Monday, September 30, 2013

So True...

Rand Paul and the Iron Fist of the Republican Party.

What’s at the heart of the Republican Party? You’ll find vengeance, authoritarianism, retaliation, punishment and getting even. I know it’s a little redundant, but I had to include each word, because that’s what tea party Republicans are all about.
I found this example from a few days back that pretty much makes my case:
Rand Paul wants Chief Justice Roberts, all federal workers, to enroll in Obamacare … he’s going to start pushing a constitutional amendment that goes even further.

“My amendment says basically that everybody including Justice Roberts — who seems to be such a fan of Obamacare — gets it too” … “And if he likes Obamacare so much, I’m going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts.”
That’s not adult. That’s a tantrum.

A few favorite Moments before the Shutdown.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester reveals why Republican want to delay the public plan for ObamaCare.

Hey, it's a federal employee vacation? That's what one teabilly Representative Blake Farenthold said in this amazing performance with Rev. Al. Does Farenthold really have a front tooth missing?:

Capitol Quiet since Walker Halted Arrests.

No Capitol protesters arrested again, and it's been about a month since the last clash.

It's hard for them to make the case their law has any validity if they can turn it on and off anytime they want. But that's what's happening.

Here's WKOW's Tony Galli with a detailed report:

After weeks of arrests of protesters at the state capitol over failures to obtain authorizing permits, more than forty people participated Monday in a Solidarity sing-a-long, with Capitol police officers merely standing by. Emergency rules on the requirement for a permit to occupy portions of the state capitol for larger gatherings expired Sept.12. In adopting emergency rules in April, department of administration officials said  the permit process helped minimize disruption to work in the Capitol, and interference with visitors, including school groups. Officials also said permit enforcement was needed " order to protect the public safety and welfare."

Spokespersons for the governor, and the department of administration have yet to respond to requests for comment from 27 News on future plans for managing the presence of Capitol protesters.

Dumb Ron Johnson makes case to Vote Republicans Out of Congress. See for Yourself...

From WISC Channel3000, this amazing off the cuff and inadvertent suggestion that Republican obstructionists need to go now, before they destroy Obamacare:

Paul Ryan heart of this shutdown, says we're stuck with this government 3 more years. Guess he doesn't like Losing.

The Wall Street Journal pointed their finger of blame for the shutdown at Paul Ryan, who refused to negotiate the senate and house budgets. That lead us to this, thank you very much.

If you really want to know how Ryan really feels about the country, not under his control, look no further than the his recent comments trashing the elections, and the will of the people. He and other Republicans have been warning us for quite awhile; they promise leadership, which to them is a license to ignore the public, and do what they think is best. They are our father figures.
Ryan: "We are stuck with this government for the next three years." 
Ryan will not accept minority status, so instead of waiting for the next election and offering a sane alternative, he's happy to let the tea party contingent take the blame for a government shutdown. He's a coward politically, and always has been. He's afraid to tell us what he'd really do with power, and luckily, voters felt very uncomfortable with that.

Here's a great piece by Rachel Maddow showing how little Republicans respect "the people's government."

What's a Republican?

From HBO's Newsroom finale:

90 percent of Job Growth between March 2010 to July 2013 is Full Time!

My conservative friend in Milwaukee still hasn't gotten back to me after I passed along links to both of the stories posted here. From Politifact (pictured) here, and Wal-Mart's big move below:
Wal-Mart Returning To Full-Time Workers-Obamacare Not Such A Job Killer After All? ... the nation’s largest employer, announced Monday that 35,000 part-time employees will soon be moved to full-time status, entitling them to the full healthcare benefits that were scheduled to be denied them as a result of Wal-Mart’s efforts to avoid the requirements of Obamacare.
Delaying ObamaCare would just produce a year of these lies:

Nice try Rep. Sessions. This just exemplifies the Republican misinformation campaign, and should be a reality check; business still has to run their businesses and serve their customers. Part-time work did catch on, at all:
Wal-Mart’s business is going south due to the company’s penchant for putting politics and the squeeze on Wal-Mart employees ahead of the kind of customer satisfaction that produces prosperity over the long-term. In fact, Wal-Mart’s unwillingness to pay most of their workers a livable wage, while avoiding enough full-time employees to properly run a retail outlet, has led to the company placing dead last among department and discount stores in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index—a position that should now be all too familiar to the nation’s largest retailer given that Wal-Mart has either held or shared the bottom spot on the index for six years running. 

Is Congress Exempt from the Affordable Care Act? No.

Finally a definitive answer. Despite being federal employees, ObamaCare included a Republican amendment that required Congress and their aides to use the Marketplaces. And that's good. Here's Ezra Klein with the explanation:

Reno-Gazette Journal: The claim: Congress is exempt from Obamacare.
The background: Here’s what the law’s text says: “Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and Congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are — (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an Amendment made by this Act).”

In other words, Congress must use Obamacare.

The federal government already offers health insurance to its workers. Like most employers, it covers part of workers’ health insurance costs. Because Congress and its staff are being treated differently than all other employers in order to force it to use the Obamacare marketplace, there was no language stating that the government could cover part of the premiums for Congress as it currently does.

Last month, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management issued a rule saying that, yes, this was OK to do, as long as the premium coverage wasn’t more than it is for other federal workers.

In response, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) issued a carefully phrased statement that Obama somehow had exempted Congress and its staff from “the full effect of the law.” Does the new rule mean Congress won’t have to get health insurance through the Obamacare marketplaces? No, they still have to.

Does this mean Congress is getting special treatment? No, members and their staffs still get no benefit they don’t currently get.

Common Core Evil? Understanding the Standards. It’s all right here….

Education historian Diane Ravitch doesn't like Common Core, and the tea party dunderheads don’t like what they don’t understand (which is everything).

