Friday, March 31, 2006

Wisconsin Republicans Fail Another Test

The NAACP has announced grades that it has given to members of the 109th Congress based on votes in the first session. There were 20 votes that were important to the NAACP and the grades were given depending on how each member voted on those issues.

A few of the issues are as follows: The reckless cuts in the budget bill, increasing funds for medical and educational programs, increasing home heating assistance, opposing the appointment of several right wing activist judges, preserve block grant programs, and more.

In this report, the NAACP mentions 14 Senators and 18 Representatives that have particularity distinguished themselves when it comes the their important issues. Our very own Russ Fiengold was listed as being one of the honorees.

Here are the grades that Wisconsin's delegation to Congress received:

  • Senator Herb Kohl-B (85%)
  • Senator Russ Feingold-A (95%)
  • F. Jim Sensenbrenner-F (22%)
  • Paul Ryan-F (26%)
  • Mark Green-F (30%)
  • Petri-F (30%)
  • Ron Kind-C (74%)
  • Dave Obey-B (83%)
  • Gwen Moore-A (96%)
  • Tammy Baldwin-A (100%)

Anyone notice anything rather consistent here? Not only did all of the Wisconsin Dems score better than the Republicans, but the GOP part of our delegation all failed the NAACP test.

Now I know that Mark Green in particular has a few rich African American supporters, since he promised to create a Wisconsin office of faith based initiatives. That should be taken with a grain of salt as those same people and their churches stand to gain some green. But when it comes to the most important issues for the African American community, Green and his Republican pack fail miserably.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Green's History Fails His Own Challenge

Congressman Mark Green and lone GOP Candidate for Governor has challenged Governor Doyle to limit his spending for the race. As Xoff stated in a post so effectively:

Have you ever noticed how it's always the candidate with less money who proposes a campaign spending limit?

Today it's Mark Green, challenging Jim Doyle to sign a "clean campaign pledge" that is more about helping Green financially and politically than it is about cleaning anything up.

in Greenspeak, a "clean" campaign is one in which the candidate with the most money agrees not to spend it, and both candidates say they abhor independent expenditures, and will penalize themselves if some independent group spends money on their behalf -- which, of course, the law forbids them to control.

If spending limits are such a great idea, why didn't Green propose it for the Republican primary? Both he and Scott Walker could have spent a reasonable amount and saved the rest for the general if they won. But Walker got out of the race because Green had twice as much money as he did, because Green took advantage of a legal loophole, since closed, that allowed him to transfer $1.3-million from his House campaign to the governor's race. That -- not how much money Doyle has raised -- is what forced Walker out of the race.

Xoff's post inspired me to check further back (past Scott Walker), to see how often Green has taken his own advice on running a "clean" campaign. This data was taken from Open Secrets:

  • In the 2004 election Mark Green ran against Democrat Dottie LeClair. Green raised $1,040,373 while LeClair raised only $13,191! UNCLEAN CAMPAIGN!

  • In the 2002 election Mark Green ran against Democrat Andrew Becker. Green raised $876,073 while Becker appeared to raise $0! UNCLEAN CAMPAIGN!

  • In the 2000 election Mark Green ran against Democrat Dean Reich. Green raised $803,158 while Reich raised only $15,235! UNCLEAN CAMPAIGN!

Clearly Mark Green has never had a problem with being an incumbent and raising tons of cash while his opponent had next to nothing. So his phony appeals for a "clean" campaign with spending limits (now that he is the one with less money) should fall on deaf ears. If the media insists on hyping this phony challenge, then they should also point out the Green history of hypocrisy on the issue.

Everyone Keep Your Eye on Paul Ryan

This week moderate Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to restore funding to some programs that are important to many working people. This from The Hill:

Centrist Republicans hope to replicate the recent success of their Senate counterparts by boosting spending on health, welfare and education programs this year.

Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) and other centrists plan to hold a press briefing today in the Capitol basement to seek bigger budgets for programs such as the National Institutes of Health, student loans, heating assistance and job training.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) got 27 GOP votes for his amendment to the Senate's budget resolution that would add $7 billion for those programs.

The House Budget Committee plans to meet tomorrow to begin marking up the budget resolution.

Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is a member of the House Budget Committee. His action or inaction on helping regular folks should tell us a lot about his real motivations. If the past is any indication, he will likely want to cut the programs as much as possible. All of this from one of the people that was falling all over himself to give even more tax cuts to the rich. I cannot believe that Ryan's district actually stands for taking more away from the average guy to give more to the rich and "elite." I hope that voters in Ryan's district join me in watching his actions, ignoring his spin, and holding him accountable come election day.

We Could All Take a Lesson from the Latino Community

No matter where you come down on the immigration bill working through Congress, you have to admire those that oppose it. I can not think of a more significant nationwide protest in my lifetime. Many activists could stand to take a lesson from the Latino Community organizing most of the protests. In one week we've seen 500,000 marchers in L.A., 200,000 in Phoenix, and even 10,000 in Milwaukee. We've seen students walking out of class in protest, and over 200 people following F. Jim protesting at his events. There are lessons to be learned hear for politicians and activists everywhere.

Scott Walker, The New 007?

