Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rep. Robin Vos targets GAB over trumped up "violation of law."

State Republicans are piling up the most ridiculous complaints, in anticipation of revamping the non-partisan Government Accountability Board into a political arm to game Wisconsin's elections. Really, they've even said so.

The whiniest asshole in the Assembly, Robin Vos, seems oblivious to logic, reason and the process of voting, especially after you hear his latest bit of phony outrage.

While the GAB gave clear reasons why they are holding off updating the registration system-small community clerks don't have the staff to meet the deadline-Vos' mental block and outrage over the boards violation of the law is the last straw. Even though the law really doesn't apply to the GAB. The GAB "volunteered," forced by an activist Waukesha judge, to take on those duties. But without the voter lists from the town clerks, what are the options?
WKOW: Vos says the WAB isn't doing the job it promised ... "The requirement has always been all of those changes are made to the system prior to the February election so that we're able to have a current, updated voter roll for the February primary," said Rep. Vos. "That's already come and gone."
Vos said nothing about the county clerks.
Now Vos and others want an audit of the agency, while Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) has gone so far as to ask Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to investigate the matter. Said Rep. Vos, "...accountability is sorely lacking and that is exactly what this clearly shows." 
Vos said nothing about the county clerks.
But GAB Spokesperson Reid Magney says state law only says municipal clerks are required to update the system within 90 days, and that the GAB is waiting because many small town clerks don't have the resources to compile their voter lists within that time frame.

But Vos doesn't get the part about the county clerks.
"...because the lists from many of those small towns weren't yet updated, it turned out that thousands who received the postcards had actually voted the previous November. That's why the GAB now waits until April, but Republicans say the law doesn't allow for them to do that. looks like the Republicans are stuck, and may have to get off their fat taxpayer supported asses and actually work on a solution.  

Milwaukee's Police Chief interrupts do nothing Republican Lindsey Graham.

I thought this appearance of Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn was spot on about gun legislation to save lives. Sen. Lindsey Graham continued the freeloading Republican thing of doing absolutely nothing, suggesting we "enforce the laws on the books." Code for "is this over yet?" Or how about that the new one; go after the mentally ill. Love that piece of "small government" laziness. Check out why Flynn decided not to waste his time while addressing  the Senate Judiciary hearing on guns:

jsonline: Invoking both the Newtown school massacre and chronic gun violence in American cities, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn urged Congress Wednesday to ban sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to civilians.

"I've wondered frequently in the past decade how many people have to get murdered in a mass murder for it to be enough," Flynn said. "Is 20 babies enough to say these implements should not be so easily distributed?"

Sen. Lindsey Graham argued that the government should instead do more to enforce current laws, asking why it was that so few people who fail background checks are prosecuted for lying on their applications to buy guns.

Flynn interrupted to object. "You know what? It doesn't matter!" Flynn answered, "We don't make those cases, senator. We have priorities. We make gun cases. We make 2,000 gun cases a year. That's our priority. We're not in a paper chase. We're trying to prevent the wrong people buying guns.

That's why we do background checks. If you think I'm going to do a paper chase, then you think I'm going to misuse my resources."

Later, in a Journal Sentinel interview: “So it's specious," he said of complaints about the failure to prosecute people who failed background checks. "It's just one of those things they throw out there to pretend we're not doing our job." “If you can't hit your target after 10 rounds, you're a menace to society. I mean, stop it." 

Right Wing Obama haters "Played" By Woodward.

My conservative friend called me around 8:00 am to tell me about the “Chicago-style” tactics used against Bob Woodward. The "Obama threat." To him, this confirmed how the Obama administration bullies the opposition. My friend was also celebrating how well conservatives passed the blame and consequences of the sequester firmly onto Obama.

Despite the Republicans overwhelming vote for sequestration, and their plan to let it happen, they’re quick to blame Obama.

My friend was lovin’ it.

But the victory was short lived:
Media Matters: Conservative media figures are abandoning Washington Post writer Bob Woodward's over-hyped claim that he was threatened by a White House official. Woodward claimed that White House representative Gene Sperling had threatened him … But the full email exchange between Woodward and Sperling, released this morning by Politico, strongly suggests that Woodward's claims of White House intimidation were overblown. As a result, as Brett LoGiurato explains at Business Insider, several conservatives are now turning on Woodward.

The Daily Caller posted an article by Matt Lewis explaining that conservatives had seized on Woodward's initial story because it "confirmed our suspicion about the Obama Administration's 'Chicago-style' of politics." After reading the full emails, Lewis concluded that conservatives had been "played," and that the exchange is "much more innocuous" than it was initially presented.

Echoing Lewis, Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson said during an appearance on Fox News that the full emails suggest Woodward "hyped" the claim that he had been threatened. Fox News contributor Erick Erickson tweeted this morning: 

In a post at National Review, Kevin Hassett argues that while Sperling's statement to Woodward was "certainly regrettable," it was "not some ham-fisted attempt to intimidate Woodward."

At Herman Cain's website, Robert Laurie wrote, "I'm not seeing any threat. It's a real stretch to claim this back and forth is, in any way, menacing." 
My favorite is this incredible lunacy by's John Nolte wrote a post titled "Woodward Emails Back Claim Of White House Intimidation," arguing that Sperling's words were still a threat, because "[p]sychological manipulation is a game of chess, not checkers, and those claiming Woodward is exaggerating need to take into account more than just these two moves."
So insightful.

Justice Scalia redefining Judicial Activism/Legislating from the Bench on Voting Rights Act!!

Regardless of how the Supreme Court decides the Voting Rights Act, the comments made by the conservative majority is so repugnant, so ideologically driven, that despite the Affordable Care Act squeaker, this court has hit new heights of activist legislating from the bench.

This is Republicans call "legislating from the bench," the one thing conservatives dread most. Justice Scalia wants to overturn the legislative branches 25 year extension of the act in 2006, that passed the senate 98-0, and the house 390-33. Why? Because he thinks it's not the kind of question you can leave congress, and that's it's some kind of "racial entitlement." The terminology of right wingers.

