Our Wisconsin Retirement System is #1 in the nation

Jack Norman of WCRS
The Wisconsin Coalition for Retirement Security (WCRS), a non-partisan coalition of labor and community groups, is standing up for our Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and the retirement security for all Wisconsin workers.Our WRS “defined benefit” system. The benefit for retirees is known and defined in advance. Both employers and employees pay into the pension fund. The funds are well-managed by public employees, who work for public salaries. They do not receive commissions for managing our retirement funds. There is no gender discrimination in the WRS. Women ...

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Let Us Have a Blueprint for Posterity

Blueprint for Posterity
On Monday, 3/24/13, the Governor signed a tax relief bill dubbed the "Blueprint for Prosperity."According to our State government at prosperity.wi.gov, the legislation will reduce property, income and state income withholding taxes. The typical homeowner will see a reduction of $101 on her next property tax bill. The typical family of four, earning $40,000, will save about $58 in income taxes. Because of the change to income withholding taxes, that family will see about $58 more in their paychecks each month.By the end of 2014, that typical family of four could ...

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Wisconsin Rapids Citizens for a Clean Green & Welcoming Community

Wisconsin Rapids Environment
Citizens for a Clean, Green & Welcoming Community (aka the Clean-Green group) is beginning its 7th year of working on projects that focus on sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment.  2013 was a very successful year, and we will continue our efforts in 2014 with some on-going and some new projects.Among our success stories in 2013 was earning the Bird City designation for Wisconsin Rapids with this award being presented to the city at the Grand Affair on September 8.  We also adopted a stretch of highway for clean-up so our group can walk the ...

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Suppressing the Vote

Voting
Voting matters to the citizens of Wisconsin.  Here are two examples from my experience as a poll observer in a small community on election day, November 6, 2012.A young man came to city hall to vote.   Unfortunately, he could not vote that day because he did not have the documents to prove his residency.  I spoke to him outside.  He was crying.  This young man worked at a community workshop.  His check was sent directly to the bank showing no address.  He did not have a checking account or any other documents proving his residency because he lived with someone ...

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Inequality for All

Income Inequality
The movie "Inequality for All," with former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich, is a humorous, enlightening expose on America's widening income gap where Reich answers questions like: What is happening with the distribution of income and wealth in the US? Why? And, is it a problem?Reich notes some inequality is inevitable, but the US has by far the most unequal distribution of income of developed nations, ranking 64th in the world. In 1978 the typical US male worker's income was $48,000, adjusted for inflation, while someone in the top 1% made $390,000. In 2010, a ...

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Climate Change Action: What the DOD and AAAS have in common

Climate Change
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) are both taking action on climate change.The DOD just issued their 64-page 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, in which they clearly describe steps they’re taking to respond to global climate change. In the introduction, they say, “Climate change poses [a] significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accele...

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Lenten Thoughts

Bible
During this time of year, 2,100,000,000 Christians think about the life, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as they have over the last 2000 years.  It is echoed in many cultures and in as many languages.  What is the essence, the heart, the main point of His sacrifice as the Christian religion teaches about during Lent?  What are the most important things?  Christ was asked this by a scribe as written in Mark 12:30-31 who gave this insight:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and ...

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John Doe

John Doe Investigations
“No one cares about crazy people,” was the reply by Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s chief-of staff while he was Milwaukee County Administrator, to an email from Keith Gilkes, Walker’s gubernatorial campaign manager. This email exchange was in reference to the death of Cindy Ancza at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. Other serious problems, such as sexual assaults and security lapses, occurred at this facility while Walker was administrator. Gilkes refers to the facility as a “looney bin.”What was Walker’s reply? He wanted to be kept out of the ...

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Retirement for All Legislation Introduced

Retirement
A secure retirement for Wisconsin workers may be coming in the future. Senate Bill 611, introduced by Senator David Hanson (D-Green Bay), creates a board to study creating a private sector program modeled after the highly successful public employee Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS).Being able to retire with dignity and financial independence was once part of the American Dream. But retirement security is declining in America. Many experts say a retirement crisis is developing. Many people will be unable to retire, will have to work longer, or will live in in poverty ...

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Kochs and Popes

Kochs and Pope
What would you think about a history book on Lincoln's presidency that neglected to mention the civil war? Or what about a book on Lyndon Johnson's White House years without mention of the Vietnam War? Which leads me to a question regarding recent Wisconsin history: what would you think about a book on Scott Walker’s gubernatorial reign containing no mention of the Koch Brothers and Art Pope? Things such as Walker's assault on public education and public educators, the shameful redistricting of state and national legislative districts, the environment...

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