Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big Pharma won’t win

You win some and you lose some. And anyone who thinks we “lost” on medical marijuana in Wisconsin is wrong. Dead wrong.

This legislative session, we made more progress in passing a medical cannabis law than ever before. In December of 2009 we had a fantastic public hearing that showcased this topic. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. We packed the largest hearing room in the State Capitol – there was a line out the door of people waiting to testify. In the end, 104 people either registered in favor of the bill and only six logged their opposition.
104 vs. 6 -- we win.

The media took notice of the bill as well. Not only did 10 newspapers endorse the bill with none opposing the bill, but we got more press coverage statewide on this issue than ever before.
10 vs. 0 -- we win.

Four organizations registered in favor of the bill with the Wisconsin ethics board and only two registered against. 4 vs. 2 -- we win.

A Facebook page sprung up in favor of the bill and generated more than 10,000 fans in under two months. To this day, there is still no organized grassroots group working to kill this bill. Activism vs. Apathy -- we win.

Today, Senator Jon Erpenbach, the bill’s other co-author, and I sent a letter to supporters of the bill. We pledge to keep fighting. People’s lives are literally at stake. While the bill did not pass this session, that’s not gonna stop us from advocating for compassionate care for seriously ill patients.

Today, we got a glimpse of what motivates the bill’s key opponents. In today’s Badger Herald, a UW campus newspaper, Wisconsin Medical Society’s Mark Grapentine stated:
“We don’t believe anything you can just grow in your backyard … is really the best way to go in terms of advancing the science.”

So there you have it, if Big Pharma isn’t making it, they oppose it. Sadly, this just proves that medicine is a business just like any other. The only difference is, if I ignore one of my prospective clients for my small business, they’ll just go elsewhere. When the State Medical Society turns a blind eye to the will of seriously ill patients, they don’t have easy alternative options.

Apparently, the State Medical Society is completely ignoring the litany of evidence – anecdotal and scientific -- showing that cannabis provides life saving appetite growth to seriously ill patients and alleviates pain with fewer side effects of other pain killers.

Medical cannabis with a doctor’s guidance is less dangerous than a doctor prescribing addicting OxyContin. Just ask Rush Limbaugh. Or Vicodin. Just ask Brett Favre.

I’m no stranger to tackling tough issues in the political arena. And I don’t quit. Together we will win!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ticket to a GOP circus

Around 3 o’clock this morning something became crystal clear in the Assembly. We saw the true colors of Republicans who have been obsessively focused on punishing their former colleague, now Independent lawmaker, Jeff Wood.

It is not about good policy. It is not about clean government or the integrity of the Legislature. It’s not even about the Assembly officially punishing Rep. Jeff Wood.

The Republicans hope to orchestrate a spectacular three-ring circus.

Wood made everyone aware around 9 pm Thursday night that he planned to pull the expulsion resolution against himself from committee to the floor for a vote. Both sides went into caucus to talk. Dems came back around 10:30 pm.

But Republicans found ways to drag session out – standing informal, caucusing – for six hours. Then after delay upon delay, they cried foul – we simply could not resolve this in the middle of the night!

If their agenda was to punish Wood, they could have done so last night. The Democrats voted to pull the motion from committee so we could take it up, deal with it and move on to other important matters. There is a lot going on right now that is of vital importance to Wisconsin’s economy, our families and our future. But Republicans voted against taking action on Wood saying they didn’t like the early-morning timing they themselves had forced and that they wanted Rep. Steve Nass, who requested the expulsion proceedings, present.

First – this is not about Rep. Steve Nass. We offer our condolences to Rep. Nass right now on the loss of his mother. Having another chance to speak against Jeff Wood cannot be what is foremost on his mind at this difficult time. As Republicans have publicly agreed – this is about the institution and how we are going to discipline members. And Nass himself made it clear when he chose not to attend a committee hearing on the Wood investigation that his presence is not necessary for action.

“There wasn’t any need for me to be there,” Nass told the media after missing the hearing. “It was very clear cut…The resolution is very, very clear…”

Nass is right – his resolution against Wood is clear.

And now another thing is clear. It’s clear what the Republicans real motive has been all along.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Comeback Country

Interesting article from the April 19, 2010 Newsweek titled The Comeback Country. It lays out how all the negative speculation meant "bleak is the new black," then challenges that assertion, calling the US economic recovery a "remarkable turnaround."

"But the long-term decline of the U.S. economy has been greatly exaggerated," writes Daniel Gross. "America is coming back stronger, better, and faster than nearly anyone expected—and faster than most of its international rivals."

Worth reading.