Saturday, September 28, 2019

My New Neighbors Mailbox...

Last year a new neighbor moved in. We've talked briefly in our shared driveway, and we have exchanged hello's pulling in an out of the parking lot. That's about it. For awhile, I thought maybe it was the old anti-Walker window sticker on our van that might have set things off on the wrong foot. To be honest, I still don't know.

Then, a few days back, I was greeted by this, the unmistakable "Betsy Ross" flag adopted by white nationalists, now draped proudly over my neighbors mailbox.

Their mailbox now greets every passing car...: 

I thought fighting back with a mailbox cover of our own...if only I could buy something like this...

I could own them with Obama, or 9/11...


WI's Gerrymandered Republican majority ignore and enjoy peoples pain in opposition to Medical Marijuana.

Take the issue of medical and recreational marijuana and climate change.

Conservative voters don't care if they're wrong about really important things. Even when published peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree* change is happening. You'd think they would at least play it safe and hedge their bets a little, just in case, right? Nope, science is wrong.

They won't believe 97 percent of scientists on climate change, but say they want to wait until there is enough science to determine if marijuana is safe? Will "97 percent safe" be enough? Didn't think so. 

Marijuana Science Hypocrisy: Isn't it funny how those same voters don't mind letting our gerrymandered Republican majority insist on getting more scientific research done before letting medical and recreational marijuana become legal in Wisconsin? Nevermind border states like Illinois and Michigan will soon pour vast amounts of pot into our state, costly us massive amounts of taxpayer money policing and prosecuting our friends and neighbors, turning them into criminals. 

Conservative voters don't seem bothered by the following mindless nonsensical comment by Rep. Vos grouping a bunch of unrelated issues as a reason to keep pot illegal. See if you can follow Vos' logic...I couldn't. Makes you wonder what he's smoking:
Rep. Robin Vos argued Illinois residents are "fleeing" the state. "I think if all they've got to offer people is high taxes, high regulations, lower home values and marijuana, that should not be an economic growth strategy. So I'd much rather be Wisconsin, where we have more jobs than we can fill, rising wages, home values that are increasing and no recreational marijuana."
Actual Research is all the proof you need: The latest issue of AARP had an important article detailing what we currently know, and why many states and one northern border country has made it legal:
1. It’s like a trip to an adults-only candy store, loaded with tinctures and oils, vape pens and “flower” (dried marijuana), mouth sprays and skin patches, fancy chocolate truffles, cinnamon-scented cookies, and sodas, balms and lotions, all laced with the active ingredients in cannabis. 

2. Scientists can’t buy it at a dispensary and study it in most labs. That research gap means only a handful of the common uses of cannabis are backed by substantial evidence from human clinical trials, according to a rigorous 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM).

3. More than 600,000 Americans turn to cannabis for relief from chronic pain — and the scientific evidence for its effectiveness is substantial. In gold-standard randomized clinical trials of people who had agonizing health concerns — peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain from diabetes), spinal cord injury, HIV or complex regional pain syndrome, cancer, chemotherapy, muscle and joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis — cannabis reduced pain by 40 percent, according to the 2017 NASEM report.
4. In a recent Canadian study, cannabis even soothed arthritic lab rats. Surprisingly, there’s little evidence (yet) from human studies for the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis — the wear-and-tear joint disease affecting 50 percent of adults age 65-plus. Clinical trials are underway. But who’s waiting? Arthritis was the top reason older adults used cannabis in a 2019 Colorado survey, followed by back pain. Overall, 79 percent said it helped. BOTTOM LINE: It seems to help.
The '60s and '70's Boomers Loved Pot: Many of the stories I've read about recreational marijuana seem to have forgotten how boomers saw pot as a normal fun thing to do. Maybe that's why seniors are once again, into it. I gave up smoking it because it made me tired, but even that has changed now, with the development of non-drowsy marijuana: 
1. No surprise that across the nation, 58 percent of Americans 55 and older now say smoking pot is morally acceptable, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. Over 25 percent of Americans 50 and older — some 29 million — live in one of the 11 states or the District of Columbia where recreational pot is legal.
Still, I can't imagine working out "stoned."
2. It's way out in the open as a “cannabis culture” has erupted, with cannabis-themed dinner parties, yoga sessions, art classes, vacation tours and even a night out at a local tavern.

3. In Oregon, where recreational marijuana became legal in 2015, you can sample edibles infused with cannabis at bakeries, restaurants and private dinners featuring “cannabis cuisine” — then work off the calories by getting “lit and fit” at a stoned exercise class.

