(U. W. Oshkosh Political Science Professor Jim) Simmons said a race without Underheim creates a stronger chance that a Democrat could win the Assembly seat, although it may depend on whether third party or independent candidates splinter the liberal-leaning voter pool.
It is a fun little thing. As mentioned in a previous post, I started this blog just as a way to share stories of interest with my buddy, Jon (who I don't think even reads this anymore).
Anyway, I get about 40-50 unique people a day that give me a lookup. So, I am not huge, but I thank those that stop by.
But today, I got a special visitor! Someone from the House of Representatives!
Here's the little report Site Meter gives you:
Domain Name house.gov
IP Address (I'm not going to show that!)
ISP Information Systems, U.S. House of Representatives
Location Continent : North America
Country : United States
State : District of Columbia
City : Washington
Time of Visit Jan 13 2006 4:19:22 pm
Last Page View Jan 13 2006 4:22:56 pm
Visit Length 3 minutes 34 seconds
Page Views 2
Visit Entry Page http://www.jef4wi.blogspot.com/
Visit Exit Page http://www.jef4wi.blogspot.com
Time Zone UTC-5:00EST - Eastern StandardEDT - Eastern Daylight Saving
Time Visitor's Time
Jan 13 2006 5:19:22 pm
Visit Number 638
Here's Something to Remember When Certain School Board Candidates Campaign on Cutting Teacher Pay and Benefits:
Wisconsin teachers among best
98 percent of state's teachers ranked 'highly qualified'
Think your children's teachers know their stuff?
The vast majority do, including all but 2 percent of Wisconsin teachers. But many others are teaching courses they have yet to master, four years after President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act requiring most public school classrooms to have "highly qualified" instructors by the end of this school year or risk losing federal money.
The overall news is good for parents. States reported that on average 86 percent of classes had qualified teachers during 2003-04, the latest school year with available data. Washington state and Montana were at the top (99 percent), and states such as California (52 percent) and Tennessee (58 percent) were among the lowest.
Wisconsin ranks highly for highly qualified teachers in core academic class, with 98 percent of teachers having that designation. In Oshkosh, 100 percent of teachers are highly qualified, according to Human Resources Director John Sprangers.
In Wisconsin, a teacher is ranked as "highly qualified" if he or she meets the requirements to be licensed under state law because the criteria for the two are so similar, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
"I think it's a reflection on the Wisconsin system for licensure. The concerns that drove that legislation, came from other parts of the country," Sprangers said.
Underheim Campaign: Underheim Won't Seek Re-election
Contact: Gregg Underheim (920) 233-1082
Health Committee Chair Grateful to Oshkosh for Years of Support
Oshkosh…Long time chair of the Assembly Health Committee Gregg Underheim (R-Oshkosh) has announced that this will be his last term in the state legislature.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my service to the people of Oshkosh. Whether it was working with the folks here at home or on health care issues in Madison, making government work for those it is intended to serve has been a top priority for me. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received from friends and neighbors over the years, and now I look forward to seeking new
Underheim said he is in good health and planned to seek employment after his current term ends.
Read it all here. And give some support here.
The Maryland Senate on Thursday overrode Gov. Robert Ehrlich's veto and approved a bill that would force Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to spend more on employee health care in the state.
The state Senate voted 30-17 in favor of the bill, surpassing the margin needed to override the veto by one vote.
The override by the Maryland Senate sets the stage for a vote in the Maryland House of Delegates, which was expected to take up the bill at about 5:00 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT).
According to one Republican delegate opposed to the bill, who requested anonymity, the bill's supporters in the House have secured 88 votes there, three
more than the number required to override a veto.
The bill would require companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits, or pay the balance into a state low-income health insurance fund.
The state Senate vote came after about 90 minutes of debate and fell largely along party lines, with three Democrats crossing over to vote against the bill.
Supporters said the state had to act because Wal-Mart was forcing the state to subsidize its employees' health care.
"I hope personally all 49 (other) states will do this. The states are backed up to the wall on this one," said the sponsor of the bill, Democratic Sen. Gloria Lawlah.
