Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A budget cut lead by the Democrats????

Yes indeed. The House Democrats are actually proposing a budget cut.

Now, you must be thinking that this is some kind of mistake, Democrats hate budget cuts.

The devil is in the details on this one.

The Democrats have cut the funding on a government watchdog that keeps an eye on union dues to make sure they funds are spent legally.

Washinton Times-

The Bush administration says the Democrat-controlled Congress is trying to shortchange the lone federal agency responsible for ensuring unions spend their dues legally — an effort Republicans consider political payback that must be rebuffed.

At least two Republican senators are expected to propose legislation to restore nearly 4 percent of funding the House cut from the Office of Labor-Management Standards, Capitol Hill aides said.

"Union members are entitled to know where their money is going," Labor Department Secretary Elaine L. Chao said. "Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the department's budget goes to OLMS — the one federal entity charged with protecting union members from corruption — and it is the one singled out for budget cuts."

The House last week approved $45.7 million for OLMS for fiscal year 2008 — $2 million less than in 2007, and about $11 million short of the Bush administration's budget request. It was the only major Labor agency to get less money than in 2007.

"When it came to the office whose responsibility is to find the crooks who are stealing from union members, [Democrats] found a way to impose a 4 percent cut in that office," said Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican, whose bid to restore OLMS funding to its 2007 level failed. "And what a shame that is."

Of course, Rep. Obey would have you believe that everything is just fine and that no one needs to watch the unions any longer.

Once again, the devil is in the details-

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, has questioned the need to give the agency more money when he said unions are complying with disclosure reporting requirements at a rate of 96 percent.

"I'd say if you are getting 96 percent, that's an A — at least it was when I went to school," Mr. Obey said.

The Labor Department says Mr. Obey is only referring to the percentage of unions who filled out their financial forms correctly — not the percentage of unions that were in compliance. The rate of unions who submitted disclosure reports on time last year was about 64 percent.


The only agency that faces this cuts is the one agency that protects union members from being ripped off by their unions. That's it. No other cuts to the budget- only the one that protects union members from union bosses.

Guess what folks? It has been working.

OLMS investigators and auditors in the past six years referred cases to U.S. attorneys that resulted in 775 convictions and more than $70 million in restitution for union members, the Labor Department says.

Wow- this is complete and blatant pandering to the union bosses. Clearly the Democrats want to protect their union piggy banks, but could give a rip about the people these unions are stealing from.

Government greed rears it's ugly head again

Not only in Wisconsin, but all across the country, the newly elected Democrats have decided that they just cannot get enough of your money.

Seriously folks, some of these folks are trying to take us back to the President Carter days, when the economy was atrocious.

From the Wall Street Journal-

Raise the capital gains rate to 28% from the current 15%. This would repeal not only the capital gains tax cut of 2003 but also the tax cut (to 20% from 28%) that Bill Clinton signed into law in 1997. Presidential candidate John Edwards proposed this 86% increase in the capital gains tax last week, and he's been echoed in recent days by such Democratic tax sachems as Alan Blinder and Leonard Burman. Mr. Blinder thinks capital gains should be taxed no differently than regular income, which means the tax rate would rise to 39.6% if the 2003 tax cuts expire in 2010. The last time the U.S. had a capital gains rate that high was 1978--the Jimmy Carter era.

So who wants to go back to the Jimmy Carter days? Do they remember what the economy was like back then?

With each new week, another tax increase is proposed by a Democrat in Congress.

Can you imagine what would happen to the American business climate if John Edwards has his way and increases capital gains taxes by 86%?

86%!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

What is a law enforcement officer to do?

All the talk in Kenosha today is about a young man that was shot and killed on Saturday night.

I have spoken to several individuals about this- everyone I have spoken too seems to agree- the final outcome was unavoidable.

For five hours- the officers and the deputies did everything they could to save this man's life. In the end- he pointed a gun at the officers and it cost him his life.

Here is the story-

A Randall man was shot and killed early Sunday morning by the Sheriff Department's Tactical Response Team after he led deputies on a chase and then reportedly raised a gun at them.

David J. Estes, 21, had a criminal and mental health history and appeared to want the officers to shoot him, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said Sunday afternoon.

But a member of Estes' family said she believes deputies mishandled the situation and said family members would have never called 911 if they knew this was how it would end.

According to the department, Estes' wife called 911 about 8:39 p.m. Saturday to say her husband had left their house with four loaded weapons, including a handgun and long-barreled weapons.

She said they had an argument, and he left their house in the Nippersink area saying he was going to kill himself. The woman also told dispatchers that Estes might be headed for Paddock Lake, where he had friends and family, and he was driving a red Dodge pickup truck.

A deputy assigned to the Paddock Lake area spotted the truck and followed it until backup arrived. The deputy then tried to pull over the truck, but Estes didn't stop, leading officers on a long chase at speeds of 35 to 65 mph.

Estes apparently stopped at stop signs and stop lights during the chase but wouldn't pull over.

The chase traveled on Highway 45 and onto Highway 50 into Paddock Lake, then onto 60th Street, then onto Highway 83.

Officers tried to use blow-out spike strips several times to stop the truck, but Estes made U-turns to avoid the strips at least four times.

Estes finally drove over a set of the strips and stopped the car on Highway C west of Highway 83 about 9:39 p.m. after stopping for a train. His car was surrounded, and all area streets were blocked off.

Over the next 2½ hours, several sheriff's deputies spoke to the man to try and convince him to give up. Beth said during that time, Estes frequently made quick movements to compartments in the truck in an attempt to make officers believe he was getting a gun.

Estes, who had apparently been shot with bean bags by police before, repeated that he didn't want to be shot with one again and said, "You're going to have to kill me this time."

At one point Estes started the truck in an attempt to leave the scene but couldn't because his tires were blown, Beth said.Estes eventually opened the driver door and sat on the edge of the seat. The tactical team then shot him in the chest wtih a bean bag in an attempt to disable him and let a police dog loose, causing Estes to double over and get back into the truck.

Estes then apparently reached for a rifle and brought the gun up toward officers, according to the department.

The five-member tactical team then fired on him. Beth said the shots broke the window first, but Estes still brought the gun up.

Beth said Estes was shot, but where and how many times remains unclear. All members of the team fired on him, Beth said, and Estes may have shot his gun before he was shot.

Beth said that hadn't been confirmed.

Estes was immediately taken by ambulance to St. Catherine's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:07 a.m.

Family upset about handling

Estes' mother-in-law Teri White said her daughter, Estes' wife, wasn't contacted throughout the night and didn't know Estes' condition.

"Nobody bothered to even let his wife know that he was dead," she said.

White said Estes was a sweet person who had two kids, ages 9 months and 2 years. He had mental health problems in the past, she said, including anxiety attacks.

He had attempted suicide twice before, and medications that doctors prescribed didn't seem to work, she said.

"I don't think the doctors were giving him the right medicine," she said. "It seems like he got lost in the system."White said Estes had been improving lately and had worked on getting his GED while preparing to take a welding class at a local technical college.

Family members couldn't speak with Estes during the standoff, she said, though it may have helped.

"I know (his wife) could have talked him down," she said.White said the family called police so they would help Estes and said they believe Estes never would have shot at officers.

"He would not have hurt them," she said. "For this to happen is unbelievable," she said.

Man has criminal history

But Beth said the department has had at least three serious and violent contacts with Estes that required hands-on contact by deputies.

Court records show that Estes was twice charged with and found guilty of disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property in 2003, and faced one obstructing charge in the same year.

He also pleaded guilty to battery in 2006 after he, according to Kenosha News archives, bit a woman's cheek during an argument.

Beth said Estes had been taken into custody under Chapter 51 at least twice before.

That means that Estes was committed to a mental health institution because he was mentally ill and had or was likely to harm himself or others.

Beth said the last contact his department had with Estes was last October.

