Thursday, March 29, 2007

President Bush on Nation Building.

“When the president, during the campaign, said he was against nation building, I didn't realize he meant our nation.” – Al Franken

I just had to share.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

A blind trust suggests some hindsight

The real left-wing conspiracy against the campaign of Annette Z should be read in greater depth here.

And so it goes.

Republicans actually hate business?

Hi folks,

From my friend Linda L, some interesting numbers.

Here's Linda:
I was always under the impression that the reason Business supports the Republican party ... is because the Republicans nurture and support the US business climate... a reciprocal relationship. So I did a little checking into Forbes lists of the world's wealthiest people.

In 2001 (Clinton Administration):

1. Gates, William H. III US
2. Buffett, Warren Edward US
3. Allen, Paul Gardner US
4. Ellison, Lawrence Joseph US
5. Albrecht, Theo & Karl Swiss
6. Alsaud, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Saudi
7. Walton, Jim C. US
8. Walton, John T. US
9. Walton, S. Robson US
10. Walton, Alice L. US

In 2007 (Bush Administration)

1. Bill Gates … $56 billion - US
2. Warren Buffet … $52 billion - US
3. Carlos Slim Helu … $49 billion - Mexico
4. Ingvar Kamprad … $33 billion - Sweden, Now Swiss
5. Lakshmi Mittal … $32 billion - India, Now London
6. Sheldon Adelson … $26.5 billion - US
7. Bernard Arnault … $26 billion - France
8. Armancio Ortega … $24 billion - Spain
9. Li Ka-shing … $23 billion - China
10.David Thomson … $22 billion - Canada

In 2001, during Clinton's administration 8 of the most wealthy people in the world were from the US.

In 2007, during the Bush administration, only 3 of the most wealthy people in the world are from the US.

President George W. Bush delivers remarks on the economy on Wall Street in New York City Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007.

"When people across the world look at America's economy what they see is low inflation, low unemployment, and the fastest growth of any major industrialized nation."


Hmmmmmmmm, indeed. Many thanks to Linda.


Judge Ziegler: 6 reasons she shouldn't be on the supreme court -- plus a report from WKOW news.

Hi folks,

Well, this just keeps getting worse and worse for Judge Ziegler.

1) Over 100 cases where she forgot to follow the state rules regarding potential conflict of interest

2) Dodging criticism by asserting that she did a "gut check" that told her there wasn't any problem -- even though the term "gut check" does not appear in the state statute

3) recently placing her assets into a blind trust which, frankly, is pretty much an admission that all of this criticism is right on the money

4) claiming, in order to deliberately blur the issue, that when Clifford pointed out these seemingly endless ethics violations she was just "slinging mud" (a technique worthy of Karl Rove and sure to be included on my logic exams next year under fallacy identification)

oh, and 5) claiming that she never profitted from making these rulings (which admits her guilt in this matter even while seeming to say that it didn't matter. Whether she profitted from these rulings isn't even the issue, the issue is whether she in fact violated the rules. She did.)

now this: 6) regularly making phone calls from her office that were not only personal in nature -- in violation of the court house rules here at home -- but were made to resorts in Colorado among other places.

Here's the video report from WKOW.



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Do we need a Coercive Birth Prevention bill?

State Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) writes in JSOnline promoting the bill she's cosponsored that would require physicians to inform women that they -- the women -- cannot be forced or coerced into having an abortion.

Here's the gist of it:
Under the bill, any physician counseling a woman considering an abortion shall, in person, inform the woman that it is against the law for any person to use threats, intimidation, force or coercion to compel her to have an abortion against her will.

The woman is also to be informed that she has a right to refuse to consent to an abortion and that a person may not threaten, intimidate, force or coerce her to consent to the procedure against her will.

It seems a bit coercive to coerce women who have made the difficult choice to get an abortion to confirm that they haven't been coerced -- but okay, let's say we should always sign off on medical procedures. Couldn't we then rewrite the law this way?

Under the bill, any physician counseling a woman considering having a baby shall, in person, inform the woman that it is against the law for any person to use threats, intimidation, force or coercion to compel her to have a baby against her will.

The woman is also to be informed that she has a right to refuse to consent to having a baby and that a person may not threaten, intimidate, force or coerce her to consent to have a baby against her will.

I wasn't always this cynical, but I suspect that women are more often coerced into carrying a pregnancy to term than coerced into ending it.

