Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fiorina gets "F" on Common Core opinion.

Carly Fiorina is a corporate failure, and now bullshitting Republican presidential candidate. That can't be good.

Fiorina also has no idea what Common Core is, or how well its been working for my kids and others around Wisconsin. But she does know it gets a few right wingers angry, and that's a vote getter.

Let’s start with her mindless and meaningless Common Core jab:
GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said on Sunday she would give Common Core a failing grade for how it teaches American students.
Fiorina, like all Republicans, doesn’t like public education, and lumps all states and school districts into an incredibly misleading talking point:
“Our education system is a big problem,” Fiorina told host Chris Wallace.
Our world ranking suffers because we average in a greater proportion of low income, lower scoring children than other countries. Blame supply side economics.
“When a Washington bureaucracy gets involved in program, it becomes heavy-handed and standardized,” she said.
Nothing is standardized, she’s pulling that out of her ass.
Fiorina pointed to China on Sunday as an example of how federal involvement in education could hurt a country’s knowledge base.
Fiorina must not be aware of all the European countries with national curriculum's and tests. Oh, and these countries are always near the top of the rankings.
“Common Core, unfortunately, limits parents’ choices,” Fiorina said. “It will, over time, limit our children’s options.”
It doesn’t limit anything, so we can only assume she has no idea what Common Core is. Districts across the nation pick and choose how and what they’ll teach.

I hope reporters start educating themselves about Common Core, vouchers and charter shools. 

Big Oil's Scott Walker wants you to spend your tax savings on higher energy bills.

Both Scott Walker and Republican legislators have been very upfront about their intention to stuff insurance company pockets with lots of money, by forcing poor people into the private sector health insurance market. From IRIS to BadgerCare, they want you pay insurers. 

A similar method of cost shifting is now jacking up your energy bill. You want to save energy? Don't bother, it won't be worth it in Wisconsin, where over consumption is encouraged.

It's ironic too. Minnesota’s Xcel Energy tried and failed to get their own state to approve a customer base rate increase, the industries new way to soak consumers who may be creating their own energy with solar panels or saving energy with new appliances. No longer based on usage, big energy is doing everything they can to discourage customers from supplying their own power and selling that surplus back to the utility. But unlike Minnesota, Wisconsin will give Xcel Energy everything they want, including the money you saved with Walker's tax cuts.

This obvious power play by energy suppliers hasn't worked other states. But funny thing, Scott Walker’s crony packed PSC is more than happy to consider a rate hike, stripping customers of their hard earned cash.
Xcel is following the example of several other large utilities in asking to increase the flat fee applied to all residential, farm and small commercial bills. If approved, the customer charge would more than double -- from $8 a month to $18. In the past two years, three of the state’s five largest investor-owned utilities have significantly hiked customer charges. Madison Gas & Electric went from $8.70 a month in 2012 to $19 this year. Wisconsin Public Service nearly quadrupled its charge. Since 2001, the average customer bill has risen by about 25 percent after adjusting for inflation.

Critics say increasing these flat fees unfairly penalizes those who use less energy and creates a disincentive for home-based alternatives like solar panels. Kira Loehr, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board said “It hits those who use less and makes them pay more. That’s the exact opposite of what we think should be happening. It encourages increasing consumption, which raises costs for everybody in the long run.”

While acknowledging it favors big users. Don Reck, regional vice president of rates and regulatory affairs said, “We’re trying to make ourselves the provider of choice.”
Love the honesty, hate the utility.Walker is making sure whatever money you saved tax wise is going to campaign lobbyists and fossil fuel industry supporters in the form of higher monthly bills:
Wisconsin has been ground zero … The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has made it clear that it welcomes requests for increased fixed charges and related measures … The Minnesota PUC denied the monthly fixed rate increases. The Alliance for Solar Choice spokesperson Amy Heart. “That this isn’t necessarily a trend in the Midwest. The decision in Minnesota demonstrates just how out of step the Public Service Commission is in Wisconsin.”
Their rate hike does not compute: How out of step is our PSC? It’s hard to argue with the following explanation and big PSC problem:
The fixed-rate portion of an electric bill is meant to cover the cost of grid infrastructure … Since Minnesota essentially rejected that argument, and since the grid infrastructure delivering to Wisconsin Xcel customers is largely the same system as in Minnesota, experts say Xcel would have a hard time justifying higher fixed charges for Wisconsin customers. In other words, if it costs only $8 a month to deliver electricity to Minnesota Xcel customers, it doesn’t compute that it would cost much more to deliver to customers only a few miles away over the Wisconsin border.
The Minnesota PUC decision was in keeping with the June 2014 findings of the state commerce commission and the December ruling of an administrative law judge, which both said that Xcel should reduce its rate increase requests. The PUC also approved the state’s first decoupling program, a structure where the utility does not get more profit the more energy it sells. That program should theoretically alleviate the need for the utility to increase its fixed rates.

As RENEW Wisconsin program and policy director Michael Vickerman and others see in Wisconsin ... the staunchly ideological position of the Public Service Commission, “It’s really the Public Service Commission in Wisconsin that’s driving the rate restructuring change, more-so than the utilities.” Vickerman said, “This commission has rang the dinner bell.”

Walker wants the NSA's mass surveillance program if president, no changes.

Scott Walker said he would only consider running for president if the Senate flipped to Republicans in 2014. And it did! 

That’s because guys like Walker can’t function without one party rule. One party passage of his one-sided agenda makes him look like an effective leader. But also under his leadership, Walker took the long term approach of crushing the opposition for years to come, using such tactics as his recall petition "blacklist" to character assassinate his targets.