This is jaw dropping stuff, or should be, even to conservatives who believe in the constitutional framework that makes the three branches of government independent and equal. Rachel Maddow explains in detail the history and implications:

Here's Ed Schultz with libertarian legal pundit Jonathan Turley, who is almost breathless at the reasoning and direction the court is taking.

The Genius of Armed School Employees where nothing, could go wrong?

Not only do we have to worry about another savage attack by gun nut targeting school kids in classrooms, but we also have to worry about all the accidental shootings and firearm malfunctions by school staff.

Anyone with a brain knew this was a bad idea, but majority opinion doesn't count when it’s not the idea of conservative ideologues foisting their vision of six-gun justice into our classrooms.
USA Today: An East Texas school maintenance worker was in fair condition Thursday after being accidentally shot during a district-sponsored handgun safety class. The concealed handgun license class is part of an effort to permit teachers to carry firearms in schools in Van, Texas … at the end of the formal training a "certified person" stayed for private instruction with the trainer "and had a mechanical malfunction with his weapon" … "With the assistance of the instructor, the malfunction was addressed, but the gun misfired and the bullet ricocheted coming back to strike the VISD employee in the left leg."  
This is of course the idea of all those rugged individuals in Texas:
The gun classes were set up under a new school board policy approved in January that authorized "specific school employees and other persons" to possess certain firearms on school property and at school events. "We are going to go above and beyond on all-out training," school Superintendent Don Dunn said in January. 
And it's probably still a great idea.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Remember the Headline Below: Republicans/Fox News Own Economic Slowdown.

Obamacare puts end to Companies trying to avoid coverage with part-time workers.

WKOW's Tony Galli gets the lowdown on the convoluted Medicaid Walker plan.

Galli's big surprise? The Obama administrations new rules to deal with sneaky employers trying to avoid the mandate by cutting employee hours down to part-time status. No more:
Galli: "The part-timers hours will all be added together to get the equivalent number of the companies full time positions."
I love it.

Gay Republican Campaign Activist Lied about Liberal Attack.

Poor Republicans, they’re always getting beat up during the heated elections by roving gangs of gay bashing latte drinking Prius drivers.

But wait, that doesn't sound right. Follow your gut:
Channel3000: A former volunteer for a Republican congressional campaign who had claimed to be the victim of a politically motivated assault has been charged with obstruction. In late October, Kyle Wood, 29, reported to Madison police that he was attacked in his home. Wood claimed the attack was politically motivated. He told police his face was smashed into a mirror and he was choked during the attack.
It was all a lie. But it was motivation enough to anger conservative voters. What a get-out-the-vote effort:

According to court documents obtained by WISC-TV, five days after the alleged attack while police were questioning inconsistencies in his story, Wood told police, "You're right -- I did it to myself."

The complaint said Wood told police he hit his own head against a mirror, causing injuries to his forehead and eye. The complaint also said Wood used a guitar string to create marks around his neck.
Oddly, why did it take so long to find out this Republican martyr was lying. It would have been nice to know this before the election.

I wonder what the screaming conservative radio banshee said about this outrage at the time, and what she might be saying now. Vicki McKenna has moved on suppose. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Republicans have it both ways on Sequester, but will they get away with it?

This is the most ridiculous and obvious way to cover ones ass. Leave it to the Republicans to try and pull this fast one. If things go bad or good after the sequester...GOP voters heads will spin trying to figure out what just happened.

Why Republicans don't List Spending Cuts....

I'm hoping most voters have noticed that the Republican Party may be demanding spending cuts, but have been hesitant to offered their own list of cuts. Why? It would be political suicide.

Take a look at the public's list of things they don't want cut. What's left? Not much.

Secret Wiretapping is…a secret. What you don’t know....? Or so says Conservative Supreme Court Justices.

It’s not like the government won’t secretly wiretap citizens.

Every one of the conservative activist justices are on board with wiretapping. And from what I've seen in GOP legislatures around the country, with voter suppression and their own interpretations of the constitution, I don’t trust them with wiretapping.

Liberals like privacy, as proven here based on their vote:
Wired: A divided Supreme Court halted a legal challenge Tuesday to a once-secret warrantless surveillance project that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications. The 5-4 decision concluded that, because the eavesdropping is done secretly, the American Civil Liberties Union, journalists and human, rights groups that sued to nullify the law have no legal standing to sue, because they have no evidence they are being targeted by the FISA Amendments Act. Some of the plaintiffs, which the court labeled “respondents,” are also journalists and among other things claimed the 2008 legislation has chilled their speech and violated their Fourth Amendment privacy rights. Joining Alito were Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said standing should have been granted. He said that the spying, “Indeed it is as likely to take place as are most future events that commonsense inference and ordinary knowledge of human nature tell us will happen.” Signing the dissent were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Sheriff David Clarke unleashes Penis Envy and Race Card to defend himself. Why is he still in office?

Sheriff David Clarke continues to hold his job and still continues to get support by conservatives who've lost their self respect two decades ago.

It won't be long before this guy snaps, and then I'll we'll wonder why something wasn't done sooner.

jsonline-Dan Bice: Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is becoming the Ann Coulter of Milwaukee politics. Just when you think Clarke can't top the last thing he said or did, he surprises with something new and just as provocative.

Fresh off his interview on a national radio show whose host has peddled the idea that the 9-11 terrorist attacks were an inside job, Clarke is now accusing Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele of "penis envy" and is playing the race card in their ongoing dispute. Clarke made these comments in a note (subscription required) "Sounds like a bit of penis envy by Abele in responding to Bice (Conway's the straw man here, you know that)," Clarke wrote. "Abele is not used to taking a back seat to anyone, especially some black conservative sheriff."

"Abele's true colors are revealed in this e-mail," Clarke wrote. "When asked he continually looks into the camera of the media with that (expletive) eatin' grin of his and tells them that by cutting my budget, laying off deputies and usurping the constitutional authority of the sheriff that his actions are not personal. Oh really? This e-mail to Bice tells a different story."

Rep. Jim Ott hates the Constitution, Repulsed by "Political chaos in Madison that threatened to shut down Wisconsin's government."

