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Friday, June 6, 2014

Madison Celebrates with Marriages...

Just a few pictures....


Official: Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional in Wisconsin!!!!

The headline at TMJ4 says it all:













MADISON - A federal judge has ruled that Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.Wisconsin's voters passed a constitutional ban against same-sex marriages in 2006, but the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin, and the law firm of Mayer Brown filed a lawsuit on behalf of eight Wisconsin couples challenging the ban.

Part of Friday's ruling reads: "It is DECLARED that art. XIII, § 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution violates plaintiffs' fundamental right to marry and their right to equal protection of laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constiution."

The state motioned to stay the case in March and to dismiss it in April, but both motions were denied. It's not yet clear when same-sex marriages will be able to be performed in Wisconsin.

The ruling came just as PrideFest Milwaukee kicked off Friday. The three-day event runs through Sunday. The ACLU of Wisconsin first broke the news Friday on Twitter:






Read the decision here!!!

Here's Ed Schultz with Rep. Mark Pocan:

New WISGOP Billboard tells lies and half truths! That's all they've got!

JR Ross at WisPolitics wrote this about the new GOP billboard pictured here, with my included "corrections:"
The state GOP put up a billboard on I-94 between Milwaukee and Madison greeting those on their way to the Dem State Convention with a knock on Mary Burke over jobs. The DNC quickly fired back that the billboard has two "swings and misses." The party noted Wisconsin Politifact rated the claim that Doyle's policies led to 133,000 jobs lost as "mostly false," while pointing out Walker promised to create 250,000 new jobs in his first term and that he is unlikely to meet his pledge.


Judge Randa and Koch's picked apart again!!!

Chris Hayes took a detailed look at the Judge Randa decision and ripped it to shreds, with the help of NY Times reporter Nicholas Confessore. Great stuff:

Obama regained all Great Recession Job Losses, Scott Walker not even close in Wisconsin.

Minnesota has already gained back all the jobs they lost during the Great Recession, Scott Walker’s Wisconsin hasn't. Not even close.
Between 130,000 and 200,000 jobs were lost during the recession. Walker’s record: 106,000.
Dramatically behind.

And yet, Republicans are hammering Obama for the slow job growth after the Great Recession. Never mind so many major employers were wiped of the face of the map, and others changed their business model regarding full time and part time employment.

Well, we've regained all the jobs lost nationally, a job Scott Walker isn't close to accomplishing:

Reuters: U.S. employers kept up a solid pace of hiring in May, returning employment to its pre-recession level and offering confirmation the economy has snapped back from a winter slump. It finally recouped the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession. Employment has risen by 8.8 million since hitting a trough in February 2010. 
 Like Jake's Economic TA Funhouse pointed out, ObamaCare wasn't the job killer Republicans were sure it would be. Wrong again guys. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

GOP's Medicare Advantage has wasted $70 billion and counting in improper payments due to flaw.

Under Bush, when Republicans decided to spend money like drunken sailors on the credit card, they created and passed the highly flawed and unpaid for Medicare Advantage Part D Program. It was an attempt to privatize the program. It currently cost 14 percent more than similar services for regular Medicare, and surprise, left a huge hole in it for massive overcharging; to the tune of $70 billion. That number might be bigger.

And they have the balls to complain about the Affordable Care Act?
WaPo: For the past two years, the Obama administration has backed down from making steeper cuts to the Medicare Advantage program Obamacare is supposed to cut the Medicare Advantage program by $156 billion over a decade to reduce the bloated program serving about 16 million seniors. Insurers as of 2009 had been reimbursed 14 cents more on the dollar for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries compared to seniors in the traditional program, and the Affordable Care Act is supposed to close that gap.

Now, a new investigation from the Center for Public Integrity finds that insurers have been taking in much more money than they should have from the $150 billion-a-year program. Between 2007 and 2011, insurers netted $70 billion in improper payments from a program design flaw, according to the center's review of enrollment data, government audits, research papers and other documents.

CPI's report describes how insurers are bringing in the extra payments through Medicare Advantage's "risk scoring" system, which pays insurers higher rates for patients in worse health. It's been known for a while that insurers have been benefiting from the risk scoring system — essentially reporting that patients are sicker than they actually are — but CPI's investigation finds the problem is much larger than previously described.

Citizen Koch!!!

I thought this discussion with the directors of Citizen Koch, Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, was pretty good, even from Rev. Al.

Victory! Oklahoma restores Educational Freedom with repeal of Common Core, Europe’s sneaky attempt to dumb down U.S.

All the time and investment by Oklahoma public schools…down the drain. 

The tea party win means possible relocation of businesses looking for an educated labor force in other states: 
Fox News: Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill on Thursday to repeal the Common Core education standards, getting rid of the new guidelines for math and English scheduled to go into effect in Oklahoma schools in the upcoming school year ... requires the state to return to old standards in place before 2010 and directs new ones to be developed by 2016. 
And if you're looking for an outright conservative curriculum  approved by a panel of politicians...
It requires all new standards and revisions to be subject to legislative review. The more rigorous standards were supported by the business community, including the politically powerful State Chamber, as a way to help better prepare Oklahoma students for college or the workforce ... more than 60 percent of the school districts in the state already have aligned curriculum with the new standards, according to state education officials. 
Looks like the business community picked the wrong group of friends to hang out with.