4. "I'll have infused recipes — like lemon bars with a cannabis strain that derives its lemony scent from a compound called limonene,” notes Laurie Wolf, 65, the author of several cannabis cookbooks, who hosts dinner parties at her floating home near Portland. “But I'll also do an entire cannabis meal where I will infuse the starters with an uplifting strain and end with something a touch more sedating."

5. In one recent survey of Colorado residents age 60 to 94, a third said they smoke, vape or munch recreationally (versus medically). “At times, I have just as many older people taking the tour as younger people,” says guide Alayna Adair, 32, of Denver-based Colorado Cannabis Tours. “We stop at dispensaries and growing facilities, and people definitely indulge on the bus. I've had older people celebrate their birthday here. It's a real party.”

Friday, September 27, 2019

Vos and Fitzgerald's No Spending, more Tax Cuts!

Like Illegal Yellow Oleomargarine, WI GOP forces Border Sale of Illinois Marijuana, making Criminals of us all.

Here we go again.

Just like in the days of illegally colored yellow oleomargarine, Republicans are about to make law abiding Wisconsinites illegal smugglers of completely legal recreational marijuana from Illinois (coincidentally, WI went to Michigan for oleo and soon...pot). Ok, so who needs civics lesson more, high school students or Republican legislators? After checking out the stories below, anyone want this insane nightmare to begin again?

During margarine’s long prohibition, the product was variously outlawed, taxed, prohibited from being colored and required to be colored pink (until “pink” was ruled unconstitutional).

Walker's Failed Legacy continues...: Add marijuana, recreational or medical, to the disgraced legacy of former governor Scott Walker, and another lesson we didn't learn with yellow colored oleomargarine.

Despite the entire nation of Canada and the growing list of states legalizing marijuana, Walker is convinced that our long history of arresting fiendish users of pot is reason enough to pack our prisons. Walker compares pot to the opioid epidemic, calling it a "gateway drug," similar to the way Dragnet's Sgt. Joe Friday used to say back in 1967:

Surprise, the police aren't going to support legal pot? So Walker wants us to return to a similar oleo-like rush to the Illinois border turning average Wisconsinites into criminals? We can afford that too? 

Speaking of opioids, want to partially solve that problem? Not Walker, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Robin Vos, who have relentlessly run away from real world problems. Republicans again want to just add to the problem:
Making medical and recreational marijuana available may be one way to help fight the opioid epidemic. Two new studies published yesterday found availability of marijuana is linked with lower rates of opioid prescription rates, our colleague Christopher Ingraham reports.

The first study found the passage of medical and recreational marijuana laws led to reductions in Medicaid opiate prescription rates of 5.88 percent and 6.38 percent, respectively.
That's a huge saving, and yet Republican "protectors of taxpayer money" are again willing to waste lots of taxpayer money staying true to their backward principles.
President Trump called on researchers to “come up with a painkiller that’s not so addictive.” The latest studies suggest that such a painkiller already exists — it is called marijuana, and it is legal for medical use in 29 states and for recreational use in 9 states plus DC.

The second study found that at the state level, medical marijuana laws were connected to an 8.5 percent drop in the number of daily opioid doses filled under Medicare Part D, a 14.4 percent reduction for states with medical marijuana dispensaries and a 6.9 percent drop in states that allowed pot cultivation at home. That’s compared with states that don’t have medical marijuana laws.
Illinois Recreational Pot in opens in Jan. 2020: Like our parents did for yellow oleomargarine, head for the borders folks: 
The Hill: Marijuana use among college students spiked to its highest rate in 35 years, according to a study published Thursday by the University of Michigan. The study showed that in 2018, 43 percent of full-time college students ages 19-22 reported using marijuana at least once in the previous 12 months.
JS: In late June, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law legalizing the recreational use of cannabis that lowers the barrier of entry to the industry … Illinois’ legislation the “gold standard” in large part because it lowers the capital barrier that some ran into. The law includes a cannabis business development fund of roughly $30 million to provide low-interest loans for those directly impacted by past cannabis laws. These “social equity” applicants include people or their families who have been arrested or convicted of a cannabis-related offense … juvenile arrest qualifies them as a social equity applicant.

Under recreational legalization, the cost of entry is as low as $5,000 with a social equity discount. ”...the owners (will) reflect the diversity of the state rather than deep-pocketed people who can afford really expensive licenses.”

State Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, says such a move could bring in $138 million a year. Sargent’s latest bill, cannabis business licenses in Wisconsin would be divided into five categories — producer, processor, distributor, retailer and microbusiness — but, as in most states, a business could hold multiple licenses. The bill does not include provisions for social equity applicants or disproportionately impacted areas but does call for discounted licenses fees for small businesses.
Must See: Dragnet 67's Joe Friday gets Schooled: What still boggles the mind is how actor Jack Webb, aka Joe Friday, came up with the brilliant script that argues for legalized pot in the show clip below. Webb even made Friday agree with some of the arguments. This is amazing stuff...WATCH:

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Small town citizen Vicki "McKenna" Porter takes her show to House Oversight Committee!

Thank you Ms. Vicki Porter? No, that's really right-wing talker Vicki McKenna.

Seriously, no one knew that?

It's hard to imagine how Wisconsin reporting missed this one (JS should be embarrassed). WISN's fake news BS'er Vicki McKenna appeared before the House Oversight Committee as an everyday resident "from Lake Mills Wisconsin," defending the practice of vaping (e-cigarettes). They did help her quit cigarettes.

I have to disclose "upfront;" I worked with Vicki as a co-hosted of her show in the very beginning, so I know how she converts real-world facts into a predetermined conservative fiction. That said, McKenna...I mean "Porter" did make some good points about vaping.

McKenna, hiding her identity in front of the House Oversight Committee (how did that happen?), too skillfully exaggerated fiction into fact, got confrontational and took the first opportunity to play the victim against Democratic arch-villain Rep. RashidaTlaib. Tlaib noticed Vicki winking at Rep. Glenn Grothman, and was concerned they both conspired against the committee. She was right, but Porter "McKenna" feigned outrage immediately.

Tlaib also seemed unaware of McKenna's background when she described her as a "converted conservative and a reformed Marxist," with no mention of her radio job.

Watch how McKenna and old friend Rep. Glenn Grothman work the Committee: Porter (McKenna) very selectively stuck to the outdated report from the United Kingdom's Royal College of Physicians back in 2016 (at 1:23 in the video) that determined e-cigarettes weren't harmful. Tricky. Of course that's well before any actual long term and thorough research was enacted, and certainly well before profiteers found ways to contaminate the product with their own untested ingredients.

Again, this is Vicki McKenna, the veteran conservative talk show host, disguised as your average small town concerned citizen. She and Grothman both made outrageous statements.

Grothman said THC cannabis cartridges in the medical marijuana program may have been a mistake because they opened the door for contamination and abuse. Huh?

The fact is, vaping just started harming users after years of being on the market, so it has to be something else. It's not THC capsules, because they have been a successful part of the medical cannabis program. Vicki is right to say that it has to be something that was added to vaping cartridges. And yes, more government long term testing of the effects, and then possible control of the product is a no brainer.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Smog now hangs over Trump swamp!

These were the most obvious and startling stories to come out this week. And it explains a whole lot about Trump's 19th-century authoritarian "Gilded Age" mentality.

1. Make Auto Emissions Worse: It all seems surreal, doesn't it? Trump attacked California for having tougher environmental standards on auto emissions than the nation, and then legally went after automakers who agreed to and wants to produce cleaner-running cars. So much for market forces? MSNBC:
NBC News’ Jo Ling Kent reports on the Trump administration’s attempts to actively sabotage efforts by the state of California and major automakers to raise emission standards above the national average. Aired on 09/20/19.

2. Climate Hoax, not a Hoax according to Exxon in the 70s and early 80s: Here's something I didn't know about climate change, and what Trump cultist believe is a global hoax; climate change was a serious concern by Exxon scientists before they realized their research would negatively affect their profitability:
Exxon: The oil giant's top scientists were clear-eyed about the potentially devastating impact of fossil fuels. But the company chose to raise doubts among the public. Exxon issued a statement in response to our story: "Reports that claim we reached definitive conclusions about climate change decades before the world’s experts are inaccurate. Climate change is a serious issue & it’s going to take efforts by business, governments and consumers for meaningful action."

3. Trump Impatient with Long Dishwasher Times: You can't make this stuff up? But then, Trump and the Koch group FreedomWorks just did...:

“Dishwashers used to clean a full load of filthy dishes in under an hour. But now they take an average of two and a half hours and STILL leave dishes dirty!” reads one online petition promoted by FreedomWorks, a libertarian offshoot of a group co-founded by the late David H. Koch. The decline of American dishwashers, the site says, is “all thanks to crazy environmentalist rules.”