Want a good example of what an authoritarian government looks like? Besides a recall list being used as a "blacklist," the peoples constitutional right to protest is also an action that won't be tolerated:
jsonline: Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Tom Wolfgram's bid for re-election in the April 2 spring election will rise or fall on the judgment of voters weighing the significance of his signature on a 2011 petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
Here’s the statement that is most troubling when you consider the rights afforded us in the constitution, and how quickly Scott Walker and the Republicans are revising its meaning into something dictatorial.
What a worm.
"A judge who signed the recall supported the political chaos in Madison that threatened to shut down Wisconsin's government," Rep. Jim Ott says in the news release.
Ott is troubled by the actions of citizens to "peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

He’s troubled by democracy and our representative form of government. It's payback time for the 60's protests. Ott thinks he's no longer accountable to the voters, and apparently can’t be bothered. 

Mining Sweet deal for Gobegic Taconite as State gives up Revenues.

It looks like Wisconsin is just a vessel to be used to make money, rob us of our resources and get out of town free and clear.

In this amazingly revealing comment by Rep. Dale Kooyenga, businesses in our state aren't expected to create tax revenues, because that would just mean more spending and programs. In his own words, from WKOW:
Kooyenga: "Our objective is to create jobs. I'm always amazed in this building how fast objective changes, and all of a sudden the objective becomes...let's create more revenue...create more government, create more programs." 

Would I kid you?

Democrats Shut out of Mining Bill. Republicans wish they would go away...

Republicans must think we're a "red" state now.

Apparently so, because the legislature won't even acknowledge we exist. Our pesky attempts to help run government have been exorcised:
jsonline: The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted, 12-4, on a party-line vote, to approve a mining bill favored by Republicans … Democrats sought changes in the legislation aimed at providing more environmental protections and a greater public voice in the state's review process for mines. Republicans rejected them … they beat back six amendments proposed by Democrats.
I thought these two points were the most glaring admissions allowed by this bill:
One of the changes offered by Democrats would restore a prohibition in current law that prevents the state from approving a mine if there's any chance it will harm public health. New Berlin Republican Senator Mary Lazich said that blanket restriction would effectively block any mine, "because this amendment just guts the whole process: It's over. There's no mining when you put in such absolutes because these type of absolutes just don't exist."
No mining from a "RESTORED" prohibition, one that has been there for decades? But this is my favorite piece of lunacy:
Also rejected was an effort by Democrats, including Jon Richards of Milwaukee, to delete part of the bill that says adverse impacts to wetlands are presumed necessary in iron mining, "If you're concerned about the environment, read your own bill. Because this bill doesn't protect it. As a matter of fact, it presumes that it's necessary, that sometimes [it's] just 'too bad, so sad, with an open pit mine you're going to have adverse environmental impacts.'"
From WPT, this audio:

Wisconsin’s own Michelle Bachmann had this obvious observation:
Sen. Alberta Darling, co-chair of the panel said, "The contention is that we are disregarding all of our environmental safeguards. It sort of gets at our integrity."
Ya think? And while PPP has established itself as an accurate non-partisan polling source:
The poll by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows that 62% of those taking the survey opposed the legislation; 29% support it.
When those who support a lousy mining bill is only at 20 percent, you know something is wrong. I take that back, the public knows it’s wrong, not our Republicans Authority. 

To them, it’s another victory. A check mark in the win column. And really, that’s all that matters to my conservative friend in Milwaukee, who would prefer not talking about the details. 

Feingold for Senate? Governor?

I hate it when people start talking about Russ Feingold running for governor, because I sooooo want to see that happen. Yet by all indications, he won't. He's stuck on foreign policy for some reason. Hey, a hobby is one thing, but getting this state back to normal again has so much more going for it. And it's the only position not affected by gerrymandering. TPM:
Fifty-three percent of Wisconsin voters said they have a favorable opinion of Feingold, according to the latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, while 37 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of the former three-term senator.

The poll indicated that Feingold could get the last laugh on the Republican who ousted him in the 2010 midterms. In a hypothetical 2016 Senate matchup, 52 percent said they would vote for Feingold over Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who picked up 42 percent support.

Moreover, Feingold fared better than any Democrat tested in hypothetical matchups against Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who will be up for re-election next year. Feingold edged Walker in the poll 49 percent to 47 percent. Walker topped every other Democrat tested in the poll. Feingold has not given an indication yet if he will challenge Walker in 2014.

Politically Correct Conservative Speech taking over…

David Horowitz has pushed a conservative version of politically correct speech for years. But for Horowitz, saying failed conservative voodoo mumbo jumbo in a dislocated scattershot way never caught on. This gibberish was pushed as the more politically correct way to educate in our colleges.

No one bought the idea. But there's hope:  
jsonline: The issue is a student-led, 12-week workshop called FemSex, modeled after long-standing courses at the University of California-Berkely and Brown University to engage students in the exploration of social forces through the lens of female sexuality. The workshop publicly came under fire when a Marquette political science professor John McAdams earlier this month published an article on his personal blog, "Marquette Warrior," denouncing FemSex as anti-Catholic and criticizing the university for sponsoring it.

McAdams alleged in his blog that FemSex workshops at other universities tell women "that men are evil exploiters."

Marquette student Claire Van Fossen, a Trinity Fellow working on her masters degree in nonprofit management, said McAdams suggested the workshop would be a "bawdy hen party" to "obsess on sex," comprised only of women spewing hateful, sexist rhetoric, and painting an image of college women as "whining neurotics." The blog, she alleges, is homophobic.

Van Fossen blamed a former Marquette College Republicans president for turning … Marquette administrators against the workshop.
“Spewing hateful, sexist rhetoric” sure doesn't sound conservatively correct, does it?

This politically motivated correctness even went further:
Among the activities workshop critics found objectionable: coloring anatomical images of vaginas, referred to by a reappropriated feminist term that many consider offensive. After learning about the content of the workshop from a student, university leaders reviewed the workshop outline and found that aspects fell outside the center’s stated purpose … Marquette University President Father Scott Pilarz and Provost John Pauly pulled the university's sponsorship about a week ago. Van Fossen said FemSex "does not teach any curriculum, push any agenda, condone any behavior, or act as therapy. Thus, at its core, FemSex is about introspection, discussion, exploration, and self-empowerment. Or are those anti-Catholic now, too?" 

