Saturday, December 13, 2014

CERN upgraded? Do we need to put the world at risk with an even more powerful Particle Accelerator?

 The Hadron Collider had its skeptics. Even I worried just a little about the rumors that it might just destroy the earth. It didn't. But that was then, this is now:
Tech Times: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will soon go back online, conducting experiments at higher energies than was possible prior to recent upgrades. "With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries. I'm looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us," Rolf Heuer, director general of CERN, said.
That’s not good, if you’re worried about the creation of a black hole, sucking us all into oblivion:

DC's super speedster the Flash got his power when a particle accelerator blew up. But if the CERN atom smasher doesn't destroy us, or turn us into Yellow or Reverse Flash's, perhaps someday we can all go out and get our own tabletop home version:
GizMag: Berkeley lab builds world record tabletop-size particle accelerator: Before committing to such high energy experiments with the chance that even the smallest miscalculation could result in disaster, the researchers sought methods to model various parameters and test their theories beforehand to see how they may affect the overall outcome...
...ya think? Or get one for the kids:

Walker inserts Chinese proverb into scripture, because "it's in his reading of the Bible."

I'll bet Sheldon Adelson is still laughing about Scott Walker's Molotov gaffe. 

What's becoming very clear is just how shallow Scott Walker really is. It takes a real genius to get his own super majority party to vote his does he do it? Throw in a little of that phony leadership and you've got Scott Walker, the memorizer-n-chief. Will he ever stop nodding his head during interviews? 

So let's finally see some real outrage at another Walker gaffe. jsonline-Dan Bice:
President Barack Obama recently quoted a nonexistent Bible verse ("The Good Book says, don't throw stones in glass houses") to help sell his executive action on immigration, earning the scorn of his conservative foes

But it appears that Gov. Scott Walker -- whose father was a Baptist minister -- made a similar mistake when talking to the Wall Street Journal last month about Obamacare and Medicaid.
“It’s probably not fair to ask the son of a preacher to use biblical metaphors. My reading of the Bible finds plenty of reminders that it’s better to teach someone to fish than to give them fish if they’re able. . . . Caring for the poor isn't the same as taking money from the federal government to lock more people into Medicaid.”
The recently re-elected Republican governor is actually referencing an old Chinese proverb:
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
But even this obvious mistake is really no mistake at all. In this Republican bubble world reality, there are no Walker mistakes. He even gets to rewrite the Bible:
Team Walker disagrees. "The governor specifically says it’s in his reading of the Bible," said Laurel Patrick, press secretary for Walker. "He’s not quoting scripture."

"It's technically true that Medicaid funding isn't in the bible, but the Chinese proverb Gov. Walker references isn't there either," said Scot Ross, head of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now.
Add to it Walker’s numbskull attempt at Yiddish, "Thank you again, and Molotov" in a letter to a Jewish lawyer, and you've got a walking word salad disaster. A typo, really?

The Affordable Care Act's Marketplaces covering more Wisconsinites, and Republicans don't like it one bit.

With Republican politicians and their voters salivating over the thought of the Supreme Court taking away federally setup exchange tax credits, it’s important to point out who in Wisconsin is getting the benefit:
Post Crescent: In 2014, 91 percent of Wisconsin consumers who obtained a marketplace plan received aid, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Even if clients are able to find manageable premiums, they're often stymied by high deductibles and co-pays. "That sometimes causes them not to obtain insurance, or to later drop it."
The high deductibles and copays, the ones Republicans hate so much now, is a product of the individual "free market" insurance system. It was setup this way to discourage people from overusing medical services. Surprise, the biggest backers of high copays and deductibles; those same angry Republicans. Health savings accounts are also meant to discourage access.  
jsonline-Guy Boulton: In a 2010 essay, Stephen Parente, a health economist at the University of Minnesota and a former adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, noted the plans in the marketplaces overall also have high deductibles, which many health economists support because the deductibles encourage people to be better consumers of health care. "That's sort of the dirty little secret in the room," Parente said.

