Here's an email I just sent out:

Hello Friends and Members of the Winnebago County Democratic Party!

Just a quick email to let you know about some upcoming events, organization meetings and to request some support.

1. Spring Election Ward Leader/Candidate Organization Meeting
Monday, December 12th, 6:00PM– New Moon Café – 401 N Main St – Oshkosh

Signature gathering has begun! Come on out if you are interested in being a candidate or helping getting Democrats elected this spring!

Annie from the DNC will be there helping put together the program!

2. Medicare Part D Informational Session/Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, December 14th, 6:00PM – Delta Restaurant – 515 N Sawyer St – Oshkosh

Candice Corbett, Benefits Specialist for Winnebago County will do a presentation on the new Medicare Prescription Drug Program. It will be followed by discussion. The public is welcome, and encouraged, to come. Please pass it on.

The regular monthly business meeting will follow.

3. Free Community Film – Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices
Friday, December 16th, 7:00PM – Oshkosh Public Library – 106 Washington Ave – Oshkosh

The Winnebago Labor Council is presenting this to the community.

4. Action Plan for Affordable Health Care Community Forum
Legislators include: Senator Hansen and Representative Nelson

Monday, December 5th, 4:00PM - The Aging Resource Center - 300 South Adams St - Green Bay

Please come and share your concerns and stories about the high costs of health care here in Wisconsin.

These forums have been picked up by local TV affiliates in the past so we're hoping for another successful event in Green Bay. WE NEED PEOPLE! This is a very important issue and we need lots of people to share their concerns and testimonials.

If anyone has any questions about the forum, please call Kelley in Senator Judy Robson's office at 608-266-2253.

Action Item!

The second vote on the ‘No Marriage’ Amendment is upcoming. I would like to urge you to call (608.266.0718 or 920.751.4801) or email (sen.ellis@legis.state.wi.us) Sen. Mike Ellis and urge him to vote against this.

If we can beat it in the Senate, we can protect real Wisconsin families and keep it off the ballot.

Here is some information on what is wrong with this amendment:

Here is a sample email:

Out of touch?

these were the two MSNBC headlines just now

And some more...

Don't believe the republican's when they say there is wide support from law enforcement for concealed carry...

WI County Police Association:

The Wisconsin County Police Association will continue to oppose the concealed weapons legislation regardless of the recent amendment that would give law enforcement officers the ability to access a list of permit holders during routine traffic stops through the license plate registration. Although the amendment is important for the safety of officers and civilians alike it does not get to the heart of the concerns the WCPA has with the legislation; it puts more hidden and dangerous weapons on the street.

WI Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association:

“The current version of the concealed hand gun bills need to be drastically re-written before being adopted by the full Legislature,” according to LaCrosse County Sheriff Mike Weissenberger.

Weissenberger, president of the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association (WSDSA) said that “Our association, representing well over 2,000 law enforcement officers through out Wisconsin, strongly opposes the bills the way they are written.”

The WSDSA Executive Director, James Cardinal, is also concerned about several other troubling areas in the bills. For example, a person who has been the subject of an involuntary commitment proceeding is eligible to apply for and can potentially be issued a state permit to carry a concealed hand gun after 3 short years.

"One of the scariest things about these bills is that a person who is issued a state permit to carry a concealed hand gun, like a .44 magnum, is not required to maintain absolute sobriety at all times when the person is carrying a concealed weapon.”

"Applicants are only required to participate in a short training session in order to obtain a permit,” according to Jeff Wiswell, Sr. public affairs counsel for the association. “Then, after five years, upon renewal of the license there is no additional training or practice with the weapon ever required.”

Wiswell said that “Law enforcement must train annually, and most train quarterly on each weapon.”

Recently the Congress, in Washington, D.C., passed HR 218 that permits active and retired officers to carry concealed weapons, under very strict conditions. Now this legislation would enact these provisions into state law.

Sheriff Weissenberger said “It’s hard to understand how the state Legislature would enact HR 218 standards on concealed carry by active and retired officers and at the same time allow largely untrained members of the public to carry a concealed hand gun, even when they may be intoxicated.

Weissenberger encouraged the public to carefully read the 66 page bills. “There are literally dozens of other issues in the bills that should be corrected before they are ever passed into law.”

The sheriff closed his statement by saying that “It is up to every citizen to help insure the protections that the current 133 year old prohibition on concealed weapons has provided."


