Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Results are in: Washington State's Higher Minimum wages helped increase and exceed National job growth numbers.

The minimum wage, a bad idea? If raising wages is such a bad idea, why do we keep raising CEO salaries? A higher minimum wages would attract the best and the brightest too, right?

Republicans don't want to talk about Washington State's higher minimum wage law, or the better than average job growth: 
Bloomberg News: When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state’s minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer. The prediction hasn’t been borne out.

In the 15 years that followed, the state’s minimum wage climbed to $9.32 -- the highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington’s restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years.

Increasing the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 would also reduce food stamp expenditures by about 6 percent, or nearly $4.6 billion a year, according to a report this week from the Center for American Progress. 

Ryan's Lessons from a "Tree Stand," or, Will the Media Please Stop Defending Paul Ryan!!!

What is wrong with the media? This dance around Paul Ryan’s recent “inarticulate” commentary is even more pathetic than ever. The media is now making excuses for Ryan.

PolitiFact even decided to offer up a larger part of Ryan’s Bill Bennett interview, so we could put Paul’s comments in “context.” What a joke…big difference?

Simple Truths…missing in action:

#1. Ryan’s False Premise A: Ryan’s culture of work statement isn't a brilliant observation, who would disagree with it…only “the left” I guess. PolitiFact would rate that as “Pants on fire.”

#2. Ryan’s False Premise B: Lefties love the “status quo/no changes,” therefore oppose Ryan’s ideas. Like cutting people off (“courage to face that down”) the safety net programs, unless they did what they were told with new and stricter back to work laws. A desperate slave labor force? You’ll also notice Ryan hedges his bets with “if we succeed.” He wants to use the entire U.S. population for his experiment. See for yourself below:
And so when you question the status quo of the government’s poverty -- this war on poverty -- you get all the criticisms from the adherents of the status quo who just don’t want to see anything change. We’ve got to have the courage to face that down, just like we did in welfare reform in the late 1990s. And if we succeed, we can help resuscitate this culture and get people back to work and get people back to meeting their potential…”
#3. Ryan ignores the economic bloodletting known as the Great Recession. That one moment in history destroyed jobs at big box retailers and neighborhood small businesses. Remember when Best Buy had to compete with Circuit City and CompUSA, two stores that employed millions nationwide. They’re gone now. My own business died instantly when car dealerships were wiped out en masse.
Ryan and his accomplices like Gov. Scott Walker can’t seem to fix the problems with tax cuts to big business and deregulation. Corporate promises of job creation, a bust.

#4. One-note Ryan’s Remedy? Deregulate, open up our parks for big energy, tax cuts for business, create a desperate workforce by cutting the safety nets and a demoralize Americans enough so they gravitate to more conservative policies and big talking “leaders.”

I thought this ridiculous example of Ryan’s rugged individualism and leadership said it all in a "nutshell:"
Bennett:  What’s the roadmap, as someone might say?

Ryan: In a nutshell, work works. It’s all about getting people to work ... Mentors and my mom. My dad’s friends, his buddies taught me how to hunt and taught me a lot of things, and my mom. And so --

Bennett: Hunting is not working, is it?

Ryan: Well, no, but you can learn -- by the way, you can teach your kids character in the woods. A lot of good life lessons are learned in a tree stand, Bill.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Republicans Owned by Insurance Lobby, Block Oral Chemo Bill from Patient who Need It.

Nothing screams "influence" more than what the Republicans are doing to save the insurance industry some money at the expense of voter lives. This great report from WPR's Shawn Johnson details how incredibly cruel Republican health care might be in our future free market system:

Remember, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald is going along with fellow senators who oppose any kind of "mandate," even one that'll save peoples lives.

Poll Supports Big Minimum Wage Increase, Yet Walker Opposition Rules the day.

A new UW Milwaukee Poll shows how one party rule may not reflect what voters really want, or their supposed amazement at Scott Walker's "successes:"

Republicans caught in Lie. Now State Sen. Tim Carpenter is waiting for Republican Apology for mischaracterized "hating blacks and Latinos" comment.

My how the tables have turned!!

It looks like Sen. Tim Carpenter is waiting for an apology from senate Republicans who faked outrage successfully yesterday, fooling the media into believing he accused Sen. Mary Lazich of  "hating blacks and Latinos." In Carpenters press release:
Eager to move the conversation away from the substance of the bills, Republicans ran to the press stating that Carpenter accused Lazich of “hating blacks and Latinos.” Senators Darling and Farrow ran self-righteous press releases calling on Senator Carpenter to apologize.

Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial board wanted an apology. 
"However, after being encouraged to look at the actual Wisconsin Eye video of the senate session, the paper admitted that it had erred, and apologized.

No, he did not say, as we originally thought, that Lazich hates blacks and Latinos, he did say that Lazich 'hates that blacks and Latinos are coming out ...' before he was interrupted. He told us Wednesday afternoon that he meant to conclude with 'to vote for Democrats.'

We apologize for the error. Accusing Lazich of hating that minorities vote for Democrats is not nearly the same as saying she hates black and Latinos."
Senator Carpenter said that he awaits an apology from Senators Darling and Farrow, for their slanderous accusations and gross attempts to mislead the press and Wisconsin voters.
Check out the WPR clip below, one of the only reports that actually featured the audio of what really happened. It's at the 1:19 point:

Walker in Full Panic Mode, Changes Staff!!!

Rasmussen Poll numbers showing a virtual tie with Democratic challenger Mary Burke (45%) prompted immediate Walker staff changes. Of course none of this is on Walker's radar, it's jobs, jobs, jobs....

Ryan Race Baiting comment wilts his new image as concerned poverty fighter.

So "inner city" poverty was really all about the culture of rural joblessness?
Just to be clear, this is what Paul Ryan said the other day:
On Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Wednesday, (Ryan hinted) that he would focus on creating work requirements for men “in our inner cities” and dealing with the “real culture problem” in these communities. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”
Today? (He's) saying the remarks had "nothing to do" with race. Ryan suddenly switches the subject to rural poverty, which wasn't mentioned in the audio clip:
“This isn't a race based comment it’s a breakdown of families, it’s rural poverty in rural areas, and talking about where poverty exists.
Yea, that's the ticket. Here's the audio with no mention of "rural poverty." When someone is "driving to the sports arena downtown"...oops:
“After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make.”

State Republicans Blast mandate requiring oral chemo drugs, so insurers can save money. Blame the free market if people die.

Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch wants the free market to decide if oral chemo therapy should be included in all Wisconsin insurance policies, the same kind of treatment she received through husband Rep. Joel Kleefisch's government provided health insurance plan.

And she's not alone. While conservatives have criticized government bureaucrats for supposedly getting between a doctor and their patient with rationed care, their beloved free market insurance companies are allowed to ration care to save money.

GOP Rationing Okay: At what is more than a glimpse into what Republican free market health insurance will look like, rationed care is rationalized as a good thing now, because it will save insurers money and get rid of those nasty government mandates. Small government = no mandates/lost lives. From WKOW's Greg Neuwmann:

This denial of coverage is a direct result of Republican opposition to "mandates." Yes, this is how far Republicans will go to prove their purity of purpose! This bizarre story first appeared in Nov. 2011, when Rebecca Kleefisch stated point blank that residents of Wisconsin should be treated differently than someone married to a state legislator.  She's "hoping" more insurance companies will cover the drug. Oh, and you'll love the insurance industry rep justifying the cost savings and threatening higher premiums if there's a mandate:

The elitist attitude shines through in the Kleefisch comments below:
Yesterdays poll results!
Keefisch: "We obviously want to encourage free enterprise and free markets, but on the other hand, Oral chemotherapy is something that is up and coming in the medical world, and we're hoping, obviously that more insurance companies will cover it."

Kleefisch comes at the issue from a personal perspective. His wife, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, used oral and IV chemo to fight colon cancer in 2010. But he (Rep. Joel Kleefisch) has questions over the cost of an insurance mandate.

"It is my hope and prayer that anybody who would need this type of chemotherapy would be able to receive it, no doubt," said Kleefisch. "That does not eliminate the difficult question for who is going to pay for it." 

Rep. Joel Kleefisch is actually weighing out whether we should save lives or keep costs down. And these guys say Democrats want to ration care?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Solidarity Wisconsin Video

Nicely produced part of Wisconsin history...we're continuing to write...
Cap Times: The solidarity singers who gather daily at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison have a pair of surprise guest musicians joining their chorus — Pussy Riot.