Eyeing the presidency, Walker knows he’ll need every resource to not just hold power, but lessen the threat of dissent nationally that could change the balance of power in congress.

That’s why he opposes any changes to the NSA’s mass surveillance program:

Governor and likely presidential candidate Scott Walker made clear that he does not support a House bill that bans the National Security Agency's mass surveillance program, suggesting the measure goes too far in limiting the government's ability to monitor phone records.

"I think there needs to be the capacity, if we have in America enemy combatants, or people in line with enemy combatants, we need to be able to gain access to information that would help assist us … Congressman Sensenbrenner, I think, is trying to create some sort of balance to make sure the Patriot Act doesn't run out."
It's a comment like that that even scares members of his own party, like Sensenbrenner, who helped write the USA Freedom Act.
"I was absolutely surprised" to hear of the governor's position, Sensenbrenner said ...  "because all of the Wisconsin Republicans in Congress have voted for it and publicly expressed support for it" … it ends the bulk collection of Americans' call records. Sensenbrenner said that, "where I think the governor was misinformed on the USA Freedom Act, is that it does give the NSA access to the materials they need, but the privacy of Americans is protected because the government is not storing the data." 

Under Sensenbrenner's bill, the government would not collect the data in bulk but could access data from the phone companies with a court order. The measure passed the House on May 13 on a lopsided bipartisan vote. It is backed by the Obama administration.

"Continuing the present program is not the proper balance between privacy and national security," said Sensenbrenner.
Here’s the key reason Walker opposes any changes:
(Sensenbrenner said,) "There is no privacy if the government ends up collecting trillions of phone records made by Americans and storing it for five years."
It's important to remember what Republican, writer and researcher John Dean first saw in Scott Walker, and why he described him this way back in 2012:
Desirous Of Personal Power: As governor, Walker sought to remove civil service jobs, in order to make them political appointments, and thus subject to his control.  Most strikingly, he has sought to undercut the public-employee unions so that he would not have to deal with them, thus increasing his power. He has increased his personal power over some fifteen state agencies, and I suspect that he is just getting started. Walker’s push to get Act 10 passed into law was done in about as authoritarian a fashion as you will ever see, outside of a dictatorship.  

About 25 percent of the population has, in varying degrees, the disposition to follow a double high authoritarian, many blindly or simply because it assuages their fears.  And, of course, these are aggressive followers who can attract others who are unaware of the nature of the person they are electing, thus enabling an authoritarian leader like Walker to gain ever-growing control. Good luck, Wisconsin.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Walker, Chicken Hawk or Megalomaniac?

This guy still doesn't scare you?
Gov. Scott Walker began a two-day New Hampshire swing Friday by speaking to party activists aboard a sunset dinner cruise on this state's largest lake … told listeners on board that he was not suggesting the United States "go into open-ended excursions" in foreign lands.
"But ... we've got an enemy that's unlike any we've faced before. This is not the Cold War where containment is enough. We've got an enemy that's like a virus. If we don't take it out entirely, it's going to come back even stronger."
At the NRA Leadership Forum, Walker grew even more mad with power. He delivered this fiery tirade, calling for war, and the need for "safety." You know, national security.

Walker's twisted mess of a lie about the EPA's Clean Power Plan, and the simple truth that will save lives.

The BS meter is especially high Scott Walker's objections to Obama's Clean Power Plan. Walker made these claims:
Walker complained that the proposed rule was “riddled with inaccuracies” and “questionable assumptions” that made it unworkable for his state.
Why aren't reporters asking Walker "what inaccuracies" and "questionable assumptions?"

Walker, like Rep. John Boehner, are the ones "with inaccuracies ... questionable assumptions." PolitiFact explained it this way:
In the days leading up to the EPA’s June 2 announcement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a study saying the regulations -- which hadn’t even been made public at that point -- would hurt jobs and economy ... but the study’s authors made several critical assumptions that turned out to be incorrect ... (1) they assumed Obama would want to decrease carbon emissions by 42 percent — not 30 percent — before 2030. (2) The chamber also predicted that by 2022, the EPA would have to require natural gas plants to install carbon capture and storage, a much more costly technology, to reach the 42 percent threshold. The EPA already said last year that new natural gas plants would not need to include carbon capture in their facilities.

That same morning, House Speaker John Boehner’s website claimed, "The president’s plan would indeed cause a surge in electricity bills — costs stand to go up $17 billion every year." Boehner’s evidence was the chamber study. 
Ouch, that's also Walker's big mistake, pushed now by 15 reliant states suing the EPA
Walker said in his letter to Obama that compliance with the rule could cost Wisconsin as much as $13.4 billion and raise electricity rates in the state by 29 percent.
What Walker failed to fully mention was the actual estimate range by the PSC; $3.1 billion to $13.4! But the PSC is now filled with Walker cronies, so who would believe anything they said?

Besides the fact that our state utilities are making the switch-over anyway, I thought the following costly energy company expense didn't get the same phony outrage from Republicans:
State regulators on Thursday gave We Energies the go-ahead to make changes at its new coal plant in Oak Creek to enable it to burn coal from Wyoming ... but it also adds $100 million in spending to a coal plant that We Energies and its partner utilities spent more than $2.3 billion to build. 
So coal from Wyoming is cheaper, and will "reduce fuel costs and save money for utility customers over time." What? Eastern coal is more expensive? But coal is supposed to be cheap, saving us all on our energy costs:
The new coal plant was designed to burn coal mined in the eastern United States, but the price of that coal has surged in recent years because of exports to China and other countries.
Aren't Republicans also trying to pass laws allowing the export of cheap U.S. natural gas too? I wonder if that will go up in price too?