Over the weekend I happened to see Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker on a local TV News Show. I was not able to watch for very long but I believe that it was Charlie Sykes’ Sunday TV Show. It sounded like Walker was trying to explain some of the reasons that he quit his run for governor. I found one of his statements to be very interesting.

Walker basically said that if he won the Republican primary that Governor Doyle would have used an “anti-Milwaukee” strategy in other parts of the state.

Well, I have a few questions about that:

How do you know the Doyle strategy Scott? Did you conduct a little undercover operation at Doyle Campaign headquarters? Who are you 007?

Wasn’t it YOU that put out press releases distancing yourself from Milwaukee? You remember the one where you pretended to be a small town farm boy don’t you?

Wasn’t it Republican Governor Tommy Thompson that famously told out state voters to “stick it to Milwaukee”?

Would it have been “anti-Milwaukee” to tell voters about the terrible financial shape of the county under your leadership? That may be an anti-Walker message, but that is not the same as anti-Milwaukee.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

God Changes Mind, Endorses Doyle

I’m sure that most readers now know that Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has quit his run for Governor. It seems that our very own Xoff may have predicted this a short time before the news broke. I think that I may start referring to him as "the Prophet".

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story Walker is quoted as saying the following:

"I believe that it was God's will for me to run," Walker said. "After a great deal of prayer during the last week, it is clear that it is God's will for me to step out of the race."
First of all, I’m shocked that God endorsed Walker in the first place. You would think that this endorsement would have made some news in his hometown paper that is usually fawning over him. Walker did not care to advise us as to why God changed his mind or whom he has now chosen for Governor. I’m going to assume that his choice is now Jim Doyle.

Now Republicans are praising Scott Walker like he has done some noble act. While his act is good for the GOP, it was hardly selfless or noble. Walker finally realized what most people in the state already knew, HE COULD NOT WIN! So rather than go through a primary and get thumped, he decided to at least get as much political capital in his party as possible. No doubt he will seek to cash it in at a later time.

It does not take long to know that I am by no means a Walker fan. I think that he is way too obsessed with his political future. I think that he only became County Executive to position himself for a run at governor. I think that he has helped to bring economic disaster to Milwaukee County.

With all that said, I can think of maybe one positive thing to say about him. Occasionally, he would buck the party leadership and actually have an opinion that was his own. We cannot say that for Congressman Mark Green. He has been like a sheep following Bush and his party’s leaders right into the ditch on almost every issue.

Conventional wisdom tells us that Walker getting out of the race is good for Green and the Republicans. This analysis is probably more true than false. However, one good thing about this development is that I now get to focus much more attention on Mark Green. Given his voting record, ties to indicted congressmen, and possible ties to a convicted lobbyist, I will likely need this extra time. Thanks Scott Walker, and thank you God!

Friday, March 24, 2006

A Little "Housecleaning" for Regular Readers

Wisopinion started hosting our blog in December. I have been double posting to both the Wisopinon hosted blog and the original at until now. As of yesterday, I am only using the old site as an archive for posts from 2004-Present. Now when you go to you will automatically be sent to the Wisopinon hosted site. If you want to access the old site for old posts, there is a link at the top of the new site.

If you have linked to any of my old posts or saved the links you have to make a small change to still get to the post. Sorry about that, I don’t think that it can be helped. Just replace the “” part of the link to followed by the rest of the link address that you already have.

You can also follow the link at the top of this site and then browse by date or search that site to find an old post that you are interested in.

Please email me if you have any questions or if you can’t find an old post that you are looking for.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Marriage of Convenience ?

Yesterday Xoff tipped us off to a Washington Post story about the Faith Based Initiative and the Bush Administration. In that story it speaks of Milwaukee Bishop Sedgwick Daniels (pictured above). Those of you that have read this blog for at least a year will recall that I have done numerous investigative reports and posts on the Bush-Sedgwick relationship among other aspects. It seems that Sedgwick had a conversion to the Republican Party before the 2004 Presidential election. He also was on the receiving end of hundreds of thousands of federal dollars within a very short time of that conversion. Some find the timing questionable.

Last year I questioned whether the faith based inititive was a fraud in the following story:

Regardless of where you come down on this debate, this report is worth your time and effort. As I investigated basic aspects on the Bush-Sedgwick connection, additional questions, unrelated to the faith based initiative, came up. Some of these questions are also asked in the report entitled
Again, I believe that even those defenders of the faith based initiative will have problems with some of the details in these reports. I hope that some of you will take the time to examine them and come back and post your comments.

Disagreeing with Doyle on Med Caps

Yesterday Governor Doyle signed revised legislation putting caps back on medical malpractice awards. It should be noted that these caps are only applied to awards for non-economic damages, such as for pain and suffering. I'm sure that Governor Doyle signed this legislation because it did appear to be a compromise from the caps that Republicans initially sought to impose ($450,000-$550,000). With all of this in mind, I still disagree with signing this into law. Allow me to briefly state my case.

First, we have not seen the avalanche of malpractice lawsuits since the caps were removed. This was a scare tactic often used by the other side, but nothing resembling this ever happened.