UPDATE: 6/6/14:  Goodbye Common Core: A few more states have decided to create their own "high standards," you know, where they can manipulate scores by dumbing down the politicized curriculum. Think these tests will look real good for the party in charge? That was easy. 
MSNBC: Oklahoma and South Carolina both passed laws removing their states from the Common Core initiative this week and last. since states began implementing the Common Core, conservatives have balked at what they see as government overreach and a pricey implementation of new educational standards and computer testing. Many have abandoned the idea of standardized, national assessments altogether, The Washington Post reports


The "pricey implementation?" Dropping something districts have spent time and money on since 2010 isn't pricey? Creating a whole new standard and corresponding tests isn't "pricey?" Republicans are real geniuses. The truth is, price isn't an issue, they just don't want to have anything to do with something that has Democratic fingerprints all over it.  

Talking Jobs, Burke wants to reverse Republican ban on Biotech start ups from getting venture capital funding.

Why is the Burke campaign sitting on the lead?

It well known by many that unless you're on the "favored" Republican business list, you're not welcome in Wisconsin. That now includes biotech.

When I saw this story about a week ago, I couldn't believe this wasn't a big deal in the campaign. For a state that prides itself on the universities biotech research, the new venture capital fund is barred from helping biotech start-ups by social conservative Republicans. From WKOW, we see Burke reveal how biotech industries have been ignored:



Can you say "stem cell research" and "science?" Scott Walker and his GOP pirates have decided biotech jobs aren't the good kind jobs. Other industries with the wrong kind of jobs; alternative energy and mass transit jobs. And it's showing up in the rankings:
jsonline; In Wisconsin, just 170 businesses were created for every 100,000 adults, ranking the state near the bottom in entrepreneurship, at 45th. An April report by the Kauffman Foundation Wisconsin companies in 2013 raised only $35.9 million of venture capital, according to the National Venture Capital Association Yearbook. Neighboring states including Michigan ($108.2 million) and Minnesota ($270 million) raised substantially more … just getting started is the state-sponsored $30 million Badger Jobs Fund.
Burke would like the fund to have at least $120 million, which still doesn't come close to Minnesota's investment. Here's an update to the above story by Greg Neumann:



I can't urge you enough to check  out this great look at venture capital in Wisconsin from WPT's Here and Now.

WISGOP & Rep. Robin Vos stumped party Democratic leaders and candidates are held accountable, criticized by their voters.

The Borg like Republican Party is having fun sticking it too liberals, progressives and Democratic voters for simply criticizing and questioning their own candidate for governor. What an odd concept.

Who would ever do that says Rep. Robin Vos.
According to the in-the-tank for Scott Walker radio host Charlie Sykes:
The video is but a small sampling, but it is indicative of some of the rumblings among grassroots progressives that have dogged Mary Burke since she first jumped into the race.
With fair nonpartisan leading questions like; "How do you feel about Mary Burke outsourcing hundreds of jobs to China," which isn't something she ever ever did, I wonder how the not so informed voter would react initially?

Or how about this man-on-the-street question; "Trek hasn't paid corporate taxes in decades, how do you feel about that?" Wait a minute:
According to the records, Trek files under “Subchapter S” of the tax code, which enables the company to avoid corporate taxes and pay as individuals at a lower rate.
Oh, that's why they didn't pay corporate taxes. Just a note, Mary Burke never ran the business in Wisconsin, just saying.

And yet, it's possible Republicans will stay in power based on these complete deceptions, no real solutions, and credit card spending. And they sleep very comfortably too.

Election Fraud? Talk to these two Republican Candidates!!!

Yes, the party of election and voting integrity just got caught in their own web of fraud and corruption.

Imagine a country (Idiocrasy?) under their control, and how common place this would become. You just can't make this stuff up.  

















HufffingtonPost: Annette Bosworth is not having a good week: On Tuesday night, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate learned she lost her long-shot bid for the GOP nomination in South Dakota during a horrendously awkward live television interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly. On Wednesday morning, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported that the medical doctor had turned herself into the Minnehaha County Jail after authorities issued a warrant for her arrest.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) charged Bosworth with perjury following allegations that Bosworth claimed to have circulated nominating petitions while she was in the Philippines with her husband.
This doesn't look suspicious:



















TPM: A top official for state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS) was with the leader of a local tea party group when she got locked in the Hinds County courthouse where primary ballots were kept on Tuesday night. The official was Scott Brewster, the coalition’s director for McDaniel's Senate campaign. The Hinds County Sheriff's department is now investigating how Central Mississippi Tea Party President Janis Lane, Brewster, and Rob Chambers ended up in the locked courthouse.