(Parente also said) that "the roots of the law lie far more with Republican market-based health reform solutions than the single-payer and Medicare-for-all national health insurance programs proposed by Democrats since the end of World War II." Parente said the law has similarities to McCain's proposal in his campaign, such as using refundable tax credits to enable people to buy their own health plans. "Last I checked, that's what this is" … believes the marketplaces could lead to more competition and more options in the insurance market over time.
The Affordable Care Act is based on Republican values, which are now suddenly being abandoned for something not yet defined by the party (hint: it looks a lot like the ACA...doh!).
The law ... partially relies on commercial health plans and enables people to shop online for a plan of their choice — all concepts championed by conservatives. It also puts an emphasis on personal responsibility, a conservative mantra, in requiring most people to buy plans with high deductibles as well as in requiring people to have health insurance. "The huge irony is that Democrats are trying essentially the Republican idea," said James Morone, a political science professor at Brown University who has written extensively about the politics of health care reform.

The law is not projected to increase the federal budget deficit … "This is not about spending," Morone said. "And anybody who thinks this is about spending just hasn't looked at the numbers and is just not going to understand what's going on."
The overreaction to the ACA is also kind of weird, because so few people get to use it:
The law affects a small piece of the health insurance market: the market for people who don't get health benefits from an employer. It is a market that many health economists consider dysfunctional. An estimated 19.4 million people get coverage through the so-called individual market. That includes roughly 180,000 people in Wisconsin, a state with a population of 5.7 million people.

In contrast, 156 million people were covered through an employer in 2012.
So what’s the big deal? I just posted a piece on that here

Republicans hate ObamaCare (and saving peoples lives), because it's not the Proper Role of Government.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: My now former conservative friend in Milwaukee (who’s currently on BadgerCare) is against the Affordable Care Act because he’s against the governments roll in it. We already know, government was meant to be small, no matter how it negatively affects Americans. The Constitution itself doesn't really say how big or small, but it does leave that up to the people, who in this case are made up of bully conservatives.
Pulled from the same article that highlights all the conservative elements contained in the Affordable Care Act, I though the final section deserved its own blog post, because this is what the whole right wing panic attack is all about. Keep in mind, the GOP’s proposed health care reforms – ending employer coverage, tax credits and a Medicare marketplace like the ACA’s – all rely on “big government” control too. They just want it to be their idea, all the while enriching their thug-like corporate campaign donors.   
What's fight really about? The ongoing controversy over the law, James Morone, a political science professor at Brown University said, is almost unprecedented, with the exception of Prohibition.

But Len Nichols, a health economist at George Mason University, said the debate "has precious little to do with delivering care and coverage to low-wage workers and everything to do with the proper role of government."

That, too, is how Morone sees it. To him, the fight is over two things. "One is which party is going to be dominant," he said. "Republicans fear that should this program be a success, it would be a real legacy for Obama.

"Secondly, and this is another reason it is so fierce: We really are fighting about the Reagan legacy. Republicans fear, and with some justification, that Obama is challenging the philosophic premise that has dominated American politics since Ronald Reagan — which is government is not the solution to our problems."

Republicans don't want to hear that government could be a solution to an important problem, he said. And Democrats want to believe that it can be.

"If you think the fight is about that, then it really is about all the marbles," Morone said. "Don't look at the money. Look at the philosophy."

Friday, December 12, 2014

GOP: Environmental protections saving lives takes time, but turning the GAB into partisan GOP yes men for corrupt elections, fast tracked.

Take a look at two similar stories that oddly got two different kinds of reactions from our Republican overseers. It proves we're not a "republic" after all, because Republican don't represent their voters, they represent their party. That's not how the constitution set things up?  

Talk about dragging its feet, Scott Walker's crony filled DNR has taken nearly 5 years to put newer EPA standards in place, still needing more time:
Nearly five years after the federal government set new standards designed to protect public health from short, sharp spikes in air pollution levels, Wisconsin hasn't made the rules mandatory for all polluters. “Despite finding sufficient time and resources to adopt numerous other regulations at the behest of polluters since 2011 that allow more pollution without regulations or oversight, the Department has not met its statutory obligation to promulgate standards ... consistent with the federal standard,” the Midwest Environmental Defense Center and Clean Wisconsin said in their suit.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “finding of failure” issued to the DNR in August for missing a 2012 deadline for new state rules on “incremental” increases in particles from smokestacks. Rewriting state rules ... should not have been complicated because it would require inserting new numbers into existing rules.
That's all? Sure, and that’s outrageous, right? Not to Republicans who say it's just too complicated.

But coincidentally a new audit of the GAB put Republicans in phony outrage mode over...delays, but this time prompting calls to throw the bums out. Huh?
The state’s nonpartisan elections board needs to improve its handling of campaign finance laws, complaints, lobbying and ethics laws … Staff members were late in conducting 16 reviews required by law to identify felons who may have voted illegally. Auditors said it wasn’t until summer 2014 that they had completed reviews from 16 elections between February 2010 and April 2014.

