28 September 2006

Glenn Grothman: wrong on state law.

Hi folks,

Strange words coming out of the junior Senator in Madison this week.

Hearings were held about the Butler's garter snake and, as you can note from some of the comments we've had posted here, a lot of snake experts from around the state (and country now) want to know:

"What the heck is up with this Glenn Grothman guy?"

Apparently during the hearings Glenn was consistently sarcastic and snide about the use of "scientific evidence" to make decisions about wildlife management, and why experts mattered when it came to making decisions like whether a species is "threatened" or not -- which is, for starters, bad manners. And apparently he kept asserting that he didn't believe the snake was rare enough to be threatened.

Unfortunately the DNR cannot enforce the law based on Glenn's beliefs, and neither should they.

Strangest of all, he repeatedly asked the DNR representative "What gives you the authority to tell people what they can do on their land?"

This is strange, of course, because Glenn gives the DNR the authority to tell people what they can do on their land -- the Legislature does. In fact, technically, the DNR doesn't so much "have" the authority to enforce state and federal laws... it "is" the authority.

And the DNR has a choice: they can enforce our environmental laws based on science or based on what Glenn believes.

I'm still okay with the DNR using science, even when it inconveniences Glenn's friends.

[this is starting to make me dizzy. anybody else?]


25 September 2006

Glenn Grothman: private property allows us to kill threatened species.

Hi folks,

Honest, I promise to STOP blogging about the darned Butler's garter snake just as soon as Glenn lets go of it's tail.

Today in the online Journal-Sentinel:

The co-chairman of the committee, Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), said he does not believe the DNR has the authority to limit the use of private land to protect a threatened species.
So the DNR wouldn't have had the authority to stop me from shooting Bald Eagles as long as they were on my property?

[While the bald eagle remains on the Federal threatened list, populations of our national symbol here in Wisconsin are thriving and have been, happily, finally, taken off the list. I suppose Glenn could shoot them now, if he wanted to -- except for the eagle specific acts protecting them. Still, it's a safe damned bet that the DNR had the authority to keep us from shooting them, even on our own property, back when they were still endangered.]

Glenn must know somebody who wanted to put up a fence. I wonder who it was?


24 September 2006

Glenn Grothman: still wrong on snakes and herbicides.

Hi folks,

And just when I thought we'd have to forgo my complaining about Glenn this week, his column appeared in the West Bend Express News (Sunday, Sept 23, 2006 vol 4, issue 39 p.7).

Glenn is long on opinion but the facts, as usual, get in the way.

He starts like this.

"Today we will focus on a lack of common sense in environmental issues."
Politicians usually only appeal to "common sense" when they want something like candy; things they can't -- or shouldn't -- have.

I'll only mention the first two. These should be eerily familiar by now.

"If you expand your business in our area and are near any wetlands, the Department of Natural Resources will require you to look out for a supposedly threatened snake called the Butler's garter snake."
I suppose the Butler's gartersnake is "supposedly threatened" only if you believe what the scientists at the DNR say, although, stranger still, I've started getting email from scientists in other states who ask if Glenn is a shill for land developers or an idiot. It's getting harder to answer this question fairly.

Glenn notes, quite rightly, that the snake is found in a number of other locations and suggests, as far as I can tell here, that it would, therefore, be quite all right to keep destroying their habitat if it means an athletic field for the Timberwolves at Living Word Lutheran HS.

The garter snakes, alas, cannot be expected to rent a truck and move over to the Cedarburg Bog or Jackson Marsh, so you end up killing them locally. Their job in the ecosystem is local, just like Glenn's. Fortunately, if he keeps this up he'll destroy his political habitat first.

And 2)
"Wisconsin's regulatory agencies tried to regulate this product allowing half as much as Minnesota without even doing a peer-reviewed study. At the request of the Farm Bureau and the Pork Producers, we have derailed this new imposition."

Here he tip-toes around the critical details I mentioned in an earlier posting. Specifically: a) that the DNR only wants some standards set and that b), Glenn wanted to let Monsanto, the producer, do the "peer-review "testing.

Um... how is that a "peer-review"? and what part of "fox in the hen house" gets by you on this?

He also leaves out that fascinating detail that the break-down products from this stuff have already been found in 28% of the randomly tested wells state wide --presumably not in Glenn's.

Look, none of this is rocket science.
  1. You don't step on Superman's cape,
  2. you don't spit in the wind, and
  3. you don't ask the fox to guard the hen house, especially when
  4. the chickens have hired you to keep the foxes from using them for BBQ.


20 September 2006

Glenn Grothman: out of touch on TABOR?!