Officers on leave

Beth said the tactical team is made up of two deputies and three Kenosha Police Department officers.

The two deputies were placed on administrative leave for two days, he said, and it's unknown whether the officers are also on leave.

Both deputies are seasoned department veterans with more than 10 years experience, he said.

In line with department policy, the Racine County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.

The last time deputies shot and killed someone was 1972, according to the department.

Beth said more information would be available today after deputies finished writing their reports.

I think we all wished for a better outcome- including the law enforcement officers on the scene.

However, if you point a gun at a law enforcement officers, something bad will always happen. Either the officer gets hurt or killed or the person doing the aiming is hurt or killed.

Congratulations Iraq!

Of course- the AP headlines reads:

Gunfire Erupts After Iraq Soccer Win

Instead of celebrating with Iraq- the media immediately focused on the negative.

However- a great big congratulations to the Iraqi soccer team. This is a huge victory for Iraq. They are the Asian Cup champions!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

They're back!

Quite frankly they were not gone for long.

Fans of Dan and Nicole, from The Early Spin, will be happy to note that they are back to blogging again.

Since my schedule had changed, I could not listen to Dan and Nicole for the last several months. However, I did get a chance to read their blog.

The great news is that they did not disappear for very long.

Their new blog is called Still Spinnin' Blog. Check it out-

They may take our jobs….. but they will never take…. OUR FREEDOM!!!


Welcome back, Dan and Nicole.

The Vinehout truth

Almost two weeks after their original story on Senator Vinehout and her health insurance crisis, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finally addressed the $9000 she donated to her campaign, even as she stated she could not afford the health insurance.

No matter how many excuses Senator Vinehout makes, she and her husband made a choice on whether or not they would carry health insurance. It was her choice, not anyone else's choice.

Now, I have no right to tell the Senator how she should spend her money. Frankly, it is none of my business. However, this is one of main reasons I am dead set against government-controlled health care. The government is deciding that I have to have health-care insurance and they are mandating that the money be taken out of my paycheck. No choice.

There are some people, like the Senator, who made the choice of not paying for health care insurance. Even I made that choice for myself.

Over 15 years ago, I was without health care coverage. My employer did give me the option of insurance, but I turned it down. I felt it was more important to be able to pay my rent, than to carry health insurance.

Like the Senator, I chose to gamble and I lost. Total cost of my medical bills was over $3000. It took me over a year and a half to pay for the medical bills.

Unlike the Senator, I do not believe that because I gambled and lost, gives me any right to take away this choice from anyone else.

How many folks are out there today who are currently making the same choice that I made 15 years ago? Rent or health insurance?

To some, this may not be a fair choice. For years, Americans have made that type of choice. It is very American. Just like the Senator, who chose to chase the American dream of owning her own business, Americans have made these types of sacrifices for years.

If this forced government controlled is passed, how many Wisconsinites will lose the same choice that the Senator had? Follow your dream, quite your job and open your own business. Yes, you will have to make sacrifices like the Senator did and perhaps opt to go without health insurance until you are on your feet.

Now- the Senator wants to take that choice from you. Mandatory health care! An additional 10% of what you make under the self-employment rules would go to the government for health insurance that you may or may not need. No choice!

How many Wisconsinites will forgo their dreams of being their own boss because they no longer can afford the mandatory programs forced on them?

Of course, that is only the tip of the iceberg. What happens to the person that is working full time, like I was, but still trying to pay the rent? Now they lose at least 4% of their paychecks.

How about the highly touted minimum wage increases that the Democrats are so proud of? Now they are trying to take 4% away immediately. Government hands them an increase and then takes it away immediately. What was the point?

How about the person that made tons of sacrifices just to own a home? Will they have to drop homeowner’s insurance?

Possibly, at least until government mandates homeowner’s insurance. That could be fun. Government could just add it right to your property taxes.

I do not fault the choice that Senator Vinehout and her husband made. It was her choice.

I do fault the Senator for believing that she has the right to make that choice for me and everyone else in Wisconsin.

I did not go looking for a government bailout when I ran into a bit of bad luck. Like most Americans that came before me, I just worked a little harder. That is the American way. Waiting for a government bailout is not!

The Vinehout truth is that she had a choice and I should be able to make my own choice too.

Interesting discussion taking place at Boots and Sabers on this subject.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Uh-oh

He will be sleeping on the couch tonight. Maybe for the entire week.

*Potential fire alert for later today in Franklin*

Now this is embarrassing...

H/T Asian Badger

This is flat out embarrassing.

Wisconsin taxes are so bad, that retirees don't have to run very far in order to avoid our outrageous taxes. Just go to Michigan and they will be fine.

Forbes magazine writes:

When John Jazdcyk retired in 2004 from his management job at a Green Bay, Wis. Procter & Gamble plant, he and his wife, Susan, debated whether to move full-time to their vacation home on Lake Mullet in Cheboygan, Mich. Then they learned that Michigan exempts $81,840 a year in private retirement income per couple, in addition to Social Security, from its 3.9% state income tax. Wisconsin, by contrast, taxes private retirement payments, as it does salary and other income, at 5.6%. "Whenever taxes can be avoided, I feel better," says new Michigan resident Jazdcyk, 59.

Continued... (signing up for Forbes is free, you will need a log-in)

Let's start with the fact that income taxes in Michigan are 3.9% and in Wisconsin they are 5.6%. That alone is an embarrassment.

Then, you pile on the fact that we cannot cut any tax breaks for our most valued residents, senior citizens.

That is pathetic, folks!

When faced with exorbitant tax rate in Wisconsin, what do our state democrats do?

Well, pile on more taxes, of course! To the tune of $1.7 billion from Governor Doyle and $18+ billion from the Senate democrats!

Step up and join Fantasy Football

Feeling inspired by Fred at Real Debate Wisconsin, and after attempting to sign up a few moments to late, there has been another league created for the Cheddarsphere football fans.

Join today-

http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/register/joinprivateleague_league_select?.scrumb=

League ID is 237466

Password is kenosha

I have learned from experience, spots fill up quick- so join today

Name this famous person





Since this is the first post in "Name this famous person", I have made it an easy one. On a scale of 1-10, this is a 1.



Who said this?

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."

Friday, July 27, 2007

An honest debate

I am becoming increasingly more frustrated with the Healthy Wisconsin. Getting a straight answer is becoming increasingly difficult.

I, like everyone else, listened to the taunting from the liberal side of the aisle, on the new poll that came out. According to the Senate Democrats and Senator Erpenbach in particular- everybody loves healthy Wisconsin.

Well, apparently, the poll was anything but accurate. As it turns out, the poll was taken two weeks before any details had been released about Healthy Wisconsin.

Two weeks!

The results of the poll are not an accurate assessment of the Democrats Health Wisconsin plan.

This little tidbit of information was released yesterday on Mark Belling’s show, with Kevin Fischer hosting.

There just is not any single way to take an accurate poll when all of the details are not given the i
After hearing Kevin Fischer on the air yesterday, Senator Erpenbach took great offense to his poll being called a lie. The Senator called the show and proceeded to defend his poll numbers.

It was during the Senator’s rant that I realized that the Senate Democrats would do anything and say anything for Healthy Wisconsin. On several occasions, Senator Erpenbach insisted that the Healthy Wisconsin would lower health care costs.

However, a little more than a week ago, the Senator looked me in the eyes and stated that this plan will not lower health care costs at all. He was hoping it would just slow down the increases to Wisconsin health care systems.

I have my own issues with this poll. In fact, I am not even sure it is possible to take an accurate poll on the Healthy Wisconsin proposal.

One of the most basic questions that Senate Democrats cannot answer is –“How much will this cost me?”

The Senate democrats do not know how much this will cost you because they have not yet defined “gainfully employed.”

Senate democrats cannot tell us if “gainfully employed” means full time or part time.

Folks we have no idea what it will cost us, individually, for this plan.

