Thursday, May 30, 2013

Republicons Hungry to Further their Attack on Food for the Poor

In their latest attempt to punish poor people for being poor people, last week Republicons on Wiscossippi's Joint Finance Committee approved a measure in Gubnah Scooter's budget that would require childless able-bodied adults to work at least 20 hours per week or attend 20 hours of job training per week to continue receiving federal food assistance.

On it's face that's sounds reasonable. We all believe in the dignity of work and that able bodied people should work to support themselves. And job training, well that's a good thing, right? Well of course the devil is in the details and a little critical thinking can expose some of those devils and their devilish intent.

For example, since the FoodShare program is available to individuals under 200% of the federal poverty level ($39,000 for a family of 3), we all know that lots of people receiving food assistance are already working. But suppose your job doesn't offer you 20 hours per week on a consistent basis. Will these people be able to find another job to make up the additional hours needed? That's very unlikely in Wiscossippi where Walker's jobs agenda has failed miserably due to his ill-willed and politically motivated austerity and anti-worker policies. Walker's Wiscossippi Sucks at Job Creation!

Now suppose you're among the estimated 63,000 unemployed or under-employed Wiscossippians receiving federal food assistance who will be required to get the training to continue receiving food. Twenty hours per week, that's two full eight hours days per week plus an additional 4 hours. So the question is WHERE will the training be offered and HOW will people get there and back Three Times Per Week?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wisconsin Food Deserts & A Place at the Table

Documentary - A Place at the Table
Sometimes things just seem to converge for a reason. Recenlty BAP Steering decided to work on presenting a new documentary film about the hunger crisis in Merica, entitled - A Place At The Table. It's not that we don't have enough food in America, it's that we have too much poverty. The showing is set for 7:00 June 4th at the Plaza Theater in Burlington. Admission is free, but donations are accepted to cover costs. Our costs are also defrayed by by concession sales, so have a beer/wine and some popcorn. Students are encouraged to attend without donation. Please also bring non-perishable food items for donation to Love, Inc. Check out the the trailer starring The Dude! AND see the two women behind this effort on the Daily Show!

At the same time Build a Better Burlington member Karen Tolle is working with student volunteers to grow vegetables for Love, Inc. on the grounds of the 1st Methodist Church here in Burlington. We hear the Karen has absolutely beautiful plot plans and that she is going well beyond tossing a few seeds into the earth. She has found out what veggies are needed and has a trellis planned. Contact her at if you'd like to volunteer.

Also the Michael Fields Institute in East Troy will be hosting a Summer Film Series that focuses mostly on food safety and availability issues and kicks off Friday June 21st, 7:00 pm with Genetic Roullette: The gamble of our lives, about the dangers of GMO foods.

Meanwhile, out of touch congressional Republicons say let them eat cake as they push for even deeper cuts to the food stamp program than in last year's farm bill. They don't care that 1 of 2 American children will have to rely on food assistance at some point, that 50 million Americans need charity for their food or that food insecurity exists in every county in the U.S. They're too fetus focused to care about actual thinking, feeling Humans Being!

And THEN! Last week, Wisco Republican Representative Dean Kaufert of Neenah got a bill passed through the Wiscossippi Assembly that would require food stamp recipients to spend at least two-thirds of their food budget on "healthy" food. The bill would even treat organic milk and sharp cheddar cheese as junk food - In Wisconsin! Wait, I thought Republicons hated the "Nanny State"? Oh but of course, they Love the "Abusive Father State". You'll do what I say is good for you and you'll like it, or else! . . .

We all wish everyone would eat more healthily, right? But there are Food Deserts present in both urban and rural portions of Wisconsin. You can investigate where these deserts are on the USDA's interactive Food Access Research Atlas.

IF the Republican legislator wrote this bill with a sense of goodwill and is not (in typical GOPster fashion) trying to punish poor people for being poor people,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Betrayal of the Public Trust by Tyler August & fALEC

If you live in eastern Walworth County (as I do) or Wheatland in Kenosha Co. or the Bohners Lake area in Racine Co., you are misrepresented in the State Assembly by the porcine likes of Tyler August.

Tyler doesn't want his constituents to know the intentions of the corporations he REALLY represents, so he has directed that all communication from the fascist American Legislative Exchange Council (fALEC) go only to his personal email and he has defied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for these messages. As a consequence he is rightfully being sued by Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy for this information that legitimately belongs to the PUBLIC! Unfortunately, us constituents will foot the legal bills, instead of the fALEC Corporate interests who he serves, for his trying to keep us in the dark. That's a lose - lose situation for us "citizens". Thanks for nothing Tyler, you are a disgrace!

Yours Truly,

Sunday, May 19, 2013

June Clever, we have a job opening for you.