And the State Patrol Superintendant:

Releases this statement:

The minor change announced today to the concealed weapons bill amounts to window dressing on a very dangerous, unnecessary piece of legislation. Having more people carrying around loaded, hidden weapons under their coats during the holiday season will not make Wisconsin any safer. It could put the public at risk, and it will make the job of law enforcement more difficult and more dangerous.

The change announced today doesn't always allow law enforcement to know if a suspect is carrying a concealed weapon. Officers would still be at risk in many situations not covered by the amendment, like when they are responding to a domestic violence call, responding to someone who's not in a car, or pulling over someone who has committed a crime other than a traffic violation.

I am confident that the overwhelming majority of law enforcement, including much of the Wisconsin State Patrol, remains opposed to this legislation, which will only make their jobs harder. Concealed weapons have been illegal in Wisconsin for more than 100 years, and not coincidentally, we are one of the safest states in the nation."

Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association: No on Concealed Carry

From their statement:

The Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, representing over 500 municipal police executives throughout the State is opposed to Assembly Bill 763 & Senate Bill 403 (Concealed Carry Bill). The membership of the WCPA made it extremely clear from the results of an extensive survey conducted by our association last year that our members are overwhelmingly opposed to changing a 133 year old public policy related to the public safety of the citizens we have taken an oath to protect.

Our association is extremely disappointed to learn that an additional provision is being added which would provide sanctions against a police officer under certain circumstances. The provision separates permit holders from the general public by making it a Class C misdemeanor should officers reveal the names of permit holders; build a list of permit holders, or uses excessive force then stopping a permit holder. This additional provision clearly suggests that the Wisconsin law enforcement community has such propensities and conveys a distrust and even paranoia of law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin have professional and ethical standards along with a code of conduct which guide their police officers to treat everyone equally. The provision suggests that permit holders should be treated differently than the general public.

Looking at Life and Liberty News....

(For those who don't know, it is the alternative conservative paper put together by the Republican's on Campus in Oshkosh)

The UWO Republicans are advertising 'discussion on the rational man's concerns' - are they not concerned with women?


Make Yourself a South Park Character...

This is what I assume I would look like:

Make your own here.

And then go to Vast Dairy State Conspiracy, where I found the link.

Democrats - Solid Support Against the Amendment:

Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, taking the place of absent committee member Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, spoke against the proposed ban.

“I think all the constitutional amendment does is take away rights,” Carpenter said. “I think it was [Supreme Court] Justice Ginsberg who said the history of constitutional law in this country has been the adding of rights, not the diminishment of rights in our constitutions.”

Former Sen. Joe Wineke returned to the Capitol to voice his opposition to the amendment.

“I am here to say you are abridging the rights of many individuals in this state, and what you are doing is wrong,” Wineke, who is also chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said.

2 Strikes Against Alito:

He does come to the position with an agenda:

As a Reagan administration lawyer in 1985, Samuel Alito made clear his hope that the Supreme Court would one day overturn a landmark ruling that established abortion rights.

“By taking these cases, the court may be signaling an inclination to cut back. What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?”

Also, he had joined a racist and sexist society (and then forgot about it...?):

Alito also said he had no memory of being in a group called Concerned Alumni of Princeton, formed when Princeton started admitting women, which accused the administration of lowering standards to allow women and minorities to attend.

“A document I recently reviewed reflects that I was a member of the group in the 1980s,” Alito said. “Apart from that document, I have no recollection of being a member, of attending meetings, or otherwise participating in the activities of the group.”

This is crazy...

There is truly an interest group for everything (and Tom DeLay will take money from them)...

Last year, U.S. cockfighters formed Citizens for Preserving Historic Animal Use, which spent $60,000 lobbying against the legislation from mid-2004 through mid-2005, federal records show.

Repeated messages left with Larry Meyers of the Washington lobbying firm Meyers & Associates, who was listed as the lobbyist on those reports, were not returned.

Cockfighters also established a political action committee, Citizens for the Humane and Ethical Treatment of Animals, or CHETA, which gave $1,000 each to then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas.

King has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the animal fighting bill on the Judiciary Committee.

In an e-mail interview King said that 3 million ‘‘human illegal aliens pour across our southern border every year. We can’t control our borders. What are we doing trying to regulate chicken travel?’’

Fun With News....

Duke Cunningham is a hero,” DeLay said during a press briefing Tuesday. “He is an honorable man of high integrity.”