Second, if supporters of caps really wanted to keep doctor's payments down for malpractice insurance, they should have offered a more balanced approach. I could have lived with legislation that imposed the $750,000 caps if they also imposed some regulations on the insurance company's price gouging of doctors. Their prices for malpractice have gone up even when malpractice payouts have gone down or stayed the same. Much of this is due to their loses in the stock market, not because of malpractice payouts. Why not address this if you really care about what doctors must pay?

Third, what lit a fire under the pro-cap legislators was a verdict that awarded a women $4.25 million for pain and suffering in February. This case, in my opinion, was an exception and should have not been used as the standard of awards to come. It is my understanding that the victim in this case must be tube fed for the rest of her life because of the malpractice that she suffered. Think of yourself having to go through that for the rest of your life. Does that award sound that unreasonable to you? Not to me. Even this new increased cap does not really keep extreme injuries like this in mind.

Although the following point does not really fit here, it cannot be made enough while discussing this issue. Most caps supporters start talking about frivolous lawsuits when spinning on the issue. This is a good way to push buttons but it is not founded in the truth. When someone wins a verdict, they have WON THEIR CASE! How could it be a frivolous lawsuit if they have already had their day in court and WON?

When all is said and done, I do understand the compromise the Governor has made here. I simply feel that he could have done more for those who have suffered from malpractice. In the end it will be the state Supreme Court that will decide if this compromise does justice to those who have been severely harmed. A resounding "no" would be the decision from Justice Cory.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sensenbrenner the Meek?

The Green Bay Press Gazette carried a story about F. Jim on Monday. In the piece they profile F. Jim and the fact that he will soon end his term as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The most shocking comment of the story is the following:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner insists he's gone out of his way to treat Democrats on his committee fairly.

Oh no he didn’t! Well maybe it’s just me, but I seem to remember several unfair acts by F. Jim just last year.

  • He apparently disliked witnesses giving testimony critical of the Patriot Act so he single handedly shut down a hearing, cutting off Dems mikes in mid-sentence. He violated several rules in the Robert’s Rules of Order protocol.

  • When the ranking Dem John Conyers wanted hearings on topics that could expose the Bush Administration, F. Jim refused to hold them. Then when Conyers wanted to have a forum instead, F. Jim and his staff reportedly would not allow Conyers to use a room. One time Conyers even had to hold one in a small basement room.

F. Jim, those things do not sound like you are treating anyone “fairly.” Perhaps you have been in Congress too long, or maybe you are becoming delusional. In any case, I think you have become unfit for office.

Desperation Begets Lies

The Bush administration must be feeling some pressure lately. First they had Bush taking questions from people that were actually not screened in Ohio. I believe that this may be a first. Second, they had him do one of his rare press conferences yesterday. He even called on the tough questioning Helen Thomas, something that he has not done in 4 years.

During yesterday’s press conference Bush for the first time commented on Senator Russ Feingold’s move to censure him. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports today that Bush said the following:

"I did notice that nobody from the Democratic Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program," Bush said at a news conference Tuesday.

"You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it," Bush said. "They ought to stand up and say, 'The tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used.' They ought to take their message to the people and say, 'Vote for me. I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program.' "

Could this guy be any more dishonest? Feingold has NEVER suggested that we should “get rid of the terrorist surveillance program.” He has only said that it should be done under the rule of law. No one is above the law, remember the late 1990's?

Then the GOP shows their desperation by lying. This also from the Journal Sentinel:

The home page of the Republican National Committee's Web site ( featured a picture Tuesday of Feingold sternly pointing his finger and a headline reading, "Democrats Want to Censure President Bush for Fighting the War on Terror."
Feingold is opposed to breaking the law. Feingold is opposed to warrentless wiretapping and spying on U.S. Citizens. That is what the censure is all about. Show me one place where Feingold or any other Democrat states that they “want to Censure President Bush for Fighting the War on Terror.” Can’t find that quote? Probably because it does not exist.

There are a lot of reasons that people blatantly lie. One is because they are desperate. Given the low poll numbers for Bush, Congress, and their war in Iraq, I guess I can see why they would resort to lies.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Thoughts on the Blog Summit, A Day Late

I made it to the Wispolitics blog summit Saturday afternoon, here are a few observations:

It was very cool to see some of the faces behind some of my favorite liberal blogs (although there were no sightings of the elusive Xoff since he was out of town).

It was disheartening to see how many conservative bloggers came out as compared to those from the reality based community. I suspect that this may only be natural due to conservatives' herd-like mentality.

Owen (Boots and sabers) and Jay (Folkbum's Rambles and Rants) did an excellent job in their "citizen blogger" segment. They should make more appearances together since they trade barbs and play off of eachother well.

Jessica McBride was talking about the evils of the traditional media, ignoring that she now works for the largest media corporation in the state (Journal Communication). A gentleman in the back of the room (sporting a pretty cool hat) successfully made this point to her.

John McAdams instructed us that the "Main Stream Media" is a state of mind". So I'm assuming that a little blogger meditation is in order.

Ed Garvey, Mark Pocan, Charlie Sykes, and Brian Fraley were on a panel near the end of the summit. For me, the highlight of that panel was clearly Ed Garvey's shots directed in Sykes general direction.

The blogger of the year award for 2005 went to anonymous blogger Dennis York. My personal favs would have been Xoff or Jay, but I'm biased. When all is said and done, I think that York was a good choice. They were even able to keep his identity a secret with a unique acceptance speech.