The petition, titled “Make Dishwashers Great Again,” ... Trump administration emails made public as part of a lawsuit shed new light on the effort ... One such email, sent in June 2018 to supporters of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, urged them to write to the Department of Energy supporting the creation of “a new class of ‘fast dishwashers’ that can complete a cycle in an hour or less.”
4. Trump's Orange Color blamed on Light Bulbs: Not kidding...

“The light bulb. People said, ‘What’s with the light bulb?’ I said, ‘Here’s the story.’ And I looked at it, the bulb that we’re being forced to use, number one to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst,” Trump said.
5. Trump Pollution NOT so Pro-Life! On a much more serious note...

Air pollution particles have been found on the foetal side of placentas, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning.

The research is the first study to show the placental barrier can be penetrated by particles breathed in by the mother. The link between exposure to dirty air and increased miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights is well established. The research suggests the particles themselves may be the cause, not solely the inflammatory response the pollution produces in mothers.

Damage to foetuses has lifelong consequences ... A comprehensive global review concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body. Nanoparticles have also been found to cross the blood-brain barrier and billions have been found in the hearts of young city dwellers.
Here are a few tweets to reflect on:

Friday, September 20, 2019

Politics of Resentment: Republican Lessons on How-to-do-Nothing for educations and Gun deaths!!!

Wait a minute, Republicans are now outrage that school proficiency is down statewide? But they were in control of public education for the last 8 years, and tried to take power away from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction? 

They do know this was all under their watch, right? 

I once suggested here that the best Democratic strategy against Republicans would be to ignore them completely and do their own thing like the GOP didn't exist. Yea, it's still good advice, but there's one more thing...

...don't take them seriously either, and make that perfectly clear in public statements.

Public education in the state has a lot to brag about:
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor “While we have some of the highest graduation rates, ACT scores and advanced placement participation in the country, we have yet to fully reconcile that success with the deep, persistent gaps in achievement, access and opportunity that exist for far too many of Wisconsin’s children.”
We're talking about areas of high poverty. Republicans never cared much for poverty, so instead of tackling that problem, they brag about low unemployment and huge tax cuts till our ears bleed.

Republicans apparently want to continue ignoring economically depressed areas affecting student outcomes, solving teacher retention in urban and rural areas, rural school closings, rural long distance busing to nearby schools, funding that doesn't have to rely on referendums, updating or replacing crumbling schools, legislative political meddling in curriculum, and sending money to choice schools with half the proficiency of the public schools they're now outraged about.  

Education Scores Down as Expected, Republicans are now giving up! Not Kidding: Yesterdays amazing comments were telling; Republicans are also telling us we have to wait until we find a magical solution first before they will do anything:
Some Republican lawmakers criticized the decline in proficiency in light of increased funding for schools in recent state budgets.“With the repeated increases in funding for K-12 education, taxpayers deserve to know why we’re not seeing better results,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said.
Uh, funding cuts for 7 years? So throw it all out, do nothing, ignore massive poverty, and wait for a magical solution:

Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, (said) “This is proof of what we already know — more money is not always the best solution and it’s rarely the only solution. We need to re-evaluate our approach and abandon failed methods, particularly in reading instruction.”
Note: The only people saying "money is the only solution" are Republicans. It's an old ploy that makes doing nothing seem like a solution.

How we got here...?

1. Scott Walker's Republican legacy includes the second biggest cuts to public education in the U.S. and the vilification of teachers through Act 10, so...

2. came as no surprise that experienced teachers retired en mass and the profession continues to see a teacher exodus, which brought about...

3. ...Walker's last ditch effort to save his job with a little back-fill of dollars in public funding, but by then the damage was done. 
Guns, Guns, Guns: Isn't it time conservative voters say "enough is enough?"  Obviously our system of arming citizens is fatally flawed. Will such simpleton statements from the party's legislative leaders really get a pass from frustrated voters overwhelmingly supporting gun measures that poll through the roof?
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a joint statement they "believe this legislation poses threats to due process and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens."
Nope, they're lying, playing up to the myth Democrats want to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Does this sound like "due process" is being threatened since the legal system and judicial branch is involved?
Under the “red flag” bill, a family member, household member or police officer could petition the court to prevent an individual from possessing a gun. The court could then issue a temporary restraining order and injunction if it’s found the person is likely to injure themselves or someone else. That injunction would be effective for up to one year.
One more word on doing away with the 2nd Amendment. Of course that would be impossible to do...unless someone (Scott Walker) opens that door by calling for a Constitutional Congress, and Democrats are able to institute a rewrite with a safer and more up-to-date version. Ironically, Walker is doing just that. He assumes all the right-wings proposed changes would find a super majority support by the states. Bring it on Scotty.   