Rep. Cunningham Pleads Guilty to Bribery, Resigns
The veteran lawmaker admits receiving $2.4 million from military contractors and evading more than $1 million in taxes.


Bad press release:

From the Walker Campaign, on the amendment (this is not only wrong, but written really poorly):

Many years ago, I concluded that we must change the Wisconsin State Constitution to say that marriage is to be between one man and one woman. My
belief in this position is even stronger today.

Hey Scott, how long ago did you start obsessing about homosexuality, and more importantly, why?

Current law in Wisconsin already defines marriage as between a husband and a wife.Because the courts in other states have broaden the definition of marriage, the constitutional amendment makes it clear that the only marriages recognized in Wisconsin are between one man and one woman.

State law in Wisconsin also prohibits marriage if either person has a living husband or wife or if the people attempting to get married are related or if either party is under a particular age. In other words, state law already regulates who can and who cannot get married in Wisconsin.

So, Walker, what you are saying (in poor English - "courts in other states have broaden the definition") is that we all ready have protections for marriage in Wisconsin, and this will really have no effect, therefore why make the state spend the money to put it on the ballot?

Wisconsin's values are my values, and I look forward to leading our great state in the right direction.

Hey Walker, sorry to chime in again, but I think we value fairness above all in Wisconsin, more than hate.

The Amendment Goes to Far - And Fitzgerald Admits It:

From Republican Sen. Fitzgerald:

Senate Joint Resolution 53 (SJR 53) would amend Wisconsin's constitution to specify that only a marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized by the state. It would not prohibit state or local governments or a private entity from setting up a legal construct to provide privileges or benefits such as health insurance benefits, pension benefits, joint tax return filing or
hospital visitation to same-sex or unmarried couples.

It says that a private business cannot freely recognize a same sex, or unmarried heterosexual couple cannot have benifits. It is not just legislating what the government can do, but everyone.

It also makes domestic violence a simple assault, even among heterosexual couples, if they are unmarried and living together.

This is what Democrats stand for:

Rep. Colón: To Introduce Constitutional Amendment Guaranteeing Access to Primary and Preventative Health Care for Wisconsin Residents

Today, Representative Pedro Colón (D-Milwaukee) announced that he will introduce a constitutional amendment to guarantee primary and preventative health care to all Wisconsin residents.

“This morning, a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees will debate a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage
and ban same sex unions in this state,” said Colón. “While the GOP majority is
pursuing and issue that affects only a small minority of our population, we should talk about an issue that impacts all of Wisconsin’s residences and businesses.”

Is Mark Green Under Investigation As Well?

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke today called on Congressman Mark Green to answer whether he, his campaign manager Mark Graul, or any members of his staff are under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for taking ticket freebies from indicted Washington, D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff’s partner, Michael Scanlon, pleaded guilty last week to bribery, admitting that he and Abramoff offered and provided items of value to public officials in exchange for official acts. According to the Wall Street Journal, investigators are looking into whether Abramoff and his associates made illegal payoffs to lawmakers and their aides in the form of campaign contributions, sports tickets, meals, travel, and job offers, in exchange for helping their clients. [Wall Street Journal, 11/25/2005] Prosecutors are also investigating at least 17 current and former congressional aides.

Records show that Graul, as Green’s Washington Chief of Staff, repeatedly took ticket freebies for Abramoff’s skybox in D.C. for NBA games, concerts, and a WWF event. [TalkingPointsMemo.Com, 10/10/2005]

“The people of Wisconsin deserve to know what Mark Green and his staff did to earn the freebies Abramoff repeatedly gave to Green’s congressional office,” Wineke said. “Considering the number of favors Green’s office received, it is hard to believe these gifts were anything other than a reward for votes that benefited Abramoff and his clients, instead of Wisconsin families.”

After initially denying taking any freebies from Abramoff’s firm, Graul finally admitted to receiving gifts, excusing the behavior as just the way business is done in Washington. “I believe it’s illegal in Madison” to take freebies, Graul told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s legal in Washington.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/21/2005] Graul also admitted he was the contact person to receive freebies.

“Mark Green seems to think it is okay for his staffers in Washington to take freebies from an indicted lobbyist,” Wineke said. “In Wisconsin, we call that bribery, and the U.S. Justice Department apparently agrees that it’s bribery in Washington as well. Green has shown that he is a Washington politician caught up in the culture of corruption that has plagued Republicans in the nation’s capital.”

