Thursday, December 20, 2012

Semi-Automatic Gun Control for Christmas

Unfortunately it took this many lives, but we may finally get semi-automatic weapon control. This hits home because of the recent massacre in Wisconsin and our newly passed concealed carry law. Illinois seems to be the only sensible state left, but I don't want to move there, I want sensibility in Wisconsin and the rest of the U.S. again.

For those who are looking to buy up assault weapons like the Buschmaster used in the Newtown Elementary School Massacre, beware you may likely be wasting your money. If our leaders in Washington do what's right, they'll pass a ban on military-style non-animal hunting weapons and a required buy back program. So, you'll soon be selling your new Buschmaster back to the government for less than you paid.

Here's looking at you Mill's Fleet Farm!

If people would just lock up their guns, we'd all be much safer, including the owners themselves. You can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, you shouldn't be able to own weapons that can massacre a crowd of people. And it's not the fault of violent movies and video games that are watched and played in every other country that doesn't have our massacre problem. How are we better protected by having untrained and potentially hazardous citizens carrying more powerful weapons than most police officers carry?

As for protecting our schools, instead of arming our principals and teachers, we should take notes from the Secret Service playbook. A locker with bomb armor and plans to get children out of danger ASAP would be much more beneficial than more guns. Their duty is to protect the children, not take out shooters.

All I want for Christmas is semi-automatic gun control with sensible sales and license regulations for all guns.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Republican Gerrymandering Shows in Wisconsin

Wisconsinites confirmed with near record or record turnout their support for President Barack Obama and his policies, particularly the Affordable Care Act of which Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin was a prominent supporter. The statewide races weren't nearly as close as they had been predicted, with each winning by at least a few percentage points.

However, we're starting to see the effects of the Republican gerrymandering of the state in 2011. The GOP looks to have taken control of the state senate again. The tightly and secretly designed districts keep the state congress red when the state leans blue.

We're still waiting for the final tally for Senate District 18 where Jessica King (D) is the incumbent. It looks like a recount will be triggered.

This gerrymandering is toxic to our democracy and only worsens this country's partisanship. Wisconsin Republicans should be ashamed of their immoral tactics.

The biggest concern on the horizon is implementing an exchange for Wisconsin for the Affordable Care Act. Wisconsin clearly likes the Affordable Care Act, even if our red state congress doesn't represent that. Governor Scott Walker has refused to set the exchange up, even though the deadline is quickly approaching. He's already wasted a year and $38 million delaying the exchange. If these Republicans don't believe in the Affordable Care Act, how can we trust them to do a good job?

Wisconsinites expect excellent health care. Republicans and Governor Walker better make it happen!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Early Results in Wisconsin Look Good for Progressives

Wisconsin has already been called for Barack Obama, and we've elected Wisconsin's first woman U.S. Senator and the nation's first openly gay U.S. Senator. Congratulations to Tammy Baldwin, her staff, volunteers, supporters and voters! We made history today!

All of the networks have called the election for Barack Obama, winning Ohio to get to 270 votes. However, Mitt Romney won't get out of "The Bubble" and won't concede.

None of the U.S. House of Representatives races changed the make up of the House. Mark Pocan has won the 2nd CD vacated by Tammy, and Paul Ryan has kept his seat in the 1st CD. Tom Petri also won re-election, and I believe the rest of the races are uncontested.

Unfortunately, the Post Crescent reports that Jamie Wall has conceded to Tea Party Ribble. Fox Valley, you continue to disappoint!

Regarding state congressional races, it looks like "The Man Who Votes 3 Times" (Joel Kleefisch) will lose his seat. Now we need to break up the Fitzgerald family empire in Wisconsin.

It looks like Dave Hansen will keep his seat, but both races are still too early to call.

Overall, the results look like Wisconsin just didn't like the recall, but we're still a blue-leaning Progressive state!

Better days are ahead now that the Tea Party crazies couldn't convince the majority of voters to go back to the Bush policies.

Forward and On Wisconsin!

Voting Machines Switching Obama Vote to Romney

Thanks to @polymath22 for shooting and posting this video.

He also posted this on reddit:
"I'm the guy who shot the video, hopefully this doesn't get burried. You guys have questions, I have answers.

My wife and I went to the voting booths this morning before work. There were 4 older ladies running the show and 3 voting booths that are similar to a science fair project in how they fold up. They had an oval VOTE logo on top center and a cartridge slot on the left that the volunteers used to start your ballot.

I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said "It's nothing to worry about, everything will be OK." and went back to what she was doing. I then recorded this video.

