Thursday, April 7, 2011

Officials dispute reliability of Waukesha County clerk's election data system - JSOnline

An election reporting problem was a known possibility –see these August 2010 and January 2011  newspaper accounts.  

Might the County Clerk need to be recalled?  Both Republicans and Democrats should sign that petition.

 

Nonetheless, Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county's information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus' claim that the system is secure from failure.

"How does anybody else in the county know, except for her verbal word, that there are backups, and that the software she has out there is performing as it should?" he said. "There's no way I can assure that the election system is going to be fine for the next presidential election."

"This is the only audit in my 17 years where there's no compliance before (the audit reaches) the Executive Committee," he said at the start of Monday's audit review.

An audit of last fall's elections prompted Internal Audit Manager Lori Schubert to conclude that while the clerk's system generally complies with state and federal guidelines and accuracy of election totals was not  at issue, Nickolaus should improve security and backup procedures.

Click on the following for more details:  Officials dispute reliability of Waukesha County clerk's election data system – JSOnline and http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/114014589.html

Officials dispute reliability of Waukesha County clerk's election data system - JSOnline

The tug-of-war between Nickolaus and administration is evident in a March 8 memo from Cummings to Nickolaus in which he said hardware and software on the clerk's computers were "obsolete, not repairable and unsupportable." Without improvements, he worried that the elections system could be "inoperative and irrecoverable."

Nickolaus and Cummings both said the problem stems from when Waukesha County moved its network from an old, outdated Novell server - the processing unit that multiple personal computers tap into for shared services - to a Microsoft platform. Among other things, the conversion saved the county $500,000 a year, Cummings said.

Nickolaus' election system, however, depended on the old platform, so technicians restored a lone Novell server for her use, without a backup.

Nonetheless, Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county's information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus' claim that the system is secure from failure.

"How does anybody else in the county know, except for her verbal word, that there are backups, and that the software she has out there is performing as it should?" he said. "There's no way I can assure that the election system is going to be fine for the next presidential election."

Nickolaus said she was a programmer for 15 years before becoming county clerk. And she said her staff knows how to operate the system, so "if I get hit by a bus, this election is going to run just fine."

Officials dispute reliability of Waukesha County clerk's election data system - JSOnline

Computer Error Could Give Prosser 7,381 More Votes, Victory - By Christian Schneider - The Corner - National Review Online

 

Prior to the election, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus was heavily criticized for her decision to keep the county results on an antiquated personal computer, rather than upgrade to a new data system being utilized statewide. Nickolaus cited security concerns for keeping the data herself — yet when she reported the data, it did not include the City of Brookfield, whose residents cast nearly 14,000 votes.

Throughout the day Thursday, official canvass numbers flipped the lead back and forth between Prosser and Kloppenburg. While many believed a recount was inevitable, the addition of the Brookfield votes for Prosser could push the justice’s lead beyond the legal threshold that would trigger an automatic recount. Under state law, Kloppenburg could still ask for a recount up to three days after the official canvass, but would have to pay for it herself.

“Waukesha County officials have announced a press conference for 5:30 CST.”

Click on the following for more details:  BREAKING: Computer Error Could Give Prosser 7,381 More Votes, Victory - By Christian Schneider - The Corner - National Review Online

Signatures filed to recall Wisconsin Sen. Randy Hopper; more possible - JSOnline

With the results of Tuesday's state Supreme Court race looking more fluid by the minute, the statewide battle over Gov. Scott Walker's budget initiatives pushed forward Thursday on its other major front: recall elections.

recall effort against state Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) filed what they said were more than 22,500 signatures with the Government Accountability Board in Madison - making them the second campaign to claim enough signatures to force a recall election involving a GOP state senator.

At least one other recall campaign - the one against Sen. Robert Wirch, a Democrat from Pleasant Prairie - is on the verge of filing signatures, its chairman, Dan Hunt, has said.

Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) continues to appear the most vulnerable to recall among the Republican senators - all three of the main counties in his district went convincingly for Kloppenburg. Signatures to recall him were filed with the state April 1.

Click on the following for more details:  Signatures filed to recall Sen. Randy Hopper; more possible - JSOnline

Wisconsin Election Results: David Prosser, Ally of Governor Scott Walker, Takes Lead - ABC News

On Wednesday, liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general, had appeared to eke out an upset -- besting Prosser by 204 votes in an unofficial tally. But officials in heavily Republican Waukesha county now say they discovered a counting error that, when rectified, gives Prosser an additional 7,582 votes.

Waukesha county clerk Kathy Nickolaus blamed the error on her failure to save results from the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield on her database. She told reporters, "This is human error which I apologize for."

Click on the following for more details:  Wisconsin Election Results: David Prosser, Ally of Governor Scott Walker, Takes Lead - ABC News

Employment Growth After Recessions | Graphic Economics

 

Employment Growth After Recessions
Print

While the recent acceleration in job growth is encouraging, it is still an extremely weak recovery from a downturn as severe as we have just experienced. Based on the experience of the last two severe recessions, 1974-75 and 1981-82, we should be expecting job growth in the range of 400,000 a month. Instead, we are still seeing a rate of job growth that is below the 250,000-a-month average from the 90s.

jobs-2011-04-ge

For more, read our latest Jobs Byte.

Employment Growth After Recessions | Graphic Economics

Representative Ryan Proposes Medicare Plan Under Which Seniors Would Pay Most of Their Income for Health Care | Beat the Press

According to the Congressional Budget Office analysis the benefit would cover 32 percent of the cost of a health insurance package equivalent to the current Medicare benefit (Figure 1). This means that the beneficiary would pay 68 percent of the cost of this package. Using the CBO assumption of 2.5 percent annual inflation, the voucher would have grown to $9,750 by 2030. This means that a Medicare type plan for someone age 65 would be $30,460 under Representative Ryan's plan, leaving seniors with a bill of $20,700. (This does not count various out of pocket medical expenditures not covered by Medicare.)

Click on the following for more details:  Representative Ryan Proposes Medicare Plan Under Which Seniors Would Pay Most of Their Income for Health Care | Beat the Press

Paul Ryan and the Republican Effort to Finally Starve the Beast - E.D. Kain - American Times - Forbes

 

The fact is, right now in the United States we have unemployment hovering above 9%, inflation at a staggeringly low 1.4%, and taxes at an all-time low – especially for the very rich. Further tax cuts or even an extension of the current cuts will not push more money into the economy. Spending cuts on the other hand, will pull a great deal of money out of the economy. With inflation as low as it is, and unemployment as high as it is, the Ryan budget is a roadmap to economic collapse.

Click on the following for more details:  Paul Ryan and the Republican Effort to Finally Starve the Beast - E.D. Kain - American Times - Forbes

Prosser campaign launches fund-raising effort - JSOnline

 

On Prosser's website, the campaign has set up a "Prosser Victory Fund."

"After a challenging battle in which a historic number of votes were cast in a Supreme Court race, we need your help in preserving a victory for Justice David Prosser. The likely next step is a recount, requiring resources to protect the integrity of the ballots cast and deliver a win. Please take a moment to contribute, with your help a victory in this hard-fought battle is within reach!"

njmad - Apr 06, 2011 8:06 PM—A COMMENT FROM A READER:

If Prosser asks for a recount, the state foots the bill
given the narrowness of the final tally
. So what's he
need money for, inquiring minds want to know.
Perhaps to send out "investigators" to see if people
voted in "key" precincts who shouldn't have, perhaps
to wage a PR campaign to bolster Walker's voter i.d.
bill.
If you recall, AG Van Hollen investigated allegations of
voter fraud in Milwaukee county after the 2008
election and prosecuted three people, if I remember
correctly? Three.
In the meanwhile, the GOP was successful in getting
rid of Acorn---with that group gone, who can they
blame for conspiring to help ineligible voters cast a
vote.
So again, what's Prosser need money for...