Thursday, September 19, 2019

What Universal Health Insurance Looks Like!

I saw this at AlterNet/Daily Kos a month ago, and couldn't pass up the simple message about what universal health care can be like in the U.S.:
Mary Robinette Kowal, a Hugo Award-winning author based in Nashville, did her part in a recent viral Twitter thread, and it was a thing of beauty:

Universal Health Insurance Solution to Rising Employer/Employee Spending, and GM Union Strikers Losing Insurance!

Universal health care, or Medicare-for-All, would simply make every doctor your doctor and every hospital your hospital. Your current doctor will continue to see you and you would no longer be confined to a restrictive "network" of medical providers.

Clarification; insurers do not have doctors or hospitals, they're just insurance companies trying to make a profit, denying claims and requiring massive co-pays and deductibles that saves them money.

Remember, everything presented here would not be an issue with a national universal health insurance program. 

People Love their "cheap" Employer Health Insurance? They shouldn't: Republicans have repeated the industry talking point that workers would lose their employer-provided insurance. They're not losing anything, because they will still have universal health insurance. What we're finding out now is that employer insurance is getting very expensive for employees:

Research indicates that a sizable group of people with employer health care, an estimated 23.6 million Americans, are still spending a ton on their medical bills ... with high premium contributions, high out-of-pocket costs, or both. The report goes against the notion that employer health plans mean lower health care costs.

According to the Commonwealth Fund (TCF), “employer plan premium contributions and out-of-pocket costs, are eating up an increasing portion of household budgets ... a steady growth in the percentage of people who are insured all year but have high out-of-pocket costs relative to their income and deductibles” to the point that “they’re considered underinsured. The biggest growth in that trend is occurring among people who have employer plans.”
And while universal health insurance may cost $32 trillion over 10 years, or $3.2 trillion a year, look at what we paid in 2017, with increasing high deductibles, co-pays, monthly premiums, and with approximately 27.5 million uninsured people and rising:
In 2017, U.S. health care spending grew 3.9%, reaching $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). That accounts for about 17.9% of the nation’s GDP. The uninsured rate rose from 7.9 percent in 2017 to 8.5 percent last year, amounting to nearly 2 million more uninsured people.
Republicans incorrectly claim the federal Medicaid insurance program is like welfare. They would also like you to think it's filled with abusive freeloaders, when in fact, people only use Medicaid when they need medical care, and that's not very often. So why not cover everyone?

GM Striking Workers Negotiating Health Insurance, then get Cut off: Unions are still arguing that they worked hard to get great health insurance plans, when in fact, a national universal insurance program would provide the same benefits. From NPR, this report about how important health insurance is to their union talks, an issue we wouldn't have with Medicare-for-All: 

But then this brutal negotiating tactic happened...

Prior Authorization Nightmare: For chronic conditions, the idea of prior authorization is just crazy. Under universal health insurance, this would probably be unnecessary. This is also an issue that could save money that might not have been factored into the government's estimates: 
When common chronic conditions such as diabetes are well controlled, it prevents worsening disease and saves money for the health system and the patient. But Ric Peralta says his efforts to use this new tool consistently to manage his diabetes have been stymied by insurance problems ... The newest Dexcom continuous glucose monitor has three parts.

For each of these parts, Peralta needs something called a "prior authorization" from his insurer ... But he also has to get prior authorization for each supply, meaning every three months his doctor needs to reconfirm with his insurance company that the sensors are medically necessary. Same goes for the device's transmitters

"I have to jump through hoops and they have to jump through hoops to get information from my insurance to get authorization," Peralta says in frustration, adding, "for the last year, basically every time there's been something that's gone wrong."
Physicians don't like prior authorizations either...
Of the 1,000 physicians surveyed, 91 percent said prior authorizations "have a negative impact on patient clinical outcomes;" 75 percent said the requirements "can at least sometimes lead to patients abandoning a recommended course of treatment;" and 28 percent said the prior authorization process had "led to serious or life-threatening events" for their patients.

"In my practice we have five individual physicians, and we hired five full-time employees whose primary duty is obtaining prior authorization and dealing with insurance companies," says Dr. Bruce Scott, an otolaryngologist from Kentucky and Vice Speaker of the AMA House of Delegates.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Terrible-Toxic Tom Tiffany in Congress? Wow, you'd have to be crazy as he is...

