Quote of the Day - From David Brooks?

The Consevative Columnist Gets One Right:

The president says he will allow White House staff to appear before Congress, but not in public, not under oath and not with a transcript. The president apparently expects his supporters to rally behind the sacred cause of No Transcript. In time of war, he’s decided to expend political capital so that his staffers can lie to Congress without legal consequences.


Ziegler Hall of Shame Part 1 - Democrats

I have been tossing the Judge Ziegler controversy around in my head for a few days, and there is one question that I just don't seem to be able to answer:

Why does she still have such a long list of endorsers?

A quick recap:

As a Judge in Washington County, Ziegler has repeatedly and blatantly flaunted judicial ethics. Time and again she has ruled on cases where she has a substantial personal economic interest. The most outrageous being cases involving West Bend Savings Bank. Her husband sits on the board of the bank (a paid position), they lease office space to the bank, and have recieved more than $3 million in loans from the institution (Progressive Majority has the details). Yet she did not recuse herself from more than 70 cases before her.

She also has heard arguments for United HealthCare, in which she owns stock worth more than $50,000.

In fact, Progressive Majority has dug up at least 121 cases incolving companies that she owns a total of more than $300,000 dollars in stock that have come before her, yet she has not a single recusal.

So, we know that Annette Ziegler does not have the ethical make-up to be on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a body that should be investigating her lapses.

Why then, does she still have a long list of endorsers? I would like to encourage those in the blogosphere to contact the people she has listed as endorsers and find out if they stand by her ethical decisions.

Here is a list of Democratic elected officials that have endorsed her unethical behavior. Contact them today. Also, remember when they are up for election that they condone unethical behavior in judges.

Barron - Thomas Richie
Bayfield - Robert Follis
Dunn - Dennis Smith
Langlade - William Greening
Milwaukee - David Clarke
Oneida - Jeff Hoffman
Pepin - John Andrews
Pierce - Nancy Hove
Polk - Tim Moore
Portage - John Charewicz
Rusk - David Kaminski
Taylor - Bruce Daniels
Trempealeau - Richard Anderson
Wood County - Tom Reichert

Barron - Angela Holmstrom
Burnett - Kenneth Kutz
Clark - Darwin Zwieg
Crawford - Tim Baxter
Douglas - Dan Blank
Jackson - Gerald Fox
Langlade - Ralph Uttke
Milwaukee - John Chisholm
Rusk - Kathleen Pakes

I will follow up with Republicans and local Judges. I will be contacting my local officials, please contact yours.

Urge them to put out a public statement refuting Ziegler's lack of ethics.

The Northwestern Gets it all Wrong (An Open Letter)

Dearest Oshkosh Northwestern,

Look, I understand you are just trying to appear fair and balanced - but you messed it all up again. I'm sure you are all bright enough to really get it, so let's look at what today's editorial should have said.

In this, you made the point that Mark Green's illegal money transfer is the same thing as a Doyle donor being indicted for diverting contributions to the campaign. You surmise that both are corrupt.

Seriously, Democrats, Republicans both: Each of your top party people have been in or are in hot water.

This is not true. Let's look at the facts of these cases.

Mark Green, HIMSELF, decided to illegally transfer federal money into a state account. When he was told that it was against the law, he PERSONALLY flaunted the law and took the matter to the State Elections Board. They declared that he was, in fact in violation of the law. Mark Green agreed that he had in fact violated the regulation PERSONALLY (or why would he have agreed to the sanction).

Meanwhile - a contributor to Gov. Doyle, without the campaign's knowledge, launched an alleged scheme to give money to the campaign by paying his relatives. It is the contributor - a private individual - not a member of the campaign that may have violated the law. Neither Doyle nor any of his campaign staff were implicated (many stories mentioned that the Doyle campaign was cooperating in the investigation). It is not illegal for Doyle to accept donations. None of the donations were over a legal limit per person. All alleged illegal activity occurred before any money entered the Doyle campaign and they had any control over the situation.

The difference is stark and clear. In the Mark Green case, he PERSONALLY made the decision to break the law and flaunt it with lawsuits. Gov. Doyle has done nothing illegal, and is assisting in the prosecution of a contributor.

Dearest Northwestern, I would hope that you would clarify this point in a future issue.

I will be holding my breath.