So what’s the problem? The problem is we haven’t been listening to the teachers. Sure some teachers will complain, and have, but that may have more to do with their own districts choices than Common Core. If I'm wrong, tell me. That’s not to say some improvements aren't needed, it’s just that Common Core is getting a bad rap before anyone knows what the heck they’re talking about. Our own state superintendent, Tony Evers, is a huge believer in Common Core, and for good reason. 

I’m going to point you to an Education Week article that every parent and teacher needs to read (hoping the link doesn't require a paid subscription-let me know). Some will say that EdWeek is a biased player, and is injecting their spin on Common Core. Fine, but that aside, check out what their selection of actual teachers are saying first, then decide if this is some nefarious plot to take down the U.S. educational system. Here are a few videos edited together that will give you an incredible overview of Common Core:

Here’s a sample:
Rod Powell, a National Board-certified teacher (social studies): “Mystical, dark, malevolent, ominous, pornographic. Glancing at my Twitter streams (#commoncore, #nced, #ncpol), I've seen each of these words applied to the new Common Core State Standards. But I've been teaching for 26 years, and guess what? I've embraced these standards in my classroom practice. What's the big deal? A simple question for me, I guess.  I understand and work in the classroom of today. The value of these standards is crystal clear to me: They are simply things that a thinking student should be able to do:
The common standards are a overreaching imposition of federal authority into the classroom.(Nope. They are a set of complex skills that are used to supplement and inform local curriculum. And they were adopted by states.)

Controversial topics and texts are mandated. No texts are mandated. They are sometimes suggested as examples, but teachers are free to use whatever texts and topics they see fit. 

Student privacy will be undermined. I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about this one. But I'm not sure those who raise it do, either. 

The standards themselves are weak. They are as rigorous as a teacher needs them to be to challenge his or her students.
Again, all of this is easy enough for me to see. I work with the standards every day in the classroom with real, live, energetic 9th graders.

And I like this question that we might pose to hostile parents (and there are a few): How would you teach your child if you were their teacher?

Would you go with the traditional "good-enough-for-me, good-enough-for-them" approach? In other words, would you use decades-old worksheets; push your child to memorize lists of dates, people, and formulas; test all this learning via multiple-choice tests; and throw in some jump-through-the-hoop projects that don't actually teach anything?


Would you energize your child by presenting authentic scenarios to explore; finding and creating personalized and relevant learning materials and texts; developing activities that would challenge them as writers and oral communicators; all the while measuring their progress with thorough assessments?  

Seems to me that would be a pretty good starting point for explaining the common core.”
There are many other teachers comments as well. Personally, I've heard from my own kids teachers who aren't crazy about some of the "new standards." But are those standards set by the district? If I see them again, I'm going to ask.

For an overview of where education should go, this review of Diane Ravitch's new book "Reign of Error" will give you great summary of our educational system today and what it can do for tomorrow.

ObamaCare offers “Public Option!!?”

Wisconsin is getting another insurer, but this time statewide and not just regionally, in the ObamaCare marketplace; Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Surprised? Me too, and I've been following this closely for years. Here’s the breaking story today:
NY Times: The Obama administration (is) announc(ing) scores of new health insurance options to be offered to consumers around the country by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association … The options are part of a multistate insurance program that Congress authorized in 2010 to increase options for consumers shopping in the online insurance markets scheduled to open on Tuesday.
Congress conceived multistate plans as an alternative to a pure government-run insurance program — the “public option” championed by liberal Democrats and opposed by Republicans in 2009-10. In later years, the officials said, they hoped to see at least two multistate plans in every state, as Congress envisioned.
What’s old is new. We’ll see if this is really a good deal, since Blue Cross and Blue Shield already supplies insurance to federal employees who like it by 60 percent, but may still be offering outdated plans like HMO’s and PPO’s:
Under its federal contract, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer different products in different states — a total of more than 150 products, including health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations, which give discounts for using selected health care providers. In many of the products, consumers will have access to a nationwide network of doctors and hospitals.
Crossing state lines a big issue for Republicans, now they’re getting it:
Supporters of the multistate plans authorized by Congress say the plans will increase competition in local health insurance markets, many of which are dominated by one or two carriers. Federal officials said the multistate plan would also be in operation next year in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Check out "Agent Carter" on new Iron Man 3 Blu Ray.

This short film was so well crafted by the director, that I'm a little knocked out by how great this was. The noir look may be hard to transfer over to TV, if she does get her own show, but at least this film will live on for a long time.
You see, the thing you need to know about Peggy Carter is that she doesn’t take any
crap. Period. Fans, including myself, were left hanging at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger when the star-spangled superhero found himself in modern-day New York City after having been frozen and leaving Peggy behind in the 1940’s. I was always curious about what became of Peggy. Did she move on? Was she depressed? Was she exposed to gamma radiation? 

Well, it turns out that Peggy is still an agent – and a damn good one at that. Agent Carter picks up a year after the events of Captain America … The film also boasts a nice cameo by Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark who offers Peggy an interesting business related proposition at the end. Leave it to Marvel to cross promote their characters and superhero groups. It also doesn't hurt that she’s portrayed by the talented Hayley Atwell, an actress accomplished in film, television and theater. 

2 years later, still no rush on Education! Walker forgot about Literacy Program for kids.

Another example of government mismanagement by the Walker administration. Look, since these guys make a living off the premise "government is bad," why do we let them run it?

The Walker Authority forgot all about a reading program for our kids, but got mining passed. Cap Times:
The state has spent none of the $400,000 set aside as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s Read to Lead Development Fund aimed at boosting literacy and early childhood education, according to an audit released Friday ... approved by the Legislature in 2011 and the fund established in April 2012 ... intended to provide grants to school boards and others to support programs that help boost reading.

