Saturday, November 10, 2007

Oakland Press - Knollenberg got it wrong on SCHIP

This is the Oakland Press version of my guest opinion about Joe Knollenberg's opposition to the SCHIP bill. It's been edited since I wrote it, but you get the point.

Trent Wisecup Bullying a Constituent

Keith Olbermann Covers Trent Wisecup's Outburst in Rochester

Friday, November 09, 2007

Detroit News: Knollenberg Approval at 33%

Michigan Dems back Peters, Schauer for Congress
Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau

CLICK HERE to read the full story

Michigan's congressional Democrats will unite next month to host a fundraiser for congressional candidates Gary Peters and Mark Schauer.

Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, as well as the state's six House Democrats, will host the Dec. 15 fundraiser in Livonia. The announcement cements the Democratic establishment's support for Peters, the former state senator and state lottery czar who faces a primary opponent in his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-West Bloomfield.

"This definitely sends a strong message that we have the enthusiastic support of the entire congressional delegation," said Peters.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Coming Soon: Joe Knollenberg as The Grinch that Stole Chldren's Health Care

Peters Surging, Knollenberg Tanking

It's very bad news for an incumbent when they poll below 50%, so this is very good news for challenger Gary Peters. And the SCHIP polling shows a 14 point swing.

Gary Peters (D): 35
Joe Knollenberg (R-inc): 42
(MoE: ±4.8%)
While the exact trendlines are not available, Knollenberg's 7-point lead is down from a 12-point lead in April. He's also well under the magic 50%
mark, well before the campaign has even been engaged. Not good news for Team Red.

And in a sign of S-CHIP's salience, Knollenberg is very vulnerable on the issue:

Knollenberg's 7-point lead turned into a 7-point deficit after respondents were read both a push question characterizing his position on SCHIP, and the Democratic and Republican arguments for and against the program.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Joe Does the Right Thing, for a change

Today the House passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Joe Knollenberg voted for it. Congratulations Joe, finally something I can actually genuinely praise you for. Way to go. I knew you could do it.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 - (Sec. 4) Makes it an unlawful employment practice for covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees) to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated. Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims.

Joe Knollenberg to Michigan's Children: DROP DEAD!

Joe Knollenberg has picked up a really bad habit from George W. Bush, LYING! He is incapable of telling the truth. The guest opinion piece in Wednesday's Oakland Press, is outrageous in the number of lies. Here's Joe's version of why he's not supporting expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The truth is below the lies. Even several of Joe's fellow Republican colleagues are speaking out on providing health care to children.
Lie 1: The bill opens the door for illegal immigrants to receive benefits.

Reality: The latest version of the SCHIP bill specifically excludes illegal aliens from receiving benefits under the provisions of the bill.

Lie 2: The bill is paid for by 22 million new smokers.

Reality: The bill is paid for by raising the tobacco tax by 61 cents a pack. The higher the cost of cigarettes, the less likely kids will take up smoking. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a 61-cent increase in the tobacco tax means that 1,873,000 fewer children will take up smoking. Furthermore, the vast majority of Members of the House and Senate – both Democratic and Republican – are on record in favor of raising tobacco taxes. In August, all but 4 House Republicans voted for the GOP motion to recommit that included an increase of 45 cents a pack in the tobacco tax.

Lie 3: The bill would expand coverage to 700,000 adults.

Reality: The SCHIP program focuses virtually all of its resources on children in the poorest of working families – fewer than 1 in 10 children covered under SCHIP lives in a family of four earning more than $41,000 a year. This is how the program will remain under the bill.

This bipartisan bill places the priority on children’s coverage – and therefore PHASES OUT the coverage of parents and childless adults entirely over a two-year period (there are currently about 600,000 of these adults covered under SCHIP). Only optional coverage for pregnant women remains under the bill.

SCHIP has broad bi-partisan support and Joe Knollenberg is out of step with many of his Republican colleagues.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)“[This bill] breaks the legislative impasse and should have strong support from both Democrats and Republicans. The bill will enable the Children’s Health Insurance Program to help cover millions more low-income children.”

[Joint press release, 9/21/07]Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Iowa)“I have been fighting for legislation that will not only continue the CHIP program, but also cover more low-income kids who are eligible for CHIP. Today, we are unveiling our bipartisan compromise that accomplishes those two very important goals. Our proposal is an honest compromise which improves a program that works for America’s low-income children.”

[Joint press release, 9/21/07]Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.)“I grew up with acute asthma, and I know personally how important it is for kids to have access to affordable health care. This bill will continue to provide health care coverage to millions of children who otherwise would be uninsured."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Guest Post: Trent Wisecup Posterboy for Universal Health Care

By Kathy at BloggingForMichigan

Joe Knollenberg's Chief of Staff, Trent Wisecup, has been getting lots of press following his tirade against anti-war activist Bruce Fealk. The story doesn't end there. Wisecup recently sent the following statement to a local paper:

"I haven't been sleeping well of late, as you all will know from all the late e-mails I have been sending over the past few months. Some of the e-mails have been really weird and flat-out kooky. I recently checked myself into Beaumont (Hospital)... to see what was up. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This is a form of depression that fortunately is treatable with medication."
Wisecup's reports of sleeplessness, kooky behavior and his recent outburst toward Fealk are all symptoms of bipolar disorder. Other symptoms include impulsiveness, reckless behavior, poor judgement, anger, agitation, social withdrawal and thoughts of suicide. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness "the ramifications of bipolar disorder include a significant economic toll, as well as family disruption, caregiver stress, and an individual burden encompassing comorbid illnesses, substance abuse, poor functionality, and high suicide risk."

