Oliver is even offering up a Chrome app that always changes "Trump" to "Drumpf." That's why you'll see the change right here at Democurmudgeon.
Oh, and on the policy side of the debate...
...and a number of presenters chose to wear Safari Club International hats. This seemed a bit odd for a DNR-produced program. Safari Club International is a lobbying organization, and a pretty radical one at that-- they promote trophy hunting, canned hunts, hounding bears/wolves, and oppose endangered species protections.But there's not just money to be made by the game farm industry, its also a great place for would-be politicians and Supreme Court Justices who don't have a hunting license to get a gun toting campaign picture, like the photo here of Justice candidate Rebecca Bradley. JS-Marley:
The photo was taken in November at a Waukesha game farm, where hunting licenses aren't required. Rebecca Bradley made an implicit appeal to hunters … baseball cap emblazoned with the initials of the National Rifle Association. State Department of Natural Resources spokesman George Althoff said there is no record of Bradley having a hunting, fishing or boating license in the past five years.Bradley for some reason wouldn't say where she stands on the now decided 2nd Amendment decision by Justice Scalia, which in Republican world means she's all for it, but Justice candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg offered a more insightful detailed view:
"What I can say is that Heller does demonstrate that a judicial philosophy that claims to hew to the original intents of the men who wrote the constitution 250 years ago does not by itself resolve complex legal questions. Both Justice Scalia in his majority opinion and Justice (John Paul) Stevens in his dissent reviewed the text and history of the disputed Second Amendment language. Justice Scalia chose to place less weight on some of the words in the Second Amendment as compared to others and so reached a decision that some legal scholars contend was consistent with Scalia's own ideology rather than with an originalist reading of the constitution."
The city council of Birmingham, Ala., voted 7 to 0 (with one abstention) to become the first city in the deep South to enact a minimum wage above the current federal level of $7.25.
But the Alabama legislature this past week fired back, passing a bill that prevents cities and counties from mandating their own benefits, including minimum wage, vacation time, or set work schedules. The bill passed easily in both houses and Gov. Robert Bentley signed it into law on Thursday.
Supporters argued that a "patchwork" of varying wages would devastate businesses, cost jobs, and send the regional economy into a slump.
In September, the Missouri senate voted 23 to 9 to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would forbid Kansas City, St. Louis, and other Missouri cities from increasing their minimum wage above $7.65, the current statewide rate.
Alabama is one of only five states without a statewide minimum wage law. The others are Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
The state Department of Natural Resources blacklisted a group of 16 citizens and activists with complaints about how the agency managed wildlife and administered clean water and other rules. Being put on the "do not respond" list was supposed to mean that going forward agency staff would not respond to the complainants except for those responses required by the state's open records law.While Scott Walker talks about saving Wisconsin taxpayers money, he really isn't, since the cost is shifting to individual taxpayers who don't get any media coverage at all...until now:
One of the people on that list was Owen Buske, a 78-year-old Franklin man who said that he had ended up paying more than $16,000 to install a new well on his property after problems with contamination of another well that he shared with two other parties.The presence of a DNR enemies blacklist (that will only grow over time) is just part of Republican efforts to privatize or exploit state and national park land, exemplified by the militant takeover of federal property in rural Oregon. Remember, they wanted the government to give back "their" land. Of course the DNR blacklist didn't come from any of the administrators, just some "unnamed" rogue assistant...oh, that's not true either:
Buske said he called about 20 different DNR employees for a total of 40 times in an unsuccessful attempt to improve the well and his drinking water.
The do-not-respond list, which is marked "confidential" at the top of it, was released to the newspaper under the open records law. DNR spokesman George Althoff said in an email that the list was created in around 2013 by an unnamed administrative assistant to help track contacts from people who were deemed either very repetitive or abusive.In the comments section, resident right wing scattershot media pundit David Blaska (MrBluster) gave us an insightful glimpse into party thinking; citizen dissatisfaction is a nuisance and should be ignored if it doesn't advance the party goal. We saw that when hundreds of thousands protested Act 10, resulting in no give-and-take, no compromises. Pedro the Good's response nails it:
Names were referred to the list by a variety of DNR officials, including Mike Bruhn, then the No. 3 official at the agency, and by the office of Secretary Cathy Stepp. The last name was added to the list in early 2015, Althoff said. Stepp was appointed by Walker and she in turn appointed Bruhn.
