Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tax breaks for the rich balanced against investment for Wisconsin.

Hi folks,

Just a moment of "hmmmmmmmmmmm."

John Torinus' op-ed piece in the Journal for Sunday Dec 9th 2006 urges increased availability of Wisconsin Act 255 tax credits for start up corporations in Wisconsin.

He was specifically put off by the failure of a mutual friend of our's, Charlie Hillman, to secure the 255 tax credits. Charlies had the brilliant idea to create a system that would allow remote health monitoring for seniors. Routed over the internet, the system would allow them to stay in their own homes rather than move into a managed care facility -- it would, in effect, bring a managed care environment into their homes over the internet.

Two years ago, Charlie Hillman struck out when he applied for Wisconsin Act 255 tax credits for his start-up business.

Only $6.5 million of the credits were available in the first year of the program, which gives a 25% tax break to angel investments. Hillman drew the short straw.

He goes on to detail Charlie's rather excellent credentials and to note, quite properly, that the Hillman's GrandCare Systems should have been a frontrunner for these tax breaks.

I cannot disagree with any of this, but a cautionary flag went up in the back of my head.

In these days when the previous state legislature couldn't find a program for middle class Wisconsinites they didn't want to cut, I'm uneasy about one of my relatively wealthy acquaintences complains in the Journal about another relatively rich acquaintance not being given a 25% tax break.

I fully understand the need for government tax breaks for technically sophisticated start ups, especially given the accelerating die off in manufacturing jobs in Wiscsonsin, but this makes me edgy, Ceasar's wife being what she is.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pat Robertson: just another Republican.

Hi folks,

Just a reminder to my (real) Republican friends why they need to take back control of their party.

Pat Robertson a few years ago in a fund raising letter on the idea of women's equality:
the "feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
... um...yeah. You just can't make this stuff up... and I don't have to. Want to tell me again what "Republican In Name Only" means?


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Need a new swimming pool Mr. Gehl? Lay off more of your workforce.

Hi folks,

It's good to know that the Gehl Company is landing on its feet now that it's laid off its West Bend workforce.

MONDAY, Oct. 30, 2006, 8:59 a.m.
By Journal Sentinel staff

Gehl earnings rise 30%

Gehl Co. (GEHL) said third-quarter earnings rose 30.4% before a gain on the sale of its agricultural implement business.

The West Bend maker of compact farm and construction equipment said income from continuing operations rose to $7.37 million, or 59 cents a share, from $5.65 million, or 52 cents, a year ago. Two analysts surveyed by Zack's Investment research had estimated Gehl would earn 56 cents a share.

Sales rose 13% to $121 million from $107.3 million.

"Our record third-quarter results showed continuous progress as we achieved solid revenue growth and improved gross margins," said Chairman and Chief Executive William D. Gehl.

On April 3, Gehl announced the discontinuation of its agricultural implement product lines. Gehl recorded a loss from discontinued operations of 309,000 and income from the disposal of discontinued operations of $1.28 million, or 8 cents a share, making net income for the recent quarter of $8.35 million, or 67 cents a share. The year-ago earnings included a loss from continuing operations of $594,000, or 5 cents a share, making net income for the 2005 quarter $5.06 million, or 47 cents a share.

It's always best, apparently, to lay off workers when they're cutting in to your profits.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mark Green: a big, fat, liar about Doyle on education.

Hi folks,

Just something that annoyed me. There are plenty of issues about which Mr. Green can disagree with the Governor without having to simply make stuff up.

The latest glossy mailing from the Green campaign asks whether Governor Doyle really cares about the University of Wisconsin. Two details:

1) the slick cardboard sheet says that tuition increased for Wisconsin students
2) that tuition decreased for out of state students.