What if, the definition for “gainfully employed” turns out to mean any person working full time(30 hours a week)?

Does that mean that every single person that is employed, but working only 29 hours a week will not have to pay into the system? How about their employer?
What if your employer, in order to sidestep healthcare costs, cuts everyone’s hours to 29 hours a week?



There are so many “what ifs” that it is impossible to keep up with all. However- all of the questions need to be answered before shoving a health care system down our throats.

I think that it is only fair that we find out exactly how much this plan will cost each and every one of us, before a decision is made to move forwar.

Senator Erpenbach and Senate Democrats- you guys are the ones who insisted on having the health care debate right now.

However- we are now being entertained into believing that everyone loves the Healthy Wisconsin. However, not it is being discovered that the polling results were inaccurate. Worse yet, it may be impossible to accurate numbers until every single detail is worked out. Until we can define who is going to pay for this and how much will they pay, this is all a guessing game

It is actually impossible to know exactly how Healthy Wisconsin, if enacted, will affect us after the first year alone.

What we do know is the Senate Democrats demanded this debate. However, when some of their talking points are challenged, they react exactly as Senator Erpenbach did yesterday. One week we hear that health care costs will continue to rise, but the next week, we hear that Healthy Wisconsin will lower health care costs.

Wisconsin deserves a honest debate on health care.

Senate Democrats- you wanted this debate- let us keep it honest. This poll was not an honest reflection of Healthy Wisconsin.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Goodbye Midwest, hello AirTran

This is not good news for Midwest. This may be the straw that breaks the camel's back-

Midwest Air earnings plunge 44.6%

Hurt by what it called "industrywide pricing weakness," Midwest Air Group Inc. (MEH) said today earnings fell 44.6% in the second quarter, well below Wall Street expectations.

The Oak Creek-based parent of Midwest and Midwest Connect Airlines said net income dropped to $4.87 million, or 19 cents a share, from $8.80 million, or 39 cents, a year earlier. Revenue grew 10% to $194.5 million from $176.9 million.

Two analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had expected earnings of 36 cents a share.

"While the pricing environment was challenging, demand for travel remained strong in the second quarter," said Timothy E. Hoeksema, Midwest Air chairman and chief executive officer. "Going forward, we are continuing to roll out our wide-ranging 2007 strategic plan, which includes aggressive route expansion, frequency increases and equipment upgrades.

"Midwest is fighting a hostile takeover offer from AirTran Holdings Inc. (AAI), which earlier in the day posted a 30% gain in second-quarter earnings, beating analyst expectations.

Midwest is the leading carrier at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport.

This is sad. I was out purchasing tickets to DC today- the Midwest tickets were $200 more than the Air Tran tickets.

I bought Air Tran. The cookies are not that good on Midwest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bush admin only fired eight

H/T- Jessica McBride

Where is the congressional investigation?

Why is Governor Doyle given a pass for the firing of 15 prosecutors?

Today- the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blames the legislators, Jessica McBride points out the truth.


District attorneys from Waukesha, Racine and four other counties plan to ask the state Supreme Court today to halt the Doyle administration's plans to fire 15 prosecutors from 12 counties effective Sunday.


The lawsuit will ask the state's highest court to temporarily stay the layoffs ordered by the state Department of Administration and to decide whether the Doyle administration has the authority to eliminate jobs created by the Legislature.


As this article from 2003 points out- there may have been other ways to keep the prosecutors from being cut-

"Unlike the elected district attorneys, we made every attempt to try and prevent these cuts from ever occurring in the first place. We told the governor that there were ways to make up the shortfall without cutting personnel. But he felt that cutting bodies was more important.

So, were the firings politically motivated? Who hired these folks? Who fired these folks?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Democrats- we tried to warn ya'

Hey Democrats- we tried to warn you. But did you listen?

NO!

We told you the woman was a fruit loop. Now she is coming back to bite ya!

Sure- when she was camped out in front of Bush's house, you Democrats considered this woman a hero.

Now that she was camped out in Congressman Conyers' office, not so funny, huh?

I wonder if you Democrats will enjoy all of the "netroots" money being thrown into her campaign and Pelosi is left high and dry by this group?

Have fun, Democrats! She is your problem now!

Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Monday at the Capitol for disorderly conduct, shortly after saying she would run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the California Democrat’s refusal to try to impeach President George W. Bush.

Sheehan was taken into custody inside Rep. John Conyers’ office, where she had spent an hour imploring him to launch impeachment proceedings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Conyers, D-Mich., chairs the House Judiciary Committee, where any impeachment effort would have to begin.

continued...

Who is to blame?

The "Who is to blame" Katrina debate has re-opened.

Today, the charges were dropped against a Katrina doctor.

Murder charges dropped against Katrina doctor

Of course some folks start blaming "this administration" for Katrina again. Yes, "this administration" should carry some of the blame, but there are many others to include.

This was my response on the blog-

If the mayor of the city, Ray Nagin, or the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services, had done their jobs for the five days proceeding this crisis, this would not have happened. There was an evacuation plan, buses available to evacuate and the plan was not followed. They had 5 days to implement this plan. They failed.

If so many police officers had not skeedadled in the middle of this crisis, this would not have happened.

If the local government had not have swiped millions upon millions of dollars from the New Orleans levy systems, this would not have happened.

The governor, herself, ordered the National Guard to hold back and not send any additional help into the city.

The federal government should have taken over on day 1. Instead they held back, waiting for local and state officials to tell them what they needed.

I even blame the media personnel for their part in this. The media seemed to be having no problems getting in and out of the area. They had a dry place to sleep and place to get their hair done. They should have set aside their cameras and computers and started packing their trucks full of medical supplies and water. For Pete's sake, they should have set down their cameras and helped their fellow Americans. They were too busy reporting rumors, innuendo and fake stories. They were so desperate to be first with any story, that they added to the confusion.

There are a lot of people to blame.However, once the flooding began- there was no stopping this from happening. Ever try to stop a flood of this nature? There is no way humanly possible to hold back that water once it started.

Shoot it is even hard to get the flooding stopped once your toilet overflows. Imagine trying to hold this thing back?I agree with dropping the charges against this doctor.

If any one of us were standing in the same position she was, would we have done things differently? Maybe, Maybe not.

To try and pin this solely on a few medical personnel and the President is ridiculous.

My biggest fear is that we are so quick to blame a handful of people, that we fail to learn from this.

Every single one of these people have died in vain, if every person involved with this fails to learn something from this.

Blaming a handful of people and the President means that we absolve everyone else for this catostrophic failure.

Local government learns nothing. State government learns nothing. The media learns nothing. We, as a nation, learn nothing.

It is imperative that we, as a nation, learn something from this. I am afraid we have not.

Instead, it became all about politics. Well, that is just not good enough for the people that died.

This is good

This is one of the best editorials that I have read in a long time. I actually laughed out loud while reading it, plus the editorial still gets it point across-

From Wesley Pruden, Washington Times

The presidential candidates, particularly the Democrats, are beginning to feel sorry for themselves. They ought to feel sorry for us.

The Democratic worthies took up places last night at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and none looked as if he (or particularly she) had joined the ranks of the homeless and hungry. Nor did they look particularly fatigued. Why should they? Aides are always there to cut their roast beef, butter their bread, button their overcoats, knot their ties, polish their shoes, and, in the case of John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, touch up eye shadow, lip gloss and moisturizer.

The Washington Post, tireless seeker of obscure victims of life, which is always unfair, and resolute worrier about things like this, reported on the eve of the latest Democratic gong show that "already, debate fatigue is setting in." Naive readers might have thought that "debate fatigue" is what the rest of us are suffering, and awarded the candidates points for worrying about us, but naive reader is wrong as usual. Nobody much is watching the gong show of either party so far, with Election Day 2008 as remote as a distant star, so no, it couldn't be about the rest of us.