But the audit said that the Read to Lead Development Council that is supposed to recommend how the grant money should be used has not yet been appointed by Walker. “As of Aug. 31, 2013, no appointments were made to the Council,” the audit found. “However, staff in the Office of the Governor anticipate membership of the Council will be finalized in fall 2013.”
Oh, I believe that. The "all talk, no action" Walker campaigners are now in damage repair mode:
Walker spokeswoman Julie Lund said the Read to Lead project is an “ongoing initiative” and “there was no deadline set in the bill to have the Council up and running.” She added that many other pieces of Read to Lead are already underway…
My god, stop lying, you forgot. Maybe Walker will blame ObamaCare, or the recall elections.... 

Private Land Owner draws DNR fine, while Gogebic mining gets special treatment from Republicans lawmakers. And Walker wants our vote...?

This is another big story and exhibit B in our case against our big government corporate sellouts in the Walker Authority. Caught again.

Channel3000 originally featured this story as just another land owner simply getting screwed by the DNR. That was until the land owner connected the dots to Gogebic's unique deal and special favor from the Walker administration. Gogebic Taconite is getting the law rewritten to lesson their fine, while this poor guy has to pay a $1,000 fine under the old law.

WISC's Adam Schrager shows us all who the Walker Authority really serves:

This whole sordid mess is explained by Cap Times reporter Jessica VanEgeren:
Prior to purchasing 200 acres of land in Iowa County in June 2012, Jim Kostohrys knew the land was part of the DNR’s Managed Forest Land program. Kostohrys recently received word from the DNR that it made a mistake. Of the 200 acres he purchased, three were in a separate … To add the three acres to his plot would require pulling the land out of its current managed forest land tract, then turning right back around and putting it into his. And here's the problem: By law, removing land from the managed forest land program obligates the property owner to pay unpaid back taxes from the time the land was entered into the program. In this case that amounts to about $1,000.

“It’s not about the $1,000,” Kostohrys said. “It is about the total disregard from a state agency that is supposed to be working on our behalf.” Kostohrys’ frustration with the DNR grew when he read Republican lawmakers were crafting a bill that would let mining company Gogebic Taconite remove roughly 3,500 acres of its land, which like his are in the managed forest land program, without paying roughly $900,000 in back taxes.

Kostohrys said the state coming after him for $1,000, when his goal is to keep the land in the program, and letting Gogebic temporarily close its land without collecting nearly $1 million is an “outrageous double standard.” “If my name was Koch and not Kostohrys, things would be a lot different,” he said … “If you are a big donor or you are a big business, you get the royal treatment in this state. You don’t have to worry about laws.”

“We need to have a list of registered environmental offenders,” Kostohrys said. “And the DNR secretary should be on it. Cathy Stepp shouldn't be allowed within 500 feet of a tree."

Federal Reserve slaps Walker with Warning; stop misusing our statistics!!!

Yeah, this is big news.  Expect this to surface again in ad’s from Walker’s Democratic opponents.

Walker’s been acting invisible lately, manipulating statistic and jobs numbers to keep voters guessing.

But all that is about to taken an ugly turn. The Cap Times Mike Ivey has the story:

Top officials with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia are warning Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and others that they are misusing a monthly index produced by its top economists. Walker in recent speeches has been touting figures from the “Philly Fed,” claiming they show Wisconsin’s economy as No. 2 in the nation. WMC has been using the same number in a series of advertising buys, thanking Walker for putting the state on the road to prosperity.

But officials with the Philly Fed, who have been following the situation in Wisconsin, issued a statement Friday saying it’s a misreading of their "Coincident Indexes" to try and compare one state to another.

They say the index — which is comprised of several different economic statistics including housing starts, unemployment claims and wages — isn’t designed as a ranking. The Fed does not calculate a ranking based on the index and never has. 

Walker's ObamaCare Mess!!! Why is the media not getting it?

Scott Walker and his lying staff in the state's health services department have done everything they can to confuse Wisconsinites about the exchanges. They've been working real hard alright, making it almost impossible to get any answers.

Has any reporter tried to sign up for ObamaCare, or get help from a health care "navigator?" No.

The Walker administration has constructed a Salvador Dali like plan that will frustrate and anger anyone trying to cover their family, or just themselves. I've followed their advice
and ran into links, linking to links, that lead nowhere.

The media reporters are so out-to-lunch on the Affordable Care Act too. And why not, they have employer provided coverage. I've been on the open market for the last 15 years, and it's been a nightmare. I've had to shop around every other year, trying to dodge the 20 to 30 percent increases on my monthly premiums. And I'm talking about the cheaper catastrophic HSA plans that include a $10,000 deductible.

Instead of a website with a list of regional "navigators," with locations/phone numbers, navigators have to instead reach out with library seminars, phone calls and maybe even sidewalk sandwich boards. Citizen Action of Wisconsin has been covering this disaster but is getting little media attention. This is a mess.

Did you know the only way for Wisconsinites to sign up for the Affordable Care Act is through the federal governments website? You have to wait until October 1st to signup, and submit income stats, SS numbers, and your age. Go to or call (800) 318-2596, and see how much easier this really is.

But what Walker is counting on is an avalanche of negative experiences, bad press, voiced by a majority of 90,000 former BadgerCare recipients left hung out to dry. jsonline:
The Big Lie: Gov. Scott Walker's administration say it's ready for the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who will have new options for shopping for health coverage. the state's deputy health services secretary Kevin Moore said the Walker administration believes about 700,000 state residents will be looking to buy coverage through a new online federal health care marketplace known as an exchange, Moore acknowledged that consumers could find the new landscape difficult to navigate, and said they should reach out for help from state and county benefits workers, insurance agents, local nonprofits and so-called navigators licensed by the state. 
Does that sound easy? It's intentionally convoluted, a maze no one in their right mind would call helpful, and just the way Walker planned it.
"Walker's plan to reject the Medicaid expansion, in addition to costing the state more money, is leading to more confusion and complication for many of Wisconsin's most vulnerable citizens," said Robert Kraig, executive director of the liberal advocacy group Citizen Action of Wisconsin. 