Two members of the notorious Russian female rock group known for their outspoken protests, Nadya Tolokonikova and Masha Alyokhina, make a surprise appearance in a new video extolling Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to drop the state’s prosecution against the singing protesters.

Incidental Governor Scott Walker hardly even noticed Election Reform Bills Rushed through the Capitol.....

Yes, the senate passed a bunch of restrictive bills today restricting elections, but that's not the story here. Staying completely out of the controversy to suppress voting, Walker delivered his now standard droopy eyed comeback:
WSJ: Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday that he would call lawmakers into a special session to modify Wisconsin’s voter photo identification requirements if courts don’t uphold the current measure, which has been blocked since shortly after he signed it into law in 2011.

Walker said the elections bills haven’t been on his “radar,” adding he would look at the measures if they pass the Legislature .
You know, he's just curious...who knows what the legislature cooked up this time.

Republicans cancel Weekend Voting, Limit Hours in Big Cities, and fund Rural Voting and Limit Urban Voting. More Changes to come.

Yesterday I posted a video showing how Ohio took the same steps as Wisconsin Republicans, by leveling out the hours statewide to vote. Never mind cities have so many more voters. In their small brains they either don’t get it or just like acting pretty stupid.
Republican state senators narrowly approved bills Wednesday to end weekend voting before elections … Clerks would not be able to hold early voting during all of that period because they would be limited to allowing a total of 45 hours of early voting a week … the measure would level the playing field for urban and rural areas because rural clerks don't have the staff to keep the long hours that cities do.
Madison, Waukesha and Milwaukee taxpayers will now be paying for rural early voting? I can’t tell you how many times I hear conservatives whine about their money going  to pay for someone else’s stuff, like health care and food stamps. Now they’re okay funding rural communities that are too cheap to pay for their own elections?
The Senate amended the bill to have the state pay half the expenses for rural municipalities offering early voting. That provision would cost about $200,000, and Assembly leaders have not signed off on it.
Am I the only one who doesn't want conservative rural voters canceling my ballot, on my dime?

I can’t stress enough that our Republican Authorities have only just begun to do away with election. The Journal Sentinel noticed too:
It is the second set of limits on early voting Republicans have pursued since taking control of state government in 2011. That year, Walker and GOP lawmakers cut back the early-voting period from three weeks, including three weekends, to two weeks, including one weekend.
Year after year the GOP will continue to neutralize the effect of our elections. Is this what they meant by freedom and liberty?

Wisconsinites waking up to the real Scott Walker? Burke now in even race.

Tied at 45% each. There's a 4.5 margin of error.
Criticism of Rasmussen, however, serves as hollow consolation for Walker supporters. If anything, the critiques of the firm’s methodology have held that it consistently overestimates Republican support by neglecting voters more likely to vote for Democrats, including low-income and young voters.

An upcoming poll by the Marquette University Law School at the end of the month should provide additional insight into whether the race has truly tightened.

Democrats campaign against "obscure" Koch brothers...who?!!!

The amazing piece of reporting below does all it can to make the Koch brothers influence seem petty and ridiculously small. How could these "obscure" brothers, who are publically unrecognizable, be so "significantly troubling?"

AP: Democratic Senate candidates ... are gambling they can turn voters against two billionaire brothers funding the attacks — even if few Americans would recognize the pair on the street … Democrats are denouncing Charles and David Koch, the key figures behind millions of dollars in conservative TV ads hammering Democratic candidates and their ties to President Barack Obama ... the Koch brothers, who rarely appear in public, are so significant and troubling that voters should reject the Republican candidates benefiting from their ads.
Who are these..."Coke" brothers, and why are liberals being so unfair?
Democrats depict the Kansas-based Koch (pronounced "Coke") brothers as self-serving oil barons who pay huge sums to try to "buy" elections and advance their agenda of low taxes and less regulation. And they're using unusually harsh language in the Senate.
Here's Politico's Mike Allen with a little talked about story about how the Koch's are doing their own ad campaigns now:

Here's the meak and mild Sen. Harry Reid:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "I guess if you make that much money, you can make these immoral decisions. The Koch brothers are about as un-American as anyone I can imagine."

Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas defended the Kochs and compared Reid's remarks to the communist-baiting tactics of Joseph McCarthy. "I can't imagine that's an effective tool," said Moran, who chairs the Senate Republicans' campaign committee.