Republican leaders pounced on the news as evidence that major changes are needed. A spokeswoman for Gov. Scott Walker, for example, said the audit proves the agency is “ripe for reform.” “This audit proves what Republicans have been saying for years: The GAB isn’t doing its job,” said Sen. Alberta Darling.
In summary, cleaning up the environment to save lives and improve the health of state citizens takes lots of time, but turning the GAB into a right wing partisan rubber stamp for corrupting our elections? Fast tracked.. 

Walker gets national attention for his carelessness and lack of curiosity, Colbert style!!!

Here's Stephen Colbert's prediction that Scott Walker will be the next president. Oh, and his Hanukkah Gaffe. Most of us would have been a bit more careful, or least double checked online.

As many of the "stand with Walker" trolls would say, "dummy."

Goodbye Pardons Advisory Board, Forgiveness not on Governor Walker's Radar....

Scott Walker is at it again. It's not surprising our sociopathic governor won't help others get their lives back together with his constitutionally granted power of the pardon. Besides, Republicans are all about meting out punishment. "Forgiving" is not 

In violation of the state constitution…as usual. WPR:
The state Department of Administration is proposing to eliminate the Governor's Pardon Advisory Board, which has been inactive since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2010. Walker has said he won't grant pardons to ex-offenders because he feels it undermines the actions of the judge and jury that convicted them.

But attorney Donald Bach, who served as legal counsel on the pardon board under Gov. Tommy Thompson, said pardons were never meant to erase a crime. “It erases the disabilities and the penalties of a conviction, so it is the power to forgive,” said Bach. Bach said eliminating executive pardons leaves only one option for offenders who want to clear their records: ask a prosecutor to dismiss charges. It’s something he said most DAs won’t consider.

Bach said the governor’s power to grant pardons is still in the state constitution, and the next governor could decide to begin granting them again.
In a WKOW followup report I never had a chance to post, this wrenching story:
Madison resident and veteran Eric Pizer's 2004 felony battery conviction is preventing him from getting a job as a police officer because he can't carry a firearm.

Walker outrageously detached response?
News 3 asked if it was a job creation issue, given that both of these cases involved people who can't pursue their careers. "No, they can get jobs, they just can't get jobs in an area that prevents them access because of their felony conviction. But they are not limited in other ways." 
In another sad case involving Jessica Cranfield....WISC:

Jessica Cranfield of Chippewa Falls, at 17 … committed a number of crimes, including stealing a purse and clearing a bank account of $100 to buy drugs. For that offense, felony forgery, she went to prison for two years. She is now married with children and in school working toward a bachelor's degree in education, but said she's unlikely to get her desired job as a teacher. 
But Walker is a hypocrite, flip flopping on his morally strong opposition to "undermining the actions of the judge and jury," when he ignored all that legal gobbledygook. I wrote at the time...:
After a court ordered a fired teacher to be reinstated and the state Supreme Court agreed, Scott Walker's respect for the law and courts disappeared. After all, didn't Walker just defeat and vilify teachers?

WSJ: Gov. Scott Walker has asked State Superintendent Tony Evers to begin license revocation proceedings for a Middleton teacher reinstated to his job this month after being fired in 2010 for looking at pornographic images at school. “After hearing from concerned parents..."
Punishment and discipline...that's strong leadership. The new emboldened Republican majority in D.C., according to reports, have decided to "punish" Obama for his executive orders on immigration. That punishment will in effect hurt the American public, but you know, that's the way dictatorships end up governing.    

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Democratic Party Folds, Weakens Wall Street Regulations and Campaign Finance for what exactly?

Thank the Democrats for helping the new Republican majority get a head start on dismantling America for special interests and the almighty dollar.

And thank you President Obama for compromising our values and progress. This is what we've learned from the last give up?

Here's analysis from Lawrence O'Donnell:

Give us a break...

Just as bad as calling "right-to-work" a distraction, which the media believed, Scott Walker thought he'd go that one step further. Heck, why wouldn't anybody believe this....

Democrats create "SiX," the State Innovation Exchange, to create model policy nationwide.

Slowly but surely, the timid Democratic Party is learning how to fight for their populist agenda. I know, it's kinda scary standing firm for poll tested, majority approved principles, but the battered and bruised Democrats have no choice but to stop their inevitable extinction.