EDIT: There is a lot of speculation that the footage is edited. I'm not a video guy, but if it's possible to prove whether a video has been altered or not, I will GLADLY provide the raw footage to anyone who is willing to do so. The jumping frames are a result of the shitty camera app on my Android phone, nothing more."

While I originally reported this as occurring in Wisconsin, it appears @polymath22 was voting in PA. Either way, it can happen in Wisconsin. You should avoid touch screen voting machines in Wisconsin, unless you know they have a paper trail.

Be Part of History - Elect Tammy Baldwin Wisconsin's First Woman Senator and First Openly Gay Senator

If you need motivation to get out and vote, help convincing a friend to vote, or something to help you choose, think of the history that can be made. Not only by electing the first black President to a second term, but you can do something even more historic by electing U.S Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin Wisconsin's first woman senator and the first openly gay U.S. Senator. You can help Wisconsin add to its long progressive record.

Wisconsin doesn't need another Tea Party Senator like Ron Johnson (remember the joke of a senator who hasn't done anything since his election), and that's exactly what Tea Party Tommy will be. Tammy Baldwin is a proven hard worker for the middle class. Be part of history and keep Wisconsin purple.

Tammy Baldwin has a 77.2% chance of winning, but only if you vote, because the election will be incredibly close. She's got some hefty endorsements even from conservative newspapers like the Green Bay Press Gazette. Take a little time out of your day and be part of history. Your vote will matter today.

Vote for Tammy Baldwin!

Tea Party Tommy Won't Offset Ron Johnson for Purple Wisconsin

Our old, and often embarrassingly drunk, Governor Tommy Thompson is a shell of the person he used to be. He served under the George W. Bush Administration and clearly drank too much of the spiked kool-aid. Now he's become "Tea Party Tommy."

During his time with Bush, Tea Party Tommy helped give drug companies a blank check. Instead of negotiating the price of drugs, Tommy forced Medicare to pay drug companies whatever they want for the drugs you need. That means our tax money is at the mercy of drug companies, and Tea Party Tommy helped make that happen. Why should we believe Tea Party Tommy cares about us and our tax money now?

Tea Party Tommy fought against providing healthcare to 9/11 responders. Then, during this election Tea Party Tommy ran an attack ad against Tammy Baldwin which was fact-checked "false and vicious," trying to say she didn't support 9/11 victims.

Tea Party Tommy loves Paul Ryan's Medicare-voucherizing, wealthy tax decreasing and middle-class tax increasing budget. "I will pass Paul Ryan's budget plan in the Senate. It is the right plan at the right time for America," Thompson said at the Wisconsin GOP convention.

But that's not enough for Tea Party Tommy. He promised he would repeal ObamaCare, with no plans for replacing the savings and protections the legislation provides. ObamaCare saves Wisconsinites more than $14.5 million in insurance premiums this year alone. Tea Party Tommy doesn't care about how much it might save you, Obama can't have the historical legislation. I can understand how difficult it can be to contemplate the effects of healthcare cost increases that aren't offset by wage increases when you own 4 homes, but we need a Senator who can.

Like the rest of the Tea Partiers, Tea Party Tommy signed a pledge to Grover Norquist that says he won't raise taxes, even if hell freezes over. The only pledge Tea Party Tommy should be signing is the pledge to uphold the Constitution and serve his constituents. Norquist's pledge is toxic to a legislator's ability to keep his promise to his constituents, because at times such as war, taxes need to be increased to keep from growing the deficit. The pledge forces us into debt if we start a war.

And just like the rest of the Tea Partiers, Tea Party Tommy will obstruct everything that Obama and the Democrats try to do. Tea Party Tommy will hold us back rather than help move us Forward.

Tea Party Tommy can't even remember how many homes he has. How is he supposed to keep track and make sense of thousands of facts and statistics as Senator? Oh forgot, facts don't matter to Tea Partiers.

Most of Wisconsin's newspapers including the conservative Green Bay Press Gazette, which endorsed all of Tea Party Tommy's runs for governor, have endorsed his opponent, Tammy Baldwin.

We already have one Tea Party Senator in Ron Johnson. This "purple" state can't have two Tea Party Senators. We need to elect a Senator who stands for middle-class families and workers not the Tea Party line.

Vote for Tammy Baldwin today!

Want motivation? Tammy Baldwin's election will mark a historical election. Tammy would be Wisconsin's first woman senator and the first openly gay U.S. Senator. You can be a part of history!

Now, get out there and vote for Tammy Baldwin!

Reid Ribble: Just Another Tea Party Candidate

Reid Ribble, U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin's 8th District (Fox Valley area), is just another Tea Party candidate looking for a re-up.

First, he signed a pledge to Grover Norquist that says he won't raise taxes, even if hell freezes over. The only pledge Ribble should be signing is the pledge to uphold the Constitution and serve his constituents. Norquist's pledge is toxic to a legislator's ability to keep his promise to his constituents, because at times such as war, taxes need to be increased to keep from growing the deficit. The pledge forces us into debt if we start a war.

Second, Ribble says he's for reducing the deficit, but his record doesn't show that. He voted for Paul Ryan's budget, which increases the deficit while reducing taxes on the wealthy and increasing our taxes. He voted over 30 times against ObamaCare, which also reduces the deficit and healthcare costs.

On ObamaCare, Ribble would like to take away your over $14.5 million in insurance premium savings. That's how much ObamaCare saved Wisconsinites on insurance premiums last year. There's also many other benefits of ObamaCare that Ribble would like to take away, like coverage under your parents' plan until age 26. Ribble doesn't care what it does for you, he just doesn't want Obama to have the revolutionary healthcare legislation on record. Anything to keep Obama down.

Finally, Ribble has done everything he can to stunt our economic growth in order to try to make Obama look bad. Ribble has refused to vote for any of the President's jobs legislation. He's also refused to vote to hire more teachers and fix our schools and infrastructure. All of these plans were shown to provide economic growth, but Ribble refused to vote for any. His continued obstruction will keep holding us back instead of moving us Forward.

Ribble once sent out a survey to constituents asking them to respond to the question paraphrased, "What is the cause of the gridlock in Congress?" Constituents were expected to choose one of a few multiple choice answers or "Other." None of the answers were the obvious partisanship. Instead, they were all regarding the state of the economy, i.e., the economy was causing the gridlock in Congress. Totally clueless to reality and shows why Ribble has no accomplishments to speak of.

Ribble has many "tele-town halls," but never provided early notification. Instead, he'd just call and leave a message if you weren't available. This means, Ribble would never include anyone with a day job in his "tele-town halls."

Reid Ribble's record shows, he would rather serve his corporate donors and Tea Party friends than the constituents of the 8th District.

Today, vote for Jamie Wall, a sensible and rational candidate instead of the Tea Party craziness of Reid Ribble.

ObamaCare Saves Wisconsinites Over $14.5M On Insurance Premiums

From the Milwaukee Community Journal,
"Madison – Americans have saved an estimated $2.1 billion on health insurance premiums as a result of two important provisions of Obamacare – officially called the Affordable Care Act – that protect citizens from excessive premiums. This includes 288,984 Wisconsin residents who have saved a total of $14,551,793.

In every state, insurance companies must submit a justification for public review if they want to raise premiums by 10 percent or more. This protects citizens from excessive – and unjustified – rate increases. Rate reviews have helped save an estimated $1 billion for American citizens, including $4,182,000 for 6,172 Wisconsin residents.

The 80/20 rule ensures that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on patient care. Those companies that do not meet those spending requirements must write checks back to their customers for the difference. Americans have received rebate checks for $1.1 billion thanks to the 80/20 rule, including $10,369,793 in savings for 282,812 Wisconsin residents.

“Rate review and requiring insurance to spend 80% of premiums on patient care have brought transparency and accountability to health insurance companies,” said Doug Hill, director of Know Your Care Wisconsin. “Because of Obamacare, Wisconsinites are saving millions of dollars on insurance premiums. And for the first time ever, many are getting money back from their insurance companies.”"

Mitt Romney had the right idea when he laid the groundwork for ObamaCare as Governor of Massachusetts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

If You Vote, Obama Has a 92% Chance of Winning

Nate Silver's latest prediction on his FiveThirtyEight blog has Barack Obama at a 92.0% chance of winning and Tammy Baldwin at a 77.2% chance of winning.

BUT those numbers depend upon you voting. If you don't vote, the numbers don't add up, and the chances drop off quickly. Both elections will be incredibly close in Wisconsin, and your vote will matter.

And since we're in Wisconsin, our vote carries a lot more weight than most. If you don't vote, Obama may lose. If you do vote, Obama will win.

This is why the Republicans have been trying to suppress our vote for the last year with photo ID laws and absurdly long voting lines (in other states). If they can keep enough of us from voting, they win. If enough of us vote, we win.

You can't do a touchdown dance before crossing the goal line, otherwise you risk fumbling the ball. We can only win if you vote and help get out the vote.

If you lack motivation, think of the people standing in line for 8-9 hours to vote in Ohio and Florida. If they can do that, you can vote. Think of the people in areas heavily affected by Superstorm Sandy. If they can vote, so can you.