Republicans quietly release Health Plan that "builds on what made American health care unique..." and twice as expensive, with worse outcomes.

There's nothing new here, just a free market itemized list of inhumane cruelty aimed at the sick. I've included my perspective for each point:
Opposite day in Republican World again!
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) has released its proposal to reform the health care system. The American Health Care Reform Act highlights that there is a better way to address the challenges in American health care.

Repeal of Obamacare. Just for the heck of it.

Provide Americans with more equitable tax relief. It’s a subsidy, but more convoluted. 

Improve the structure of health savings accounts (HSAs). Actually lets you pay monthly premiums with the your savings. But if you get sick…

Remove barriers to interstate purchase of health insurance. With no minimum standards, all you have is a junk policy that doesn't cover anything.

Protect the right of conscience and life of the unborn. Allows doctors to legally discriminate.

Expand association health plans beyond small businesses. I’m sure they’ll be free?

Limit federal funding for high-risk pools. Saves money but abandons Americans with preexisting conditions.

Scale back the federal role in medical liability reform. Caps settlements to injured or dead patients, doesn’t cap injuries or accidental deaths.

Add Medicare and Medicaid reforms. Expands senior poverty and cuts Medicaid patients off dramatically. All is better now see.
The line that best describes their dysfunctional plan, basically the same system we have now but deregulated.
On balance, the RSC plan builds on what has made American health care unique and a step ahead of all the rest.

All one big lie in the real world, and it costs twice as much. And you wonder why you can’t seem to get ahead of the game.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Chicago-Milwaukee Regional Metroplex Hub could have used a High Speed Rail System. Another Bad Decision Scott Walker.

Now Scott Walker is all about working with Illinois, instead of bashing it in a desperate attempt to lure businesses over the cheddar curtain.
jsonline: A nascent movement to take the first baby steps to unite the metro-area economies of Milwaukee, Chicago and Gary, Ind., into a three-state economic bloc gathered rhetorical traction Friday.

"We should work together," said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at a daylong economic symposium, called a "Summit on Regional Competitiveness," hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Oh, I see, Walker is playing up to the Federal Reserve Bank (Philly), who just to predicted Wisconsin was number 2 for POTENTIAL job growth. Coincidence, hardly.

Walker, the same guy who killed high speed rail and made it more difficult to build a wind energy industry in the state, is now gung ho for everything?
Shared Midwestern industries such as advanced manufacturing, agriculture, food processing, water technology and clean energy are some of the most obvious opportunities to reach across state lines and look at common industrial clusters, Walker said. Those industries all have export potential in global markets, said Walker, addressing the 500 attendees at the Chicago Fed.
Who is this guy? Not the Walker we know and want to replace in 2014. A regional hub was also an idea floated during the high speed rail debate and Walker debacle.
It began with a 2012 study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a global economic think tank based in Paris, which studied the "extreme fragmentation" in the Chicago-Milwaukee region. But Walker might seem to be an unusual advocate for regional cooperation after his administration became associated with efforts to goad employers to leave Illinois after it spiraled into a post-recession fiscal crisis that caused taxes to rise abruptly. Quizzed on Friday by Chicago news organizations about poaching, however, Walker denied it was any sort of cross-border strategy.
Making the argument every Democrat made at the time, Walker now wants to take credit:
Walker said proximity to Chicago is an advantage when he travels in China and India. "There are 12 or 15 megacities in the world," and greater Chicago is one of them, and Milwaukee's location in Chicago's halo gives the Brew City recognition, Walker said.
These were a few of the comments from readers who had a much longer memory than the reporter:
Wait - Walker- you killed the commuter train and the HSR between Chicago and Milwaukee. How quickly you forget your sinister ideologue .

This guy is so two faced. The first thing you do if you want to endorse a Milwaukee-Chicago Metroplex is FUND MASS TRANSIT.... you know HIGH SPEED RAIL... moron!! 

Walker again blames the Recall for his bad jobs numbers, which he also claims aren't bad at all. Yes, he wants to be governor again.

Anyone running a business can tell you; we weren't waiting breathlessly for governor Scott Walker to win his recall election. As absurd as that sounds, that's what Walker wants us to believe. Yet the media as usual treats that BS like it's possible. Come on guys, impartial coverage is one thing, but playing dumb is just outrageous.

When Walker shifts to a different metric counting all the new jobs, it directly contradicts the lack of any measurable job creation via the much touted 11,500 new businesses added since he became governor. You can’t play dumb on this. Those new supposed "businesses" were mostly individuals filing as LLC's.
Knowing he’s got credibility problems, Walker’s dragging out the old chestnut that employers were worried sick he would lose his recall're supposed to believe this stuff:
jsonline-Chicago: One day after a federal report showed that Wisconsin is creating jobs at a pace that's about half the national rate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said the uncertainty of last year's special gubernatorial recall election stunted hiring in the state.
It gets more ridiculous. The following statement redefines the word absurd:
"These numbers are March to March, and in March of last year, we were still three months out from the recall election," Walker said at a press conference in Chicago, where he appeared at an economic forum. "And as I point out repeatedly, employers in the state were basically frozen until they knew what would happen in that election and the uncertainty it caused."
Anyone else suffering from visions of grandeur? Wanna ask Walker why businesses froze up anticipating the return of the king? Walker thinks they did:
Walker added … "Much as there is concern nationally about the impact of Obamacare and the impact it has on employers, they just wonder with uncertainty."
Employers must be turning away customers at the door over ObamaCare too, hoping to avoid paying health care for any new employees that help sell their products. Folks, businesses don’t run like the fantasy land version dancing around in Walker’s head:
Once the state gets past the effects of that uncertainty, the pace of hiring will increase, Walker predicts. "When the end of the year numbers come out, you are going to see a significant increase," the governor said.
Uh oh, another campaign promise?

Obama's simple message to Republicans about the Debt Limit...

