Things Aren't Always As They Seem

“Reduce your prescription drugs costs now!” the headline screamed. The fine print mentioned millions of dollars in savings because pharmacies would not have to meet state requirements to mark up drugs by 9%.

Citizens were asked to call their senators and show support for a bill to lower drug costs.

The bill is being pushed by Wal-Mart and other organizations have been recruited to support it.

And the real story is not as advertised.

Seventy years ago, Wisconsin passed a “predatory pricing’ law to keep large companies from forcing smaller competitors out of business. The law prohibits selling goods below cost to force a competitor out of business. 

Tony Huppert drove from Spring Valley to Madison for a hearing last week to testify against the Wal-Mart bill that would allow prescription drugs to be sold in Wisconsin below cost.

 “I have been in business for forty years,” Tony said. “There are only two reasons to sell below cost. One is to go broke. The second one is to eliminate competition…Trust your instincts; businesses do not sell below costs out of the goodness of their heart.”

Simple anti-terrorism language too much for legislators to cope with in energy bill

It's a well-established fact that nuclear reactors at 103 power plants in the US are suseptible to terrorist attack. It's one of those inconvenient truths we try not to think about, especially if we live near one of the sites.

The issue surfaced again recently when it was learned that an Al Qaeda suspect had worked at five nuclear sites.

The Center for Defense Information says nuclear waste could become an ingredient for a so-called "dirty bomb":

The most accessible nuclear device for any terrorist would be a radiological dispersion bomb. This so-called 'dirty bomb' would consist of waste by-products from nuclear reactors wrapped in conventional explosives, which upon detonation would spew deadly radioactive particles into the environment. This is an expedient weapon, in that radioactive waste material is relatively easy to obtain. Radioactive waste is widely found throughout the world, and in general is not as well guarded as actual nuclear weapons.

It's accumulating in Wisconsin at Point Beach and Kewaunee. And if pro-nuclear forces have their way with the Clean Energy Jobs Act, Wisconsin could be living with growing stockpiles of high-level radioactive waste for a long time to come.

Who butters Tommy's bread?

Tommy Thompson says he has so many clients these days that he can't even remember them all. But it's pretty clear that Tommy knows who's paying his salary while he ponders a race for the US Senate.

Thompson, appearing on Neil Cavuto's show on Fox, said there's a major problem with the new health care bill "that's gotta be fixed or it will have a detrimental impact." On his clients, that is.

Thompson is shilling for corporations that now can double dip by providing prescription drug plans for their retirees under Medicare Part D.

The scheme, cooked up by George W. Bush and then-Secretary Thompson of HHS, gives corporations a subsidy of $1,300 per retiree for continuing to offer the drug plans. But here's the kicker: It also lets the corporations claim the subsidy as a tax deduction. This sounds like I must have it wrong, I know, so here's an explanation from a credible source.

Sly in the Morning, in a segment on his Madison radio show outed Tommy and played clips from his appearance with Cavuto.

What's Dave Obey done for Minnesota lately?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has endorsed Sean Duffy, the Ashland County DA running against Rep. Dave Obey for the House of Representatives.

That should be useful, since many of the people living along the border think they live in Minnesota anyway.

Suggested slogan:  "Duffy will do more for Minnesota."

That's a Duffy lapel pin at left.

Another incompetent judge runs 'law and order' campaign; Is Supreme Court next?

Linda Van De Water leads a charmed life.

Despite totally blowing a fatal beating case as a prosecutor, and having an alcohol-fueled run-in with police  -- a record that would have ended most political careers long ago -- she appears on her way to being elected Tuesday as a state appeals court judge.  And Tommy Thompson and Scott Walker are in her corner.

Can a Supreme Court race be far behind?

Van De Water was an assistant district attorney in Waukesha County in 1997 when she prosecuted a case involving the beating death of a Pewaukee tavern owner.  Van De Water forgot --forgot! -- to ask the defendant about his extensive prior criminal record when he was on the witness stand.  The jury acquitted him of felony battery and let him off with a misdemeanor, but jurors said afterward that would not have happened if they had known his background.

The victim's family, predictably, was outraged, saying they had been victimized twice, and wrote then-Gov. Tommy Thompson a long letter detailing the case and asking him to intervene. 

Health Care Sparks Debate

As I travel around our Senate District recently no topic has sparked more debate than passage of historic health care reform.

The long awaited (and much maligned) law brings needed relief to those without insurance and to those facing double digit increases in insurance premiums. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates 32 million uninsured people will be covered as a result of the new law. Over the next ten years the law will cost $938 billion paid for through savings, new taxes and fees.

Most constituents are relieved the bill finally passed. Citizens with no health insurance can expect, by the end of the summer, to find affordable coverage through the state’s high risk pool (HIRSP).

The new law brings $5 billion into state-run high risk pools to make insurance more affordable. In Wisconsin, rates for HIRSP are expected to drop in April and again this summer. If you found the high risk pool too expensive, please consider giving it another look. If you need assistance applying for coverage, please contact my office.

My Tea Party with Randal O'Toole

My Tea Party with Randal O'Toole

O'Toole had no handout, and offered no link to his talk so we could not go home and study his statistics.

I am a follower of Randal O'Toole, actually a stalker. I've read his material; I've responded to him online when Comments are allowed. I am actually fascinated by this persona. So, when a friend offered to take me along to Racine to hear him, I jumped at the chance (too far for a bike ride on a Tuesday night).

Randal (a Cato Institute Fellow) changed his talk a bit over the past few months. Instead of closing with a report on his "hobby," he opens up with his hobby - refurbishing trains (for museum purposes); point is - no one should subsidize my hobby. Got it, Randal.

Opener. To measure his audience he uses what any smart speaker will use, something engaging. A suggestive remark about the recent health care bill (just passed) brought a roar of approval and applause from his audience of about 200. He knew; they knew; they are on the same side: distrust of government, the theme of the evening, repeated ironically by elected officials and the candidates for office running on Tea.

On Email Gay Bashing, Or, ENDA's Already Getting Ugly

It wasn’t but a couple of days ago that we had a conversation about The Fear and the emails that are used to spread it, and I figured with that out of the way we had dealt with the topic, and that we’d move on to new things.

Well, we would be moving on, Gentle Reader, if it wasn’t for the fact that an email came in today that was so ugly, so disturbing, and so indicative of what we are about to see as the battle over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) begins to heat up (ENDA being possibly the next “big contentious thing” that this Administration hopes to accomplish), that I had to interrupt my story schedule to bring it to your attention.

One degree of separation

Tommy Thompson's likelihood of running for the Senate, which has been bouncing around every time someone writes about it, is up to 75%, the Daily Standard reports.

Funny how the number's always higher when it comes from someone besides Tommy himself, who put it at 50-50 recently.

Be that as it may, the Standard reports Tommy is taking steps to "separate himself from his business interests." To wit:

Late last week, Thompson resigned from the Board of Directors of CNS Response, Inc., a health care data company. Thompson said the resignation was for personal reasons. A statement from Thompson, who has agreed to become chairman of the CNS Response advisory board, read: "I have nothing but the highest respect for the management and Board of CNS Response, and look forward to helping them advance this important medical technology."

That's some separation, huh?

Tommy has refused repeatedly to reveal his list of clients, many of whom he services through Akin, Gump a major GOP law/lobbying firm in DC.

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