Cleverly enough, both are true. What Mr. Green's marketing team is hoping you don't know is the following:

1) tuition increased because the Republican run legislature has slashed state contributions to UW tuition (the amount we all pay in taxes to help offset the cost of university for all our college age friends and neighbors) over the last few years. The Regents repeatedly warned the Legislature that tuition would have to be raised to compensate but the Republican legislators went ahead. Now, Mr. Green and the same jokers who forced UW to raise tuition, are blaming the Governor for it.


Oh, and 2) out-of-state tuition didn't go down so much as return to earlier, lower, levels. UW did that in order to recover the students we lost when rates were jacked up to accomodate whining in the Legislature. When UW raised its out-of-state tuition rates we lost a TON of out-of-state students and their money. Turns out if you lower their tuition a bit, MORE OF THEM COME ... um, and bring their slightly higher, out-of-state tuition with them. So, it actually made the state MORE money to lower tuition and thus attract more out-of-state students. Volume volume volume.

Anyway, it always annoys me when politicians have to make stuff up in order to fan the fires of resentment somewhere.... this one is particularly hypocritical.

Personally, I want to know now where Mr. Green stands on evolution. I'm guessing he's against it, just like the President he supports so firmly.


The Journal picks Jim Sullivan for 5th Senate district seat.

Hi folks,

And an easy choice he is, too.

From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Oct. 20, 2006

Tom Reynolds is a hard-right conservative in a district that has long skewed moderate. But it's what he has done outside the Senate chamber that attracts the most attention - and the most disdain. He has asked job applicants for their views of heaven or whether they're divorced. He has attended a rabidly anti-gay conference on "homo-fascism." He has considered advancing outlandish ideas that often are related to a personal experience - like the idea to create a private autobahn parallel to I-94. It came after he was pulled over for speeding.

But it's not only Reynolds' bizarre behavior that makes Jim Sullivan the better pick. He would be anyway. Sullivan, an attorney and Wauwatosa alderman, is a moderate on a variety of issues, including health care, in which he supports allowing citizens to buy into the same plan that legislators have and business pools to lower costs. He supports school choice but not expansion. He supports a get-tough-on-crime approach and has been endorsed by a number of police associations.

Seriously. Here's the data on Jim.

For heavens sake, help vote Mr. Reynold's out of office where he can only goof up his own life and not the taxpayers'.

We'll work on Glenn Grothman next.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

The End of Habeas Corpus?

Keith Olbermann, once again speaking truth to power. Now, if only the power would listen to it.

Here are Keith's comments on the end of habeas corpus.

Hey, is anybody awake??


Monday, October 16, 2006

St. Joseph's hospital in West Bend a model of efficiency in fashion industry.

Hi folks,

Just some irony for those of us who've lost a hospital because... well, we're still not absolutely sure about that here in West Bend. In any case, the "old" hospital was closed and a new version relocated 20 highway minutes away at a snazzy new spot out in the countryside -- because the old version mentioned here, was old-fashioned. Apparently industrial standards weren't enough.

Nietzsche would love this. :^)

Innovate Forum

In addition, by employing the use of small teams arranged in clusters of U-shaped workstations (similar to those used by Japanese electronics makers), worker efficiency at Louis Vuitton has been greatly increased, there is greater production flexibility, and workers are able to detect flaws earlier.

Such benefits are not unlike those experienced by St. Joseph’s hospital based in West Bend, Wisconsin, when it elected to employ manufacturing techniques to aid its efforts.

Like Louis Vuitton, efficiency was also the goal of St. Joseph’s hospital management, when it decided to apply proven manufacturing methods in the design and layout of its facilities. As noted in a recent Innovate Forum article, Innovative Approach to Patient Safety Leverages Proven Manufacturing Methods, by standardizing on the placement of lighting, medical equipment, patient beds and bathrooms in each room, hospital workers at St. Joseph’s were able to not only reduce patient error, but to more efficiently manage patient care, overall.

The lesson here? The principles of lean manufacturing are applicable in many settings. At the very least, any organization seeking to streamline either its manufacturing processes or its operations overall would be well advised to look to Japanese automakers like Toyota for insight and guidance.