It really is this simple:
WaPo: But the White House doesn't see an increase in the debt limit as something that the Republicans are giving them. As Obama put it in his news conference: "Paying America's bills is not a concession to me. That's not doing me a favor."

Tea Party Opposition to Common Core "Socialist...imported by the Obama's."

Common Core is getting bashed from both the left and right, but for completely different reasons. The left maintains the program had too little research and took too much money from corporate sponsors like Bill Gates, a real red flag for most educators. Testing was again emphasized over creativity and exploration of subjects.

The tea party objection said it was another way of dumbing down Americans, an interesting comment from a group out to kill public schools while promoting unaccountable private schools. It’s also a socialist plot cooked up by President Obama.

But according to WPR News:
The standards were developed by a coalition of governors and school administrators – not the federal government. However, the Obama administration did provide some financial incentive for states to adopt the standards through its Race to Top grants.
The tea party perspective should scare the daylights out of anyone serious about educating their kids, and who don't want their children to become future teabilly voters. Behold the right wings point of view. I mean really, there is something wrong with these people. Waukesha Patch:
Posted by Rufus Jackson , Education is incredibly important to me, that is why I educate myself constantly with books and television and many online sources. I never finished high school, but I know a thing or two about education. Our country is facing a grave danger lurking on the horizon. Common core is a terrifying program started by socialists in Europe and imported by the Obama's.

For anyone looking for an honest assessment read anything Michelle Malkin wrote about it, or Glenn Beck. Common on core is a way for the government to implement a total brainwashing of our children. By making grades obsolete, all classes will be using a feel good method of grading This is to keep parents from knowing what their children are doing in ObamaSchool. Once parents are out of their kids lives and education, the only step is for the government to step in and raise your kids on welfare and dependency. It is so clear, if you choose to see it. 

Nothing says Racist like Rep. Steve Nass' Race Based Mascot Protection Law.

It's no secret Steve Nass is proud of his racism, his past commentary is legendary, but for him to enshrine his dislike for minorities into state law should make every Wisconsinite question "why."

Ask yourself, who would think to pass a law defending race based mascots,  seriously? American Indians don't want them, so why choose to ram these mascots down their throats anyway?

Is it any surprise this guy is against public education? We should all be as stupid.
Doing the peoples business, or Republicans marking their racist territory?

Nass' response: “It can’t be just that people are offended it has to be that there’s an actual harm being caused.”

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Walker our "Brown Bag Republican" or "Brown Shirt Republican?"

Doing a little back research on my own blog, I came up with these "Believe it or Not" forgotten facts:
Wisconsin State Journal had this interesting and obscure article
If elected, Scott Walker says he would: Bring 250,000 jobs and 10,000 new businesses to Wisconsin by 2015 by cutting taxes, easing regulations.
10,000 new businesses? Not quite:
On a net basis, the state has 7,557 more businesses than on Dec. 31, 2010, just before Walker took office. The turnaround came in large part from an addition of 6,699 domestic limited liability corporations, by far the largest category … Most of the new registrations typically are Limited Liability Companies (LLC's) set up for tax or liability purposes and employ no one.
Coincidentally, Walker released this business creation blather Wednesday, knowing  LLC's don't actually employ people but sure sounds good on the campaign trail:
At the Governor’s Small Business Summit in Stevens Point, Governor Scott Walker today announced 11,590 new businesses have been created in the state since he took office, according to statistics from the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).
The most embarrassing part of his jobs promise, which even I forgot about, was this amazing fact:
AP-Scott Walker, a GOP candidate for governor (claimed) … he can create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin by 2015. If Walker were to achieve his goal of creating 250,000 jobs, he would erase virtually all unemployment in the state (which now at 250,900).
Making my argument for me, and another fact hidden during Walker's first run for governor:
Walker's primary opponent, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann … quoted statistics that suggest Milwaukee has one of the nation's worst records of retaining jobs. "If Scott Walker had a plan to bring jobs to Wisconsin he should have implemented it in Milwaukee sometime during the last eight years," Neumann said.
And finally, Walker's recall primary challenger that never happened. Guy makes a good point:
Chippewa Herald: A new candidate is looking to challenge Gov. Scott Walker as a Republican — a move that would force a GOP primary. Patrick O’Brien, 49, of New Glarus, said Wednesday that he plans to challenge Walker in a Republican primary. “I thought he was running as a brown bag Republican,” O’Brien said. “What we were getting was a brown shirt Republican.” O’Brien said he would work to promote and help grow the dairy industry in Wisconsin. “I want farmers to be able to join the state health insurance program at the cost to the state,” he said.
So again, how is Walker doing?

Walker relying on Obama economy for reelection, but still can't shake losing to Minnesota badly.

It took me awhile to edit this down so it made simple easy sense for my conservative friend in Milwaukee. The research is provided by Politifact:
Minnesota state Rep. Joe Atkins: "Minnesota is kicking butt relative to Wisconsin on everything from employment and job creation to school test scores, educated work force and a host of other factors and rankings"

In an interview, Akins got perturbed by what he said were Gov. Scott Walker’s attempts to lure companies across the border by portraying Wisconsin as the better place to do business.

Here's where the simple truth could really harm Walker's chances for reelection, if a smart Democrat would make the comparison first, and second, repeat it often:
Unemployment rate: The latest monthly figures, for July 2013, show Minnesota at 5.2 percent, nearly one-quarter lower than Wisconsin’s 6.8 percent.

Job creation: Atkins cited the latest month-to-month U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, which show the number of people employed in July 2013 vs. July 2012 … show that in Minnesota, an additional 55,000 people became employed, compared with 25,800 more in Wisconsin … that to be an increase of 2 percent for Minnesota, more than double Wisconsin’s growth of just under 1 percent.Congress’ Joint Economic Committee shows that since the recession, Minnesota job growth was 0.1 percent while Wisconsin lost 1.5 percent of its jobs.