Democratic pollster Geoff Garin says Americans, when given this basic information, believe the brothers are trying to elect a government that helps them at the expense of less wealthy people, who would fare better under Democratic policies.

Republican Richard Burr: "I don't think there's any resentment to a group or individual spending their money to tell people what's really going on."
What's REALLY going on? Give me a break. My conservative friend in Milwaukee sent me this: "WISN's Dan O'Donnell reports that the boogeymen of the left give just a tiny fraction of the money that employee unions have spent..." The problem is, the totals O'Donnell talked about dated back to 1989, and NOT just the last five years or so. Deceptive, sure, but that's how the game is played.

Here's Rachel Maddow's look at the Koch's early spending spree:

Here are the Koch highlights from the documentary "(Astro) Turf Wars."

Still more odds and ends:
Republicans note that liberal billionaires also spend heavily on politics … (like) environmentalist and hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer … Democrats say Steyer will not benefit financially by pushing his climate change agenda, whereas the Kochs' campaign ... would help big businesses like theirs.

Reid: "Think about what an America rigged by the Koch brothers would look like. The Koch brothers don't care about creating a strong public education system in America" … nor a "strong safety net of Medicare and Social Security" or "a guarantee of affordable, quality health insurance for every American. Why? Because the Koch brothers can afford to buy all those benefits and more for themselves. I'm going to keep talking about them every chance I get because America should not be for sale."

Matt Canter of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign committee: "We've done extensive polling ... Voters understand that Republicans are pushing a policy agenda that is good for their benefactors, the Koch brothers. The message we've tested does not rest on them knowing who Charles and David Koch are." In state after state, Democrats are berating the Kochs in speeches and fundraising appeals.

Koch industries spokesman Steve Lombardo defended the ads ... "it is unfortunate that Harry Reid is focused on attacking citizens of the United States rather than the problems facing this country." He said "I think the American people are smart and will see through this tactic," Lombardo said.
Who's attacking "citizens of the United States? 

Ryan will teach inner city men the culture of work, you know, like we see in white neighborhoods.

Inner city men are about to meet the social engineering genius of Rep. Paul Ryan. That’s right, that wonkish numbers guy is really closet culture warrior, shaping economic policy around his Darwinian belief the social swill can be elimination…one way or another, with or without creating jobs.
Democratic Candidate Rob Zerban, running against Paul Ryan again, pointed me to this Think Progress story where Ryan admits he's a student of…
Charles Murray, a conservative social scientist who believes African-Americans are, as a population, less intelligent than whites due to genetic differences and that poverty remains a national problem because “a lot of poor people are born lazy.”
The ugly truth is out now about Ryan intentions and his disturbing plans for the poor:
On Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Wednesday, (Ryan hinted) that he would focus on creating work requirements for men “in our inner cities” and dealing with the “real culture problem” in these communities. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”
Dealt with? Listen to this sociopath get tough on the victims of the 1 percenters:
"You just can't say, I'm paying my taxes, government is going to fix that. You need to get involved, you need to get involved yourself through a good mentor program or some religious charity, or whatever is to make a difference and that's how we resuscitate out culture." 
New Flash! Democrats, liberals, nonpartisan organizations, and churches are already doing just that. I guess Ryan wouldn't know about that though.

What Ryan is really saying is forget about those no-show "job creators," or your local freeloading Republican politician (not) working hard to solve America's problems, instead the government will save money while charities and churches magically do our work for us. That's been his message all along.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sen. Erpenbach pushes back on Walker's Voter Suppression Reelection Campaign.

Scott Walker must be worried about keeping his job. Our normally uncommitted incidental governor can't stop talking about voter ID. Sure he may have already hatched a plan to get something in place by November, but holding a special session to secure his reelection is just too obvious a ploy.

And State Sen. Jon Erpenbach is doing everything he can to get the word out; Walker needs voter ID to win. The big hangup recently at the State Supreme Court centered on the cost of birth certificates. If Republicans try to offer up free copies, then I suggest everybody in Wisconsin get a new one. Hey, they're free.

The two clips here, one from WKOW and the other from WISC, show what a little fight can do to get the media and peoples attention:

Here's just a sample of voter ID hitting the fan:

No Secret: Racism Behind Still more Voter Restrictions.

Sen. Tim Carpenter ended the long Democratic silence on Republican racism, which the GOP has used endlessly to attacks minority voters. It’s about time for a little honesty. See them squirm and shout out their phony denials. Maybe they’ll own up to what has been obvious to most of us.

