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.