Lessons Learned - April 2006 Elections

Here are some observations on Democratic lessons from the last election from Paul Soglin's blog:

Opposition to the war in Iraq is not a liability for candidates when Republicans challenge their patriotism.

Support of the war will not assure election, especially for non-federal offices.

Old fashioned organizing still works.

The right will attempt to gay-bait. It will fail for two reasons:
a majority of Wisconsinites are tolerant, good people;
and votes will be lost on this issue only if Democrats get sucked into telling moderates that this is the most important item on the agenda.

The left will not shoot itself in the foot by taking positions 'too left' There is nothing wrong with:
Massachusetts style health care, stopping the parade of tax cuts for the rich, making Wal-Mart pay for its employees use of Badgercare, and pushing for more funding for quality public education.

And my favorite:

The best opponent a liberal can have even in the most Republican district is a clone of John Gard chanting, "TABOR, Conceal and Carry, Abortion, Taxes."


Will Bush keep his word and fire himself?

Bush quotes on how he would deal with people that leaked classified information:

Asked in June 2004 if he’d stand by his pledge to fire anyone found to have leaked, Bush replied “yes.” [Bush Press Conference: Savannah, GA, 6/10/04]

When the White House was asked specifically whether Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams or Lewis Libby told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: “Those individuals -- I talked -- I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that's where it stands.” [White House Briefing,

"I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." [Bush Remarks: Chicago, Illinois,

"The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." [White House Briefing,

Yet today we find out:

A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case.

Rice Caught in a Lie Again...

Rice on the Powell WMD presentation before the UN:

Asked about this by a reporter on Air Force One, Rice said: "I'm saying that when we put [Powell's speech] together... the secretary decided that he would caveat the aluminum tubes, which he did.... The secretary also has an intelligence arm that happened to hold that view."

Rice added, "Now, if there were any doubts about the underlying
intelligence to that NIE, those doubts were not communicated to the president,
to the vice president, or to me."

However, in the same article:

The disclosure that Bush was informed of the DOE and State dissents is the first evidence that the president himself knew of the sharp debate within the overnment over the aluminum tubes during the time that he, Cheney, and other members of the Cabinet were citing the tubes as clear evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program. Neither the president nor the vice president told the public about the disagreement among the agencies.

How many of these need to be uncovered before people get it?

Maybe I'm A Suspect, Too...

I do love the Clash after all...

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- British anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said on Wednesday.

Detectives halted the London-bound flight at Durham Tees Valley Airport in northern England and Harraj Mann, 24, was taken off.

The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash's 1979 anthem "London Calling," which features the lyrics "Now war is declared -- and battle come down" while other lines warn of a "meltdown expected".

...and I do have several Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and Suicidal Tendencies CD's (and cassette tapes!) from my Metalhead youth as well.

DeLay Out in Cartoon

Here it is.

Massachusetts becomes first US state with universal health insurance

From Yahoo News:

Massachusetts is set to become the first state to set up a system of virtually compulsory health insurance in the only major industrial nation not to have universal care.

The legislation requires that all of the state's population of about 6.3 million people have medical insurance by July 1, 2007.

No new taxes are planned but employers with more than 10 staff -- who do not provide health insurance -- will have to make a contribution of about 295 dollars per worker. The plan will cost about 1.2 billion dollars over three years.

Massachusetts residents who are already covered will see their contributions fall slightly while the poor will receive improved coverage and public subsidies to help them pay.

Those who do not have insurance and refuse to subsribe to health insurance will face mounting tax penalties.

Under the plan, some 515,000 people in the state without health insurance will get it within three years. This represents about 95 percent of the uninsured.

Wisconsin has had a plan in the legislature for some time that the Republicans have not let through. Hopefully this will prove to be a tipping point.

South Park Wins Peabody

"South Park" was praised as a show that "pushes all the buttons, turns up the heat and shatters every taboo," Peabody Awards Director Horace Newcomb said. "Through that process of offending it reminds us of the need for being tolerant."


"Citing Impacts on the Common Good" Catholics Against TABOR/TPA

Here is the entire release, snips below:


Arguing that a constitutional amendment to limit revenue increases will inhibit the ability of public institutions to serve the common good and likely force disproportionate reductions in programs and services that serve the poor and needy, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference today urged legislators to oppose the TABOR-like Taxpayer Protection Amendment.

“The common good is about much more than revenue limits. The common good is the standard by which we measure our shared commitment to something that is bigger than ourselves,” wrote WCC Executive Director John Huebscher in testimony to legislators.

“The proposed Taxpayer Protection Amendment offers an overly narrow - and thus distorted - vision of the common good. It relies on an impersonal formula rather than the judgment of elected officials to define the scope of our government response to society’s needs,” he added.