Thanks Walker, Bad Weather just got Worse.

Bad Wisconsin winter weather spurred on this tweeted conversation and picture

Walker proposes Selling Wisconsin Farmland to Foreign Interests!!!

I have never understood why farmers bought into the Republican ideology so easily. Do they really like a party that basically hates its own government, works one month out of the year (if that), and hypocritically loves collecting a taxpayer salary with government run health care, is on their side or looking out for them?

Well, the next big assault, after jumping on the corporate-farm wagon, is selling off the agricultural land that represents the very backbone of our state economy. WPR audio:

BUDGET WOULD ALLOW EASIER FOREIGN PURCHASE OF WISCONSIN FARMLAND: A provision in Governor Scott Walker's latest budget is causing concern among some farmers in the state.

For decades, foreign investors and corporations couldn't purchase more than 640 acres of land in the state. The provision was originally put in place over concern Canada was trying to buy up land in Minnesota and other states. Now, Governor Walker says he wants those restrictions lifted because it conflicts with international trade treaties. 
Hold on a second. I thought Republicans were against losing U.S. sovereignty to foreign countries? Not when they can make a buck, and push more small farmers off their land.
Kara Slaughter is the government relations director with the Wisconsin Farmers Union. She says the proposed change could make already expensive farm land even more costly: "We open the flood gates to a tremendous influx of investment capital into the farmland sector, that could make ownership of farmland simply unattainable for average farms." 

Walker's Orwellian Big Brother takeover of Milwaukee. What he couldn't do as County Executive.

Big government Republicans continue to plow over what remains of local control. The Walker Authority wants to take away residency requirements statewide, like they did with sick pay.
WPR: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says Governor Scott Walker's plan to end residency requirements for local government employees is an example of the state acting as an Orwellian "Big Brother." "For the state to now swoop in and wipe out our home authority is the very definition of Big Brother government. This is not the way to govern. [applause] And I am asking the state legislature to leave residency a local issue: take it out of the budget."

More than 100 Wisconsin communities have local residency laws.
The completely out-of-control and unstoppable Walker Authority has decided to centralize government while it can, from the top down, with the assumption Republicans will never lose power.

Flip Flop: And what about Scott Walker’s past support of residency requirements? How would he explain away that?  
He also says he supported residency laws as Milwaukee County Executive, because he thought that the Milwaukee County Board would not change the law.
He's blaming the county board? Amazing? Conservative voters and radio talkers will be completely happy with that nonsensical pass-the-buck answer. 

Walker asks for expanded Frac Monitoring over cancer concerns, but Rep. Scott Suder wary of creating government jobs.

If you’re living anywhere near a frac sand mining operation, then you’re probably concerned about your chances of getting cancer.

In an odd moment of sanity, Gov. Scott Walker has decided those concerns are justified.
WPR: Governor Scott Walker is asking the legislature for money to help monitor air quality at frac sand mining operations. The DNR says there are four technicians in the west central region and compliance checks at sand mines are rare.
But wouldn't you know it, there are science deniers/corporate whores who think such concerns are ridiculous (side note: Republicans don’t feel the same about the unproven negative effects of inaudible wind farm noise levels. That’s enough to stop the whole industry.)
But some of his Republican colleagues are skeptical of the request. One of the main concerns about frac sand mining is blowing silica dust, which is a known carcinogen. But Republican state Representative Scott Suder says he's skeptical when any agency asks for additional staff. "It has not been shown to me by the DNR, and I have asked them, why they need those additional two positions when they do have individuals in the agency that perform that testing. If the need is there, if there is an actual health concern or if they are overburdened and they don't have enough, then I can stomach it.”
Since sanity left the party a long time ago, good luck with that request Scotty.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Some Republicans have problem with Walker's Forced Voucher Roll out.

Upfront with Mike Gousha (goo-shay) featured Republican State Sen. Mike Ellis, a guy who isn't blindly on board with vouchers, and doesn't like Scott Walker's planned roll out of vouchers statewide.

It's hard to believe a Republican could make so much sense, despite his continued support for the idea of vouchers. Ellis is a real character and I like his energy. We need legislators like Ellis who doesn't fall in line with the whole privatization movement. He really believes it serves a more constructive purpose.

3Doodler, dimensional drawing, another great breakthrough!

I love this stuff. From Smithsonian Magazine:

Yesterday, start-up company Wobble Works was looking for $30,000 to help fund the manufacture of a pen that lets you draw in three dimensions using malleable melted plastic. In just a day, the company found itself with more than $600,000 dollars from interested donors.

Reminiscent of a hot glue gun, the pen melts and extrudes plastic. New Scientist: The pen’s key component is a tiny fan that cools the plastic as it leaves the nib. “This makes it solidify very quickly,” says company spokesman Daniel Cowen. Intricate “drawings” of a peacock and the Eiffel Tower in the launch video show how well it works.

Walker's Medicaid Con Flops on Fox News.

Scott Walker looked just like the conniving dropout were all so familiar with here in Wisconsin.

Walker looked the fool, especially when he appeared next to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. Listed under Markell's name on screen was the following; Brown University BA, University of Chicago BA, senior VP of corporate development at Nextel, and the founder of the Delaware Money School. Real business creds.

But under Walker's name...well, Fox News had nothing. Blank. Not even Eagle Scout.

During Gov. Markell reasoned explanation as to why he chose to expand Medicaid, you could detect a level of competence and depth that is noticeably missing with Walker.

Chris Wallace even interrupted Walker for getting too deep in the weeds when explaining his convoluted, ideologically limiting solution to Medicaid. Watch Walker struggle to be relevant, bobbing his head as if to appear interested. It was another embarrassing Wisconsin moment, that again, made us look like the Florida of the North. Imagine if this were a presidential debate:

The Walker Authority's Nursing Home Protection Law, Recipe for Death and Abuse.

