Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cross Country Ski Racing

Over the weekend the US women had some of their best results ever including an historic 3rd place in the relay.  There is certainly a talented committed group of skiers right now, hopefully we can keep on developing young talent and become a ski power.

Renaming Gilda's club

The Madison organization that runs Gilda's Club Madison is going to rename the facility.  Apparently the driving reason is that young people don't know who Gilda was.  What blow to Gilda's memory.  There are lots of things named after dead people.  It is the organization's responsibility to tell the story of Gilda and how club came to be.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Better Paying Jobs

Mitt Romney has been running around the country saying that the solution to the food stamp nation is better paying jobs.  I couldn't agree more.  The problem that Mitt Romney has in making such statements is that he is on record as being opposed to the minimum wage and being for wage and benefit cuts as part of corporate restructuring.  Not to mention the heading of companies that collapsed and had their jobs either eliminated or sent overseas.  I think that the middle class finally is getting that we pay all of the bills and then lose wages and benefits in the interest of corporate profits.  I think before Mitt starts promising higher paying jobs he needs to talk to his buddies in corporate America about giving existing employees a raise and to stop being on record as opposed to the minimum wage.  I also think that they should drop the opposition to Obamacare as more and more companies are dropping healthcare plans because they are too expensive.  Proving once again that the power of the market cannot control the costs of health insurance.  I hope that he is right that he will (not that government creates jobs) create 12 million new high paying jobs which is about half of the 23 million jobs that he says the country need.  The skeptic in me says that we are likely to see less than 12 million minimum wage jobs.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tagg Romney

On Wednesday after the Tuesday debate Tagg Romney was asked how it felt to have the President call his dad a liar.  first of all the President didn't call him a liar, he said that what he was saying was not true.  Tagg responded by saying that he wanted to punch the President in the nose but couldn't because of secret service.  What Tagg should be doing is reading the multitude of posts from fact checkers who stated that his dad was not exactly truthful 31 times in 41 minutes, an impressive total by any stretch.  The problem with Mitt Romney is that he has an inability to maintain consistent positions on the issues and he gets facts wrong (likely deliberately to make himself look better).  Tagg don't be like your dad, get the facts right before you go punch anyone in the nose especially the President.

The Food Stamp President

That's what Mitt Romney and the Republicans call President Obama.  Some look at this as a slam against the President who as a child received food stamps.  Some point to the fact that the number of people on food stamps has increased during his presidency and that somehow he made it easier to qualify for food stamps.  The facts on food stamps are a little more complicated.  The majority of the recipients have jobs.  So, why would they qualify for food stamps?  Because both wages and hours are down since 2008, but in reality they have been in decline for 30 years.  The bottom line is that you have more people who simply cannot afford to live in this country.  If we would reduce the food stamp program (both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are on record although recently they have change their mind) Paul Ryan would be able to get in a nice photo op at the soup kitchen probably similar to the depression.  You remove the floor and people are going to fall hard.  The Republicans believe that this is what should happen.  My question is what is the point?  Does anyone really believe that if you cut off aid to the poor suddenly the poor will get higher paying jobs or start a business?  Of course not.  What will happen is that we will see the true effects of this economy, which is that it is disastrous for the majority of Americans.  Maybe, we as a country need to go through a period like this so that people will finally wake up and understand that the wealthy, the corporations, and the politicians did this to us and finally demand change.   

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Case for War

Paul Ryan says that he and Romney will only take the US to war if the national interests of this country are threatened.  He didn't really define this but there are indicators from past actions.  While Mitt Romney was dodging the draft of a war that he not only fully supported but a war where he helped organize pro-war protests.  That war was Vietnam.  A war where there were no clear threats to our national security other than the domino effect of communism.  In fact today with the communists still in charge Vietnam has become an important trading partner, Mitt may have even shipped some American jobs over there.  Paul Ryan voted for the war in Iraq and Mitt Romney supported it.  Again another conflict without a clear threat to the country.  So, if they win expect to go into both Syria and Iran not that either country poses a threat to this country.  Even if Iran had a bomb they would be incapable of delivering to the United States.  If by some miracle they pulled off blowing one up in the US what exactly would happen to Iran?  I think that we would no longer have to worry about the Iranians.  Syria is simply not a threat and there is no clear good group worthy of our support.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working Hard

A recent survey came out that said among self described conservatives 77% agreed with the following:  "the hardest working people should be paid the most".  Among liberals that statement was only rated true by 49%.  The predictable reaction was see it's the 47% freeloaders who want everything handed to them, who want to be paid more for doing less.  Oh the horror!  I would contend that the liberals got it right.  The people who work the hardest (physical effort and time) are some of the lowest paid people in America.  They are the people who work in the fields, build the buildings, build the roads, stock the shelves, work a couple of jobs, cook in the restaurants,...  Whereas, the high priced workers sit in the office and stare at computer screens for a lot of hours.  You can argue that they work a lot of hours, that they pass on vacations, have to make hard decisions, but you would be hard pressed to say that they are working hard.  There is simply no comparison especially when you look at people who were paid to make the hard decisions and then when things didn't go as planned they end up getting bailed out or making money on the deal while the hard working workers are out jobs.  You have to look no further than Mitt Romney to see that this is true.  As CEO of many companies that went under he seems to have done well for himself while the workers suffered.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Can't they Answer the Question

Last night's debate had a question about the role of government and neither candidate had an answer.  Mitt Romney who is on the restore the constitution as I know it tour quoted from the Declaration of Independence a document that does not stat the role of government.  For President Obama's answer he started out good by talking about how the government assisted the railroads in building the trans-continental railroad (taxpayers built it just don't own it) and funding science.  Then he went off into other programs and failed to tie it back to the Constitution.  A better question would have been "how do you interpret Article 1, section 8, clause 1 of the US Constitution and how do you see the role of government in the US?".  This would force each of them to address the promote the general welfare of the nation sub-clause.  The liberals see that as meaning that government has a role in ensuring that people aren't left behind.  The right sees that as being an extension of providing for the defense of the nation, that you have to keep people safe thereby promoting their welfare.  A follow-up could have been "section 8, clause 8 describes a government that promotes the arts, funds research, and promotes science what are your thoughts?".  It should be noted that Romney did indicate that the arts would be cut although that and defense would appear to be 2 programs that the founding fathers wanted.

Physcians Plus

I'll admit to being a little (okay a lot) upset about the pending Physicians Plus and UW Hospital divorce.  While I was thinking about my denial to continue to see a specialist it occurred to me that Physicians Plus has a brilliant strategy.  They are denying referrals, hiring a few specialists, out sourcing the rest to doctors that 90+ miles away so that they will piss off the people seeking specialty care.  And here's why, those patients are certainly big users of the system, they also have pre-existing conditions so they are your most expensive patients.  I would probably be safe to say that even with the high premium prices they are probably making very little or negative money on these patients.  So, those who work for an employer that offers a choice of plans will leave for Unity, Dean (have to change doctors as well), or some other insurance and overnight Physicians Plus becomes profitable because they just got rid of their high cost patients.