No apologies, no take backs, no stopping the drumbeat:
jsonline: In Tuesday's heated Senate session on election bills, Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) said that a Republican lawmaker "hates blacks and Latinos." Carpenter said that Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) must despise minorities because in his view several elections bills she's sponsored would limit voting in Milwaukee and other urban areas where many minority voters live.
The shocking realization sent Lazich off the deep end. Of course she was in denial:
Lazich vehemently objected. Republicans say the bills are needed to uphold a fair and accurate elections system.
This "fair and accurate elections" bullshit has run out of gas. Funny how it never gets any fairer or accurate.

Listen to the audio from WPR's Joy Cardin Show, where Sen. Glenn Grothman says he's trying to prevent the development of two classes in the state (one class has longer voting hours...etc), and Carpenter's actual comment with Lazich objecting:

But racism is at the heart of their philosophy. Republican Sen. Paul Farrow's own words; “rude,” “reprehensible,” and “personal attack” is one way of describing their voter suppression campaign in Wisconsin’s major urban areas. They just don’t see themselves that way, which is what Carpenter was getting at:
Sen. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) responded that Carpenter owed Lazich an apology for his  "rude and reprehensive" comments. "A difference of philosophy does not give anyone the right to personally attack or make inflammatory and slanderous accusations regarding a legislator’s legislative intentions," he said. 
Lazich is a deeply troubled person, I mean look at what she did with sex ed and vaginal probes. And we can thank Farrow for hitching his wagon to Lazich’s racist agenda. And that goes for every Republican who will eventually prove their hate for blacks and Latinos with even more election limits. 

Surprise, Ohio is doing the same thing with voting hours. Chris Hayes could be talking about Wisconsin's newly proposed voter hours:


Do we have the greatest health care system in the world?

The Daily Show pretty much answered that question:

Wisconsin under Walker not quite Mexico yet....

Looks like the business climate in Wisconsin still isn't where Republicans think it should be. WISC:
Manitowoc Co. says it's moving production of Indigo ice machines to Mexico: The company says the transfer will cut 150 jobs in Manitowoc over the next two years. WLUK-TV reported the production is being moved to a plant in Monterrey. A statement from the company says the transfer will allow it to "more effectively serve" customers in Latin America and the U.S.

Clinging to the past, WMC loyalty to Coal Industry may cost the state money, jobs.

You've got to be kidding. We're now expected to treat as serious research, a right wing think tanks study predicting big job losses due to coal regulation? The Heritage Foundation is the same group that created the basic structure of the Affordable Care Act, mandate and all, and later denounced it as unconstitutional. Yea, whatever's convenient guys.

The low life lobbyists at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, who are dead set on clinging to the 20th century fossil fuel model of coal in our state, are now whining about the cost of keeping coal as an energy source. What the...?

Never mind the millions of premature deaths caused by coal pollution.
Kurt Bauer, President/CEO of Wisconsin’s Chamber of Commerce – WMC – issued the following statement regarding the study’s findings:
The war on coal will hit Wisconsin’s employers and families harder than those in any other state. These EPA policies, which will have little to no impact on global climate, are sapping the lifeblood of our manufacturing economy. In light of these newly found results, WMC once again calls on the EPA to consider the impact its regulations will have on thousands of working Wisconsin families and job creators.”
After reading stories like this, I often try to imagine what our countryside and air would look like if these guys were in charge. China may be the closest example of their environmental position, from Market to Market:


This is the price of doing nothing:

Wisconsin is Ashley Furniture's Junkyard, and CEO Todd Wanek can't stand workplace and health care rules, says "this is what's going to kill industry...!"

Gee, a whole 118 new jobs were created thanks to corporate welfare. We even stopped taxing Ashley Furniture because big business doesn't need to pull its own weight anymore. Taxpayers even helped them with worker training. That old saying, “They built it” sounds a little hollow now, doesn't it? 

Oh, and that wetland Ashley filled in...they can do anything they want because so many families need those jobs. And the cycle can't be broken. 

Ashley Furniture is another corporate leach that won’t stop sucking this state dry. They're part of the entitled class of “job creators.”  LaCrosse Tribune:
Ashley Furniture officials say Gov. Scott Walker was the reason they expanded the company’s Whitehall factory … CEO Todd Wanek said the $13 million expansion allowed the company to boost the plant’s payroll from about 400 to 518 workers since its completion. Ashley and the DNR came under fire from environmental watchdogs for a 2005 addition there that required filling 13.5 acres of wetlands. 