Big government Republicans, headed up by the Walker Authority, continue to wipe out local control and pick winners or losers in the private sector. So far, Walker has limited local taxes, wants to wipe out residency rules, did away with local sick leave laws and is now going to tell private sector unions what they can or cannot do when negotiating with employers. I know, I'm only scratching the surface. You're welcome to add your own list in the comments section.

You can't make this kind of hypocrisy up, it's just the media never tries to connect the dots.

On WPT's Here and Now, we were reminded of the following anti-free market law passed by our supposed free market Republican majority.

The point is, exempting business from almost all liability concerns, like limiting lawsuits and what evidence can used in our courts, is the opposite of the free market ideal. In that dog-eat-dog world of business, I can sue a company into oblivion, with no limits on their monetary payout. But the government protection racket, bought and paid for by campaign contributions, prevents us all from living out a Rand/Friedman Utopian dream.

Take the obscene nursing home law signed into law by Walker. My hope is that soon, these same Republicans will find themselves in same unregulated and unaccountable senior hell-hole of abuse and neglect they left for everyone else. Personally, they couldn't suffer enough.

Ryan was for the sequester, before he was against it....

It must be tough, or you'd have to be the most clueless idiot on earth, to deny your past support for something you passionately believed in for so many years.

That's our lyin' Paul Ryan. Sadly, video remnants of past declarative statements by Ryan, continues to hold him captive to reality, and expose his now obvious policy shell game.

So how can Ryan blame Obama for the horrors of the sequester, when it was all Ryan could talk about, once upon a time:

I think Politicususa said it best:
Representative (and failed VP nominee) Paul Ryan (R-WI) can tell you all about how great sequestration is. Why, he’s been a fan since 2004. Not just a fan — he’s pushed sequestration as the solution, as good governance, since 2004. When he finally got it in 2011, he bragged about it to Fox News. Oh, the conservatives finally got it, he told Sean Hannity! The holy grail of economic discipline is here! WOO HOO!

Ryan explained, “We want to make it very difficult for Congress to avoid this budget discipline.”

Now that it’s here, though, Paul Ryan no likey the sequester anymore. Budget discipline bad.

We can pollute too!! Say’s conservative radio-witch Vicki McKenna.

Who thinks like this? This is a tweet by Vicki McKenna:

Conservative hit squad Media Trackers rightly reported the Bad River Tribe has had problems with a wastewater treatment plant. But the reason for the report had more to do with arming conservatives with more lame reasons why pollution for jobs is better than exceeding EPA limits.
Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests that a wastewater treatment facility owned by the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has a history of violating the Clean Water Act. A 2009 investigative report by the New York Times found hundreds of facilities around the country that were in violation of Clean Water Act standards. The responsibility for holding the facility accountable rests with the EPA.
The fact that McKenna is part of the “pollute for jobs” drive to do away with the EPA, it’s just as hypocritical to point a finger at the unfair and costly EPA.

But this sudden concern over the Bad River EPA violations? She thinks a simple case of hypocrisy justifies more pollution through mining.

Again, who thinks like this? At least things will be improving and not getting worse.
When asked about the ongoing violations, Pat Hunt, the manager of the facility, said he “inherited a treatment facility and water and sewer system that had been for the most part ignored for many years.” 
If McKenna and her teabilly band of lunkheads had their way, the Bad River facility would never be out of compliance.

Because McKenna never had an original thought in life, she's marching to her fearless leaders own pollute-for-jobs agenda, anti-EPA Gov. Scott Walker:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Walker's War on Smokers? Here comes the Big Government Nanny State Republicans.

Remember when Republicans and conservative radio talk hosts blasted Democrats for "nanny state" public smoking bans that would wipe out local bar owners in the state?

Shouts of big government and the loss of personal freedom rang out over the land.

What will they say now, after the Walker Authority made the following proposal?
How the times have changed...
Wisconsin Reporter: The governor recommends assessing state employees who smoke, $50 per month, hoping  they will be “encouraged to avail themselves of smoking cessation and other services designed to help them kick the habit.” The idea is clear: Smokers have more health-related problems, costing taxpayers more money.
And what of our freedom and liberty? Are nanny state Republicans suddenly admitting that smoking is a health risk, and another reason health care costs are skyrocketing? Big switch.

“(B)ecause health care costs of smokers and other people who use tobacco are estimated to be 30 to 35 percent higher than nonsmokers, the Governor recommends that a tobacco user charge be included for state employee health plans beginning in calendar year 2014,” Walker’s budget states.
But I thought Republicans were against “sin taxes.” And would “the state of Wisconsin have to administer screenings to determine whether employees would have to fork over the $50 a month smoker’s fee. Would such testing offset revenue from the fee? “

Republicans have never been about small government, they've been about small liberal Democratic government. Republicans like their authoritarian big government model, where our leaders call all the shots, and why they never see the hypocrisy in their actions. 

Walker scheme feeds the private health care gravy train

Congratulations Kitty Rhoades? This is another highly partisan political appointment, where a former longtime state assembly Republican is rewarded for loyalty.

Scott Walker doesn’t hide the fact that he wants the unemployed and working poor to pay into the for-profit private sector health insurance industry. That’s why he likes Kitty Rhoades, who thinks the poor have a secret stash of money in their “entertainment envelope.”

Back in August 2012, I wrote about Kitty’s outrageous comments about supposedly “preserving access to Badgercare” Sound familiar? Sure, because Paul Ryan wants to preserve Medicare too:
Heartless to the nth degree, "Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades says the state hopes to preserve access to BadgerCare for as many people as possible by increasing cost sharing." Great question from Upfront's Mike Gousha:
Rhoades: "When I was a kid, my parents budgeted by the envelope system. You cashed your paycheck, you put how much was due for the know when you then had to make discretionary decisions, you went to the entertainment envelope first." 
Crass. Just as sickening, look at how the mental health care industry, thanks to the gun debate, began falling all over itself in anticipation of emptying all those "entertainment envelopes:"
Mental Health America of Wisconsin Congratulates Sec. Kitty Rhoades on her Appointment ... Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force Welcomes Appointment of DHS Secretary Rhoades ... BPDD CONGRATULATES NEW DHS SECRETARY KITTY RHOADES, Disability Rights Wisconsin Congratulates Newly Appointed Dept. of Health Services Sec. Kitty Rhoades ... The Wisconsin Hospital Association congratulates newly-appointed Kitty Rhoades.
Yea, fewer supposed vacations for the poor. Yea, taxpayer money is coming soon. But health care is not a consumer product. When we find ourselves sick in the hospital, we’re not approached by a team of waiters offering a menu of choices, price points and daily specials. We may not even be in the condition to care.