State Sen. Tom Tiffany wants to destroy the US environment from DC as our next Congressman, and die hard Republican voters appreciate his work. Let's take a look at his extraordinary past Trump-like idiocy:


1. June 4th, 2019: It's best to believe Sen. Tom Tiffany, who found a magical way to "balance" business interests with the environment. (Hint, it can't be done.)  Yet Gov. Tony Evers' attempt to resume climate research didn't sit well with Tiffany, who said this amazing thing:
Tiffany says, "That was certainly one of the red flags for me. Trying to re-establish the science bureau is certainly a red flag for me, too.” 
Republicans...friends of the farmers, sportsmen, and tourism? If you like wading in contaminated water and mud, maybe. Let's just look at the water problem...
Tiffany was a driving force behind the 2015 cuts and the subsequent elimination of the science bureau. He opposes environmental regulation he sees as needlessly hindering businesses.
Tiffany even wrote the mining law to allow pollution, intentionally...would I kid you?
If the law is challenged and ends up in court, the judge needs to know it was the Legislature’s intent to allow adverse (environmental) impacts. That way, a judge can’t find fault if the environment is impacted.”

2. October, 2013: 
Tiffany said he worked on the bill with frac sand industry representatives and quarry operators who are worried about possible over-regulation.
Here's what Tiffany considers "over-regulation." Take a deep breath, because you won’t believe this mining sellout. Stunning. Chippewa Herald:
Tiffany and Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, want a law that would limit the ability of towns to use health and safety ordinances to regulate mining.
• Prohibit a local zoning ordinance from restricting an existing mine from continuing or expanding on contiguous land.

• Repeal county authority to set water quality or air pollution standards for rock and sand mining and blasting.

• Limit liability for companies whose trucks damage roads, and prevent local governments from forcing mining companies to pay to improve roads it wants to use to haul sand. But officials could require mining companies to guarantee that they would repair damage.

• Roll back counties' ability to require repair of land damaged by a mine. Mining companies could not be required by counties to monitor air or water quality, and counties could no longer set standards higher than state standards.

• Ends most regulation of blasting from local governments and places it in the hands of the state Department of Safety and Professional Services.

• Prohibits local ordinances -- including zoning laws -- from regulating the borrowing or disposal of soil used in state highway projects


3. Feb. 15, 2015: I have a video of Tiffany say this at the linked story...really:
Tiffany: "If you talk to my constituents here in northern Wisconsin, there's probably not one in a thousand that know what the Bureau of Science Services does, and doesn't bring value to the taxpayers."

 4. June 2015: Tiffany thinks having a "wildlife management agenda" is bad!!!
Walker’s proposal to shrink the DNR’s scientific capacity appears to have been the brainchild of Tom Tiffany, a GOP state senator who is a longtime critic of the DNR’s science bureau. Tiffany said he thinks the agency’s scientists have a wildlife management “agenda” that has driven the agency to mismanage the deer herd, curtailing sportsmen’s hunting opportunities. He has also said he believes the agency’s scientists spend too much time on controversial subjects like climate change, which he views as “theoretical.”

5. March 4, 2018Here a look at 8 years worth of Walker's environmental teardown: Pretty much under the direction of the Assemblies environmental wrecking ball, Tom Tiffany. Keep in mind, this list is from October 2015:
(1.) Make it easier to destroy wetlands(2.) Block homeowners’ ability to challenge large farms and frac sand mines when they believe a cluster of their high-capacity wells is drying up lakes, streams or drinking water. (3) Seek federal approval to extend by up to 20 years the deadlines for full compliance with limits on phosphorus discharges that promote weed and algae growth in lakes and streams. (4) Slow purchases of conservation lands while mandating land sales and banning local zoning rules that are more limiting than state standards for shoreline development(5) Insisted it can’t legally limit the expansion of mega farms despite an order to do so from a judge who said ”massive regulatory failure” had tainted Kewaunee County drinking water. (6) Reduced the number of pollution violations it sends to state lawyers for court action and the number of wildlife citations it issues. (7) Delayed for years studying how small dust particles from the frac sand industry affect the health of neighboring residents. (8) Written emergency rules to decrease analysis of potential environmental harm and public hearings on sources of pollution when reviews of similar projects have been done. (9) Received warnings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that air and water quality protections are inadequate or out of date.

Wisconsin Private Choice Schools Score Half as Proficient as Public Schools!!!

Are we trying to give Republicans, including Scott Walker, a pass on their public education legacy following Act 10? I think yes?

My head is exploding over the recently released 2019 Student Assessment Scores and the coverage.

Republicans Attack Teachers and Slash School Funding: Let's start with the first obvious story that should point voters to the guilty party: Republicans and the 8 years of trashing teachers and public education.