John Edwards, who may actually be a little bushed from his day job of, as he puts it, worrying about the poor, and Hillary are eager to ditch everybody else and debate only each other for very different reasons. They're even willing to suffer Dennis Kucinich as straight man in three for the road. Bill and Hillary think they can quickly lap the field if they can get Barack Obama out of the way, and the Breck girl is desperate to get out of his rut at distant third place. Mr. Kucinich, grateful for anybody's table scraps, would make any of the other candidates look measured and middle of the road. Nice work if Bill's gal and the Breck girl can get it.

But debate fatigue is the problem. The tales the candidates tell would break a hooker's heart. All the traveling, even in the pampered style that our top pols quickly become accustomed to, is so, so wearying. You just can't imagine.

The problem, as Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist, tells The Post, "is not the debate itself, it is the debate prep, it is the travel. The problem with the debates is, you don't control your fate or your schedule. If you're a candidate, you want to be the one to decide when you go to Los Angeles or Miami. You don't want to be told you have to be there." The sorrow, the pity of it all.

Doing what you have to do to do your job is for working slobs, not guys and gals on ego trips to the moon. "Some group is sponsoring [a debate] who is an important constituency and [the candidate] doesn't want to get in trouble," Mr. Elmendorf explains. "The candidate's staff all sit around and wring their hands and say, 'We wish we weren't doing all these.' "

And we ain't seen nothing yet, speaking both figuratively and literally. So far our fatigued worthies have put on only "unofficial debates," together with "forums." Given the size of the audiences, these are actually "availabilities," which few voters are availing themselves of. Masochism is not an American taste. The "debate" last night was sponsored mostly by YouTube.com, the popular Web site where anybody can post videos of himself (or herself) singing, dancing, skateboarding, talking on a cell phone, primping, polluting or even wolfing down hot dogs in training for something called "competitive eating contests." It's a venue tailor-made for our times and "the early presidential cycle."

The next "serious" debate will be showtime for one of the most important Democratic constituencies. Everybody will come in from the road next month for a command performance in Los Angeles to debate "gay and lesbian issues." How to stage a debate when everybody agrees is something everybody is working on. After that come Iowa and New Hampshire, where faking interest becomes art.

John Edwards says he's only doing it for us; naturally, he had rather be somewhere else, thinking about the poor. A campaign aide explains that he thinks a few little debates with only two real candidates and a guaranteed empty suit will guarantee the "real" thing later. "You cannot explain how you will end the war in Iraq or solve the climate crisis in 60 seconds." Even if 60 seconds is about all the rest of us can stand.

Are you sure you want to go there?

Mike McCabe and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign think they understand what is wrong with our healthcare system.

Of course, the problems rest on the shoulders of Republicans.

Wealthy special interests that oppose a universal health care system – like the one in the Senate Democrats’ proposed 2007-09 state budget – have contributed nearly $2 of every $3 raised in the past four election cycles by Republicans who control the Assembly, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Of course, it doesn't dawn on the WDC that it could be that many folks don't want to hand their health care over to the government.

Just like the Democrats in the State Senate, the WDC believes that my personal health care is their own political football.

When it comes to health care, my life is at stake. This is not a political game.

In fact, there are alot of lives at stake here.

Mike McCabe and the WDC- Are you sure you want to go there?

By the way, Mr. McCabe- while you continue to bash away- are you plan on releasing the names of the folks that are personally financing the WDC?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Could the Senate Democrats Healthy Wisconsin destroy the Wisconsin business climate?

Probably one of the most important questions that should be answered during this debate is-


Could the Senate Democrats Healthy Wisconsin destroy the Wisconsin business climate?

What is so surprising is the fact that the Senate Democrats actually passed this plan in the budget without fully checking out all the facts, nor do they understand the full ramifications of their decision to pass this piece of legislation.


This is one of the most important questions that should have been answered long before proceeding with a vote on the Senate floor.


Before we go too far into this, let us discuss for a second a few questions that we need to think about.


- What if this is only bad news for 50% of Wisconsin companies? Is losing 50% of Wisconsin businesses acceptable? No- of course not.


- What if this is only bad news for 10% of Wisconsin companies? Is losing 10% of Wisconsin businesses acceptable? No- of course not. Even if we only lose 10% of our businesses that means unemployment skyrockets in Wisconsin.


- What if we lose no Wisconsin business, instead we only discourage new businesses from opening up? Is this acceptable? Of course not. Unless we continue to grow as state, we will not be able to sustain ourselves for very long.

Now the only folks that the Senate Democrats believe will be really hurt are the Wisconsin companies that do not provide insurance or provide inadequate insurance, and insurance companies.

I completely disagree with the Senate Democrats. This could devastate the business climate in every single county that is within driving distance of a Wisconsin border.

Here's why.


One of the tidbits of information that we received from the Senate Democrats at Thursday's meeting was that any Wisconsin resident that works in Illinois will have to pay the 4% just like everyone else in Wisconsin. However, the Illinois employer has to pay nothing.


Legally, under the Wisconsin Democratic Senator's plan, they cannot force any out of state business the 10.5% that they will be charge Wisconsin businesses.

I listened very intently to this tidbit of information, because I live in Kenosha and I work in Illinois.

Originally, when we heard about the Healthy Wisconsin plan, one of the first questions being asked down here in Kenosha, is how will this work for those of us employed in Illinois. As it is, over 30% of Kenosha County's workforce is working in Illinois. Our concern was that as employees, we would be stuck paying our employer's share of the Healthy Wisconsin burden.


However, we have been assured by Senator Erpenbach that we would only be charged 4%- the same as anyone else.

Now on the surface, you would figure that there are a ton of employers, that have to be thrilled. Their employees will receive insurance and it does not cost them a dime. There are many employers who will be turning backflips.

However, what does that do to Kenosha? Why would a single Kenosha business stay in Kenosha?

We are right on the border. Some can literally stand on their front porches and wave to their Illinois neighbors.



Illinois just is not that far away. A smart business would pick up their assets and move their business 5 minutes away, into Illinois. They can continue to keep their same employees and their same customer base.

In doing this, they save themselves an incredible amount of money in healthcare costs.

So how much work would it take to move some of our businesses to move to Illinois?

Not much, I am guessing.

Right now, Illinois is busting their humps to bring in new business to their state. They are literally paying companies to move to their state. They are also offering tax incentives and guaranteed business loans.

Smart business with be doing exactly this. Pick it up and move it. Illinois will help pay the moving costs for you.

The same is true for every single border county. Actually, not only border counties, but also counties that utilize interstates and major highways.

The drive is so easy down I-94, that businesses in Milwaukee and Racine counties are also in danger. Any county with-in driving distance of another state is in danger.

I know the Senate Democrats have themselves convinced that businesses from all over the country will be flocking to Wisconsin, because of the wonderful insurance plan.

Smart businesses will actually be flocking from all over the country in to set up camp just outside of the Wisconsin state lines.

I know that one of the Democrats goals for doing this was to take some of the pressures off of Wisconsin business and to improve the overall business climate.

If this passes- it sure appears as if they accomplished this goal.

Unfortunately, they improved the business climate in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, not Wisconsin.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

You mean there is two sides to the health care debate?

After listening, for the last month, to wonderful stories about how perfect government controlled health care would be to all Wisconsinites, it appears that some folks are beginning to get it.

On the front page of today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the question is asked-

Is Senate's health bill best for all?

Well I'll be jiggered- there is a flip side to the Senate Democrat's government controlled health care. I have be squawking for a month about the flip side.

After all of the fuss and muss about whether or not the government will be controlling this plan, I could not help but giggle when I read this passage in today's MJS article-

Yet a key question is whether the Senate's proposal - to create a system controlled in part by the government and based on taxes - is the best solution.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hang onto your wallets

Hang onto your wallets folks, the price of gas is getting ready to jump again.

