Thoughts on a Part-time Legislature

A part-time legislature reduces the number of candidates who could have the job.

Why, only people that can afford to take the time off to convene can be in the legislature.
Therefore regular working people who do not have the flexibility (in both income and days available off work) to drive down to the Capitol several days at a time for part-time pay will not be able to serve.

Being in the legislature part-time is relegated to the retired, the wealthy, the self-employed, and others this this sort of flexibility.

We just saw that in the Calumet County Board this year when Brad Fischer had to drop off the board because they refused to schedule meetings out of regular work hours, and he could not attend.

I therefore (reluctantly) support a full-time legislature. But, along with that, we need publicly financed campaigns - so that not only can a regular member of society have the ability to serve, but also to win.

Crime? or Coverup?

Another great post to Altercation:

Name: Beth Harrison
Hometown: Arlington, VA
Not meaning to promote someone else's equally well written and researched blog, (Talking Points Memo) but it turns out that the photography service for the Bush White House has scrubbed the photos of Bush and Abramoff. As in erased from their database (one reason not to use digital cameras -- no negatives). Now, if we apply the "what if Clinton did it" test, the hue and cry would go on for days, weeks, months, etc. Did Bush commit a crime with Abramoff? Don't know. Is Bush involved in a coverup of his relationship with Abramoff? You betcha. And as they said 32 (and 8) years ago, it's not the crime, it's the coverup.

A Look Into Bushworld

From MSNBC's First Read:

That wayward Agence France Presse camera that was distracting President Bush at the start of his news conference yesterday turned out to be a metaphor for events surrounding Bush and yet beyond his control as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday: the surprise victory by Hamas in the Palestinian elections mucking up his Middle East policy; the Congressional Budget Office's verdict, essentially, that he can't make his tax cuts permanent and still halve the deficit by 2009; new Commerce Department data showing that the economy in the final quarter of 2005 grew at the slowest in three years; and widespread unease among Americans about the state of the country, as depicted by four national polls that happened to come out on the heels of his appearance


Missing a Point of a Story - Bemis Union Edition:

This is how the previous vote was characterized today:

In a 2000 vote, the union was rejected, 386-257, but the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a re-election after determining the company violated the National Labor Relations Act by trying to influence employees with announcements of changes and pending changes to their retirement pension plans.

And this is how is was last week:

Workers rejected organizing, 386-257, in a July 2000 vote, but an administrative law judge set aside the vote after determining company managers violated the National Labor Relations Act by promising pension program increases if the union effort failed, according to a February 2005 decision of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The difference? The second paragraph gives people a reason to vote for the union. Look at what happened. Just the threat of representation increased benefits for the workers.

I think this goes back to an organic bias of the media that I have mentioned before.

Eric Alterman:

Alterman also contended that, even if television pundits or politicians were not overtly liberally biased, the structure of media in general allows for much more coverage of conservative interests.

“Everyday I read the Business Section of the New York Times. Not the Labor Section, not the Environment Section,” Alterman said, referring to two nonexistent sections. “These are conservative assumptions.”

Enough Said...

Join here.


Good Cartoon:

Wash Post: "Bush, Come Clean About You & Abramoff"

We also know that Mr. Abramoff is an admitted crook who was willing to bribe members of Congress and their staffs to get what he (or his clients) wanted. In addition to attending a few White House Hanukkah parties and other events at which he had his picture snapped with the president, Mr. Abramoff had, according to the White House, "a few staff-level meetings" with White House aides.

Here is what we don't know about Jack Abramoff and the White House: whom he met with and what was discussed. Nor, if the White House sticks to its current position, will we learn that anytime soon. Press secretary Scott McClellan told the White House press corps: "If you've got some specific issue that you need to bring to my attention, fine. But what we're not going to do is engage in a fishing expedition that has nothing to do with the investigation."

This is not a tenable position. It's undisputed that Mr. Abramoff tried to use his influence, and his restaurant and his skyboxes and his chartered jets, to sway lawmakers and their staffs. Information uncovered by Mr. Bush's own Justice Department shows that Mr. Abramoff tried to do the same inside the executive branch.

Under these circumstances, asking about Mr. Abramoff's White House meetings is no mere exercise in reportorial curiosity but a legitimate inquiry about what an admitted felon might have been seeking at the highest levels of government. Whatever White House officials did or didn't do, there is every reason to believe that Mr. Abramoff was up to no good and therefore every reason the public ought to know with whom he was meeting.