Private-sector employment growth: Both Walker and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, took office in January 2011. Dayton was ranked 15th among governors, with a 2.01 percent growth rate during his tenure; Walker was ranked 40th at 1.07 percent.  

School test scores: the class of 2013, among states where more than half the students took the ACT, Minnesota ranked first and Wisconsin tied with Iowa for second.

Educated workforce: Minnesota’s education attainment about one-fifth higher than Wisconsin’s. Minnesota, 31.9 percent of residents had a four-year degree or higher. In Wisconsin, 26.2. Minnesota kicked butt in the sense that it outperformed Wisconsin on all four measures, and by comfortable margins. 
Business climate: The latest Forbes ranking of states for business, released in December 2012, listed Minnesota 20th and Wisconsin 44th overall. In terms of economic climate, Minnesota ranked 20th and Wisconsin 29th. And CNBC's "top states for doing business" ratings for 2013 ranked Minnesota 15th and Wisconsin 22nd.

Competitiveness: The Beacon Hill Institute, a free-market think tank ranked Minnesota third and Wisconsin 18th.

Economic growth: A U.S. Commerce Department report released in June 2013 showed Minnesota’s gross domestic product increased 3.5 percent in 2012. That was more than double Wisconsin’s 1.5 percent.

Business climate: In November 2012, Site Selection magazine ranked Wisconsin 13th on its list of top 25 states. Minnesota didn’t make the list.

CEO survey:  by Chief Executive magazine ranked Wisconsin the 17th best state for doing business, with Walker’s election cited as a key reason. Minnesota ranked 30th, with Gov. Dayton’s support of tax increases cited.  

Business taxes: The Tax Foundation’s "2013 state business tax climate index," rated both states as among the worst, with Wisconsin at 43rd and Minnesota at 45th.

Business climate: In an April 2013 report on small business the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Wisconsin 39th in business climate and Minnesota 40th … the chamber put Minnesota 15th, with high ratings for "talent" and infrastructure; and Wisconsin 44th, with low ranks for short- and long-term job growth.

Comparing the two states for business, Atkins said: "Minnesota is kicking butt…"

For a statement that is partially accurate, we give Atkins a Half True.

Thank You Scott Walker, state firmly in Bottom Half of Job Creation

Maybe we've been giving Republicans like Scott Walker too little credit for incompetence. It occurred to me when I was watching Walker speak from another business that should be on some kind of liberal boycott list, about how he's going to meet with other job creating businesses...blah, blah, blah.

Walker the Dupe!!! It appears that all of these so-called job creating businesses don't apparently have Walker's back, because they're not creating jobs. But businesses like the goodies, including tax cuts and handouts from the Walker administration. So of course they're going shout "Bravo" every time he finds his way back into Wisconsin, they want taxpayer supported welfare...and they're playing Walker for a dupe.

The press won't say it, but if Scott Walker did nothing at all as governor, the national recovery would have produced the same or better numbers of new private sector jobs in the state. Actually, we would have much better numbers based on the job growth left by former governor Jim Doyle. Walker negatively impacted growth by opposing job creators not on the conservative list of donors. 

The steady incline has nothing to do with Walker or the drunk with power Republican dictators at the Capitol. jsonline:
Wisconsin added 24,305 private-sector jobs in 12 months, according to new data … the figures give the state a rank of 34th among the 50 states in job creation in the 12-month period. 
The bottom half of the economic recovery?
The U.S. grew private-sector jobs at a rate of 2.0% in the latest 12-month period, nearly twice the rate of Wisconsin's 1.1%, the data show.
I thought this comment laid it out rather well:
"Walker inherited an economy that was doing 0.23% *better* than the nation, 1.50% vs the national figure at the time of 1.27%. If we'd stayed that far ahead, we'd be within touching distance of his 250,000 promise by the end of next year, but that's completely out of the question now.

As it is, Wisconsin's employment (as measured by CPS) hasn't kept up with population growth since January 2011."
Here's Walker's new job numbers scheme, to confuse his base of low information voters:
In his response Thursday, Walker focused on a new method of ranking, which hasn't been used previously. That ranking said Wisconsin came in 22d out of 50 in private-sector job creation when ranked in absolute number of new jobs, not in terms of percentage change.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WMC ad: Walker ranks 2nd in economic growth POTENTIAL!!!! Sure, while back in reality....

WMC is out with another cheesy ad that comes across very desperate. The ad mentions the word "jobs" 5 times in just 10 seconds. Is that a new record?

It's never a good thing when someone has to say, Scott Walker has so much "potential!" That's why corporate lobbyists Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce are trying so hard to flip Walker's reality. They are so in the tank for this guy, they're actually blowing $800,000 on ads constructing an absurdest myth around this guy by next summer.
“We just found out that Gov. Scott Walker's corporate masters at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce have now placed television ad buys totaling $800,000 trying to fool Wisconsin into thinking he hasn't been a total disaster for working families and those in need,” reads an email alert from One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross.
It's sad to imagine someone seeing this and believing it. Repeat something enough, it starts sounding like the truth.

Cruz picks wrong author, wrong book.

Republicans are on the wrong side of just about everything.  Even a simple children's book became another ironic moment for ObamaCare opponent Sen. Ted Cruz. Here's Chris Hayes with a nice look at the big fail:

ObamaCare will cost less!!!

It looks like the CBO estimates for the Health Care exchanges were high, by 94 percent. The one thing few people are bringing up is the eventual cost; since rates are lower due to competition on the exchange, the Affordable Care Act's cost will be dramatically smaller. Another words teatards, it'll cost a lot less.

ObamaCare Market Rates for Families Statewide and for Milwaukee!!!