Hope to see less of the right wing zombie brigade and more of you crazy libs next year!

Friday, March 17, 2006

The RepubliCard, Spend Like There's No Tomorrow!

So what do regular folks do when they don't have enough money and all of their credit cards are maxed out? They most likely don't spend anymore right? Well, the Republicans that run our federal government are not "regular folks." Their solution is to just keep increasing the "credit limit" and just keep on spending.

Yesterday the Republican controlled Congress voted to increase the spending limit to $9 trillion. Wow, what a deal! I'm sure that there are many people with real needs in the real world, that would love to have that ability.

When Bush came into office it was said that he would run the goverment like a corporation. Given that he and his GOP pals have spent like drunkin sailors and he has failed to veto one spending bill, I'd say the "corporation" is starting to resemble Enron.

Wisconsin's two Senators voted against the measure. In the House, Mark Green and Paul Ryan voted to keep spending. To their credit, F. Jim and Congressman Petri voted against it along with Democrats Tammy Baldwin and Gwen Moore.

George Bush's Wag the Dog Moment

George Bush's polls are the lowest that they have ever been, you have John Conyers holding impeachment forums in the House and Russ Feingold talking about Censuring the President in the Senate. What should a neo-con do? Start dropping bombs?

Yesterday the US launched one of it's largest offensives since the beginning of the war in 2003. More than 50 aircraft and 1,500 soldiers took part in the operation.

Is this Bush's "wag the dog" moment?

Does anyone remember when Republicans were trying to impeach Clinton and he launched a very small military operation? I believe only a few cruise missles were used that time. "No war for Monica" was the chant from the rabid right wing.

My, my, my, how times change and roles reverse themselves.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Supporting the Troops" but Blocking the Body Armor?

Anyone that is paying attention to Bush’s unnecessary war with Iraq, should know that we sent our troops into a preemptive battle without adequately supplying them. Body and vehicle armor have been in short supply for our troops. This has caused scores of unnecessary injury and death.

Last week a bipartisan bill was brought forward in the Wisconsin legislature. I can only link to a DPW press release since sadly the fate of this bill has not been widely reported. It was designed to at least provide our Wisconsin National Guardsmen and Reservists with the latest body armor. This bill was apparently blocked late last week by several key Republicans in the state legislature. Senate Bill 609 was scheduled for a public hearing in the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee. Unfortunately and inexplicably it was blocked by State Senators Dave Zien, Ron Brown, Tom Reynolds, and Majority Leader Schultz (all Republicans).

The only reason that I can fathom for their stalling is that these guys are so deeply in love with George Bush that they will block efforts to protect our own Wisconsin troops to protect his image. For all of the right wing flag waving and “support the troops” chanting, why do they stand in the way of real help for those very troops? Sounds like politics above principle. Sounds like Bush above battlefield safety. This only verifies my longtime contention, most of these wingers are actually more supporters of the Iraq war and Bush than they are actual “supporters of the troops.” They should be publicly shamed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Profiles in Courage and Cowardice

Once again Russ Feingold is taking the lead in a party all too crowded with cowards and overly calculating politicians. By now, you all know that our very own Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a resolution in the US Senate to censure the President. He has introduced the resolution as a response to the Bush approved domestic spying (without warrants).

The case against Bush is open and shut. The law requires a warrant for domestic spying, Bush didn’t get it, but still conducted the surveillance. That is inconsistent with the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Law. That means that he broke the law.

I remember that during the Clinton Administration, Republicans repeated the phrase, “no one is above the law.” This was their rallying cry against Clinton. Now they are all deaf and dumb regarding THEIR lawbreaking President. Apparently it’s not breaking the law, if it is their guy doing it. Can we count inconsistency as one of their beloved “family values”?

However, let’s forget about the neo-con zombie brigade for a moment. What the hell is wrong with the Dems? What is it about Bush that scares them when the most recent poll has him at a 36% approval rating? He broke the law; he only has support from the extremists, hold him accountable!

Who do the Republicans trot out to defend Bush? Dick “19% Approval” Chaney? To chastise a Senator that most Wisconsinites not only support but support to run for President? Your robotic comments justifying the lawbreaker in chief might convince the 19% at the Gard fundraiser. But, I seriously doubt that this will convince the average Wisconsinite or American.

The average people out there clearly have a problem with Bush and the war in Iraq. People are looking for politicians that spin less and take stands more. They are looking for leaders that are genuine and honest regardless of the political outcome. They are looking for leaders that demonstrate courage rather than mere political calculation. It looks like Americans might now realize what Wisconsinites already know, Russ Feingold has all of the traits that they are looking for in a politician. The longer it takes for the Democratic Party to follow Feingold's lead, the longer it will take for them to accomplish the things for which they claim to stand.

More Felons in Legislature than UW?

