Category Archive 'Wisconsin'
03 Mar 2011

Unionized Teachers: The Results Compared

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Iowahawk catches Paul Krugman lying with figures and nails his slimy hide to the barn door.

Please pardon this brief departure from my normal folderol, but every so often a member of the chattering class issues a nugget of stupidity so egregious that no amount of mockery will suffice. Particularly when the issuer of said stupidity holds a Nobel Prize.

Case in point: Paul Krugman. The Times’ staff economics blowhard recently typed, re the state of education in Texas:

    And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.

Similarly, The Economist passes on what appears to be the cut-‘n’-paste lefty factoid du jour:

    Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:

    South Carolina – 50th
    North Carolina – 49th
    Georgia – 48th
    Texas – 47th
    Virginia – 44th

    If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.

The point being, I suppose, is that unionized teachers stand as a thin chalk-stained line keeping Wisconsin from descending into the dystopian non-union educational hellscape of Texas. Interesting, if it wasn’t complete bullshit. …

[A] state’s “average ACT/SAT” is, for all intents and purposes, a proxy for the percent of white people who live there. In fact, the lion’s share of state-to-state variance in test scores is accounted for by differences in ethnic composition. Minority students – regardless of state residence – tend to score lower than white students on standardized test, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be.

Please note: this has nothing to do with innate ability or aptitude. Quite to the contrary, I believe the test gap between minority students and white students can be attributed to differences in socioeconomic status. And poverty. And yes, racism. And yes, family structure. Whatever combination of reasons, the gap exists, and it’s mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) with a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic). …

So how does brokeass, dumbass, redneck Texas stack up against progressive unionized Wisconsin?

2009 4th Grade Math

White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)

2009 8th Grade Math

White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)
Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)
Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)

2009 4th Grade Reading

White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)
Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)
Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)

2009 8th Grade Reading

White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)
Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)
Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)

2009 4th Grade Science

White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)
Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)
Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)

2009 8th Grade Science

White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)
Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)
Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)

To recap: white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin.

02 Mar 2011

Things Turn Ugly in Wisconsin

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Union demonstrators chanting “Shame! Shame!” (rather hyperbolically and monotonously, I thought), and eventually “You Suck!”, hounded and ultimately trapped GOP State Senator Glenn Grothman near the doors of one of the entrances to the Badger State’s Capitol. (around 2:50)

It was beginning to look like the mob was close to attacking the white-haired state senator, when Democratic Rep. Brett Hulsey (wearing orange pro-union t-shirt) interposed himself between Grothman and the mob and managed to hold them off, as alarmed demonstration leaders in the rear hastily changed the chanting to “Peace-ful, Peace-ful.”

Remember Congressman Mike Capuano’s (D-8thMA) February 22nd statement that “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”?

Capuano’s rhetorical call to spill blood in the cause of Unionism (later retracted and apologized for, after the comment received national attention) might very easily have been responded to in reality yesterday. Republican legislators had better take to approaching the capitol with bodyguards or police escorts.

19 Feb 2011

The Battle of Madison

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40,000 angry protestors flocked to the Wisconsin capital yesterday

Walter Russell Mead explains the nature of the struggle currently underway in Wisconsin, and predicts that however this particular battle goes, a necessary revolution is underway, a war has begun which the left is certain to lose.

[I]t’s just possible that the disturbances in Madison, Wisconsin mark what will ultimately prove to be a bigger turning point in world history.

In the heart of Blue State America, we are seeing a challenge to some of the fundamental assumptions behind the progressive state, and we could conceivably be watching both the birth pangs of a new social model and the first big step in America’s transformation into a true 21st century economy. …
The problem is that the way we do government in this country has to change — and it will have to change in ways that put the interests of those who don’t have government jobs ahead of those who do. The number of people employed by government is going to have to shrink; much more work will have to be done by many fewer hands — and many tasks historically done in government bureaucracies by life-tenured employees will be done by private sector workers employed by outside contractors. Nor can government workers enjoy pension plans and health benefits better than those widely available in the private sector; the days of defined benefit pensions for government workers are drawing rapidly to a close.

The Battle of Madison is part of a national struggle over the future of American society. The public sector unions and their allies believe in what I’ve called liberalism 4.0, the twentieth century’s dominant set of progressive ideas. It was the ideology of a society made up of big unions, big corporations and big government. The Big Three car companies, Big Three networks and the Big One phone company (back when AT&T had a legal monopoly on providing telephone service) were held in check by government regulation and union power rather than by free competition.

