Yet again, Republicans are on the wrong side: Poll shows majority support state-run health care in Wisconsin

A majority of Wisconsin residents favor a state-run health insurance system, but even more like the idea of expanding existing programs or investing in health savings accounts, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The results lend support to Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to pass a universal health care plan rejected by Republicans during this year’s budget negotiations.

Fifty-one percent of respondents support replacing the current health insurance system with one administered by the state government covering all residents, the University of Wisconsin Survey Center’s Badger Poll said.
Seventy-two percent favor requiring all people to have insurance, either from their employer or another source. And 82 percent support expanding existing state health insurance programs for low-income people.
*50 percent said the state’s health care system had major problems, 35 percent said there were minor problems, 12 percent said it was in a state of chaos and 2 percent said there are no problems.


Is Winnebago DA Gossett for Forced Juvinile Confessions?

Winnebago County DA Christian Gossett signed a letter in support of a Supreme Court candidate that is being questioned by One Wisconsin Now as a possible violation of Supreme Court campaign rules.

There are a few points I would like to make about Gossett's foray into judicial politics:

1. He endorsed Annette Ziegler last year - we know how that turned out.

2. The OshNW, just on Dec 7th, stated:
Let's hope the days of Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates cheaply accusing one another of "being soft on crime" or taking gobs of influential cash from litigious interest groups are on their way out.
Yet here he is, part of a letter saying a sitting Supreme Court Justice was:
detrimental to our job of protecting the public
I would hope for a more clear and positive message and stop taking away from his job of protecting Winnebago County citizens.

3. But I am most disturbed by what DA Gossett says is so 'detrimental' about the Justice's votes and opinions such as:
Butler voted to require all interviews of juveniles to be recorded to be admissible in court for custodial interrogations.
Seriously, does DA Gossett really think it is a bad thing to make sure that confessions are not forced? If you look at the case, In the Interest of Jerrell C J, the WI State Bar summed up the case as:
the court agrees with the court of appeals in its decision in the same case that "it is time for Wisconsin to tackle the false confession issue" and "take appropriate action so that the youth of our state are protected from confessing to crimes they did not commit." In the instant case, State v. Jerrell C. J., the court threw out the written confession of a juvenile who claimed the confession was involuntary.
Does DA Gossett really want to have the opportunity to force confessions from juveniles?

And, while I am asking, because this passed with a 4-3 margin, does that mean that DA Gossett's candidate would have been the deciding vote to have secret coerced confessions from juvenile defendants?


My Take on the Guliani Police Security Scandal

If you don't know the story by now, Rudy Guliani, while mayor of New York, charged the city the costs of his security while he was having an affair on his then wife with his current wife.

The police also supplied security for his mistress (now wife) at the time.

While this is not a wholesome story, I do not think this is really the scandalous part. His behavior was wrong, but public figures to require security, even if they are misbehaving.

The unforgivable part of the scandal is this:

Security costs for those trips were charged to agencies like the New York City Loft Board, which regulates loft apartments and was billed $34,000. The Office for People with Disabilities was charged $10,000, while the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, which provides lawyers for indigent defendants, was charged roughly $400,000.

He did not charge the costs if his trysts to the Mayor's security account, he charged it to accounts that were established and funded to provide services to the city's citizen's.

How many disabled New Yorkers were not provided service so Guliani could have his affair?

How many indigent defendants received (even) less or no legal advice?

To look at this through a Wisconsin lens, remember that funding indigent defense is a problem we are dealing with right now:

Here's a question: If you're a single person and are charged with a crime, how low does your income have to be for you to qualify to be represented by a state public defender?

Maybe $15,000? Maybe the federal poverty level, which is about $10,000?

Nope. The income level for a single person in Wisconsin to qualify for a public defender is about $3,000. It's based on guidelines that haven't changed since 1987, when the federal poverty level was $5,500.

It's past time for that to change — and a bill in the Legislature aims to do it.
But county budgets are typically strained already, so some judges are reluctant to add to the strain. In those cases, typically misdemeanors or less serious felonies, defendants have to represent themselves.

The bill in Madison would raise the income level for public defender qualification to 115 percent of the federal poverty level, which for a single person would be about $11,750. That's the same income level as the Wisconsin Works program.

The bill also would provide 33 new public defenders and 17 new support staffers, and it would mandate that consistent standards are used in each county.

It would cost about $4.5 million a year. But Wisconsin's counties are spending more than that in court-appointed lawyers. It would basically be a cost shift, from counties to the state — and more defendants would get representation.