Here are the latest Affordable Care Act exchange rates (Marketplaces), for Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin in general, for families. It's a category that is rarely featured for some odd reason. These are low low prices after the family subsidy. In fact, it's lower than Scott Walker and our Republican Authority have been predicting:

My gut tells me insurers are more than likely to migrate to the Marketplaces as well, since they have a government subsidy waiting for them to pocket. I thought this explanation about the family rate was helpful in understanding the calculations:
After tax credits, bronze premiums for a family of four may be below those for a single individual. This occurs because the tax credit is calculated as the difference between the cost of the second lowest cost silver plan premium and the maximum payment amount determined by income. Because premiums for older individuals and families are higher than those for younger individuals, tax credits are larger for older individuals and families. Therefore, using tax credits to purchase a bronze plan may yield lower bronze premiums for older individuals and families than for younger individuals.
Here's a link to the individual cities around the state, or "rating areas," and the prices shown above for those cities. Ezra Klein has a whole list of great questions answered here. I would check it out, it'll probably clear up any nagging questions you might have. It did for me.

Finally, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel made their own graph:

Republicans propose state help to fund Fringe Anti-Choice Lobbyists and Donors with Bizarre License Plate.

Without hesitation, as if the United Sportsmen debacle never happened, state Republicans are now trying to fund "right to life" lobbyists through the purchase of a state vehicle license plate.

Not only that, this "right to life" organization is brand new (like United Sportsmen), headed up by the leaders of two right wing fringe groups; Wisconsin Family Action's Julaine Appling, and Pro-Life Wisconsin's Matt Sande. These extremists will take charge of the 35 anti-abortion "pregnancy crisis centers" that have already been exposed as zealot hardliners, providing medically inaccurate information, like....
Onion story or actual GOP proposal? 

...birth control pills cause breast cancer, condoms don't work, possible "post-abortion syndrome,"  psychological damage from abortions, and the fabricated link between abortions and breast cancer. And abortions? Not an option.

Unapologetic Republicans see nothing wrong with, or hypocritical about, the state helping anti-abortion fringe groups with an almost comically divisive license plate featuring a baby's footprint, after over-regulating and defunding Planned Parenthood for its own right to life agenda of choice.

From the ultra conservative twisted mind of Rep. Andre Jacque, who never met a tea party talking point he didn't want to turn into law, came up with this insulting proposal: 
Funds from the license plate would go to Choose Life Wisconsin, a new group that has applied for nonprofit status. The organization is headed by the leaders of two other pro-life advocacy groups.
“Sweetheart funneling of funds to an unaccountable, brand-new, non-charitable organization funded by people with a history of political only interests,” said Nora Cusack, treasurer of Women’s Medical Fund Inc., about Choose Life Wisconsin.
That's right, there are no strings attached, these lobbyists get the money to do what they want with the help of the state's majority party.

From Channel3000: 

With no apparent knowledge of the work hypocrisy, "right to life" warriors like Rep. Jacque is surprised anyone would attack providers of free health services for women (Planned Parenthood guys?):
“I’m really saddened that you’d try to make an attack on organizations that do provide free services to women, that are volunteer-driven, that are in every corner of the state,” said Jacque.
One Democrat pointed out the obvious:
“I’m mystified that that’s something we want to do. We've seen enough division in the state already,” said Rep. Chris Danou, D-Trempealeau. “To put something that’s this divisive onto a state-issued plate, quite frankly, is in bad taste.”
Not when you have a gerrymandered super majority one party system.

The medically based organization Planned Parenthood had too much to offer, and a long history success. The only real lobbying they had to do was in defense of their services. A license plate to fund this well established organization? Almost:
Cap Times: Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, introduced a bill in February of 2012 that would have allowed for the sale of a Planned Parenthood license plate. The bill went nowhere in the Republican-controlled legislature. Taylor said she may introduce it again.

The Republican-controlled legislature defunded the state’s family planning fund. The move led to the closure of four Planned Parenthood clinics. The clinics did not provide abortions, but other reproductive health care needs such as cancer screenings and birth control.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So far, 1,500 foster and adopted kids dropped by mistake from BadgerCare after Walker administration purged “ineligible” children's list. Didn't tell anybody.

Government can’t do anything right? Only under Republicans folks, and they’re proving it day after day under Scott Walker. They just don't think the media will ever notice.

What makes throwing 1,500 kids off Badgercare even worse, they never told the families their children were accidentally removed. Hey, maybe some of those families would have just paid the bill, walked away and saved Medicaid money:
State officials say 1,500 children mistakenly dropped from BadgerCare: An email from the state department of children and families says an effort to remove ineligible children from BadgerCare coverage resulted in eligible children also being removed. State officials tell 27 News the purge was taking place to make sure foster children or adopted children who were too old for BadgerCare were no longer receiving assistance.
Here's WKOW's Tony Galli with this jaw dropping and cruel story:

Although state officials say the accidental removal of hundreds of eligible children took place in June, Kassia Millar of Columbus says she was never notified her two adopted, former foster children had lost coverage. Millar says she only learned of the situation when she received a medical bill for several hundred dollars this month, for care which should have been covered under one of her children's BadgerCare plan.

State officials say families can apply for retroactive enrollment to the health insurance program. Here's the number: 1-866-666-5532.
And you know how desperate the Walker administration is to right this wrong. On second thought, even they don’t know:
State officials say they have been working to identify and reinstate coverage for eligible children who've been dropped. Officials offered no information on what percentage of the children who were mistakenly dropped from the government-funded health insurance program have been restored to BadgerCare.

Scott Walker pulls ObamaCare alternatives, 10 to 15 of em, out of his A*s!!!

One thing is clear, Scott Walker is running a "kitchen sink" campaign, throwing in every diversion he can to detract from his record.