Rhoades' goal, like Scott Walker’s, is to take whatever money the poor can scrape up and give it to the private, for profit sector, under the guise of weaning people off "government handouts." In the words of Walker’s own press release:
Rhoades has received numerous awards from advocacy groups ... including her support for the development of consumer driven programs.
 And that's root of the problem. Health care is not a consumer driven program.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Walker proposes deficit reduction by cutting Social Security and Medicare. No Tax Increases. Startling!

If the countries deficit is is our biggest problem, $16 trillion worth, imagine what would have to be done to reduce that amount with mostly entitlement reform.

That's what Scott Walker is talking about in the video below with Bloomberg News.

Cutting Social Security and Medicare in the future, shifts the burden onto our kids in their senior years. You know, the same kids we don't want to leave with higher taxes. So leaving them with huge out-of-pocket costs when they're too old work, is better than higher taxes on the top 1 percent?

Walker's strong focus on "entitlements" below, to reduce the trillions of dollars if deficits with "entitlement reductions," is almost mind boggling. Walker is planning to do to the U.S., what he did in Wisconsin; take a chainsaw to education, labor and unemployment. And because Walker is putting Medicare and Social Security in the same category as Medicaid; he's trying to break the cycle of government dependence for our retirees.

Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt, featured this eye opening Walker interview.

jsonline: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tells Bloomberg TV that he'd rather the federal government reduce its deficit by adjusting entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare than through across-the-board cuts that are scheduled to take effect March 1. 

Ted Cruz hypocrite McCarthyite!!!

I love Twitter for its quick pointed understatements:

Sam Stein was referring to Cruz's McCarthy like comments about Chuck Hagel:

The conservative crazies at NewsBusters tried to soften Cruz's McCarthyism with this editorial "eye-roll" from Cal Thomas:
Cal Thomas Column: The Left's Lazy 'McCarthyite' Attack on Ted Cruz
Yes, liberals are just being lazy making easy charges of McCarthyism. It still doesn't get away from the fact that Cruz is okay with very old transcripts of Hagel speeches, but can't handle his own 3 year old comments:
Sen. Ted Cruz’s office told TheBlaze it was “curious” that the New Yorker would dig up a years-old speech for the purpose of dubbing him “our new McCarthy.”

Nevertheless, Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said the Texas Republican’s “substantive point” about Harvard Law School being home to Communists “was absolutely correct.”

Cruz, the New Yorker reported, said in a 2010 speech that President Barack Obama “would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School” because “there were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were 12 who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.” 
Charles Fried, a Republican who served as President Ronald Reagan’s solicitor general and taught Cruz at Harvard Law, disputed the notion.

Professor Duncan Kennedy, for instance, a leader of the faction, who declined to comment on Cruz’s accusation, counts himself as influenced by the writings of Karl Marx. But he regards himself as a social democrat, not a Communist, and has never advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government by Communists.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told the New York Times earlier this month Cruz “was really reminiscent of a different time and place, when you said, ‘I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such and such a date,’ and, of course, nothing was in the pocket.” 

Time Magazine's article on Health Care should change how we look at costs.

Like I've always said, health care isn't a consumer product. It cannot be part of the free market.

The Time Magazine article, written and narrated below in the video by Steve Brill, is summed up in just over 3 minutes. Not bad for a story that spans over 30 pages. Jon Stewart interviewed Brill recently as well, which I've posted here.

Ask your conservative friends to watch and then have them argue how health care should be in the free market place, with little or no regulation.

Walker Killing State Jobs: Weakest job creation since the Recession!!! Is that possible?

It’s not that the Journal Sentinel isn't showing voters just how bad Scott Walker’s job creation ideas are for the state.

The problem is, other media sources and editorial boards don’t seem to think it’s a big deal. And god forbid conservative radio talk hosts bring up the subject. It proves once again they’re not concerned with successful policy ideas, just power and control of our state government.

How bad do you have to fail before something is done?

And Democrats, how long will it be before you hit the media trail with a consistent message of outrage over Walker’s one biggest failure. They’re missing in action again and learned nothing from the Wisconsin 14. Democrats are again a party on defense, whining about the Republican agenda instead of advancing their own. I hate this party.

And I hate what Walker’s Wisconsin has become. This isn’t just Walker’s failure, it’s the parties ideological failure, and that’s what scares them:
Job creation in Wisconsin slowed markedly between July and September, according to the most recent available government data deemed credible by economists. According to a report Friday from the state Department of Workforce Development, the state added 20,481 private-sector jobs in the 12-months that ended September - with most of the weakness in the final three months of that period. That 12-month increase is a little more than half of the average gain of 37,355 for the preceding seven quarterly reports.
Remember, Walker is the darling of the Republican Party right now and a presidential hopeful. Why his record isn't dragging him down can be laid at the feet of our elected Democratic politicians who can't drive the point home, and the compliant statewide media.

The final nail in the coffin, and a line that should be memorized by every Democratic official:
Friday's report also contained the weakest reading since the 12 months of September 2009 to September 2010 - a period that overlapped with the last recession.
Seriously, can it get any worse than that?

Online College Courses actually Widen the Achievement Gap. More Virtual School Snake Oil.

After the bad news came in about the failure of K12, one of the biggest “virtual” online schools, we’re now learning the following online college courses are doing more harm than good.

This should make every parent question the effectiveness of all online course work, especially if there’s no teacher present. These online courses never made sense to me as stand alone schools. They seem tailor made for supplementing what's already being taught in the classroom.

I’m posting this because coincidentally the UW-Madison just announced the roll out of these online courses, for free. No harm done you say? It seems to me the university could spend their time and effort on something that works.
jsonline: Low-cost online courses may allow a more diverse group of students to take college classes, but a new study from Columbia University suggests they also could widen achievement gaps, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported this week.