Citing the experience in Colorado, he observed that “concerns over the impact of the Colorado revenue restrictions on the poor were a vital consideration to the bishops of Colorado when they supported a referendum last November to relax the constitutional constraints on government in that state.”

Huebscher recalled that a bedrock of Wisconsin’s progressive tradition is the idea that its citizens are interdependent and have a shared responsibility for each other. He suggested that the very name “Taxpayer Protection Amendment” plays on a fear of such responsibility.

“No law or amendment, however cleverly named or well-packaged, can protect us from the moral claims of our neighbors. No amendment can shield us from the claims of our children to a quality education, of the elderly to income security, of the ill to health care, of the poor to necessities of life, or of our descendants to the good stewardship of the natural resources left in trust to us by our ancestors.

“The Taxpayer Protection Amendment marks a retreat from the ideals that have made our state a special place. It undermines both our capacity to move forward and our mandate to care for the needy. It should not be approved,” he concluded.

A Democrat wins in the Heart of WI GOP Territory:

Cribbed from What's Left - I was going to write something up about this, but she did such a good job:

A Democratic Mayor in Waukesha

Most people are pretty surprised that a Democrat won the mayoral race in Waukesha yesterday. It must have the Republicans at the state level a little nervous.

People on both sides of the political spectrum should take notice of one fact in the race - the Republican was a public supporter of the so-called Taxpayer Protection Amendment (TPA) and the Democrat was against it. He wasn't trying to walk the line and be both for it and against it either. So a Democrat won in a Republican base speaking out against the TPA.

And the Democrat was outspent 3-to-1 in the race.

There must be a few Republican supporters of the TPA questioning their stance on it today and looking through old press releases to see what they have said on this issue. Rep. Mark Green might be questioning his support of it too. If you can't win with that message in Waukesha, where can you?

Perhaps the supporters of this amendment will start to realize that voters want more than someone that votes and rules by press release and cute campaign slogans. Calling it the Taxpayer Protection Amendment but having no idea what it does to local communities might not be such a good strategy after all. I'm guessing voters are also getting a little tired of Republicans spending a lot of tax dollars and then accusing everyone else of too much government spending.

So now the question is, does Rep. John Gard and Senator Dale Schultz even bring the TPA up for a vote anymore?

Reading=Voting, Voting=Reading

Is this why Republican's want to cut education so much?

The crisis in America, where ironically we have the world's highest rate of bachelor's degrees, is that if people don't read papers, they generally won't vote. The crisis of the press here is a crisis of democracy too. The single best indicator of whether someone votes is whether he reads a paper, according to political scientist Martin P. Wattenberg in his book, "Where Have All the Voters Gone?" But the converse is also true. Whether one votes is a much better indicator than a college degree as to whether one is reading a daily paper.

The reaction between these two trends, a decline in voting and the decline in the reading of dailies, is what scientists call autocatalytic. One drives the other in a downward spiral. The under-30 young read far less, and vote far less--and according to their teachers, have fewer opinions. Not reading, not having political sentiments, they aren't especially capable of voting intelligently anyway.

A Thanks to Supervisor Sundquist...

While I am elated over my victory yesterday, I would be remiss to not also thank Paul Sundquist for his 20+ years of service to Winnebago County.

While we disagreed on several issues, he is a very good man.

He graciously called me last night to offer his congratulations. At the time, I asked him to please feel free to offer his advice at any time. I hope he does, and I will seek it from him as well.

He told me work hard and look after the 17th District, because they are good people. I will, they are, and so is Mr. Paul Sundquist.

Thank you, Paul.

The Onion Gets the Story Right:

Tom DeLay To Pursue Corruption In Private Sector
April 5, 2006
STAFFORD, TX—Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is facing several ethics violations and felony charges, announced Tuesday that he will resign from Congress in order to concentrate on corruption in the private sector. "I can say with a clear lack of conscience that, after 21 years of public disservice, I
have done everything I could to the American people," DeLay said in a televised statement to constituents. "I have a lot to offer the corporate world, such as money laundering and influence-peddling." DeLay added that, before assuming his new irresponsibilities, he looks forward to spending more time alienating his family and cheating on his wife.


Thank You, Winnebago's 17th!

The results are in:

Paul Sundquist - 43.57% - 105 votes
Jef Hall - 55.6% - 134 votes

Thank you to everyone that provided help, advice or support.

Now the work begins...

UPDATE - Here is the Northwestern's comment:

In District 17, which includes downtown Oshkosh and surrounding neighborhoods, newcomer Jef Hall defeated incumbent Paul Sundquist, with 134 votes to Sundquist’s 105 votes. Sundquist had been a member of the Winnebago County Board for more than 20 years.

Candidate Statement

Note: In the interest of providing info for the election, I'm adjusting the date on this post to keep it on the top. New posts will be below.