Democrats aren't really copying ALEC. But what they are doing is clearly defining what they will fight for and what the other side is trying to take away. Bloomberg News:
"We've ceded the states, in terms of policy and politics, to Republicans for a full generation now," said Democratic strategist Nick Rathod, a former White House liaison to the states for Obama. On Thursday, state-level Democrats will meet their party's answer to ALEC. The State Innovation Exchange, or SiX, is convening for the first time at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. It's part legislative mixer, part progressive pep rally. Rathod, the group's founder and director, wants to build for Democrats a library of "model policy" like Republicans have through ALEC.

Another goal is to give Democrats the confidence to be more progressive, said Adam Green, an adviser to SiX and co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "Polling shows there's no tension between great progressive ideas and what voters want," he said. 

Wisconsin Republicans look to shape Nations Future in their own authoritarian image.

30 states are currently controlled by Republicans. Think about it, all our rightwing authoritarians have to do now is come up with 4 more states and they can call up a constitutional congress and pass a majority wish list of democracy killing amendments. Maybe even eliminate a few older more inconvenient ones.

Wisconsin's frightening influence over U.S. policy is taking another ugly turn for the worse:
jsonline: State Rep. Chris Kapenga, a Delafield Republican, was elected the co-president of the Assembly of State Legislatures by a few score of lawmakers from around the country in a meeting at the Naval Heritage Center in Washington, D.C. An impressively daunting task awaits Kapenga and the group he helped found last year: preparing the way for a convention that has never happened since the U.S. Constitution was framed in 1787.
Looking ahead and setting up a quick set of procedures to call a constitutional convention, Kapenga is organizing what could be a sweeping agenda. Kapenga's own dangerous and disastrous contribution, a balanced budget amendment, would prevent any efforts to stimulate a troubled economy or pass out disaster relief money without cuts somewhere else. 

And I'm sure you've heard the anti-science "we need a balance between the environment and jobs" BS? Well, the GOP has now successfully made jobs more important that the environment, even if it enriches only the wealthy elite:
NY TimesThe public is more pessimistic than it was after the 2008 financial crisis that it is possible to work hard and become rich- New York Times poll. 54% of respondents said that “over-regulation that may interfere with economic growth” was a bigger problem than “too little regulation that may create an unequal distribution of wealth.”
Despite Republican whining about Democratically "anointed" candidates in the past,  G.O.P. Donors Seek to Anoint a 2016 Nominee Early...go figure.

And coordination between candidates and special interest groups is getting more tech savvy:
Politico: The Republican Party’s top operatives, including strategists representing the Koch brothers’ political operation and several leading prospective 2016 presidential candidates, on Monday huddled behind closed doors to discuss how to synchronize their sometimes competing tech efforts.

Deer Hunting “Rebuilding Year?” Oh, that’s what it was.

Excuses, excuses! Have you ever heard so many excuses from the party of accountability and responsibility when it comes to the recent deer hunt disaster?

So why did fewer avid Wisconsin hunters buy licenses? It wasn't because of last year’s weather
related deer kill. Perhaps it was GOP over-regulation? The convoluted maze of rules that made sportsmen’s eyes glaze over resulted in a 24,891 (4%) drop in license sales, the lowest number since 1976. Really, I'm not kidding. 
Welcome in the new Scott Walker government model; exude confidence and infallibility, while never quite taking the blame for failure. And according to my conservative friend in Milwaukee, total GOP dominance won’t show any results until Republicans stop the liberal destruction of our country.
jsonline: "To invoke sports terminology, I think we'd probably call it a rebuilding year," said Tom Hauge, director of wildlife management for the Department of Natural Resources, speaking to the Natural Resources Board. This year was notable for declines in deer harvest and license sales.
Deer Doctor James Kroll’s new “simplified” hunting rules are about to become even more simplified, with a list of additional clarifications and adjustments that could fill a library shelf:
Next on the agenda: A request to hold public hearings on proposed changes to deer management regulations.  "These CDACs, County Deer Advisory Councils, have to know they have skin in the game or this whole system falls apart," said Greg Kazmierski, a board member from Pewaukee.
Yes, it could fall it comes…
In addition to bonus buck, the councils could vote hold a four-day December antlerless deer hunt; allowing the harvest of bucks during the Holiday Hunt; holding an antlerless-only deer season; instituting antler point restrictions (four points on a side or wider than the ears) in a selected season; or limiting buck harvest to the first two days of a season … the proposal would require two-thirds of the CDACs in a zone to approve a change. However, the DNR is likely to seek input on whether the public prefers "county only" or "zone wide" votes to influence such changes.
I hope you’re taking notes folks. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Big Business Bosses demand end to Highest Tax Bracket for the Wealthy and Local Control for Mining...that's all.