If you're sick of being screwed. Vote!

No More Stolen Wisconsin Elections!

Wisconsin voting machines have probably already been compromised in previous elections, but there is no way to detect if a machine has been compromised (after the pre-election test). The Hand Count Votes Now! coalition has already found many issues with the Walker Recall election. So, we need to keep an eye out for irregularities in every election, particularly a big election like Tuesday's. 

VOTE if you haven't registered to vote yet. In Wisconsin, we can register on the same day we vote. It's super easy, just bring a utility bill or any number of proofs of residence, and it only takes a few extra minutes.

STAY in line if you arrived by the 8:00pm closing time. You can vote as long as you're in line by 8:00pm.

Do NOT tweet or post completed Wisconsin ballots! It's illegal!

The following are some things to watch out for when voting Tuesday.

Do NOT let anyone turn you away for not having an ID. You need proof of address, if you haven't registered to vote before today. Otherwise, just bring yourself.

Do NOT use a touch screen voting machine without a paper trail. They are only for use by disabled voters - not sure why they get the crap. However, voters have reported being instructed to use the wrong machines. If you don't vote on paper, your vote can't be recounted!

Do NOT approach or talk to "True the Vote" people. They are under instruction by their corporate overlords to suppress the vote at any cost. Anything they tell you should be considered a lie. Seek help from poll workers. Poll watchers are not allowed to talk to voters entering a polling site. They can only talk to you after you've voted.

To get involved in protecting elections in Wisconsin, see No More Stolen Elections! and the Wisconsin Wave hand count info.

Government Accountability Board voter information.

If you don't vote on paper, your vote can't be recounted!

Republican Voters are Idiots, Racists or Just Plain Selfish

If you've voted or will vote for Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson, you're either an idiot, a racist, or you're just plain selfish. Think I'm wrong, prove me wrong.

With far too many drinks in me, I've said this to several Republicans over the past month. Guess what their response was? Their best answers were lies told by Tea Baggers. Everyone I talked to wanted policies that are far more aligned with Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin than Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to convince any of these Republicans for at least one of the 3 reasons.

If you're rich, I can see why you would vote for Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson. They'll give you tax breaks and make it easier to screw your workers for more profit.

If you're racist or a bigot, I can see why you would vote for Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson. Just one example, this button being sold at Mitt Romney campaign rallies.

If you're poor or middle-class, young or old, there's no good reason for you to vote for Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson. Their policies have been shown to have a negative impact on people like us by many non-partisan organizations and by the 8 years of the Bush Administration who tried the same policies. Any time Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson says we're they're priority, they're lying through their teeth. One only needs to look at their policy recommendations and private statements.

47%, anyone?

A lot of poor and middle-class voters vote for Republicans based on abortion. But that's absolutely unpatriotic, as our Constitution declares a required separation of church and state. No one has the right to impose their religious beliefs on anyone else, and that's exactly what you expect by trying to place extreme limits on abortion. The only reason Republicans support limiting abortion is because they know you'll vote against your interests to vote for them.

If you're not rich or a bigot, why would you vote for Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson? Because you've been bamboozled by some of the greatest salesmen in the world. You may not really be an idiot, but you're definitely ignorant. Don't want to be called an idiot, then be smart and don't fail the rest of us.

There are people who call themselves Republicans but don't fall into one of these 3 categories. However, those Republicans aren't voting for Mitt Romney or Tommy Thompson.

Think I'm wrong? Prove it. The lines are wide open.

Wisconsin Voter's High Return on Investment

Think your vote doesn't count. Not in Wisconsin in 2012!

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight Blog has a Return on Investment Index, and Wisconsin is ranked number 6. The "likelihood that an individual voter would determine the Electoral College winner" is higher for everyone in Wisconsin than 44 other states.

Make sure you and everyone you know gets out to vote for Democratic candidates like Jamie Wall and Tammy Baldwin who make decisions based on science and rationality not Tea Party crazies like Tommy Thompson and Reid Ribble. It's much easier to vote here in Wisconsin than the hour-long lines in Ohio and Florida. Make a plan to vote tomorrow.

There's no excuse, Wisconsin. Vote.

The Boss: Forward and Away We Go!

This morning in Madison, Bruce Springsteen performs the "campaign song" for Barack Obama's re-election during this morning's rally at the State Capitol. An estimated 20,000 people attended, and we're all going to get 5 other people to the polls.

Springsteen introduces and carries the song with humor and even an Obama impression. Everyone around me seemed to really enjoy this part of the rally. It's a great song to sing while you canvass your area to Get Out the Vote!

"Election sealed!"