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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Some randomness, since I'm skipping Drinking Liberally tonight

First, give.

Among the good articles about my life in the paper lately, here's a good one on special education. If you really, really want to know where the money's going, it's going to make up for what the underfunding of IDEA legislation has done to districts like mine.

David Riemer and Deborah Blanks had an op-ed last weekend, "It's time to get serious about reducing poverty in Milwaukee":
[A]lready, several directions seem clear:

• First, we need to do a far better job of helping poor, unemployed, single adults--mostly men and disproportionately minorities--find jobs. Tragically, the only systematic program that provides some of these men with work, adequate nutrition and affordable housing is the Wisconsin prison system, and we can't bear to see more of our young men go to prison.

• Second, we need to take a look a good hard look at whether or not there are enough jobs to go around in the regular economy. If not, we should look at options to get people work experience and entry into the work force. [. . .]

• Third, we need to strengthen our system of work supports. The mechanisms in place for training the unemployed and placing them in jobs in the private sector leave much to be desired.

The Earned Income Tax Credit has proved to be a successful tool for encouraging the unemployed to take jobs and making work pay for those who do. But the EITC does almost nothing for childless adults, and its phase-out inadvertently creates a work disincentive and a marriage penalty for those trying to move higher up the job ladder.

And finally, tens of thousands of Milwaukeeans have no health insurance, which makes it hard for unemployed persons with health problems to find work.
I've written before about the unavoidable correlation between poverty and challenges in education. I'm working on more about that, once I get some more sources in order about it. I'm not convinced that a "serious" conversation ever solved anything, but talking about the problem--and how, specifically, to address the four things Riemer and Blanks note above--is better than just having the problem.

Health care in Milwaukee is still expensive.

Did I mention, you should give?

Here's as concise a summary as I've ever read of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney's, um, relationship.

I'm thinking it's time for a massive Cheddarsphere blogroll update. I have a long list of new Wisconsin lefties that I need to cement in place, and some others I know need to be removed for inactivity. Lemme know of anyone I should add.

Diet update (for those of you wondering): 21 pounds.

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