The Justice Department is also looking into Abramoff’s interactions with the indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio. Green has close relationships with both Congressmen, taking more than $30,000 in tainted cash from DeLay and requesting that Ney bring his congressional committee to Wisconsin to help his campaign for Governor. Prosecutors have told Ney and his former chief of staff that they are preparing a possible bribery case against them, The Washington Post has reported.

Can you Trust Conservative 'facts'?

John Tierney is the conservative columnist for the Times, along with David Brooks.

Here is a great Correction published after one of his editorials:

In John Tierney's column of Nov. 12 about Amtrak, the railroad's share of intercity travel has not been declining for 50 years. Amtrak is only 34 years old.

Way to get those facts straight!

Post Crescent Picks Up On Child Support Story:

We sent out a press release on this last week, it is nice to see coverage of it in the media.

Aid cuts put child support at risk
State to lose $112M to enforce collection

Wisconsin counties may lose millions in federal aid for child support enforcement, and officials say the trickle-down effect could devastate single-parent households.

"This would tend to push a group of children who are financially on the edge into poverty," Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris said Monday.

The Budget Reconciliation Act of 2005, which the House of Representatives passed by two votes Nov. 18, reduces federal aid for child support enforcement by about $4.9 billion over five years. As a consequence, support collections would drop about $7.9 million over a five-year period and $24 billion over a decade, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Wisconsin stands to lose about $143 million in federal aid, $112 million of which would normally go to counties to help collect child support, sometimes from unwilling parents. Officials point out that the cut would affect Wisconsin disproportionately. Last year, the state's counties collected about $5.90 for every dollar they spent on enforcement. The national average was $4.38.

"We have determined cuts will reduce collections $466 million over the next 10 years," state Department of Workforce Development communications director Rose Lynch said Monday.

"This is a really serious number because that is the amount that would go directly to the families," she said. "Child support goes to 300,000 single-parent households a year. Half are either current or former welfare recipients, so we are talking about some changes that affect our most vulnerable group of folks."

Redgranite Library Closes for lack of $2,000

This is another example of bad budget priorities. Libraries are an important service to the community.

the library will close for the month of December as a result of tough financial times.

"It was around Halloween when we had $400 left in the budget. We wondered what we were going to do," Borchardt said.

It takes more than $2,000 a month to run the library, which is open three days a week

Petri on Medicare Part D...

Petri on the complexity of the program:
Senior citizens all across the country are confused about the new Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit - and I don't blame them.

Congress wanted to craft a plan that would encourage private insurers to compete against each other to offer the most attractive federally-subsidized plans possible at reasonable rates. The response from insurers has been strong, which is a good thing. But it also means that seniors need to research their options carefully to find the best deal available.

But, not to worry, because he is willing to help you out!

To help people navigate through this important addition to Medicare, I am hosting two Town Meetings on Prescription Drug Benefits on Friday, Dec. 2. Joining me for the meetings will be Peter Leonis, Government Affairs Liaison at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Mr. Leonis will make a presentation on the new program and will participate in a question and answer session.

The first meeting will take place Dec. 2 from 10 to 11 am at the Sheboygan Senior Center at 428 Wisconsin Ave. in Sheboygan. Registration begins at 9:30 am.

The second meeting will take place Dec. 2 from 2 to 3 pm at the Beaver Dam Senior Center, 114 East Third Street in Beaver Dam. Registration begins at 1:30 pm.

So, let's get this straight of the 600,000 plus residents of Wisconsin's 6th District, Petri will sort this confusing drug benefit by hosting two one-hour sessions.


I urge everyone to show up and let him know exactly what you think of this 'benefit'.


Green's Buddy Ney's Ethic's Problems...

It's pretty bad when your a DeLay Republican and even Grover Norqist is against you...

While most Republicans have stayed mum on Ney's problems, there was a notable exception last week. In a breakfast with reporters, Republican activist and key White House ally Grover Norquist, whose own dealings with Abramoff have come under scrutiny, suggested if Ney is facing a "serious legal problem," he "should step aside for the good of the team." While no Republican has publicly asked Ney to step down in '06, party officials privately admit worries over the investigation, which reportedly includes other lawmakers. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department is now probing Abramoff's dealings with DeLay, Rep. John Doolittle and Sen. Conrad Burns, all of whom are up for re-election in 2006. All have denied wrongdoing.