Healthcare at the Pres Debate

You knew that healthcare would take center stage at the debate.  Healthcare being the signature plan of both candidates (same plan in fact).  Mitt has staked the position of repeal, now repeal and replace.  I guess the flat out repeal wasn't poling well.  I thought that he had some amazing comments on the topic.  First he said that he believes in the private sector.  But, then he said if you don't like your company you can just switch.  This is simply not true if you fall into any one of the following categories, pre-existing conditions, undergoing current treatment, or need a specific treatment.  There is not an insurance company that is going to take people with those conditions.  If your insurance is provided by an employer you can change once per year assuming that your company offers more than one plan (not that common).  He also stated that he doesn't want an unelected panel making healthcare decisions for him.  The problem with this statement is that it is not true, but lets assume that it is.  How would that be different from an insurance company panel that we pay directly for?  This is not uncommon, if you need a procedure that is not covered in your statement of benefits or is deemed experimental you can ask for it to be covered.  A panel will decide if you need that procedure.  Then they will decide if they will pay for it.  You want to see a specialist that is outside the plan, the same system applies.  A real example is right here in Dane county.  I had spine surgery this spring.  The surgeon follows up for 2 years.  The problem my surgeon works for UW hospital, my insurance company is Physicians Plus.  They no longer cover this.  So I asked for a referral, I was granted 1 follow-up visit where no diagnostics can take place and I was directed to a list of orthopedic surgeons.  The problem is that none of them specialize in spine surgery.  Not a problem, I'll ask for a name.  That was 2 weeks ago and I still haven't heard back.  I'm so glad that the private sector is showing the way on healthcare!  If you have to interact with the system you know that it is broken and you dislike it more than your cell phone company.  Apparently if you are wealthy like Mitt Romney and you have a pre-existing condition like Ann Romney the system works but for the rest of us it sucks and it is getting worse every year as the insurers try to maximize profit.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seasonal Hiring

First Kohl's and then Walmart announced that they are planning to hire huge numbers of people.  This news was treated as being an indicator that the economy is turning around because it is a bigger number than last year.  Nothing could be further from the truth, this was not news.  These companies are taking on seasonal staff.  The number is bigger because they are hoping for better business nothing more but we need to look at the kinds of jobs they are hiring.  They are part-time and minimum wage and many who work them already have other jobs.  In other words they have very little effect on the unemployment number.  What they do is help the 47% and those nearly in the 47% pay bills.  These are jobs that the 1% and the media really don't understand.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Act 10

Now that an activist judge has overturned part of act 10 the right is circulating a petition in favor of it.  Goody for you, aside from one of your core beliefs being against petitions what is the point?  Thinking back to my school days I vaguely remember that if a law is ruled unconstitutional the legislative branch could make changes to the law so that it meets the constitutional concerns that the courts had.  In this case all that would have to be done is extend act 10 to cover police and fire, which should have been done in the first place.  Maybe the energy that is being used to circulate meaningless petitions could be better spent educating people on the right how exactly the US system of government works because there seems to be some confusion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We are the 47%

When Mitt Romney talks about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes everyone immediately conjures up a view of some poor, lazy, good for nothing and know that he is not talking about them.  Unfortunately this is not the reality as countless people have pointed out.  I'm not going there instead I would link what Romney said to what our own Diane Hendricks had to say about right to work.  She was knowingly on camera, Romney wasn't but the two displayed what can only be characterized as contempt for the non-rich (the people who help make them the maker class).  What has shocked people is that this is out in the open and no one is backing away.  Sure there were cracks before, Leona Helmsley famously said that only the little people pay taxes, which I believe led to her conviction on tax evasion charges.

What is truly amazing is that this is the same group of people who would eliminate the minimum wage which will create even more people who don't pay income taxes.  They are either ignoring the income disparity or are really trying to create a peasant class where we are grateful for the scraps that fall from the table of the rich.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt the Mexican

I want to focus on Mitt Romney's comment about how his father was born in Mexico but that he is not Hispanic but if he were the race would be going better.  Mitt how are you not Mexican?  Is it because you don't look like the Mexicans crossing the border?  You know Mitt the ruling class in Mexico is pretty white, but if are referring to appearance that is a pretty racist statement.  Is it because your family never really embraced the culture of their adopted homeland?   I sure hope that the current Romney's in Mexico have assimilated.  Or is it because you don't want to bring attention to the fact that your family moved to Mexico to escape US law on Polygamy?   And you with no sense of irony going around the country saying that marriage is between one man and one woman when that isn't even true within your own family.

Friday, September 14, 2012

We've Been Played

By we I mean the United States and by being played I mean the Middle East.  This occurred to me listening to the radio the other and I think that it was Alan Combs who was talking about how the United States is for Democracy and self determination.  He was saying that we overthrew a secular dictator and then there was an election and the Muslim parties won in Iraq.  We have been seeing this repeated all over the Middle East.  I believe that both Presidents Bush and Obama believed that the religious parties would not win.  That was naive on their part.  Not unlike the United States where the fact that if someone is seen as a good Christian is going to get you votes, it should have been expected that seeing someone as a good Muslim would get votes.  The problem comes with political parties that have a radical element in them that want to establish a theocracy.  Again, not unlike today's Republican party (look at the buzz that was generated when the Democrats failed to mention God in their platform).  What these former secular leaders did and I'm not condoning their brutality was keep these elements in check within their countries.  Unfortunately once they fell the United States and others demanded that elections be held and the Islamist parties were the best organized and the won.  Then you get idiots in this country producing propaganda films which drive the people towards these Islamist groups because they are seen as the defenders of a way of life that appeals to them.  A romanticized view of a simpler time where everyone knew their place, where church and state were together, where society was just,...  Now we are stuck with an increasingly radical Middle East that will be increasingly difficult for the West to deal with because we are seen as the infidels in this holy war and as the Western countries try to counter Islam in their own countries have done nothing to dispel this view.  In short we were played by people who want the power and now that they have it (thanks to us) want to export their revolution throughout the world.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

School accountability

In response to the strike by the Chicago teachers the Wisconsin State Journal came out with an editorial position that basically says that it is here stay so get used to it.  They agree that 40% of teachers evaluations should include how their students did on standardized tests.  I don't think that test scores are the end all be all in education.  Why don't we look at the intangibles?  Things like the make-up of the class.  Let's admit that not all kids are capable of the same performance.  If that were true there would be a lot more perfect ACT and SAT results.  These tests are tests that don't really measure what you know.  If that were the case your score couldn't be improved by "teaching to the test".  No, I think that we need a multifaceted approach, we should use test scores but combine it with parent evaluations, student evaluations, and independent evaluations.  For the last one a school district would hire an independent company to evaluate their teachers over the course of the year.  This would work by sending teams of trained educators unannounced into each classroom several times over the course of the year.  They would look at such things as the quality of the students, the quality of the lesson plan, the ability of the teacher to engage the students, the ability of the teacher to manage the classroom, the ability of the teacher to deliver an effective lesson.  This won't be cheap but I really don't see a fairer more effective way to get this done.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sad and Disgusting

Is the Republican party incapable of not making stuff up!  In response to the tragic terrorist attack in Libya, Reince Priebus and Mitt Romney issued statements condemning President Obama for apologizing to the Muslims.  Unfortunately like so many statements in this campaign this statement wasn't true.  It is not even close to what the President said.  "
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."

If the sentence about rejecting efforts to denigrate religions is somehow apologizing I suggest that the Republicans read the constitution and think about the values that this country stands for.  Now the Republicans and their bloggers have escalated the rhetoric that the President will do nothing.  What do you want him to do attack Iran?  It would seem that these individuals are Libyan but that certainly won't stop the neo-con right from attacking the wrong country.  Maybe Mitt would have us turn a country that we just spent billions (and they talk about the deficit) "liberating" into a parking lot.  He has pledged to get those responsible and given his track record of ordering people killed I believe that it will happen.  I don't believe that we will see a trial, it will end like Bin Laden, the pirates, and Gaddafi.

I also think that it right to condemn this film.  The purported film maker apparently doesn't exist.  He was so brave that he used a fake name.  This movie was created with a sole purpose of provoking a war between the Muslim world and the United States and Israel.  Look at the facts as we know them.  The film was made by a right wing Israeli, funded by right wing American Christians, and carried what appeared to be an official endorsement of the US government.  Our embassy in Egypt issued the "apologetic" statement that Romney was speaking of where they condemned the film and said that we weren't associated with it.  The Israelis said the same thing about the film maker, that he wasn't working for them.  This film maker is hiding, we ought to be looking for him and if he is an Israeli citizen deport him to Israel.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Reflections on the Conventions

I didn't watch all of the convention coverage but what I did see was interesting.  The Republicans featured compelling personal stories that conveniently left out parts where they got government loans, grants, tax breaks,...  The Democrats featured the same kind of personal stories but they all gave government the credit for college loans and grants, business loans and grants, ...  Most telling were the speeches of Sen. Rubio and Mayor Castro.  Both men told the same story.  About how their parents worked, saved, and instilled a message that they would be better off than they were.  In fact they used similar tag lines.  Sen. Rubio, " my father was a banquet bartender so that instead of me standing behind the bar in the back of the room I could stand behind the podium in the front of the room".  Mayor Castro, "my mom worked so that I wouldn't be pushing a mop".  The difference was that the people in the Democratic convention seem to get it and the Republicans didn't.  That is the real difference between the parties.  One is a party of the working people the other is the party of the people who have theirs and either can't recall the struggles or were born on 3rd base.