Photo of the Week - Mark Green Doesn't Care About Women Edition

Above is the 'Photo of the Week' from Mark Green's Green Sheet Newsletter. Here's the caption:

Photo of the Week
This week's POTW is from Sunday, when Mark was the keynote speaker at the Sauk County Right to Life Rally in Baraboo. You can see a news clip about the event
here. Mark's been called a "pro-life hero" for his efforts to protect all human life. As further evidence of his not sharing our Wisconsin values, Governor Doyle is on record favoring no restrictions on abortion at all.
Just an observation...

Mark Green is discussing women's reproductive issues with a bunch of men who seem to look well past 'child-bearing' age.

Shouldn't they be getting some opinions from the women whom their decisions would affect?

It really reminds me of this famous picture (you'll have to click for the link) titled "President Bush Signs Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003" featuring Bush surrounded by nine men and no women at the ceremony.


Great Letter:

Feingold looks better than GOP in Abramoff flap

The letter Steve Finley submitted against U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold was at best uninformed and at worst libelous. He begins by claiming Feingold accepted money from “a now known criminal.”

Why is Finley avoiding the use of Jack Abramoff’s name? Is it because Finley wants to avoid the fact that Abramoff has given money to Republicans? The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics (www.capitaleye.org/ abramoff.asp) has listed everyone who has received money from Abramoff and Feingold’s name is not on that list. Furthermore, everyone on that list is a Republican, including George W Bush. Abramoff himself was designated a Bush “Pioneer” for raising at least $100,000 for Bush. The White House has said that Bush will keep the Abramoff money.

Feingold didn’t receive money from Abramoff; he received $1,600 from a PAC associated with Greenberg Traurig that employed Abramoff for a while. This money was neither illegal nor tainted. He gave it back anyway.

Finley then implies that because Feingold took money from a “now known criminal” he is no longer fit to sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Where does this leave Bush, and how does Finley feel about that?

As for Finley’s real question, “how many of those wiretapped were U.S. citizens?” According to the New York Times, almost all of the illegal spying has led to innocent Americans except for two. One was a lunatic who wanted to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch and the other wanted directions for detonating a fertilizer bomb.

What is more chilling is the recent report by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Bush’s political opponents have been the target of many domestic spying incidents.

FISA oversight of NSA spying would have allowed the investigation of the two incidents above while stopping the spying on political opponents.

John Lemberger

Bush Ruins Armed Forces

Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon’s decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and Vietnam veteran, created a political storm last fall when he called for an early exit from Iraq, arguing that the Army was “broken, worn out” and fueling the insurgency by its mere presence. Administration officials have hotly contested that view.

Ex-NATO commander agrees

George Joulwan, a retired four-star Army general and former NATO commander, agrees the Army is stretched thin.

“Whether they’re broken or not, I think I would say if we don’t change the way we’re doing business, they’re in danger of being fractured and broken, and I would agree with that,” Joulwan told CNN last month.

I am so tired of Bush wrapping himself in the Armed Forces while he sells them down the river in recuiting, equiping and funding upon return.

The Army is a great American institution and deserves better leaders than it is currently burdened with.

Reid Takes it to the Mat...

“In his 2000 campaign, George Bush promised to bring ’dignity’ to the White House but we’ve since found that he brought Jack Abramoff instead,” Reid, D-Nev., said at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, in remarks previewing Democratic criticism of the presidential speech.

Reid ticked off a list of what he termed Bush failures, contending Bush policies have made the country less safe, driven up debt and increased dependence on foreign oil.

He seized on problems with the newly implemented Medicare prescription drug plan. “The state of our union today is that we have seniors begging in the streets for the medicine they need,” Reid said.

Reid also said Bush was “deeply dishonest” when he promised in his 2003 State of the Union not to pass along problems to future generations. Instead younger generations will pay “so he can hand out tax breaks to special interests and the wealthy,” Reid charged.

I think Rep Gunderson has smoking and hunting mixed up...

That's why Slattery says there's no way eight-year-olds should be allowed to hunt, which would be the case if State Representative Scott Gunderson's bill passes. Gunderson says it's important to get kids involved in hunting early because if they don't start by age 12 or 13, it's too late.

Now, last I checked the hunting age has been 12 for a long, long time. Yet we still have plenty of hunters.

I think that an 8-year old does not have the judgement to look at the target, and make sure that everything around the target is safe to take the shot.

I encourage people to get their children involved with shooting sports. It is a great way for children to respect the power of firearms. But, in a more controlled environment. I shoot trap in the summer, and often get beat by kids under 12.

That is the proper place to indroduce kids to shooting. Not hunting in increasingly crowded spots.


Law Enforcement Approves of Doyles Concealed-Carry Veto

Governor Doyle deserves high praise for vetoing Senate Bill 403 the latest version of the concealed hand gun legislation,” 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, is gravely concerned about a provision in the bill relating to the way that police officers would be allowed to use information about permit holders.”