Technological change, global competition, and the rise of a more dynamic economy have wrecked the old social model, but old institutions, old habits of mind and old interest groups don’t disappear overnight. In many ways, public sector unions and government employees are the last great citadel of the Blue Social Model and what we see in Madison (as well as Ohio and Tennessee) is a way of life fighting for survival in the last ditch. We should not be surprised that the battle is fierce, the tactics ruthless, the polarization intense: this is not just a struggle between interest groups, it is a conflict over basic ideas about how the world does or should work.

Regardless of what happens in Madison this week, it is a hopeless battle. 4.0 liberalism and the Blue Social Model aren’t immoral and they helped many Americans enjoy roughly two generations of unprecedented prosperity — but they are unworkable in the contemporary world. States that don’t make the kind of changes that Wisconsin seeks will face the problems that loyally blue Illinois does now: staggering pension bills that undermine the state’s credit and cripple its ability to attract and hold business. An article in the New York Times, that bastion of blue thinking, mocks Illinois’ latest plan to pay its current pension bill with a $3.7 billion bond issue. Note reporters Mary Williams Walsh and Michael Cooper, Illinois “is essentially paying a single year’s bill by adding to its already heavy debt load. That short-term thinking is not unlike Americans taking out home equity loans to pay for cars and vacations before the housing bust.”

However much money the public sector unions fling into the maw of Democratic party politics, the old system is going down.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

18 Feb 2011

Democrats Run and Hide

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Frank J. thinks Governor Walker is making a mistake in trying to find those missing democrat state legislators.

The left’s tactics have gotten increasingly odd as they get less and less popular, and now when confronted with state budget problems they’ve settled on running and hiding. Strangely, Walker has sent the police to find them, but I don’t get why. I guess they’re needed to finalize the bill, but there has to be some way around that. It’s just when you hear the Democrat legislators have fled your state, it’s really odd that your first response would be, “How do I get them back?” The smarter response is, “Can we nationalize this?” We need to find what laws will get Democrats to flee from all the other states and what will cause Obama to leave the White House and run and hide. And if these chase away the Democrats bills are passed in every state, eventually the Democrats will have no option but to flee to Canada — and they’ll probably be much happier there. We certainly will be. And you know what happens when all Democrats flee to Canada? That’s right: We’ve won the future.

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Charles Martin reveals that those democrats selected a rendezvous at Rockford, Illinois which features a restaurant called “The Tilted Kilt,” a Scottish-motif equivalent of Hooters.

12 Oct 2010

“Atlas Shrugged” Becomes an Issue in Wisconsin Senate Debate

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The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports on the latest manifestation of the influence of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel on contemporary American politics.

U.S. Senate candidates Ron Johnson and U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold clashed sharply Monday night on Ayn Rand’s famous novel “Atlas Shrugged,” about an economy crumbling under the weight of government intrusion and regulations. …

While the two went back and forth on issues such as the economy, Social Security, the health care law and the war in Afghanistan, the most spirited discussion came from a book that was written in 1957 and remains popular among some conservatives and people who espouse limited government.

Rand’s book describes a dystopian America where the leading innovators leave society out of frustration with rules and regulations. It is a book that Johnson says he admires and has been a driving force in his political philosophy.

Asked by a panelist about the book, Johnson said “Atlas” represents the producers of the world, while “Shrugged” represents how overburdened the producers are with rules, regulations and taxes.

“It’s a warning of what could happen to America,” Johnson said. “When you hear people talk about a tipping point, that’s what we’re concerned about. . . . We have more people who are net beneficiaries of government than are actually paying into the system. That’s a very serious thing to think about.”

“I believe in the community,” Feingold responded. “I believe in the community of Wisconsin. . . . You believe the producers are a very special group of people. I guess they’re better than the rest of us. When things aren’t going their way, you take the position that people shouldn’t have unemployment compensation because you have the view they don’t want to work.”

Johnson said he wasn’t against the minimum wage and the extension of unemployment benefits. He said the fact that Feingold was talking about that showed that the stimulus bill was a failure.

“The last thing we should be doing is increase taxes on anybody in this recovery,” Johnson said.

After the debate, Feingold said Johnson “had a very narrow view of who actually does the work in society. I think everybody is working hard.”

It sounds a lot like Hank Reardon debating Wesley Mouch.

22 Jul 2010

I Expect I Wouldn’t Be Voting For Her Myself, But…

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Ieshuh Griffin

I am inclined to think that Ieshuh Griffin is entitled to run for the Milwaukee Assembly using the ballot slogan “NOT the ‘whiteman’s bitch’ “, if that’s what she desires to do. Griffin says that she is going to appeal the Accountability Board’s decision banning her slogan.