The DNR has found itself under criticism … Environmentalists have sued the DNR twice since December over the length of time they must wait for records they have requested. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Feb. 5 that the DNR screens and shepherds records requests deemed politically sensitive by running them past political appointees before the records were released.
The state Department of Natural Resources is closing in on a major reorganization that could send duties to other agencies and streamline regulatory work, including an experimental plan to allow some businesses to draft their own environmental permits.Oh it gets worse...they're like the bully at the beach kicking down everybody's sandcastles:
Officials said the goal is to increase efficiency ... "We can't nibble around the edges," Deputy Secretary Kurt Thiede told employees last week. "...we are going to focus and be brave enough to say we are going to give certain things up."
...a GOP-led Legislature has been critical of an agency that it thinks has tilted too far toward protection ... Lawmakers have cut the agency's funding and ... limit DNR powers in recent years ... The parks system is expected to undergo significant changes, in part, because the Legislature cut funding last year that will require it to rely on user fees for support.
Stepp, who was appointed secretary in 2011 by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, spoke at a forum in Florida in January 2015 and expressed frustration in trying to spark a cultural shift with employees who hold strong environmental convictions ... Stepp, a former home builder, recalled at one agency listening session how an employee told her that the "deer and the butterflies and clean air and clean water, that those were our customers. And I said, 'Well, the last time I checked, they don't pay taxes and they don't sign our paychecks.'"
"DNR should be commended for their efforts to ... allow them to continue to align DNR's resources to our state's needs," Lucas Vebber, director of environmental and energy policy for WMC.Or the needs of the special interest donors:
In some cases, the DNR is contemplating turning over the brunt of permit writing to businesses. Most notable: Highly technical air pollution permits that regulate emissions at utilities, paper mills and chemical plants. Officials say the true expertise resides with the engineers and technical staff of the companies.On a federal level it's been just a brutal, lead by our own political pirates, including Paul Ryan (search "Roll Call" on this blog for a complete list). Republicans now want taxpayers to pay for shooting ranges on state and federal land:
HUNTING, FISHING ON FEDERAL LAND: The House passed (HR 2406) that would authorize federally funded shooting ranges on state and federal lands, limit Environmental Protection Agency regulation of ammunition and fishing lures as toxic substances and open all National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land to hunting, fishing and other public recreation.
Voting yes: Democrat Ron Kind, Republicans James Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman, Shawn Duffy, Reid Ribble. Voting no: Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore.
LEAD CONTAMINATION FROM FISHING TACKLE: The House defeated a Democratic bid to require research into the extent to which lead from fishing tackle is contaminating ponds and streams used for recreation … manufacturers would conduct research into their products and make their findings available for public review. A yes vote was to require industry research into lead contamination from fishing tackle.Minnesota is pushing this:
Voting yes: Pocan, Kind, Moore. Voting no: Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Ribble
Found in most fishing jigs and sinkers, this metal is poisoning wildlife such as loons and eagles.
There are alternatives to traditional lead tackle. Anglers can now use sinkers and jigs made from non-poisonous materials such as tin, bismuth, steel, and tungsten-nickel alloy — and they can find them at established sporting goods retailers and on the Internet.
A veteran who fought at Iwo Jima in 1945 and who, for the first time, was denied his right to vote thanks to the state’s voter ID law being in effect … was brought to light because his niece, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley of the state Supreme Court, wrote a letter to Gov. Scott Walker outlining her displeasure over the situation and her opposition to the law. Bradley was among the minority of justices who dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the law. Leo Olson of Reedsburg, tried to use his veterans ID card ... but that form of identification can’t be used under the state’s voter ID law.Who would have though a veterans ID card wouldn't be enough: Sikma is quick to blame a veteran for not getting another ID:
Oddly, (JS's) Patrick Marley never ... (got an) explanation about why the veteran never obtained a free state ID card which meets current voter ID requirements.