We don't know why Martha-Ann Bomgardner, Samuel Alito's wife, started crying yesterday. That's a personal matter -- that's getting waaay too much attention in the mainstream media -- and frankly we had no intention of even mentioning it on the blog.
But now we feel compelled to, because of this:
Why are Swift Boaters -- the folks who smeared John Kerry's war record in the 2004 election -- now trying to promote Alito's nomination by capitalizing on yesterday's bizarre incident?
We're referring to this release sent out yesterday by Creative Response Concepts, an Alexandria, Va., based PR firm with deep blood lines on the far right:
The always-alert Creative Response Concepts, a conservative public relations firm, sent this bulletin: "Former Alito clerk Gary Rubman witnessed Mrs. Alito leaving her husband's confirmation in tears and is available for interviews, along with other former Alito clerks who know her personally and are very upset about this development."
In case that was too much trouble for the journalists, the firm also e-mailed out a statement from the Judicial Confirmation Network calling "for the abuse to stop."
This post this summer from the citizen-journalists at ePluribus Media notes that the Judicial Confirmation Network is essentially an arm of Campaign Solutions, "the public-relations firm for Bush-Cheney '04, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee." And the JCN had hired Creative Response Concepts as a key part of its team to aid John Roberts, now the Chief Justice, and Alito in their Senate confirmation battles. (JCN's leader, Gary
Marx, used to work for Century Strategies, the firm of Ralph Reed, best pal of Jack Abramoff...small world, isn't it?)
Who is Creative Response Concepts? Among other things, they were "the brains" advising Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth last summer, when the group made national headlines with its smear campaign against Kerry's Vietnam War record.
Read the rest here.
I’m going to say that I am still somewhat troubled by the idea that you were prepared for this hearing by some lawyers who were very much involved in promoting the purported legal justification for the NSA wiretapping program….
I note, for example, that one of the people who participated in these sessions was Benjamin Powell. He recently advised President Bush on intelligence matters and was just given a recess appointment as general counsel to the national intelligence director.
I also see the name of White House Counsel Harriet Miers on the list. And she, obviously, is involved in the president’s position on this matter.
I included a screen shot of the email so you would believe I am not making this up.
Here is the text:
With the expanding criminal investigation into the Doyle Administration's pay-to-play tactics, and scumbag lobbyist Jack Abramoff admitting he bribed elected officials and staff, public confidence in politicians is taking a beating the likes of which we haven't seen since Ivan Drago took on Apollo Creed in Rocky IV.
There are several things wrong with this email. Let's work through them.
Well, that scumbag Jack Abramoff was all tied up with Rep. Green. Let's count the ways:
1. Abramoff buddy (co-conspirator, if you will) DeLay gave Green almost $30,000 over the years.
2. Congressman #1, also known as Green buddy Rep. Ney is the top of the list for receiving and providing favors for Abramoff. Green returned the favor by bringing Ney to Wisconsin to tell us how to run an honest election.
3. Green Chief of Staff (now Campaign Manager) Mark Graul is now on his 38th answer and excuse as to why he regularly requested or received free tickets and favors from Abramoff (Xoff has a chronology here).
OK, so we have it, Green is nowhere far enough away from Abramoff to use that sort of language (either that or he knows him well enough to call him as 'scumbag'...).
Then, he follows this up by comparing the voters to Ivan Drago vs. Apollo Creed as the lobbyists.
Let's review Rocky IV. Ivan Drago was a steroid-jacked up communist, Apollo Creed was the GOOD GUY, even coming up to the ring in an Uncle Sam suit to the tune of 'Living in America'.
Oh yea, and Ivan KILLED Apollo.
So, according to Mark Green. The voters are a steroid-jacked communist that unremorsefully kills the patriotic, elderly minority underdog lobbyists for entertainment.
Now, I realize that I am taking this email to it's logical extreme. But, come on. You want to be governor of Wisconsin and you can't come up with a better campaign statement?