Click on the following for more details:  Prosser campaign launches fund-raising effort - JSOnline

Tax Cuts for the Rich on the Backs of the Middle Class; or, Paul Ryan Has Balls | Rolling Stone Politics | Taibblog | Matt Taibbi on Politics and the Economy

 

slobber over all of Ryan’s ostensibly daring proposals, from the Medicare block grants to the more obnoxious Medicare voucher program (replacing Medicare benefits with vouchers to buy overpriced private insurance, which Brooks calls the government “giving you a sum of money” to choose from “a regulated menu of insurance options”).

What he doesn’t mention is that Ryan’s proposal also includes dropping the top tax rate for rich people from 35 percent to 25 percent.

ambitious program to cut taxes for [rich] people , and paying for it by “consolidating job-training programs” and forcing old people to accept reduced Medicare benefits.

Ryan’s act isn’t even politically courageous. It’s canny calculation, but courage it is not. …Ryan is proposing a budget he knows would have no chance of passing in the Senate. He is simply playing out a part, a non-candidate for the presidency pushing a rhetorical flank for an out-of-power party leading into a presidential campaign year. If the budget is a hit with the public, the 2012 Republican candidate can run on it. If it isn’t, the Republican candidate can triangulate Ryan’s ass back into the obscurity from whence it came, and be done with him

Click on the following for more details: Tax Cuts for the Rich on the Backs of the Middle Class; or, Paul Ryan Has Balls | Rolling Stone Politics | Taibblog | Matt Taibbi on Politics and the Economy

Wendell Potter: Pay Much Attention to the Insurers Behind Paul Ryan's Curtain

 

Ryan et al would never propose such a fundamental reshaping of those programs unless they were confident that corporate America stands ready to help them sell their ideas to the public. Like big business CEOs, Congressional Republicans wouldn't think of rolling out Ryan's budget plan without a carefully crafted political and communications strategy and the assurance that adequate funding would be available to carry it out.

Republicans know they can rely on health insurance companies -- which would attract trillions of taxpayer dollars if Ryan's dream comes true -- to help bankroll a massive campaign to sell the privatization of Medicare to the public.

    the insurers were lobbying hard for a provision in the bill requiring all of us to buy coverage from them if we're not eligible for a public program like Medicare or Medicaid. They won that round, too. That provision alone will guarantee billions of dollars in revenue the insurers would never have seen had it not been for the bill the president signed.

    behind the change in the Medicare program in the 1980s that allowed insurers to offer what are now called "Medicare Advantage" plans. The federal government not only pays private insurers to market and operate these plans, it pays them an 11 percent bonus. That's right: People enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans cost the taxpayers 11 percent more than people enrolled in the basic Medicare program.

    The insurers and their allies have demonstrated time and again that they can persuade Americans to think and act -- and vote -- against their own best interests.

     

Click on the following for more details: Wendell Potter: Pay Much Attention to the Insurers Behind Paul Ryan's Curtain

Medicare: How Paul Ryan's budget would change it - CSMonitor.com

 

Medicare is a fee-for-service program which itself pays for health care procedures for most beneficiaries. Under the GOP plan, drafted largely by Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, it would be changed into a program which subsidizes the purchase of health insurance by individuals.

Current Medicare beneficiaries, and those approaching retirement age, would not be affected by the GOP’s proposed changes. Instead they would apply to people currently 54 years of age and younger

Making health care something seniors purchase from their own pockets would unleash the power of free market competition, according to Ryan. Customers would gravitate to programs that offered higher value or greater quality, he said.

Critics counter that the Medicare subsidy inevitably would shrink relative to health-care costs due to the high rate of medical inflation

Click on the following for more details:  Medicare: How Paul Ryan's budget would change it - CSMonitor.com