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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008

Issue of the Week: Health Care Reform

Plus Heroes and Jerks of the Week

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Health care reform continues to be a major issue in the presidential campaign even as economic problems dominate the headlines. Voters want a better and more secure system of health insurance. The interesting fact is that the health care debate is no longer between those who want to reform the system and those who are satisfied with the status quo. Now the issue isn’t “should we,” but “how.” McCain’s approach is to provide a tax credit, $2,500 for an individual and $5,000 for a family, to purchase health insurance and to tax the current health care benefits provided by employers. It is a radical approach that even has the U.S. Chamber of Commerce saying that McCain’s plan is a dangerous proposal that would unravel the employer-based health insurance system.

Obama wants to enable the employer-based approach to continue where it is working and also proposes to create both a large public health insurance plan plus a regulated private insurance plan that could not exclude people with pre-existing conditions. Ironically, the debate is now between those who want bold reform (Obama) and those who want very radical reform (McCain).


Hero of the Week: Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner

In 2004, Republican operatives at the Ohio state- and county-level lost, miscounted or discarded some 350,000 votes, effectively handing a second illegitimate term to President George Bush. The records were subsequently destroyed when they became the subject of a criminal investigation. In an attempt to make the polls accessible to all, Ohio, under new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, now allows residents to vote absentee in advance without proving justification. Brunner was sued by the Ohio Republican Party, which feared massive early voting by low-income voters who might not be able to make it to polling places on Election Day. The suit by the Republican Party was thrown out Oct. 17 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Of the latest attempts at voter suppression, Secretary Brunner said, “It is unfortunate that a small, but vocal, group of Republican leaders continues to inject confusion and chaos in our elections.”


Jerk of the Week: State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald

State Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald needs to spend his time trying to deal with the state budget shortfall instead of ducking his responsibilities with silly explanations. Gov. Jim Doyle’s announcement last week that the state may be facing a $3 billion deficit in the 2009-’11 budget was grim tidings indeed, portending many long hours for the state Legislature in the months to come. While most lawmakers immediately realized that tough decisions would have to be made, Fitzgerald put a shaky finger to the wind and concluded that the unfortunate numbers were released in order to elect Barack Obama. We’re not sure how a $3 billion shortfall under a Democratic governor works to Obama’s benefit, but Fitzgerald claims that the news will “solidify” the candidate’s chances in Wisconsin. One can only hope that after the bogeyman has passed, Fitzgerald will emerge from his happy place and accept the responsibilities of his position.


Blog of the Week: Brew City Brawlerhttp://brewcitybrawler.typepad.com/

Republican Party of Wisconsin Enlisting Vote Suppression Goons

The Washington Post [reports that] the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW) [is] seeking tough men to watch the polls in “intimidating” inner-city Milwaukee: “Jonathan Waclawski, the party’s Election Day operations [director], wrote in a Sept. 8 e-mail that he needed contact information for people ‘who would potentially be willing to volunteer…at inner-city (more intimidating) polling places. Particularly, I am interested in names of Milwaukee-area veterans, policemen, security personnel, firefighters, etc. … If you have any connections with such organizations, please pass that information on.’”

What will they be doing? Well, if RPW dirty tricks during the 2004 election are any indication, we can expect them to help mount spurious charges against voters, offer misleading instructions to voters and generally do all they can to sow confusion and create long lines that may dissuade folks from casting their ballot.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America…he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world—onto the world stage, and on the American stage, and for that reason I’ll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama.” — Gen. Colin Powell, former secretary of state in the Bush administration, endorsing Sen. Obama for president.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Economic Hard Times by Senator Dingdong

"Even the gulls that crap on my car are packing lunches."

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