Interesting thoughts from a reader:

I wonder if Rep. Scott Suder will issue a press release against convicted felons in the legislature similar to the ones he releases about felons in the UW System.After all, the percentage of felons in the Legislature is higher than the percentage in the UW System:
Wisconsin State Assembly: 1.0% (1 out of 99 legislators)
UW System: 0.0975% (40 out of 41,000+ employees)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Republican Selective Justice at Work

Scott Jenson has now been convicted of 3 felonies and a misdemeanor, he will now await sentencing. It appears that Republicans are content in tearing down our system of justice rather than to just admit that their pal did wrong. When the two Democrats plead guilty, I don’t recall folks on the left rushing to condemn the system. I don’t remember them claiming selective prosecution or somehow reasoning away the crimes committed. I certainly know that I did not engage in that kind of excuse making. With Republicans it is simply attack the judge, jury (citizens that gave up their lives for a couple weeks), and the system. Why? Because they didn't like the verdict against their fellow Republican.

The next thing to watch for is Jensen’s sentencing. Jensen did not plead but rather went through an entire trial. Usually this will mean a stiffer sentence than if he would have just taken a deal. Sometimes this does not seem fair but that is how things often work. This will all be lost on the Jensen faithful as their next wave of ranting will be about the sentence being too hard. Does anyone remember how they complained after the resolution of the “tire slashing” trial? The plea deal in that trial was not tough enough according to them. So apparently guilt and innocence depends on your party affiliation, as does the sentence given after a guilty verdict.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

So Shall We Score One for Sykes?

I have to admit to being wrong about something. I always thought that Milwaukee talk radio host Charlie Sykes was a reactionary on all issues. I never thought that he was able to thoughtfully consider points of view that were not on the extreme right. Then he posted an opinion piece on his blog late last week. In the post he tells us that he is actually undecided about the amendment to discriminate against gays.

When I heard about his post, I thought that perhaps he was trying to be ironic or something. Then I read the post and realized that I think he may be for real on this one. Rationally and thoughtfully Sykes writes:

Does the amendment – which seeks to avoid a judicial mandate – itself veer too far in the opposite direction, by freezing both social and legal policy and removing it from the give and take of legislative compromise and social evolution? Conservatives also believe that, as a rule, constitutions should limit the powers of government, not of individuals.

Other questions also nag:

Exactly how does allowing gays to enter into legal, monogamous relationships undermine the institution of marriage? Isn’t in society’s interest to foster and recognize such stable relationships? And why would that be something that conservatives would oppose?

Let’s be honest: when gays point to divorce as a greater threat to marriage, they have a point. Yet, so far, none of the defenders of marriage have proposed banning divorce, or barring the infertile from the rites of marital bliss.

If the concern is combatting threats to marriage, why not focus on the “domestic partner” benefits that extend insurance etc. to members of the opposite sex who merely shack up with favored employees? The only real justification for such shack-up benefits is that, short of recognizing gay marriage, they are the only way to extend such benefits to committed gay couples. But by conferring marital benefits to boy friends and girl friends alike, they erase the distinction between marriage and casual sex – a far greater challenge to the primacy of marriage than gay marriage itself.

Is this a surprise to anyone else? I had no idea that Sykes’ view on this issue had evolved to such a degree. No doubt he will likely be taking some lumps from the fringe right for these comments. We can only hope that the evolution continues and that he airs the thoughts on his radio show.

Not that he pays attention to this blog or cares, but I must commend Sykes for this post. As anyone who has read Eye on Wisconsin for the past few months would know, I was not very kind to Charlie in a previous post. Truthful but not very kind or civil. Now learning of his changing view on the discrimination against gays amendment, I regret having made that post. It looks like I have learned a lesson. Everyone can have a change of heart (if only on one issue), even if they are a neo-con radio talker.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wal-Mart, Where it's Always Image Control. Always

The New York Times ran a story yesterday about Wal-Mart spreading their talking points around the internet through largely conservative blogs. They seem to Target blogs that are based in states that take on the giant corporation. The New York Times obtained the Wal-Mart talking points and compared them to posts by bloggers all over the country. In some cases the talking points were simply cut and pasted without citing where the information was obtained.

One of our very own conservative Wisconsin bloggers was mentioned in the story. Marquette University professor and resident music critic John McAdams was mentioned as a Wal-Mart cheerleader (on page 2 & you may have to register).

John McAdams, a political science professor at Marquette University who runs the Marquette Warrior blog, recently posted three links about union activity in the same order as he received them from Mr. Manson. Mr. McAdams acknowledged that he worked from Wal-Mart's links and that he did not disclose his contact with Mr. Manson.

"I usually do not reveal where I get a tip or a lead on a story," he said, adding that journalists often do not disclose where they get ideas for stories either.

I am not going to make any judgment on McAdams use of the Wal-Mart talking points since I have not read the post referred to in the Times story. If he was simply using informative and independently sourced links, then I would have no problems. If he was simply repeating Wal-Mart propaganda from a company source, then I would have a problem with the post.

I have an idea! Let’s put him under blanket surveillance! If we find him taking secret trips to Bentonville Arkansas or suddenly getting complimentary toasters behind his area Wal-Mart, then we’ll know he’s on the take. If not, then I’ll assume what he posted was actually his own opinion.

Lucky Paul Ryan Wins the Jackpot!