Also, praising the Governor for his veto was WSDSA Executive Director, James Cardinal.

Cardinal, a former Chippewa County Deputy, is especially troubled by the prospect that a person convicted of a violation, or for solicitation, conspiracy, or attempt to commit a violation, under the uniformed controlled substances act would be eligible to apply for and could potentially be issued a state permit to carry a concealed hand gun after 3 short years.

“The bill treats concealed handgun permit holders differently when it comes to the retention of the state’s public records. Under the proposal application records are to be destroyed after 15 months,” according to Cardinal.
“This is completely wrong.”

He also said “There should be no exemptions for applicants undergoing computer record checks either.”

Weissenberger encouraged the public to contact their legislators and tell them to vote to uphold the governor’s veto.

The LaCrosse County Sheriff closed by saying that once again “It is up to every citizen to help insure the protections that the current 133 year old prohibition on concealed weapons has provided.”

Thought of the Day:

Do we need Gov Doyle's plan to extend healthcare to cover the extra bullet wounds from concealed carry?

The Real Problem with the WI GOP Agenda

Doyle said this about concealed carry, but it could apply to any number of issues that the WI GOP has put forward to distract people from the true purpose of our government:

"The bill does not create a single job, help a single Wisconsin citizen afford health care, or improve schools for a single Wisconsin child," the governor said in a statement. "The Legislature should spend more time trying to get jobs into our communities instead of more guns."

Should Dean Kaufert be able to keep his liquor license?

I don't know if this is the law or not, but if it os then 'Silence Dogwood' makes a good point here:

Kaufert to lose liquor license?

Will Neenah State Representative Dean Kaufert lose his liquor license for his Main street tavern?

Kaufert owns Under the Dome (116 Main) in partnership with confessed corrupt politician and former GOP Majority Leader Steve Foti. Foti recently confessed to using State employers to run the political campaigns of his GOP buddies. The cost to the taxpayers for the salaries of the employees exceeds $300,000. Foti is awaiting sentencing which will likely include jail time.

Here is Kaufert’s problem. State law prohibits businesses that are owned in total or in part by convicted criminals from holding liquor licenses. Will the Neenah City Council yank the Dome’s liquor license? Or, will the Council members allow one of its favorite watering holes to thumb its nose at the law?


My Favorite Line From the State of the State

“I want to make this very clear to Wal-Mart and any other company that might be thinking of shifting its health care responsibility to taxpayers: BadgerCare is intended to help working families, not multibillion dollar corporations,” Doyle said.

Good Cartoon

From the Center for American Progress

A Success Story Close to Home (very close for me)

Neenah firm receives aid for $1.2 million expansion
J.J. Keller & Associates Inc. is planning a $1.2 million expansion at its operations in Neenah that will create about 70 jobs.

The company produces technical publications, software and online management tools to assist companies in various industries with compliance to federal and state regulations. The expansion project is to help develop and market a new management tool.

J.J. Keller has been awarded $250,000 in Technology Zone Tax Credits to support the project, which is expected to retain 983 jobs, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said.

J.J. Keller is a part of the Northeast Wisconsin Regional Economic Partnership Technology Zone, which provides incentives for high-tech growth in engineering/design, electronics, and wood/forestry related products, among others.

Guess Who Came to Work on Friday?

J.J. Keller to add 70 jobs

VINLAND — Gov. Jim Doyle Friday announced an economic development project expected to add more than 70 jobs at J.J. Keller & Associates, a large technical and regulatory publishing firm west of Neenah. The project ties in with Doyle’s “Affordability Agenda” outlined during his State of the State address this week. A main element of the agenda is strengthening Wisconsin manufacturing. The jobs are related to a Web-based product from Keller that assists human resources departments.

Another one:

“This is exactly the reason why we are pursuing the election of all municipal court judges,” said Jeff Hall, executive director of the state Board for Judicial Administration. “If he had been elected, he could have contested the removal of his clerk and still remained in office.”

Best. Politician. Name. Ever.

Paddy Tipping is my MP

Paddy is the MP for Sherwood, Nottinghamshire. This blog contains regular reports on his activities as an MP and the stance he takes on various issues, as well as links to information on him and his constituency.

Good Line From Maureen Dowd

Torquemada Cheney was torturing logic again in a speech to a conservative think tank in New York. “Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornets’ nest,” he said. “They overlook a fundamental fact: we were not in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2001, and the terrorists hit us anyway.”

Yeah, Dick, because they weren’t in Iraq, either.