WSJ: Wisconsin has had the second deepest slash in per-student spending in the nation since 2008 — second only to Alabama — according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Alabama and Wisconsin led the list of at least 35 states providing less funding per student than they did before the recession hit.
Surprise, Teacher Exodus and Vilification took Toll: Scott Walker and the gerrymandered Majority Republicans started the ball rolling with Act 10. And they were warned, but...

CapTimes: Tim Slekar, the dean of Edgewood College’s School of Education, regularly meets with about a dozen prospective students each semester. “I’ve sat here and done it more than once where an interested student and their parents come in, and the parents say, ‘Yeah, she wants to be a teacher but we told her we’re not supportive of that decision.’”

...students see experienced educators leave the profession earlier than anticipated. Of those who leave teaching before retirement age, many cite a lack of support from school administrators as well as high stress and low morale.
Take notice conservative voters, Republican Rep. Robin Vos is once again trying to pass blame, to distract you by feigning outrage over something he was responsible for:

JS: Less than half of Wisconsin students again this year are considered to be proficient in reading and math — a trend Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Thursday called "disturbing." "Wisconsin students deserve an excellent education no matter where they attend school ... taxpayers deserve to know why we’re not seeing better results.”
Hey, Look at the Voucher School Scores!!! I didn't even know "choice" voucher schools were included in the state average until I read this in Molly Beck's JS coverage:
The release included scores from students at private voucher schools, which Republicans have backed expanding in three consecutive state budgets since 2011. Among students in private voucher schools, 22% were considered proficient or advanced in reading and 18% in math.
Much of the coverage I read failed to mention or even compare the public school scores with the voucher choice debacle. So I went to the Department of Public Instruction website. Take a look at the voucher school scores funneling money away from public education. If this were a Democratic program, Republicans would be having a tantrum, and yet Vos is taking aim at public school scores?:

Who Knew Online "Virtual Academy," was the Biggest Waste of Money? We did: Virtual schools nationwide are a disaster, but they are still allowed under the privatization banner to exist and drain even more taxpayer money. McFarland knew this but backed the idea anyway. McFarland even managed to keep Wisconsin Virtual Academy's scores from being averaged into the districts public school results. That should tell you something:

One question remains; where are the Democrats hiding? Why hasn't Gov. Evers come out with a statement? 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Do we need Universal Health Care/Medicare-for-All? Check out these horror stories...

The private health care system we have now is focused on profits, not people, and that includes "non-profit" providers as well. The US system is so bad that the following horror stories represent just one report from one health system in Virginia. Imagine all the other hospitals in every state going after Americans who had an unfortunate health event and were left with hefty bills to pay, or else. 

You'd have to be a sociopath to argue against universal health care after this:
University of Virginia Health System (UVA) has ruined us’: Health system sues thousands of patients, seizing paychecks and putting liens on homes.

Over six years ending in June 2018, the health system and its doctors sued former patients more than 36,000 times for over $106 million, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy, a Kaiser Health News analysis has found…Unpaid medical bills are a leading cause of personal debt and bankruptcy.

UVA dunned some former patients an additional 15 percent for legal costs, plus 6 percent interest on their unpaid bills, which over the course of years can add up to more than the original bill. The hospital ranked No. 1 in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report is taxpayer supported and state-funded, not a company with profit motives and shareholder demands, it pays no federal, state or local taxes on the presumption it offers charity care and other community benefits. CEO Sutton-Wallace makes $750,000, with bonus incentives that could push her annual pay close to $1 million. NOTE: Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has sued roughly 240 patients a year on average since 2009. UVA, by comparison, often sues that many former patients in a week, and averages more than 6,000 cases a year, court data show.
1. Heather Waldron and John Hawley are losing their four-bedroom house. Financial disaster, they say, contributed to their divorce, finalized in April. Their money problems began when the University of Virginia Health System pursued the couple with a lawsuit and a lien on their home to recoup $164,000 in charges for Waldron’s emergency surgery in 2017. The $164,000 billed to Waldron for intestinal surgery was more than twice what a commercial insurer would have paid for her care … Charges on her bill included $2,000 for a $20 feeding tube. For Heather Waldron, the path from “having everything and being able to buy things and feeling pretty good” to “devastation” began when she learned after her UVA hospitalization that a computer error involving a policy bought on had led her insurance to lapse. She is now on food stamps and talking to bankruptcy lawyers. A bank began foreclosure proceedings in August on the house she shared with her family. The home will be sold to pay off the mortgage. She expects UVA to take whatever is left.