UPDATE: I added a link to the email as a press release at wispolitics.com. Here it is.
Name: Robert Earle
Hometown: Torrance, CA
RE: 'signing statements' Through a link from some blog or another (Atrios?), I came across this posting, which in turn quotes this Knight-Ridder article as saying that the use of such "signing statements" has become so frequent under Mr. Bush that "in 2003, lawmakers tried to get a handle on Bush's use of signing statements by passing a Justice Department spending bill that required the department to inform Congress whenever the administration decided to ignore a legislative provision on constitutional grounds. Bush signed the bill, but issued a statement asserting his right to ignore the notification requirement." Unbelievable, isn't it? Under King George the Infallible, we not only have imperialism, we have meta-imperialism!
I think this signing-statements thing is out of control. It is a great reason not to put Alito on the court. We need people (on the Supreme Court and in Congress) that will challenge the president's power.
Checking the power of an overly strong executive was the entire point of the Constitution. If you do not agree with that, you do not agree with freedom in general and the founding theory of America specifically.
Bryan was the first major-party politician to advocate what became the core of modern liberalism: expanding the powers of the federal government to serve the welfare of ordinary Americans. He preached that the national state should counter the power of banks and industrial corporations by legalizing strikes, subsidizing farmers, taxing the rich, banning private campaign spending, and outlawing the “liquor trust.” “The power of the government to protect the people is as complete in time of peace as in time of war,” Bryan declared in 1922. “The only question to be decided is whether it is necessary to exercise that power.”
Thoughts for the day...
Here are the emails between Ellis' and Doyle's staffers:
From: Boerger, Michael (Legislature) [mailto:Michael.Boerger@legis.state.wi.us]
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 1:41 PM
To: Henderson, Patrick - Office of Governor Jim Doyle
Subject: RE: Ethics Reform Package
Looks good, Pat.
From: Henderson, Patrick -
Office of Governor Jim Doyle
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 1:02 PM
To: Boerger, Michael (Legislature)
Subject: RE: Ethics Reform Package
Here is what we worked up. It's pretty similar so let me know what you think…
"These are important reforms that will help to ensure public confidence in government, and I'm pleased that the Governor is supporting them," said Ellis. "It's essential that any meaningful ethics reform be bipartisan and the Governor's support will go a long way toward that effort. I am hopeful that with his backing, we can win strong support in the Legislature."
Office of Governor Jim Doyle
From: Boerger, Michael (Legislature) [mailto:Michael.Boerger@legis.state.wi.us]
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 8:29 AM
To: Henderson, Patrick - Office of
Governor Jim Doyle
Subject: RE: Ethics Reform Package
Looks good, Pat.
Sorry I missed you yesterday, but I was really out of it.
"I'm pleased to see Governor Doyle's support for these initiatives," said Ellis. "It's essential that any meaningful ethics reform be bipartisan and the Governor's support will go a long way toward that effort."
From: Henderson, Patrick -
Office of Governor Jim Doyle
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 3:00 PM
To: Griffiths, Terri; Boerger, Michael (Legislature)
Subject: Ethics Reform Package
Hi Terri and Mike,
To ensure that we are all working off the same information here is what each of you told me you were comfortable supporting. Hopefully I have captured the opinion of your bosses and the Governor is comfortable with the attached package. When you have a couple quotes for us to include in the Governor's release please feel free to forward them to me. Mike I'm not sure if you and I talked about this idea of the quote but if you would be so kind as to provide us with a quote we will make sure that it is in the Governor's release along with Rep. Freese's quote to make sure that you all get credit for being a part of this as well.
Name: Patrick Weidinger
Hometown: Lancaster, PA
Dear Eric:Regarding The American College of Emergency Physicians report card on state preparedness for health care emergencies, it was interesting to note the discrepancies between "blue" states and "red" states. By assigning point values for each letter grade (D - = 0.67, D = 1.0, D+ = 1.33, C- = 1.67, C = 2.0, C+ = 2.33, etc.) I came up with the following blue/red GPA's:
Red states = GPA of 1.71
Blue states = GPA of 2.28
While a C+ is nothing to brag about, it beats a C- any day. Just another reason to live in a "blue" state. You have a better chance of your state's emergency medical system responding in the event of the next Katrina, the flu, or a WMD attack.