Walker opposes the Clean Power Plan based on a faulty disproved study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And like the true psychopath we know Scott Walker to be, here's an even better reason to support the EPA plan:
A study from Harvard and Syracuse universities released this week said reducing carbon dioxide from the nation's power plants will save about 3,500 lives a year by cutting back on other types of pollution as well. Much of the benefit would occur in four states that are severely polluted by coal-fired power plants, the study says: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Illinois. The new regulation would reduce hospitalizations by 1,000 a year and heart attacks by 220 a year, the study says.
How can Walker say he's pro-life, when he opposes policy that could save 3,500 Americans from premature deaths a year. That's one 9/11 a year. There's more too:
Reducing carbon emissions also will cut levels of other dangerous pollutants such as fine particles and ozone by more than 25%. Thus the plan brings substantial and measurable public health benefits ... worth from $55 billion to $93 billion per year by 2030, an amount that greatly exceeds the estimated compliance costs of $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion a year.
Walker's jobs failure easy to predict: Walker isn't open to all businesses, especially those not getting GOP support, and his jobs promise failure is proof:
Lori Compas: In Iowa, solar energy companies can sell power directly to customers, creating jobs and boosting investment in the solar sector, and more than a quarter of the state's electricity comes from wind-generated power.

Michigan's skilled workforce has been revitalized by the renewable energy industry, with more than 76,000 workers employed as part of the green economy and more than 10,000 people directly employed by solar and wind companies in the state, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.

But while other Midwestern states are forging ahead, Wisconsin recently has rolled back renewable energy goals and allowed monopolies and outdated regulations to hamper the growth of the renewable energy sector. And our three largest utilities are actually de-incentivizing renewable energy by proposing unprecedented rate increases.
As for Obama's supposed overreach and illegal EPA mandate:
When Congress last updated this section of the Clean Air Act in 1990, the House and Senate each passed its own set of amendments, But the Democratic-controlled committee screwed up: It failed to harmonize the House and Senate language in section 111(d), and both versions were accidentally signed into law. Only the House version ended up in the statute books. The House version plainly prohibits the EPA from issuing its climate rule. The Senate version, however, says that the EPA can regulate existing plants using section 111(d) so long as the pollutant being regulated isn't toxic. Under the Clean Air Act, carbon dioxide isn't a "toxic pollutant," so the Senate version gives the EPA the authority it wants. the EPA's lawyers, argue that the discrepancy creates a conflict that renders the statute ambiguous. And when a statutory provision is ambiguous, the courts defer to the agency's interpretation so long as it is reasonable. Murray Energy and its 14 state allies (including Wisconsin) disagree. They argue that only the House amendment banning the Clean Power Plan should apply because the Senate amendment was a mere clerical error. That's because the EPA is trying to get the case thrown out on a procedural technicality — usually a rule needs to be final before it can be challenged in court, and the Clean Power Plan isn't final yet.
The highlighted section above could easily apply to the Affordable Care Act's line about federal subsidies not applying, now challenged in the Supreme Court.

Friday, May 29, 2015

How much do Republicans hate Science? Enough to cut 32% from DNR science staff for fun.

It's official, Wisconsin is moving away from science based environmental management to a faith based one. 

And because today's DNR cuts don't save taxpayers any money, they did it for fun:

Cut the scientific staff by nearly one-third…cut 18 of 58 positions in the Bureau of Science Services — a reduction of 32%. Nine of the targeted positions are paid with federal, not state, tax dollars.  All told, Walker's budget would delete 80 positions — or 3% of 2,642 DNR personnel. 

Then things got heated:

Big Government Republicans bulldoze over local control, again!

There's not much to report on this story yet, but the general idea is still very important: Republicans love big government conservative nanny state regulations even more than Democrats.

What's next, requiring everyone in the state to kill at least one animal for dinner a week. Here we go again...

Walker "the victim" talks about nasty ultrasound picture, again, exploits victimization and denies the undeniable.

Scott Walker is again playing up to the inner conservative fears of being victimized.

Walker's outrageously cold comment about the "lovely thing ... a cool thing" about the "exciting" forced ultrasound pictures. But this can all be cleared up with one simple question:
Why was Walker talking about ultrasound pictures in the first place? 
Could it be the line:
“We signed a law that requires ultrasound which, think about that, the media tried to make that sound like a crazy idea. Most people I talk to..." 
In this case, conservatives are embarrassing themselves by actually trying to pull Walker's comment out of context to defend their fumbling "leader" from another insensitive gaffe that just highlights his sociopathic behavior. The major media outlets picked up on the story because it was clearly a relevant and scary insight into a possible presidential candidate.

Getting a lot of help from conservative talk show host Dana Loesch, who all but spoon fed Walker his own talking points, the topic has now been given new life and a chance to reach more people. Here's Dana Loesch,  shamelessly self-promoting herself, and using Walker for everything she can get. It's damage control time, with "victim" and misunderstood possible world leader Scott Walker:

Here's the original Walker comment, unedited and in context. Go figure. One more thing, the ultrasound is an unnecessary and costly procedure dictated by big government Republicans getting between a doctor and their patient, something conservatives like Walker claim to be against:

“We signed a law that requires ultrasound which, think about that, the media tried to make that sound like a crazy idea. Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there.”

Scott (Bush Doctrine) Walker disagrees with Rand Paul on GOP's hand in creating ISIS, blames the non-existent Obama-Clinton Doctrine.