The McDaniel campaign's statement on the courthouse lock-in episode: "Our campaign sent people to the Hinds courthouse to obtain the outstanding numbers and observe the count. In doing so, they entered the courthouse through an open door after being directed by uniformed personnel. They were then locked inside the building," the statement continued. "At this point they sat down and called the county Republican chairman, a close Cochran ally, to help them get out. Eventually a Sheriff's officer showed up and opened the door to let them out."

"There are conflicting stories from the three of them [Lane, Chambers, and Brewster], which began to raise the red flag, and we're trying to get to the bottom of it," Hinds County Sheriff spokesman Othor Cain told the Clarion-Ledger. "No official charges have been filed at this point, but we don't know where the investigation will lead us."

Lyin’ Ryan’s Medi-Scare

While Democrats want to save our senior safety nets, Republicans like Paul Ryan want to set these programs up for future tinkering that in many ways will shift any future shortfalls onto income strapped Americans.

That’s the difference between the two parties, and a big one.
PolitiFact destroys Ryan’s Deception:
Ryan’s point, made at a WisPolitics.com event on May 5, 2014, is that Medicare must be reformed because it is "going broke. The trust fund goes bankrupt in 2026." To back his claim Ryan cited the Medicare trustees, "Payment of expenditures in full and on time will continue to require redemption of trust fund assets most years until the (Part A) trust fund’s depletion in 2026."

Even if the Part A (hospitals) trust fund ran out, the report Ryan cites projects that revenue would still be enough to pay 87 percent of the Part A expenses. Not a good situation, perhaps, but also not Medicare being bankrupt or shutting down.

The projected depletion of the Part A trust fund in 2026 is nine years later than what the Medicare trustees projected in 2009, the year before the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, according to Medicare expert Paul Van de Water of the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act we can then assume, would knock about nine years off Medicare’s trust fund, adding to the chaos of millions of dropped marketplace policies.

PolitiFact’s conclusion says it all about Ryan’s deceptive way of getting what he wants:

For a statement that contains an element of truth, but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, we give Ryan a Mostly False.

The Problem with Common Core? Parents who don't get it.

The real “problem” with Common Core, clueless parents, is finally getting some media time.

In previous posts I've pointed out how frustrated parents are lashing out at Common Core because they personally don’t understand the newer teaching methods for math. Get a clue parents; teachers are teaching your kids in their classrooms, not you. Yes, it’s frustrating to watch your kid struggle with homework and not be able to help, but tough it out. Here are a few highlights of the jsonline article:
jsonline: There is a special type of frustration experienced by parents who can't understand their child's elementary school math homework.

Bayside mother Mary Cyganiak watched her son complete what seemed like cumbersome tasks to solve basic arithmetic problems on his homework so frequently this year, she started jotting notes back to his fourth-grade teacher: "This seems like a really inefficient way to solve the problems." And then: "This is a waste of time." Across the country, Cyganiak and millions of parents are perplexed by the changes in math instruction.
And isn't that the real problem? There’s more:
For parents, there's perhaps no better evidence of something new happening in schools than math homework that looks foreign to the kinds of problems they were asked to do as schoolchildren. Popular comedian Louis C.K. recently tweeted his daughters' math homework problems to millions of followers, pushing out club-footed questions that he said had made his daughter cry.

The majority of math professors and math education professors, however, say the standards are sound and that Common Core math looks more like the way the rest of the developed world teaches mathematics to its young people. America lags many other developed countries, especially Asian countries, in test scores on math exams.
We're trying to solve a problem, it's not political:
Kevin McLeod, who has taught graduate and undergraduate math at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 1987, suggested the need for stronger math instruction is because many university students arrive needing remedial or high school math courses.

Krista Lesiecki, a math teacher at Homestead High School in Mequon, said (she) has sympathy for parents witnessing the shift in elementary school math. As a mother of triplets in third grade in the Cedarburg School District, Lesiecki has an unusual window into schooling at that level, too.

"In the summer, I taught them all how to subtract the way we did, with borrowing," Lesiecki said. "Then this year, they came home with these pictures in their homework and I was like, 'This is a total waste of time.'" Lesiecki has come around. Today, each one of her children solve the same types of subtraction problems slightly differently — adding to subtract, for example, or using tangible bars and squares as counting aides. "My children now are better at math in third grade than I probably was in fifth," she said.
It might not hurt to include a few instructional step by step practice problems for parents, so they understand the new teaching method.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Scott Walker screws up Medical Marijuana law!!! Parents with Children suffering Seizures forced to Move out of state.

Just when you thought Scott Walker had a moment of compassion for the parents of children seeking medical marijuana for the treatment of seizure disorders, we’re now finding out it was a phony publicity stunt for the upcoming election.

Only a sociopathic monster would pull a stunt like this:  
WKOW: A bill to legalize a marijuana compound called cannabidiol, or CBD, passed the state legislature and was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in April with quite a bit of fanfare.  But an amendment added to the bill to get it through the Senate says CBD can only be prescribed by a doctor who first gets a waiver from the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA), because the agency has yet to approve its use. 
This was a cruel and intentional poison pill, and Republicans knew it. They used the bill to appear sympathetic.