Marley did point out that state law could be changing soon to allow veteran ID cards to suffice for voter ID purposes.Oh, and don't fund the elections board to pay for an ad campaign to explain the new law. Anyone see billboards, newspaper ads and television PSA's detailing the process? Nope, so Sikma decided to lie:
While the story of a veteran not being able to vote tugs at heart strings, it is hardly the fault of the law. The Government Accountability Board has spent a significant amount of time and money on a public awareness campaign emphasizing a valid ID.Biting the (Vets) Hand that feeds them (votes): What the heck is wrong with veterans in their 80's, not doing their research, scouring every page of information, and jumping through a few "minor" hoops so they can vote? Why didn't Leo Olson think to check out...
...the GAB’s website “BringIt.Wisconsin.gov”
Marley noted that the veteran’s wife was upset because her husband’s Veterans Administration card didn’t work for voter ID purposes ... the VA itself emphasizes on its website that VA cards function as enrollment and identification cards for VA services and may sometimes be used as ID cards for travel. However, the VA carefully notes the card is not a substitute for other forms of identification.
Fascinatingly, the VA requires veterans to undergo a rigid process to prove their identity before getting a VA card. In fact, if you can get a VA identification card you have what it takes to get a free Wisconsin voter ID card. The required documents to obtain a VA card are listed here, the required documents to get a Wisconsin voter ID card are here. The lists closely parallel one another.Sikma is one sick dude. This reminds me of the Republican Medicare plan to force seniors into shopping every year for the best deal on health insurance, as if the problems with mobility and declining mental alertness simply don't exist for the aged.
"We've lost sight of how wildly irresponsible the Republican tax plans are"
Marco Rubio has promised tax cuts amounting to $6.8 trillion, Cruz $8.6 trillion, and Trump a whopping $9.5 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center (and that's not including interest on the debt they would rack up!).By comparison, the budget disaster we saw coming a mile away with the Bush tax cuts...
The tax cuts George W. Bush proposed during the 2000 campaign were $1.32 trillion — which would be $1.82 trillion in today's dollars. And taxes were higher in 2000 than they are today, and the country was running surpluses rather than deficits.The misleading dopiness of a Balanced Budget Amendment: What should be a no brainer for even the most conservative tightwad, is anything but, because it sounds good:
It gets worse. Rubio and Cruz both support a Balanced Budget Amendment, so they can't just add their tax cuts to the national debt. They also support spending more on the military — up to $1 trillion for Rubio, about $2.4 trillion for Cruz.For example; even though Rubio's chances are slim, he's still in the race and has the backing of Scott Walker. Here's his exciting simple plan:
Marco Rubio announced that he'll pay for his tax cuts by doing something truly big: ending funding for Medicaid and for the Children’s Health Insurance Program — which 71 million Americans, or 22 percent of the country, rely on for health care. Impressive, right? The problem is that only gets Rubio about $4.7 trillion.Impossible? Yea. Cruz's out does Rubio's:
Rubio could find another trillion dollars by eliminating all education spending — Pell grants, the Department of Education, K-12 funds, school nutrition programs, Head Start, all of it. That gets him to roughly $5.7 trillion. Knocking out all justice spending could net another $561 billion. But there might be some political resistance to wiping out the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, much of the Department of Justice, all United States attorneys, the entire federal judiciary, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
And then to fulfill his balanced budget promise, he's got to get rid of the deficits that already exist and are projected to grow in the coming years.
Cruz is proposing a full $8.6 trillion in tax cuts. To get there, he could start with everything on Rubio's list and then end all federal transportation funding. Goodbye, Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and Federal Highway Administration! And sorry, all you states relying on federal funds to build or rebuild your highways and ports! The problem is all that money only amounts to $935 billion. That gets Cruz to a cool $7.8 trillion, but his job isn't done yet.Remember, they're doing this so Republicans won't have to raise taxes on the wealthy. And Trump's sketchy idea?
The good news is that the $715 billion he could get from eliminating spending on veterans would pretty much close the gap. And who'll miss the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veteran Benefits Administration, the Veterans Health Administration, or the National Cemetery Administration? Of course, there is one small problem Cruz has also promised to increase military spending by $2.4 trillion. And he's also got Rubio's balanced-budget problem.
