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April 2015
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Guest Blog: give the gift of life

April is known by several titles; Organ Donor month, Donate the Gift of Life month, and several other variations, all of which call attention to the same theme; that is, most if not all can contribute, as our last act, to the continuation of life for others through organ donation.

We are told on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site, organdonor.gov. that “1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives” as well as enabling a more full life for others with the donation of eye and tissue donation. The simple act of opting for organ donation on our driver’s license or making our wishes known to our next of kin will also accomplish the act to “…love your neighbor as yourself.”

This week I heard indirectly, one could say, from my youngest daughter, Rose, who was an innocent victim as a passenger in an auto accident eleven years ago. It was a message from a lady in West Virginia who is the transplant recipient of Rose’s heart . And so, life goes on in others both by organ donation and our good example.

Sincerely,

Duane Dubey

Eleanor Wolf, Citizen Action’s 2014 progressive achievement award winner, endorses Jeff Smith for DPW Chair

Ask any progressive in western Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley who the hardest working activist in the Valley is and among the names you’ll hear is Eleanor Wolf, and she’s more than likely to be at the top of the list.

So when Citizen Action of Wisconsin held their annual vote last year to determine who should be honored with their 2014 progressive achievement award, Eleanor was nominated by her good friend Jackie Christner and dozens of people chimed in to put her over the top.

What makes Eleanor remarkable is that she’s 79 years old and has the energy of most people 20 years her junior. She’s a tireless organizer/activist and knocked on many hundreds, if not a thousand or more, doors in low income neighborhoods in Eau Claire County last year urging people to vote to raise the minimum wage and to expand Badgercare. Here’s what she has to say about Jeff Smith:

” I support Jeff Smith’s DPW Chair candidacy because he shares my values…..values that he pursues with a remarkable combination of idealism and determination (hard work). Jeff has inspired me, and many others to stay in the fight, to pool our skills and become actively involved in rebuilding and re-inventing progressive, caring communities and a progressive, caring Wisconsin. ”

Scott Walker campaign speech gets bumped to smaller room by wedding

Ouch….this is gonna leave a mark.

Where’s the Revenue?

Scott Walker and the Republicans in the Legislature are counting on increases in revenue to reduce cuts to public elementary and secondary education. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald mentioned this in an interview with Mike Gousha on April 10th, and Mr. Walker did so in his telephone check-in with Wisconsin April 17th.

I like the idea of reducing or eliminating the cuts to public school funding, of course, but relying on increased revenues sounds pie in the sky to me. DWD reports the number of jobs in Wisconsin is shrinking (-4300 seasonally adjusted in March) and labor force participation rate is down .2% between February and March 2015. Wisconsin continues to lag behind the nation in wage growth, and the recent passage of the so-called “right to work” legislation, along with the push to repeal the prevailing wage law, could push wages down further. And the full implementation of the agricultural and manufacturing tax credit will mean the loss of more tax revenue, to the tune of  $120 million in 2016 and $156 million in 2017, according to the Wisconsin Budget Project. Add in the job losses from people taking buyouts at the several UW campuses that have offered them and layoffs where those are necessary, and income tax revenues will necessarily be dropping.

So where is this increased revenue supposed to arise? I wish I knew.

New poll shows Russ Feingold leading Sen. Ron Johnson by double digits

I’m just gonna leave this right here.

A new poll finds former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) beating Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) by double digits in the 2016 race for Johnson’s senate seat.

The Marquette University Law School poll released Thursday found that 54 percent of registered voters say they would support Feingold in a 2016 matchup, while 38 percent said they would support Johnson.

Another 9 percent said they weren’t sure who they would support.

Conservative County Supervisor Deanna Alexander keeps it classy!

Via Twitter comes this tweet from conservative Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander:

It’s clear the intended target of Supervisor Alexander’s idiotic tweet was none other than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and when asked if she stood behind her tweet Sup. Alexander said she felt the tweet was appropriate.

Is it really appropriate to refer to the former first lady in this way?

Alexander, a conservative on the left-leaning County Board, thinks so.

She notes that people come up with nicknames for politicians all the time. For instance, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was dubbed The Governator and ex-President Bill Clinton was known as Slick Willie to his critics — and even some of his supporters.

Alexander, who is considered a possible candidate for the state Senate, said she found it interesting that people have jumped to the conclusion that she was referring to Hillary Clinton when she discussed “Ovary’s campaign.”

What’s truly disappointing is that as I write this, I have yet to see any condemnation of Sup. Alexander’s vile tweet by any of the progressives who have supported her in the past, leaving me to wonder if they support her vile rhetoric.