Researching how the other 21 states dispense medical marijuana, doctors don't "prescribe" CBD because of federal law, so what they do is “recommend” or offer a certification for the patient to receive the compound. The patient then applies with the state, receives a card, and either grows marijuana or gets their “recommended” dose from a state regulated dispensary.

That's how easy it would have been. And guess who supports this hideous con? Scott Walker. See if Walker’s convoluted comment makes any sense to you, because I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around all this:
"That was not something that was raised to us," said Gov. Walker when 27 News … But Gov. Walker still thinks requiring physicians to get an FDA waiver before prescribing CBD is a necessary precaution. "Particularly when we're talking about the focal point being largely driven by kids, while we wanted to make sure the offering was available, that it is done so in a way that's safe and manageable as well," said Gov. Walker. 
 Absolute bullshit. This really is beyond words. Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann:


Amylynne Santiago-Volker, a Dane County mother whose 9 year-old son Nic suffers up to 100 seizures per day, says she doesn't know of any family in Wisconsin that has been able to successfully get CBD to treat their children.  She says some of those families have already moved to other states such Colorado and California, where medical marijuana is legal and as a result CBD is being prescribed.

Magic: Desktops with no wires!

By 2016, we might not have to cluster our scanner or printer somewhere near our desktop anymore. It’s a dream come true:
PC World: Intel wants your next PC to have no wires: Intel wants to eliminate all wires from desktops with WiGig technology, which is three times faster than the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology.

The WiGig wireless connection will connect desktops to displays, and also enable wireless keyboards and mice ... Intel is developing WiGig modules for laptops, desktops and high-resolution displays. WiGig has the potential to replace HDMI and DisplayPort technologies, and wireless modules could be integrated in PCs as early as next year.

Crazy Cruz compares taking money out of elections with Banning Books. Yea, that's what Democrats want to do...

Many were right when they first compared Sen. Ted Cruz to Joseph McCarthy. He even looks like the guy.


While the public overwhelmingly wants to take money out of our elections, politicians like Cruz want to take us in the opposite direction. Does an inanimate object like money have a First Amendment right to free speech? It's crazy.

But even worse: Is this tweet one of the most irresponsible and loathsome attempts at fear mongering yet by a sitting senator?



















The activist conservative Supreme Court completely messed up the context of the First Amendment. Chris Hayes explores that belief:



 But the current wave of amendments do have their problems:
MSNBC: Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine, of the proposals being considered … As Hasen detailed in a paper from last October, an amendment proposed by Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons,” and which could have the inadvertent impact of allowing the State of New York to bar publication of The New York Times.

Another proposal, from New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall, which Hasen described as “marginally better,” would create an exception for the press – which would be confusing, given that the line between who is and is not a journalist continues to blur as technology disrupts the media industry.

Jamie Raskin, a Democratic state legislator from Maryland and law professor at American University said, “Look at the political realm they want to give to the American people: Corporations are treated like people, they can give on an unlimited basis directly to candidates, they can spend on an unlimited basis and they don’t have to tell anybody. Then they whine if anybody even calls a corporation out for doing it, saying that somehow their First Amendment rights have been violated. That’s a pretty special First Amendment they’ve got.”

There’s a universe of reasonable campaign finance restrictions between legalized bribery and establishing a Ministry of Truth, but none of them are likely to pass anytime soon. More effective limits on money in politics however, may have to wait for a Supreme Court friendlier to campaign finance reform.

When Hospitals compete in the marketplace, prices don’t necessarily come down!!

The GOP plan to break health care from its mandated shackles and send it into the free market to lower prices won’t work, and we have proof. 

Check out the price difference between hospitals for joint replacement surgery. Remember, hospitals are competing with each other for patients, and this list wouldn't have been possible without a new requirement in the Affordable Care Act for price transparency. Still want to repeal it?
























Same quality of patient care, just a whole lot less expensive. Would it be wrong to bring all the prices down to the lowest level, knowing they reflect the actual cost + profit? This one example alone disproves Paul Ryan's theory about free market competition and lower prices. People who are willing to pay the higher price just end up skewing the going rate upward: 
Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services released 2012 data on hospital prices and payments. It shows that depending on where you go, hospital charges vary wildly, in some cases with gaps as large as hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single procedure. 

As documented extensively in Steven Brill’s investigation (paywall) of hospital prices for Time, not only are prices inconsistent and marked up massively over cost, hospitals provide little justification for why that is. Hospitals argue these prices are misleading, because relatively few people pay them. 

But at the very best, the pricing and billing is confusing. At the worst, it can bankrupt people (paywall), and decouples health care spending from outcomes and the procedures true cost.

Big Surprise, Republican Election Suppression Tactics Backfiring on them!!

A new regulation asking for both a signature and a printed name is resulting into a whole lot of dropped names on nomination forms. Turns out, most people don’t print their names out any better than their signature. Who knew? GOP election suppression zealots, that's who.

