Monday, April 17, 2017

Cowboys

"Getting pretty tired of these guys walking around in cowboy hats and cowboy boots. You ever see these jack-offs? Can’t we kill some of these motherfuckers? Walking around in a fucking cowboy hat. Grown men. It’s not even Halloween for christ-sakes. I say “hey Tex grow up and get yourself a wardrobe consistent with the century you’re living in”. Why do certain men feel the need to dress up as mythic figures? You don’t see anyone walking around in a pirate costume do you? When was the last guy you ran into who had on a viking outfit? Make-believe cowboys… the closest they ever got to a cow, is when they stopped to take a piss at an Arby’s." George Carlin

Saturday, April 15, 2017

There Really Is No Escape From Conservative Duplicity

There Christian Schneider goes again.

Another classic from the Republican playbook - Blame the Democrats for outcomes of Republican actions.

It's well known, for Republicans, that everything wrong with the world is the Democrats' fault.

In his latest blaming the Democrats for Republican measures, Schneider proclaims There Really Is No Escape From America's Liberal Politics.

Yes, those damn liberals have politicized everything!

Put aside the Southern Strategy, Republican commingling of church and state, perpetual obstructionism, shutting down the government, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the Tea Party, and the denial of a Merrick Garland hearing, to name a few.

As Schneider declares:
There is now no segment of American society to which one may retreat without being subjected to politics. Every corner of our lives is illuminated with talk of filibusters, health care strategy and minor cabinet appointees. It is as if the American economy now runs on demagoguery.
The cognitive dissonance is great in Schneider and the Republicans.

Is there any policy during Clinton or Obama that the Republicans didn't filibuster?

Republicans having been fighting against good health care for Americans since forever. They stonewalled Clinton's attempt and threw up every roadblock they could in attempting to stymie Obama.

Schneider's article then goes off on an odd tangent claiming that even sports are just liberal politics in disguise. Never mind all the jingoistic and militaristic events, language and imagery associated with sports. And, he uses the well-worn (paraphrased) Republican talking point of "Athletes and actors should just shut up. They don't know anything." Unless of course they're conservative, then they're glad to have them on their shows, write op-eds and appear at their events.

He goes on to complain of a cloud of inescapable "progressive condescension." He implies liberals are continually berating poor conservatives in all aspects of life. Is Schneider not familiar with Jesse Watters? Republicans have no other journalism other than gotcha journalism.

Republicans have been doing nothing but using fear and ignorance to politicize anything and everything they feel could possibly win extra votes.

Schneider then goes on to knock Jon Stewart and Seth Meyers - what do they know and no one cares what they have to say anyway. He's upset because even comedians are being political. Schneider must be new to comedy because politics has been a topic of humor for centuries.

Republicans have done all they can to dumb-down politics whilst politicizing everything in sight and now that their sledge-hammer approach has resulted in Trumpland ... it's the Democrats fault!

Keep on drinking that Kool-Aid and peddling your misinformation and hate, Mr. Schneider. And then keep on pretending you can't believe how things got the way they are or why they are that way.

If I wasn't living through all this I wouldn't believe it.

Weekend Reading

The results were clear: these basic economic indicators show no correlation between federal minimum-wage increases and lower employment levels, even in the industries that are most impacted by higher minimum wages. To the contrary, in the substantial majority of instances (68 percent) overall employment increased after a federal minimum-wage increase.
Filing Taxes Could Be Free And Simple. But H&R Block And Intuit Are Still Lobbying Against It
The makers of TurboTax and other online systems spent millions lobbying last year, much of it directed toward a bill that would permanently bar the government from offering taxpayers prefilled filings.
Fearing Germs Is Making Us Sick
We need to reconnect our kids with the microbes they need and, more generally, with the wild they need, however tiny that wild may be.
The Generation Of Nonsense In The Boston Globe
The main economic story of the last four decades is the massive upward redistribution of income that has taken place. The top one percent's share of national income has more than doubled over this period from roughly ten percent in the late 1970s to over twenty percent today. And, this is primarily a before-tax income story, the rich have used their control over the levers of economic power to ensure that an ever larger share of the country's wealth goes into their pockets. (Yes, this is the topic of my book, Rigged [it's free].) 
Anyhow, the rich don't want people paying attention to these policies (hey, they could try to change them), so they endlessly push out nonsense stories to try to divert the public's attention from how they structured the rules to advance their interests. And, since the rich own the newspapers, they can make sure that we hear these stories.
How Stephen Colbert Finally Found His Elusive Groove
On Nov. 8, Stephen Colbert was hosting a live election night special for CBS’s sister cable network, Showtime. A program that was built around an expected Hillary Clinton victory went off the rails almost as soon as it went on the air at 11 p.m. As election returns came in, audience members, who had been asked to shut off their phones an hour earlier, gasped as it became clear that Donald J. Trump could very well become president. Mr. Colbert looked dumbstruck. 
Sensing the gravity of the moment, Chris Licht, the executive producer of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” walked over to Mr. Colbert’s desk during a musical performance. 
“Stop being funny and go and just be real,” Mr. Licht told the host.
Record-Breaking Public Subsidy Lures Hated Football Team To America's Gambling Capital
Clark County taxpayers will contribute $750 million to the new arena, a record for a sports facility—about $354 per resident, taken from an increased tax on hotel rooms. That tax currently pays for schools and transportation, in addition to tourism-related expenditures.