Researchers at Columbia examined 500,000 courses taken by more than 40,000 community- and technical-college students in Washington State. They found that students in demographic groups whose members typically struggle in traditional classrooms struggled even more in online courses, the Chronicle story says.

The study found that all students who take more online courses, no matter the demographic, are less likely to attain a degree. However, some groups—including black students, male students, younger students, and students with lower grade-point averages—are particularly susceptible to this pattern.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced this week it will begin offering a handful of massive online open courses (MOOCS) this fall.

The big question is whether MOOCS can successfully educate students without offering direct interaction with faculty.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sheriff David Clarke promoting his lunatic "guns not 911" ad with Taxpayer Money. Anybody object?

County Sheriff David Clarke thinks he can spend taxpayer money on promoting the sale of guns, gun violence and vigilantism without any blowback. Here's hoping Milwaukee voters take this guy out at the ballot box, before too many people lose their lives or receive lifetime injuries.
Get in the game or be killed. Not exactly an adult message.
jsonline: Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke’s local radio ads that launched the whirlwind of attention for Clarke were paid spots that will be billed to taxpayers through the sheriff's county budget, Clarke said Friday. "Every penny we spend belongs to the taxpayers of this county," Clarke said in an email response. "We use public funds on public education as a means to work with people on ways designed to keep them safe. It's called crime prevention." Clarke's department has an $84.9 million budget for 2013, with 85% coming from property taxes. Most of the rest comes from state and federal funds.

Invoices and other records provided by the Sheriff's Department showed Clarke's office has agreed to buy more than $17,000 in radio ads this year, including the gun-themed ads. In an email, Clarke said his paid radio spots were not gun ads, but public safety announcements.

Supervisor John Weishan Jr. said the sheriff's ads did not qualify as something that promotes general welfare and safety … "There is a way to do public service announcements to promote public safety," Weishan said. "This has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with self-promotion."

Sec. of Health Smith's Resignation more than coincidence.

For those who don't live in the Madison area, here's a look at the shit that hit the fan today over the resignation of the State Sec. of Health Dennis Smith. It was ugly, and speculation swirled around the possible affair he supposedly had last summer as a possible reason why he's essentially running out of town. Funnier still, he going to work at a law firm...he'll need it?

His replacement, Kitty Rhoades, is just as partisan and just as much a conservative disciplinarian as Smith, after suggesting poor people somehow pay for their health care with money from their "vacation envelope," a technic her mother used way back when. Any poverty level families have vacation envelopes to raid?

Underlying all of this? Scott Walker's horrendous inability to recognize character flaws. So far, 6 individuals, including three ex-Walker aides, one appointee and a campaign donor have been criminally convicted. Sweet. But that's assuming Walker's a bad judge of character, which may not be the case. Who's to say he hasn't got just what he wanted.

From WKOW Marc Lovicott:

Here's WISC Channel3000 and Tony Galli:

Why didn't we Reform the Cost of Health Care?

D.C. has it's own agenda, it's own talking points. When it came to health care, the real issue never came up: why does health care cost so much. Time Magazine's Steven Brill did an extensive report on what we should have been talking about, and what we should have reformed to bring down costs.

Brill also obliterates the idea that health care is a consumer product, and open to free market competition, like we hear so often from Paul Ryan. This is a must see for those brushing up on the whole health care debate. Like Jon Stewart, this is a killer article and interview.

Teabillies get a little Daily Show time, comparing Lincoln to Hitler.

These are the kind of guys we now have in the congress holding up progress. Teabillies talk like this all the time, and gun losers believe that the coming revolution is just around the corner.

Nothing more embarrassing than this simple reality based comedy bit on the Daily Show.

Scott Walker more extreme than Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Medicaid Expansion.

I don't know about you, but everything Scott Walker does seems calculated and a little off kilter. On Medicaid expansion, he did it his way, leaving jobs and taxpayer savings behind because of the remote chance the federal share wouldn't be there...someday. Hmm, you could also hedge your bets Scott on federal disaster aid, federal defense contracts, federal share of highway funds...etc? Why do anything at all? Why not be that political deer-in-headlights?

The idea that a former health care CEO decided to take the expansion because it was a good deal, should tell you something about our carnival barking con man governor. He's an ideological purist, with grandiose visions a Walker nation filled with a tangled web of rules and regulations no one could fully understand. Here's Gov. Rick Scott's reasons for acting sensibly:
"While the federal government is committed to pay 100 percent of the cost, I cannot, in good conscience, deny Floridians the needed access to health care," Scott said at a hastily called news conference at the Governor's Mansion. Scott, a former hospital executive, spoke with unusual directness about helping the "poorest and weakest" Floridians — a stunning about-face.

Part of his self-described "new perspective" came from the death of his mother, Esther, last year, he said. "A few months ago, my mother passed away, and I lost one of the only constants in my life," Scott said. "Losing someone so close to you puts everything in new perspective . . . especially the big decisions."

Tea party activists bitterly criticized Scott's declaration. "This is just another example of Republicans lying to Floridians," said Everett Wilkinson of Palm Beach Gardens, calling Scott "the Benedict Arnold to the patriot and tea party movement in Florida."
Teabillies don't care too much about reality when they've got their guns and religion. Here's Ed Schultz on Gov. Rick Scott's reasoning that flies in the face of Walker's decision. Can they both be right?:

Cap Times: Florida Gov. Rick Scott's decision to expand Medicaid signals a possible reality check among some Republican governors, seven of whom now plan to buy into Obamacare.

Scott's reversal is notable because he vociferously led a legal fight against the Affordable Care Act and vowed not to implement it even after it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Walker remains in the "hell-no" camp, along with sixteen other Republican governors who have turned away the federal money to expand Medicaid.

Walker says his move is intended to get people off the welfare wagon. Many of those — the ones making between 100 and 200 percent of poverty level — would be shoved into the new health insurance marketplace under Walker's plan. "I'd like to have fewer people in the state who are dependent on the government."