The governor cited initiatives such as a manufacturing tax credit, which will eliminate virtually all tax liability for production in Wisconsin by 2016, and worker training for helping keep companies like Ashley.
Conservative pirates like Ashley CEO Wanek see nothing wrong with trashing our state, openly resenting workplace safety and the health of their workers:
From a table of literature spread out for visitors, Ron Wanek grabbed a flyer decrying federal regulations, including environmental, workplace and health care rules, saying, “This is what’s going to kill industry in the United States.”
Add Ashley to the list of retailers I won’t be supporting anytime soon, Wisconsin company or not. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rural GOP Voters Surprised Walker Cuts are killing their Schools. Now want handout.

Just a little over 3 years under the Walker Authority and spending cuts to education are now crushing rural schools. 

Democrats and the state superintendent of public schools have been pushing school funding reform for years, yet that effort has been vilified as nothing more than more liberal overspending on the teachers union.

All it took was ONE Republican who noticed how stripped down one of his district schools looked on a recent visit, now there's a crisis? 

My conservative friend in Milwaukee said it best when he told me he didn't believe anything I said because I was a liberal. It's an automatic reaction to tune us out. But the truth is, the Democrats predicted the following story would unfold. Here's what Scott Walker's policies look like in the real world: 
WISC: If one employee leaves Cuba City High School for a higher-paying position elsewhere in Wisconsin, it can leave the school short of instructors in two or more subjects. When rural districts need to stretch dollars, staffers often do more than one job. Rural educators struggling with high transportation costs, old buildings and the loss of staff told state lawmakers studying the issue that their employees and budgets have been stretched to the limit. Without more money, they will have to close schools and could see massive deficits and their best teachers leave for better-paying jobs elsewhere.
There's no help coming, a kind of tough love tea party thing. If conservative rural voters don't want to educate other peoples kids, so be it:
But lawmakers on a special task force said an overall funding increase is unlikely, although some money might be found for specific needs. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos created the rural schools task force in September after seeing districts like Rhinelander fail repeatedly to get more money by appealing directly to voters.
The following may be a surprise to one Republican lawmaker, but it isn't a surprise to parents of children in public schools or administrators:
Rob Swearingen, a Rhinelander Republican and task force chairman, said the committee initially aimed to get rid of inefficiencies and find cost saving measures, not dish out more money to schools. He was surprised during visits to rural schools to see them stripped to bare bones. Dozens of rural districts are slated to ask voters April 1 for money just to keep operating and avoid closing schools; many are likely to fail. "Referendums are just tearing these schools apart," Swearingen said.
This is all by design. Top down one-size-fits-all control from Madison that prevents locally elected officials from governing.  
Wisconsin law requires referenda for districts to exceed statewide revenue limits. Eighty percent of such votes are held in rural districts … Rural schools nearly across the board spend more on transportation than those in suburban or urban areas. The state funding formula doesn't account for that. The state also provides less aid to districts with high property values, like Rhinelander … Given the state cap on property tax increases, school districts have no choice but to go to a referendum to raise more money.

Rep. Mandy Wright, a Wausau Democrat and former teacher, was less surprised than Swearingen by the dire straits uncovered during the tours. "One of the critical flaws of the funding formula is that it's more focused on balancing property taxes than it is providing an equal education for every child," Wright said.
See, the Democrats were right, and the many proposals to reform school funding weren't taken seriously...until they affected a Republican. State Superintendent Evers drew up a whole plan…ignored by Scott Walker:

Swearingen said the committee has found that to be mostly true but it's unlikely to include a major funding overhaul … There are some Democratic-led proposals that have yet to gain traction in the Legislature. 

Bishop Morlino hates Liberals and the message "all are welcome."

Making the Roman Catholic Church an arm of a political party, let's say the racist and bigoted Republican Tea Party, you're exposing an entire religion to the whims of whatever is politically popular at the time. That can't be good. 

Yet the right wing partisanship of Bishop Robert Morlino, with his political pot shots at liberal believers, is the kind of thuggery we're seeing the Catholic church push here in Madison.

