Weekly Update October 4th, 2015

AFSCME Mourns Loss of Wisconsin Leader Marty Beil
By Cynthia McCabe

The live, on-air interview with AFSCME union leader Marty Beil wasn’t even over and MSNBC host Chris Matthews could barely contain his glee.

“You look like the real thing to me sir, I’d like to meet you some time,” Matthews said.

Beil deflected the personal attention, and without hesitating pointed to the tens of thousands of protesters amassed behind him on the Wisconsin statehouse grounds.

“Chris, this is where democracy is,” Beil said with pride. “Right here. The people walking and the people talking.”

A grinning, impressed Matthews ended the segment with more praise. “This guy was great. I mean this is the kind of evocative leader you want to get (in) the labor movement.”

For thousands of families across Wisconsin and countless more across the nation, Beil was indeed the real thing. A fierce and courageous advocate for working people, he died at his home in Mazomanie, Wisc., Thursday at the age of 68.

Read more at AFSCME.

Join us Wednesday October 14th for a special screening of Ethos - A Time For Change.  
Deaths from gun violence vs. deaths from terrorism, in one chart

In his impassioned address in the wake of Thursday's horrible shooting at an Oregon community college, President Obama issued a challenge to the media. "Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who've been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade and the number of Americans who've been killed by gun violence, and post those side by side on your news reports," he asked.

To read more and to view the chart, visit Vox.
2014 Census Data Confirm Dramatic Impact of the Affordable Care Act
By Thomas Huelskoetter


New census data released today on poverty and health care measures for 2014 provide indisputable proof that the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is working to improve access to health care across the country.

Since these new data only cover 2014, they do not include the full second open enrollment period of the ACA’s marketplaces and thus understate the full impact of the ACA. As evident from the recently released National Health Interview Survey, however, the national uninsured rate had dropped by about one-third to a historic low of 9.2 percent as of early 2015, with 15.8 million people gaining coverage since the ACA’s marketplaces opened in late 2013.

Yet while today’s data are not fully up to date, they do provide a comprehensive state-level look at the impact of the ACA and officially confirm, for the first time, that the uninsured rate has dropped in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Read more and study the data at American Progress.

Still at it
Republicans advance latest bill to unravel Affordable Care Act

by Stephen Ohlemacher

Last week, House Republicans advanced legislation to dismantle President Barack Obama’s health law — legislation that could actually reach the president’s desk for a certain veto. The House GOP has voted more than 50 times to repeal all or parts of the health law. Almost all the bills died in the Senate.

Democrats note that official congressional estimates say that gutting the law will result in 15 million fewer people with health insurance by 2025.

For this effort, Republicans are using a special process that prevents Senate Democrats from blocking the legislation. Obama will still veto it, but the vote could provide a blueprint for dismantling the law if Republicans retake the White House in 2016.

Read more at Wisconsin Gazette.
RFK Spoke at Roseburg, OR on Gun Control 47 Years Ago: He was Killed 10 Days Later: Watch His Speech

Two days ago, a young man opened fire at a small college in Roseburg, Oregon, killing nine people and injuring twenty. It is the same city that 47 years ago Senator Robert F. Kennedy stood making an impassioned speech for gun law legislation.

Mass shootings have become commonplace in the United States. In fact, we are into the 276th day in 2015. Yet, there have been 294 shootings in which at least four people were shot in one spree or setting. What do we hear from our politicians about it? On the Democratic side, we have individuals demanding stricter gun control. On the Republican side, we have individuals stating that we actually need more lenient gun laws. We need everyone carrying guns so they can shoot bad people. We have the National Rifle Association taking to the airways with scare tactics and speaking in a totally inflexible tone no matter how tragic these killing have become.

Incredibly, on May 27, 1968, Robert Kennedy came to Roseburg, Oregon, and stood in front of a very hostile crowd of lumber workers, hunters, and others carrying signs “Protect Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms”. Senator Kennedy was running for the Democratic presidential candidate position, and was in Roseburg arguing in support of a crime bill pending in the U.S. Congress to restrict certain access to purchase guns. Senator Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy, had been assassinated on November 22, 1963, by an individual who purchased his rifle through mail order.

To read more and to watch RFK's speech, visit Ring Of Fire Radio.

Plain Talk: Civil service reform is anything but


Apparently our state government isn't corrupt enough yet.

That's the only conclusion one can draw from the Republican-controlled Legislature's latest attack on yet another state institution that represented all that was clean about this state — the civil service system.

Not only was its enactment back in 1905 a model for the rest of the nation, it is still rated among the best and fairest in the country, keeping cronyism out of hiring state workers and insulating them from the politicians asking for favors.

We learned about the need for a civil serice system back in high school civics class. Without it, politicians would hire friends and relatives and often fire state workers so they could replace them with people who had done them favors during election time. And when the next election rolled around, workers were told to contribute to the campaign or face the loss of their jobs. It was not a pretty scene and government suffered because of it.

Read more at the Cap Times.
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