Good things Happen to Good People

Rammelt named register of deeds

MADISON - Gov. Jim Doyle announced today he has appointed Jeff Rammelt to the position of Jefferson County Register of Deeds.

Rammelt will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Larry Eckert. Rammelt will serve a term ending Jan. 1, 2007.

“Jeff Rammelt will be an excellent register of deeds,” Doyle said this morning. “He is passionate about his commitment to civic involvement and serving the people of Jefferson County.”

A Few Thoughts on the WRPI Poll

Five months before the next gubernatorial election, Jim Doyle has a substantial lead over Republican challenger Mark Green. In a head-to-head race, Doyle leads Green 49% to 37%. These are among the key findings about politics from the most recent survey of 600 Wisconsin residents conducted by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Inc. and Diversified Research between June 18 and June 19, 2006.

Doyle’s lead over Green changes in some regions of the state. Doyle leads Green in the City of Milwaukee by 60% to 29%. In the Madison area he leads by 63% to 21%. In La Crosse, 62% to 26%, and surprisingly in outstate Wisconsin by 52% to 34%. Green’s strength lies in Green Bay where his lead is 49% to 39%, and in the Milwaukee suburbs where he leads 47% to 35%. In Waukesha County his margin is 46% to 37%. The core of Jim Doyle’s support comes from Democrats (84%), Liberals (80%), Blacks (87%), and people who describe themselves politically
as “middle of the road” (53%). One of the other things that is clearly developing in this race is a gender split. Green actually leads Doyle among male voters by 46% to 40%, while Doyle has an enormous lead among women, 57% to 30%.

Another finding in this survey, however, is how this head-to-head would play out among residents who have an opinion of both candidates. Among residents who have an opinion of both Mark Green and Jim Doyle, Green actually leads Doyle 52% to 42%. These numbers seem to be at cross-purposes until one examines Issues and long-term trends in the state.

Myth #1 - 'Doyle is in trouble'.

I disagree on this. If you look at the larger poll numbers, you will see why.

First some addition: Let's assume that the 'undecided' are also a cross section of the electorate. If you look at who supports Doyle by large margins - Liberals, Women, African-Americans and the 'middle of the road' the projected support should carry Doyle over the top.

But, Doyle is an unpopular Governor, they say. Tommy Thompson could have easily walked back into the Governor's office if he ran...

Except, lets look at their numbers:

Name Favorable Unfavorable
Doyle 44% 38%
Thompson 49% 36%

Margin of error: plus or minus 4%

That means that Doyle popularity is within the margin of error with St. Tommy's, even though the press has constant scrutiny of the Doyle record now, and nothing but flowery retellings of the Thompson days for the last few years.

If Doyle is in trouble with these numbers, I guess we can see why Tommy didn't run.

Meanwhile, to know Mark Green is to dislike him. 55% did not know him in this poll vs 66% in the last. As 10% of Wisconsin has learned about him, his Unfavorable rating went up.... 10%!

Bring on the fall. And let's make sure people keep getting to know Mark Green - especially women and minorities.

Twin NYTimes Editorial Headlines Say It All

A Look at Republican Priorities: Comforting the Comfortable
The estate-tax cut passed by the House of Representatives would put $760 billion in new debt on the backs ofAmericans in the name of making a handful of extremely rich people even richer

A Look at Republican Priorities: Afflicting the Afflicted
At the same time that Republicans are fighting to exempt the richest estates from taxes, they are blocking a raise for the nation's poorest workers.

Today's Sign of the End...

Why wouldn't this be a superstar event in the USA? We need science as well (not that the Bush Administration is pushing at all).

Hawking's ability to explain abstruse scientific concepts to laymen has given him a worldwide following. In China, whose communist government regularly preaches that scientific prowess is crucial to the country's future power, Hawking has near-superstar status.
When he was wheeled onstage 20 minutes into the event, the audience rushed forward, taking pictures with their mobile phones.
Many stood and craned to see him better throughout the talk, and one man in the fifth row watched Hawking through binoculars.
Xu Fanrong, a 23-year-old student at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Physics in Beijing, praised Hawking's pithy and humorous remarks during the 90-minute public event. He said Hawking's appearance could help inspire more young Chinese to study physics.
"Our country needs science," said Xu. "No basic science means no basic technology and no economic development."
Other speakers at the seminar included Edward Witten, winner of the Fields Medal in mathematics in 1990; David J. Gross, winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize for physics; and Harvard University physics professor Andy Strominger.

And one of Hawkings comments:

Asked about the environment, Hawking — who suffers from a degenerative disease, uses a wheelchair and speaks through a computerized voice synthesizer — said he was "very worried about global warming." He said he was afraid Earth "might end up like Venus, at 250 degrees centigrade [482 degrees Celsius] and raining sulfuric acid."

We need a focus on science here, not on Inelligent Design.