Republicans in Wisconsin can’t stop talking about Governor Doyle’s campaign contributions. They single handedly convict him of being engaged in “pay-to-play” type situations on a regular basis. So the question is will they hold one of their own to that same unfair standard?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Spivak and Bice report today about contributions to GOP “rising star” Congressman Paul Ryan. Apparently Paul Ryan has been on the receiving end of generous contributions from millionaire Dennis Troha. This man is the force behind the effort to convert the Dairyland Greyhound Park into Wisconsin’s next big casino. This from Spivak and Bice:

Records show that Troha and Co. poured its money into Ryan's account in the spring and then again at a November fund-raiser, for which Troha was a host.

In between, on Sept. 16, Troha wrote a Ryan staffer a lengthy e-mail defending the project and responding to criticisms leveled by the Potawatomi tribe, which has its own money-making machine in the form of an off-reservation casino in Milwaukee. The Kenosha power broker expects to pocket at least $88 million in fees during the first seven years of operation if the feds and governor bless the project.

"Also, thank you for arranging the call this morning from the Congressman to me regarding the Land Into Trust and Environmental Impact Study matters regarding the Kenosha Casino," Troha wrote in September, "and Bureau of Indian Affairs status of their review of both items."

Just days later, Ryan did exactly what Troha wanted. The fourth-term congressman dialed up the BIA in Minneapolis to get the lowdown on the application and to lean on the bureaucrats.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the righties just making a big deal about contributions to Doyle from Troha? So what now? A flood press releases taking Paul Ryan to task? Will they single handedly convict Ryan of being involved in “pay-to-play” activities? If you are a gambler, I’d say the odds against them being consistent are very very good.

Everybody Sing Along: "Old McWalker had a Farm..."

Milwaukee County Executive and GOP candidate for Governor Scott Walker is having an extreme makeover. I thought that he was the government head of the largest county in the state. You wouldn't know it based on a recent Walker post on his blog.

Since Walker lags behind everyone in both the polls and the raising of money, he is trying to distinguish himself. The recent post addresses the ethanol subject. Walker states in the post that he is the only candidate for governor that opposes an ethanol mandate. For me that is not the interesting part of this post. The interesting thing is how he tries to qualify his comments.

I grew up in a small town in Walworth County. My mother was born and raised on a farm. I was honored to get awards from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau as a member of the State Legislature.
Oh, that settles it! Walker used to live in a small town and his mother was born on a farm, so that must mean that anything that he says about ethanol is true. Right? I went to college in North Dakota where there is almost nothing but farms, so I guess I should be the final authority on farming.

The second thing that interests me about this Walker post, is how he seems to be continually distancing himself from Milwaukee lately. Perhaps he is starting to realize that most GOP voters in the state have that famous "stick it to Milwaukee" attitude? So now he is trying to pose as a small town boy fresh off the farm? If things get any worse in the Walker campaign I think he may actually resort to more extreme measures. Perhaps he'll be clad in coveralls, straw hat, with a blade of grass in his mouth at his next press conference. Look out Old McDonald, we've got a new "farmer" in town.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Award for Most Extreme Congressperson Goes To...

Mark Green!
The National Journal rates lawmakers in D.C. each year based on the previous year’s votes. They give each legislator a score according to how conservative/liberal they are compared to their colleagues. The most conservative (read extreme) from Wisconsin is the likely GOP choice for governor, Mark Green.

Yes, Green is more right wing than even Paul Ryan and F. Jim Sensenbrenner! In a state that has a proud progressive past, and a current reputation of moderation, the GOP chooses the most extreme conservative as its candidate for Governor? In what has become a very moderate state, is this really a good decision?

The most moderate Republican from Wisconsin is Congressman Tom Petri. Perhaps the GOP should put him up as a candidate for governor.

I can already hear the righties say, “but Tammy Baldwin is more liberal than Green is conservative.” Yes, it is true that the National Journal ranked Baldwin as being pretty liberal (which I would take as a compliment) but she represents the Madison area. She is not running to govern the entire state.

If Republican voters choose Green to run against Doyle, they will only confirm my longtime assertion. The Republican Party in Wisconsin is way more extreme than the average Wisconsinite. And now we know that Mark Green is as well.

Click HERE if you’d like to take a look at the rankings for those in the Wisconsin Delegation (you may have to scroll down to view the ratings).

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Stop Talking Mark, Troops Need Action

I learned from Xoff on Friday that Congressman Mark Green was planning a photo opt crowing about his alleged "support for the troops." While this is fresh in Green's mind, I thought I'd recommend a new more meaningful cause for Green to take up. He should help make psychological help and counseling more available to our combat vets that need those services.

According to Paul Rieckoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ,recent studies show that 1 in 5 troops show signs of psychological trauma and 1 in 3 seek out treatment within a year of service. Riekoff also states the following:

This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirmed what the Troops who've been there have known for years: these modern wars are exacting a devastating psychological toll.

Compounding the problem is the VA health system's inability to handle the unprecedented demand for mental health services. Too many Veterans come home suffering the psychological wounds of these wars, only to be told they have to wait months before seeing a counselor at the VA hospitals.

Mark Green spends his time starting the "Victory in Iraq" Caucus and having photo ops, but where is his leadership in helping the troops when they come back and need treatment? If he has championed this cause, please someone direct me to the Congressional action that he has taken. Once again we can look to a previous Xoff post to learn about Green's "support" for the troops:
Green Opposed Expanding TRICARE to National Guard & Reserve Volunteers. Green voted against expanding access to the military’s TRICARE health insurance program to all reservist and National Guard members. The proposal would have expanded military health care to provide access to members of the Guard and Reserve and their families for a low fee. [HR 1815, Roll Call #221, 5/25/05.]