Wisecup is lucky to have health insurance and a more than generous salary of $160,000 to cover his deductibles and other expenses necessary to treat his illness. That's not the case for more than 40% of Americans. According to a recent Consumer's Report survey, there are three tiers of health care consumers in the United States: the adequately-insured, who account for 59% of all Americans in the population sampled; the underinsured, who represent 24% of all Americans sampled; and the uninsured, who comprise 16% of our sample.
Bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability worldwide according to NAMI and the most expensive mental health care diagnosis, both for patients with the illness and for their health insurance plans. The costs to society are significant too: "lost productivity of wage earners, totaling $17 billion; homemakers, $3 billion; and caregivers, $6 billion, as well as the cost of institutionalization, $3 billion, and the lost productivity costs for individuals lost to suicide, $8 billion."

Additionally, NAMI reports that patients with bipolar disorder and their families experience significant losses in functional status and quality of life, placing untoward stress on personal relationships; 56 percent of people with bipolar disorders abused or were dependent on illicit drugs, and 44 percent had comorbid alcohol abuse; many patients with bipolar disorder divorce or experience martial problems; caregivers also feel the effects of patients' illnesses on their work and leisure time; and the combination of missed work hours and lower productivity caused by stress adds a financial burden on the caregiver, as well as on society as a whole.

It's no wonder a majority of Americans favor some sort of universal health coverage. Mental and physical diseases touch all of us, not just the person afflicted by the condition.
Wisecup will get the medications and regular checkups he needs to keep his disease under control, but millions of others won't be so fortunate - including a number of the more than 800,000 children who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder each year and the 2.3 million adults currently living with the disorder.

It's time to put Trent Wisecup's face on a poster advocating health care for all Americans.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Eccentrics - Wisecup takes medical leave

Today several of the Oberserver and Eccentric newspapers carried the story below about Trent Wisecup taking a leave of absence from Joe Knollenberg's office. Funny thing is some people don't believe Wisecup's story. When I posted an entry on Daily Kos and asked whether Trent is really sick or if he is using the medical story as cover for his behavior, these are the results.

Do you believe that Trent is really sick or is this a cover story?
Trent is really sick
18 votes - 20 %
It's a politically motivated cover story
68 votes - 79 %

It's kind of interesting too that Wisecup is blaming his behavior in the Rochester drug store where I confronted his boss, Joe Knollenberg about his vote on the war on lack of sleep, not his bi-polar disorder.

If Trent is really sick, then I have all the sympathy and empathy in the world for him, but if he isn't, this is a really despicable act to use a medical condition to cover up for really bad behavior and bad judgment. In the Keith Olbermann piece about Trent's outburst, Rachel Maddow seems to say that she had contacted Knollenberg's office and was told that they actually had a meeting about me and what to do should they encounter me and they made a concious decision to confront me the way Trent does in the video. Wisecup claiming to be sick is just the kind of tactic Trent might have learned at the knee of Karl Rove the most prolific polital dirty trickster in history, who even stooped to outing a CIA agent to protect his boss, President Bush. It would gain Wisecup sympathy and make him immune to further attacks, since anyone attacking him would be criticized for attacking someone with a mental illness.

Knollenberg's chief of staff takes medical leave
By Greg Kowalski

The bruising campaign for Joe Knollenberg's 9th U.S. House seat took another hit Thursday when Trent Wisecup, Knollenberg's chief of staff, announced he is going on medical leave.

Wisecup sent an e-mail Friday stating, "I haven't been sleeping well of late, as you all will know from all the late e-mails I have been sending over the past few months. Some of the e-mails have been really weird and flat-out kooky. I recently checked myself into Beaumont (Hospital)... to see what was up. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This is a form of depression that fortunately is treatable with medication."

Steve Betz, field representative for Knollenberg, said Wisecup went on paid leave Oct. 22, and no date has been set for his return. He'll come back "when he's rested and ready," Betz said. "It's left up to him."

Betz said the election race - which is already in full force more than a year before the vote in November 2008 - is exceptionally hot. "It's a stressful environment," Betz said.

Knollenberg has been under a virtual siege with Democrats targeting his seat as vulnerable. Knollenberg was first elected in 1992 and has won re-election every election since as a solid Republican.

He is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Gary Peters and Nancy Skinner. Knollenberg narrowly defeated Skinner last year.

In recent weeks, anti-Knollenberg campaigners have been following the Congressman around to area stores and even to his Bloomfield Township home with video cameras asking him, among other things, why he supports the Iraq war.

In a widely circulated video, Wisecup had a confrontation in an area store with Bruce Fealk, a Rochester Hills man who has been highly critical of Knollenberg. The video shows Wisecup berating Fealk and shielding Knollenberg. "I got fired up about the protester and his mugging video, protesting Sandie Knollenberg at her home tactics because I think politics in America should be better," Wisecup said in his e-mail.

"I love my job, especially when I can make a difference for people in Michigan and Oakland County," Wisecup said.

Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson with Bill Maher

This is definitely off topic, but this is a great interview of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson on Real Time with Bill Maher. It's clear to me that this administration is guilty of treason and the attendant punishment for outing Valerie Plame. This is a must watch interview.