the health care reform law to the Holocaust — signed a budget bill in May that will reduce or eliminate existing Medicaid coverage for 21,000 people.

Gallup recently released the results of its cumulative state-by-state polling on political party identification  for the first six months of 2011.  The polling revealed that 44% of Americans identified as Democrats and 40% identified as Republicans. The chart above profiles the states that most clearly mirrored the national numbers.  
According to Craig Gilbert: 

If Wisconsin has returned to something like a 50/50 state, that suggests  2012 will be a furious partisan trench war – for president, for Herb Kohl’s vacant US Senate seat and for governor if Democrats try and succeed in forcing a recall election against Walker.
This state is indispensable to a winning electoral majority for President Obama and his party, and it now sits very close to the 50-yard line of American politics.
Wisconsin was almost a perfect microcosm of the country in its partisan makeup: 45% of Wisconsinites called themselves Democrats, 40% called themselves Republicans.

Gallup recently released the results of its cumulative state-by-state polling on political party identification  for the first six months of 2011.  The polling revealed that 44% of Americans identified as Democrats and 40% identified as Republicans. The chart above profiles the states that most clearly mirrored the national numbers.  

According to Craig Gilbert

If Wisconsin has returned to something like a 50/50 state, that suggests  2012 will be a furious partisan trench war – for president, for Herb Kohl’s vacant US Senate seat and for governor if Democrats try and succeed in forcing a recall election against Walker.

This state is indispensable to a winning electoral majority for President Obama and his party, and it now sits very close to the 50-yard line of American politics.

Wisconsin was almost a perfect microcosm of the country in its partisan makeup: 45% of Wisconsinites called themselves Democrats, 40% called themselves Republicans.

Update: Scott Walker, “Education Policy Expert”

Yesterday I posted about Scott Walker being the featured speaker on education policy for a group I wasn’t familiar with, the American Federation for Children.  I was in complete disbelief that anyone (well, besides Walker-advocate Michelle Rhee) would consider Walker some sort of expert on education. After all, this is a man who recently answered the question “why do you hate education” with the response: "Well, for us, the answer is that I love education."

Turns out, the American Federation for Children is linked to the Koch brothers-funded “Prosperity Network.”  The group has recently become heavily involved in Wisconsin politics, even sponsoring robo-calls to discourage people from recalling Republicans.  And making the Governors they support ”keynote speakers” at their ”policy summit” is their M.O…just ask Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"This is some spectacular generosity toward some very specific parts of society among these governments that are pleading poverty, claiming giant budget deficits."

Wisconsin GOP's Late-Night Bill Allows State to Fire Employees for Strikes, Walk-Outs


This is how quickly people can be stripped of their rights when elected officials abuse power.  If it happened in Wisconsin, it could happen anywhere.

motherjones:

Yep, it’s in the fine print: Scott Walker can declare a “state of emergency” and fire teachers, firefighters, and janitors if they so much as stage a sick-out. Democracy in action!

The Wisconsin Governor’s desire to be at the forefront of his perceived GOP revolution may not only have doomed the anti-union effort, but it may forever label him has the man who gave the Democrats the gift that keeps on giving: the return of the union rank and file into the arms of the Democratic Party.


--Rick Ungar, Forbes, "Scott Walker Has Lost the War"

50 Photos from Rallies Throughout the Country

Check them out here

This Wisconsinite is profoundly grateful for the show of support.  Thank you.  So much.