Green Opposed $150 Million Increase for Military Personnel. In 2005, Green voted against a budget proposal to increase funding for military health care by $100 million and transitional job training for military personnel by $50 million. [HR 1268, Roll Call #76, 3/16/05.]

Green Voted Against Additional Job Assistance to Veterans Returning from Overseas. Green opposed efforts to provide extra job training assistance to veterans who are returning from overseas. Four out of 10 members of the Guard and Reserve forces lose income when they leave their civilian jobs for active duty, and many are self-employed or run small businesses. This means they face the daunting task of reestablishing their businesses after their release from active duty. [HR 27, Roll Call #47, 3/2/05; 109th Congressional Record, pg. H915, 3/2/05;109th Congressional Record, pg. H2074, 4/14/05]

Green Refused To Consider $2.6 Billion Increase in VA Health Care Funding. Green repeatedly voted to block efforts to increase VA funding by about $2.5 billion. Republicans finally admitted that they had underfunded veterans’ health care by $3.7 billion over the next two years. [H.R.2528, #223,5/26/05; H CON RES 95, #82, 3/17/05; H.J.Res. 107, #478, 9/29/04; Washington Post 6/24/05; AP 6/28/05] [Earlier post, "Green voted for vets' health care -- after he voted against it." ]

While we are at it, where was Mark Green on making sure that our troops had body and vehicle armor? Where was the Congressional oversight? If we can't count on him with something so basic, can we trust that he will "support the troops" mental health needs? If he does not, then it will simply add to a growing list of evidence. Evidence that Mark Green is clearly pro-Iraq war but not neccesarily in the corner of those that must fight it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Is Tim Michels on a Secret Undercover Mission?

First Disclaimer #1: I occasionally like to check on who is visiting my blog. It is flattering to know that anyone cares what I think about a given issue, it is even more flattering to see some of the important folks that visit. I obviously would not normally out anyone that visits my blog, but this is an exception.

Now Disclaimer #2: I am not an expert in the field of internet technology, so perhaps there is a logical explanation for this, please let me know if that is the case.

I have noticed a long-time visitor coming from a domain name ( There is nothing strange about that is there? I’m sure Tim Michels, former GOP candidate for the US Senate, has a lot of employees that love Eye on Wisconsin. Heck, I'm pretty sure that Tim is a secret fan. The strange part is when you look at the IP address. After it lists the IP address it names the “Journal Sentinal” in parenthesis. I have a few questions here. 1. If this is a Journal Sentinel computer why the Michel’s domain name? 2. Also if it is a Journal Sentinel computer then why don’t they know how to spell their own name? 3. If it is a Michels computer, then why did someone enter “Journal Sentinal” with the IP address? 4. Is Tim Michel’s or someone at his company on some big undercover mission at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel?

Here take a look at it for a second. Maybe there is a simple explanation.

Domain Name: ? (Commercial)
IP Address: 207.170.16.# (Journal-Sentinal)

Perhaps if there was a super secret GOP undercover mission underway, it might be over at this point. The reason I say this is because now I am getting visits from what appears to be the same IP address, but now the “Journal Sentinal” is replaced with “Michel’s Pipeline Construction.” Take a look at that one.

Domain Name: ? (Commercial)
IP Address: 207.170.16.# (Michels Pipeline Construction)

Again, if someone more technologically advanced can give a simple explanation for this, please do it! In the mean time, I’d advise the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to debug their building. There may be a spy among you!

Team Reynolds Chickens Out of Fight With Leah

Yesterday we learned that State Rep. Leah Vukmir warned her State Senator Tom Reynolds (R-Looney Bin) that if he voted against the school choice compromise, she would run against him in a primary. As we know, the response from Bob Dohnal of team Reynolds was full of name calling and tough talk. He talked about how running would be the “dumbest thing you could do” and how Sen. Ted Kanavas’ friends were “slippery.” He encouraged Vukmir to bring on her money people and they would “bury them” and he was apparently claiming that Rick Graber (Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin) was corrupt. Wow, these guys must really be manly men right?

Well, not so much. That email exchange happened on Friday, so not even a week later and Tom Reynolds has voted for the school choice compromise, which has now passed. Now didn’t I tell you that these extreme right wing guys have this overcompensating false bravado thing? I think voting for this compromise was the right thing to do, but doesn’t Reynolds flip flop on this issue show his true insecurity? He must know that a challenge from a moderate would likely end his time in the State Senate. This must be why these tough talkin’ dudes backed down to Ms. Vukmir.

I really believe that Reynolds seat is ripe for the picking for a moderate Democrat. I believe that a candidate like Leah Vukmir would be more difficult for a Dem than oddball Tom Reynolds. From a partisan point of view it is probably a good thing that Reynolds chickened out. From an entertainment point of view, I would have enjoyed the fight.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Scott Walker to Doyle:"Save Me, Save Me!"

Admittedly Scott Walker inherited a difficult financial situation when he became Milwaukee County Executive. The problem is that he has not managed to fix any of the problems and may have made it worse for temporary political gain. Today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a headline today proclaiming, “Walker seeks rescue from state, unions.” Not a great image for a Governor wannabe, to be asking for help from the very same person that he wants to replace.

