Break the pipeline
I appreciated Nathan Comp's profile of Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne ("Keeping Minorities Out of Jail," 6/1/2012). Those who study and work in these systems are familiar with the term "school-to-prison pipeline." In Wisconsin, children and adults of color are disproportionately pushed into this pipeline.
Ozanne is connecting the dots between the racial education achievement gap, child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and incarceration, which is critical for developing effective solutions.
In order to ensure the future success of our state - economically and socially - it is imperative that we break the school-to-prison pipeline. To do so requires a deliberate and intentional commitment of resources if we hope to make any significant impact.
Kathy Park, Vice president, National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Madison
While Nevin Springs is a state fishery and a state Wildlife Area, it is not a State Natural Area (SNA), unless the designation is extremely recent ("Where the Wild Places Are," 6/22/2012)..
Spread the wealth
Re Larry Kaufmann's "Liberals Must See the Light on Smaller Government" (6/22/2012), it's neocons like Kaufmann who must see the light on vastly reduced military spending, coupled with increased efforts to redistribute a shrinking pie.
The war on "terrorism" has cost us double-digit trillions, and overall military spending has killed our economy. We don't need an empire or a national security state. We barely even need a military, at least until Canada and Mexico become aggressive world powers. We could cut the Pentagon 98% and be safer than we are now.
And since the developed countries will soon be entering a permanent negative-economic-growth phase, the only way to buy social peace and avoid mass misery will be to redistribute our national wealth far more than we have in the past. Unless Kaufmann has figured out a way to force-feed the greedheads of the 1% generosity pills, government is the only way to do that.
Kevin Barrett, Lone Rock
So much for trying to heal the divisions - Kaufmann continues to stain the discussion with divisive rhetoric. Social Security is funded by our, and our employers', steady contributions throughout our working life. It is not "expansive social insurance," nor is it correct to call it unfunded. Medicare covers 80% of elder medical care for approximately $120 per month - the remaining 20% covered by private for-profit companies costs at least twice that. This is more than the American economy can bear and remain competitive with countries that build it efficiently into the national budget. Most countries have found a way to make this work - America can't?
The current batch of Republicans/tea party extremists are trying to make public employees responsible for government debt (debatable debt). The current crop of Republicans are betting we will forget where the real economic disaster originated - banks and Wall Street gambling losses with our money and two unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, profiting the likes of Halliburton and Exxon. Wars are the biggest unfunded mandate.
Deborah Vaughan, Verona
I largely agree with Larry Kaufmann. I recognize Obamacare as an extravagant exercise in insurance industry subsidization,
However, I don't see much value in substituting Paul Ryan's constantly mutating "Roadmap for America's Future." It simply substitutes one jerrybuilt monstrosity for another. Single-payer health care would create real fiscal discipline where it counts, by using the economic muscle of the U.S. government as payer to negotiate with health care providers. Countries with single-payer systems do this, and as a result their health care costs as a proportion of total GNP are a fraction of America's. Currently, federal law prohibits this in the case of Part D, the Medicare pharmacy claims reimbursement system. It shouldn't be surprising that the cost of Part D has tripled over the Bush administration's initial projections in 2003.
Give a hoot
We have walked what we still call "the tracks" for 32 years and were assured, before construction, that the pedestrian/bike path would be available to all ("Let There Be Dark," 6/22/2012). As often happens with names, the Southwest Commuter Path is now commonly referred to as "the bike path." For those of us without wheels, this does not engender good will toward multi-use. Quite the opposite, it implies privilege.
Why not cancel the lighting idea, save a bundle of money and officially name it the Owl Path? Wouldn't that speak volumes about Madison's commitment to nature, as well as to each other?
Bobbi and Larry Zehner
Not going to take it
Bruce Murphy either doesn't know what he is talking about or is a liar. According to the Wisconsin Retirement System's newsletter, Core annuity adjustments were -2.1% in 2009 and -1.3% in 2010. Without smoothing, the stock market performance of 2008 would have caused retirees' Core annuities to decrease more than 30% in 2009. The Core portion of my retirement also fell 7% in 2012. So Murphy's reply to Warren Gordon's criticism of his article attacking public employees' wages and benefits - that if employees "choose the defined benefits option, and the vast majority do, [it] gives them no reduction in their pension if the fund's market return declines" - is patently false (Letters, 6/22/2012, and "We're Mad and We're Not Going to Take It," 6/8/2012).
For Isthmus to print such articles further defining public employees as the new "Willie Hortons" in the Republican war on government without first requiring some semblance of accuracy is an insult to its readers, the vast majority of whom are public employees and their supporters without whose support Isthmus would be unable to publish.