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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 40,106

Journal Archives

Wisconsin GOP legislative leaders sue over redesign of state ballots

This, after the ballots have already been printed, and some absentee ballots already mailed.


Madison — The top two Republican leaders in the Legislature sued election officials Wednesday over a redesign of state ballots, opening a new front in the fight over how Wisconsin elections are run just seven weeks before voters go to the polls.


The lawsuit, to be heard by Waukesha County Circuit Judge James Kieffer, comes as election officials find themselves already immersed in litigation over Wisconsin's voter ID law.That law was struck down by a federal judge in April and restored for now by an appeals court last week.


At a news conference at the state Republican Party's headquarters, Vos and Fitzgerald said there was not enough separation on the ballots between the offices up for election and the candidates. Because Democrats are listed first on the ballot, it makes them appear to be the incumbents, Vos said. Contests farther down the ballot can be hard to distinguish from one another, he argued, raising the possibility that some people would not vote in those races.


Democrats are listed first on this year's ballot, and the lawsuit contends some voters may wrongly believe only one candidate — a Democrat — is running for some offices. Democrats are listed first on the ballots this year because they won the most presidential votes in Wisconsin in 2012. Two years ago, Republicans appeared first on the ballots because they had won the most votes in the 2010 race for governor.

Earth is not a platform for human life.

NYT: How Insurers Are Finding Ways to Shift Costs to the Sick


Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.

Insurers have long tried to steer their members away from more expensive brand name drugs, labeling them as “non-preferred” and charging higher co-payments. But according to an editorial published Wednesday in the American Journal of Managed Care, several prominent health plans have taken it a step further, applying that same concept even to generic drugs.


Generics, which come to the market after a name-brand drug loses its patent protection, used to have one low price in many insurance plans, typically $5 or $10. But as their prices have increased, sometimes sharply, many insurers have split the drugs into two cost groupings as they have long done with name-brand drugs. “Non-preferred” generic drugs have higher co-pays, though they are still cheaper than brand-name drugs. With brand names, there’s usually at least one preferred option in each disease category. Not so for generics, the authors of the editorial found.

One of the authors, Gerry Oster, a vice president at the consulting firm Policy Analysis, said he stumbled upon the issue much as I did. He went to his pharmacy to pick up a medication he had been taking for a couple of years. The prior month it cost him $5, but this time it was $20. As he looked into it, he came to the conclusion that this phenomenon was unknown even to health policy experts. “It’s completely stealth,” he said.

Wisconsin DMV Official Government Site - Obtaining a Voter ID card

Barring another court decision, voter ID will be required in November.


Any Wisconsin resident who does not presently hold a valid driver license (from Wisconsin or another jurisdiction) may apply for an ID card. You may not hold a valid driver license and an ID card at the same time. If you hold a valid driver license and wish to obtain an ID card, you will be required to surrender your driver license.

There is no age limit to apply for an ID card.

When applying for an original ID card you must visit a DMV service center, complete form MV3004 (Wisconsin Identification Card (ID) application) and provide:

-- Proof of name and date of birth, for example, a certified U.S. birth certificate, valid passport or certificate of naturalization. (See petition process if fees arise in order to obtain free ID card for voting).

-- Proof of identity (usually a document with a signature or photo).

-- Proof of Wisconsin residency.

-- Proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident status, legal conditional resident status or legal temporary visitor status. (See petition process if fees arise in order to obtain free ID card for voting).

-- Your social security number.

Note: If you have held a driver license in the past eight years and now wish to apply for an original ID card, you would only be required to provide proof of identity upon application for your ID card.

Sarah Palin has a new video up criticizing Obama for not invading Ebola.


The Iraqi prime minister says foreign ground troops are not warranted against ISIL, so I’m sure John McCain will just drop his invasion talk

Sorry, I just can’t make myself care whether Scotland secedes from England until someone explains how it’s all Obama’s fault.

The 2016 GOP Presidential debates may encounter scheduling conflicts due to limited visitation at federal prisons.

"The Three Little Pigs" if done by Shakespeare (John Branyan)

Naomi Klein: Only a Reverse Shock Doctrine Can Save Our Climate


In her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein argues that if we had taken action years ago when scientists first established that human activities were changing our climate, we might have been able to deal with the problem of global warming with only minimal disruption to our economic system. But as we approach a tipping point, and the consequences of climate change come into sharper focus, that time has passed, and we now have to acknowledge that preserving humans’ habitat requires a paradigm change.

But Klein doesn’t just offer us a depressing litany of the damage we’ve already done. She calls on us to seriously rethink the way our economy is structured to address not only climate change, but also other longstanding social problems like persistent global poverty and rising inequality.


Naomi Klein: The thesis of the book is that by responding robustly to climate change — in line with what scientists tell us we have to do — we have a once-in-a-century opportunity to solve some of the biggest and most intractable problems facing our economy. I’m talking about creating countless good jobs, rebuilding ailing infrastructure to help protect us from the heavy weather that we’ve already locked in, and lowering our emissions so it doesn’t get markedly worse. We also have an incredible opportunity to address our most intransigent economic problem, which is inequality within our countries, and also between our countries. We can also have safer, more livable cities and cleaner air. So there is a lot of potentially good news.

The bad news is that we can’t do any of this by just changing our light bulbs or politely lobbying governments behind the scenes. We need to have a robust public debate about what values we want to have govern our society. The argument I make in the first part of the book is that the reason we’ve failed so spectacularly to rise to this existential crisis — and by failed I mean our emissions are up 61 percent since we started working on this issue in the early 1990s — is because the things we have to do clash fundamentally with the core ideology that has reigned in this same period, which is market fundamentalism.

NYT: You Can’t Feed a Family With G.D.P.


The census numbers on what American families made last year are as mediocre as they are predictable. We now know that if your household brought in $51,939 in income last year, you were right at the 50th percentile, with half of households doing better and half doing worse. In inflation-adjusted terms, that is up a mere 0.3 percent from 2012. If you’re counting, that’s an extra $180 in annual real income for a middle-income American family. Don’t spend your extra $3.46 a week all in one place.

Going back a little further, the numbers are even gloomier. The 2013 median income remained a whopping 8 percent — about $4,500 per year — below where it was in 2007. The 2008 recession depressed wages for middle-income Americans, and they haven’t recovered in any meaningful way. And 2007 household incomes were actually below the 1999 peak.


This simple fact may be the most important thing to understand about today’s economy: Around 1999, growth in the United States economy stopped translating to growth in middle-class incomes. In the last 15 years, median income has been more or less flat while there was far sharper growth in, for example, per capita gross domestic product.


The rubber-meets-road measure of whether the economy is working for the mass of Americans is median real income and related measures of how much money is making its way into their pockets and what they can buy with that money. And the newest census numbers show that the nation experienced virtually no progress on that frontier in 2013, and remains far behind where we were seven years ago. Americans feel disappointed by the economy; the new data show that they have good reason.

Pssst. Hey, libertarians.

Fugelsang: "If you're too disillusioned ...

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