The projected US deficit for the next 10 years is $9.4 trillion. Passing Donald Trump’s $9.5 trillion tax cuts would more than double that total.None of this even take into consideration spending on natural disasters that Republicans insist must be made up with cuts elsewhere.
The federal government is expected to bring in about $21 trillion in individual income taxes over the next 10 years. Trump’s cuts amount to a 45 percent reduction from that projection … he's also promised to maintain funding for entitlements while increasing spending on the military. There's just no way to reconcile all that. Taken together, even the most sympathetic reading of Trump's plan dissolves into incoherence.
The Utah Senate voted 20-6 to pass SJR2 ... It calls for Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to allow people to directly elect U.S. senators.
Its sponsor, Sen. Al Jackson, R-Highland, says electing senators by the state Senate is needed because no branch of the federal government now represents the needs of state governments. A change would force senators to do that.
Jackson: "We repeal the 17th Amendment, we don't get Harry Reid anymore. We don't get the Harry Reid's of the world because guess what, most of the country is red! And I hate to make this a partisan issue because it's really not..."
"Today, senators are more beholden to special interest groups than to their states" because those interests give them money for reelection, Jackson said. "It's time for our senators to come home every weekend and take direction from this body and from the House and the governor on how they should vote in the upcoming week."
Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, disputed the plan's logic. U.S. senators are now the only lawmakers elected by all voters in the state, she said, and therefore are not affected by redistricting that she says may have favored Republicans in Utah. She said repealing the amendment would also take away power from voters.
Johnson: "He’s got a track record. We know the type of justice he would appoint. We wouldn’t confirm that individual,” Johnson said. “Not acting is also withholding our consent, and that’s within our right.”Oh, and I just ran across Sen. Mitch McConnell ripping into their now treasured Thurmond Rule, that states, "judicial nominees should not be confirmed in the months leading up to presidential election." They do know this stuff is being recorded, right?
“America needs Supreme Court justices who share Justice Scalia’s commitment to applying the Constitution as written and to the freedom it secures.”
A Koch-founded organization, the Wellspring Committee funds another Koch 501(c)4social welfare organization, the “Judicial Crisis Network.” The Judicial Crisis Network invested seven-figures for an ad buy that features a 30-second television spot entitled “Let the People Decide.” The television ad informs voters that:
“your voice in November is the only voice to express an opinion on the vacancy on the court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. And Senator Kelly Ayotte agrees; the American people should decide. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats it’s about your voice. You choose the next president. Call Senator Kelly Ayotte. Thank her for letting the people decide.”Similar ads were tailored for other Republican senators and their respective states such as Charles Grassley in Iowa, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, John McCain in Arizona, Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.
The Judicial Crisis Network was joined by another Koch-affiliated conservative group, FreedomWorks, that issued warnings to Republican senators to block any hearing on an Obama Supreme Court nominee or face the significant wrath of the Koch brothers for disobedience.
As many pundits and politicians have noted already, the people voiced their opinion three years ago on who gets to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice and they elected Barack Obama whom they knew would be President until January 20, 2017.
Asked whether pausing the Supreme Court nomination process could delay business in the Senate, Johnson said he hopes it won't.
"I think that's one of the reasons Leader (Mitch) McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Grassley came out and said, 'This is what we're going to do, now get over it.' Let’s move on. The Senate has spoken, a coequal branch of government. We’re not going to consider the nomination. We’re asking the American people to decide that and the next president. So now let’s start moving on with the other important things we must do for the American people."
According to a poll released Wednesday by Public Policy Polling, 62 percent of Wisconsin voters want to see the seat filled this year.
Insurance giant UnitedHealth Group seemingly took another step closer to bailing out of Obamacare in 2017 ... UnitedHealth Group is the master of health care for profit. In 2004, United’s CEO William McGuire (an MD, woefully enough), received compensation of $125 million, obtained, you may be sure, by tens of thousands of denials .... UnitedHealth and CIGNA, funneled $86.2 million into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 to pay for the Chamber’s multifaceted campaign to kill President Obama’s health reform legislation.UnitedHealth Group was never a big player in the exchanges. Those that are do well. Insurers are making more in Wisconsin because the Walker administration isn't trying to control premium increases like other states...Minnesota is one.