Nevertheless, Walker's getting hammered for turning away the federal dollars, which U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin says, in a letter to Walker Thursday, would have amounted to $1.1 billion by 2016, $1.3 billion in economic activity, and more than 10,500 news jobs. Over the next decade, Baldwin says, Wisconsin would have seen $10 billion from the feds. "At a time when Wisconsin needs leadership … you chose to turn away a job-creating federal investment in Wisconsin," Baldwin wrote in the letter.

And one health care policy analyst, a critic of Obamacare, called Walker's plan "crazy."
Here's Robert Craig from Citizen Action Wisconsin:

Teachers continue to leave what was once a profession.

From Whitefish Bay Now comes this sad slice of reality about teaching under Republican control, and Scott Walker's disdain for public education. Holding true to freeloading conservative form, instead of improving failing schools, the Republican message is to RUN from them. It's lots of "work" to solve problems.

Meanwhile dedicated professional teachers are vilified and blamed for everything. When I've gone to my own kids elementary and middle schools, I've always had a voice in their efforts to work with my kid, and never saw an ounce of resistance in their ability to help.

The following is tough to take, and tougher to see happen over and over:
Danielle Switalski Tearful resignation gives glimpse into life after ACT 10 in Whitefish Bay. When Act 10 hit, 10-year math teacher at Whitefish Bay High School Christine Kiefer was four classes into her master's degree. Because of funding cuts, she was forced to quit her program … Since Act 10, she has waited patiently to see what would happen to her livelihood, while continuing to educate Whitefish Bay youth every day. Kiefer said she can no longer wait and tearfully announced her resignation to the School Board last week. "Here's my problem: When I started, I had all these incentives to improve and now I am completely stuck," Kiefer told the board. "I have no master's degree, I have no way to increase my salary and there are no incentives in place for improving my practice. " Kiefer said she cannot get to the level of compensation as some of her peers in the district because of the current system in place.

For three years, she said her class sizes have increased as she and her colleagues are asked to do more in light of Response to Intervention, new MAP testing and a new teacher evaluation process.
"I love teaching kids and I love the kids' families and I love my colleagues and I love Whitefish Bay, but I cannot wait any longer," she said. "I can't stay at a job that sacrifices all my time for my own family - at least two hours every school night and between six to 12 hours every weekend - time after the bell rings, time that produces such good results when there is no good faith effort on the part of the district to pay what I am worth, to pay me what you would probably have to pay an equivalent replacement for me."

Kiefer's speech was met by a round of applause from a room mixed with parents, teachers and high school students. School Board President Kathy Rogers, said, "It is painful beyond words to lose a teacher of Christine's caliber." School Board members echoed this sentiment.

High school math teacher Erin Best is one who is compensated "very well." Best said they are burned out. "I can't keep doing more. The class sizes keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger and I'm exhausted, and this job is preventing me from being the wife I want to be, a mom, a human. I just want to share that," Best said. "I know for Christine she deserves way more money, but even with the money I make this job is really difficult to do."

High school English teacher Lindsey Ashlock began her master's degree two years before Act 10 was enacted. Though she has been teaching for 15 years, with her personal student loans, she said she can't make ends meet financially with her current paycheck.

School Board Member Cheryl Maranto said. "I know the reason we are surviving is because of what happened to your pay and benefits."

The board is ramping up their lobbying efforts, meeting with state Sen. Alberta Darling, in the hopes that this can change, she said. "Who the heck is going to want to go into this profession?"

Here's a sample of comments, that demonstrate how "teacher" has been added to the Republican list of enemies, for no real reason other than envy:
This is just the latest of many that will inevitably see that their "mission" to educate will be met with indifference and "so what" by the current batch of conservative members of our state legislature. But hey, if it helps the "hard working taxpayers"...

Yeah well my wife was hired at a private sector business with the promise to pay for her education. They had to take that away, also took away matching 401k and now said insurance will have to cost 4 times as much. They told her if she doesn't like it they will hire someone else. Be glad to have a job. It is not roses out in the private sector. But why don't we see those stories?

Boo Hoo!! Sounds to me like Christine is finally dealing with every day decisions that those of us in the private sector have faced years ago. No tears shed here.

Boo fricking hoo. The gravy train is no longer overspending. welcome to the reality the rest of us already deal with.  IT's time some of your who are unhappy in your jobs stop making teachers the scapegoat: in the long run it's YOUR kids who will suffer.

Teacher Vilification trashes profession, job satisfaction from 62% to 39%!!! Republican Wrecking Ball to Education Keeps Swinging.

Thanks to Bluecheddar1 for noticing this recent and devastatingly depressing poll about teacher satisfaction.

Education can’t take this kind of hit, and teachers vilification can’t continue unabated like this without completely demoralizing and delegitimizing the profession itself.

This morning I heard a radio caller blame opposition to mining in Ashland on retired teachers who have relocated there. Teachers wreak havoc wherever they go?

There’s no way to soft pedal this poll, it’s really bad and only the beginning:
Teacher job satisfaction has plummeted to its lowest level in 25 years, from 62 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012 – a total of 23 points, according to the annual Metlife Survey of the American Teacher, released this week.

Teachers reporting low levels of job satisfaction were more likely to be working in schools with shrinking budgets, few professional development opportunities, and little time allotted for teacher collaboration.
What used to be the teaching “profession” has been turned into an salaried “job.” For private sector workers who are powerless to change their own horrible job conditions, wages and benefits, this just levels the playing field and they couldn't be happier. And although this is national survey, statewide cuts like the ones put in place by Gov. Scott Walker must be considered as well:
According to results of the annual survey, teacher stress levels have sharply increased, with half of teachers reporting that they feel like they are under great stress several days per week, as opposed to a third in 1985. Van Roekel said "Classrooms are already crammed with students, programs and services are being cut, and teachers are entering pink slip season — all while further budget cuts loom as a result of fiscal cliff inaction."

The survey results come as the nation prepares for draconian cuts set to kick in on March 1.

"Lawmakers must ask themselves, 'how much longer can our schools continue to be drastically underfunded and understaffed without significant damage to the quality of the education our students are receiving?”
Check out the MetLife survey here: