Oil companies facing one big question...

How can oil companies explain record profits for a period when the supply of gas was curtailed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and gas prices were skyrocketing?

Something about that equation doesn't make sense. If the supply of gas was low, it would make sense for them to raise prices to maintain typical profits. But they got record profits. So either supply was not as low as they said, or they raised prices too much.

At long last, is it true?

I have heard one and seen one...

...commercials for the Oshkosh Exclusive Company's Moving Sale...

---is it, at long last, true?

I'm Watching the City Council Meeting Replay...

Paul Esslinger just said he supports the garbage fee where it is, but then he votes against the budget...

How does that work?


As Petri and Congressional Republicans are cutting programs for the poor...

Venezuela to Provide Discount Oil to Mass.

Thousands of low-income Massachusetts residents will receive discounted home heating oil this winter under an agreement signed Tuesday with Venezuela, whose government is a political adversary of the Bush administration.

A subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company will supply oil at 40 percent below market prices. It will be distributed by two nonprofit organizations, Citizens Energy Corp. and the Mass Energy Consumer Alliance.

The agreement gives President Hugo Chavez's government standing as a provider of heating assistance to poor U.S. residents at a time when U.S. oil companies have been reluctant to do so and Congress has failed to expand aid in response to rising oil prices.

Chavez proposed offering fuel directly to poor U.S. communities during a visit to Cuba in August. He has said the aim is to bypass middlemen to reduce costs for the American poor — a group he argues has been severely neglected by Bush's government.

UW Osh Dems on Petri:

UW-Oshkosh Dems: Rep. Petri's Holiday Greeting to College Students:
Enjoy the Largest Cut to Student Loans in U.S. History

OSHKOSH – Last Friday, Representative Tom Petri cast one of two deciding votes in support of the budget reconciliation bill that includes the largest cuts to federal student loan programs in U.S. history. Last week’s budget reconciliation bill includes $14.3 billion in cuts to federal financial assistance to college students over
five years while paving the way for at least $70 billion in new tax cuts targeted at the wealthiest Americans. The budget bill passed including the future tax cuts will increase the federal deficit by $20 billion.

“At a time when tuition is going up, Rep. Petri shows his true colors and votes for the largest cut to federal student loans in U.S. history. If it wasn’t clear already, Rep. Petri is no friend of students or their families supporting them” said Dan Anderson, of UW-Oshkosh Campus Democrats.

The Petri-supported budget bill would overturn a previous law capping the interest rates for student loans at 6.8 percent, which increases the cap to 8.25 percent. It would also increase the cap on parent loans from 7.9 percent to 9 percent. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, a graduating college student with the average debt load of $17,500 would see an increase of $5,800 for his or her loans.

The bill also raises taxes on student loans, raises interest rates on consolidation loans and reduces subsidies paid to student lenders, totaling $20.5 billion in cuts over a 10-year period, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

“What is really disheartening, is that we continue to see cuts to programs that help people get ahead. Investing in the workers of tomorrow by ensuring they have access to and can afford a college education in order to compete in the global economy seems like common sense. It is inexcusable for Rep. Petri to turn his back on students at UWO and all Wisconsin schools.”

Another Petri Release:

6th C.D. Dems: Rep. Petri's Thanksgiving Present to Wisconsin's Working Poor: Cut to Food Stamp Program by $700 Million

CONTACT: Gordon N. Hintz

OSHKOSH – Last Friday, Representative Tom Petri cast one of two deciding votes in support of the House Budget Reconciliation bill that cut $700 million from the food stamp program. Food stamps are the major U.S. anti-hunger program helping poor people buy food. Some 25.8 million Americans received food stamps in a program run by the U.S. Agriculture Department. Rep. Petri’s vote to make cuts to the food stamp program come just months after the U.S. Census update reported that the number of residents living below the federal poverty threshold in Wisconsin increased to 11% in 2003-2004, the largest increase in poverty of any state in the country. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the provisions in the Petri supported House Budget Reconciliation bill will require many low-income Medicaid beneficiaries to pay more out-of-pocket for health care and reduce their health care services, representing cuts of nearly $30 billion over ten years.

“As Wisconsin continues to struggle with job losses and rising health care, housing, and energy costs, Rep. Petri decides to turn his back on the working poor,” said Gordon Hintz, Chair of the 6th Congressional District Democrats. “Rep.Petri had a choice to make: Maintain essential programs that support a growing number of those most in need of assistance; or provide additional tax cuts exclusively to the wealthiest 1.1% of his Congressional District (US Census). Petri chose tax cuts over food stamps.”

“Rep. Petri has become a rubber stamp for an extreme agenda that is out-of-touch with residents in the 6th Congressional District. Those who are discontented with Washington should start with Rep. Petri. Petri supports the war but does not want to pay for it with real money. Petri supports continued tax cuts at the expense of essential programs for the working poor in Wisconsin and with no regard for the expanding federal deficit. This does not represent the 6th Congressional District.”


Bush did not share all of his info with congress:

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The information was provided to Bush on September 21, 2001 during the "President's Daily Brief," a 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services, as well as more mundane sources such as news reports and public statements by foreign leaders.

Indeed, the existence of the September 21 PDB was not disclosed to the Intelligence Committee until the summer of 2004, according to congressional sources. Both Republicans and Democrats requested then that it be turned over. The administration has refused to provide it, even on a classified basis, and won't say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists.

Thing's said after this info:

"You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," President Bush said on September 25, 2002.

The next day, Rumsfeld said, "We have what we consider to be credible evidence that Al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts with Iraq who could help them acquire … weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities."

Cheney continued to make the charge, even after he was briefed, according to government records and officials, that both the CIA and the FBI discounted the possibility of such a meeting.

Today's Press Release

Rep. Petri: Child Support Enforcement Not Important in Winnebago County

OSHKOSH – Last Friday, Representative Tom Petri cast one of two deciding votes in support of the House Budget Reconciliation Bill. This cut federal funding for child support enforcement by $5 billion over the next five years (nearly 40 percent in the fifth year), and $15.8 billion over the next ten years according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. For Winnebago County, already facing significant cuts to human services, it means a loss of up to $1.5 million in federal assistance.

Petri's vote on the Budget Reconciliation Bill paves the way for at least $70 billion in new tax cuts targeted to the wealthiest Americans.

“Rep. Petri has abandoned the effort to collect child support,” said Jef Hall, Chair of the Winnebago County Democrats and Petri’s 2004 opponent. "Winnebago County faces enough challenges with the state levy freeze, and Rep. Petri wants to reduce federal funding so he can provide the wealthiest 1.1% of households in our Congressional District (2000 U.S. Census) who earn more than $200,000 a year, yet another tax break. It is truly Robin Hood in reverse, Rep. Petri is taking from the poor and giving to the rich.”

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects these cuts to significantly reduce efforts to collect child support owed by non-custodial parents. They estimate $24 billion in child support legally owed to children will go uncollected over the next ten years as a consequence of Rep. Petri's vote. The consequence of these lost child support payments will be to push significant numbers of children into, or further into, poverty.

“With an election less than a year away, it is time for people to realize what is happening in Washington. Rep. Petri is not representing the interests of his district and is a rubber stamp for the extreme wing of the Republican Party. When there is a tight vote, whether it is CAFTA, Medicare Part D or the cutting food stamps and child support enforcement, the extremists can count on Tom Petri.”



Don't Worry, He'll Live!

This is an odd way to report this story:

Ozaukee County Sheriff's Lieutenant Cory McCormick says a man in his early 20s was accidentally shot in the foot in the Town of Fredonia. McCormick says it happened during a deer drive.

His injury is not thought to be life threatening.


Not to minimize the poor guy's trauma, I just wonder when a shot to the foot would be life threatening?

Frank Rich is Correct As Well:

One hideous consequence of the White House's Big Lie - fusing the war of choice in Iraq with the war of necessity that began on 9/11 - is that the public, having rejected one, automatically rejects the other. That's already happening. The percentage of Americans who now regard fighting terrorism as a top national priority is either in the single or low double digits in every poll. Thus the tragic bottom line of the Bush catastrophe: the administration has at once increased the ranks of jihadists by turning Iraq into a new training ground and recruitment magnet while at the same time exhausting America's will and resources to confront that expanded threat.


Brooks Has a Good Idea:

On Feb. 23, 1942, Franklin Roosevelt asked Americans to spread out maps before them and he described, step by step, what was going on in World War II, where the U.S. was winning and where it was losing. Why can't today's president do that? Why can't he show that he is aware that his biggest problem is not in Iraq, it's on the home front?


Board rejects all of Walker's vetoes

The Milwaukee County Board on Wednesday overrode all of County Executive Scott Walker's budget vetoes in quick fashion.

Walker's vetoes had sought to cut the tax levy by 0.75% compared with this year. That was lower than Walker's own budget proposal, which aimed to freeze the levy at the current level, $225.8 million. The final levy is up $6.7 million, to $232.5 million.


As I Undestand, Dotty's Out

Allergist Steve Kagen, former Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, Green Bay business consultant Jamie Wall and Appleton office assistant Dorthea LeClair all have announced their intentions to seek the Democratic nod.

But one of these will win:

Steve Kagen: http://www.kagen4congress.com/
Nancy Nusbaum: http://www.nancy2006.com/
Jamie Wall: http://www.wallforcongress.com/

A Quote Not to Forget:

"What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war," Cheney said. "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone — but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history."

Democratic lawmakers have insisted that they did not see all of the intelligence available to the White House.

And Murtha sarcastically dismissed such attacks by alluding to the fact that Cheney never served in the military because he received deferments from the draft during the Vietnam War era. The vice president received deferments from 1963 to 1966 while studying at the University of Wyoming and for having a child.

"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that," said Murtha. "I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."


To Get Everything Straight:

A growing majority of Florida voters disapprove of the job President Bush is doing and say it's unlikely they would vote for his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, if he seeks the presidency in 2008, a poll released Wednesday shows.

Russell Schweiss, a spokesman for Jeb Bush, responded to the poll by Quinnipiac University of Hamden, Conn., in a brief e-mail saying only "The governor is not running." That just reiterated what the governor repeatedly has said, but if he should change his mind the poll indicates he could lose his home state.

Fifty-eight percent of Florida voters polled said they probably or definitely would not vote for the governor in a presidential race while only 33 percent said they probably or definitely would vote for him.

The poll shows President Bush's job approval rating continuing to slide in Florida as it has nationwide.


Mark Green Turns his Back on Wisconsin Families

Congressman Mark Green turned his back on Wisconsin families today after he cast the deciding vote to approve a harmful House Republican budget that cuts programs vital to college students, working families, and the poor.

Despite 14 moderate Republicans joining House Democrats in opposing the bill, Green voted once again with Tom DeLay and his Republican cronies to approve the draconian budget bill on a 217 to 215 vote.

The GOP budget slashes $11.4 billion in Medicaid, which would have a severe impact on 780,000 children, seniors, and disabled in Wisconsin.

Republicans cut food stamps by $675 million – kicking 220,000 people nationwide off of the nutritional assistance program.

Republicans gut student loans by $14.3 billion, a drastic cut that would increase tuition costs for 138,000 students in Wisconsin.

The GOP plan slashes federal funding for child support enforcement. This would result in a $468 million cut in child support collections for single parents in Wisconsin trying to make ends meet.


Candidate(s) Wanted...

State Rep. Terri McCormick hasn't made a final decision on whether to run for Congress. But she is sure she won't seek a fourth term in the state Assembly.

On Wednesday, the Greenville Republican said she won't run for a fourth term in the Assembly in 2006.


Doyle Keeps WI From Becoming Garbage Capitol:

MILWAUKEE - Financial aspects of the Wisconsin residential recycling program:

_ Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a provision put in the state budget by the Republican-controlled Legislature that would have cut by 25 percent the $3 recycling fee on each ton of garbage put into landfills.

_ Doyle also vetoed a proposal to reduce the recycling surcharge paid by Wisconsin corporations from 3 percent to 2 percent of their gross tax liabilities and from 0.2 percent to 0.133 percent of net income for sole proprietorships and partnerships.

_ With funds from landfill tipping fees and the corporate surcharge, the state provides grants to cover about 28 percent of the cost of more than 1,000 local residential recycling programs around the state. Cynthia Moore, the state Department of Natural Resources' recycling team leader, said Wisconsin has provided $24.5 million in such grants each year since 2000.

What is Doyle Doing for WI?

Unemployment rate edges lower
Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped slightly in October to reach a four-year low, state officials announced Thursday.
The unemployment rate in October fell to 4.5 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from September and from October 2004.
It is the lowest rate in the state since September 2001, Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman said.

Wasn't there a big stink earlier in the year about quid-pro-quo being against the law?

WASHINGTON — An effort by Republican lawmakers to rein in spending on entitlement programs may bring new life to a federal subsidy program for dairy farmers.

Controversial cuts in social programs that the House approved 217-215 in the wee hours Friday morning do not address the dairy subsidy that expired Sept. 30.

But House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., promised moderate Republicans he would support its inclusion in upcoming negotiations with the Senate.

Rep. Thomas Petri, R-Fond du Lac, said he supported the bill only because of several changes, including Hastert's pledge to support reinstatement of the Milk Income Loss Contract Program.

Something to remember:

Rep. Mark Green, R-Hobart, also took credit, although he is a member of the Republican Study Committee that had sought even deeper spending cuts. Green is seeking his party's nomination for governor in Wisconsin.

Good Cartoon and Quotes:

"It's time to bring them home."Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat known for his pro-military views, calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq

"I think this is much ado about very little. How could someone be shocked that a young lawyer interested in a political position in the Reagan administration was a conservative?" Washington lawyer Charles J. Cooper, on a 1985 memo by Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito arguing the Constitution does not protect abortion


Did you Vote For This?

Why Bush Can't Find an Exit Strategy

Newsweek is Right On...

Everyone in America supports our troops. That's why it's so unseemly for some House members to boast that they do and others don't. Knock it off.


Mark Green's Record of Fiscal Mismanagement...

Who does Mark Green think he’s kidding,” said Joe Wineke, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Mark Green can claim all he wants that he’s worked in Congress to put our nation’s fiscal house in order, but his true record is one of turning record surpluses into record deficits, increasing spending, and fiscal mismanagement.”

FACT: Mark Green voted for four consecutive Bush budgets that created record deficits in Washington and increased federal spending by 33 percent – from $1.84 trillion in 2001 to $2.48 trillion in 2005.

FACT: As a member of Congress for the past seven years, Mark Green and President Bush have turned record surpluses into the largest federal deficits in U.S. history.

FACT: In 2001, Bush and Green inherited a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion, yet they squandered that surplus. The 2004 budget deficit was $412 billion – the largest in American history – and the deficit for 2005 is projected to hit $317 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

FACT: Over the next decade, the total deficit is projected to reach $2.1 trillion.

Even before Mark Green went to Washington to run up the national debt, he helped build a culture of overspending and fiscal mismanagement in Wisconsin as a state legislator – a culture that led to a $3.2 billion deficit, the worst deficit in state history.

But, can they babble?

New lemurs found in Madagascar...