Health systems in the Milwaukee area have seen a sharp increase in profits since the expansion of health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. So far, the law has helped the bottom lines of health systems in the Milwaukee area. The same trend overall can be seen throughout the country. A key reason: Health systems are providing less charity care and incurring fewer bad debts. A slew of other factors — including health systems' work to control costs and become more efficient — contributed to the increase in profits in the Milwaukee area. Still, the numbers are telling:■ Aurora Health Care's operating income was up 221% in 2014, increasing to $503 million from $156.8 million in 2013. For the first nine months of 2015, operating income fell slightly to $337.5 million when compared with the same period in 2014. But that was more than triple the operating income of $92.4 million reported for the first nine months of 2013.■ Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare's operating income was up 158%, increasing to $69.2 million compared with $26.8 million in its 2014 fiscal year.■ ProHealth Care's operating income was up 125%, increasing to $37.8 million compared with $16.8 million for its 2014 fiscal year.■ Froedtert Health's operating income was up 79%, increasing to $149 million compared with $83.4 million in its 2014 fiscal year.■ Columbia St. Mary's operating income was up 26%, increasing to $26.1 million compared with $20.7 million in its 2013 fiscal year.At least some of those gains have come from the increase in people with health insurance, either through the subsidized health plans sold on the federal marketplaces or the state's partial expansion of its Medicaid program. For example:■ Froedtert Health's bad debt expense fell by $40.2 million, to $33.2 million, while the cost of providing charity care fell by $14.2 million, to $7.6 million.■ Wheaton Franciscan's bad debt expense fell by $29.6 million, to $44.9 million, while the cost of providing charity care fell by $15 million, to $34.5 million.At the same time, the health systems are seeing more patients, in part because people previously uninsured are likely to schedule an appointment with a doctor. Many people who have gained coverage have commercial insurance, which pays higher rates.
Health systems also are preparing for the expected move away from so-called fee-for-service — in which they are paid based on the services they provide — to new payment models that could put more focus on costs and quality.
In his 31 years as a senator, Mitch McConnell has argued that the Senate must fulfill its Constitutional duty and vote on a president’s judicial nominee at least 24 times. All of these claims are in direct contrast to McConnell’s refusal to hold hearings for to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“My Republican colleagues and I honored Senate tradition. We followed the constitutional directive set forth in Article II, Section 2, that the Senate as an institution as reflected by the will of the majority of its Members, render its advice and consent on the President’s nominees. We put propriety over partisanship.” [3/9/2005]
“For the first time in history, a minority of Senators, on a repeated, partisan, and systematic basis, has prevented the Senate as a whole from discharging its constitutional obligation to provide advice and
consent on judicial nominations.” [3/9/2005]
“We need to recommit ourselves to the 200 year principle that in a democracy an up-or-down vote should be given to a President’s judicial nominees. It is simple. It is fair. It has been that way for over 2 centuries. And it’s served us well.” [4/14/2005]
“The stakes are high. The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article 2, section 2 clearly provides the President and the President alone nominates judges. The Senate is merely empowered to give advice and consent, but our Democratic colleagues want to change the rules…. there would be the distinct possibility and in fact great likelihood, if this continues, that 41 Members of the Senate will dictate to the President of the United States who may be a member of the Supreme Court and other courts. We have made every effort to reach out and compromise, but our colleagues at least so far have refused. The only choice that remains is to hold a vote to reaffirm the traditions and precedents that have served this body so well for the last 214 years. Let us vote.” [5/19/2005]
For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s “advise and consent’’ responsibilities to “advise and obstruct.” [5/19/2005]
By tradition, the President may consult with Senators. But the tradition of “consultation’’ does not transform individual Senators into co-presidents. We have elections for that, and President Bush has won the last two.” [6/9/2005]
“So even, you know, as you have a lame-duck president, there is a historical standard for fairness when it comes to confirming judicial nominees.” [7/14/2008]
No. 1, we should treat Judge Roberts with dignity and with respect. No. 2, we should have a fair process. And No. 3, we should complete that process with either an up-or-down vote in time for the Court to be at full strength for its new term beginning October 3 of this year.” [7/20/2005]
State Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) walked out of a Monday meeting with representatives of three local school districts, upset when an Eau Claire School Board member stated that Wisconsin’s economy compared unfavorably with Minnesota’s.