I've highlighted this neanderthals bullshit:  
State Journal: The pope … often talks about keeping the doors of the church wide open and used the metaphor of the church being a field hospital after a battle, treating the wounded. How does that jibe with your recommendation to priests a few years ago to no longer use the Catholic hymn "All Are Welcome" at Mass because you felt only people who follow God's will as spelled out by the Catholic Church are truly welcome?

Bishop Morlino: What I'm talking about is when you get a congregation singing "All Are Welcome," they might mean, no matter how much you oppose the truth of Jesus Christ, you're welcome here because we're very open to the fact that you're going to try to change us. When people sing "All Are Welcome," what they really mean, frequently, is that people who publicly dissent from the teaching of the church and work constantly against the teaching of the church should come in here and maybe we could increase their number. When people sing "All Are Welcome," frequently it's political, in fact. There's a sense in which all are welcome, but I would submit that means, in fact, political liberals are especially welcome. And when a congregation is singing that song and meaning it like that, I don't think that's healthy for their salvation.

State Journal: So you're saying that in some parishes, it was becoming code?

Morlino: Yes, code for political correctness. "All are welcome" can become a synonym for diversity, meaning let's have same-sex unions, let's have a contraceptive culture, let's have abortions.

Beer News Brewing...

I found some ancient Blatz beer ads scattered thoughout the old television series Amos and Andy the other day, from my anthology collection. The NAACP managed to get the series pulled for its racial stereotypes.

I can't remember whether I liked Blatz, but the warm friendly feeling in some of these ads is overwhelming. I especially like the architect serving beer to a happy couple:

WISC Channel3000 reported Wisconsin might just get a beer commissioner soon:
"What I'd like to see is the state of Wisconsin become the Napa Valley of the beer industry," said Gary Tauchen, the representative who is proposing the bill that would establish a beer commission that focuses on promoting Wisconsin beer and breweries. He says Wisconsin ranks in the top 5 in the country for beer consumption so it just makes sense.

Or if you're into workout drinks, you may have a much healthier choice coming soon:
WPR: There may be some good news brewing for fitness and beer enthusiasts: Somewhere in the north, a Canadian beverage company has concocted a low-alcohol, protein-packed "fit beer" that is expected to be marketed as a sports drink later this year ... 

The so-called Lean Machine "recovery ale,"  supposedly enriched with nutrients, antioxidants and electrolytes to help replenish the body after a good workout. Can beer really join the ranks of Gatorade and Powerade to become the next go-to sports drink? In a study published last December in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, he and his colleagues found that beer's dehydrating effect can be compromised by changing its electrolyte content ... By lowering the level of alcohol by volume to 2.3 percent and adding salt, they found that the manipulated beer actually hydrated their sample of athletes better than traditional ale.

In fact, those who were given nonalcoholic beer every day for three weeks before and two weeks after a marathon reported fewer incidences of upper respiratory tract infections and were up to three times less susceptible to the common cold. The company is in the midst of consumer taste tests for its recovery ale in Canada, and "Canadians know what a good beer is."

Corporate Freeloaders blame minimum wage for market distortions? State Handouts the Real Culprit.

Fox 6 reporter Mike Lowe exposes Wisconsin corporate welfare at its worst. But the problem is here to stay, as states compete with taxpayer incentives to bring in those "free market" businesses. Since corporate welfare is a market distortion businesses can't do without, why should we relent on regulations, higher minimum wages and benefits?

WITI:  The state government, led by Gov. Scott Walker, has adopted a pro-business agenda — giving businesses tax incentives, low interest loans and cash. But in an era where the budget has seen deep cuts to education, healthcare and workers benefits, are companies paying their fair share?

In 2009, Mercury Marine, a boat engine company was trying to stay afloat in hard times. It was threatening to move one thousand jobs to Stillwater, Oklahoma if it didn’t get concessions from its labor force and aid from the government. But, then-Governor Jim Doyle stepped in, offering a package of incentives worth $70 million. Fond du Lac County passed a sales tax increase to pay an additional $50 million to the company, and the strapped-for-cash City of Fond du Lac added $3 million.The union gave in to political pressure ... Mercury Marine announced it would stay in fond du lac.
 At the time, politicians were warning that Wisconsin’s heavy tax burden was driving companies like Mercury Marine out of the state.  So FOX6 News requested – and  examined — records from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Mercury Marine is a subsidiary of the Brunswick Corporation, which, FOX6 News found has had not paid a single cent in corporate income taxes to Wisconsin since at least 2000. Jack Norman, a researcher who studies corporate tax issues said “They were — in a sense — blackmailing Fond du Lac County, blackmailing the state of Wisconsin.