Remember when Sen. Rand Paul told the truth about the creation of ISIS and more:

Sen. Rand Paul criticized some of his Republican colleagues Wednesday for policies that may have strengthened radical Islamists. “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party, who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS.”-MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Career politician and foreign policy novice (he’s desperately trying to catch-up) Scott Walker disagreed. Walker doesn’t just want to be president, he wants to be the supreme leader of the world, putting every other nation on notice. That it’s either his way, or boots on the ground war.
The Hill: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) argued Thursday that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was mistaken for saying Republicans had helped create the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “I just respectfully disagree with Senator Paul. And I believe the reason that we’re facing troubles, and not only in that region of the world, is because of the lack of American leadership. And that certainly doesn’t mean looking around for who to blame…
...and then Walker went on to blame…
“...people who are friends or foes looking around and seeing an absence under this president, and not just under the Obama doctrine but largely under the Obama-Clinton doctrine.”
Knowing what we know now about Putin and Iran's leadership, it’s pretty clear we would have to be at war right now if Walker had his way:
 “When you see it not just in Syria, not just on Iraq; you see it with our going down the path towards a supposed agreement with Iran, you see it with Putin creeping into the Ukraine, you see it with islands of sand being built in the South China Sea,” Walker said.

Republicans seek to protect irresponsible gun owners with laws that make everything "responsible."

I marvel at the pathetic excuses thrown around by Republicans who keep passing gun laws to make what is irresponsible...responsible. Hey, it was an unintentional moment of lawbreaking, that’s all.

Here's a rather scary example involving cops who were acting irresponsible with their guns:
Off-duty police officers would be allowed to carry concealed firearms on school grounds under a proposed agreement between the Marshfield School District and city Police Department. Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza acknowledged that officers may have in the past been illegally carrying guns on school property while off duty, but he said those violations were unintentional.

“It’s been happening, but it’s been happening for the good of the children of Marshfield,” he told members of a school committee, later clarifying in an interview that he is “not advocating that our officers break the law for the greater good of the community.” Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza said, “I think this is a step in the right direction to correct at least what we can correct.”
Correct the problem of irresponsible gun use by passing a law that makes it magically...“responsible!”

That prompted this comment:
School Board member Mark Konrardy said any officers who have violated the law should be sanctioned.
Of course republicans, faced with an epidemic of public gun violence in Wisconsin, are working on ways to get more guns into those areas where there are fewer shootings:
(The) state legislation would allow off-duty and retired police officers to carry concealed weapons on school premises.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Republicans start to dismantle Madison as seat of state government.

Republicans continue to take a hatchet to everything that made our state the living hell its been for over 60 years. Thank god conservatives are finally doing something about it. I can't help wonder how they managed to tolerate things around here for so long. 

The ease of accessing one locally established center for state government was apparently bugging Republicans politicians for some time, because they're now hell bent on spreading state office buildings around, encouraging good old "sprawl."  

I know this may sound ridiculous, almost too hard to believe, but here goes:
Escaping 60's like Protesting Liberal Thugs?
Require the state, whenever it signs a lease, to seek bids or other options outside Milwaukee and Dane counties and prepare a cost-benefit report on possible savings for the Walker administration and lawmakers. That requirement would appear to apply to all cases, including those where a state office location is meant to serve residents of those counties … under a Republican budget proposal unveiled Wednesday.
And what about the cities labor force? Leave em behind:
The move could have a dramatic effect on Madison’s commercial office market, workforce and retail economy. Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, a former long-time member of the state Building Commission, said the proposal could cost Madison millions of dollars in lost leases and economic impact from thousands of state employees who live and work here. It could also cost state taxpayers millions of dollars to relocate state agencies outside of Dane County, he said.

Hotel Association trying to freeload off communities that bring them business!!!

More cronyism!!! This time from the brother of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Jeff, who’s pushing a change in how room taxes are used.

Even worse, it appears the hotel association wants to bite the hand of the community that feeds them customers; they don’t like some of that room tax going into, and improving, the local community. Huh? jsonline:
Hotel owners say that they resent having rooms taxed, ostensibly to help promote tourism, and then having much of the money diverted to pay other costs for the local community. Republicans voted over Democratic objections to put new limits on the use of local room taxes; dozens of other cities could have their room tax spending shifted in the coming years more toward the promotion of tourism in their areas and away from their general operations … the city of Brookfield said that if the room tax changes stay in the budget, his city stands to lose as much as $400,000.
It's easy to see why this is happening, special interests Scott Walker said he was fighting:
The state hotels association has an influential lobbyist, former Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, the brother of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), working for the group.

Republicans Liquored up with Power, Cronyism, and Corporate Welfare.

One of my biggest pet peeves is giving credit to conservatives to who finally wake-up, a little late, to the things Democrats have been warning them about for years.

But in Scott Walker's Wisconsin, I'll take what I can get. You won't believe this special interest deal. Oh, didn't Walker brag to the nation how he's been successfully fighting special interests? Just not the conservative kind:
RightWisconsin: WisPolitics’ PM report confirmed that the Republican co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, State Sen Alberta Darling and State Rep John Nygren are considering allowing a special interest provision that would benefit liquor wholesalers to be slipped into the “wrap-up motion” for the state budget.
Check out this incredibly uncompetitive setup for liquor distribution:
In Wisconsin, we have a three-tier system of producers, wholesalers and retailers. This is supposedly to make it easier to collect the liquor taxes. It also is a protectionist measure as the wholesalers must be Wisconsin companies … producers cannot terminate their contracts with the wholesalers without “just cause.”
Remember, this is RightWisconsin freaking out about this stuff. This is what Scott Walker and his band of legislative plundering pirates are all about. It's cronyism, big government and corporate welfare that even Charlie Sykes can't stomach. Oh, it's hardly a "budget item" is it:
Such a privileged place in the liquor supply chain is not enough apparently for some wholesalers. The proposed sop to the liquor wholesalers would allow them to pass to their heirs the contractual agreements with the liquor producers. It would also allow the wholesalers to sell the contracts to other wholesalers. The producers would then be bound to honor the contract to the new wholesaler even if the liquor producer had no interest in doing business with that company. Such a change in the law would, in effect, give the wholesaler ownership rights in a product they did not create … When a similar change in the law was made in Illinois, alcohol prices went up as much as 20%. Illinois repealed the law but now Wisconsin is ready to make the same mistake.