After the price of gas finally worked it's way below $3 a gallon, after some refinery damage-we are about to get hit again by the evironmentalist and the liberal US 9th circuit court-

A federal appeals court has ordered Shell Oil to stop its exploratory drilling program off the north coast of Alaska at least until a hearing in August.

The order, issued Thursday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, comes after the federal Minerals Management Service in February approved Shell's offshore exploration plan for the Beaufort Sea.

"Vessels currently located in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas shall cease all operations performed in furtherance of that program, but need not depart the area," the order said.

Opponents contend that the Minerals Management Service approved Shell's plan without fully considering that a large spill would harm marine mammals, including bowhead and beluga whales. They say polar bears could also be harmed, and they question whether cleaning up a sizable spill would even be possible in the icy waters.

continued...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Just call it "government controlled healthcare"

I spent several hours yesterday listening to the new health care proposal.

Senator Erpenbach, Senator Wirch and Senator Lehman presented their universal health care plan to Kenosha to mixed results.

Kenosha was the first area that the Senate Democrats visited in order to finally explain the Healthy Wisconsin plan.

The afternoon started with Senator Erpenbach giving a little story on the Healthy Wisconsin proposal. It was all general information and did not go any real detail.

The floor was then opened up to questions. One right after the other, the union folks, and a couple of doctors, stood up and poured praise down onto the wonderful Democrats. Clearly, it was a complete setup.

The crowd tolerated this for a while. Although- things did start to get very dicey after the details of the plan started coming out.

Let me first start by telling you, Senator Erpenbach and the rest of the Democrats refuse to let anyone call this “government run health care”. If they said it once, they said it 50 times. Senator Wirch was getting downright hostile if anyone spoke against his plan. “It’s not government run healthcare!” Senator Wirch was slamming Republicans right and left. Stating all they cared about was the status quo, etc…

Senator Erpenbach was patient, intelligent and he most certainly has his heart in the right. There is no doubt about it. However, he was leading the charge on “It’s not government run healthcare”.

After telling us that this is not “government run health-care”, the senators began to give details on exactly how their government would run the healthcare.

First, the state government would MANDATE that every single Wisconsinite have the state’s insurance plan. Senator Erpenbach told us that they HAVE to make it mandatory or the plan will not work. More details later.

Then, a new board will be created in order to administer this new plan. How would this board be created? According to Senator Erpenbach, 16 people will be hand picked by the governor. With senate approval, the governor would then appoint these members to the Healthy Wisconsin Board. If I understand this right, certain groups, like the labor unions and WMC will be presenting names to the governor, and the governor is to pick from the list.

This board, appointed by the governor, would then make all of the important decisions. This board would start by defining “gainfully employed”. Until the words “gainfully employed” are defined, there is no way possible to tell who will be paying out of their own pockets for this plan. Full time? Part time? Senator Erpenbach cannot answer this question. (I wonder how in the world these legislators can possible claim that this plan will save all of Wisconsin money, when they have absolutely no clue who will actually be paying into this plan.)

The Board will then make a decision for about three or four different levels of health care plans to be offered to the people of Wisconsin. Some would be more expensive than others but provide better coverage.

Hang onto your hats, conservatives; this next statement is going to get you riled up.

WEA Trust (WEAC Insurance) will be one of the insurance companies allowed to bid.(In fact, Erpenbach made it sound as if it was a done deal) If this board, appointed by the governor, chooses the WEAC insurance, every Wisconsin resident could actually be forced to pay for WEAC insurance.

Senator Erpenbach stated this on more than one occasion. One person even went back and asked the question again to make sure this was right. The senator spoke of the QEO and how it is only fair, etc…

Bless his heart, one gentleman who owned a small business, stood up and looked the senators in the face and stated- “If you do this, it will cost me $47,000 a year. If you do this, I am out of business.” Apparently, he and his wife have worked for 10 years to build up his business and he will have to close the doors, if this plan goes thru.

Senator Erpenbach sympathized with this gentleman and promised to think long and hard about this. He also said that they were looking into ways of helping this gentleman and thousands like him.

That’s not all folks. Here’s more-

Yes, the Senator recognizes illegal immigrants will be covered

Yes, the Senator recognizes that Wisconsin may be flooded with folks from out of state (he believes that there will be a huge influx at the beginning and level off in the future)

Yes, the Senator recognizes that this will drive some business out of Wisconsin (he doesn’t think too many)

Yes, the Senator recognizes that this will drive some business out of business (he doesn’t think too many)

And on and on…

I finally got a question in- I asked how does this control the rising cost of health care.

The answer: It does not!

Senator Wirch and Senator Erpenbach both admitted that this does not control the rising cost of health care. The senators are hoping that this will slow down the rising cost.

There is just so much more that I could tell you.

However, the most important point that the Senators were attempting to make is that this is not “government run healthcare”.

Then they proceeded to tell us that the government is mandating healthcare and mandating that every single Wisconsin resident pay for this healthcare coverage. Then they proceed to have political appointees run this healthcare program.

To top the whole thing off, the government will take money out of each and every paycheck and force you to pay for health insurance, whether you want it or not.

It has got to be a hard argument for the Democrats to claim that this is NOT “government run healthcare”, even as they are swiping money out of your paycheck to pay for it.

Since we are not allowed to call this “government run healthcare”, we should call it something different.

Perhaps, we can call it “government mandated healthcare”?

Even better, we can call it “GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED HEALTHCARE”.
Sound better, Democrats?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Live blogging interview with Senator Wirch and Senator Erpenbach

Live blogging interview with Senator Wirch and Senator Erpenbach on WLIP 1050AM on Healthy Wisconsin.

Currently small talk is taking place

9:57am- more small talk- interview to start after the top of the news.

Both men will be given the opportunity to explain their positions before the questions begin. No one will be allowed to call in and ask questions.

Lenny Palmer made his position clear- he is against this program all together. Sweeping health care plan

10:07


Erpenbach's position: The governor support is luke-warm at best. We build on the governor's plan of Badgercare Plus. The governor's plan does not go far enough. Health care costs are too high.

Wirch- thousands declaring bankruptcy because of health care costs
Health care costs are above the national average by 26 percent.

Erpenbach: the UAW is suffering cutbacks to healthcare.

Why do they not control costs with insurance companies?

Erpenbach: Hospitals freak out, but the Democrats still have a plan. We had free market competition and it did not work.

Lenny asked the question again.

Erpenbach: Healthy Wisconsin is pooling the risk. We are saving companies money and individuals money.

Still the question not answered.

Now debating the demographics. 400,000 uninsured- but Erpenbach disagrees.

Lenny askes: Have you done your homework- how many of these folks do not want insurance?

Erpenbach: not everyone does not want it-some cannot afford it.

Teachers exempt?

Erpenbach is stating that teachers are in the program when the QEO is waived????

Erpenbach: QEO is wrong!

Firefighters, and police cannot strike- why are teachers the only exemption?

Wirch: Insurance companies refusing to cover people.

Erpenbach: Does not agree with Wirch- everyone does have access to healthcare, they just cannot afford it- so they don't go.

Erpenbach: there is no competition in health care- they all want to be rich. Insists that Democrats will save people money.

Wirch: the high cost of co-pays, high cost of deductible, penalties for improper use emergency will keep people from abusing the system. (I cannot believe he just said that! He is admitting the program is expensive????)

Erpenbach: State board will control administration of plan, appointed by governor. He promises that the board will be balanced- the Senate will make sure of it.

Will these be political positions?

Erpenbach: Yes- these are political positions controlled by governor.(apparently, we have learned nothing from the State Elections board debacle)

Who qualifies?

Define gainfully employed.

Erpenbach: The board will be defining gainfully employed. It depends on how the board defines it. He personally believes that people working more than 30 hours a week- but board can change this.

This plan is encourages part time employment. Now Erpenbach is stating that gainfully employed could be defined as part time. He doesn't know how it will be defined.

Wirch: complaining that people are beating up on their plan. they are losing coming and going.

Erpenbach: Yes, illegal immigrants will be covered. At least if they are working, they are will be paying, so they are covered. (no hesitation)

Personal responsibility?

Erpenbach: health care is not affordable, that is why the government has to take it- but it is still not government run. employees will control

Can doctors opt out?

Erpenbach: No. Doctors will not run- they are going to happy that they are insured.

Can citizens opt out?

Erpenbach: No

Medicare- doctors don't want to treat patients

Erpenbach: This isn't Medicare. Doctors will love this because people have coverage

Wirch wanted to talk about underinsured. Erpenbach shut Wirch down.(kinda funny)

Lenny askes about this program and why folks from other states won't move

Erpenbach: nothing prevents this from happening.

Lenny is mad!

Erpenbach- Yes- people can come across the border and get free health care. They would get it anyway under Badger care.

Erpenbach: this plan is cheap.

Wirch: this still enforces personal responsibility with deductable and such (so I guess it isn't cheap???)

Erpenbach: self insured will pay 10%- $40,000 a year will cost you $400 a month for healthcare.( this is cheap? BTW, This would be mandatory)

Erpenbach: this will attract new small business.

Wirch: babbling about an individuals costs that went up 19%

Erpenbach: Businesses will bang down the doors to get here. This levels the playing field.

Erpenbach: wants to put this on the governor's desk.

Wirch: this may not be the best program, but at least we want to do something- Republicans do not(even mentioned Reince)

Has there been any polling?

Erpenbach: it is a liberal pollster, but everybody loves this- 67%, People in Middleton(just outside of Madison) really love this.

Basically- the Democrats are insisting that business loves this and will save money.

Did the 18 Democrats who voted for this plan, ever consider the consequences?

I was struck by the above question that Charlie Sykes asked yesterday on his blog-

Did the 18 Democrats who voted for this plan, ever consider the consequences?

Sykes goes even further to ask the question-

Did they even read it?

Well, I think that I can answer these questions for Charlie Sykes in a single word.

NO!

No,not all 18 Senate Democrats considered the consequences. No, it does not appear that all 18 Democrats actually read the plan.

Perhaps some of the 18 Democrats did read it, but not all of them. How would I know this? I will get to that answer in just a moment.

Let's start with the first question- Did the 18 Democrats, who voted for this plan, consider the consequences?


Of course the 18 Democrats did not consider the consequences. If they had considered the consequences they would never have introduced it into the budget and then passed that budget in a 24 hour period.


If the Democrats wanted to seriously consider the consequences they would have scheduled more than a few hours worth of hearings before they passed this horrifying budget.

From the Senate Democrats own website, we see exactly how many hearings they have had on this subject-

In 2005- they have one hearing on November 7 in Wausau

In 2006- they had a total of three hearing in Beloit, Milwaukee and Racine

In 2007- once again they had one single public hearing on the subject on March 22 before they slammed it into the budget on June 25.

That's it folks. Senate Democrats heard from a handful of doctors, business people and a couple of citizens before they made their power grab.

My guess is that Senate Democrats did not want to hear about the real and true consequences or they would have taken their time and opened the debate up to every single Wisconsin resident.

Now on to the second question: Did they even read it?


I sure does not appear that all of the 18 Senate Democrats actually read the plan. I know of one State Senator in particular who doesn't seem to have read it- State Senator Robert Wirch. He does not seem to have any clue what is in the Healthy Wisconsin plan.

A few days after voting for a massive tax increase for this health plan, Senator Wirch was interviewed on the air by Lenny Palmer and asked why WEAC employees were not going to be part of this plan. At the time, Senator Wirch insisted that they would be part of the plan.

Apparently, someone has since set him straight.

Then, the Senator made his biggest mistake to date- he called into the Lenny Palmer show yesterday, when RPW chair Reince Priebus was hosting.

Senator Wirch was attempting to defend the Healthy Wisconsin plan. The senator was given an opportunity to spew his normal talking points on how this would save people money, etc...

That is when Reince began to question the senator on different parts of the plan. It became obvious that the senator really did not have a grasp on this plan.

Yesterday, the senator was attempting to state that the Healthy Wisconsin plan was not really government run health care- insurance companies would kinda be running it. Of course if you check out the Senate Democrats web page, the plan eliminates "hassling with insurance companies".

So which is it? Is this government run plan or a insurance company run plan?

When the senator was asked about folks moving to Wisconsin just for free health care, he claimed that people had to wait 12 months before coverage would kick in. When Reince pointed out the exceptions to this rule such as being "gainfully employed" the senator began stumbling around again.

Reince then asked Senator Wirch what it legally meant to be "gainfully employed" in order to define what this portion of the Healthy Wisconsin plan meant. Senator Wirch stumbled around without giving a definition. The senator finally became so exasperated he exclaimed "I'm not a lawyer!".

Of course, Reince immediately asked the senator- "You are a LAWMAKER, aren't you?" The good news is that the Senator did actually agree to the fact that he is indeed a lawmaker.

When Reince asked how this plan would save taxpayers money. The Senator claimed that lawmakers would make the insurance companies "cut out the shenanigans".

Shenanigans? What shenanigans specifially would the lawmakers cut?

Well, we don't know- the Senator did not exactly answer that question.

State Senator Bob Wirch actually made the problem worse for Senate Democrats, because he had no real grasp on the Healthy Wisconsin plan.

Senator Wirch is bringing his buddy, Senator Erpenbach, along with him to do an interview again today on Lenny Palmer's show. He is attempting to minimize the damage done.

So we are back to the original questions-

Did the 18 Democrats who voted for this plan, ever consider the consequences?

Did they even read it?

These are questions that both liberal and conservative Wisconsites should be asking. This is an issue that each and every person of the state will be affected by.

It is time to get serious about this. It does not help anyone when all the Democrats continue to do is spew some talking points and never actually explain the program in detail.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Big mistake

I am certain that State Senator Bob Wirch was not prepared for this. Senator Wirch got stuck being interviewed by RPW Chair Reince Priebus on this morning's Lenny Palmer show on WLIP AM1050.

Talk about a deer caught in the headlights, Senator Wirch had to have been in a panic.

Since I work in Illinois- I was not able to listen to this mornings show. However, I have received two phone calls and one email talking about what transpired this morning.

Rumor has it- Senator Wirch was creamed. Senator Wirch lacked details on the health care plan and he did not know what was in the plan.

Reince even asked if Senator Wirch could define what it meant to be "gainfully employed" and Senator Wirch could not answer that question.

I would like to know why in the world Senator Wirch voted for a expensive new health care system and yet the Senator has no idea what the plan consists of.

Tomorrow's Q & A with Senator Wirch, Senator Erpenbach and Senator Lehman should be interesting.

Feel like joining us- see this link for details.

It is about Milwaukee and only about Milwaukee

Now do not get me wrong, when I read this editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday, I was not surprised. Of course, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is in Milwaukee and it is to be expected that they would demand more money for Milwaukee in this next state budget.

That being said, some of what the MJS is stating in this editorial is flat out disrespectful to all of the rest of Wisconsin.

In defending the Assembly plan to reallocate local shared revenue, Huebsch stated: "This is not the Milwaukee and Madison budget. This is the state budget."

Well, of course, but where is the greatest need, Mr. Speaker? It is in the state's urban areas, and that costs more money.


This statement is insulting to the 90% of us who do not live in Milwaukee.

We all have needs.

In fact, it is a safe bet that every single community in the state of Wisconsin could make the same arguments that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did in Sunday’s paper. Each community leader could state- “We need more than our fair share of tax dollars because of (insert request here)”.

No doubt about it, every community has needs, but why are Milwaukee’s needs more important than any other community does?

Right here in Kenosha, residents are faced with a school referendum to build a new high school. Total new taxes going to referendum next April is about $57 million.