Walker ad by GOP Governors Association pass Millionaires off as Struggling Family looking for Work.

It looks like the Republican Governors Association doesn't hang with any struggling Wisconsin families.

Check out the ad clip below, and the couple featured in the center described as a struggling family looking for work. In reality, their company income is $1.5 million a year, and their home is valued at $841,000. Struggling? But don't blame them for the con job, because the RGA ad agency had free use of their image.

Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice gave us RGA spokesperson Jon Thompson's incredible reason for the deception:
"The ad is no longer running on TV." Besides, Thompson argued, his group never suggested that the Korbs were scraping pennies. It's the viewers, he said … "That's an assumption," he said. "There are people looking for jobs and struggling for jobs. But we're not saying it's these exact people."
Yeah, that's the ticket, blame the viewer.

Joe and Jennifer Korb aren't down on their luck. It just appears that way on TV ... the Republican Governors Association has been running a TV ad linking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke to the state's economic woes under former Gov. Jim Doyle. "While families her struggled to find work," the ad says ... As the announcer talks about jobless Wisconsin families, a photo of a couple appears on the screen. 

The two are never identified. But it's a picture of the Korbs, who live in Madison ... help run CHT Apartment Rentals, which owns and manages 600 rental units all around Madison ... annual revenue around $1.5 million ... the Korbs' home has an estimated fair market value of $841,000. In other words — contrary to the RGA ad — the couple isn't living in the poorhouse ... Joe Korb, 47, said he would like to have his picture pulled from the ad.

Incidental Governor Walker Fears Voters: Won't Commit to Controversial Legislation like Fracking and Casino.

Unintimidated my ass. It's opposite day, every day in Republican world. 

It looks like Governor Scott Walker has every intention of making the Republican legislature take all blame, in their safe gerrymandered seats, for disenfranchising voters on controversial issue after issue.

This Wisconsin Public Radio report again summed it up nicely:
"Don't look at me..."
Governor Scott Walker won't say whether he supports the latest version of a Republican bill that would make it harder for local governments to regulate the frac sand industry.
He won't say, really? In that same story Walker made it very clear that it didn't matter what the local communities thought:
Walker stopped short of saying he needed local governments on board before he can support the bill … he said, “more important than what group's on or off, it ultimately depends on what's actually in the bill” … if they don't make a change ... we'll still have a vibrant frac sand industry in the state, there'll just be a few holes here and there where it's not allowed or very difficult.”
According to Walker, local opposition and control is just a nasty “hole” getting in the way of frac sand mining.

Walker wants your vote before Casino rejection: Mr. Unintimidated made it clear all Indian tribes had to be on board for the Kenosha casino deal to pass, and laughed at the idea he'd need more time. Until he needed your vote. With southeastern Wisconsin vote totals on the line, Walker wants to wait till after the election, bypassing the consequences of his eventual rejection. Even the right wing Journal Sentinel editorial staff noticed too:
Gov. Scott Walker is often touted as a decisive leader willing to make the tough decisions. So why can't he decide on whether to allow a tribal casino in Kenosha? … studies have been conducted … Walker's own criteria … that fact alone should kill the casino proposal ... Yet Walker dithers, unable to decide — at least during an election year. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Walker said it: "Governors should be defined...who they surround themselves with...!

This simple but effective comment from James Anderson of Cottage Grove, on the Journal Sentinel opinion page, is seemingly written for Mary Burke's campaign:
“In Walker's own words from a January interview: ‘Governors should be defined not just by what they do and say, but who they surround themselves with...!’ So, Gov. Walker, given whom you've surrounded yourself with over the years, how should we define you?”

Hey Reince, what was it before..?

Republicans were so disconnected from, and so unfamiliar with what we used to have for health care, that they're blissfully whining about the same things. Why? Well, the one thing they both have in companies. Instead of keeping this model...

...go to single payer: Imagine every doctor and every hospital being in your plan. No paperwork, no bankruptcy, no worries. What, long lines and waiting periods? Not really, but even if there were still a few bumps to smooth out, did the old system have long lines and waiting periods? Yes.