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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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The Deepest Moral Question of any Society

The difference is clear ....

Wisconsinites to protest Rep. Sean Duffy’s SHUTDOWN ANTICS in Hudson, WI Thursday 10/10 NOON


Sorry it’s a bare bones post. Time is of the essence.

Here’s the call to gather in Hudson, Wisconsin that you need to see:

Show up at Rep. Sean Duffy’s Hudson office, 502 2nd St., this Thursday, 10/10/13, at noon:

BoldProgressives.org: “Rep. Sean Duffy is one of the Republicans responsible for the government shutdown that is hurting our economy and families across the nation.

This Thursday at noon, join local community members at a media event in Hudson to hold Rep. Duffy accountable and demand he support re-opening the people’s government.”

Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Up Nort) announces he will not seek re-election in 2014

This one hurts ...


“He said he isn’t making this decision because he’s too old, but because he’s too tired to sustain his commitment another five years to his constituents.”

I expect a battle royale to emerge over his seat when the time comes. Those people of the North who know what hell the proposed open pit iron/asbestos mine is are as ready as any citizens are in this country. We southern citizens stand ready to aid them.

I have great gratitude to Senator Jauch for being one of our Fab 14 when that meant everything in the world – and for speaking the truth about the mine.

What is wrong with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

A little stale, but still relavent ...


NYT: Uninsured Find More Success via Health Exchanges Run by States

So, is it a) lousy technology, b) high demand, or c) sabotage of the federal sites?


WASHINGTON — Robyn J. Skrebes of Minneapolis said she was able to sign up for health insurance in about two hours on Monday using the Web site of the state-run insurance exchange in Minnesota, known as MNsure. Ms. Skrebes, who is 32 and uninsured, said she had selected a policy costing $179 a month, before tax credit subsidies, and also had obtained Medicaid coverage for her 2-year-old daughter, Emma.

“I am thrilled,” Ms. Skrebes said, referring to her policy. “It’s affordable, good coverage. And the Web site of the Minnesota exchange was pretty simple to use, pretty straightforward. The language was really clear.”

The experience described by Ms. Skrebes is in stark contrast to reports of widespread technical problems that have hampered enrollment in the online health insurance marketplace run by the federal government since it opened on Oct. 1. While many people have been frustrated in their efforts to obtain coverage through the federal exchange, which is used by more than 30 states, consumers have had more success signing up for health insurance through many of the state-run exchanges, federal and state officials and outside experts say.


Daniel N. Mendelson, the chief executive of Avalere Health, a research and consulting company, said: “On balance, the state exchanges are doing better than the federal exchange. The federal exchange has, for all practical purposes, been impenetrable. Systems problems are preventing any sort of meaningful engagement.”

In April 1987 seven-year-old Michelle Snow was killed in Riverside, California


Guns don’t kill people, children do. Cassie Culpepper, age 11, was riding in the back of a pickup when her 12-year-old brother pointed his father’s pistol at her. He believed he had removed the bullets, and so jokingly pulled the trigger. He was

Since January 1st, 2013 there have been 11 reported gun fatalities involving preschool children as the shooter. Ten more toddlers have accidentally shot themselves or somebody else this year. And this statistic represents only data for which a toddler is the shooter in a death (MotherJones reports that 71 children have been killed by guns since Newtown). The BBC originally reported on this phenomenon in 2009 when, in the span of 24 hours, two children were shot by their toddler siblings. In both cases, the deaths were a result of improperly secured weapons. A New York Times’ piece added to the controversy showing that, due to idiosyncrasies over what constitutes a ‘homicide’ or an ‘accident’, child firearm accidental killings happen roughly twice as much as they are reported in national databases.


In April 1987 seven-year-old Michelle Snow was killed in Riverside, California by a stray lawn dart that was thrown by her brother’s playmate. These darts were part of a children’s game in the 70′s and 80′s involving large, weighted darts with sharp metal tips, designed to pierce a horizontal target on the ground. Michelle’s father immediately began a campaign to ban the darts, arguing that anything less than a full-scale ban would be insufficient—after all, even if you were to ban lawn darts in your own home, nothing can stop a neighbor’s child from throwing one over the fence. The campaign led to an all-out ban in the US and Canada. To this day, it is illegal to assemble a lawn dart in either of the two countries. The problem wasn’t just that lawn darts were dangerous, it was that they were dangerous AND they were being marketed to children as a game, despite being responsible for 6,100 emergency room visits over a span of eight years. So when parents observed that these unnecessarily dangerous toys were injuring and killing their children, they did what any sensible parent would do: they complained until the government listened.

Now examine how differently our society treats guns in a similar context: On April 20th, 2013, a five-year-old Kentucky boy shot and killed his two-year-old sister with a gun that had been specifically manufactured for child use. The gun was called “My First Rifle”, a .22 caliber gun which marketed itself as “especially for youth shooters.” Instead of massive public backlash, the National Rifle Association (NRA) instead, days after the event, held its Annual Meeting where it explicitly marketed firearms and firearm paraphernalia to kids, including NRA bibs for children, ‘Youth Model’ firearms, and NRA publications focused on ‘Youth Shooters.’ Where was the outcry over the blatant militarization of children by one of the most powerful political lobbies in the United States? Where was the parental campaigns demanding that children not be subject to the propagandization of firearms? Where are the restrictions, the regulations, the bans? The NRA’s response, instead, sent a different message: “You’ll have to take my gun from my child’s cold, dead hands.”

The Nation: What Should Democrats Demand in the Budget Showdown?


1. A public option for healthcare. Many progressives pushed hard for a system that would ensure universal access to health care, often called a public option and frequently accomplished through making Medicare available to all. That got stripped from the bill that became the Affordable Care Act. If Republicans want to make the fight about healthcare, progressives can suggest tinkering with Obamacare—by instituting a public option. This wouldn’t just make sure that everyone has access to healthcare—including those currently being left out by red states that refuse to expand Medicaid—it would also help control spending on healthcare. Medicare’s administrative costs are 2 percent of its spending, compared to 14 percent in the private industry. Its spending growth increased at a rate about 1 percentage point lower than private insurance from 1970 to 2002.

2. Universal preschool. President Obama has already put forward his plan to expand preschool to all. Democrats could stake out ground by not just demanding preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds but going even further to offer free, quality childcare (that pays workers a decent wage) for all. The benefits of free access to high-quality preschool are already well known. One study found that Chicago’s program will generate $11 for every dollar spent in economic benefits over a child’s lifetime. Another found that society stands to see a $9 return for every dollar spent in increased earnings and employment and reduced crime, need for public benefits and grade repetition. Well-educated Americans help increase the labor supply, which boosts GDP. None of these studies take into account the fact that universal preschool—particularly if it extends down to infants—is a huge benefit for working parents, particularly women, who are the default caretakers.

3. Raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation. Democrats have been calling for a raise in the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck as $7.25 an hour for four years. Worse, the tipped minimum wage is just $2.13, which hasn’t been raised since 1991. If the wage had kept up with inflation since its peak in the 1960s, it would be over $10 an hour. Fast food strikers have gone further, demanding a raise to $15 an hour, so as bargaining leverage Democrats can start at least that high and make sure it keeps rising as costs rise. And the good news is a raise would give the economy a much-needed boost. The Chicago Fed found that raising the wage to $9 would increase household spending by $48 billion, and even if the possibility of job losses is taken into consideration—which is pretty unlikely—spending would still go up by $28 billion, or 0.2 percent of GDP. Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour would lift nearly 6 million people out of poverty. Not to mention that it would help close the gender wage gap and the racial wealth gap.

4. Free public college. It may sound far-fetched, but the cost isn’t quite so large as you might think. The Roosevelt Institute’s Mike Konczal has found that the government already spends $22.75 billion on tax breaks and incentives for the cost of higher education. The government also spends about $104 billion on student loans. But the cost of providing free public higher education has been estimated at about $127 billion, lining up close with the figure the government already spends on subsidizing college. Konczal points to evidence that a “public option” for higher education could do a lot to control tuition costs. It would also likely expand access to higher education for many that currently see it as out of reach financially, creating a highly skilled workforce and boosting economic growth.

Number five is guaranteed paid family leave, sick days and vacation. Seem a good starting point, but I'm still looking for a little tax relief for the middle class and a little more tax burden for the very wealthy.

"... this is not just for me; it's also for my successors in office."

From the President's speech today ...

"We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy. Democracy doesn't function this way. And this is not just for me; it's also for my successors in office. Whatever party they're from, they shouldn't have to pay a ransom either for Congress doing its basic job. We've got to put a stop to it."

The bottom-line reason why he CANNOT bend an inch.

Great speech; thanks Mr. President!

On edit: full transcript here.

But still ahead of Romania!

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