Friday, June 29, 2012

Rep. Joel Kleefisch lobbied the DNR on behalf of contributor dumping human waste near drinking wells. What?!

Oh seriously... Michalak Campaign: We've got some questions
An investigation by the Wisconsin State Journal found that Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) quietly lobbied the DNR for leniency for a campaign contributor that dumped human waste near drinking water wells. 

The costs and benefits of investing in contraception in the developing world.

Now, if only we'd do it at home.

The latest release from the Guttmacher Institute.

Ironically, this approach prevents more abortions in a week than all the Right to Life groups in the world have prevented in 30 years.  Maybe they should rethink what they're actually trying to accomplish.


Jesus approved this message. You might be ready to join the Party!

America's Best Christian, Mrs. Betty Bowers, releases a Super PAC ad for the GOP. They're welcome!

If you hate religious extremists -- but are one -- Join the Party!  The GOP is for you.

This video was written and produced by Andrew Bradley for BettyBowers.Com. Deven Green provides narration. Join Betty on Facebook 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Senator Johnson Says Employers Should Be Able To Deny Coverage To Cancer Patients Because 'Our Nation Was Based On Freedom'

When you marry into money, this is what happens -- you think you were smart enough to get rich on your own.  This is what that looks like:

Senator Says Employers Should Be Able To Deny Coverage To Cancer Patients Because 'Our Nation Was Based On Freedom' | ThinkProgress
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Businesses should be allowed to deny health insurance to cancer patients, according to a Republican senator, because “our nation was based on the foundation of freedom and limited government.”

More proof that Mr. Johnson understands neither the principles enshrined in the Constitution nor the process by which those principles are put, usually roughly, into practice.

What he really means here -- what he really really wants -- is to deny his employees with cancer the proper insurance.

Well, okay then: single payer it is.

Wisconsin: You asked for it, you got it: Scott Walker.

And, you got exactly what you paid for.

Fortunately, there are safeguards that make it hard for you to hurt yourself and others. Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Feds reject Walker admin. attempt to make it easier for health insurers to raise rates
Milwaukee: Citizen Action has learned that the Federal government has rejected a request by Scott Walker’s Insurance Commissioner which would have made it easier for health insurance companies to increase rates paid by consumers and businesses. Last month Ted Nickle officially requested a modification of the rate review requirement from the federal government which would make it easier for insurers to increase rates by more than 10% without facing public scrutiny. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Texas GOP politics, coming to Wisconsin? Banning "critical thinking" in the schools.

You don't want them thinking because if they do, well....

The 5 Craziest Policies In Texas Republicans' 2012 Platform | ThinkProgress
There’s more: the GOP also opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” because they “focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Joseph E. Stiglitz | The Price of Inequality

The problems happen when inequality starts to erode fairness.  That's where we are.

Joseph E. Stiglitz | The Price of Inequality
‎"But, most importantly, America’s inequality is undermining its values and identity. With inequality reaching such extremes, it is not surprising that its effects are manifest in every public decision, from the conduct of monetary policy to budgetary allocations. America has become a country not 'with justice for all,' but rather with favoritism for the rich and justice for those who can afford it."

Class decides everything -

But not the classes you'd expect.

Class decides everything -
America’s worsening class divides both reflect and are exacerbated by the ongoing structural transformation of the economy and the unprecedented geographic sorting that’s gone along with it. Before we can even begin to fix it, we need to acknowledge that it exists.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Morning Cup of Coffee Kills Monkeys

Oh nuts.

My Morning Cup of Coffee Kills Monkeys | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network
My coffee habit is killing the black-handed spider monkey, a cute New World simian (my favorite kind) that thrives in the canopy of Central American forests with tall trees. That’s pretty much the opposite of the kinds of forests that still exist where the spider monkey lives, because for decades we’ve been cutting down those tall trees to make room for farms. Worse, the monkey requires a large amount of such forest as a home range to find enough fruits to eat.

Religious and fiscal conservatives becoming indistinguishable.

Remember when it was easy to distinguish social/religious conservatives from fiscal/economic ones?  Not so much any more.

How Your View of God Shapes Your View of the Economy | Religion & Politics
This compatibility of social and economic concerns has become apparent, of course, in the Tea Party movement. While Tea Partiers were initially cast as die-hard fiscal conservatives, the movement’s pious rhetoric—along with subsequent polling data—indicated that religious concerns were central to its popularity. Ultimately, the Tea Party movement revealed the extent to which religious and economic beliefs meld in the minds of many frustrated Americans. 
To put this more concretely, approximately 31 percent of Americans, many of whom are white evangelical men, believe that God is steering the United States economy, thus fusing their religious and economic interests. These individuals believe in what I call an “Authoritative God.” An Authoritative God is thought to be actively engaged in daily activities and historical outcomes. For those with an Authoritative God, value concerns are synonymous with economic concerns because God has a guiding hand in both. Around two-thirds of believers in an Authoritative God conjoin their theology with free-market economics, creating a new religious-economic idealism. Nearly one-fifth of American voters hold this viewpoint, signaling that it can be a major political force.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wisconsin: None dare call it vote rigging — Bob Fitrakis For Congress


Wisconsin: None dare call it vote rigging — Bob Fitrakis For Congress

If vote-rigging prospers, none may call it vote-rigging. It simply becomes the new norm. Once again, the universal laws of statistics apply only outside U.S. borders. The recall vote in Wisconsin produced another significant 7% discrepancy between the unadjusted exit poll and the so-called “recorded vote.” In actual social science, this level of discrepancy, with the results being so far outside the expected margin of error would not be accepted.

US wealth distribution: perception vs. reality.

From the folks at

Is perception reality?

It is for Americans these days.

State Of The Unions: Labor And The Middle Class : NPR

An update.

State Of The Unions: Labor And The Middle Class : NPR

As unions have declined, Meyerson says, the average wage in some sectors has fallen — in some cases dramatically. In the auto industry, unionized jobs once paid upward of $28 an hour. He says workers in both union and non-union plants are now hired at about $13 to $15 an hour, and in some cases can't earn more than $19 an hour.
Without a middle class helped by unions, Meyerson says, the U.S. would continue down a path of massive inequality of wealth and low levels of mobility.
"People are not moving up the economic ladder now," he says. "We would have real decline in wealth because people's income isn't keeping up, so most of their wealth is in their homes ... [and] people have lost two decades worth of value on their homes. We would have a really strapped middle class."
This, in fact, is what we have now, he says.

Liberals discover a theory to crush conservative jurisprudence.

Consider the entire Constitution... not just the pieces you like.

Jeffrey Rosen: Constitution Avenue | The New Republic
"The Founders came to Philadelphia in 1787 to fix the flaws in the Articles of Confederation and to create the United States of America, a national government capable of solving truly national problems,”

Friday, June 15, 2012

How does the 1% maintain control? We’ve been brainwashed, duh.

Stiglitz in Salon.

We’ve been brainwashed -
Not only do Americans misperceive the level of inequality; they underestimate the changes that have been going on. Only 42 percent of Americans believe that inequality has increased in the past ten years, when in fact the increase has been tectonic. Misperceptions are evident, too, in views about social mobility. Several studies have confirmed that perceptions of social mobility are overly optimistic.

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Interview with Terry Eagleton: Why Marx was right.

Do we really believe in equality and justice?  Or is that just rhetorical window dressing designed to hide our economic commitment to the kind of "competition" that pushes our neighbors under the bus?

A nice discussion.

The Oxonian Review » An Interview with Terry Eagleton

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Heartland Institute's Special Guest: Scott Walker | ThinkProgress

Time to start planning for the future of Wisconsin and try to swing some tax dollars to help Heartland make up that shortfall.  It'll create jobs, after all.

The Heartland Institute's Special Guest: Scott Walker | ThinkProgress
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the Heartland Institute’s benefit dinner in August, 2012. Heartland has lost more than $1 million in expected corporate funding in the wake of public outrage over its climate denial, reducing president Joe Bast to beg for more financial support. Walker is a perfect fit for the anti-science extremists at Heartland — like them, he’s Koch-funded global warming conspiracy theorist. Walker has attacked investment in high-speed railwind power, and even recycling.

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Democratic Party is alive, and angry, and unified in Washington County.

We'd be hard pressed to find a time in history when over 100 Democrats stood together in Old Settlers Park in West Bend, Wisconsin.  Best guess: never.

Get used to it.  To my friends and neighbors in the GOP:

Welcome to the New Normal.

Candidate for Lt. Gov Mahlon Mitchell revved up the crowd today -- a perfect, Wisconsin, June afternoon.

Click here to come in and see us.  There's a reason it's called the Democratic PARTY.  ;^)

Sunday, June 03, 2012

How Walker is lying with stats on the jobs question.

Even if the unvetted numbers from BLS are correct, it doesn't help Walker's case.

Walker's jobs record an unmitigated disaster - JSOnline
But let's assume that the QCEW data are correct - what do they really tell us? First, the QCEW numbers run through only December 2011 - but all of the available data suggest that job losses under Walker have accelerated in 2012. So the QCEW numbers only give us, at best, a partial snapshot of jobs performance under Walker, including relatively good numbers from his first months in office when his policies weren't even in effect, and tell us nothing about the most recent, apparently worsening economic period.
Second, the QCEW numbers released by Walker are presented in a vacuum - there is no comparative benchmarking to other states (because, unlike Walker, other governors have respected the apolitical integrity of the federal statistical system and not prematurely leaked the QCEW numbers). But, we can compare these Wisconsin numbers to national trends, and in that context Walker's record looks awful: between December 2010-'11, the QCEW preliminary data show a 0.8% increase in Wisconsin employment; by contrast, employment nationally grew by 1.4% during that same period.
In other words, even using the muddled, misleading and politicized figures released by Walker, his "best-case" data show job growth in Wisconsin at only 57% of the national rate during his first year in office. And this does not even include the first quarter of 2012, when, at least according to CES estimates, Wisconsin's job performance fell off the cliff.

‘War on women’ comes to the Wisconsin recall | The Raw Story

Scott Walker has done what no Democrat has been able to do... mobilize independent women to vote for  Democratic Party candidates.

    'War on women' comes to Wisconsin recall – and could be decisive (via The Christian Science Monitor)
       Edna Kunkel calls herself an “accidental activist.” A writer of technical and scientific manuals from Verona, Wis., she came of age at the height of the women’s movement, and she never expected to take to the streets in defense of those causes more than 30 years later.  In large part, Ms. Kunkel…



An autocratic King Scott damaged state

It pays to remember that this sort of approach is not infiltrating local governments as well.  Ahem.

An autocratic King Scott damaged state - JSOnline

I sometimes think of Walker as a black-and-white TV in a world filled with color. He gets only one channel, and it's tuned to a program called "Scott Knows Best." If nearly half of us don't want to watch, he can safely dismiss us as moral relativists who dwell in the outer darkness.
Walker obviously has no patience with the traditional view of politics as a balancing of interests, a messy but necessary massaging of differences. For him and his tea party comrades, it's total war until we reach a state of, well, totalitarianism. There is something deeply undemocratic and downright dangerous about Walker's approach to government.