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Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 12:05 PM PST

Vladimir Putin is Scott Walker

by Yuri Rashkin

Vladimir Putin is Scott Walker given enough time. Both men lie comfortably, value loyalty instead of expertise and care about their own power beyond anything or anyone else. So far Walker has not shown himself to be as interested in accumulating personal wealth like Putin but that's a cultural difference. Walker knows he'll make money yet, Putin has to take what he can when he can.

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Fri Dec 19, 2014 at 11:03 AM PST

Russia's Top 10 Problems

by Yuri Rashkin

1. Oil prices are down worldwide.

2. Sanctions are making a bad situation worse because they deny Russian banks access to international credit markets.  For comparison: as bad as situation is in Ukraine, the West made a determination to help it.  No one is interested in helping Russia.

3. Ruble (not rubble, but Russian currency, though same difference) collapse is leaving Russian people unable to pay for anything with worthless currency.  Not cars, not TVs, real estate or shoes.  May be food.  

4. Economy is coming to a full stop as nobody wants to get stuck  / can't pay / can't figure out how to price their merchandise. (See: IKEA, GM, Calvin Klein, Apple, etc.)  

5. Extreme import dependence: Russians literally produce almost nothing except money for oil, gas and lumber.  

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The first waive of pictures that came from Sochi, were posted by western reporters, flabbergasted by the lack of preparedness shown by the games organizers.  Twitter feed Sochi Problems has more followers than the actual Sochi games Twitter feed, and it's not surprising.  After all, when someone invites you to a massive event, and tells you how awesome it will be, pictures that show just how bad the reality is, can't help but catch attention.  Pathways still being finished, hotel rooms missing light bulbs, door handles and sewer piping, hours before the opening ceremony, is not something that westerners are used to.  Yet, as someone who was born and spent his childhood in Moscow, Russia, I can tell you, that this is all par for the course, and should be regarded as Russia's understanding of "initial quality".  In 1980s my cousin's family got a new apartment in a huge apartment building on the outskirts of Moscow.  The first thing that had to be done, was a total remodel.  The wood finish did not remotely line up with the floor, which itself was far from flat and leveled.  There is a reason why the last car a Russian will buy, is one made in Russia.  But all that is, as they say in Russia just "flowers".  The "berries" are still coming.  
Poll

Are you watching the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games?

26%14 votes
71%38 votes

| 53 votes | Vote | Results

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Much has already been, and will be written about the Boston Marathon bombers, but this article in New Yorker about the Russian reaction to the events caught my attention.  As a refugee from the former Soviet Union who came to the United States 25 years ago, here is my take.  

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Tonight Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker unveiled his latest budget.  Two years ago, Scott Walker "dropped the bomb" and unveiled Act 10 aka "Budget Repair Bill", which effectively ended collective bargaining in Wisconsin.

On this anniversary, Discover Janesville brings you a panel discussion about the effects of Act 10 on the union movement and its ability to influence political process. Participating in discussion are Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca (D) Kenosha, WEAC Vice-President Betsy Kippers and Martha Merrill, Lead Research Analyst for AFSCME Wisconsin Council 40. Special thanks to Walworth County Democratic Party for organizing this discussion.

State of Wisconsin Unions: Part 1

State of Wisconsin Unions: part 2

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Do you trust Scott Walker's claims that he will be more moderate going forward?

8%6 votes
89%62 votes
1%1 votes

| 69 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Exactly two years ago, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker "dropped the bomb" and unveiled Act 10 aka "Budget Repair Bill", which effectively ended collective bargaining in Wisconsin.  On this anniversary, Discover Janesville brings you a panel discussion about the effects of Act 10 on the union movement and its ability to influence political process.  Participating in discussion are Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca (D) Kenosha, WEAC Vice-President Betsy Kippers and Martha Merrill, Lead Research Analyst for AFSCME Wisconsin Council 40.  Special thanks to Walworth County Democratic Party for organizing this discussion.  Listen to every podcast and watch every interview at www.DiscoverJanesville.com and "like" the show on Facebook!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/...

Poll

Will unions emerge stronger from recent setbacks?

40%17 votes
33%14 votes
26%11 votes

| 42 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

When Vladimir Putin signed a law passed by the Russian Duma – “parliament” – forbidding adoption of Russian orphans by American citizens, he not only sent messages to groups around the world, he hurt Russian orphans.

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It is fair for countries to charge foreigners to adopt children

37%6 votes
37%6 votes
25%4 votes

| 16 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:44 PM PST

Is NRA finished?

by Yuri Rashkin

Watching how the tragedy in Newtown changed the America we live in, I can’t help but wonder if the National Rifle Assocation and its president Wayne LaPierre, have no ammunition for the crisis they’re facing.  Here’s the deal: it’s pretty clear that if you look at their actions, the National Rifle Association does not represent gun owners.  For one, it doesn’t give a hoot about their safety.  It only cares about the opportunities to place more guns in people’s hands, which means that the NRA’s real constituents are gun manufacturers.

Poll

I support National Rifle Association

8%8 votes
90%85 votes
1%1 votes

| 94 votes | Vote | Results

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This is my platform and it spells out that which I believe – my values. These are based on what I have seen, experienced and learned, and I want to share these with you. Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope that you will consider getting involved in our campaign to restore respect for Wisconsin, one Assembly District at a time!

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Last year, I fought and eventually prevailed in restoring most of the cuts to the operating hours of Janesville pools.  This year, many people in our community and across the state, are struggling during these times of record high temperatures, while too many have no working air-conditioning at all.   Though in most years, making sure city pools are available for the residents to use during normal hours is viewed as a quality of life issue, this year providing opportunities for people to cool off is a matter of survival.

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Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:00 AM PDT

From City Council to Your Doorstep

by Yuri Rashkin

One of the things I’m discover knocking on doors, is the impact I made during my 4 years on Janesville City Council.  In one neighborhood, residents were still happy about my vote against the sand and gravel mine.  Other voters appreciated that I voted against ending public discussion and rushing to vote on a massive project after the residents were given 4 days to consider it; yet others appreciated my stand to keep our city swimming pools open for the residents to use, when the council looked to save a few dollars by voting to close the pools earlier in the day.  Naturally, when the heatwave came about, the council had to reconsider this decision when residents showed up at the council meeting in swim wear.

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When my family and I were getting sworn in as the newest naturalized United States citizens, in the Spring of 1996, the judge had a microphone passed around, allowing each new citizen to state their feelings on this momentous occasion.  Some were overwhelmed and said nothing, others spoke of their deep love and gratitude to America.  When the microphone got into my hands, I remember saying something about feeling so fortunate to finally become a citizen of the country that I care so much about, and to be in a position to make a difference.  Though that was 17 years ago, I remember that part clearly.

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