2. Zann Nelson, sued by UVA for $23,849 a few years ago fought back. The now 70-year-old Reva resident was admitted with newly diagnosed uterine cancer, bleeding and in pain when she signed an open-ended payment agreement. The judge said that Nelson had “the ability to decline the surgery” if she didn’t like the terms of the deal. 

3.  Carolyn Davis, 55 … $7,448 to pay about twice as much as what a commercial insurer for nerve injections to treat back pain that she hadn’t realized would be out of network. Her husband is a cook at Hardee’s … UVA refused their application for financial assistance because his Hardee’s 401(k) balance of $6,000 makes them too well off, she said. The hospital insisted on a monthly payment of $75. She was meeting it by charging it to her credit card at 22 percent interest.

4.  When Jesse Lynn, 42, didn’t realize their plan considered Jesse’s old back problems a preexisting illness … After back surgery at Culpeper Medical Center, a UVA affiliate, he came out with a bill for about $230,000, Renee Lynn said. The surgeon reduced his portion … asked for a similar break or a payment delay from UVA. “We are not a lending institution,” the billing office told her, she said.
Property liens do give UVA a claim on the equity in patients’ homes. “We see a lot of them,” said Tina Merritt, a partner with True North Title in Blacksburg. “And a lot of people don’t even know until they go to sell the property.”
5. It took Priti Chati, 62, six years to pay a $44,000 UVA bill for brain surgery and have a home lien removed last year … The health system seized bank funds intended for her daughters’ college costs, she said.

6. Paul Baker, 41, ran a small lawn service and with his wife, owes more than $500,000 for treatment after their truck rolled over. He is grateful to UVA “for saving my life,” he says. But he is “frustrated they are ultimately taking my farm” when he sells or dies, as a result of UVA’s lawsuit.

7. Nacy Sexton, who is in his 30’s, hoped he might get a break on his medical bills as a student enrolled at the University of Virginia. He was close to finishing a bachelor’s degree in 2015 when he was hospitalized for lupus. When he was unable to cover the reduced bill offered by the hospital, the university blocked his enrollment. “The university places enrollment holds on student accounts for unpaid tuition and medical bills … “When you get sick, why should it affect your education?” he asked.

8. Shirley Perry, once a registered nurse at UVA, became chronically ill, lost her job and insurance, and then needed treatment from her former employer. UVA sued her for $218,730 plus $32,809 in legal fees. She died last year at age 51, with a UVA lien on her townhouse. It was auctioned off on Aug. 7 at the Albemarle County Courthouse.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Why have primaries when you have Trump?

Funny how some things never change...

Another Trump Sharpie pen mistake...?

The "Freeloading Off Taxpayer" Walker Tradition is God's Will...

Scott Walker's AOC obsession and shocking political insecurities continue to rise to the surface as he tries to deal with voter rejection and his failed reelection. Maybe now he can live vicariously through his son Matt's run for Congress? For Matt, I guess it's hard to resist freeloading off the taxpayers like his dad did, taking credit for a national recovery, and injecting political spin that just repeats tired old policies.

God's  Blessing??? The GOP continues to use God as the overriding reason Republicans have a "higher calling" to govern over everyone, especially those "far-left" radical young people like AOC. Below, Scott Walker suggests to voters that God might eventually bless Matt Walker to be their youthful voice...:
Scott Walker said Matt Walker, who is a partner and co-founder of Platform Digital, has asked his opinion in recent days about a potential bid.
“Well, personally, when he asked me about it the other day I gave him the advice you might not think of necessarily politically. I said one, you need to pray about it. If it’s God’s will to get in or not get in you’ll figure that out first and foremost. I think this district will be blessed. The state will be blessed because it’s not just for the 5th. It’s having a good delegation from Wisconsin...”
...and God himself, right?

Matt Walker saw how easily his dad steered clear of difficult to solve problems that might be seen as possible failures, while submerging himself in Ayn Randian theory as a congressional intern for Paul Ryan, quickly abandon his hometown of Janesville.

Matt Walker vs AOC; who reflects their generation? It's funny how Scott Walker seems to think Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez does not speak for millennial's. Despite polling that overwhelmingly supports supposed "radical" left ideas, Walker clone Matt better have a convincing argument. In today Wisconsin State Journal email...:
  • The Marquette Law School Poll found Wisconsin voters say tariffs hurt the economy, support background checks for gun sales, back banning assault weapons and like diversity. Reminder to Republicans: 2020 = inflection point.
Still, Scott Walker may think with a new face like Matt Walker's, that will energize a strictly political agenda devoid of social problem solving:

From Upfront's "blessed" Scott Walker's weekend interview...