Milwaukee Journal-Standard article

27 Jul 2009

Kitten Rides in Engine Compartment for a Week

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A small white kitten climbed up sales representative Steve Johnson’s tire while he was stopped at a Piggly Wiggly in Evansville, Indiana. The stowaway rode more than 1400 miles in the engine compartment in the course of a week, until Johnson stopped for an oil change in Madison, Wisconsin and his passenger, a little dehydrated, but otherwise none the worse for wear, was discovered.

Channel 3000

1:36 video

WQOW News18

0:46 video

08 Feb 2009

Wisconsin Middle School Teacher Suspended For Facebook Gun Photo

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Betsey Ramsdale’s Facebook photo

A young woman teaching in the middle school in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin was suspended by panicking school administrators after a busybody on the school staff discovered that Betsey Ramsdale had posted a picture of herself on Facebook aiming a gun.

WKOW-TV:

Beaver Dam school officials placed a middle school teacher on administrative leave after discovering a photograph of the teacher with a gun on the teacher’s Facebook page.

In the photo, teacher Betsy Ramsdale is training a rifle at the camera. …

[T]he Facebook photo was brought to the attention of school district officials by a concerned staff member at Beaver Dam Middle School. …
Middle school parent Jennifer Buzzell said the teacher’s decision to post the photograph was concerning.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate,” Buzzell told 27 News. “I’m not sure why this would be on the computer at all.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” school parent Mark Hagstrom said. “She’s on her time to do what she wants.”

1:55 video

Ms. Ramsdale’s pose in the photo is actually not a terribly unusual shooting photo pose. If the photographic objective is to present the subject aiming, this angle is the only way to show the person’s face aligned with the barrel and the sights. Additionally, the looking-down-the barrel viewpoint adds drama.

Beyond which, chicks and guns have a particular appeal as a combination, image-wise. Hollywood has been exploiting the iconic image of the girl with a gun forever. Some of the biggest Hollywood film industry supporters of gun control, people like Sigourney Weaver and Jodie Foster, can be found striking fierce poses-with-pieces on lobby cards

Ramsdale’s photo on a personal Facebook profile obviously has nothing to do with her job, and ought to be considered to exist in a realm outside the jurisdiction of her employers. Its supposedly alarming character is simply a case of the extreme and unreasonable fear of arms which infects the deracinated and effeminate contemporary community of fashion.

Note also the inability of the school administrators and the press to distinguish a shotgun from a rifle.

27 Jul 2007

Necrophilia Legal in Wisconsin

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AP:

Three men who dug up a young woman’s corpse to have sex with it after seeing her obituary photo cannot be charged with attempted sexual assault because Wisconsin has no law against necrophilia, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

A judge was correct to dismiss the charges against twin brothers Nicholas and Alexander Grunke and Dustin Radke, all 21, because lawmakers never intended to criminalize sex with a corpse, the District 4 Court of Appeals said in a 3-0 ruling.

The three men went to a cemetery in Cassville in southwestern Wisconsin on Sept. 2 to remove the body of Laura Tennessen, 20, who had been killed the week before in a motorcycle crash.

The men used shovels to reach her grave. They abandoned their plan and were eventually arrested after a vehicle drove into the cemetery and reported suspicious behavior, authorities said.

They said the men had seen an obituary of Tennessen with her photo and wanted to dig up her body to have sexual intercourse. …

The men were charged with attempted third-degree sexual assault and misdemeanor attempted theft charges. But Grant County Circuit Judge George Curry dismissed the sexual assault charges in September, saying no Wisconsin law addressed necrophilia. Prosecutors appealed his ruling.

But there remain some limits to tolerance in Massachusetts.

02 May 2007

Realtor Showing House Finds Owner Dead in Bed

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Janesville, Wisconsin Gazette-Xtra

A Janesville real estate agent can’t believe she didn’t realize that a form on the bed at a house she showed Monday night was a woman who apparently had been dead for two weeks.

“I’ve smelled death. I know what death smells like,” she said. “I can’t believe my sinuses were that bad.”

Linda Chabucos-Galow, a realtor with Shorewest, was showing the east side house at 1160 N. Claremont Drive to Justin and Colleen McKeen.

Chabucos-Galow stood in the dining room while the couple walked through the house. She heard Colleen scream as the couple stood at the doorway of the front bedroom.

“I thought, ‘What’s wrong?’ Maybe it was a dead mouse or something,” Chabucos-Galow said.

But when Chabucos-Galow peered into the bedroom, she saw what looked like a dummy on the bed.

“It looked like a Halloween prop,” Chabucos-Galow said.

It wasn’t.

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