Just another Republican candidate for sheriff….

Wait……what?!? He’s a white supremacist???

Shocking, I know!

According to the Bonner County Daily Bee, local sheriff candidate Shaun Patrick Winkler, 33, has ties to the Aryan Nations and Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, both white supremacist organizations. And despite having taken part in race-based protests, Winkler says he’s running in opposition to “increasing federal reach” into the county.

In the photo accompanying the Yahoo report, Shaun Winkler can be seen standing next to Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler during a 2001 Idaho protest.

Faces of Change: Life Without Limits (VIDEO)

Though I’ve been a vociferous critic of President Barack Obama – most notably on his failure to “put on a comfortable pair of shoes” and join Wisconsin’s public employees as they fought against having their collective bargaining rights taken away – I can’t deny that the health care reforms that have already taken effect as a result of the Affordable Care Act have had a positive impact for families across the country.

One such family is the Lihn family from Phoenix, Arizona, whose daughter Zoe was born with a heart condition that would require three heart surgeries to correct. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies were allowed to set lifetime limits on the amount of coverage each individual gets, which meant that under the old laws at just two years old Zoe’s medical bills would have amounted to approximately half of her lifetime cap on health insurance coverage.

Zoe’s parents Stacey and Caleb have paid for health insurance their entire lives so it doesn’t seem fair that their health insurance company would get to choose an arbitrary cap on how much coverage their daughter needs or deserves.

Here’s some video of the Lihn family talking about their situation.

While I’d argue the Affordable Care Act didn’t go far enough towards reforming our nation’s for-profit health care system and providing health coverage for all Americans, it’s certainly better than the alternative.

Quote of the day

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess:

“Without question, where it exists, voter fraud corrupts elections and undermines our form of government,” Niess wrote, adding that leaders may take action to prevent it. “But voter fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression. Indeed, they are two heads on the same monster.”

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout at Milwaukee’s Drinking Liberally (VIDEO)

Here some video of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Kathleen Vinehout speaking to folks at Monday’s Drinking Liberally here in Milwaukee (the first few moments of the video got cut off for some reason).

Though the first few moments of Sen. Vinehout’s remarks were cut off, I did capture the best parts of her speech, which definitely had some strong populist rhetoric. While Sen. Vinehout may not be as polished a public speaker as some elected officials, it seemed pretty clear to me that she was speaking from the heart, and I give her credit for getting into a race that not many folks have given her a chance at winning.

My take on retractions

Yesterday I re-posted, with permission, a column sent to me by someone who writes freelance. The article was about the MacIver Institute. Over the course of about 8 hours, I received over 15 emails from the same person, first demanding a retraction of the parts of the post that were about him (I complied) then demanding an apology (I did not comply) and finally, “advising” me to take the post down because he implied that both he and the MacIver Institute would sue Blogging Blue for libel.

I explained to this person that I had reached out to the author of the column seeking an explanation, but that until I heard back, I wasn’t inclined to remove the post. That seemed fair to me, since I didn’t write the column myself, and it’s generally good to go straight to the source and gather all of the facts before making rash moves in situations like this.

But that wasn’t good enough for this person. He was relentless with his “demands” both via email and via twitter.

I do not consider twitter, which is public, to be an acceptable forum in which to air grievances.

The way in which this entire incident was handled by the person demanding a retraction seemed entirely unprofessional to me, and felt like harassment. It was extremely stressful.

But this is a good learning experience for me.

For the record, I am a fair person who would never seek to libel anyone for any reason. The ends do not justify the means. My own personal integrity and the way that I treat others is much more important than any post or story.

So I’d like to request that if any of you have a problem with any of my posts, that you use traditional methods to reach me and be patient while I investigate the problem rather than demanding immediate retraction. Please treat me how you, yourself, would like to be treated.

Thank you.


A JOBS Bill That Isn’t

The JOBS bill before the Senate doesn’t actually, you know, create any jobs.  In fact, according to MIT economist Simon Johnson, it’s likely to destroy jobs.

Professor John Coates hit the nail on the head:

“While the various proposals being considered have been characterized as promoting jobs and economic growth by reducing regulatory burdens and costs, it is better to understand them as changing, in similar ways, the balance that existing securities laws and regulations have struck between the transaction costs of raising capital, on the one hand, and the combined costs of fraud risk and asymmetric and unverifiable information, on the other hand.” (See p.3 of this December 2011 testimony.)

In other words, you will be ripped off more. Knowing this, any smart investor will want to be better compensated for investing in a particular firm – this raises, not lowers, the cost of capital. The effect on job creation is likely to be negative, not positive.

Sensible securities laws protect everyone – including entrepreneurs who can raise capital more cheaply. The only people who lose out are those who prefer to run scams of various kinds.

Investor protection is good for growth and essential for sustaining capital markets. Experiments involving doing without such protections – as in the Czech Republic in the early 1990s, for example, have not gone well. There might be a temporary frenzy, but the subsequent fall to earth will be painful – and again hard to recover from.

But it’s what The Masters of the Universe want so it’s on a fast track to passage.  I’d say call your senators and let them know of your displeasure but it wouldn’t make any difference.  None whatsoever.

The securities industry special interests are naturally out in force – strongly supported by Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reports of the death of Wall Street lobbying power have been greatly exaggerated.

Financial deregulation was the result of decades-long delusion and bipartisan consensus. A major undermining of our securities law seems likely to take place on Tuesday – in a rushed moment of legislative madness.