The report he is referencing is here. Unfortunately, Wisconsin gets a C-.
"Since government regulation of prices and services is not in the cards, the inevitable result is higher costs."
Until we allow the government to step into the ring and negotiate some of these costs, we are stuck on this train. Government intervention works for the VA, it works in the Canadian drugs that are purchased daily. It can work for our healthcare. Let's make the providers, HMO's and insurers compete with the government in price and service.
Rising health care costs, already threatening many basic industries, now consume 16 percent of the nation's economic output -- the highest proportion ever, the government said yesterday in its latest calculation.
The nation's health care bill continued to grow substantially faster than inflation and wages, increasing by almost 8 percent in 2004, the most recent year with near-final numbers.
Even as health care costs continue to escalate, however, many Americans -- especially minorities and the poor -- still do not receive high-quality care, according to two other federal reports yesterday. The quality of health care is improving slowly and some racial disparities are narrowing, the reports found, but gaps persist and Hispanics appear to be falling even further behind.
The overall cost of health care -- everything from hospital and doctor bills to the cost of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, insurance and nursing home and home-health care -- doubled from 1993 to 2004, said the report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In 2004, the nation spent almost $140 billion more for health care than the year before.
"Americans rejected the tougher restrictions of managed care in the late 1990s, and yet they want all the latest advances in medical technology," said Drew Altman, president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which researches health issues. "Since government regulation of prices and services is not in the cards, the inevitable result is higher costs."
The health care increase of 7.9 percent in 2004 was almost three times the overall national inflation rate, which was 2.7 percent. The average hourly wage for workers in private companies was essentially unchanged that year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Toyota sees Hyundai as threat in America
"We're worried about them," executive says of South Korean rival
DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp., one of the world's most successful automakers, claims to be afraid of a lot of things: complacency, competition, and success itself.
But in the United States, rival Hyundai Motor Co. may well be at the top of Toyota's list.
"We're worried about them," Yukitoshi Funo, chairman of Toyota Motor Sales USA, told reporters in Detroit this week.
"Our main competitors here are essentially Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Hyundai, but Hyundai is the one we are very carefully watching," he said on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show here.
"Honda and Nissan are also formidable rivals, but they have a distinct business approach and profile from us," Toyota's Funo said. "Hyundai, meanwhile, is essentially doing what we're doing."
This story is depressing. Until our American carmaker's find a way to bcompetitiveve in this market, we are going to continue to loose the good jobs that go along with carmaking.
There are many factors, but if Ford and Chevy would try to compete in the high-volume, high-quality small car market that these companies are thriving in, we could make gains. The only car they have that really fits in that mold is the Ford Focus. Look what happens - you see them everywhere.
There is a market here for well-designed American cars. The day of the muscle car is over, yet that is what we see time and again from General Motors. There will always be some of that, but if you want high-volume sales, it needs to be in this market, in my opinion.
Ford, Chevy, please make a quality American, union-built competitor for the Prius, Camry or Accord. I know many people who want to buy that car.
About the judge's memory lapses, Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, drolly noted, "And I hope you'll understand if any of us come before a court and we can't remember Abramoff, you'll tend to believe us."
His basic defense to Democrats boiled down to: "I was just saying what my boss wanted to hear at the time." Haven't we had enough yes-men mangling government for the last five years? Heck of a job, Sammy.
Ancient ‘bog men’ make fashion statement
One wore hair gel, the other ‘would have been a giant’ 2,300 years ago
LONDON - The 2,300-year-old remains of two men discovered in an Irish bog have revealed a couple of surprises — one used hair gel and the other stood 6-foot-6 (2 meters), the tallest Iron Age body discovered.
“He would have been a giant ... the other man was quite short, about 5 foot, 2 inches,” or 158 centimeters, said Ned Kelly, head of antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland.