This is the statement I sent out that I referenced here:

I am running for Winnebago County Board because I feel that we need to ensure an equal balance between funding and delivery of services to the residents of Winnebago County. I also believe that we can find this balance while upholding a good quality of life for both the taxpayers and the hard-working county employees they fund.

To often people demand a cut in their taxes on the backs of county and municipal workers. To often people turn to privatization schemes to save money simply by hollowing out worker’s pay.

I believe that Winnebago needs to fund the services on which working people rely, and provide a fair wage for those county workers that provide these services.

This is not to say that there will not be cuts and difficult funding decisions to make in the upcoming budgets. I pledge to work in the best interest of Winnebago County when we look at services provided or to be consolidated. And in the same token, fight to ensure that these services are funded through a fair and progressive system.

I believe that the greatest statement of the morals of an organization is where it chooses to expend its resources. I will not balance the budget on the backs of working families and the poor. I will not add to the struggle of the vulnerable to fund breaks for the comfortable or affluent.

I will also be a voice for these issues at a local, county and state level.

There are major opportunities for Winnebago County in the funding and budget debates we will have over the next few years. I hope to help guide Winnebago to a
future where we support our neighbors and ensure fairness in service and burden while seizing every opportunity for advancement and a better county.

It is in this spirit that I ask for your support and your vote on April 4th, 2006 for Winnebago County Board.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at 920.203.6883, email me jef@jefhall.com or through my website,
www.jefhall.com with any questions.

My interview with the Northwestern can be found by clicking here.

DPW On Green's Vote Suppression

Extreme Green Joins Republicans in Trying to Suppress the Right to Vote

DPW Chair Joe Wineke Reminds Poll Workers: ‘No Voter Should be Turned Away From the Polls Because They Forget Their Driver’s License’

MADISON – Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke released the following statement today regarding Congressman Mark Green’s efforts to prevent people from voting. Green has challenged a correct ruling by the State Elections Board that allows Wisconsin voters to use the last four digits of their Social Security Number when registering to vote if they do not have their driver’s license with them at the polls.

“The intent of the federal Help America Vote Act is exactly that – to help people vote and to provide registration options to voters. Unfortunately, Republicans led by Mark Green are determined to put up roadblocks that prevent Americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

“Wisconsin state law, in compliance with federal law, allows individuals registering to vote to either provide their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security Number. This correct interpretation of HAVA by the State Elections Board is in line with federal guidelines and registration requirements in numerous other states, including Florida, Alabama, Kansas, and West Virginia.

“Yet Mark Green and Republicans continue their quest to turn as many people away from the polls as possible in an effort to stack the elections in their favor. Through misinformation campaigns and political scare tactics, Green and the Republicans are doing their best to prevent certain groups of people who traditionally vote Democratic – from the elderly to minorities to young people – from voting this fall. Mark Green and the Republicans should be ashamed of their attempts to suppress the vote.

“No voter who is able to provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number should be turned away from the polls tomorrow because they forgot their driver’s license.”

Mark Green Contiues Trying to Block Your Vote:

As I outlined here, Mark Green doesn't want you to vote.

Even thought the State Elections Board has said you do not need to present an ID to vote, he continues to spread misinformation in this press release:

Green warns that new State Elections Board rule allowing all voters to register using partial Social Security numbers may not comply with federal Help America Vote Act law – sends letter urging Board to instruct municipal clerks to accept Social Security numbers only as “last resort”

Green is using fear to intimidate people away from the polls. Do not let him. Vote today. Click here to find out why Green doesn't want you to vote easily.

It seems that with Green's ties to DeLay he is also learning the good old fashioned southern way to block access to the polls.


Doonesbury Does Civil War:

Here is the cartoon.

DeLay is Out!

Tom DeLay Says He Will Give Up His Seat
The embattled former Republican leader tells TIME that he will leave Congress and not seek reelection

The cartoon is here.

Wednesday Morning Will Be Historic...

And not just because of elections - this is stolen off of Lakeshore Laments:

On Wednesday , at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be:

01:02:03 04/05/06.

Pretty cool....


Ellis/Kaufert Caught in Spin:

The state brought the problem on itself by transferring $427 million out of the transportation fund to help schools and filling part of that hole with bonds, Ellis said.

"It was probably, intellectually, the dumbest thing they've ever done," he said.

Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) said that Doyle was the primary culprit for those raids.

"We took a few pennies out," Kaufert said. "The governor took the green stuff out."

Actually, Republican legislators signed off on more than half of the amount Doyle took from the transportation account.


Kaufert sits on the transportation needs committee and serves as co-chairman of the Joint Finance Committee. He said the focus of the new committee will be on finding ways to reduce costs, such as trimming environmental regulations for road construction. Lawmakers are reluctant to increase taxes and fees or back off from construction plans, he said.

"Everybody's going to want their share of the pie, so I don't see us doing less road building," he said.