The lawmakers responsible now want a more lax enforcement of their own rule, kind of like making up as you go. Remember how Republicans insisted on the immediate enforcement of voter suppression laws? Now that it's affecting Republicans, we're being asked to forget the letter of the law, and violate the intent for political reasons.
Chippewa: The Republican chairwoman of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee, Rep. Kathleen Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, chastised the state elections agency Tuesday for its strict application of a new law requiring printed names on candidate nomination forms. “I am disappointed as a colleague of the GAB that they would go this far. Bernier said she would ask the GAB at its next meeting to stop staff from determining what is and isn't printed and to instead determine what is readable ... Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, the author of the law, said it was meant to ensure the names of people who signed those documents are legible.
That's not what the law says. And, people don’t print any better than they write.
GAB spokesman Reid Magney said “Our interpretation is that to qualify, a name must be both printed and legible. Cursive handwriting, no matter how legible, is not printed.”
Weird, but those are the rules, and Republicans are getting hit:
Barry Nelson, a Manitowoc Republican running for an open state Senate seat, initially turned in 470 signatures, but after review saw the number knocked down to 369, below the 400 minimum for state Senate candidates. A GAB staff member told him many of the names were stricken because of an illegibly printed name. “He said if they looked too squiggly that could be construed as an extra signature and not a printed name,” Nelson said. “If you can make out your name, who cares if it’s squiggly?”

Craig Krueger, a 20-year-old college senior from Hilbert, filed 237 nomination signatures Monday. But about a half-hour before the deadline, a GAB official told him that all of his signatures were invalid and he was off the fall ballot.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Americans won't be happy if Hobby Lobby wins.

While D.C. Republican politicians insist on doing just the opposite of what the American public want, polling keeps telling them to wake up. Let's just say that if the conservative activist Supreme Court decides Hobby Lobby has the First Amendment right of religious freedom, there's going to be big trouble in this country. I've highlighted a new polls responses supporting employer provided birth control:
Think Progress:Most Americans support the Obamacare provision requiring employers to provide birth control coverage for their workers at no additional cost, according to new polling conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), and don’t believe that corporations should be able to claim religious liberty exemptions to get out of this policy.

6 in 10 Americans believe that both publicly held and privately owned corporations should be required to follow Obamacare’s birth control provision ... even in the cases of religiously affiliated institutions, like colleges and hospitals. Churches shouldn’t have to offer copay-free birth control.

The Journal of the American Medical Association found even stronger majority ... 7 in 10 respondents said that companies should cover the full cost of contraception in their insurance plans.

Another poll found that two thirds of female voters hope that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood lose their Supreme Court case. PRRI has consistently found that most religious Americans are supportive of expanding birth control coverage, too.
How many Americans would be affected?
About 14,000 workers are employed at the two companies that are currently seeking to eliminate coverage for birth control prescriptions and counseling … more than 70 other companies also sued over this Obamacare provision, and likely wouldn’t hesitate to remove contraceptive coverage if the ruling goes their way.

Research has also shown that ensuring women have access to the pill helps them invest in their careers and remain in the workforce

Open Carry Thugs Clueless about Scaring People.

MSNBC's Joy Reid did a great job of focusing her entire interview with Tov Henderson, of Open Carry Texas, on just one question; do you think that ordinary non-gun owning civilians are afraid of a group of people who are armed?

It's a question I've been asking here for years, since it's well known that most Americans don't own or carry guns. Wouldn't these normal people attending farmers markets, picnics and lunches, with their families, be afraid of complete strangers anywhere near them with loaded guns?

The intentional decision to not answer a simple question tells us more than any answer Tov Henderson could have come up with. Raw Story:

Hurricanado?

When was the last time we saw something like this? 

I kid, but what isn't funny is this growing possibility:
People in at least seven states from the plains to the Midwest are bracing for dangerous storms that forecasters say could produce hurricane-force winds, very large hail, and a few "intense" tornadoes beginning late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., the severe weather outbreak is expected to stretch from southern South Dakota through Nebraska, Kansas, southern Iowa, northern Missouri and west-central Illinois.

Forecasters predict damaging winds — 60-80 mph in some places — and large hail will be widespread. "It's called a 'land hurricane,' and one could develop tonight across the Plains," CBS Chicago's Megan Glaros tweeted.

Republicans predicts U.S. Business collapse after cleaning up or ending our dependence on deadly Coal.

Scott Walker's policies are already affecting Wisconsin's economy in a negative way. He and his Republican majority have done all they can to discourage alternate energy expansion like wind and solar. Forget about job creation and weening ourselves off outside energy dependence, we're now going to spend more money cleaning up our old supposed "cheap" energy. Doh! 
Wisconsin's power plants are already near the halfway point in reaching a national goal outlined Monday to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, but the state's reliance on coal could still pose challenges to hit the target.
See what happens when some are lulled into complacency with pitiful tax cuts? 
jsonline: The Obama administration's biggest policy announcement to restrict carbon dioxide emissions since reaching an accord with car makers several years ago.
It's a bad thing for the economy that would kill 31,000 jobs? WKOW's Greg Neumann asked WMC's panicky guy, Scott Manley. Be afraid, be very afraid:


To get a feel for just how disingenuous the Republican argument is, with their doom and gloom predictions, check out the following edited segment from Rachel Maddow. All the previous false warnings predicting "the end." Great stuff:



Fact: About 1,000 coal miners die each year from black lung disease; 670,000 cases of coal related lung disease is diagnosed every year; Americans support regulating carbon/willing to pay a little more; the coal industry downsized jobs by half, before regulations to increase profits; and didn't they see this coming?