If only we could get patients to act more like automobiles, then we'd really have something.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sensenbrenner's connection to Foley.

A news release from the Bryan Kennedy campaign to help Mr. Sensenbrenner get on with his life. -- another example that Sensenbrenner has been in office too long.

October 5, 2006
Contact: Jordan Aberman

Kennedy Calls on Sensenbrenner to Explain Connection to Foley Scandal

WHITEFISH BAY – Bryan Kennedy, Democratic candidate for Congress in Wisconsin's 5th District, called on Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner to divulge any connections he may have to the Foley scandal currently gripping Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Former Congressman Mark Foley was forced to resign on Friday when sexually suggestive emails he wrote to a male, underage congressional page finally became public.

"Congressman Sensenbrenner has been one of a select few to face the press on behalf of his party regarding former Congressman Foley's appalling crimes," said Kennedy, referring to a briefing held with House Majority Whip Blunt, Speaker of the House Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Sensenbrenner. "I think our Congressman owes his constituents – the people he's supposed to represent – an honest and complete explanation of any knowledge he had about Congressman Foley's disgusting behavior."

For months, Republican House leaders were in possession of Foley's sexually-charged emails to the underage youngster, although Foley was never disciplined or prosecuted. "I do not want to make any unfounded allegations," Kennedy said, "but I call on Congressman Sensenbrenner to fully explain any and all connections to this scandal and Mark Foley's reprehensible actions."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sensenbrenner latest gun bill hand cuffs police officers.

Hi folks,

A follow up to a Sensenbrenner Watch story. Here's our boy trying to figure out the latest gun regulation package.


Anyway, this Sunday's Journal Sentinel reports on Sensenbrenner's latest contribution to the wingnut fringe of the NRA (not, emphatically, to civic and socially responsible NRA members). Greg Stanford notes that:
...the congressman is pushing through the House a bill that would make federal information on the sources of guns found at crime sciences secret. Even police agencies would have a tough time sharing that info.

Sensenbrenner is handcuffing the police in their fight against crime.

Of course, this is the same guy who impeached a sitting president for lying about an affair, but won't impeach a sitting president who has admitted lying about illegally wire-tapping American citizens.

Um, and who is morally confused again?


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I knew Mike Wallace and Chris Wallace is no Mike Wallace.

Family shame is going to be pretty thick around the Thanksgiving Dinner table this Fall when Chris comes home and has to look his father in the eye. "Daddy," he'll say, "I only did what my masters said they'd pay me to do. There can't be anything wrong with that."


In the meantime, Keith Olbermann has emerged as the conscience of the country. For his latest see his comments on the Fox News interview with Mr. Clinton.



Sunday, September 24, 2006

Is your vote being counted?

And this from Rolling Stone:

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote(4) -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Out of state Green backs in Green's back pockets.

Hi folks,

We'll find out on Monday whether the State Election board was justified in raising questions about a ton of dough Rep Green dumped from his federal accounts into this state account to run for Gov.

In the meantime, we still get to wonder about a few details. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, keeping track of the money, found an interesting bit of info:
Of the $511,405 in PAC donations Mark Green raised as a member of Congress and then transferred from his federal committee to the state account he is using to run for governor, $467,845 was donated by PACs not registered in Wisconsin.
Does that mean that he's loved 81% more by PACS outside Wisconsin than he is by PAC registered in Wisconsin?

Guess we'll find out.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Focus on the Family targets Wisconsin for Christian social-engineering project.

"What rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
slouches toward Madison to be born?"

It's James Dobson, that's who.

Dobson has decided that Wisconsin isn't Christian enough... or isn't Christian enough according to his sense of Christianity... or isn't doing what he wants it to... or maybe his contributions are down now that literacy in the state has improved.

Focus on the Family, Dobson's social-engineering program, has opened up a big referendum account to work against marriage rights in Wisconsin.