Economic Policy Institution: weakening collective bargaining negatively affects union & non-union wages

According to a new report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the national decline in collective bargaining has undercut wages and benefits not only for union members, but for nonunion workers as well. That fact should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention to what’s happening in regards to the ever-widening disparity in wages and income between the richest Americans and everyone else, but here are a few key points from the EPI’s report.

  • The union wage premium—the percentage-higher wage earned by those covered by a collective bargain­ing contract, adjusted for workers’ education, age, and other characteristics—is 13.6 percent over­all.
  • Unionized workers are 28.2 percent more likely to be covered by employer-provided health insurance and 53.9 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions, and also enjoy more paid time off with their families.
  • Collective bargaining raises the wages and benefits more for low-wage workers than for middle-wage workers and least for white-collar workers, thereby lessening wage inequality.
  • Collective bargaining also raises wages and benefits more for black, Asian, Hispanic, and immigrant workers, thereby lessening race/ethnic wage gaps.
  • The decline of unions has affected middle-wage men more than any other group and explains about three-fourths of the expanded wage gap between white- and blue-collar men and over a fifth of the expanded wage gap between high school– and college-edu­cated men from 1978 to 2011.5
  • The states where collective bargaining eroded the most since 1979 had the lowest growth in middle-class wages and the largest gap between rising productivity growth and middle-class wage growth.

Here in Wisconsin thousands upon thousands of public employees can directly attest to the fact that weakening collective bargaining (or outright eliminating it in many cases) has led to a series decline in wages, and I’m betting non-union employees will soon feel the pain of public employees – if they haven’t already.

Tim McGraw angers conservatives, Ted Nugent fantasizes about shooting Harry Reid

Apparently conservatives are all atwitter because country music superstar Tim McGraw will headline a benefit concert for Sandy Hook Promise, a group advocating for common-sense gun laws.

Conservatives are firing up the outrage machine over news that country music superstar Tim McGraw will headline a benefit concert for Sandy Hook Promise, a group advocating common sense gun laws, organized following the 2012 elementary school shooting that left 26 dead.

The concert, scheduled for July 17 in Hartford, Connecticut, is the result of a friendship between McGraw touring band fiddle player Dean Brown and Mark Barden, father of Daniel Barden, one of the 20 first-graders who died in 2012 when Adam Lanza went on a shooting rampage.

In a statement to the press praising Sandy Hook Promise, McGraw said: “Out of this tragedy a group was formed that made a promise to honor the lives lost and turn it into a moment of transformation. Sandy Hook Promise teaches that we can do something to protect our children from gun violence. I want to be a part of that promise – as a father and as a friend.”

Conservatives seem outraged that a country singer, coming from a musical genre usually associated with “traditional values,” would perform at a concert they consider anti-gun.

Writing at Right Wing News, Warner Todd Huston referred to the concert as “anti-constitution,” adding “If you wanted another reason to drop Tim McGraw from your playlist, here it is.”

At Breitbart.com, AWR Hawkins, blamed the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on “gun control.”

And in other gun-related news, Tea Party darling Ted “I shit my pants to avoid the draft” Nugent talked hypothetically about shooting Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid while speaking at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting on Friday.

Nugent, who is on the NRA’s board of directors, made the comment while responding to an audience member who asked why the NRA “endorsed Harry Reid to serve as the front man of Osama Obama.”

In video flagged by Media Matters, the conservative darling called Reid a “lying prick” after doing a bizarre impression of the senator. He then posed a hypothetical situation in which the audience member would need Reid’s help.

“If your child is dying and there’s only one way to get to the doctor, would you get on Harry Reid’s boat to get there?” Nugent said. After a pause, he continued: “Then your child’s dead. I’d get on the boat, I’d get there and then I’d shoot him.”

VIDEO: Terrified “Tea Party Patriot” realizes he could lose Obamacare if GOP wins in 2016

There’s huge heaping dose of irony in this story of James Webb, a conservative video blogger who said this week he would likely vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because he was terrified a Republican president would take away the affordable health insurance he now enjoys thanks to ObamaCare.

Watch for yourselves.

It’s my hope that more and more people like James Webb will continue to wake up and realize that they’ve been voting against their self-interests by voting for Republicans.

Vandals topple the gravestone of Hillary Clinton’s father

From the files of, “stay classy, conservatives” comes comes this note about the vandals desecrating the gravestone of Hugh Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s father.

The gravestone of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s father has been found toppled over at a Pennsylvania cemetery.

Police say vandals may be responsible for upending the gravestone of Hugh Rodham in the Washburn Street Cemetery in Scranton.

Notably the gravestone for Hugh Rodham was upended just two days after Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president.