Race Baiting

Jonah Goldberg was writing about how the Democrats see race when that is not really the issue.  He took the example of the Republicans saying that Obama uses the Chicago way of politics.  Two Democrats have said that this remark is racist.  I agree with Jonah it isn't racist.  Where I disagree with Jonah is that it is a statement that implies corruption.  The "Chicago Politics" comment harkens back to the machine politics of a past generation which doesn't exist anymore than saying that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are disciplines of the Chicago School of economics.  Which may be true if you look at their policies.  But, I fail to see an equivalent for the corrupt politics charge against Obama.  Is the President and his minions working to suppress the vote to get elected? Appears to be Republicans.  Is the President working to create pro Democrat voting districts to deliver a majority in Congress?  Again it would appear to be the Republicans.  Is the President using stimulus to create loyal workers?  Yes, but in States led by Republicans they are turning the money down.  No the President is a shadow of the political bosses of old, but the Republicans are looking very much the part and they are looking like Chicago School of Economics disciples as well.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Isaac part 3

No shortage of hypocrisy in red state Louisiana.  Yesterday on the radio they interviewed a woman self identified as a Republican whose house was under 12 feet of water who said that President Obama had done nothing.  Why wasn't this person challenged?  Obama released Federal aid before the hurricane struck.  She hadn't seen anyone because her house was still under water.  Where was the question about why she didn't have flood/ hurricane insurance?  Where was the pointing out that being a Republican is all about providing for yourself?  Talk about creating a culture of dependency on the Federal government.  When I thought it couldn't get any worse it happened again.  In this morning's Wisconsin State Journal another Republican from Louisiana said that the President should spend whatever it takes to build a better levy system for the rest of the State.  What happened to "State rights and responsibilities"?  Why should the rest of the taxpaying citizen's of the United States who work hard, have homeowners insurance, and flood insurance, whose state and local governments build flood control structures, regulate building,... have to pay for the irresponsible management of Louisiana?  Where is tea party nation and the Republican party on this?  When the President agrees to rebuilding Louisiana we'll hear from both groups about the billions added to the deficit.  Although neither group came out against the spending before it was done.  Hypocrisy and nonsense and irresponsible spending of taxpayer money.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Actors need writers

I think that we saw last night with Clint Eastwood that it is the writing that makes actors look good.  Clearly his script was not as good as say the one for the GM halftime commercial.  He could have reworked that commercial and it would have been fine and fit the overall theme of the night.  Too bad that wasn't done.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hurricane Isaac 2

Not only did the President authorize disaster relief, Bobby Jindal said that it wasn't enough money.  Excuse me!  Isn't this the guy who turns down federal money because he doesn't want to corrupt his principles?  Isn't this the party that is conducting a convention where they advocate eliminating these programs?  A State official said that the Federal Government was needed because it was a national security/ energy emergency.  There are multiple problems with this statement.  First, all of the companies involved are private, shouldn't they fix it themselves?  Second, at least the energy companies are acting like they are paying for it otherwise how do you explain the leap in gas prices?  Third, I don't see how my security in Wisconsin is jeopardized because Louisiana had a hurricane.  Why don't the hurricane prone states budget for hurricanes?  Just like sitting around the kitchen table, how many hurricanes do you think that we'll have this year?  This is ridiculous, these states have their hands out year after year to the rest of the country, feel sorry for us we had a hurricane.  We know hurricanes happen, we know that they are bad, what we don't understand is why you don't set money aside to pay for them.  I bet I could run a low tax state if for every "unexpected disaster" I went running to the Federal Government to pay for it.  Talk about a culture of dependence.  These guys talk about a smaller government but that must only be in theory.

Way to go Weir Minerals

I was reading the paper today about a proposed expansion at Weir Minerals (a mine equipment manufacturer), what a refreshing story.  They are going to file a permit application with the DNR.  They are not asking for a rule change like Ashley Furniture, Cabela's, Gogebic Mine,...  They are not asking for a government handout unlike say the Edgewater hotel, but if money is available they'll take it.  They are going to provide some high paying jobs unlike other companies that get government handouts like Walmart in Monona, Beaver Dam, ...  All that I can say is that Weir is building it on their own and being a good citizen about it as well.  Maybe this is due to the fact that they are a British company and they have different values.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Didn't build that take 2

The Republican convention is all about the phrase didn't build that.  Those hardscrabble immigrant entrepreneurs building their business by themselves.  They didn't rely on a government to establish a civil society that allowed a business to succeed they obviously did it themselves.  They banded together a created police forces to keep the peace and provide security for their business.  They created the fire departments, they built the roads, they built the railways, all without a government.  And how was this fantasy paid for, by the businesses of course.  That is the history that the Republicans are talking about, to bad it is all not true.  No business owners ask government for fire and police protection (they always have), they ask for city services such as water and sewer, they ask that roads be built, they ask that flood control structures be built, they ask for government to take land so that railroads can be built, they ask for locks to be put on rivers for barge traffic, ....  And who ends up paying for this the US taxpayer.

Chris Christie at the Convention

I was listening to Governor Christie last night and something struck me from his personal story.  He was talking about his father who returned from the war got a job and then went to college with the GI bill.  The GI bill is nothing more than a government handout.  In fact there was opposition to the bill on those grounds and also on the ground that it was government sponsored social engineering.  Most of the men coming back from the war would not have gone to college if not for the GI bill.  It is not like the government owed anything to them.  For the most part they were not drafted out of college or headed in that direction anyway.  But, at the end of the war the President decided that we should give them a college education in order to create an educated workforce for the future of the country.  This coupled with President Eisenhower's investment in infrastructure helped to create the boom that became the economic giant of the United States.  It is utter nonsense for the GOP to run around and pretend that there was no assistance from government.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

The President should hold the anti government governors of the states likely to be affected by the hurricane accountable for past statements.  Which means, NO AID from taxpayers like me.

Atlas Shrugged the Movie

I'll confess that I never read the book.  I hate to say this to the maker of the movie but I found it to be an indictment of US style capitalism.  You have Reardon as the paramount of individualism running his steel business.  Dagny Taggart is also a big individualist, of course there is no mention of the Government helping the railroads in the early days.  The rest of the business executives are portrayed as scheming with Government in order to gain advantage over their rivals.  Taggart's brother lobbies for a law to essentially wipe out his competition in Colorado.  The other steel producers get Reardon's steel labeled unsafe by the Government.  Others want bits of corporations so they get a law passed disallowing an individual from owning multiple companies.  This would seem to be how big business operates in the US today.  Maybe if we could solve this type of lobbying and the subsequent gifts to big business maybe the small businesses would feel better about Government.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Problem With Paul Ryan

The man is entitled to his views and I can agree with some of them.  The problem that I have is his going around the country talking about how government programs are somehow hurting the people that they are supposed to help and creating a culture of dependence.  Fair enough but he himself was a victim of these same programs.  My daughter and other who I have talked to say that he changed his views and pointed out that my views have changed.  Also fair!  The difference is that I can discuss how and why I changed my positions over the years and Paul Ryan has not.  He has not said how he was harmed by the Government.  They assisted in funding his education at an out of state public (not deals there) university.  He could have stay in his beloved state and gone to one of the UW system schools for a fraction of the cost of attending Miami of Ohio.  I'm just wondering how that was a good use of taxpayer money.  Paul Ryan and his family also collected social security survivor benefits a program that he wants to dismantle (I can agree with this because Social Security was not intended to be a life insurance policy or a pension program, it was intended as assistance for the people who worked hard all of their lives).  I for one, want to know how he was victimized by this program?  Will Paul Ryan answer questions like these?  Doubtful

Friday, August 10, 2012

Anti Romney ad

There is an ad running that has the Republicans all upset that it is not truthful.  Here are the facts as we know them:  Bain Capital did buy a 100 year old steel company, they did put Mitt Romney in charge, the company did go bankrupt, the CEO (Mitt Romney) used the employee retirement fund to try to pay down debt, the employees did lose their jobs, retirement, and health insurance.  Sounds like the ad is factual to me and shows what can happen to people when Bain Capital buys your company.