The wise and wonderful Walker says he's got an ObamaCare replacement, a whole pocketful of em, if Obama's smart enough to delay his signature legislation.
Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday said Wisconsin has a plan to cover low-income people being pushed into federal health care exchanges, should the federal government delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act ... "There’s probably a good 10 to 15 possible options," Walker said. "I think we’d be prepared to handle any of them."
Ah, how about just one example that makes sense? One? Walker is counting on his campaign aiming so high (a run for president), that he can't lose his meager statewide reelection:
Walker said he is urging the federal government to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act, not because he ideologically opposes it, but because of concerns that it will "put a wet blanket" on the recovering economy.
See, Walker's failed agenda isn't the reason for his horrific jobs record, it's the promise of health care security for Americans. Walker said people don't want to be told they can now go to the doctor if they want:
"I've done just about everything possible to make my position clear, that I don’t think the federal nor the state government should tell me or any other family what they can or can’t do with health care," Walker said. 
Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann with comments from Walker and a nice dig from Rep. Mark Pocan:

The wise and wonderful Walker knows what people are thinking, because that's what makes him a "leader:" Walker's wizardry does not extend to math though. He seems to think covering people over the poverty level makes it harder to cover people at the poverty level...Heck, you try to figure it out:
"I think most people in this state and this country believe Medicaid is for people living in poverty," he said. "For the first time in our state’s history everyone living in poverty will be covered.
But if we covered more people, over 100 percent, never mind.

Scott Walker pulls Higher Unique School Standards out of his A*S!!! What's next, promising the Tea Party Courage, Brains, and a Heart?

Let me understand this; Scott Walker not only wants to run on economic job predictions and CEO expectations, but now he’s demanding rigorous academic standards without putting in the years of research. So decrees the great and wonderful Walker.  

WSJ: Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday the state should have more rigorous academic standards than the Common Core State Standards, which Wisconsin was one of the first to adopt in 2010. "I’d like to have Wisconsin have its own unique standards that I think can be higher than what’s been established and what’s been talked about at the national level," Walker told reporters.
“Unique standards?” So kids are that different in Wisconsin? This will be fun to learn more about. Walker does know that taxpayers spent big bucks on Common Core, right? Other Republican legislators are just as stunned:
It remained unclear exactly what Walker meant by the comments, including whether he believes the state should abandon the standards. Fellow Republicans Sen. Luther Olsen of Ripon and Rep. Steve Kestell of Elkhart Lake, the chairmen of the Senate and Assembly education committees, said they were puzzled by Walker's pronouncement. They noted the standards -- which cover math and language arts but no other subjects -- are a floor, not a ceiling, for what schools should teach. Changing the standards at this point would also bear an additional cost. "(Schools) already bought curriculum, principals are telling teachers to step it up and all of the sudden the governor is sending mixed signals," Olsen said. "What does that mean?"
Walker wants to appeal to and lock in the national tea party:
Walker and the Legislature already approved two budgets that laid the groundwork and funded new tests related to the standards … “They are the foundation of all work done over the past five years…."

But Tea Party conservatives have criticized the standards, saying they're not rigorous enough and take local control away from states and school districts, labeling the standards "Obamacore." In August a group of 40 conservative activists wrote an open letter to Walker … listed several concerns, including that the standards "will dumb down education in many states in the name of elevating standards."
Thank you Bizarro World Republicans.


Need a chuckle? I always watch Obamacarenado, the Karl Rove classic:

Or the Creepy Uncle Sam ad:

Paul Ryan Book Tells Us Where to Go, but not how...again.

You’ll notice Paul Ryan’s book title quietly sidesteps “the how,” by again not telling us even “Where Do We Go From Here?” Ryan will gladly lead us down the path to prosperity, if we just allow ourselves to believe in his completely untried free market form of government. Anyone?  
Cap Times: Rep. Paul Ryan’s book is called 'Where Do We Go From Here?' and is scheduled for publication in August. '"Where Do We Go from Here?" will delve into the state of the conservative movement in America today, how it contrasts with liberal progressivism, and what needs to be done to save the American Idea,' according to a statement from the publisher.
Now hold on there. What “American Idea?” We don’t have anything like that that I know of, unless we’re not as free and independent as we thought. 

This is the party that wants government to leave them alone? It sounds like they want government to tell them what the “American Idea” is, and then fall within the lines of that “Idea.”

“Conventional thinking” gets a once over too, with the same old Ayn Randian/Milton Friedman anti-Catholic treatment:  

"It will challenge conventional thinking, renew the conservative vision for 2014 and beyond, and show how it is essential for the well-being of our communities and the future of our nation.'"
I think Scrooge had that same conservative vision:

Walker and French explorer/Rep. Andre Jacque push for Tavern League Payoff in Brown Jug Law.

Just another crazy bill from Republican Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), that brings Christmas just a little earlier to the bar owners in this state. The Tavern League won't hesitate to write out a few checks during the upcoming campaign season either.

We're talking about the Brown Jug Law: The Journal Sentinel actually misled readers by stating the bill is similar to the one in Alaska. It isn't even close:
Michelin Man Jacque.
The bill, patterned after the decade-old "Brown Jug law" in Alaska, would allow alcohol purveyors to sue anyone under age 21 for $1,000 in small claims court if the person tries to trick them into selling alcohol or allowing them into a bar illegally.
Actually, the Alaskan law pays the fine out to three different parties, and nothing goes to the bar owner, unless there's an out of court settlement. Money goes to the clerk to administer the law, to an alcohol education program, and finally to a charity. That’s why this is another Republican giveaway to campaign contributors like the Tavern league and bar owners. $1,000 goes directly to bar owners.

And like most badly written special interest laws, no one expects the law to be used very often, or that it could be abused because of their poorly worded language in the Republican legislation.
Scott Stenger, spokesman for the Tavern League of Wisconsin, said he doesn't expect tavern owners to spend all their time in small claims court going after college students for $1,000 fines.
These surprising details and many more are explained in this clip from WPT’sHere and Now:

Health First Wisconsin - formerly Smoke Free Wisconsin - registered against it. The group's executive director, Maureen Busalacchi, said in a statement that the bill could provide a "financial incentive to licensed premises owners, almost rewarding them for allowing underage drinking to occur at their establishments" through entrapment.