Prioritizing Pro Sports over Higher Education

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is the latest politician advocating cuts to public institutions while pushing controversial multi-million dollar stadium deals.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor (R), will present a budget tonight that aims to cut $300 million from the state’s public universities over the next two years. If approved, this would be the deepest cut in Wisconsin’s state university history, and students, professors, and state lawmakers are already voicing their disapproval of the proposed budget, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

During a local radio station interview last week, Walker said that his previous budget cuts to higher education forced the university to create positive efficiencies, and challenged: “Maybe it’s time for faculty and staff to start thinking about teaching more classes and doing more work.”

At the same time, however, Walker is calling for a new basketball stadium in Milwaukee for the Bucks, which would come with an estimated $500 million price tag. Under his plan, the state would fund the building of the arena by taking out $200 million in bonds, and the remainder of the expenses will come from county and city contributions as well as private funding promised by the Bucks’ owner. Walker believes that income tax revenue from the Bucks players, employees, and visiting teams will repay the debt from the state bonds, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Many university students and workers are outraged that the Governor would propose increasing sports funding while telling universities to shoulder cuts by developing “efficiencies.”

“It shows a fair amount of ignorance about what happens at a university,” Eleni Schirmer, with the Teaching Assistants Association and the co-president of UW graduate student workers’ union, told ThinkProgress. “He’s not telling the Bucks: ‘You should become an actually interesting team so people will watch your games.'”

The situation in Wisconsin is not unique, as many politicians on the city and state level prioritize building new athletic stadiums for arguably unsuccessful teams over funding for state universities and other public institutions. In San Diego, serious debate is underway over building a new football stadium for the Chargers, whose contract in the city expires in 2020, with public opinion very divided over the willingness to pay in order to keep the team in San Diego. A recent business column in the U-T San Diego effectively explains that new stadiums are usually money-losing initiatives because their actual revenue doesn’t reach their expected revenue, or it isn’t enough to cover the cost of building the stadium. While some estimates indicate the new stadium at the Qualcomm site would boost the Charger’s local revenue by either $15 or $50 million a year, it falls short of covering the $80 million a year needed to pay for the stadium’s $1 billion total cost.

At the same time, however, the University of California system, which has a campus in San Diego, has been forced to increase tuition by 60 percent since 2008. This has occurred to offset the $1 billion cuts a year from the state since the recession, the Washington Post reported.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

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