What's particularly ironic is that half the marriages in this country end in divorce, so I'm not sure Dobson's doing such a good job on families to begin with. What we do know is that about 50% the men and 20% of the women self-identified as fundamentalist Christians seem to be addicted to pornography.

Presumably this is what Dobson has in mind by successful families.

I say, let's not.

Send in your contributions, and your prayers for personal freedom, to Fair Wisconsin and the ACLU today, and be sure to vote in November.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is voting on a Diebold machine like betting against the house?

Hi Folks,

This just in from my friend Sylvia Walsh down in Florida. She's been involved in hacking through the jungle of subterfuge surrounding the Diebold voting machine ... well, it's a scandal really.

What does this have to do with trouble in the Heartland?

They had one of these at the polls yesterday when I voted in the primary.

Here's the story:

A new Princeton report, issued today, and a 5-minute video demonstrating the alteration of results on a Diebold TS (touchscreen) voting system may be viewed at this link: .

Susan Pynchon
Florida Fair Elections Coalition

You make the call.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Consumers not Citizens: Bush's Sept 11th call to action.

Hi folks,

Here's what I remembered today:

With poisonous dust still swirling around rescue workers in New York, and people acting in the best way Americans can act, the President of the United States did not call us to action as citizens but as consumers.

That's because his understanding of America is economic and not civic, and because his values are centered on profit and not on principle. He believes, as he's demonstrated, that Americans are reducible to what they'll do selfishly for a $300 tax hand out and not what Americans will do selflessly for the idea of what America could be.

Was he right?


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Van Hollen ad suggests killing and mounting criminals.

Hi folks,

This came in the mail last week.

I swear, if I were writing for The Onion, I could never have made this up.

If I read this correctly, it suggests that J.B. Van Hollen, as Attorney General, promises to pursue and kill criminals with the same happy competence he brings to pursuing, killing and -- presumably -- mounting a 12 point buck. (nice buck, btw.)

If he can take down a 12 pointer this easily, what chance does a 16 year old with a joint in his ashtray have?


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cutting veteran's benefits saves the taxpayers money.

Hi folks,

Something that has now stopped surprising me. The neo-cons support the troops, so long as they don't cost too much.

Health Policy Malpractice

... the Bush administration has restricted access to the V.A. system, limiting it to poor vets or those with service-related injuries. And as for allowing elderly vets to get better, cheaper health care: “Conservatives,” writes Time, “fear such an arrangement would be a Trojan horse, setting up an even larger national health-care program and taking more business from the private sector.”

This is a time-shifted version of being pro-birth but not pro-life -- it's just the standard neo-con self-deception.

How can we wake them up to this?


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

C, A, N, A, D, eh? Does going to Yale guarantee intelligence?

From the BBC:
Lakehead University in northern Ontario set up in a bid to attract potential new students.

Of course, in Canada they still have a democracy, so it's funnier there.


Monday, August 28, 2006

The Morning after Pill for Pat Strachota's Morning after Bill.

Hi folks,

Looks like banning the Morning-After Pill did not work out so well for the moralist mullahs in Washington this week. The FDA has "approved over-the-counter sales of the “morning after” contraceptive pill to those 18 and older," according to the NY Times.

But over a year ago, while all that noise was beginning to happen on the national level, our own Kettle Moraine mullahs -- in the persons of Glenn Grothman and Rep. Pat Strachota -- were busily attempting to correct the morality of the University of Wisconsin by introducing Assembly Bill 343:

An Act to create 36.11 (49) of the statutes; relating to: prohibiting
the University of Wisconsin System from advertising the availability of,
prescribing, and dispensing certain hormonal medication or combination
of medications and prohibiting persons from advertising, prescribing, or
dispensing the medication or combination of medications on University of
Wisconsin System property. (FE)

Birth control is legal in this country and is not even a matter of Constitutional debate. Abortion is also legal in this country and has been certified as such by Supreme Court decisions -- and by a majority of perfectly moral Americans. For Glenn and Pat to introduce legislation like this that affects not only the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Americans but the academic freedom of one of America's best universities is... well, it's just too weird.