“The shorter man appeared to attempt to give himself greater stature by a rather curious headdress which was a bit like a Mohican-style with the hair gel, which was a resin imported from France,” Kelly told BBC radio.
Bacterial conditions found in the peat bogs preserved the remains so that even fingerprints were clearly visible.
The fashion-conscious gel wearer has been named Clonycavan Man, and Kelly said the fact he was able to buy imported cosmetics suggests he was a wealthy member of Irish society about 2,300 years ago. The other was dubbed Oldcroghan Man.
Kelly said both men had been murdered.
“Oldcroghan Man was stabbed through the chest. He saw that attack coming because there is a defensive injury on his arm.”
He was then decapitated and his body cut in half, while Clonycaven Man had his head split open with an axe before he was disemboweled.
It is such a stark difference from their fashion statements to their (rather gruesome) deaths...
Ford Tough doesn't compare to Oshkosh Truck tough!
A 1936 Oshkosh truck equipped with a heavy-duty snowblower will go up for auction in Marshall this month, the Associated Press reported late last week.Now, we knew Oshkosh Truck Corp. makes its vehicles tough enough to withstand the worst insurgents can throw at them, but this takes the cake! Seventy winters, and
we're not talkin' about some sissy winters in Kanasas or Missouri!
And did we mention this sucker is HUGE! (Scroll down to the second listing to see it and get the details.)
Nicknamed "Big Red," Lyon County officials say the truck still runs and a former operator, Leon Mumm said he wishes it would end up in a museum somewhere. We can't help but agree and feel Big Red should return to its home.
Name: Chris Walker
Hometown: New York, NY
Hi Dr Alterman, following on from Friday's "Quote of the Day", I was wondering if you, or any of the readers had been in touch with our direct line to God, namely Pat Robertson, to find out what the latest hospitalization of Dick Cheney could possibly mean? Is he finally getting his comeuppance for twisting information and lead us into an unjust and immoral war? Being punished for the ensuing deaths of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands (for who really keeps track?) of people? Or is he just being gently reminded to lay off the cheesburgers for a while? Come on Pat, we need to know!!
"As many as 42 percent of the Marine casualties who died from isolated torso injuries could have been prevented."
A secret Pentagon study, referring to injuries in the immediate, vest-protected chest area. Adding vest plates under the arms and around the shoulders could have made casualties up to 80 percent preventable.
I'll have more on this after some more research. This is unacceptable from a crowd of people that like to wrap themselves in the military. Bush should appologize for everytime he has given a speech in front of, to or near armed service members.
"I don't want to be on the list. I want to fly and see my grandma."
Edward Allen, 4, after a Continental Airlines agent refused to let the preschooler board a plane because his name matched one on a government terrorist watch list. He was eventually allowed to board after his mother intervened.
I know I feel more protected all ready.
Fixing the system should not really be that hard - and shouldn't require much courage. Just do the following:
• Go to full public funding of our elections. For less than $10 per person, we could take the influence of money out of our system - forever.
• Restore the power of the committee system in our Legislature. We need to disperse power into many more hands.
• Require all bills that are to be voted on to have at least one public hearing with at least 24 hours notice.
• No longer allow bills to be pulled from the Joint Committee on Tax Exemptions. This might sound like a small thing, but this used to be the one committee that could protect the Legislature from passing tax breaks for the special interests. Restore this protection.
• Use the Legislative Service Agencies. There is more talent in these four agencies than there is in the whole of the Legislature. Why waste this incredible talent?
Added coach Jeff Hall: "We had our sights set on this after we finished second last year. I knew we had an opportunity. I just hoped the kids would respond, and they did. To a man, everybody did a great job."
P.S. This is yet another Jeff Hall that is not me. Watch out, we are everywhere!
From the Boston Globe comes news that after approving a bill outlawing the torture and inhuman treatment of detainees, George W. Bush issued a "signing statement," a document which contains his interpretation of the bill. Not surprisingly, that interpretation is a declaration that he intends to view the torture ban within the context of his "broader powers" to protect national security.