In the meantime, abortions are legal -- we should be thinking of how to make them safe and rare without imposing laws which are themselves coercive.


Pat Strachota: nice work on bringing Hollywood to Dairyland

Hi folks,

In the equal time for intelligent governance department, Rep Pat Strachota is trying to get the party started on bringing film development to Wisconsin.

Hollywood waits on Dairyland: "State Rep. Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) recently cosponsored, with Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), 2007 Senate Bill 24, which would change the effective start date to July 1, 2007.

The original bill was approved by both houses and Gov. Jim Doyle amid widespread bipartisan support."

Russ Decker, for reasons unintelligible even to his party colleagues, is holding up the process.

No one knows why.

But way to go Pat.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

And where is the money going again, redux. Now we know.

Hi folks,

The State Legislature is getting its share along with the Wisconsin tech schools.

A recent story in The Capital Times describing the lousy state of UW System faculty salaries -- something I'd suspected but hadn't been able to substantiate -- and the attendant legislative shenanigans.

Here are the juicy bits. For the entire article, follow the link:

David Olien: UW salary woes come as no surprise
By David Olien, March 19, 2007

Wednesday's edition of The Capital Times reported the results of a legislative audit revealing that generally faculty at the state's technical colleges are paid more than those on University of Wisconsin campuses.


...Wisconsin's legislators rank among the best paid in the nation when you examine their salaries, their generous per diem payments, their sick leave conversion privileges and their participation in the Wisconsin Retirement System.


Legislators indicating surprise at the audit finding are being disingenuous. The fact is UW System personnel and campus chancellors have been telling legislative leaders, members of Joint Finance and the rank and file for well over a decade that UW System faculty have fallen far behind their national peers. It should be no shock that faculty have been leaving UW two-year campuses for the technical colleges for over a decade. Legislators were also informed of that fact when the situation first developed.


For faculty at the two-year UW college campuses, the results were even worse, with a gap of over $12,500 annually behind national peers at the full professor rank, $9,000 at the associate rank and $10,000 at the assistant professor rank.

Not to mention that my salary trails the average UW system associate prof salary by about 8,000 -- and the tech school average by 11,000. I like my job, but that still seems like a lot to me sometimes.

Glenn Grothman gets a lot of the blame. For years he's railed against the UW System to make himself look like a neo-conservative purist and caused our little campus no end of grief -- even while hypocritically claiming to represent the residents of Washington County who benefit from our presence -- and while collecting, it now turns out, a pretty good salary.

He's used the excuse of university excesses, when there weren't any, to slash away at taxes for ideological rather than practical reasons.

The Devil is always in the details. Maybe Glenn can challenge him to a fiddling contest and have Charlie Daniels record it.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mayan Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit

Too good not to pass along.

Maybe we'll have to do this in the US.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit

JUAN CARLOS LLORCA | AP | March 9, 2007 12:20 AM EST

GUATEMALA CITY — Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

Original Story URL:


Ms. Ziegler: wronger and wronger. Now as many as 164 cases not above suspicion.

OneWisconsinNow is reporting,
Ziegler Sat on 164 Cases Involving Companies She Has an Interest In

Milwaukee- Judge Annette Ziegler heard at least 164 cases involving companies that she holds stock in and Washington County court records show she did not notify the parties of a conflict of interest or recuse herself in any of the cases (View a list of the cases).

In the 92 cases where Ziegler granted a financial award, she sided with the company she owned stock in 90 times.

Okay, overly academic reference time -- but let's say that in each of these cases, Judge Ziegler ruled properly, is she Pompeia or is she Publius Clodius Pulcher?


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Leah Vukmir still wrong on preventing prevention of cancer.

Hi folks,

In the comment below -- let's bump this up to the main level -- an anonymous commenter noted:
Estimates place the number of women who contract HPV at about 70%. Most women's immune systems defeat and that is the end of it.

An important note - the vaccine only attacks 4 of the several hundred HP viruses.

As much as I usually trust anonymous posters, let's check in with the CDC.
"The vaccine, Gardasil®, protects against four HPV types, which together cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts." [here's the link]
So I guess Anonymous right -- it "only attacks" the 4 that cause 70% of all cervical cancers and 90% of all genital warts.