That's the point — people aren't getting the representation that they're ensured under our constitution. Even if it were to cost more money, justice demands it. The fact that it should save a little money is a bonus.

Yep, Rudy's fling would have funded 10% of our entire state's public defender need deficit.

That's the scandal. Yet another Republican who feels his selfish needs are more important than the poor sap who just might need a hand.

White House Press Sec Didn't Know Cuban Missle Crisis - Answers Question Anyway:

From The Raw Story:

Appearing on National Public Radio's quiz show, "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me," this weekend, Perino admitted a story she'd previously only shared in private: When a reporter asked her a question during a White House briefing in which he referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis -- she didn't know what it was.

"I was panicked a bit because I really don't know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis," said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. "It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."

The exchange was first noted in the Washington Post.

"I came home and I asked my husband," she said on air. "I said, 'Wasn't that like the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.' "

Perino was referring to the White House briefing held on October 26, when a reporter asked her, "Do you want to address the remarks by President Putin, who said the United States setting up a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe was like the Soviet Union putting missiles in Cuba, setting up a Cuban missile crisis?"

"Well, I think that the historical comparison is not -- does not exactly work," Perino had responded.

What I don't understand in this otherwise "cute" story is where is the outrage that she answered a question as the spokesperson of the President of the United States, without knowing what she was talking about!

Wait, maybe she is the ideal spokesperson.

NYTimes Looks at Immigration in Phoenix

The NYTimes Editorial Observer looks at the clash over immigration in Phoenix:

Want to see America unraveling? Come here, to Thomas Road and 35th Street, to M. D. Pruitt’s furniture store. Come on Saturday morning and stand near the eight delivery trucks barricading the parking lot, like the wall of an urban Alamo.

For the last seven weeks, a sidewalk protest here by Latino immigrants has blossomed into a feverish reality show, attracting Minutemen, mariachis, children dancing in Mexican folk costumes, white racists, United Nations observers, Phoenix police officers and Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies.

The weekly confrontation — strident and stalemated — perfectly mimics the national debate. But it’s a sideshow to something even uglier: what happens when immigration’s complexities are handed to local law enforcers sympathetic to the fury of one side.

Thomas Road has lots of Latino day laborers, or jornaleros, who hustle for work near Home Depot. A few months ago, the Phoenix police shooed them away. They dispersed to streets nearby, angering local businesses. One of the biggest, Pruitt’s, hired off-duty city police officers to keep jornaleros at bay. The city put a stop to that, so Pruitt’s turned to the county sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

They also have an audio slideshow here.


Good Economic Cartoon

From the Center for American Progress:

OshNW Sidebar Unnecessary,..

Along this the OshNW's story about the current tax bills going out, they included a sidebar informing people of the consumer purchases they could have made with the tax bill on a $100,000 home instead of paying taxes.

Things such as:

What you could buy

For 2008, the property tax bill for a homeowner with property worth $100,000 is $2,208. But there are a number of other things people could get for $2,208:
A Dell XPS Computer with 20’’ widescreen display, a high-speed processor and Microsoft Office: $1,999 total plus tax.
A five day, four night trip for two to West Palm Beach Florida from Appleton, Wisconsin on Priceline.com: Total $1,875 plus which means you’d have $333 left for spending money.
Five 8 GB iPhones at $399 each: $1,995 total plus tax
What the OshNW leaves out of the story is what you are getting out of your tax bills. Things such as:

Plowed Roads
Fire Protection
Police Protection
Garbage Collection
Care for Indigent Elderly
Jail Services
Public Education

As you know, I could go on (and on). To see a list of services your county provides to you, go here.

I personally feel that the ability to safely traverse your community, live in your home, educate and prepare your children, know you will be safe in retirement and have access to aid in any disaster is a much better deal than a Dell PC or a few I-Phones.

I would hope the OshNW would consider what you receive for your tax dollar. Not just deliver hype in numbers.

The History of Oil

A huge hat tip to the Chief - this is a great post:

The History of Oil

This headline (and its subsequent article):

Iran drops the dollar

-- reminded me of a wonderful stand-up routine by the British writer/comedian/actor/activist Robert Newman, specifically the part of the act below:

The audio track doesn't seem to jive well with the visual track, but I think the point still gets across. If you have 45 minutes to spare, I highly recommend watching the whole thing, which can be found here in its entirety (and in much better quality).