LTTE: Kaufert Out - Westphal In -

Letters: Kaufert's loyalties need rearranging
Wisconsin badly needs ethics reform for our troubled state government. State Sen. Mike Ellis proposed a bill (SB1) that would remedy some of the problems. Republicans in the Assembly killed that bill.

In the commentary written by State Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, in the June 15 Post-Crescent, he claims he supported Senate Bill 1, which would have strengthened state government ethics oversight.

Only if you carefully read the article would you see that he voted to kill the bill by denying a floor vote in the Assembly. His reason for doing this? He didn't want to embarrass Republican leadership in the Assembly (John Gard, Assembly speaker, and Mike Huebsch, majority leader).

Shame on John Gard and Mike Huebsch for blocking a vote on this ethics reform bill. And shame on Dean Kaufert for putting the feelings of Gard and Huebsch above the interests of Wisconsin citizens. I found his efforts to convince us of his support for this bill, in spite of his role in killing it, disgusting.

Republicans like to brag about how loyal they are. Unfortunately, most show more loyalty to their Republican leaders than they do to the citizens they were elected to serve.

Dean Kaufert ran unopposed in the last election. It's a bad thing for our government when incumbent politicians don't have to worry about winning elections. Why worry about serving your constituents if they have no other choice?

Kaufert serves Gard and Huebsch, not us, because he wants their approval and doesn't need ours.

This next election will be different. Kaufert will have a Democratic opponent, Mark Westphal. Finally, we get a choice.

Let's elect someone who will be more loyal to us than he is to the likes of John Gard.

Max E. Brown,

I am very excited about Mark's Campaign. I will have all the info on how to get involved soon.

His contact info ant that of other Winnebago Candidates are in our last newsletter.

Scott Walker Knows Better Than Milwaukee County Voters

He will not allow a vote to raise taxes by referendum - wasn't that the point of TABOR?

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker vetoed a proposal to have county residents vote on a quarter of a percent sales tax hike. Supporters claim the sales tax could've generated millions of dollars of much need revenue for the cash strapped county.

Budget problems could force the parks department to shut down the Lincoln Park pool and 42 others. Some county leaders want to fund the parks system by raising the sales tax a quarter of one percent.

But Wednesday County Executive Scott Walker shot the tax increase plan down. He said a tax increase would drive middle income people to other communities. "I've got too many people, and potentially too many employers leaving this county," Walker said. "The last thing I wanted to do was pour fuel on the fire and raise taxes."

Pensions are almost bankrupting the county costing $59 million this year. Health care costs will run $29 million next year. The county is bleeding money.

Some believe the tax hike would have stopped the hemorrhaging.

Walker's hypocricy on this issue is amazing. He said that we need to empower voters, through TABOR to vote for their own tax increases. But does not allow voters in his own county to do that.

One Week in GOP Washington - No To Minimum Wage Raise, Yes to Paris Hilton Tax Repeal

Despite Democratic attempts, Green and the GOP leadership refused today to allow an up-or-down vote on an increase in the federal minimum wage, which has not been raised since 1997 and is at its lowest level in 50 years, when adjusted for inflation

Instead, Green and Republicans passed an estate tax bill that benefits the wealthiest and adds nearly $800 billion to the already burgeoning federal deficit over the next 10 years. While 6.6 million workers would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage – including 760,000 single mothers – less than 1 percent of all Americans would benefit from the GOP estate tax plan.

How did Mark Green vote?

While Green blocks efforts in Congress to increase the federal wage, Governor Doyle raised the minimum wage last year for an estimated 150,000 Wisconsin families for the first time in eight years. In June, it went up again – making Wisconsin’s minimum wage $1.35 higher than the federal minimum wage.

What really get me about this is:

The Medicare Part D law requires our seniors to spend most of their life savings before they qualify for real savings in the program. So the GOP is saying that the ability to pass wealth on to your children is important, but not more important that passing your wealth on to drug companies.

Kodos to the Northwester on Medicade Opinion Piece

Editorial: The real Medicaid crisis
This nation has such a knack for getting sidetracked by one issue to the exclusion of a more important matter.

The issue of distraction is the provision in Medicaid budget cuts enacted by President Bush in February that prevent illegal immigrants from getting benefits. That emotional issue has obscured the real effect of other Medicaid budget cuts that will hurt more, and especially hurt children.

Congressional Budget Office estimates show that 66,000 children will lose coverage after Medicaid premiums increase in 2010 and then again in 2015. The lack of self-honesty in the CBO estimate is disturbing. It doesn't owe up to 66,000 children. It merely refers to "60 percent of those losing coverage (110,000) would be children."

A society should be rated according to what it does for the most vulnerable. The "standard" of ending the basic medical coverage for 66,000 children is a value worth nothing. Our society must be trending downhill quick if we in 2006 can view children – some of whom haven't been born yet – as an acceptable "loss" in our long-term picture.

All of this is why we need to get our public discussion about Medicaid cuts away from the fixation on illegal immigrants. The distraction from the real effects of Medicaid cuts should offend the values of every American. Again, we're a pretty lousy society when we view the poor children in our future as expendable.