Here's Chris Hayes with a few more facts, along with the perspective of a coal miners son:

Rural Conservative Voters, Abandoned by Republicans, are watching their Schools Disappear and their towns fade.

Scott Walker and the Republican majority know that their privatization agenda to spread charter and voucher schools statewide is the death knell for rural public schools. The math makes that easy to predict.

Seeing these school close up is economically shortsighted, since rural communities fall apart and scatter to the wind once there's nothing there to hold them together. I still get a sinking feeling every time a pass the abandoned elementary school in Navarino Wisconsin. It closed in 2009. A nice school with a great playground and incredible baseball field. The building is now filled with junk and the playground and field is just a sad reminder of how families used to get together with their kids during and after school.

Which leads me to this heart breaking report by Chris Hayes about our rural public school problem.



From a fall 2007 newsletter still up at the towns apparently abandoned site, was this note about the preschools plans: 
This fall brings many fun and exciting events for the children. Each year, in October, we spend a morning with the Kindergarten Student at Navarino Elementary during fire prevention week . The children really enjoy their visit a lot. We watch as a firefighter puts on all his equipment, they ask many questions and meet Smokey Bear. Then we get to go outside to see the fire trucks and all the big equipment. We were even allowed to climb up into the trucks and sometimes spray the hoses.
Sadly, those memorable days are gone. Here's a recent opinion by Democratic Rep. Fred Clark showing us how we got to this point:
For rural Wisconsin, public schools are the hub of activity during the day, doubling as community centers, a place to exercise after work and polling stations for elections. Rural schools, with their mascots and sports teams, school plays and graduations, tie together generations and capture the story of an entire town.

Unfortunately, we are poised to lose a growing number of those rural schools unless our Legislature reverses course. In the face of declining enrollment and huge cuts in revenue, rural schools are cutting programs, stretching staff with heavier workloads, closing schools and surviving on referendums year after year. In the outright war on public schools that the Republican majority has waged since 2011, with its $1.6 billion in public school funding cuts, our rural schools are becoming the first casualties.

In fact, of the 956 operating referendums that public school districts have placed on ballots since 1998, 73 percent have been for rural schools. Voucher schools alone currently absorb $384 million in this budget that would otherwise be available for public schools.
 Thanks to Wisconsin Soapbox for the heads up on the Fred Clark column.

Net Neutrality Boring ... John Oliver's call to action Crashes FCC Website.

Raw Story just wanted you to know how strongly the public feels about maintaining net neutrality:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Issa's new outrage? Obama's "Operation Choke Point" a threat to Fraud and Illegal Behavior Involving Guns.

Is anyone surprised that another attempt to smear President Obama is coming from Rep. Darrell Issa?
Fox News: California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (said) the Obama administration resorted to using its executive power to try to put some in the firearms industry out of business. Citing internal Justice Department documents, the committee concluded that the administration used a program known as Operation Choke Point to target legal companies that it finds “objectionable.”
Any attempts at law enforcement involving guns are another wonderful chance by Republicans to scare gun owners about losing their Second Amendment rights. Hey, it sells firearms.
The program was started in 2013 to protect consumers by “choking” alleged fraudsters’ access to the banking system … from companies that are considered “high risk” and are supposedly violating federal law … Issa’s committee show the federal government lumped the firearms industry in with other "high-risk" businesses including those dealing with pornography, drug paraphernalia, escort services, racist materials, Ponzi schemes and online gambling.
So we’re supposed to let fraud and illegal behavior just happen?
Justice Department spokesman Emily Pierce said Friday that all the assertions by the House committee are “false.” She said the documents Issa released actually “make clear that we are targeting fraudulent and illegal behavior” ... the department will continue to hold “accountable” the financial institutions that process fraudulent transactions.
Let’s hear from the gun selling lobbyists:
Andrew Arulanandam, National Rifle Association spokesman, said Saturday“The efforts of the Obama administration to impose its vision of a ‘fundamentally transformed’ America have already fallen hard on those who value the Second Amendment. Some fear this could be yet another example of [the president’s] ‘phone and pen’ style of imperial governance.”
 That'll sell guns.

Republicans bypass Supreme Court to decide for themselves what is or isn't constitutional in John Doe 2.

John Doe 2 is getting more press, thanks to Scott Walker and idiots like David Blaska who think they're above the law.

One Wisconsin Now's Scot Ross couldn't have been clearer this weekend on WKOW's Capitol City Sunday when it came to John Doe 2; Scott Walker's got something to hide.