Some thoughts about education, my chosen profession.  Many conservatives have hopped on board the voucher train.  Vouchers are, according to their "experts", best for providing a quality education at a lower price that the public schools.

Much of the planned savings come from paying teachers much less than those in the public schools.  The theory is that good teachers will flock to these schools where there will be fewer discipline problems and the student body will be more engaged and--well, simply more likable.  "I will have a classroom of little Beaver Cleavers, and when the day is done, I will go home and eagerly wait for the next day."  Great plan.

But here's where it gets interesting.  New, young excited teachers can no longer work for much less than the public schools are paying, much less the crumbs that the new, privately run schools will.  Due to cuts in state funding done by the politicians that these people supported, these young people are saddled with huge student loans that have to be paid.  They don't have the option of working for less than the big, evil, union schools pay (unless they also want to give up the option of not living in a van down by the river). It's like owning an Italian sports car;  it may be appealing, but it's not anything that will realistically fit in the budget, so there's no point in spending a lot of time pondering it.

And hiring older, experienced teachers?  Those ladies who are married and are looking for a lower stress job than the public school experience?  That, like the world of the Cleavers, no longer exists.  My mom was a school nurse.  Money wasn't something that was talked about much in my home growing up, so I don't know what percentage of the family income her salary covered. But if I was just guessing I'd say Mom's salary was what paid for vacations and better cars in the driveway. But I know about my family (my wife also teaches), and I know that unless we wanted to radically change our lifestyle neither of us could take much of a pay cut.  We both love teaching, but we also love a nice summer vacation, eating out on occasion and dinner that doesn't include spam or canned spagetti.

So who will be teaching the kids?  People that can't find any other work.  Or the other option?  The teacher that are putting in 20-30 hours per week in a second job.  Why does this matter?  Because teachers that work long hours at other jobs don't give essay exams or writing assignments.  They do true/false and multiple choice tests because they can be graded quickly.  Also, you will be dealing with high turnover. If that teacher gets a shot at a job that actually pays them a decent wage, there will be no reluctance to bail out in early March if the chance comes.

I have plenty of other questions asking where corners can be cut to make these schools "efficient" enough to not only pay for themselves, but generate a profit.  Do you save on the building?  Technology?  Textbooks?  Security?  And how much can you cut without the quality of education paying the price?  Are 15 year old used books still good enough?  If a teacher wants to show kids a live  feed of an erupting volcano--is there a way to do that?  When a teacher bails, are there substitutes available?  But for now, I'll be happy to have just the first one answered.  And yes, I know that I won't ever get an answer, because there isn't one.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Teabaggers Endorse Social Welfare!


I concur with President Obama. The IRS should definitely NOT be political. I mean why would they question Tea Party creds as tax exempt social welfare groups? Everyone knows the TPs are socialistic and all about promoting the general welfare, right? Hell, welfare is practically their middle name! And they loves them some socialists, ya'll! Kenyan, Kansasan, Muslim, Hawaiian, Gnomish, Yeti, any kind.

I mean it's not as if the white, the old and the red of neck sprang up like locusts out of nowhere in 2009 over any particularly dark political event, campaign or election that preceded their emergence! Clearly the sincerity of the teatotaler's social conscience is beyond question. And I'm sure they're hurt and deeply regretful over the current discourteous misunderstanding with their dear friends at the IRS and that they bear no ill will. So don't be TEA'd. Simply smile, sip and point your pinky!

Swillingly Yours,

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

GOPster Austerity Failing Utterly!

Very Revealing Graph Kindly Forwarded by Josh Dow
The letter to the editor posted below from the May 5, 2013 Walworth County Sunday, written by Ron Shrader was submitted by Mary Gilding for inclusion in the BAP Blog. Combined with the above chart and the sudden and utter rejection of the failed austerity policies across Europe it is enough to strip the scales from the eyes of anyone. Well, not faithful Cult of Con indoctrinants like Scooter Walker and Pall Ryan. Ideologues like them are too deeply invested to let a little thing like reality change their "minds". They're engaged in a war on the middle class and scapegoating, the politics of envy and a fanatical devotion to the GOP are among of their chief weapons.

They incessantly pound it into the heads of their followers that public workers are on some sort of gravy train. Imagine, being able to retire, why the nerve of it! It's part of their divide and conquer strategy. Meanwhile these same followers have been sold a bill of goods called the 401k with the false comfort and ego stroke that it is "your own money". That is until those that control the "free" market come looking for more of what they consider to be theirs. Fairies, Frog Princes and Free Markets! And so rather than coming up with good solutions to ensure the secure retirement of all Americans and the stable economy that will promote, the cynical politics of division are invoked. Cuz the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence right? Please read on!


A reprint from Your Views in the Walworth County Sunday on May 5, 2013 Submitted by Ron Shrader of Beloit

Another View of Teacher Pensions