“Fundamentally, Minnesota is beating us,” said Wendy Sue Johnson, citing a Jan. 20 article written by state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), who also attended the meeting. “Our (school) funding formula is broken,” Johnson added.
Bernier then got up to leave the “Breakfast with Our Legislators” session. “It is not helpful to compare Minnesota and Wisconsin,” Bernier said, remarking that this is what she experiences with Altoona, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls each time she attends the districts’ breakfast.
Bernier later said she hears the same theme when she meets with representatives of the three districts: “We want more money, we want more money and we don’t like this or that.”
“This vile political speech is not helpful,” Bernier said before leaving. “Sweeping partisan statements coming out of a non-partisan member just ticked me off.”
Johnson said, “It’s clearly disappointing when our representatives are not willing to engage in conversations about the issues.”
The first announced appointee to the new state ethics commission is the secretary of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, state officials said Tuesday.We found out yesterday Scott Walker is stacking the UW Board of Regents with donors:
Critics said the appointment of Katie McCallum confirms their fear that the commission and its new counterpart, which will oversee elections, will be beholden to legislative leaders and partisan interests.
She was an aide to state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, and was a staffer for two former GOP candidates, Kurt Schlicht and Terrence Wall, and worked for the U.S. Department of Education and the Republican National Committee. She also is the daughter-in-law of former Republican Gov. Scott McCallum, according to a 2011 Capital Times report.
Jay Heck, director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, described McCallum’s appointment as “exactly what we feared.”
Scott Walker names campaign donor to UW Board of Regents ... a frequent contributor to his campaign fund, donating $9,639.68 since 2010.
But some Democrats weren’t happy about the gesture. “I would be remise if I did not also acknowledge the harm that his words have caused to many of the people I represent,” complained state Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) who went on to cite a laundry list of Scalia’s opinions that he disagreed with. “Certainly his words and messaging around marriage equality are deeply disturbing.”
In the subsequent voice vote that followed, Democrats could be heard shouting “nay” to the passage of the resolution. The measure now heads to the Senate where it is likely to pass.
Democratic skepticism of the resolution centered around its closing clauses and the judicial philosophy of the jurist:
“Whereas, Justice Scalia forever impacted the law of the United States of America by eloquently explaining his philosophy in countless judicial opinions, including his majority opinions in D.C. v. Heller and Printz v. United States as well as his dissenting opinions in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Atkins v. Virginia, Obergefell v. Hodges, and King v. Burwell; now, therefore, be it “Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring, That the members of the Wisconsin legislature commend the ardent and remarkable service Justice Antonin Scalia gave to our country through his fundamental belief in the rule of law and for preserving the lasting consistency of our Constitution.
...try to find the money to buy their own radio station and create a progressive format to give more voices a say. The effort is led by the grass-roots organization Citizen Action of Wisconsin.Media Tracker's Brian Sikma's piece, "Citizen Action Declares War on Conservative Talk Radio," suggests any criticism or challenge to conservative radios monopoly in Milwaukee is a declaration of war. So much for Citizen Action's 1st Amendment right to speak out and call into question their market dominance.
"There is a diversity of viewpoints on a variety of issues. They might not be touting what might be considered progressive or liberal ideas, but when it comes to prescriptions for what conservatives in state government should do when it comes to looking at candidates for public office, there is certainly a diversity of viewpoints."
45-year-old Jason Brian Dalton has no record of criminal history, nor anything in his background "that would lead us to believe he was capable of this type of behavior," Kalamazoo Police Chief Jeff Hadley said.
Picking targets seemingly at random, a gunman went on a hours-long rampage in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Saturday night, driving around the city and opening fire on unsuspecting victims at an apartment complex, a car dealership and a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Six people died, and another two were seriously injured — including a 14-year-old girl who had been pronounced brain dead but squeezed her mother's hand as doctors were preparing to harvest her organs, police said. She was then able to respond to questions by squeezing her mom's hand several more times, and was rushed into surgery.