The other big revelation; conservative loons like blustery David Blaska and Vicki McKenna are under the impression they have the power to declare laws they don't like to be unconstitutional. Like conservative Judge Rudolph Randa's own decision, this is "law" under a Republican authority, it's whatever they think is constitutional at the time.

David Blaska, a former press secretary for a Republican governor and county board supervisor, embarrassed himself again as he incoherently mumbles responses and rambles on about what he thinks is and isn't constitutional...to him. Let the people decide, he says, why have any laws?

This is real deregulation. Ranting lunatics like Blaska are a dime-a-dozen on the right. Ross stuck to the topic, while Blaska decided to circumvent even the high court of the land with his own lofty opinion. And this guy is a regular guest on public radio as an GOP authority. Maybe that's a good thing.

The total disregard for law says a whole lot about the leaders in conservative media and the suckers that believe this crap:



GOP goes to War against Healthy School Lunches.

My god these people are hypocrites.

1. Before I get to the school lunch war, I'd like to point out another bit of hypocrisy: Republicans in Wisconsin increased taxes on the poor by cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit and Homestead Credit because, as they stated, the poor were getting money back they never earned. Yet on a national level, Republicans who oppose an increase in the minimum wage say instead we should increase the Earned Income Tax Credit and Homestead Credit. Huh? Anyone else notice this?

2. Republicans were for Nutritional Food before they were against it: Wisconsin Republicans just hated to watch food stamp recipients spend taxpayer dollars on junk food in the grocery line, so they came up with a banned food list that even included our state product cheese. Yet on a national level, Republicans are throwing a tantrum over eliminating junk food in our school cafeterias. They even made it personal against Michelle Obama. Huh?

Republicans don't have an agenda, they have an offensive attacks that targets Democratic ideas that might win constituent votes. Check out this compilation of videos that tells the whole story:   

GAB warns, “Candidates could operate secret committees…to run overwhelming and negative advertising…remain above the fray…without limitations on the amounts accepted.”

Sounds kinda scary.

We’re apparently very close to losing total control of our government, all the while conservatives happily jump on board the “money is speech” bandwagon that’s headed straight to an oligarchy.
   
How can you not get that sinking feeling in your gut that something is very wrong here. WSJ:
Kevin Kennedy, the director and general counsel of the state's Government Accountability Board, warned of dire consequences of Judge Gregory Peterson's interpretation of Wisconsin's campaign laws in the (John Doe) probe, which centers around a sweeping investigation into alleged illegal coordination between conservative groups and the recall campaign of Gov. Scott Walker and others.

"A candidate could operate secret committees and direct them to run overwhelming and negative advertising, while the candidate remains above the fray and the public would not know the true source of the contributions and expenditures."

"The public would have no way of knowing who actually was supporting the candidate and to what extent. Without campaign finance disclosure and disclaimers identifying the actual sponsors of campaign advertisement, the public would have no way of tracking whether a donation resulted in favorable treatment by the elected candidate."

"The impact of the instant matter on the public is profound," Kennedy said in the affidavit, which was initially filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals. "In contradiction of the stated legislative purpose of Wisconsin's campaign finance laws, affirming the John Doe judge's interpretation of Wisconsin law regarding coordination would result in candidate's direct control over millions of dollars of undisclosed corporate and individual contributions without limitation on the amounts accepted.
Even the conservative activist Supreme Court in Citizens United encouraged finance disclosure laws as a remedy to the corrupting power of money.  

NRA loses control of Open Carry Thugs Nationwide. Bullies are now burning their NRA Membership Cards.

Ah, the average law abiding responsible gun owner turns out to be…not so responsible after all.

The following NRA admission, saying their high minded responsible members are acting like irresponsible bullies, should be a valuable lesson for them. Maybe they should consider how the majority of unarmed American citizens feel about these same strangers with loaded guns standing next to their families. 
click to enlarge

This is what happens when we cater to the marginal, and encourage irrational laws and deregulation that normally kept the lunatic fringe in check. Yes, the NRA should be worried. The tide of public opinion is turning against these off the show boaters.

See how the NRA ended up using all the negative terms I use to describe our unfriendly paranoid gun thugs:
TPM: NRA Issues Amazing Statement Admitting Bringing AR-15s To Chipotle Is Dumb: The NRA's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, publicly denounce(ed) the tactics employed by Open Carry Texas and other groups as "weird" and even "scary."

"As a result of these hi-jinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises," the unsigned statement said … that using guns "to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. [W]hile unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms," the statement said.

"Let's not mince words, not only is it rare, it's downright weird ...  To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates."
Check out how on one hand, the NRA trusts the people, then don’t so much, it’s hilarious:
The NRA made clear it "does not support bans on personalized guns or on carrying firearms in public, including in restaurants." But it concluded that "when people act without thinking, or without consideration for others – especially when it comes to firearms – they set the stage for further restrictions on our rights." 
Uh oh, looks like the NRA just got on the wrong side of crazy. See picture.......

Dumb Ron Johnson supports private Elite Koch Brother Alternative to Republican National Committee.