Also remember, Rep. Mark Green is mixed up with this gang, having taken a bunch of money from DeLay and Rep. Ney is who Green brought to Milwaukee to discuss Voter ID...

Way to go, Bernie!

Bernie Faust, a veteran of the Navy, has been named to the National Board of Directors of the Tin Can Sailors, a 24,000-member organization. The organization represents those who sailed on lightly skinned Naval destroyers, which bounced around like a "tin can" on the seas.


Bush Approved Torture at Yale

In today's Doonesbury there are references to Bush's condoning a hazing ritual at Yale in which pledges were burned with a clotheshanger.

This episode was brought up in a New York Times article at the time (DailyKos has the entire text here.)

Here's the money quote:

The charge that has caused the most controversy on the Yale campus is that Delta Kappa Epsilon applied on "hot branding iron" to the small of the back of its 40 new members in the shape of the Greek letter Delta, approximately a half inch wide, appeared with the article.

A former president of Delta that [sic] the branding is done with a hot coathanger. But the former president, George Bush, a Yale senior, said that the resulting wound is "only a cigarette burn."

Does this sound like Apocalypse Now ?

A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

The video, which first appeared on a website that has been linked unofficially to Aegis Defence Services, contained four separate clips, in which security guards open fire with automatic rifles at civilian cars. All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on "route Irish", a road that links the airport to Baghdad.
Click here to read it all

Abuse in Iraq as bad or worse than in Saddam's day: Allawi

Human rights abuses in Iraq now are as bad, or worse, than they when Saddam Hussein was in power, the nation's first post-Saddam prime minister was quoted as saying.

"People are doing the same as (in) Saddam Hussein's time and worse," said Allawi, an prominent opponent of Saddam who steered the US-backed interim government in Baghdad until April this year."

It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam Hussein and now we are seeing the same things."

Allawi's remarks came two weeks after US troops raided a secret prison in Iraq and found about 170 detainees in need of water, food and medical attention.

The entire article is here

Just think if we would have elected him to lead as well...

"I just found him to be a knowledgeable, normal person. He kept us focused. He wanted us all to have our own say."

Boston nurse Cynthia Lovell, on sharing jury duty with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who was elected foreman

Quote of the day:

"I don't think I'm stupid, but there's too many options."

Chicago resident Diane Bohne, 65, on the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit, under which 40 stand-alone drug plans and 49 managed-care plans offer coverage in Illinois alone

Newsweek CW is right here:

Bush: Three months after Katrina, and still no one in charge of cleanup and housing. An ongoing fiasco.

A little more on the garbage fee...

The following is from the 'Eye on Oshkosh' website - it was written by Cheryl Hentz about Paul Esslinger:

...even though he did not vote for the budget, I have spoken with him about this garbage fee and he truly believes this fee system is a more fair system than what we had before. We had a very interesting discussion about it the other evening. Fortunately for Paul, he will actually save money under the fee system. But that will not be the case for most property owners in this community.
It seems Paul Esslinger does support the fee.

I think Bryan Bain for a large part, and Burke Tower for a lesser amount, deserve a lot of credit for really trying to beat the fee. This is a truly regressive fee, as is outlined by Cheryl Hentz when she points out that Paul Esslinger will save money on the fee system.

Why? We discussed this in the City Academy. If you look at the garbage pick up as part of the entire budget, it is currently (my numbers may be off a little, but they should be close - I am going from memory here) about $75 on a $100,000 property. Being that your tax rate is based on the worth of your house, if you own a house worth $200,000 then your portion of tax that goes to garbage collection is $150.

What this means is that if your house is worth less that $160,000 then your share of the total amount of money paid to the city in taxes and fees will go up because of this fee, if your house is worth more that $160,000 then your amount of the share of property taxes for this go down.

According to the US Census Bureau, the median home worth in Oshkosh is $86,300. That means this fee increases the share of government paid by everyone in Oshkosh with a home worth of TWICE Oshkosh's median.

Yes, that is correct, the garbage fee is just another way to move the cost of government from the rich to the poor. And, in this case, taking from both the poor and middle for the wealthy.

Good old Robin Hood in reverse all over again.


This is the exact opposite effect that the proposed County Sales Tax would have had. Because of the property tax reductions that went along with the sales tax, it would have reduced the burden on the poorer among us.

We need to really look at how we finance the government locally, as well as nationally. We are seeing this pattern over and over again.

Everyone should pay their fair share of government, the wealthy too.