Okay, have we all seen enough of the warning signs we're no longer a functioning representative democracy anymore? Will of the people...zap! Will of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, of course.

A second, one party Republican term in Wisconsin, will finally pull away the curtain to reveal who's really in charge now (as if you still needed convincing after the mining bill).

In full public view, the state's biggest group of business lobbying thugs have "suggested" legislative changes that would do away with the top tax rate, pass right-to-work, and get rid of "burdensome" regulations that still holds businesses accountable to society in general.

For crying out loud, they want to do away with the top tax rate. Hello...?
WKOW: Officials at the state's top business lobbying group say Wisconsin's top income earners deserve a tax break ... WMC is pushing to eliminate the state's top income tax bracket of 7.65 percent, a rate paid by individuals earning $240,190 per year or more and married couples earning $320,250 per year or more.
No backroom deals, no subtle or concealed campaign donations, just a bold faced statement of fact; the wealthy are in charge. The growing grotesque income disparity ain't wide enough yet.
If eliminated, the highest rate would be just 6.27 percent, which WMC believes would attract more businesses to Wisconsin. 

By WMC's own estimates, scrapping the top tax rate will reduce state revenues by $250 million dollars per year. 
So how do you make up the difference so millionaires don't have it so tough? Well, you drag out a talking point from 20 years ago:
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) (said), "I think we're all trying to look for ways to make government more efficient and ways that we can streamline and not affect service delivery at the state level." But Todd Berry, President of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, says that could be easier said than done, especially since the state faces a projected budget deficit of $2.2 billion by mid-2017. "This state has had round after round after round of budget crises, so, in some respects the low-hanging fruit has all been picked," said Berry. 
WMC is also behind the "big government" Republican push to remove local control, and old and quaint talking point that no longer makes sense under GOP rule. Cap Times:
(WMC) called for weakening local control over frac sand mining, calling those opposed to the industry "radical environmentalists."

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst introduced a stalled frac sand mining bill last year, said he plans to try again in the upcoming session. He told that while most local governments haven't abused their regulatory authority, there are "a few that are just exceeding the authority that they have."
Tiffany doesn't like it when local governments step out of line I guess.  

WKOW covered the breathtaking arrogance of this power grab:

Republican message proves they don't need to succeed or get voter approval, they just need to sell power.

Is Gov. Chris Christie listening to the voters? The strange upside down governing style of Republican politicians is baffling, because their actions are in direct conflict with the will of the voters.

Voters are saying so in today’s poll:
New Jersey voter’s support 53 – 37% building a new rail tunnel between the Garden State and Manhattan, with support from every region in the state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Support is 62 – 30% among Democrats, 51 – 40% among independents and 47 – 41% among Republicans. The rail tunnel is "very important" or "somewhat important" to the New Jersey-New York regional economy, 62% of voters say.
   Gov. Christie's Approval is 82 - 12 percent among Republicans and 51 - 45 percent among independent voters, while Democrats disapprove 74 - 20 percent.
So conservatives approve of Christie overall, but disagree on how he’s handling things? Yes, it’s an upside down world under Republicans "leadership," because our expectation levels are much lower for the party that hates government. Succeeding can't be the point:
The governor gets negative grades for handling key issues:
41 – 51% for handling the economy and jobs;
42 – 48% for handling the state budget;
39 – 50% for handling education.
35 - 63% think of the state’s economy.
And what is it now, 7 or 8 credit downgrades since Christie became governor, and supposedly "fiscal conservative" voters aren't outraged? I'm thinking it's a power thing.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes recently pointed out an amazing veto by Christie, for a bill that got overwhelming support from voters and politicians alike. Not quite the will of the people...again:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wisconsin will follow Kansas Comeback into deficit black hole!!!

Supply-side Republican economics continues to fail miserably. You’d think it was designed to just that, so these penny pinching guardians of taxpayer money can make even more spending and tax cuts.

The “Kansas Comeback,” like the Wisconsin Comeback, is fraught with budgeting inconsistencies. I thought “borrowing” money from the state’s public pension fund was already determined to be a really bad idea? Guess not in Kansas. And that transportation fund Wisconsin voters constitutionally protected from other funding raids? Well, Kansas luckily doesn't have to worry about that Walker created problem, as they drain that to compensate for their last few tax cutting sprees:
AP: With Kansas facing a projected $279 million budget shortfall after enacting aggressive tax cuts, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback proposed to trim spending and divert funds for highway projects and public pensions to general government programs. The governor has the authority to order budget cuts for the state fiscal year that began in July and to divert $41 million in funds from the pension system for teachers and government workers.
Amazing Infallible Economics? It’s true, GOP policies can’t fail. If their austere tax and spending cuts fail - creating deficits from lower than expected revenues - they simply make more tax and spending cuts. See? Still, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has one major problem:  
The plan does not tackle an additional $436 million shortfall in the budget for the next fiscal year.
This will be fun to watch.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minnesota eyeing High Speed Rail Line through Superior/Duluth.

The recent news about Minnesota's projected $1 billion surplus, not to mention their low unemployment and great jobs numbers, angered a lot of "stand with Walker" losers about some peoples loyalty to Wisconsin. Their typical comeback is, "if you like prosperity so much, why don't you move there."

Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware of the time it will take for Walker's plan to show any results, surely more than the 6 months they gave President Obama when he tried to bring us out of the Great Recession.

As a life long Wisconsin resident it's unsettling to watch the Republicans retool the state, wiping out nearly a century of progress, just so we could put in place a boiler plate template of Louisiana or Mississippi.

Now comes word that Minnesota might bring high speed rail to northern Wisconsin. WPR:
The Northern Lights Express would run along existing BNSF railway track from the Twin Cities to Hinckley, Minnesota, at which point it would cross the border into Wisconsin and stop in Superior and Duluth. Superior Planning and Ports Director Jason Serck said that passenger rail could boost the city’s economy. “Exposing people to Superior and getting them to get out of the train, see Superior, essentially spend money, is something we see as beneficial,” he said.
Not quite as exciting as the proposed link tying Chicago to Kenosha, Milwaukee and then Madison, but a great idea never-the-less. No amount of jobs or business development could change Walker's mind on that morally outrageous proposal. Yet take a look at what a planned northern route connecting the Twin Cities to Superior and points north might do:
1. Offer 2 1/4 hour service between Minneapolis and Duluth with top speeds of 110 mph;

2. Spur approximately $2 billion in development along the 155 mile corridor;

3. Encourage about 13,800 jobs; and

4. Provide an environmental sound alternative to automobiles that can be used for business and tourism.

5. Local cities and counties in the corridor have invested more than $2 millionUnder President Bush's administration, NLX was designated one of eight top priorities for development by the National Passenger Rail Study Group, headed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. 
Not a bad plan for jobs and business. Think what might have happened regionally in southeastern Wisconsin and Illinois with a similar high speed rail system.
Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation is working with Minnesota as needed on the plan. The plan’s project manager Dave Christianson said the Northern Lights Express said it may cost up to $1 billion to build in the Twin Ports.

“About 30,000 riders a year would probably come out of Superior. It would be up to Douglas County and the city of Superior to develop the station,” he said. Christianson said they’re looking mostly for federal dollars and seeking congressional support for the project. 
Ironic Hypocrisy:  Funny thing, Republicans opposed Obama's stimulus and high speed rail idea because the jobs were temporary, yet they love the Keystone XL pipeline jobs, with a predicted life span of one year. 

Ferguson gets Saturday Night Live treatment....

I haven't found the current season of Saturday Night Live very funny, but the following sketch about Ferguson stood out as one of its most biting and off the wall statements yet.
James Franco Can't Escape Ferguson in ‘SNL’ Deleted Sketch
Supposedly cut from the show, here's the "offending" scene, well publicized now by the media:
A St. Louis news station reconsiders its morning programming in light of the Ferguson riots.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fact # 2: Democrats make things better, Republicans don't. Minnesota sees $1 billion Surplus!

Republicans continue to rely on the one thing that keeps Americans from sharing in the good economic news, state and nationwide; low wages. The country is doing great, it’s just the wage gap that’s killing us, a fact not missed by Republicans who can use voter discontent to their advantage.

That said, the economy is doing quite well thank you. And yet, Scott Walker is quick to ignore the successful recovery of our colder neighbor to the west, Minnesota. Perhaps he doesn't want to make that simple but obvious economic comparison? Perhaps he also doesn't want you to know how disastrous his health care decisions were to state taxpayers.

And for "stand with Walker" defenders of our low deer kill numbers, saying we're just like Minnesota, why shouldn't we be the same when it comes to economics?

Job killing Keynesian Economics vs Supply Side Voodoo Economics: Here's a quick video report:

Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota lawmakers got a jolt of good budget news Thursday, as state forecasters predicted a $1 billion surplus heading into next month’s legislative session.
Republicans, who have increased the wage gap to historical levels, while rejecting minimum wage increases, are now complaining lower and middle class Minnesotans can't share in the recovery...clueless much?:
Republicans, who assume control of the state House of Representatives in January, seized on some of the warnings to note that not all Minnesotans have shared in the economic rebound. “We know that Minnesota families really haven’t seen the sort of economic benefit or surplus in their own family budgets, and this is something that’s really concerning,” said Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, who takes over as House speaker in January.
Ouch, this hurts supply-siders who see any revenue as "over-collected" taxes, instead of money to fix roads and improve education. Gov. Dayton's economy is "sputtering," which it isn't: 
Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said that the surplus represented money the state “over-collected” and should be returned to taxpayers. “Our economy is still sputtering,” he said, Gov. Mark Dayton said the accompanying warning signs also mean “we have to be prudent, for sure.”
Speaking of returning money to the taxpayers: Give it bain the form of low income credits and improved infrastructure:
Dayton said he likely will seek an expanded tax credit of $175 million that would help as many as 170,000 Minnesota families cover the cost of child care. Other priorities include boosting broadband Internet access in rural Minnesota, securing state funding for early childhood education scholarships, and devoting more resources to maintaining and improving the state’s roads and bridges. 
WTF Moment. While every GOP governor celebrates their various state "comebacks," like Walker's projected deficits and lousy jobs numbers, Democrats aren't allowed that luxury...
Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, chastised Dayton and Schowalter for what he called an unwarranted “celebration” of the surplus.  
Here are the glorious details of Democratic governance. Remember, none of this came from breaking up the unions; dividing and conquering labor and voters alike:
Unemployment rate down to its lowest level in eight years, 3.9 percent (WI is 4.6)

Long-term unemployed has been cut by more than half since its peak in mid-2010 and has dropped across age, gender and racial lines. 

The budget forecast showed a $373 million surplus for this fiscal year, which ends in June. That is after $183 million is diverted under state law to the budget reserve that has now grown to $994 million.  

Projections of tax revenues were reduced by $412 million, or 1 percent ... offset by projections of lower spending on health care.

Budget officials said that a different composition of enrollees receiving medical assistance in 2015 will result in more than $440 million in savings on health and human services.

Fact # 1: Democrats make things better, Republicans don't.

Republicans will continue to win elections by souring Americans on the economy; lower wages fosters resentment and keep people from sharing in the recovery.

So despite a rather brisk economic recovery, the public overwhelmingly disagrees with the way Obama has managed it. You can thank the fabricated and constant GOP attacks. And yet, the following figures overwhelmingly show Obama killing Bush's supply side recovery. The facts don't lie, but Republicans do:

I have to laugh though, because even these figures will spur on an avalanche of tweets asking me to "prove" my point with facts. Kinda makes you wonder what the right considers a "fact," not that anyone should spend much time trying to burst their bubble. It ain't gonna happen.

But reality seekers rejoice, here are some of the details. This is just a FYI, and something to pack away until Democrats are called on to save the economy again. Mother Jones:
The Obama recovery isn't just a little bit better than the Bush recovery. It's miles better. But here's the interesting thing. This chart looks only at private sector employment. If you want to make Bush look better, you can look at total employment instead. It's still not a great picture: Bush got a nice tailwind from increased hiring at the state and federal level. Obama, conversely, was sailing into heavy headwinds because he inherited a worse recession. States cut employment sharply—partly because they had to and partly because Republican governors saw the recession as an opportunity to slash the size of government—and Congress was unwilling to help them out in any kind of serious way. If you want to credit Bush for his tax cuts and malign Obama for his stimulus program and his regulatory posture, then you have to accept the results as well. And by virtually any measure, including the fact that the current recovery hasn't ended in an epic global crash, Obama has done considerably better than Bush.