Why are the needs of Milwaukee more important than the needs of Kenosha? Why are the kids and the families of Milwaukee more important than the kids and families in Kenosha?

For Milwaukee to continue to insist they deserve more than their fair share of tax dollars is certainly egotistical, but it is also disrespectful to Wisconsin’s communities.

Hey Milwaukee- we are people too!

By the way, since we are on subject of communities receiving more than there fair share- what is up with the all the whining about four democratic communities receiving cuts under the Republican assembly budget?

It unfairly slashes aid to four Democratic-leaning communities, including Milwaukee. The city would lose $28 million, which would force painful choices on a city already hurting. It's unfair and seems almost spiteful. The Milwaukee delegation needs to show some backbone and fight this partisan swipe.

We already know that Milwaukee has been receiving more than there fair share of revenue, is this also true with the other three democratic leaning communities?

For how long have these democratic leaning communities been getting extra perks from their elected democratic officials?

It is amazing how that door swings both ways.

The democrats want to know why their communities have been targeted and Republicans want to know why the extra perks for democratic leaning communities.

Grow up Democrats! Nobody is treating your communities unfairly.

We are all in this together.

It is important that we all do what we can to take care of each other. However for Milwaukee to continue to insist that the rest of us must bow to their wishes- is very disrespectful to everyone else.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Senate Sleepover



You know I had to swipe it, Kate.


Nice sob story

There appears to be a few necessary facts left out of the sob story the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Democrats were peddling last week-

But in 2005, Alma dairy farmer Kathleen Vinehout and her husband, Doug Kane, faced a tough decision: Should they pay $900 to $1,000 a month for their own family health insurance or to cover their farm expenses?

They went without the insurance. "It was very scary," Vinehout said.
It got scarier. Their 10-year-old son required an emergency appendectomy last fall, forcing the couple to take on debt to pay for the surgery.


However, even though Vinehout could not afford health insurance, last fall she and her husband managed to lend her campaign $9000. That is alot of money for someone who could not afford insurance.

Senator Vinehout made a choice on whether or not she would carry health insurance. She choice not too and got stuck. It happens However- she and her husband had a choice. Currently Senator Vinehout is on the bandwagon that would remove that choice from Wisconsinites. We won't have the same choices she had, Senator Vinehout will take our money and decide how it should be spent.

Many will not have the same choice that the Senator had on whether or not we want to fore go health insurance for a little while and chase our dreams like she did.

Rick Esenberg at Shark and Shepherd has the details.

A smidge tacky

I know that every politician has to raise money in order to continue their campaigns. I get that. However- every once in a while, something strikes me as tacky.


This week-I am giving my own "tackiness of the week" award to Tommy Thompson.


I received a email that stated this-


Here's my problem: I have to pay for this straw poll and I don't have enough money in the campaign to pay the bills sitting on my desk.


Here's a sample of what I have:
$48,000 for buses to carry voters to Ames, Iowa.

$34,000 for invitation and phone calls to turn out voters at our 110 stops.

$70,000 for 2000 tickets to the straw poll.

$10,000 for bus rental and fuel for our 110 city tour of Iowa

$27,000 for payroll


Good grief- whatever happened to the saying "never let them see you sweat".


However, what really got me going was this little ditty with an accompanying photo:


At a recent stop in Davenport, Iowa, 175 people turned out to show their support for the governor. They had a simple message. It's my message.



Really folks- this is Thompson's campaign message? Please send money?
No thanks- I already send plenty of money to politicians in Washington and Madison.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Now it is a time for some answers

After passing a $15.2 billion health care plan without vetting it first, Senator Wirch and a couple of his friends have now decided it needed some discussion.

It is imperative that conservatives also have a say in our health care as we move forward.

Please join me in a Q & A on the health care plan with Senator Wirch, Senator Lehman and Senator Erpenbach.

When: 4pm to 6pm Thursday July 19th

Where: Gateway Technical College(3530 30th Avenue-Kenosha 53144) - Madrigrano Hall

Bring your questions, folks. It is time to get some answers.

Edited to add:

I have already heard the answer that these politicials are peddling- "It's going to save me money". That answer will not work tomorrow.

See sign on septic tank in the post below....

Septic tank sign




I like the license plate also




Sunday, July 15, 2007

Welcome to the Cheddarsphere Cathy Stepp

Fred from Real Debate Wisconsin has a new posting partner. Former State Senator, Cathy Stepp, has joined the Cheddarsphere via Fred's blog.

Here is a link to Cathy's first post- "My Maiden Voyage"

Great to have you Cathy.

Thank you MJS

Very cool- I made the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Best of Wisconsin Blogs this week.

Best of the Wisconsin Blogs

Congrats to Owen Robinson, Ed Garvey and Bill Christofferson- these fellows also made it.

Edited to add: This is the blog that made it- The buzz is back for Republicans in Wisconsin and we have the Democrats to thank

I apologize

Hey folks- I have made a few changes today- one of which was upgrading to a Haloscan account.

As a result of making this change, all of the previous comments made by visitors to this site have been wiped out. Unfortunately there is no way of getting them back.

I apologize to all of you.

However, I felt it was important to improve the commenting, trackback and posting process, but there were a few side effects.


Feel free to make comments- I have no intention of changing things up real soon- unless I have a problem.

Your comments are very important to me. I hope all of you will continue commenting.

Bare in mind-I do not have a moderation feature set up for comments, but I reserve the right to remove any comment I see fit.

You are welcome to disagree with me on any subject, however, I will not tolerate vulgar or profane language. Plus I draw a real fine line on name calling. Try not to personally direct your name calling at any person posting on this blog.

If you have any questions or you would like to make any suggestions, please feel free to email me at stepping_right_up@yahoo.com

Recall Senator John Lehman??

H/T Real Debate Wisconsin

I am not a real big proponent of recall elections. However, this is interesting politics.

Apparently, there are a few folks revving up to recall Senator John Lehman.

Ted Rall: American Troops = Suicide Bombers

Yes folks, he did it again. Cartoonist Ted Rall is calling our American troops, suicide bomber.


If you can stomach it, check out this cartoon.


Click to enlarge


Clearly, this is hate speech.
So, does Ted Rall speak for the Democratic party in general? Is this how they all feel?
I know what you are thinking- How could I possible ask these questions?
Well, it is simple. Just recently, a Democrat right here in Kenosha County, stated that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh were the faces of the Republican party. They even went so far as to ask why we do not denouce Limbaugh and Coulter.(the answer to this question is that conservatives do denounce their bad behaviour)
So I ask- Is this the face of the Democrat Party?
I could make a clear and sustainable argument that yes- Ted Rall is speaking for the Democrats.
The argument is simple, the man that the Democrats placed on a pedestal as their leader and the next President of the US was John Kerry. John Kerry basically stated some of the accusations that this cartoon is implying. Per John Kerry, American soldiers are uneducated, lazy, yada, yada, yada...
Democratic Sen. John Kerry warned students in a campaign speech last night that if they don't study hard and get a good education they might "get stuck in Iraq."
The remark is being interpreted by many veterans – including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. – as a slam at military service, suggesting it's a last refuge for the lazy and uneducated.
Video of Kerry's comment can be seen
here.
And this is not the first time that John Kerry has made these types of implications.
It is doubtful that any Republican as high up as John Kerry is in the Democrat party sided with Ann Coulter and her trashing of a handful of the 9/11 widows.
Keep in mind, Ted Rall is quite the hero in some liberal circles. For example, his Alma mater- Columbia University. Rall wrote a book called "Wake up, you liberal" and then wrote another article just recently showing his excitement that the "pendulum has swung back" to his liberal way of thinking. He is also excited that Hillary is moving towards his way of
I know plenty of Democrats that would be just as appaled as I am about this cartoon. They do not deserve to be represented by extreme liberalism or socialism.
Ted Rall is no more the face of the Democratic Party than Ann Coulter is for the Republican Party.
Yes- every American has freedom speech, even Ted Rall.
It is our duty as Democrats and Republicans to all denounce Ted Rall.
Write your newspapers and let them know that you will not tolerate the evil that Ted Rall is portraying. If you see this cartoon or any cartoon by Ted Rall, send an email or write a letter to your news publication.
The only way to take down a liberal hater like Ted Rall is to hit him where it hurts- his pocketbook.

Changing the look

Okay, so I changed the color scheme of this blog a little, plus I added a few new features. Let me know if you like it or not. I can always change back.

I added the trackback and the links to this post features to this blog. Yes- I am finally catching up with the new technology.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Temper, Temper

That was a nice hissyfit that Governor Doyle, Mayor Barrett and his buddies threw yesterday.

In Milwaukee, Doyle stood outside the downtown fire station with Mayor Tom Barrett, Common Council President Willie Hines Jr., Police Chief Nannette Hegerty, Fire Chief Douglas Holton and others to say the GOP budget would force huge property tax increases or deep cuts to police and fire service.

These government officials must be counting on Wisconsin taxpayers being total idiots. Either that or they are counting on folks having a really, really short memory.

In the last several weeks and months alone, Wisconsinites have been treated to complete and total failure of their local and state governments on the front pages of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other papers in the state.

As Governor Doyle and Milwaukee government throw their temper tantrum and snivel about $28 million worth of cut backs to Milwaukee in the Assembly Budget, the ink is barely dry on this story from July 2nd-

As the end of its budget year approached last week, Milwaukee Public Schools had not spent more than $50 million slated to be used for the 2006-'07 school year.

Administrators say that if they hadn't spent the money by June 30, it would have hurt MPS in the future because of state school aid rules - with Milwaukee property taxes rising as a result. So they unloaded some big payments at the last moment, including $37.8 million to prepay costs such as debt service expected in 2007-'08.


That $50 million worth of taxpayer money that Milwaukee government officials were scrambling to spend. Apparently government officials could not waste the money fast enough.

Speaking of wasted taxpayer dollars, perhaps Mayor Barrett and Chief Hegerty, the officials throwing a temper tantrum yesterday, can explain why millions and millions of dollars have been wasted in Milwaukee-

Milwaukee police are racking up far more overtime than officers in similar-size cities with smaller police departments - enough overtime to pay the salaries of nearly 400 more officers, according to an audit released Wednesday.

There is another $29 million wasted by government officials.

Not to be completely outdone, Doyle's government has wasted over $100 million in failed computer programs-

An analysis this week showed how state agencies have fouled up more than $100 million worth of projects intended to improve their computerized data systems.

The result has been millions in cost overruns and, in some cases, service to the public that is worse than it was before.

The same analysis warned that other projects, including a $67 million software upgrade, are now at risk.

Millions upon millions upon millions have been wasted and Governor Doyle and Milwaukee officials and now they are throwing a temper tantrum because some folks have the gall to stop them from wasting even more.

Enough is enough!

Until Governor Doyle and Milwaukee officials start properly managing our tax dollars, why should any single Wisconsin resident agree to giving them more money to mismanage?

Governor Doyle and local officials can continue to stamp their feet and throw a their temper tantrums all they want. However, they continue to look real foolish doing it. Grow up, people!

Government officials work for us!

Until these can prove to be responsible, respectful and are able to properly manage taxpayer dollars, there is no reason that Wisconsinites should continue to throw away good money after bad.

Edited: to remove Hines from this list of taxpayer dollar abusers- see comments

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The buzz is back for Republicans in Wisconsin and we have the Democrats to thank

The last several days have been quite exciting for conservatives in the state of Wisconsin.

I have received some very excited emails from several folks who were simply giddy to see the Wisconsin Republican movement heading forward again.

Let us just say- Wisconsin Republicans are inspired.

We have the Governor Doyle and the Democrats to thank for this new inspiration in the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Remember, it was only a few short months ago that Republicans and conservatives in Wisconsin felt frustrated and defeated.

There was anger building inside the caucus. Even a little finger pointing was taking place. In fact, most of the fingers were being pointed directly at our Republican elected officials.

For good reason, many Republicans were really bent out of shape watching our own elected officials spend tax dollars just like the out of control Democrats like to do.

Then it happened.

February 13, 2007- the day that the rejuvenation of Wisconsin’s Republican party began.

Governor Doyle released his budget on this day and the “surge” began.

After seeing the massive tax increases and the huge expansion of government programs, the Republicans found a reason to stand up and fight.

Republicans realized that they have a job to do. It became the clear that it was the responsibility of conservatives to protect the people of Wisconsin from their very own government. Not only is it important for conservatives to fight against an over-taxing government, but to also protect us from an over-reaching government.

After reviewing the governor’s budget, the Senate Democrats carried the over-sight of government even further. The Senate Democrats are now attempting to seize our heath care plans and let government control our lives.

Feeling inspired by the Democrats plans, the conservatives in the took up the gauntlet and are fighting back.

This past week, the Assembly Republicans took a stand against the Senate Democrats plan to expand government and the Governor’s plan to increase taxes beyond what Wisconsinites can afford.

Yes, the buzz is back for Republicans in Wisconsin and we have the Democrats to thank for this.

The Democrats could have just played it cool for a little while and the Republicans would have continued to wallow in their self-pity. Instead of letting Republicans wallow, the Democrats decided they would launch themselves into a tremendous power grab. They may have over-reached.
The fight to stop the Democrats in Wisconsin has just begun. Now the Republicans are excited, determined and truly motivated to protect Wisconsin.

Representative Samantha Kerkman on Assembly Budget

Thank you for putting the taxpayers first, Representative Kerkman!

Statement from Representative Kerkman-

ASSEMBLY APPROVES “TAXPAYERS FIRST” BUDGET

Madison - On Tuesday, July 10th, the State Assembly passed its version of the 2007-09 Biennial Budget Bill. Our budget addresses our priorities of funding K-12 education and providing for the health care needs of our most vulnerable citizens, and we do so without increasing the tax burden on state residents. That’s right – the Assembly budget contains no tax increases.

In addition to K-12 funding and health care for the needy, our budget contains many welcome changes for our state’s families, businesses and retirees. Assembly budget highlights include a tax deduction for child care expenses; a three-year real property tax freeze; an expansion of the college tuition tax deduction to $6,000 per year; a tax exemption for retirement income for seniors; full funding of SeniorCare and income tax deductions for health care savings accounts; and elimination of requirements for combined tax reporting for businesses.
In stark contrast to the State Senate’s recently approved budget that contained $9.5 billion in tax increases, our plan rejects many of the provisions that were included in that house’s finished product. Some of the major changes we made included elimination of: a $1.2 billion property tax increase; the cigarette/tobacco tax increase; and the $418 million tax on hospitals that many worried would drive up health care costs. In addition, we eliminated the nursing home bed tax and the $247 million tax on oil company profits – non-partisan analysts predicted that this tax would have been passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices at the pump; and we reduced the real estate transfer fee, the so-called home tax, by 66%.
Another major difference between the two budgets is the Assembly’s elimination of the $15.2 billion per year payroll tax on employers and employees to fund the Senate’s universal health care plan. (That $15.2 billion is in addition to the $9.5 billion tax increase previously mentioned.)

A major area of concern with the budget process in recent years has been the “raiding” of dollars from funds that were established for very specific purposes and using those dollars to fill budget shortfalls. The Assembly budget rejects a $175 million transfer from the Patients Compensation Fund, as well as a $164 million transfer from the Transportation Fund.
In summary, it’s my feeling that the budget that we passed in the Assembly is a common sense, fiscally responsible plan. We fulfill our obligations without further burdening our residents with increased taxes. We do what families of the 66th District do everyday – we require the state to live within its means, or more accurately – the taxpayers’ means.