Perhaps Walker should have asked Doyle for some advice early on, as he knows something about inheriting difficult situations. Doyle inherited a huge multi-billion dollar defecit after years of Republican rule. The prospect of Doyle eliminating the defecit, while not raising taxes or drastically cutting services was thought to be zero. Guess what? He did it. Now we have reports that Wisconsin’s economy continues to improve on almost all fronts.

Nope. Walker did not ask for Doyle’s advice. He just kept on digging and now he is asking for others to throw him a rope. As is his style, Walker is likely to pass the buck rather than take responsibility for his decisions. The County Board is usually his favorite target when things go wrong. Again he should probably be tutored by Doyle as he managed to solve the woes of the state budget while working with an often hostile Republican controlled Legislature. Perhaps he would then learn how to work with those that disagree with him for the good of the citizens.

I wonder how it feels to preside over what may be the worst fiscal situation in Milwaukee County history. I wonder how it feels to pledge to change it all, only to have everything get worse. Mostly I wonder how it feels to be a Walker supporter when you must twist yourself into a pretzel to absolve your guy from this major league mess.

Is a GOP Street Fight Brewing?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Spivak and Bice report today on a possible GOP street fight. State Rep. Leah Vukmir is supporting the compromise between Assembly Speaker John Gard and Governor Doyle on school choice. It appears that this could be a very close vote in which the result could hinge on a few people. State Senator Tom Reynolds (R-Looney Bin) may be voting against the compromise. This has ticked of Leah. Spivak and Bice provide the following email exchange between Vukmir and Reynolds' disciple Bob Dohnal. Sounds kind of feisty to me:

"Make no mistake, I love serving in the State Assembly, and I would rather stay there. It's not my choice to run . . . but if Tom contributes to this defeat, then he will have forced my hand. And there will be many there to support me."

Dohnal, Publisher of the Wisconsin Conservative Digest, responds with:

"The way you are going at it is the dumbest thing you can do," wrote Dohnal, a retired pharmacist. "You will never win a battle with tom making threats, especially empty ones."
He continued: "As far as I'm concerned, go ahead and run. He will swamp you 2-1, and you will be out. If you think you can trot out some of those slippery friends of (Sen. Ted) Kanavas, whom no one trusts, and win something, you will be surprised. Line up the money people and we will bury them."

Already far from the Republican mainstream, Dohnal all but guaranteed with his rant that he and his buddy the senator will remain on the party's fringes.
"(Republican Party Chairman Rick) Graber and that bunch are so corrupt that will blow the whole bunch of them out of the water," Dohnal wrote Friday night. "It really is a good time to blow up the corruption in Madison from the GOP side and the democratic side."
Is it just me, or did Dohnal just declare war on Vukmir, Kanavas, his "slippery friends", and Rick Graber? I must admit that this is a fight that I'd like to watch. If I had any money I'd put it on the lady. These extreme right wing guys seem to always overcompensate with false bravado. I think that Reynold's win was a fluke in the first place because the district is rather moderate. Since he has done a very good job in showing just how extreme and wacky he is, he will have a hard time if challenged. Part of me would enjoy this GOP street fight, but since I believe that Vukmir would win, it would make it more difficult for a Dem to take the seat. I don't know if that is a price I'd be willing to pay for that kind entertainment.

On a Personal Note to Regular Visitors…

Most regular readers and podcast listeners may have noticed that I have not been as active lately. For those that have not noticed I have not done a podcast in three weeks and have not posted as much as usual. At the expense of exposing myself to people that disagree with me politically, I feel like I owe regular visitors some explanation.

They say that working Americans are only one or two problems away from total economic disaster. I, unfortunately, have recently learned that this idea is merited. After six years I suffered an unexpected and unprecedented slow down in work. Then I had an elderly relative that I was caring for in my household have a major health related problem which had a financial impact on my entire household. All of this topped off with me being the victim of a hit and run car accident. Thank God I have complete insurance coverage, but I still had to fork over the (for me) large deductible. Combine all of this with much higher energy bills, gasoline, and health care premiums. And you've now got the recipe for disaster.

These events all happened in rapid fire succession and really put me behind in every aspect. The workers and working poor out there know that once you fall behind, it is so very hard to catch back up. You have to pay the old stuff, the new stuff, and worry about the still unexpected. When I realized how bad the situation was becoming, I started an extra service to make extra money. When I realized that this was helping but not quite enough, I took on more work from another source. So I am now virtually working three different jobs and barely making it. This situation is demanding a lot of time and energy.

Obviously, this has cut into my ability to do what I enjoy. This will not stop me, but it has slowed me down recently. I apologize to regular readers, but I'm sure you understand.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

How Will the Neo-Cons Spin This?

When Russ Feingold called for a timetable for bringing home the troops from Iraq, the right wing attacked him. As always they parroted the Administration’s “stay the course” rhetoric. It now looks like the troops actually support the Feingold policy. A new Zogby Poll found that 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year. Nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately. This could prove a little difficult for the right wing propaganda machine. Will they accuse the troops of not supporting themselves? Will they accuse them of having a “cut and run” strategy?