  • By sponsoring this legislation they are, in effect, arguing that they have the right to legislatively finish the rapist's work by forcing a woman to allow implantation of a fertilized egg after that same woman has been forced, violently, to have her egg fertilized. -- but I also know Pat and Glenn a little bit and find it hard to imagine they would do something like this on purpose. It seems more likely they simply hadn't thought it through very carefully.
  • Oh, and they are also arguing that the Legislature has the right to impose it's own political agendas on the University. Plato, in his famous text, The Republic has a lot to say about politics, and a lot to say about politicians like Glenn and Pat -- should the Legislature have the right to keep me from teaching Wisconsin college students about the history of democracy?

I notice that Rep. Strachota claims she has a BA in Government so presumably she should've known better -- but introduced this legislation anyway.

How does that make any sense?

It doesn't.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ChristiaNet Poll Finds That Evangelicals Are Addicted to Porn

Hi folks,

Something we could have guessed. From Marketwire:

Recently, the world's most visited Christian website,, conducted a survey asking site visitors eleven questions about their personal sexual conduct. (
"The poll results indicate that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography," said Clay Jones, founder and President of Second Glance Ministries whose ministry objectives include providing people with information which will enable them to fully understand the impact of today's societal issues. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis."

Whatever you repress comes back as a monster.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

God didn't make the little apples Green.

Hi folks,

Well, there is a LOT more of this sort of thing available on the Representative, but what is there to say?

  • In late November of 2003, Congressman Green took two votes to benefit the big drug companies, voting against importing prescription drugs from Canada and voting against allowing the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices. [Sources: HR2673, Vote 624, 11/18/03; HR1, Vote 668, 11/21/03]
  • Less than a month later, on December 12, 2003, drug company Glaxo Smith Kline rewarded Green with a $2,000 campaign contribution.


Tiddly pum.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Banning Marriage in Wisconsin?

Hi folks,

Fair Wisconsin [a post-Enlightenment group formed to oppose the attempt to ban civil unions in Wisconsin] is getting guff from The Family Research Institute of Wisconsin [a pre-Enlightenment group formed to return Wisconsin to a Disney soaked fantasy world that never existed].

To wit: the pre-Enlightenment group is insisting that *everyone* in the state of Wisconsin fall in line with their own narrow religious views about what marriage should be.

I had a problem understanding some of the FRIoW's thinking here:

Marriage, as a religious institution, is not something a civil state should recognize. My copy of the US Constitution actually prohibits the government from establishing laws concerning religious practices. It does that because government shouldn't be in the business of enforcing one group's religious beliefs on another's. They're doing that in Iran right now and while you might argue that, well, they don't mind... it really isn't us, is it?

America isn't a religious dictatorship; not yet anyway. Shoot, we're not even a single culture... we're a bunch of people from different worlds all trying to live together. You don't do that by insisting that only your personal religious views are right for everyone else.

One of their arguments is that the traditional definition of marriage is limited to one man and one woman and that it is sanctioned by our religious heritage. Um, right. What if I insisted, for instance, that the correct Biblical view of marriage was Soloman's? He was famously wise. God said so. On those grounds any marriage that doesn't include 1000's of wives and concubines should be outlawed, since they do not meet the proper Biblical definition of a proper marriage.

Jesus would've had to make a LOT more wine for that reception at Cana. [here it is, btw.]

Anyway, I'm not convinced that they're real Christians anyway. They quote Hosea 4:6 in their literature: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." I see remarkably little compassion or mercy in their version of Christianity, much less in their version of Christian marriage.

Why is it Christian fundamentalists so often take refuge in the Old Testament whenever the New Testament asks them to do something they don't like?

Always wondered about that.