Stanford economist Roger Noll said it was the “worst deal for a city” he had ever seen.

That it came together at all is remarkable.
Here's The Real Rust Belt Jobs Problem - And It's Not Offshoring Or Automation
Many struggling U.S. cities and states compete fiercely with one another to attract and keep firms that offer jobs. Unfortunately, these are not the “good” jobs that Americans are looking for, jobs with middle-class pay, benefits and security. This race to the bottom drains public coffers, preoccupies local leaders and fuels voter cynicism. “America First” sidesteps the problem.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The U.S. Is NOT Overtaxed!


For Further Reading:
Sorry America, Your Taxes Aren’t High

The "Friendly" Skies?



For Further Reading:
Airline Deregulation #Fail

What Would A Dick Do?


If Scott Walker is worried about those receiving public aid being drug-free, then he needs to test everyone receiving public aid.

Walker Gearing up to Unveil Welfare Drug Testing Proposals
We may soon learn whether President Trump will allow Wisconsin to drug-test some people applying for federal benefits – including Food Share and Medicaid. Gov. Walker says he plans to submit a request, after he unveils his full proposal next week. Walker mentioned the move during his budget address in February.
Scott Walker wants Trump to let him drug test tens of thousands more poor people
Most recently, Walker is continuing his quest to drug test as many of the low-income residents of Wisconsin as he can, asking the Trump regime for permission to drug test Medicaid applicants.
So, this begs the question, when will Wisconsin start testing all recipients of aid?

If Walker's unfair and punitive proposal passes, I want to see Bud Selig and the Brewer's organization; Ted Thompson and the Packers; Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and the Bucks organization; the numerous developers throughout the state receiving public aid; Harley-Davidson; Mercury Marine; Johnson Controls; Brunswick; Kohl's; Northwestern Mutual; Quad Graphics; Marcus Corp. and all the other corporate welfare recipients, who've received greater aid than any low-income resident, lined up with their pee-cups in hand, ready to take their drug tests.

[source]

For Further Reading:

The Scott Walker Wrecking-Ball Crew Update

Fiscal bureau: Scott Walker's budget leaves $1.1 billion hole starting in 2019

Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal for the state’s next budget creates a larger structural deficit than previously thought, nearly $1.1 billion, in the ensuing budget cycle beginning in 2019, the state’s nonpartisan fiscal office said Thursday.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the findings in a memo made public late Thursday.

It shows Walker’s plan for the 2017-19 budget, which back-loads spending and tax cuts into its second fiscal year, leaves a structural deficit of $1.1 billion that lawmakers would have to erase in crafting the 2019-21 budget.

Failed Presidential Candidate Scott Walker Wants to Hack Public Schools

But if we're talking about governors who easily dispose of public education, from kindergarten through graduate school, we have to go to Wisconsin. That's where Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage this particular Midwest subsidiary, has acted with unconcealed contempt for everything that Wisconsin once stood for in terms of educating its citizens. 

First of all, the man couldn't quite catch up to the B.A. that hung on my wall has determined that teachers should leave those kids alone! From The Washington Post:
A proposal in Walker's new budget plan calls for ending the state's current minimum requirements — 437 hours for kindergarten, 1,050 hours for elementary schools and 1,137 hours for secondary schools — and allowing school districts to do what they want in terms of seat hours for students. Districts and schools would then be judged on their state report cards, which are produced annually by the Department of Public Instruction, based largely on standardized test scores. During a recent visit to a school in Waukesha to talk up his budget proposal, he said: "To me, the report card is the ultimate measure. It's not how many hours you are sitting in a chair."
Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal axes state farm-to-school post

The cafeterias in the Germantown School District take a decidedly fresh turn in the fall.