"He was a law-abiding citizen up until he pulled the trigger on the first victim," said Jonathan Southwick, owner of a gun store in Plainwell, 20 miles north of Kalamazoo. "There are no laws you could put into place to stop what had happened."
When asked what the accountability measures were in the bill to ensure students were progressing educationally, Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, said the accountability was the parents.
“There is accountability in the bill, but the accountability that matters is the parents.”
The bill does not require students who receive the vouchers to take the achievement tests that are required of students in the public schools. Bomgar said student testing has not been effective in improving public education.
House Education Chair John Moore, R-Brandon, the primary author of the legislation, said the proposal does not include accountability measures now, they will be added later in the legislative process. “You can bet there will be some accountability in it.”
Vouchers also could be used for other purposes like hiring a tutor for homeschooling.
Section 208 of the state Constitution reads no funds shall “be appropriated toward the support of any sectarian school, or to any school that at the time of receiving such appropriation is not conducted as a free school.”As dumb as that sounds, the courts went along with it.
But Bomgar said the funds would be given to the parents and not the schools.
1. In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature and Republican governor eliminated early voting days. In 2012, 900,000 voters cast their ballots during the early voting window. In 2016, that number will be zero.
2. Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project said, “We’ve litigated over Voter ID laws in a number of states—Indiana, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Carolina. In none of those states were government officials able to point to a single instance of in-person voter impersonation happening. But in every case we’ve had we’ve identified tens of thousands of people who don’t have photo IDs. There’s no evidence of voter fraud and plenty of evidence of disenfranchisement.
3. Ten years ago there were zero states with a strict voter ID law, and no states cutting back on early voting. All these laws started after the 2008 election, which saw record numbers of young voters and record participation by people of color” voting Democratic.
4. Dale Ho explained: “And then, as if by coincidence, we have all these laws passed—25 in 2011-12 alone—that disproportionately impact young people, people of color, and poor people. That is, to put it mildly, suspicious. We do catch other kinds of fraud … an organization paid people based on the number of registrations they got, and people filled out Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and so on. The point is, we catch them.”
Between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 reported instances of voter impersonation out of more than 1 billion ballots cast. But that means the odds of voter fraud are 1 in 32 million. By way of comparison, your odds of actually becoming president are 1 in 10 million.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach … prosecuted … all of three cases, none of which involved voter impersonation. In fact, all three appeared to be mistakes, in which senior citizens voted in two states by accident.
Not a single instance of voter impersonation. Bans on early voting wouldn’t even prevent these kinds of fraud; it’s not clear what they’re supposed to do, other than make it harder for working people to vote, and harder for get-out-the-vote operations to help people do so. In short, none of these laws prevent voter fraud. They prevent voting, mostly for Democrats. And thanks to new laws in four swing states, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio, they might just prevent a Democrat from getting into the White House.
The state of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County would be barred from spending any money on a Milwaukee streetcar under a bill that cleared the (Republican) state Assembly Thursday night ... yet another glimpse at how far apart Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats stand when it comes to rail funding...Is it any wonder Milwaukee is struggling to be a major contributor to the states economy? Republicans don't get it either, while admitting how much they hate the states largest city:
Republican Rep. Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) ... said the city is "the anchor holding back the ship of state as far as jobs is concerned."
|Rep. Janel "boondocks" Brantjen|
Brantjen: "Trains are the romantic fantasy of a European nation."
Democrats, like Rep. Chris Danou of Trempeleau, were at times incredulous during debate on the measure. "I honestly do find myself flabbergasted at times by the beliefs that I hear from the other side."
Slinger Republican Rep. Bob Gannon called the streetcar a waste of money. "I don't ask you to fund my automobile," Gannon said. "I don't want you to ask me, the citizens of the 58th Assembly District, to pay for your trolley."And after massive ineffectual tax cuts meant to starve the beast-like government, surprise, we don't have enough money to pay for economic development:
Democrats said Gannon's remarks showed a misunderstanding of transportation funding, noting that automobiles rely on publicly funded roads and bridges. "When you get in your car, you do not pay the full price of that road," said Danou.
Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer of Kewaskum said, "This bill simply assures that we will not put any more strain on our existing state mass transportation system funding," said Kremer.Again, these numskulls are charged with running this state...into the friggin ground.