P.S. You also insinuate that there has been pay-to-play casino deal with the Troha contributions to Doyle. This is also untrue. There is no casino deal in Kenosha, and many feel the deal is as good as dead. If you check your own reporting, you will see that the only politician that has gone pay-to-play with Troha is Republican Paul Ryan:

The latest investigation into Troha involves a deal he signed in 2005 with JHT Holdings, the conglomerate he used to own. Under the deal, his consulting firm was to receive money each year until June 2010 if federal lawmakers passed a measure easing truck hauling regulations.
Officials for Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., confirmed the lawmakers offered the amendment. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., signed a letter to Young and Oberstar and one to the Federal Highway Administration supporting the amendment.
Troha and his family and friends have given $58,802 to Ryan since he first ran for Congress in 1998, records showed.

To recap - as of the publishing of this editorial:

1. Mark Green has admitted (by agreeing to the settlement) that he attempted to violate Federal Campaign Finance law.

2. Paul Ryan accepted money from Troha and helped pass a law that resulted in an immediate profit for Troha. Ryan felt so guilty about it, he donated the money (therefore also admitting guilt).

3. Gov. Doyle has been accused of no wrongdoing, his campaign has aided in the investigation and Troha has seen no benefit from the contributions to the campaign.

Yet, Democrats and Republican are equally guilty?

My breath is still being held.

A Question of Priorities

A story on the Northwestern's website:

Community raising funds for puppy's surgery
Bones broken when dog
was hit by van

An east-side Green Bay puppy's fate lies in the balance as the community rallies to raise money needed for surgery after a van hit her last week.

Pepper, a 9-month-old Lab-Springer mix, bounded out through a door not latched securely on March 14 and ran into the street to visit the neighbor children.
Veterinarians at Animal House Pet Clinic, 3171 Voyager Drive, Bellevue, stabilized Pepper, but she would need to go elsewhere for more high-tech surgery, which will involve plates and pins on both hind legs. The surgery could range from $2,000 to $5,000...
Kelly Winters, a west-side resident and self-professed animal lover, heard about the dog on Monday and sent out a series of e-mails to her "animal-loving network of friends."

"I started getting immediate responses," Winters said, adding that she'd gotten several of her friends to commit to a small financial contribution by the end of the day.

While I cannot fault these kind residents their feelings for the injured puppy, I find myself thinking back to a story I recently posted as I read this:

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

As you think about the poor puppy's suffering, also reflect on the community at large. Where are our priorities?


Kinda Says It All...

The MJS sums up the entire Judicial race in 2 sentences:

The judicial ethics code says a judge must withdraw if his or her spouse is a director of a business involved in a case. Since 2004, Ziegler has handled two dozen cases involving West Bend Savings Bank, where her husband, J.J. Ziegler, is a director.

Are there any other questions?

Sick Day Payouts in the Private Sector?

Sick day payouts are almost non-existent for private sector employees, said John Metcalf, director of human resource policy for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

From this article in the MJS.

I have not done an in-depth study on this, but here is my personal experience:

Both of the full-time hourly employers that I have worked for in the private sector have allowed sick-day payouts. The difference being that they were in the same year.

If I was alotted 5 sick days in 2006, and only took 1 - I was payed out the remaining 4 in cash at the end of the year.

I do not have this benefit now. After I switched from an hourly position to a salary position, the perk was removed. However (and this is the key here...) it was replaced with a different benefit.

That way I did not lose in total compensation, I actually improved.

That is the rub in this discussion. If we take this benefit away, and we want to keep good people in place, what are we going to replace it with?

The American way is supposed to be fair pay for fair work. We offered these employees a position with defined benefits and wages that made up a compensation package. We cannot change those rules part-way through employment and after years of service.

It is unfair, it is un-American.


A Few Reasons I'm Glad Kagen Won...

The first few paragraphs of a Post-Crescent Story:

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen plans to introduce legislation in Congress later this year for universal health care coverage.

His announcement to seniors at the Thompson Community Center on Friday came after he told them that he and U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., have introduced a bill to repeal the Medicare Part D late enrollment fee.

The bill, if approved, will be the first step to reform health care, he said.

Seniors who qualified to enroll in Medicare Part D but missed the May 2006 deadline and do not fall into a special enrollment period, pay 1 percent of the national average premium multiplied by the number of months they delayed enrollment.

"You shouldn't be fined for what the government can't explain to you," Kagen, D-Appleton, told a group of 30 seniors in attendance.

Additionally, Kagen said he has called on U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to grant Wisconsin a waiver to let SeniorCare continue.