If Nygren and Darling allow this, they will be responsible for everyone else paying more for alcohol. The retailers will pay more, putting a squeeze on the state’s family-owned taverns and convenience stores. The cost will be passed down to the consumer, of course. Prince and pauper alike will pay more for the privilege of having a drink without any benefit to Wisconsin or the taxpayers. 

Special interest favors like this that put the “crony” in Wisconsin capitalism. Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee need to rediscover their free market principles. That does not mean selling out for campaign contributions.
Oh but it does mean selling out to contributors.  

"Heavens no" says Rural Schools Alliance to Rep. Czaja's "anyone can teach" solution.

Now anyone can teach our kids, says one rural republican politician. Voilà, no more teacher shortage.

Underfunded rural schools, struggling desperately to keep their teachers from leaving and schools open, just got the conservative kind of help they voted for in the last election. Not surprisingly, they're not liking it one bit. jsonline:
But a rural schools leader said that's not what rural schools asked for. "Heavens no," said Jerry Fiene, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance. "This totally destroys any licensure requirements that we have in Wisconsin. It's very concerning."
New Low in Stupidity: May I introduce you to Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Irma). But she's not alone...her fellow dullards in the assembly love the idea:
Problem solver or dimwit?
She said pursued the (following) measure to help rural schools find and retain qualified teachers in hard-to-fill subjects.
Anyone with a bachelor's degree could be hired and licensed to teach sixth- through 12th-grade English, math, social studies or science in Wisconsin And any person with relevant experience — even a high school dropout — could be licensed to teach in any other non-core academic subject in those grades. 
Of course Czaja was ready to explain her well thought out plan...right?
Czaja said the idea was to help schools fill specific niche areas … But when pressed about the impact of the broader provision, Czaja agreed it might make it easier to become a teacher in Wisconsin than in any other state.
"The districts are going to be the ones that hire these people, and I firmly believe that they're not going to throw somebody in there that isn't doing a good job. This is just flexibilities. They don't have to use it." 
Czaja couldn't name any districts that had asked for the broader flexibilities.
"They don't have to use it." But if they did, imagine the "flexibilities," like Sup. Tony Evers:
State Superintendent Tony Evers said "It essentially takes the licensing system out of the state's hands and puts it in 424 school districts' hands. If you're a buddy of the superintendent or the principal, you go in and say, 'Gosh, I want to teach here,' he or she says yes, you've got a license."
The Scary Bottom line; your average citizen politician is now designing education policy, not educators and those egg-headed elitist know-it-all researchers. Ugh, I hate them and their smarty pants objections.
Jon Bales, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, said "This is characteristic of bad and ineffective policy." The Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education said putting unprepared teachers into classrooms was not only unwise and unfair, but "threatens the very foundation of a strong, competitive workforce."
This is the way we're going to compete with those high scoring students in Europe? They have a
different approach to teaching. See if you notice a difference:
“All of Finland’s teachers must have a research-based master’s degree that’s based on a five-year degree,” said a member of the Finnish Parliament. “We also set high wages for teachers, and teaching is considered a very respected profession in our country. This includes preschool teachers—every preschool teacher must have a college degree.”

Following an informal meeting of Education Ministers in Gothenburg in September 2009 … the Council in November 2009 agreed, that: ‘In view of the increasing demands placed upon them and the growing complexity of their roles, teachers need access to effective personal and professional support throughout their careers, and particularly during the time they first enter the profession … all newly qualified teachers receive sufficient and effective support and guidance during the first few years of their careers.’
I think sums it up well:
The knowledge, skills and attitudes of each of Europe's 6 million teachers are of great importance. The quality of their teaching has a direct effect upon learners’ attainment. The demands made on teachers, school leaders, and teacher educators are increasing and changing. They are called on to play a key role in modernising education. To do that, they need to develop their own knowledge and skills. Initial education and continuous professional development of the highest quality, and access to support throughout their careers are both essential.
All of this kind of makes sense doesn't it, especially after they attacked and vilified Wisconsin teachers in order to pass Act 10. That's because anyone can teach really.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Obama's GM promise to Reopen in Janesville lie is alive again, this time from Scott Walker.

Scott Walker spewed a whole bunch of BS in a recent gushy interview from conservative talker Dana Loesch. Are you ready for this?

Out popped the old lie about Obama's broken promise to reopen the Janesville GM plant. It never happened, as you can see by the PolitiFact rating pictured here, when VP candidate Paul "Lying" Ryan made it all up the first time:
Ryan said Obama broke his promise to keep a Wisconsin GM plant from closing. But we don't see evidence he explicitly made such a promise -- and more importantly, the Janesville plant shut down before he took office.

We rate Ryan's statement False.
Not only did Walker recycle the old Obama/GM lie, but he also played the victim tricked into talking to the entire MSNBC cast of liberal hosts covering the speech that night.

Speaking of that interview, wouldn't it be nice to see that one again, where Walker is confronted with the same facts presented by PolitiFact. Thank you Rachel Maddow:

"RedState" spins outrageous Walker ultrasound comment with big fat lie.

Quick, to the rescue, it's RedState, the ultra-rightwing propaganda site that regurgitates the news in a way that makes Republicans look like the new Avengers.

Scott Walker insanely justified a woman's forced ultrasound before an abortion as a way for her to get "a lovely thing," "a cool thing" like a picture of the fetus she could proudly show her friends. Here's the ice cold quote:
“We signed a law that requires ultrasound which, think about that, the media tried to make that sound like a crazy idea. Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there.”
Ugly and hideous, isn't it. But RedState spun the story and only picked up Walker's quote at the point where he says "Most people...," pulling the meaning of his comment out of context. Surprise:
Politico today led the way in a virtual tidal wave of outragey outrage stories across the leftosphere trashing Scott Walker as some kind of monster because he thinks that forcing women to have ultrasounds before they can have an abortion is “cool” and gosh doesn’t he just love rape. Only that’s not rape. And, oh yeah, he didn’t even say that.

Yes once again the media and the left have coincidented the same error … that magically makes Scott Walker out to be a woman-hating oppressor. However, radio and television host Dana Loesch, who conducted the interview from which the misquote was misappropriated, has the actual story
"On the subject of abortion, Walker discussed mandatory ultrasounds prior to obtaining an abortion. In discussing the ultrasound images themselves, he described how he and his wife still have their sons’s images and that they are 'cool.'”
That’s right. He was talking about ultrasounds in general being cool things. HOW SHOCKING!!! Says Dana, “anyone with the reading comprehension of a dolphin knows that Walker was specifically describing ultrasound images, not the legislation itself.”
Only if that dolphin doesn't read the whole quote, or can't watch the offending comment here:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Walker to spin off states, dissolve "United" States, saying it's too big to fail!!!

Like another poisonous snake we're all familiar with, Scott Walker is rattling, and he's about to strike. So you've got to ask; shouldn't we do something?

In a just released interview with right wing spinmeister Breitbart, Walker doesn't acknowledge the existence of an opposition party. He doesn't care if most Americans disagree with what he has planned for popular government programs polling says people support overwhelmingly.

Carrying out the rest of his divide and conquer agenda, he would separate the states into miniature country-like entities, with their own transportation, infrastructure, workforce, and environmental laws. And he wants a tough punishment base system of social safety nets that would make anyone down on their luck wish they were never born:
Walker said that if he’s elected president in 2016, he’d aim to severely cut back on the size and scope of the federal government—and he touted his experience battling the unions in Wisconsin.

“For me, what I learned from what we did four years ago in Wisconsin, is you got to strike early” ... I’d like to take huge chunks of the federal government and send it back to the states. For years people have talked about Medicaid—that’s a good start, to block grant that. But I’d take major social service programs, I’d take transportation and infrastructure, workforce and development, environmental protection, and heck I’d take education and instead of spending each of those down from Washington where the federal government skims off huge chunks of money and sends pennies on the dollar back to the state governments, why not keep those dollars back in the states where states can be more effective, more efficient, and certainly be held accountable to the hardworking taxpayers?
It's hard to be accountable under a one party system, you think?
Right now, at the federal level, we have a federal government that’s too big to fail. We need a government that’s small enough to succeed. 
The closer this guy gets to the presidency, the more nervous I'm becoming. Here's audio of his comment:

Former Nixon counsel John Dean wrote an entire expose' on Walker, because yes, that's how obvious Walker has been about his intentions. Walker isn't just a "conservative without a conscience," as Dean has written, he's a "double high" authoritarian, shaping the country around his singular vision of power. Dean wrote this back in March of 2012, believe it or not:
My focus here is on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who strikes some who have written to me as a distinctively prototypical authoritarian politician; what social science has labeled as a “double high” authoritarian; and the type of person which I described in my book as a conservative without conscience. 

There are many examples of Walker’s harsh and uncaring treatment of those whom he does not believe to be entitled to equality. 

Desirous Of Personal Power: As governor, Walker sought to remove civil service jobs, in order to make them political appointments, and thus subject to his control.  Most strikingly, he has sought to undercut the public-employee unions so that he would not have to deal with them, thus increasing his power. He has increased his personal power over some fifteen state agencies, and I suspect that he is just getting started. Walker’s push to get Act 10 passed into law was done in about as authoritarian a fashion as you will ever see, outside of a dictatorship.
And "slick" is too kind a word to use; liar works just fine, according to Dean:
His lying is notorious. Politifacts Wisconsin finds Walker to be an accomplished falsifier. I watched a video of a Walker speech at the Goldwater Institute.  He’s slick; fast-talking, confident, and dishonest—I watched him distort facts with which I was familiar.  He spoke in mostly half-truths. About twenty-five percent of the population has, in varying degrees, (a) disposition to follow a double high authoritarian, many blindly or simply because it assuages their fears.  And, of course, these are aggressive followers who can attract others who are unaware of the nature of the person they are electing, thus enabling an authoritarian leader like Walker to gain ever-growing control. Good luck, Wisconsin.

Scott Walker's "Bluff" Burger something to chew on.

Our brown bagging Governor Scott Walker is so average, he couldn't resist tweeting a picture of a hamburger, not that he claimed he had anything to do with cooking it. Please, don't even try getting an answer to that...

The Imperial Walker issues Executive Orders, and lots of them....

It looks like Scott Walker thinks he's king, going beyond the powers granted to him by the state constitution, and now he's setting his on the presidency. Hypocrite much? A brief pic....

Arizona Institute pushing "Civics Test" to graduate from high school nationwide, Wisconsin next sucker.

We're getting another not so original republican idea.

So you have to ask yourself, what’s next from our jack-booted right wing nationalists, a requirement to sing God Bless America and a flag pin on every shirt? If you haven’t noticed, republicans are all about optics, looks, that gut feel. 

And small government my ass. Let’s have another law, this time requiring a civics test to graduate from high school, because courses on history just aren’t enough. We need a symbolic flag waving test and another excuse to chide fellow Americans sometime in the future with, “looks like someone cheated on their civics test.” jsonline:
The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee tucked a provision into the budget to require high school students to pass a civics test to receive a diploma.
It’s surreal to be told by anti-government republican Rep. Robin Vos, who's depth of the Constitution is summed up in two words, "freedom" and "liberty," that he supposedly values government while he's trying to dismantle it:
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said "Asking people to understand the way basic government functions creates a better-informed voter, which means we have a more involved populace, which means we have better laws and government," Vos said.
God I am so tired of hearing republicans deny every attack on poorer Americans isn’t a punishment or a penalty, it's getting really old:
Vos said the test isn't meant to penalize students. "The goal isn't to be punitive," he said. "It's to be educational."
Leave it to another right wing “institute” with their tea party clueless "fellows," to come up with a superficial edict they want shoved down our throats:
In 2014, the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute began the push to require passing a civics test for high school graduation. The institute's aim is to have a measure passed in all 50 states by 2017, the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. Six states have enacted laws for the test.
Will some Democrat promise to repeal this, all of it?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Obama now being blamed for Walker's failed jobs promise...

Republicans love authoritarian dictators. These are supposedly freedom and liberty loving leaders willing to make unpopular decisions that go against popular opinion in order to fulfill a principled belief. There are two "truths" driving the GOP.

Republicans are infallible. Nothing is ever really their fault. If deregulation of Wall Street caused the Great Recession, blame Bill Clinton for supporting the Republican call to repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933.

The Infallible Scott Walker: Now that Scott Walker has cut taxes, all the while selling every public asset off, conservative supporters believe he too is infallible. Walker is only limited by Obama's failed economic record.

Here's the tweet that caught my attention:

Here's the story this sad excuse for a twitter troll was referencing: 

Despite Walker's plan to kick butt, attract industry, and add a minimum 250,000 jobs, it was Obama's roaring economy that stopped Walker from carrying out his plan.

The truth is scary: Republican voters will never admit to failure; will never see mistakes; will never recognize pandering bullshit; will never see how addicted they are to freeloading off the work of past generations; will always blame someone else instead; and will let their leaders do whatever they want with little or no blowback.

Like Climate Denial: Instead of playing it safe, just in case 98 percent of the scientists are right, conservative voters would rather take the risk...for everyone. Obama's now failing to control the weather and water condition in California? It's not droughts caused by climate change, it's Obama forcing farmers to cut back:

Republicans sneak WEDC/WHEDA merger back in?

Despite what appeared to be a republican rejection of the more draconian and bizarre cuts in Scott Walker's state budget, thanks to public opposition, it looks like many of these bad ideas were only put on the back burner for awhile.

After his fellow republicans fired Scott Walker as WEDC chair, and supposedly abandoned the merger of WEDC and WHEDA, there just might be a surprise twist to the story:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Nanny State Kansas Republicans limit Debit Card withdrawals on Poor.

I see, Republicans aren't punishing the poor, they're just trying to help.

Funny thing, you never see Republicans pushing for more accountability and results from CEO's and big business interests seeking tax cuts and state handouts. In fact just the opposite if they're getting money from Scott Walker's WEDC.

Pee in a cup drug tests, limits on the kind of food served while wining and dining corporate lobbyist and politicians for taxpayer money?

I'm mystified. Heck, we've already discovered companies are not the "job creators" they said they were, especially here in Wisconsin.

But republicans have a way of spreading their one-size-fits-all nanny state punishments on the poor, as you'll see below in another cruel hot new attack.

So if drug testing, public service work or nanny state junk food lists aren't enough to dump on struggling Americans, how about the following:
AP: People are outraged about a Kansas law that critics are calling a 'tax on the poor.' Kansas is taking a storm of criticism over its new policy strictly limiting ATM withdrawals for welfare recipients to $25 a day. Additionally, most ATMs do not carry $5 bills. This fact effectively changes the policy to a $20 limit and would potentially result in poor Kansans paying even more withdrawal fees to get the same amount of money.

The change was placed in stark reality by a Thursday article in The Washington Post titled "Kansas has found the ultimate way to punish the poor." As The Post notes, it would "force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money … Since there's a fee for every withdrawal, the limit means that some families will get substantially less money." Elizabeth Lower-Basch, the director at Center for Law and Social Policy, or CLASP, said the law amounts to a "tax on the poor."
But it saves the state money, all the while teaching lazy no good American citizens a lesson in frugality:
Experts have suggested the welfare policy change could result in a $100 million cut in money Kansas receives from the federal government … the Social Security Act requires welfare recipients to "have adequate access to their cash assistance" while facing "minimal fees or charges."

Though Brownback and legislative leaders are quickly backpedaling in the face of the potential loss of federal funds, various observers have widely expressed outrage … People who read The Post article reacted with comments like "disturbing," "amazing," and expletives: Some of the state's leading editorial boards have previously blasted the ATM limit.

"Not only are many of the state’s new welfare regulations condescending, the limit on cash withdrawals may violate federal law — potentially endangering $102 million in federal funding. That’s what can happen when lawmakers ram through legislation without proper vetting, and based on ugly stereotypes," The Wichita Eagle opined Wednesday. "The best course is to revoke the entire law."

The Kansas City Star slammed the legislation on Monday as an "embarrassment" to the state. "If nothing else, Brownback’s staff should have observed that ATMs generally don’t allow withdrawals in $5 increments. The state law effectively imposes a $20 limit," the paper's editorial board wrote. "That rushed process, the sign of amateurs at work, has been happening a lot lately in Topeka. And — voila! — the result is bad legislation."
What's encouraging is that we're seeing any kind of blowback at all. 

Marketplace Insurers Hiking Premiums through the Roof? Not so much...

My conservative friend in Milwaukee is moving into the health care exchange, since he no longer qualifies for BadgerCare. The state Medicaid program makes health care simple. It's easy. Now my friend is heading into the insurance marketplace, where everything is just the opposite of simple. Insurance company profits come first, not your health.

The spin on the story below is mind-bending, because it deceptively starts with the extreme side of insurance company greed, making ObamaCare look bad, and ignoring the benefits of the exchange and lower cost insurers. Just as ridiculous, the rate hikes listed given below would never get state approval. The manipulative language and extreme point of view is contradicted later in the article, after many may have stopped reading. Fortune Magazine:
Got Obamacare? Your premiums are (probably) about to go way up: According to a report published Friday in the The Wall Street Journal, health insurers are requesting the right in many states to increase premiums by upwards of 50%. Health Care Service Corp.–the leading health insurer in New Mexico, has asked state regulators to allow it to increase its premiums on average by 51.6%, for instance. Customers of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Maryland may face an average premium increase of 30.4%.

Insurers will have to submit their premium-hike proposals to their state regulators, and potentially the federal government. Regulators will review the requests, and may deny the insurers requests if rising costs don’t justify premium increases. But big rate hikes could be necessary to prevent insurers from taking a loss. 
In some states like Wisconsin, where Republicans are doing everything to make the program look bad, the review process won't result in any denials, thus higher premiums.

The next segments says it all about the quest for insurer profits over life saving health. Insurers are actually whining about taking care of sick enrollees. Maybe they shouldn't be in the business?:
According to the report: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee . . . said it lost $141 million from exchange-sold plans, stemming largely from a small number of sick enrollees. “Our filing is planned to allow us to operate on at least a break-even basis for these plans, meaning that the rate would cover only medical services and expenses—with no profit margin for 2016,” said spokeswoman Mary Danielson.
Oh, here's the good news, saved for last of course. This is what you'll actually find, as insurers complete for your coverage:
It’s not all bad news, however. Obamacare insurers in some states–like Indiana, Connecticut and Maine–are asking for minimal or no increases to their premiums.

Democrats win over the American public. Now if they can just win elections.

This story demonstrates how completely incompetent Democrats are in energizing Americans around their popular ideas. After all, we've seen two midterm elections where Republicans have beaten Democrats bloody.

Republicans have successfully vilified everything under the empty rhetoric of "freedom and liberty," and selling the general idea that "big government" is bad. But if we dig a lot deeper, it's becomes obvious "bad" includes everything we like, and changes we hope to see.

Let's see if Democrats can now get a coherent message out to voters. Politico:
Social liberals equal conservatives for first time in Gallup poll: For the first time in the decade and a half that Gallup has been tracking Americans’ ideologies, the percentage of those identifying their views on social issues as liberal has equaled the percentage of those who call themselves socially conservative.

31 percent said they were socially liberal — and 31 percent said they were socially conservative.

In 2009, 42 percent of those surveyed called themselves very conservative or conservative on social issues, the highest percentage in the data set. 

Among Democrats and Democratic ideological leaners, 53 percent say they are socially liberal ... The 53 percent is the highest percentage since Gallup began tracking that number in 2001.

Among Republicans and Republican ideological leaners, 53 percent said they were socially conservative, the lowest percentage since the Gallup began asking that question. In 2009, 67 percent identified themselves as such.

Conservative State Supreme Court brings certainty to more Dysfunction and Infighting.

It's always just a little scary when our authoritarian "friends" on the right promise us harmony and togetherness with them in control. Gone would be all those nasty disagreements and "leftist" attempts to destroy the country. With Republicans in charge, we can now return confidence and certainty to our legal system.

And so it is with our State Supreme Court, often considered a beacon of justice and collegiality, or so we're being told by conservative Chief Justice Roggensack. Now that majority republican politicians managed to put their party in charge of the court, we'll finally have peace and civility. But as the headline pictured here demonstrates, nothing could be further from the truth, and things are only getting worse. jsonline:
"Creative Destruction?"
(Moderate) Justice Crooks says (Republican) Chief Justice Roggensack threatened to throw justices off cases: Days before three state Supreme Court justices skipped ceremonies to admit new lawyers to the bar, Justice N. Patrick Crooks accused newly elected Chief Justice Patience Roggensack of breaking court rules by threatening to throw him off a case without any authority. Crooks and another justice also contended Roggensack had violated court rules by scheduling a conference to discuss three cases without the permission of all seven justices, emails between the justices show.

That prompted a strongly worded reply from Crooks on May 17. "The closed conference that you have scheduled for May 18, 2015, is a violation of our rules, since it was not on the court's calendar, and the unanimous consent required has not been received," he wrote. "Despite that, you apparently have decided to proceed. I object.

"If we do not have your votes to consider at conference, the opinions will show any justice who does not send in his or her vote for consideration at decision conference as having withdrawn from the case," Roggensack wrote.

The exchanges are the latest sign of turmoil on a court that has drawn national attention for infighting. Their disputes have been on public display in recent weeks because of a fight over who should run the court.
Thankfully the courts liberal voices won't be able to disrupt the republican agenda anymore.