A shout out to Spudlovr for the Twitter tip story that exposes the privatization of our political system by none other than the Koch brothers and “model legislator” Dumb Ron Johnson.

Our freedom-and-liberty tea party dummy actually suggested and supported a billionaire Koch alternative to the Republican National Committee. That would be a shift to an elite private political system cloaked in secrecy, from the more public traditional two party process. If it means "winning," than the right wing trolling community will fall in line willingly.   

An incredible suggestion from your average everyday married-into-wealth “citizen legislator” like Ron Johnson.

From Kenneth Vogel, chief investigative reporter for POLITICO and author of the forthcoming Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp—on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics:
(On the final full day inside the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort hotel at Indian Wells during the April 2013 seminar) … I noticed Senator Johnson schmoozing two donors at a poolside cabana. I’d heard someone who attended these seminars describe Johnson as the Kochs’ “model legislator.”

Ned Diefenthal is a Louisiana metal titan, and he was complaining to Johnson about the incompetence of the Republican National Committee. Johnson did not reject Diefenthal’s complaint, and he implied that the Kochs might be a viable alternative to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, at least for the issue in question. But Diefenthal was riled up. Priebus “keeps sending me letters asking for money. I’m not giving him any money. He doesn't know what to do with it,” said Diefenthal, suggesting that he considered the Koch political network a better investment.

Indian Wells was a snapshot of an extraordinary shift: the reordering of the political system by an elite fraternity of the super rich and a small brain trust of consultants who cater to them. The result—the one Obama lamented on that rainy day in Washington state—is the privatization of a system that we’d always thought of as public. It amounts to the takeover—hostile or not—of American politics by the ultra-rich.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Walker Nonsensical: says Policies that led up to Great Recession same as those in Illinois right now? I'm not kidding....

Finally, Scott Walker is asked why he keeps blaming former Gov. Jim Doyle and Mary Burke for the Great Recession.

Walker had no answer...none...and compared GOP deregulation policies to those in Illinois, whatever that means.

On Upfront, Mike Gousha kept asking Walker why the deficits and job losses were the previous governors fault, and how Illinois is similar in any way.

Something that took 3 decades of Reagan supply side policies to create, is now happening in Illinois? He was either woefully unprepared, or god knows what he was thinking:
Gousha: "Would you not concede though that was a national recession, that there were many states that were bleeding jobs just as Wisconsin was?"
Get ready for it, it's doesn't make any sense...purposely, and it's a doozie:
Walker: "Except that those policies we see happening right now, in real time just to the south of us in Springfield. So I think if voters say we're not even going to go back in time because it was part of a national recession, Wisconsin has come out of that much better than a state like Illinois, where they still have a budget problem ... not only people don't wanna go back to the Doyle/Burke days, if they don't wanna go back to what we see happening right now in our neighbor in Springfield, I'm the better alter...." 

Gousha: "You cite Illinois, but your critics, as you know, say we are lagging 8 out of 9 western states in job growth, better than Illinois, why not better than the other states?

Walker: "A lot of that data is looking at the past, but more recent numbers, the last few months, we have had aggressive job growth in the state."
Yea, don't look at the past 3 and half years under Walker, just the last few months...audio clip only:

Walker Fumbles his answer on John Doe Deal, can't explain previous response.

Kudos to Mike Gousha for not buying into Scott Walker's "deal" dodge with the John Doe prosecutors.

Surprise, Republican policies and talking points don't stand up to followup questions. Their ideas are ludicrous, that's why.

I've edited the best parts and included only the audio in Gousha's Upfront interview here, and its astonishing. While the right wing wrongly makes fun of Obama's teleprompters, they're more than comfortable with a politician who, like Walker, "sticks-to-the-script." Nothing with him is ever off the cuff. It's memorize, memorize, memorize.

Gousha continually tries to get a simple answer out of Walker; is he negotiating a deal with prosecutors in the state? It seems obvious to Gousha that there's nothing illegal about a simple yes or no, even under John Doe secrecy rules. The more Walker dodges, the longer this stays in the news. We should thank him.

It's Time to Kill the Sunday Morning Talk Shows!

This is how the networks reward tea party politicians who steer clear of major media interviews, by panting “exclusive” and "star" when they're graced with their presence. Wow, a one-on-one...we're so lucky?

I stopped watching Sunday morning talk because of this. For whatever reason, they don't have time for common sense followup questions. So in these free campaign ads disguised as news, Ted Cruz can say without challenge, sweeping policy absolutes that would take a knowledgeable persons breath away.  

NO Response from Stephanopolus: For example, Cruz would like to shove a European anti-ballistic missile system down Russia's throat as payback. Even worse, Cruz proposed depleting our surplus natural gas supplies by selling it to the Ukraine, shutting off Russian suppliers. Sounds long term and sounds like a great deal for corporate America, who would love to sell gas at a higher price there and increase prices on our depleted supplies here. Watch George Stephanopolus let it all fly unchallenged with the all important Hillary Clinton question...insane: