Friday, November 19, 2010

State Repubicans and the Social Agenda

The new majority talks about that it is all about the budget and jobs but their supporters want them to address the social concerns.  It is a quandary.  Many of these supporters realize that at the national level where they had Congress, the President, and the Court they were let down so they want to make sure that the State moves on this agenda.  That means no more morning after pill, no more guarantee that prescriptions get filled, more restrictions on abortion, and a repeal of the sex education law.  This is just for starters.  I agree that they should move on this agenda otherwise it looks a lot like they used these issues and their supporters to get elected. 

FOX news again

The headline screams that the Democrats failed to extend unemployment benefits, on FOX.  That is for the working class fans of FOX who are now thinking that those damn democrats don't care about us.  When the reality is that the republicans did it to them again.  Using a parliamentary tactic they derailed the bill before a vote could be taken.  Their mouth piece (FOX) then reports it as if it was the democrats who failed to pass the measure.  Where is MSNBC or the other liberal main stream media reporting that the republicans were successful in blocking an extension of unemployment?  If the dems can't improve messaging they should just give up and abstain from votes in the future.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just Wondering

I  just heard that in Alaska a mine is going to be built that threatens to destroy the fishery in Bristol Bay.  I was wondering what the Queen of Alaska thinks of this in light of her show Sarah Palin's Alaska and the fact that her daughter is named after the bay.  Do you think that she'll do a show about strip mining?  Maybe clear cut logging.  Maybe she could take a look at the leaky pipeline.

Advice for the Dems

Now that you're in the minority you should become the party of I don't care.  Rather than blocking legislation let it all come to the floor.  Rather than voting no vote present or abstain.  This way if things don't work out you'll be able to say don't look at us it was those other guys.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Bright Idea

Gov. Walker has proposed that the biofuel part of  UW Madison's power plant rebuild be shelved in favor of a natural gas only facility.  On the bright side he didn't demand that the coal boilers be re-installed.  This is a short sighted proposal.  For one thing the rebuild is nearly complete.  For another the land has been acquired and existing structures removed.  So, we'll get a gas fired plant and a beautiful vacant block out of the deal.  Does the Governor have a plan for this block?  Are we going to hang onto it in case the scientists are right and we run out of cheap natural gas?  Do we try to sell the land to recoup some of the costs incurred in acquiring it?  Great sound bite proposal that wasn't thought out.  At some point the Governor is going to have to put out some real policy initiatives. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Governor Walker on Healthcare

Governor Walker has asked lame duck Governor Doyle to suspend all provisions of the health care reform act.  This is kind of like the train money.  It is a federal law, which I believe always trumps state law or in this case Governor suggested.  So what the Governor would like to do is roll back the provisions that are insuring children to age 26, allowing that children with pre-existing conditions to get insurance coverage, and others with pre-existing conditions to buy into high risk pools.  And his plan to fix this broken system for the people in Wisconsin....silence.  Why the silence?  This is what the people want, no health care reform.  So what if your kid can't get a job and is now without insurance?  So what if your kid is not covered because of a pre-existing condition?  That is just the way it going to be.  Thank you Gov. Walker for ensuring that the State becomes a small government/ no regulation experiment.

Advice for the new majority

I think that it is time that the legislature and new governor solve the school funding problem in Wisconsin.  If you take the costs of schools out of the budget it remarkably comes into balance.  This problem is the remnant of the "I dare you vote" that the Democrats presented Gov. Thompson.  In it the State agreed to fund 2/3 of the cost of schools in an effort to limit property tax increases.  There were several problems with this, but one of the biggest was that the State was paying for something that the State had little control over.  This is a State that is big on local control.  What is the solution?  It needs to be a major reform.  You can't nibble around the edges.  The conservative believe if the QEO is reinstated it will all be good.  No it won't!  A good first step would be to make teachers state employees.  We could move to privatize the entire system.  This is extremely unpopular, school choice yes as long as it is public money.  What I'm saying is no public money.  Some say that this will lead to an erosion of standards and quality.  Look around we already have that.  I believe that there should be curriculum standards but look at some of the standards in other states like Texas.  Texas has become the Federalist state in terms of the history of the founding.  Of course, if you follow the Federalists there should be no public schools.  Public schools are a construct of the German immigrants to the country.  Granted a person like Jefferson or Paine would agree with the idea of pubic schools.  The problem with the public schools is how to fund them and this is something that we haven't figured out in the US.  In Germany, France, and the Scandinavian countries they are federally funded.  Other countries tax gambling, use sales taxes, or rely on private schools to educate more.  The new majority needs to come up with some real ideas this time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

President in Asia

I heard the other day that there are many concerned about how much this trip through Asia is costing the taxpayers.  My initial comment was that if this were President Bush no one would have said boo.  I was challenged about how the liberal media was always on Bush for spending money.  Really?  This was a President who was on vacation for more than 1 year out of his 8 years in office and many of those trips made use of Air Force 1.  Or how about flying to Iraq for Thanksgiving as a PR stunt.  Do you have any idea how much that cost?  Or how about landing a fighter on an aircraft carrier that had to be turned around?  No it is Obama's trip visiting critical allies in the "war on terror" (India).  India is a nuclear power, India is in a small scale war with Pakistan, and India is a critical trading partner, but yet this is a wasteful trip.  Every President in recent memory has taken such trips but only Obama is criticized for it.  This really shows where the oppenents of the President are at.  If they prefer an isolationist policy I'm all for it, but the critics are largely internationalists.

Friday, November 5, 2010

$600 Billion for the Banks

Now the Federal Reserve is going to release $600 billion in low interest loans to the banks.  This is eerily similar to the TARP money (which the President is still blamed for, he was a Senator).  Remember the TARP money had as a stated goal that the money would go for low interest loans to business for job creation.  The goal with this money is to provide low interest loans to businesses for job growth.  Interesting!  The problem as I see it is that in 2008 a lot of businesses needed cash to keep the doors open and the banks didn't follow through on their end of the bargain leading to these businesses going under.  In 2010 there is no pressing need for capital, the damage has been done.  If there were increasing demand from consumers increasing the supply of money would make sense, but that is not the case at this point in time.  This is looking like another give away to the banks.  Until we can get people working again or salaries going up to create demand there is no need for business to expand.

Bike Boxes

This was another controversial road issue in Madison where local control politicians that didn't live in Madison had their heads explode (Rep. Nass (R Whitewater)).  Finally there is an article about why such an evil thing was devised it was because of a lot of deaths.

screw 'em

The American people have spoken and they are going to get what they asked for.  A repeal of health care, lets hope that this one never comes back.  A repeal of bank reform, lets hope they don't bring this back.  Clean air act, I say that if can't see the air you're breathing it's too clean.  Clean water, what's that?  Endangered species, I hope that they are good eating what is left of them.  Energy policy, the country hasn't had one since its founding why get one now?  Cap and trade, lets get rid of this Reagan idea.  Minimum wage?  There is one?  Not for long, join the race to the bottom.  These are just some of the things that the majority campaigned on, hopefully everyone is happy now.

That didn't take long

I had been thinking that it would be fun to watch the next 2 years but I had no idea that the fun would start so soon.  In today's Wisconsin State Journal the lead editorial is titled "Get past rail rhetoric to reality".  Among the gems here "We're disappointed that the first people being hired for extra work are local attorneys to dream up legal arguments for stopping the high-speed train from Milwaukee to Madison".  This is the same paper that endorsed candidate Walker.  What????  Governor Walker is doing exactly what he promised, I expect nothing less.  Then you have the new majorities all over the country saying that we can't focus on social issues.  Why not, you have been returned to power to finally do something about the gays and outlaw abortion.  Our own Julaine Appling said as much.

Then we have our new Lt. Governor who is undergoing preventative chemo therapy and still doesn't understand her insurance policy.  Many policies don't cover such treatments, but her policy with its State mandated minimum coverage does in fact cover such preventative care.  It may not be Government run but it sure is government controlled and paid for.

Then we have upset state employees who voted for Walker.  What???  They are griping about contributing to their pension, taking more furlough days, paying more for the aforementioned health care policy and maybe having staff reductions.  What did the Governor campaign on?  All of these things.  As I say if you are working for a private company and you are lucky enough to have a pension and they have a 2 billion dollar short fall you not only won't have a job you'll lose your pension.  Give the short fall the state's workforce has to give something.  You can gripe about how unfair the furloughs are, but guess what you have a job.  To think that I am considered an out of touch liberal.  I would use pragmatic and no I was not one of the surprising number of worker who voted for Walker.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Give the Money Back?

A day after the capitalists take over it was announced that 49 Wisconsin Companies (presumably led by capitalists) were going to share 13.1 million dollars in Federal Grants from the health care act.  This would be the act that Ron Johnson and Paul Ryan as well as others have said they would repeal.  Not only that but Ron Johnson and Scott Walker has said that government should not be in the marketplace.  What is their position on these grants?  Are they going to introduce legislation to get this money back?  Are these companies going to do the right thing and give the money back because they believe that business should not accept government help?  I want to know!  This country needs to follow Capitalist theory, the people have spoken, which means that the market picks winners and losers not the government.  I say that it is time to hold these businesses to what they preach.  The tea party patriots talk about the constitution.  There is nothing in the constitution that explicitly says that it is the duty of government to help business.  The same goes for tax cuts to business, again it is government helping business.  Look at Quad Graphics, $49 million in credits.  Their competition didn't get a deal, it is unfair competition directed by the government.  I for one will continue to point this out but I don't expect to see this anymore, we have a new administration in town.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The End of Rail

The RTA failed in Dane county, we can finally stop talking about commuter rail.  I had a thought related to this while sitting on the Beltline between Park and John Nolen where the road is essentially 10 lanes wide, how wide can we make this road?  The reality here is that we don't have enough land to widen roads and we have too many people driving into Madison.  Can't possibly talk about commuter rail or buses, so warm up the bulldozers and lets build us a road or 2 or 3.

The American People Have Spoken

What a sweeping victory.  The victors are already leaking the agenda.  Congressman Issa has released the first 4 subpoenas, others are talking about repealing health care reform, others the repeal of the meager financial reforms, and of course the Bush tax cuts.  It'll be a great 2 years.  I do think that the repeal of health care reform is likely.  Many of the remaining Democrats will vote to over ride a veto (they saw what happened to Feingold).  The real question is what to replace it with?  Probably HSAs, works for the wealthy and the healthy.  The rest of us are on our own.  The financial reform was so weak it might as well be reformed.  The Bush tax cuts should instead be made to zero taxes for those earning more than $500,000.  Think of the jobs that will be created if no taxes are paid.  Because, as we all know people take their tax savings and hire people because they can, not because there is demand for their products.  Those of you who disagree, remember the people have spoken and it is your duty to hold the American people to what they voted for.  Hold these republicans to what they campaigned on.  In the past the Republicans have talked a good line, but in the end while controlling Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court they dropped the ball on taxes, education, and abortion.  I want them to pass their agenda, maybe even go a little further.  Lets try it, I don't think it will work, but what the heck.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Government Spending

So, I'm reading today how we are going to try to secure shipping packages by air.  Why this hasn't already been done is beyond me, but don't ask about shipping by ship (you could probably send a tank in a container).  To secure shipping by air will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money that people are not willing to spend.  It is interesting that some are finally looking at costs, the war on terror has been an untouchable.  No one said anything about airport screening after 9/11.  That money largely came from the taxpayers because the airlines couldn't afford it.  Was this budgeted?  Of course not, President Bush put it off budget, emergency expenditure.   For those of you voting for people running on the balanced budget amendment that means that these expenses wouldn't have happened (I finally see a reason to support such an amendment).  So, get ready to blow up the budget, since this President doesn't pay for stuff off budget.  There will probably have to be a vote to raise the debt ceiling soon after the new congress is seated.  That will be an interesting vote (Mr. Johnson).  It is pretty much either we pay for this or bankrupt the corporations.  We'll pay but to bring it under budget something will have to be cut, a real cut.  It is going to be fun to watch the tea party in action.