Daily Archives: April 8, 2011

Talking Points Memo: Paul Ryan’s Absurdly Optimistic Budget Projections Draw Widespread Ridicule

April 6, 2011- 2.8% unemployment? $150 billon a year in new economic growth? Tax revenues that rise with tax cuts?

All this can be yours — and more! — even while cutting trillions of dollars from the federal government and lowering taxes on the wealthy and corporations, according to a giddy estimate of the Republican budget by the conservative Heritage Foundation. Even as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) proudly touted his "fact-based budget" and decried Democrats' "budget gimmicks" yesterday, he prominently cited the think tank's absurdly rosy numbers, drawing widespread mockery from economists, budget experts, and health care wonks. Even the developer of the model that Heritage used to crunch the numbers can't figure out how Heritage reached its conclusions.

"The Heritage numbers are insane," MIT economist Jonathan Gruber said in an interview with TPM.

As Paul Krugman put it, Heritage's take "depends an awful lot on unicorn sightings — a belief in the impossible."

AlterNet: You Thought the Koch Brothers Were Bad? Turns Out They’re Even Worse Than You Thought

Charles and David Koch's reach into virtually every aspect of political, economic and physical life on the planet is probably greater than you thought possible.

April 5, 2011- You knew they were big. You knew they were evil. From the union-busting actions of their minions in Wisconsin and Ohio to their war on health-care reform, to their assault on the environment and their attacks on the science of climatology, Charles and David Koch have earned their place as the focus of progressives' scrutiny in the age of the Tea Party — the destructive and regressive movement they bankroll. But a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that, as bad as you thought the Kochs were, they're actually worse. And their reach into virtually every aspect of political, economic and physical life on the planet is probably greater than you thought possible.

Talking Points Memo: Poll: Florida GOP Gov. Scott’s Net Approval Rating Plummets

April 6, 2011- According to results of Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday morning, the percentage of Floridians who now approve of Gov. Rick Scott's (R) job performance has remained unchanged since two months ago. But at the same time, the percentage who disapprove of his job performance has more than doubled, putting his net approval rating deep underwater.

In the latest poll, a 48% plurality of registered voters now disapprove of how Scott has handled his job, a huge leap from February when only 22% of voters disapproved of the new Governor's job performance. Meanwhile, 35% of voters currently approve of Scott's job performance, the exact same percentage who gave Scott a thumbs up two months ago.

Scott, who was elected by a razor-thin one-point margin last year, has seen his support quickly erode as he's pursued a number of highly contentious proposals, such as eliminating tenure for new teachers, and tying future pay to teachers' performance. In the poll, 57% of respondents disapproved of Scott's push for a merit pay system, compared to 39% who approved.

AP: Walker Demotes Lobbyist’s Son

April 5, 2011- Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker has reversed the promotion of a 27-year-old son of a lobbyist whose appointment to an $81,500 administration job sparked cronyism claims by Democrats.

Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said in a statement Tuesday that Brian Deschane will return to his previous $65,000 job with the Department of Regulation and Licensing just two days after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported his hiring and promotion.

It's the latest chapter in the ongoing showdown between Walker and Democratic legislators, including senators who fled the state on Feb. 17 to temporarily delay a vote on a bill ending most union rights for public workers.

Deschane had been promoted to head up a division within the Commerce Department that oversees environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees even though he has no college degree and little management experience.

His division was scheduled to be moved from Commerce back to DRL under a restructuring proposed by Walker.

CMD PR Watch: Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Aims at Kloppenburg, Strikes GOP Attorney General?

April 5, 2011- The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity is behind a mailer criticizing Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Joanne Kloppenburg for prosecutions that were trumpeted by her boss Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who is defending Governor Walker's union-busting bill in court.

The Americans for Prosperity postcard has the title "Joanne Kloppenburg: 'Her job as a government lawyer cost Wisconsin jobs,'" and notes three cases she prosecuted during her more than twenty years at the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ). The Attorney General is the elected official in charge of the DOJ.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is not only criticizing Kloppenburg for doing her job, but for prosecutions that the Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen took full credit for!

Compare criticisms in the AFP mailer with contemporaneous facts:

"Kloppenburg prosecuted an Appleton-area economic developer. The business was forced to pay a $150,000 fine which ultimately bankrupted the job-creating project."

NYT: Union Rights Fight Looms in Wisconsin High Court Race

April 5, 2011- The race between a conservative-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and a little-known challenger fueled by a wave of anger over the state's divisive new union rights law was too close to call early Wednesday morning.

Unofficial returns from Tuesday's election showed Justice David Prosser and his opponent, JoAnne Kloppenburg, were separated by fewer than 600 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. The contest was close enough that a recount appeared likely.

Under Wisconsin election law, a candidate has three days after the official results have been tallied to request a recount. The candidate must specify a reason for the request, such as a belief a mistake was made in the counting or some other irregularity.

An assistant state attorney general, Kloppenburg began her campaign with almost no name recognition and faced what looked like an uphill fight against Prosser.

Orlando Sentinel: Scott orders study of abolishing public hospitals

Former corporate hospital executive seeks 'more rational' approach to paying hospitals for care of the uninsured

March 23, 2011- Gov. Rick Scott, a former executive of corporate hospitals, on Wednesday ordered a yearlong study of whether Florida could do away with government-owned hospitals such as the nine in Broward County and financially ailing Jackson Memorial in Miami.

Scott set up a commission to report by Jan. 1 if the state could save money and provide better health care if privately owned and nonprofit hospitals took over caring for the uninsured and poor people, a role that public hospitals mostly shoulder.

The governor wants the panel to delve into controversial issues such as whether government-run hospitals pay friendly doctors inflated contracts to get business, use taxes to compete unfairly with the private sector, and waste money from the hundreds of millions in taxes they collect to subsidize the treatment of those who can't pay.

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