In other words, the ban on torture on cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees means about as much as the law forbidding electronic surveillance without warrants of persons suspected of engaging in terrorism. Bush's signing statement was posted on the White House website; it is not a secret document, merely one--another one--that is floating by unnoticed.
A senior White House official is quoted as saying: "Of course the president has the obligation to follow this law, [but] he also has the obligation to defend and protect the country as the commander in chief, and he will have to square those two responsibilities in each case. 'We are not expecting that those two responsibilities will come into conflict, but it's possible that they will."
Dissatisfied with the nation's direction, Americans are leaning toward wanting a change in which political party leads Congress — preferring that Democrats take control, an AP-Ipsos poll found. Democrats are favored over Republicans 49 percent to 36 percent.
President Bush's job approval remains low — 40 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll, with only one-third saying the country is headed in the right direction.
A report by Congress's research arm concluded yesterday that the dministration's justification for the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by President Bush conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments.
The findings, the first nonpartisan assessment of the program's legality to date, prompted Democratic lawmakers and civil liberties advocates to repeat calls yesterday for Congress to conduct hearings on the monitoring program and attempt to halt it.
The 44-page report said that Bush probably cannot claim the broad presidential powers he has relied upon as authority to order the secret monitoring of calls made by U.S. citizens since the fall of 2001. Congress expressly intended for the government to seek warrants from a special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before engaging in such surveillance when it passed legislation creating the court in 1978, the CRS report said.
The report also concluded that Bush's assertion that Congress authorized such eavesdropping to detect and fight terrorists does not appear to be supported by the special resolution that Congress approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which focused on authorizing the president to use military force.
"It appears unlikely that a court would hold that Congress has expressly or impliedly authorized the NSA electronic surveillance operations here," the authors of the CRS report wrote. The administration's legal justification "does not seem to be . . . well-grounded," they said.
The questions that Wisconsinites have to be asking themselves is this: Why, if George Bush, Dennis Hastert and so many other top Republicans are going out of their way to put distance between themselves and the various scandals
that have gripped Washington, is U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Green Bay, not severing his ties to the subjects of so many investigations and inquiries?
Green refuses to give up roughly $30,000 in campaign contributions he got from groups associated with DeLay, he refuses to dismiss his campaign manager a former congressional aide who has been accused of accepting gifts from Abramoff and he refuses to distance himself from U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, the Ohio Republican who made a special trip to Wisconsin last fall to help Green and who now is one of the prime subjects of the Abramoff investigation.
Green, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, needs to follow the lead of Bush, Hastert and other Republicans who have recognized that the scandals that are plaguing Washington are a big deal. If he fails to do so, no one in their right mind will want to trust him with the keys to this state's executive offices.
Wineke Asks Graber to Support Investigation into Possible Voter
GOP Assembly Candidate Scott Newcomer Voted in Primary Election from Vacant Lot
MADISON – Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke today requested that his GOP counterpart join him in supporting the investigation of a special prosecutor in Waukesha County to determine the voting eligibility of Republican Assembly candidate Scott Newcomer in the January 10th special election for the 33rd State Assembly District.
Last month, Newcomer voted in the primary from a city of Delafield address listed as 1829 Nagawicka Road – a vacant lot that contains nothing but a backhoe.
Read it all here.
WASHINGTON -- Insisting that God "certainly needs to be involved" in the Supreme Court confirmation process, three Christian ministers today blessed the doors of the hearing room where Senate Judiciary Committee members will begin considering the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito on Monday.
Capitol Hill police barred them from entering the room to continue what they called a consecration service. But in a bit of one-upsmanship, the three announced that they had let themselves in a day earlier, touching holy oil to the seats where Judge Alito, the senators, witnesses, Senate staffers and the press will sit, and praying for each of the 13 committee members by name.
"We did adequately apply oil to all the seats," said the Rev. Rob Schenck, who identified himself as an evangelical Christian and as president of the National Clergy Council in Washington.