Super Tommy to the Rescue

Tommy Thompson's new ad made me think of superman.  first he has the booming voice unlike his normal slurred speech.  Then between each point there is a swish sound.  He'll vanquish Obamacare, the deficit, entitlements,...

Romney and Romneycare

Wow, after spending the last 4 years running away from his record as Governor of Mass, he and his aids have slipped and mentioned that had someone lived in Mass. they would have had insurance.  Their correct response should have been that this person could have extended their coverage with COBRA.  Of course you leave out the fact that you have to pay for the premium, since most of the unemployed don't have thousands of dollars lying around.  Just another example of Mitt being on all sides of all issues.  He also has not said what will replace Obamacare when he repeals it on day 1.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Free speech and Boycotts

Chick Fil A has been in the news a lot in the last couple of weeks.  As we all know the issue stems from the CEO talking about his personal beliefs in a nationally run interview and the angry fallout directed towards his company.  What I find astonishing is how conservatives have twisted free speech.  What they are saying is that this is a free speech issue and that you should be able to say whatever you want without a fear of reprisal.  Excuse me but aren't you the same group of people who ruined the Dixie Chicks for something they said in a concert by calling for a boycott?  No, you can say whatever you want recognizing that the consumer is ultimately free to chose whether they continue to buy your products.  I have no problems with the boycott.  If Mr. Cathy had been running issue ads through as a shielded donor through a super pac (allowed under citizens united) no one would have ever known and he wouldn't be worried about his business suffering.  As I have said before this is what is wrong with citizens united, you have all of this money being spent whose source is unknown.  Consumers don't have an opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions.  At least with Chick Fil A we can say I'm not going to shop there because their ownership is bigoted and spends money to help spread that cause.  Given the deep divisions in the country it would be smart for business owners worried about their market share to not contribute to any cause or candidate.  We know that this won't happen because there is less choice in the market place so as an owner you can get away with it and not suffer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Didn't Build That

There has been a lot said about the President not giving the business owners credit for creating their business from nothing.  Unfortunately that is not really what he said.  What he was talking about is how having a stable society with services provided (police, fire,...), public infrastructure, and an educated work force allow people to create businesses.  There have been a lot of letters into the Wisconsin State Journal that have disputed this idea.  For proof that they didn't build it all you have to do is drive on highways 151 and 94.  There are 2 locations where a big corporation bought a bunch of land, probably relatively cheaply and built huge warehouse distribution facilities.  The only problem and probably a reason for low land prices is that there were not interchanges in those locations.  The state knowing that the $10 per hour jobs were important built interchanges at a cost of around $10 million dollars each.  The company didn't build it the taxpayers did.  The gas revenue from the trucks using these facilities will take a long time to pay for them (sorry it is a myth that the gas tax pays for the roads, we don't collect enough money).  There is another example from the same company where they wanted to build a store.  What they did was get the City of Monona to build the building in a wetland and then lease it to them.  They also had the roads in the area upgraded to handle the increased traffic.  So, the next time a company wants millions to stay in the state, highways built so that they can expand, public financing to expand,... remind the owners how exactly they are building their business themselves.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Anti-healthcare argument

The new argument against healthcare is that we don't pay for stuff (birth control) that we don't agree with.  My question is that if this is repealed can those of us that disagree with the current wars quit paying for them and ask for a refund?  Conservatives are all about rights and freedoms as long as it is for things that they believe in but when someone disagrees with them they are demonized and expected to go along with with the government.  That is just wrong thinking you are either for civil society or you are against it.  The Republicans campaign as if they are against civil society but spend like crazy when they govern.  It is just that their spending priorities tend to move the country towards a police state, which is never very free.

The Bush Taxcuts

Remember when President Bush proposed his tax cut scheme?  The country was mired in the Bush recession and the Bush war.  The theory was that if we give everyone a tax cut with the majority going to the wealthy, the wealthy would hire and the rest of us would spend.  The biggest problem was that the rest of us didn't notice our tax cut, so it was too small for us to spend more and without increased sales the wealthy couldn't justify growing their business.  If the theory had been correct after 12 years this economy should be booming, it isn't and the Republican solution is to make the tax cuts permanent and give more o the top wage earners.  President Obama should just let the whole mess expire, at least then there will be increased revenue for the government.  I for one will not miss the couple of percent that I get, I'm more worried about pay and benefits that have effectively reduced my salary 11%.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's About Time

I just read that the Mayor of Chicago is punishing the Chicago Cubs for a position that their ownership has taken.  I say that it is about time.  In the wake of Citizen's United where unlimited political spending is allowed, although the contributors are shielded most of the time because of worries that if known they will be in some way punished, it seems reasonable that the Government should hold them to their statements.  Here you have people who are so against the Government that they are spending $10 million dollars to help defeat the President and his "socialist" agenda, while asking the Government to fund your expansion of one of your businesses.  They see a problem with the Mayor taking a stand, I say that the Mayor is holding them to their belief of less Government and less "socialism".  Asking for a handout from the Government to fund your business is Socialism and it is about time that these business leaders realize that.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Stunning is all that I can say about the decision on healthcare.  What got into Judge Roberts?  Could it be that he watched Letterman's top ten on the court?  Could it be that he is looking at the polls and only 40% approve of the court and a majority have no faith in it at all?  They say that Roberts doesn't want to see the court's decisions viewed as political and that is why he voted to uphold the ACA.  If that is the reason, good.  The reality is that since he took over as Chief Justice the majority of the decisions have been political and have overturned settled law (some of these laws a hundred years old).  So it is a start but he has a long way to go.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One More on Romney and Obamacare

I think that Mitt Romney should pose as someone in the middle class and go insurance shopping.  I think that he would find it very difficult to find insurance and any price much less a price that is affordable to a middle class family.  Why would finding health insurance be so difficult?  Because, Ann Romney has a pre-existing condition that also happens to be fatal.  No one in their right mind would be willing to take on that risk at an affordable price.

On Day One: Repeal Obamacare

Mitt Romney yesterday said that on day one he would repeal Obamacare and return healthcare to the States and individual responsibility.  The problem with this is this isn't how it is now.  If gov. Romney is serious the second thing that he needs to do on day one is repeal a Reagan era law that says that health care providers must treat people who walk in. Here is the problem we have people in this country who don't take responsibility and buy insurance because they are healthy, we have people who want insurance but can't afford it for a variety of reasons, and then we have people who are denied coverage due to pre-existing illnesses.  Unfortunately we (the taxpayers) pay the health care costs for these people.  So, unless Romney is going to let the rest of society kick those without insurance or the means to pay for their care to the curb the taxpayers are going to be on the hook for health care expenses for an increasing number of people.  You want to know why casts are out of control?  It is because the responsible citizens have been paying for the irresponsible and we have had enough.  I have no problem cutting off the gravy train and teaching responsibility through denial.  It seems to me that the individual mandate is a good idea short of single payer universal coverage but if the people want this repeal then at least have the sense to remove the mandatory care provisions that we have.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Marco Rubio and Immigration

With no sense of irony Marco Rubio has come out against the President's executive order on immigration.  This is of no surprise coming from the darling of the tea party, but let's look at the facts.  Marco is a Cuban and like it or not Cuban immigration is different from everyone else.  If you get here you're in whereas anyone else can be deported if caught.  I'll give Marco the benefit of the doubt when he says that his parents immigrated legally either before or after Castro took power depending on who he is talking to, but he should produce any documentation to this fact.  If he cannot come up with the documentation it is a fact that Cubans who were here in 1959 were granted residency (amnesty?).  So, if he were a Mexican he would be an anchor baby.  As far as I am concerned the Cubans should have to go through the same process as everyone else and all of the Cubans that washed up on the shore over the years should be sent back.  This country cannot and should not have a policy based on the country of origin.  I have no problem with immigration unlike Mr. Rubio (we got ours too bad for the rest of you), but we clearly need to make more attainable.  Most of the illegals are working, clearly we need these people to do jobs that we don't want to pay Americans to do.  The Republicans instead of offering real policy trot out Marco Rubio because he is Hispanic and opposed to all immigration as the expert (with special circumstance)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today's Cap Times

In today's Cap Times they quote Kathleen Vinehout explaining that the Dems have lost the rural vote.  I have said this for a long time.  There is an amazing number of people who live in the Madison area who never get out to the rural areas and then talk to the people.  So they are stunned when you have election results like last Tuesday, I was not.  the rural population on paper they should be Dems but they have bought into the very effective propaganda by the right.  Frank Lutz is a genius.  He is able to find the one issue and then break it down to a couple word sound bite.  He then gets everyone on the same page, brilliant.  Unfortunately what the State needs now are some pragmatic politicians that can come up with real solutions.  I would say common sense but that has been attributed to Walker and those solutions are not common sense or solutions.  So what happens to the children of the state when education is defunded?  Do you really believe that private schools will open up all over and agree the educate the children with declining public money (the cuts included in act 10)?  I don't see the performance being any better either, all you have to do is look at Milwaukee where private school choice has existed for a long time.  This is going to damage the state going forward, we'll need right to work for less just to be able to provide jobs to the uneducated.  Then there is the matter of repealing environmental regulations in a state where tourism is a big part of the economy.  I don't see this helping matters.  Then there is writing legislation for single companies.  No, I think that they can play by the same rules as everyone else.  Look at Ashley furniture, they couldn't build anywhere other than the wetland that legislature ruled, over the objections of everyone who knew something, was ok to build on.  What happened when their factory flooded as many said would happen?  They asked for and got help from the State for a problem that they created.  This is appalling.  Now we have Cabelas in Green Bay building in a wetland.  What do you think will happen when it floods?  They will ask for help and we'll give it.  The GTAC mine could have been built under existing law.  The law doesn't need to be changed.  The mine was confident that they were going to get their way.  Had they filed an application it most likely would have been approved before the ill fated vote.  These rule rewrites end up costing the State in the end.  We need people who are willing to preserve what made this state special, public education, protect the environment, a leader in the treatment of workers,...  Unfortunately for the tea party the state traditions are pretty liberal.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eliminate EPA

The EPA has become the favorite target of Republicans with Mitt Romney saying that he would abolish the agency on day one.  There is this mantra about how the EPA has job killing regulation.  While not nonsense the real job killers are OSHA.  Look at what they make employers do.  They make construction workers put up fall protection and in some cases where a harness.  This adds to cost and the workers don't want to do it anyway.  OSHA wants you to monitor your employees exposure to solvents.  These are airborne contaminates that might cause illness (like how global climate change might be caused by people) and you can't see them anyway.  There are just way too many rules governing worker safety.  If a company starts killing its workers don't you think that the remaining ones would seek out new employment?  Let the market work.  For those maimed or left with chronic illness, well I feel bad for them but in this era of austerity I don't see how the US taxpayers can be expected to foot the bill.  It's not like these workers won't go down as heros for they are contributing to the greater good by creating wealth for the 1% and products for the rest of them.  Some day post OSHA there will a great monument built in the memory of these individuals who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that a corporation could have greater profit.

What Should the Dems do?

How should the Dems play the after effects of what was a pretty dismal night?  I think that they should go the other way and help the Republicans pass their agenda.  I'm talking about the things that they don't want to touch or at least the Governor said weren't priorities.  They should propose right to work.  The should propose ending public education.  The should propose ending abortion.  They should propose banning the sales of contraceptives.  They should propose ending Badger Care.  The should propose legalizing drugs.  They should propose making all drugs available without a prescription.  They should propose ending public education.  All of these things seem popular with the people but Republicans have been unwilling to go this far at one time.  They prefer the slow death of these programs.  I say help them fulfill the goals as stated in their platform.  After all they say elections have consequences.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sound Advice

Got this quote from a blog post by Jens Voigt (bike racer extraordinaire):

In 10 years people might not remember me as a bike rider but as the person who invented the “Shut up, legs” phrase! And that’s fine with me. As my parents told me—it’s about making footprints on the path of life. If you only follow others, you’ll never create your own footprints. It might be an easy path just to follow the other footprints, but future generations might find it difficult to find yours.

He has certainly made his own footprints during his years as a pro. 

Its Over

As of 10 pm it looks like its over and all of the Republicans won handily.  Polling was way off, every race was 60:40% right from the beginning.  Now the question is do you pursue a legislative agenda immediately or wait until Mitt Romney is elected.  Myself, being somewhat progress would advocate dropping the bomb immediately.  Make the change to the retirement system, that should go smooth.  The public sector workers have been demonized through the campaign, no one will care.  The move on right to work (some say for less).  The people know about it so it won't be a shock.  Finally you need to do something for pro-life Wisconsin.  You can't keep taking your base for granted.

University Tuition

Thursday the UW Reagents are going to vote to increase tuition another 5.5%, which it turns out is as high as it can be raised thanks to the Governors tools.  Yes, this will make college unaffordable for some and it is likely to get worse before it gets better.  The Ryan budget would cut grants and loans further making it hard for the middle and lower classes to go to college.  Of course, the tuition increase has brought noted small government and all around university critic Steve Nass out of hiding.  He released a statement saying that we need to control these tuition increases so that middle class students are not priced out of college.  This is the same man who voted to cut the university budget, and now he wonders why they need to increase tuition.  It is mind boggling that he can't understand this issue, one would think in the absence of any other factors just to maintain the same level tuition would have to go up.  So what exactly is Rep. Nass proposing as a way to control costs and maintain the system that he loves to hate?  He is proposing keeping the 5.5% tuition caps on.  Really, does anyone believe that will stop tuition increases?  No, they will be raising tuition 5.5% per year because the system is losing money from the state and federal government and they have more in state students (who get a break by the fact that they are from Wisconsin) who don't pay the true cost of education (it is subsidized by the students who pay out of state tuition).  If you want to cut costs you can do it a variety of ways.  You could downsize the university system, that probably won't help the job numbers.  You could cut staff salaries and benefits, which is probably the best way.  Finally you could eliminate some majors or move them around to other campuses in the system.  I guess there is one more for Rep. Nass to consider, increase the state assistance to the UW system.  We all know that is a non-starter.  No, I'm afraid that the only way to keep public college affordable involves making hard choices that in the end will probably destroy the value of a degree from what was once one of the best university systems in the country.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Myths and Lies

soI was listening to liberal radio (92.1 FM the Devil's advocates) when it occurred to me, the whole argument about public schools is based on lies.  Dom's argument was that if collective bargaining is restored the teachers would rob the taxpayers.  This is the same argument used against state employees.  The problem is that the process is that wages and benefits are negotiated with the school board in the case of teachers or the state joint employee relations committee.  Then these proposed contracts are approved by the voters for teachers and the entire legislature and governor in the case of state employees.  If there is no settlement it could go to binding arbitration, which very rarely happens.  So, tell me again how the unions demand and get their way?  If people are angry they need to vote the people making the decisions out of office.  I'm angry that teachers in my district are getting 2.1% which is the rate of inflation as stated in Act 10.  The district got the "tools" and punted.  The state employees are getting 0% as they have for the past 3 years.  In the case of state workers was dissolving collective bargaining necessary when workers were currently operating under furloughs (3% pay cut) and 0% salary increases.  Now they have an effective 12-20% pay reduction depending on salary and they will likely be asked to contribute more to insurance and retirement next year as they have been every year for the last 6 years.  At the state level this was totally unnecessary.  The employees had accepted these cuts, they did not rob the taxpayer.  The media should be reporting in the reality based world.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Problem with Wisconsin Cities

A lot has been made about the sorry state of Milwaukee by the Pro-Walker forces.  The seem to delight in this telling of how Milwaukee is going to fail.  I say then what?  You have the state's largest city in ruins, how exactly is that good for the state or the economy?  The reasons for Milwaukee's and by extension Madison's problems are relate to the party in charge and the fact that a lot of the workers live outside of the city.  You have Governors and legislators who dislike these cities and cut how much tax money is kicked back to them.  This leaves the city with no choice but to raise property taxes, but the people with the money have left for other communities.  But, these are the same people who need better roads, so we tax the residents of the city to pay for this, which drives more people out of town.  This spirals out of control causing the city to decline to the delight of Republicans who seem to only represent the burbs which are full of people who work in the city and won't pay for anything.  Just what are we going to do with the empty shells of cities in the state?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Regulate the Banks

I've been thinking about the need to bring back real banking/ investment regulation and have come to the conclusion that we should do something.  I would go along with the libertarians that the marketplace will regulate the banks.  No these are mega institutions that have the ability to destroy the economy which affects people who did not have any dealings with the banks.  So government has to step in to protect us from these predators.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Paul Ryan Guest Editorial

Paul Ryan wrote a guest editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal today about college debt since this is graduation day at the UW.  He says that the reason that college tuition has gone up so fast is because of the easy money that can be gotten from the federal loan program.  Aside from the sheer irony of this coming from a man whose college education was paid for by the taxpayer (working students included) this is crazy.  Doesn't the congressman think that if the State of Wisconsin reduces funding of the UW by more than $100 million dollars, tuition would increase?  Apparently not, according to Paul Ryan they are increasing tuition because they can.  The theory goes that if college becomes unaffordable the students will just borrow from the federal government.  This is nonsense.  The schools are passing along the reductions in revenues from State and Federal sources.  The schools could offset this by going to corporations and suggest that they place more research with them instead of hiring people (could be a problem for graduating students).  The schools could also offset this by reducing salaries and benefits.  This is certainly something that the Republican party is for.  They believe that unless you are a wealthy conservative you should be thankful to have a job.  If you are a public employee that feel that you should be working for free.  What a concept.  If this continues public education in this country will be destroyed which will make for a lot of ditch diggers but not too many engineers and scientists.  Now we just need to get rid of the minimum wage and create a bunch of menial jobs.  I fail to see how this will allow the country to compete in the 21st century.  The United States became a great nation because of the affordability of college education.  We are going to witness a decline into a society that operates much like an aristocracy with a privileged class and a serf class .

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gay Marriage is a Federal Issue

Marriage in general is a federal issue.  Everyone including the President seems to think that you can kick the issue of gay marriage to the States.  This is not right.  if the Federal Government had nothing to do with marriage inter-racial couples wouldn't be allowed to be married in many states today.  The biggest problem with leaving it to the states is say that someone is married in Massachusetts but they want to move to doubly illegal gay marriage state North Carolina they would lose marriage benefits conferred by the state and subsequently by the federal government.  This infringes on ones ability to move about the country and become productive working citizens.  This is the same reason that inter-racial marriage is recognized, not because it is a man and a woman.

More on the Bully

Now the right wing is equating the President pushing a girl in the seventh grade as the same as attacking, holding down, and cutting someones hair.  The differences are so numerous to be ridiculous.  For one the president wrote about the incident and what he learned from it.  Mitt didn't remember beating this classmate up and he gave a forced apology.  The other was in Mitt's case this was assault and given that he was 18 at the time should have been turned over to the authorities.

Now you also have the family saying that they have no knowledge of the incident.  Before you folks on the right think that this was made up consider that Lauber left school after that year.  Why was that?  No one is talking there.  Was it a lack of money?  Was it a bad fit?  Did he not have any friends?  Was he being harassed?  There is an appearance of running away.  Could be that Mitt and his buddies' behavior had something to do with him leaving school.  I know that if I were a parent paying private school costs I would have very little tolerance for this and would pull my kid out. 

It sounds like Romney was the arrogant rich kid who got away with everything.  I do not think that these are qualities that the country needs in a President, especially when we have so many kids who commit suicide or get revenge after being tormented in school.  I don't think that a President Romney would be able to relate to problems that many Americans went through in school. 

As for Cranbrook, hopefully they are doing a better job protecting all of their students today than they did 40 years ago.  Their literature and recruiters certainly act that way.

Mitt Romney the Bully

Mitt Romney participated in a few pranks in high school as did many of us and the right has the view that these things don't matter to becoming President.  The difference is that Mitt did was assault in the case of the hair cut incident and classic bullying in the rest of his pranks.  This and the fact that years later (after all of the studies on the effects of bullying) he still laughs them off are what disqualifies him to be President.  This bulllying behavior has long lasting effects on the victims and in this case on all of the perpetrators except one, Mitt Romney.  The only thing about this that might qualify him to be President is that he was able to lead a bunch of people to help him hold this kid down and give him a haircut.  That is really a sad comentary.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Rematch

That was the headline.  Is anyone else wondering how this will play out when the number of people who voted for Scott Walker who ran against a Lafollette/ Teddy Roosevelt Republican got almost as many votes as all of the Democrats combined?  Assuming most of the Republicans stayed home because they knew Walker would easily win, where were the Democrats?  Some Republicans might of voted because of fear that the Democrats would have crossed over.  This is baseless, the Democrats needed to select a strong candidate.  There was simply no reason to vote in the Republican primary if you were a Democrat.  In normal times I would have voted for a Republican who quotes Fighting Bob and Roosevelt but these aren't normal times.  So in the end Barrett wins convincingly.  This is like saying there was a mistake we need a do over.  This is a candidate who the last time ran a bad campaign.  He didn't lose to Walker because of the wave election he lost because he was a bad campaigner.  He did a poor job articulating what he wanted to do.  He did a poor job exposing Scott Walkers record to the rest of the State.  I always hear from people that the Gov. didn't campaign on this stuff.  The truth is that he at one time or another mentioned everything that was contained in Act 10 and for the most part it was reported.  You just had to pay attention.  Plus there was his record of dealing with his employees in Milwaukee County.  His record was known.  Maybe the Barrett supporters feel that he can run a lackluster campaign and get away with it because everyone now knows about the Governor.  Barrett's challenge this time will be fighting off distortions and half truths about his record as Mayor of Milwaukee.  These are charges that can't be defended in a 30 second commercial but they play well to the public and they will be heard in saturation on radio and TV.  He has his work cut out and based on the number of voters who went to the polls yesterday he'll need to inspire people to come out and vote because for sure the Governor's supporters will vote.

The Shrinking Job Market

The Wisconsin State Journal today ran an editorial cartoon of Uncle Sam holding up a way too small t-shirt (US workforce) that just came out of the Obamanomics drier with the caption I don't understand why it keeps shrinking.  This is supposed to be Obama's fault when the US workforce of jobs that pay a living wage has been in decline for more than 30 years.  The President is actually trying to put policies in place that would possibly encourage companies to quit creating jobs overseas but has been stifled by a do nothing congress.  Now along comes the job creator Mitt Romney.  This is a man who made a career out of buying companies, running them into the ground, filing for chapter 11, and then shipping the jobs to lower wage countries as part of restructuring.  I would think that a Mitt Romney Presidentcy will make that t-shirt a lot smaller. 

The only thing that will bring jobs back to this country is if we make it too expensive to manufacture products out of this country.  That would mean renegotiating trade treaties that have helped to destroy the economy.  That would mean raising taxes on products produced abroad.  That would mean ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs out.  Most corporations would say that if they had to manufacture here the products would cost too much.  This is a red herring.  A lot of products already cost too much.  All one has to do is look at the record profits and the salaries of the top executives to know that there is enough money available.  For example Apple has said to manufacture the i-phone in the US would add $30-60 dollars to the cost of each phone which they would have to pass on to the consumer.  Keep in mind that this is a company that had $100 billion dollars in cash on hand.  They could keep the price the same but then they would have a lower profit.  This is the side of the equation that no one wants to talk about.  How much profit should a company make, how much should the executives (who have been lowering wages and benefits of workers) make?  No the workforce and their buying power are shrinking but it is not entirely Obama's fault, it is the fault of policies enacted over the last 30 years and decisions made by corporations.  I'm afraid that if we keep going in this direction we (the workers) will not be able to purchase the products that are for sale, then the boards of directors and politicians might notice. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Just Heard

Just heard that someone at a Mitt Romney rally asked what Mitt would do if elected President to try President Obama for treason.  Mitt's reaction was a non-reaction and when pressed he did not denounce this comment.  First to try someone for treason you need to have a charge.  The teaparty likes to say that it is increasing the debt.  No it is not.  You need to prove that you actively aided our enemies.  Ok so where are we on this one.  We killed Bin laden, we overthrew the government of Libya, we have launched countless predator drone strikes in foreign countries, and we have gone to war with pirates.  Now some of these could be considered treason because I don't believe that congress authorized such actions.  Except if we are going to go there what about Iraq, Grenada, Lebanon, Iran,...  None of those President have been brought up on charges.  If you look at as damage to the US economy (which isn't right but we'll go with it) then Presidents Bush and Hoover should have been tried because they presided over the greatest destruction of wealth in this country.  After that probably Ford and Carter.  Obama is way down the list.  He currently has positive job numbers, inflation is low.  Sure the debt is high.  We could solve that problem by ending welfare and put millions on the street so that things look like the 1930's.  Same thing with the unemployed.  Then try Bush for bailing out the banks off budget to the tune of 7.7 trillion.  Then try Bush for running a war off budget ($3 trillion, he wasn't the first to do this (Johnson, Nixon) but the resulting collapse of the economy is the same).  Obama, and I think that a majority would rather millions were not on the streets.  That creates an unstable society.  So, what Mitt should we try the President for?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fire the Head of the Secret Service

I don't care what kind of job the head of the secret service has been doing in the wake of the prostitution scandal he should be fired. He was in charge and has clearly lost control of his agents. I don't care that these guys were with prostitutes, I care that they were likely on duty and this was a huge security breach.

Guns in School

So, a Wisconsin girl was arrested last week for bringing a concealed weapon to school. Why isn't the right in an uproar? Sure she broke the law, no permit. But that law is wrong, if you are going to allow open carry with no permit why require one for concealed? What about the expansive "castle doctrine" that is being debated now. Under this thinking there would be no way that guns could be banned from schools. This is an institution that causes many to fear for their lives. That is part of the point of the movie Bully, fortunately saner minds prevailed and the rating was reduced to PG-13 (and that might be too high). This girl was apparently being harassed and had hoped that just showing the gun would make people stop. No instead we are going to punish the victim. The bullies should be the ones going to jail. Hopefully she'll get off without having to go to jail. Of course, she'll never be able to attend that school again and given the press she might have a hard time finding another school. She'll probably be forced to go to either a private school or to an online school. Which I see as a problem if her parents do not have the means to pay for her education. We say that children are entitled to a public education but the reality is that due to the behavior of a minority of students with the tacit approval of other students and faculty many students are either outright denied this education or wind up with a poor education because they don't fit in which makes learning difficult. This bullying behavior can have long lasting effects on some of the bullied. Hopefully this girl can turn this around and become successful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


The NRA should just drop the charade and declare themselves an arm of the Republican party. They don't invite Democrats to their convention. They don't endorse Democrats. Their talking points are untrue. They were responsible for the myth that Obama was going to be coming to your house to take your guns. This is not true, unless you think when he gets re-elected he'll be coming for you. Instead the NRA has actually taken positions which would enable Obama to easily take your guns. The whole idea of getting a permit issued by the government in order to carry a weapon just creates a list of gun owners. The NRA is also ok with hunting licenses. Once again only the criminals will be left with weapons.

Fake Democrats

Lets start this out by saying this is wrong and the election board decision is wrong. If you are going to run as a partisan you should be a member of that party otherwise run as an independent. What Republicans are saying is that if the races aren't contested we need to make sure that there is a primary. If we want to go that way why don't we go to a system where all of names are on the primary ballot and the top 2 vote getters go on to the general election unless there are only 2 candidates where the winner wins. This would of course mean that you could have general elections where both candidates maybe from the same party. Think of the Governor race or the race for US Senate. It could easily be Falk versus Barrett in the Governor race and it could be Thompson versus Neumann in the Senate race.

Time to Reconsider Afghanistan

I've been meaning to write this for a couple of days now but today's announcement that girls at a high school had been poisoned really cemented my opinion of this war. First on Sunday, John McCain was making a case for more intervention. He stated that the Taliban aren't that much of a factor and we can defeat these remaining members. Then later on Sunday, the remnants of the Taliban were able to launch simultaneous attacks in Kabul, 3 provinces, and Pakistan. Is this a movement that is nearly defeated? No, the parallel here is the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Prior to that we were told that the North was nearly defeated. After the American people realized that we were being lied to. The same holds for Afghanistan. Our military controls the cities except of course when the Taliban decides to attack. It is time for us to leave. We installed a government that is not only corrupt but has failed to meet the needs of the people. We have tried to instill some of our values in terms of equal rights and educating girls. The problem is that the religious fundamentalists don't believe in this and control much of the local government and police. This allows the poisoning that just happened to occur and the perpetrators to go unpunished.

Maybe, if we had invaded, occupied, and run the government things might be different. It is too late to revisit past decisions, but the time is right to leave before there is anymore loss of American lives or innocent civilians.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ann Romney not Working

I for one don't think that the comment from the Democratic party strategist was that bad, because in context she meant that Ann didn't have a clue about the struggles of the average family where most mothers and fathers both have to work and have trouble making ends meet. I would be willing to bet that the Romney's have ever had to go without, but most Americans make those decisions everyday. Whether it as simple as deciding between buying hamburger or steak or a new car instead of used.

Some wealthy people (Teddy and Franklin Rosevelt) can relate to the regular people, but the Romney's continue to say things that put them out of touch with people in a lower class. For example, when talking American cars Mitt says that Ann has a couple of Cadillacs. Even one Cadillac costs more than most Americans earn in one year, but he says it like everyone has a couple of Cadillacs.

WI Wisconsin Senate

The Republican candidates for WI Senate had a debate the other day. The most shocking thing to come out of the debate was said by Mark Neumann. He stated that all tax breaks should go away. This from who used to be the most reasonable of the candidates, but also a guy who made millions because of the tax breaks. You see Mark owns a company that installs residential solar systems. These systems would not sell as well as they do if it weren't for the fact that the owners can write off up to 40% of the cost. As you know I'm against tax breaks for corporations because corporations should not be getting a subsidized workforce, these taxcuts are different because they go directly to a individual. They allow for homes to be improved and lessen a need for new power plants having to be built.

Fitzgerald is running on his conservative values and leadership. That would be the leadership that cuts off debate and rushes votes when there is barely a quorum thus allowing easy passage.

Finally you have Eric Hovde, who is running an ad touting how much borrowing is being done. It is important to remember that Hovde worked and made millions in an industry that held this government hostage saying that they needed bailing out in order to head off financial ruin of the country. This bailout and the Iraq war really blew up the budget. The debt doesn't look that bad when you take the $6-9 trillion given to the banks and the $3 trillion spend in Iraq and take them out of the $15 trillion debt that we have. Also, he has no plan for how to solve his identified problem other than to not borrow anymore. This does nothing to solve the debt crisis and he should know this.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Neck Fusion

I see Packer Nick Collins has not yet been cleared from neck fusion surgery. Nice article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the surgery and what you can do in the future. I'll admit that I was one who wondered why these guys would want to come back, but the article laid out a convincing argument that you are probably at no greater risk. If he is up to it he should play.

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Jobs at Polaris

So, Polaris is going to create 89 jobs at their Osceola WI assembly plant. This is great news for our poor economy. But, lets not forget this is the same company that sent 500 jobs from the same plant to Mexico and that they are getting the equivalent of nearly $7000 per job in tax breaks. This sounds like a great deal, for Polaris. Also, these jobs are for building heavy motorcycles. This is a small market unlike the atv jobs that Polaris shipped to Mexico. The heavy bike market is dependent on the economy (because they are expensive luxuries) more so than atv. Hopefully the economy is strong and the tax breaks worth it for the people of Wisconsin in the end.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Don't Conservatives Understand Insurance

The conservatives always say that liberals don't understand economics or business. I was reading the paper when it occurred to me that conservatives don't understand how insurance works. Maybe because it is essentially a liberal construct. Insurance works because of a shared risk. Conservatives are fond to say "I don't want to pay for your birth control, insulin, asthma drugs,...". Some of these conditions are charged more because the company has to payout more, but these premiums are subsidized from the healthy people's premiums keeping insurance affordable for all. If you change to what the conservatives want, the high risk patients will be eliminated.

Trayvon Martin Case

So, now we are going after this kid because he was suspended from school for marijuana. This has nothing to do with the fact that he was unarmed and was shot and killed. This guy Zimmerman was looking for a fight from the moment he got out of the car. Maybe this kid did start something because he was afraid of this guy who was following him, I'm not buying that a 140 lb. kid is going to take down someone nearly twice his size. The problem in this case is that it is a he said, he said case where one party is dead. Short of finding a witness there is no case here. Even with a witness who may corroborate Mr. Zimmerman's story, Trayvon may have acted out of self defense again no case. Thank ALEC for laws like the castle laws which sanctions murder.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obamacare at the Court

I was listening to a story about the Supreme Court case against Obamacare when a Congresswoman mentioned that the person who brought the case before the court has since gone bankrupt because of medical bills. So this person who was adamant that she shouldn't have to buy insurance because it was her right to go without has by virtue of going bankrupt left it to the rest of us to pay her bills. Here is a woman who is going bankrupt by choice (she could have bought insurance. There is no way that she should be able to walk away from these bills. Talk about an entitlement mentality. This is the biggest problem with overturning the law, what do you do with the people who refuse to buy insurance (don't want it) as opposed to those who want insurance but can't afford it? I say that if they can't pay, we shouldn't either. If Obamacare goes down in flames I hope that Congress will repeal the Reagan law requiring that hospitals treat people even if they have no ability to pay and dis-allow medical bankruptcy. If you go broke paying for medical bills you should have to set up a payment plan so that I am not left covering your irresponsible behaviour.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Ryan Budget

Paul Ryan has proposed his budget where he helps the poor and the middle class by cutting off programs that they need to get ahead and gives more breaks to the wealthy. His budget cuts things like student loans and social security income (if a parent dies). He says that this encourages laziness so his budget encourages incentive through deprivation. I guess that he would know because what he doesn't tell people is that his father died when he was young and the family had to live through the shame and laziness promoting policy of receiving SSI and then grant money for college. So, Paul Ryan knows first hand how these Government programs crush the spirit of Americans. Granted he was able to survive because he's Paul Ryan the GOP savior but he knows that others are not likely to be so fortunate.

Another example of a survivor is the President. Unlike Paul Ryan, President Obama believes that everyone should have the same opportunity that he was given, a chance a college degree, a chance for a better paying job, a chance to get out of the poor neighborhoods, and finally a chance to be President of the United States. Which vision do we want, the one where the safety net is gone or one where the government is actively promoting the general welfare of the people. Do we want a country where only a few people are doing alright or do we want that number to be the majority? Paul Ryan's budget is bad for America, I only wish that we had a time machine so that we could have the young Paul Ryan live under the older Paul Ryan vision for America.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New US Senate Candidate

Eric Hovde is running for the US senate as a Republican. The problem is that he sounds like a progressive on many issues including the bailing out of the banks. He must be counting on the fact that no one remembers that he made his money doing exactly what he is now criticising.

Bad Citizens

Bad citizens, that would be how to describe the Madison Memorial boys basketball team. Okay that might be a little strong it was only 3 starting players who were charged with theft. What I object most to is the school's handling of the players. They should have gotten season ending suspensions along with suspension from spring sports until the criminal case is resolved. What they got was a 1 game suspension based on the ruling of a 4 coach panel comprised of coaches from out of season sports.

What is even more appalling is the apparent lack of reaction from the press and the people of the city. The State Journal went so far as to interview on of these boys after Memorial lost it's state tournament game. This somewhat condones the criminal activity. Then they have only published one letter (and it is from outside the area) about the incident. Either they are not publishing letters on this topic or they are providing cover for these boys.

The one letter wondered how they will manage when they are scholarship athletes in the real world. I think that one just has to look at the players from Marquette who were caught underage drinking to see that athletic justice is different. What the writer should have asked is how will they survive when they are poor and out of college.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Forcing Contraception on the People

Really Obamacare is going to force Catholics to cover contraception?! What the law says is that if you are an insurance company and want to participate in the exchanges to cover 46 million new customers you have to provide uniform benefits. If you are a Catholic insurer or an insurer that opposes this "mandate" don't join the exchanges. You as a corporation or church can do whatever you want except participate in the exchanges. Why is this concept lost in the debate?


If Rick Santorum gets elected President I think that I will need to open up a pharmacy. Not just any pharmacy but one that will challenge the Federal government regulation of prescriptions. We will fill any prescription, we will fill requests without a prescription, and no employees of conscience. It is about freedom, the tea party should support me but they won't. They are all about freedom except when it comes to drugs and drug policy. Then they are all about big government solutions.


Today while discussing the mine we came up with a great idea. We'll build the mine to the specs of the compromise bill, promise to buy equipment manufactured in WI, and only hire WI workers. Of course, we don't have any money or knowledge of mining so we would need some state help. The Republicans should help us because we will create jobs we just need a little help to get going.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gogebic Mining ... quits WI

Unbelievable, Gogebic Mining couldn't get a rewrite of the mine permitting process so they quit the State. Really, there are so many issues here.

1. Nearly everyone concedes that had Gogebic Mining filed for a permit in January 2011 they would have been granted a permit by now.
2. The claim is that the mine is worth $1.5 billion. Does anyone really believe that if a company could make $1.5 billion that they would walk away from a deal because they don't like the process?
3. The Fitzgeralds say they are through trying to compromise on the bill. The truth here is that when a compromise was in the works one brother dissolved the committee and the other brother said that he wouldn't bring the compromise to the floor.

No this whole thing is all a bunch of theater. I would however like to be at the meeting where the President of Gogebic explains how he left Wisconsin and $1.5 billion behind.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Environmental Stewards

Rick Santorum claims that God called on us to have dominion over the Earth and to be good stewards of land. He uses this statement to bash environmental activists, suggesting that we are good stewards of the land because God commanded it. He misses the point that the environmentalists are making, that we have not always been good stewards and maybe God is not pleased. For example, is fracking in the Senator's home state where the groundwater has been contaminated with natural gas and other chemicals an example of being a good steward? Or, taking down mountains for mining destroying God's magnificent beauty? Or, in Wisconsin allowing a mine that will cause pollution of lake Superior in an area that people travel to for its beauty? No, I think that there are many examples of poor stewardship.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Debate Question that Should be Asked

I wish that Mitt Romney would be asked this question:

Governor Romney you are advocating an austerity plan to stimulate the US economy can you state how such a plan would differ from the austerity plans that Greece, Portugal, Spain, and England have been operating under for the last 2 years and have caused their economies to collapse.