Must Be Election Season Again

Seven men were charged Friday with conspiring to work with al-Qaida to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and a federal building. Court documents obtained by NBC News said the ringleader boasted of wanting to "kill all the devils we can" in a
mission "just as good or greater than 9/11."


“There is no imminent threat to Miami or any other area because of these operations,” said Richard Kolko, spokesman for FBI headquarters in Washington. He declined further comment.

Have we even had an Orange Alert since Nov 2004? Look for more as the elections approach.


A Unique Perspective on the Marrige Debate

From Kos:

I had never thought to broach the argument this way - it seems like a logical winner to me!

This business of "changing the definition" is utter horsesh*t. Why?

At one time, women and blacks were not allowed to vote or serve on juries.

Over time that changed. Blacks were allowed to vote and serve on juries. Women were allowed to vote and serve on juries.

No one changed the definition of "jury." No one changed the definition of "vote." The words still mean the same thing. A jury is still what it always was.

And marriage will still be marriage.

Look What's Still Out in Cyber Space...

Glory days....

Remember what was and could be again!

Quotes of the Day - Fightin' Dems Edition

John Edwards on jobs and poverty (from a Bob Herbet column in the NYTimes):

He believes, as do most Democrats, that the minimum wage must be raised, and that many more workers should be given a real opportunity to organize and bargain collectively. "Unions helped move manufacturing jobs into the foundation of our middle class," he says, "and they can do the same for our service economy."

Harry Reid on the GOP politization if Iraq:

Democrats have struggled to counter the GOP's snappy slogan, and only now is the party leadership charging that a slogan is not a plan. Senate Leader Harry Reid is expected to say on the floor today, "The Republicans in the Senate stand alone in insisting on 'no plan and no end.' It isn't a position shared by the American people."

Keep speaking the plain truth and we will win!


This was a great project:

I was proud of my company to do it, and was glad to be part of the crew and organizing committee:

Refugees find hope in new home
Couple given key to Habitat house in Neenah

NEENAH — Four years ago Nezira Zolota and her husband, Bajro, left their home in Sarajevo and came to this country after having lost everything but their lives.

Caught in the crossfire between Serbia and their native Bosnia, they were held for a year in a concentration camp where prisoners regularly were beaten and raped.

"When soldiers took us to the camp they gave us two shopping bags and a couple of minutes to gather up whatever we wanted to take with us," Nezira said Tuesday. "We didn't have anything."

Standing in the kitchen of their new Habitat for Humanity house, she tried to explain how different her life had become.

"Now I've got friends and they're really good to me, and I'm not scared," she said. "I think everything is going to be OK. I have my own house."

Moments later, the Zolotas were outside for the dedication ceremony organized by the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, surrounded by friends, relatives and the volunteers from J.J. Keller & Associates who worked side by side with the Zolotas building the home that became theirs Tuesday afternoon.

It was a familiar moment that never fails to impress John Weyenberg, Habitat's
executive director.

"When you can change someone's life by simply putting some hands together to build a home, it's amazing the gratification you get from the job," he said. "The smiles on their faces say it all."

The new two-bedroom Zolota home, located on Division Street, is the latest of 71 Habitat houses constructed since the group was founded in 1993. It is also the second one constructed in partnership with J.J. Keller & Associates in recent years.
To get the project under way, a $50,000 donation was presented to Habitat from the John J. and Ethel D. Keller fund of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. In addition to the financial support, more than 70 employees volunteered their time and contributed an additional $2,600 to help the Zolotas achieve their dream.

The impact of these efforts greatly impressed Neenah Mayor George Scherck.

"What's really important here is building hope, building dreams, building homes," he said. "That takes compassion, commitment and dedicated citizens like the Kellers with a vision for the future of this community."

Today's Birthdays - Irony Edition

From the NYTimes 'On This Day' - guess who shares a birthday today?

59 - Meredith BaxterActress (''Family Ties'')
59 - Michael GrossActor (''Family Ties'')


Oh yea, and Happy Birthday to Jean-Paul Sartre - he'd be 101. His obit is here.

Something I Have Never Thought Of:

From Sivacracy via Altercation:

While everyone is getting all worked up about the abandoned Al Qaeda plot to release chemical weapons in the New York City subway system, this might be a good time to remind ourselves that there is a very good reason that terrorists prefer guns, bombs, and fuel-filled airplanes to chemical weapons: they rarely work and the never work well. Chemical and biological weapons have killed maybe dozens of people in the past 10 years. While bombs and guns have killed millions. Bombs and guns are cheap and easy to get. They are easy to hide. They kill very efficiently and effectively. And they terrify just fine, thank you. Let's get something clear here, chemical weapons are in fact "weapons of minor destruction." To group them in with nuclear or even conventional weapons as a real threat to crowds of people is just plain dishonest. At best, it's overly influenced by science fiction.