And while I was visiting the CDC site I stumbled on the rest of the relevant info:
"Because the vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV, it will not prevent all cases of cervical cancer or genital warts. About 30% of cervical cancers will not be prevented by the vaccine, so it will be important for women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer (regular Pap tests). Also, the vaccine does not prevent about 10% of genital warts—nor will it prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So it will still be important for sexually active adults to reduce exposure to HPV and other STIs." [here's the link]

Um, a vaccine that could save 70% of future cervical cancer victims seems like a reasonable percentage to me. Here's a little more from the CDC:
How common is HPV?

At least 50% of sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives. Every year in the United States (U.S.), about 6.2 million people get HPV. HPV is most common in young women and men who are in their late teens and early 20s.

Anyone who has ever had genital contact with another person can get HPV. Both men and women can get it – and pass it on to their sex partners- without even realizing it.

How common is cervical cancer in the U.S.? How many women die from it?
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006, over 9,700 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3,700 women will die from this cancer in the U.S. [and the links]

It is possible, of course, that our anonymous commentator is not sexually active and therefore not at risk.

But think about this: in 1980, smallpox was declared eradicated world wide. Now we're vaccinating against it again because of the potential of terrorists using the bug as a weapon. The likelihood of your getting small pox -- or most of the other diseases we vaccinate for on a regular basis -- is much lower than the 50% likelihood of contracting HPV and putting yourself at risk for cancer.

Now you could always argue that the CDC is untrustworthy but, um, why would you do that?


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Leah Vukmir: wrong on public health.

Hi folks,

The vaccine for HPV is out and available. They've made it mandatory in -- of all places -- Texas (with an opt-out clause for people afraid of needles) and since a preponderance of American women are almost guaranteed to eventually contract the virus over the next 15 years, we should think about recommending it here in Wisconsin.

But not Rep. Leah Vukmir.

Bob Hague from the Wisconsin Radio Network reports:
A state lawmaker says she'll oppose mandatory vaccines against a virus that causes cervical cancer. Representative Leah Vukmir's concerns include whether state should even be mandating the vaccines. "That discussion really should be taking place between doctors and patients," says the Milwaukee Republican. "We in Madison really shouldn't be making that decision."
I wonder whether Rep. Vukmir believes any child in Wisconsin should receive any vaccinations and, if so, what distinguishes this vaccine from the polio vaccine?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Annette Ziegler's conflict on interest?

Hi folks,

And on the heels of that last post, this:

Suspicions confirmed: Ziegler hides conflicts of interest.

Submitted by xoff on Sun, 03/04/2007 - 11:05am.

As highlighted on this blog last Wednesday, Supreme Court candidate Annette Ziegler has ruled in some 45 cases involving a bank on which her husband serves as a director.

The Wisconsin State Journal confirms today that Ziegler did not disclose her conflict of interest, at least in several of the cases, violating the rules of judicial conduct set by the Supreme Court that she wants to join:

Click on the link above for the whole story....

Sometimes these things just snowball. What next?


The Company you keep? Swift Boat Liars for Annette Ziegler.

Hi folks,

I was weighing up the candidates for Supreme Court, leaning toward our upstart, hometown, judge -- until this past week when dirty money from outside Wisconsin made the decision for me.

The Capital Times is reporting that CRC Public Relations (Creative Response Concepts), the same bunch who creatively carried muck for the discredited but infamous Swift Boat Liars, is now stupping for Annette Ziegler.

You can always be judged best according to the company you keep, and that's a shame because friends of mine who know Judge Ziegler assure me that if she's a bit precocious, she's really smart. She might even be a decent justice -- but with friends like this, justice is at stake.

Ms. Ziegler, you don't always get to choose your enemies, but you do get to choose your friends.

These shadowy people, we should remember, are the same bunch bankrolled by a Nixon Whitehouse overcome by fury at a young Lt. Kerry who blew the whistle on the US military killing civilians in Vietnam. These people, we should remember, are the same bunch discredited by the fine toothed comb of a Republican led senate committee and a Dept. of the Navy hoping to undermine Lt Kerry's congressional testimony. Turns out both the Senate and Navy investigations cleared Kerry of any of this vicious innuendo. -- during the Nixon administration.

This didn't keep them from trying it again... and somewhat successfully... during the recent election. -- but they weren't any less a swarm of irrational and angry propagandists then either.

Anyway, you lie down with dogs and you get up with fleas.

The Swift Boat veterans have convinced me to jump ship and side with Ms. Clifford, the experienced legal scholar and blue collar kid, against the young judge with the rich name and lousy, lousy, lousy friends.