For as long as it lasts, food and nutrition director Shelley Juedes brings in a bountiful array of fresh produce: scrumptious apples from nearby Rim's Edge Orchard and fresh vegetables — broccoli, onions, potatoes and more — from longtime area farmer Lenny Semerad.

"What a major difference it is to have that fresh produce instead of getting it from a vendor where it might have sat in a warehouse for weeks," said Juedes, who would like to increase what she buys from local farmers if she could figure out how to do it.

"It's fresher. It looks more appetizing," she said. "It's great for the kids, and it benefits the local farmers, too. It's a win-win."

That win-win was exactly what the Legislature had in mind when it created the Farm to School office in the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in 2009.

Since then, advocates say, the Wisconsin office has become the gold standard for the farm-to-school movement nationally, connecting growers and schools, helping to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, improving children's nutrition and knowledge of agriculture, and pumping millions of dollars into the state's economy.

Now, they say, that may be in jeopardy.

Gov. Scott Walker has proposed cutting the office's now-vacant coordinator position and 15-member advisory council as part of his 2017-'19 budget, a move that would save $132,800 over the biennium.


If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has his way, the Badger State will become the first to stop requiring students in public schools to spend a minimum number of hours in class.

A proposal in Walker’s new budget plan calls for ending the state’s current minimum requirements — 437 hours for kindergarten, 1,050 hours for elementary schools and 1,137 hours for secondary schools — and allowing school districts to do what they want in terms of seat hours for students.

Districts and schools would then be judged on their state report cards, which are produced annually by the Department of Public Instruction, based largely on standardized test scores. During a recent visit to a school in Waukesha to talk up his budget proposal, he said: “To me, the report card is the ultimate measure. It’s not how many hours you are sitting in a chair.”

Scott Walker wants to let schools cut down on class time. That’s really risky.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker doesn’t seem to care how many hours schoolkids are in the classroom, as long as they can pass standardized tests — a proposal that could go against the academic consensus that time in the classroom matters.

In his recent budget proposal, Walker called for state lawmakers to get rid of the minimum requirement for how many hours students spend learning each year. That would make Wisconsin the first state without any guidelines for how long students must spend in the classroom. Typically, states require at least 180 school days, and Wisconsin law currently requires 1,050 instructional hours for elementary school students at public and private voucher schools and at least 1,137 for middle and high school students.

Scott Walker Moves To Kill A Century-Old Nature Magazine, And Readers Are Furious

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) plans to do away with a nearly century-old, state-run nature magazine, sparking outrage among critics who see it as part of an ongoing anti-environment agenda.

Walker’s 2017-2019 budget, which he unveiled in February, calls for suspending publication of Wisconsin Natural Resources next year. The magazine, a product of the state Department of Natural Resources, has kept Wisconsinites informed about hunting and fishing opportunities, species conservation, environmental issues and much more since 1919.

The Walker administration argues it doesn’t fit the department’s core mission.

“While the magazine has a loyal following and is supported by subscriptions, it became clear as our staff continued to examine what they did and why they do it ... that we at DNR are stewards of resources and not magazine publishers,” department Secretary Cathy Stepp said during a legislative hearing late last month. She added that her agency’s time is better spent focusing on digital communication.

But a former department secretary, two former editors of the magazine and dozens of Wisconsin residents have blasted the governor’s plan.

“Anyone that says communication and education is not a core value of a natural resource agency doesn’t get it,” George Meyer, who served as natural resources secretary from 1993 to 2003, told Wisconsin Public Radio.

Scott Walker’s Plan to Kill Nature Magazine Spurs Backlash

Dozens of Wisconsin residents have contacted the office of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to protest his plan to kill a nearly 100-year-old, self-supporting state magazine that has previously been purged of content touching on politically sensitive environmental issues, according to records obtained by The Progressive.

Walker’s biennial state budget, unveiled in early February, included a call to suspend publication of Wisconsin Natural Resources in early 2018. The bimonthly magazine has nearly 90,000 paid subscribers and is produced by the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Walker’s office claims that doing away with the magazine will let the DNR focus more on its core mission.