Hi folks,

Glenn had The Big Mo of service-cutting momentum after slaughtering off Mary Panzer (accused venomously by our local TV mullahs of Republican purity as being a R.I.N.O -- Republican In Name Only) in the primary a few years back.

The sword of fire he swung to protect his economic Eden from us sinners?

TPA nee TABOR nee Let's Cut State Services to Give My Friends a Tax Break.

And now this:

Senate rejects
spending limits

By Kurt Krueger
News-Review Editor

MADISON — Last Thursday’s defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment to limit government spending was a disappointment to some legislators, but called a victory by school officials.

The state Senate voted 32-0 to send the Assembly’s version of the bill to committee, saying it didn’t go far enough.

Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), one of the amendment’s chief architects, offered a new version that would have limited only state spending. It failed on a 20-12 vote, with seven Republicans joining Democrats in opposition.

Golly. Even Jesus only had one Judas kiss him.


16 September 2006

Glenn Grothman suggests business is an un-necessary evil.

Hi folks,

An article in GM Today reported that James A. Buchen, vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, endorsed a bunch of GOP candidates, including J.B. Van Hollen and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green in West Bend last Thursday morning.

Glenn was present at the speech, along with other local notaries including Rep. Strachota and Serigraph CEO John Torinus.

Grothman thanked Buchen for raising awareness of the state’s legislative policies toward business.

"It’d be nice to have people in Madison who don’t view business as a necessary evil," Grothman said.

It wasn't immediately obvious to me whether he thinks it'd be nice to have people in Madison who don't think business is evil, or who do think it's evil but just not necessary.

He suggests -- and he can't be doing this on purpose -- that either 1) those currently in state government think of business as a necessary evil [which would be crazy since his party is in control of the Legislature] or 2) that he'd like to see people in state government who believe that business is not a necessary, but perhaps an unnecessary, evil.

Anyway, you get the idea. The truth is, you know, I'm only able to warp his statements at all because they're nothing but sticky rhetoric wrapped around an incoherent worldview.

You can't twist what won't bend.

Look, (with considerably less twisting) he's simply humming his favorite old tune: that businesses (and people?) should never have to pay any taxes and should be allowed to do anything they want to without governmental interference.

Unfortunately for Glenn, even businesses have responsibilities and an allegiance to the Republic (and our state!), just like people do.

We cannot shirk our responsibilities to Wisconsin either by ducking reasonable taxes -- which pay for the things we all need -- or by failing to behave in a civic and civil way -- which is something we all need from and owe to each other.

So, sorry Glenn: people and businesses both need to behave properly and accept their civic responsibilities. To do otherwise is both irresponsible and -- not anti-business, but anti-American.

And see? Logic can be used for good instead of evil.


07 September 2006

Glenn Grothman: Safe use of herbicide is anti-farmer.

Hi folks,

This week's puzzler.

Looks like a win for Glenn Grothman and Monsanto this week. Our boy will not let go of this herbicide business.

Here, chopped to the bones, is his argument:

1) Glenn believes the DNR is being too careful because it wants standards placed on the use of a particular herbicide


2) he didn't see anything wrong with letting Monsanto, the manufacturer, set the standards and run tests to see how much of own herbicide is safe to use


3) the DNR wrote a rule, based on its science, that would try regulate the amount of bad chemicals that could end up in well water,

4) Because the DNR wants these standards, Glenn believes the DNR is "anti-farmer."

THEREFORE: Glenn's assertion means that the DNR's attempt to protect farmers from chemicals in their well water is "anti-farmer."

You just can't make this stuff up.

I included a bit more of the article than usual in case some of you were tired of doing sudokus. ;^)


Here it is:

The Capital Times
Herbicide rule killed
By Anita Weier
September 6, 2006

As expected, the Legislature's rules committee killed a rule proposed by the Department of Natural Resources that would have regulated the amount of the herbicide byproduct Alachlor-ESA in groundwater.

"We automatically object. We don't have to do anything," Sen. Glenn Grothman, co-chairman of the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, said today.

The committee had favored a peer review funded by Monsanto Co., the manufacturer of the corn soybean herbicide Alachlor.

The chemical changes after it is used and breaks down into a byproduct that is more persistent, said Bruce Baker, deputy director of the DNR's water division. The byproduct has been found in 28 percent of wells around the state randomly tested by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.

State scientists have said that Alachlor-ESA (ethane sulfonic acid) could cause anemia.

"No state in the country except Minnesota has any regulation of this chemical, and Minnesota allows twice the amount that Wisconsin proposed," said Grothman, R-West Bend. "The DNR has taken an extreme anti-farmer position."

A letter from Natural Resources Board Chairman Gerald O'Brien to the committee co-chairmen said that the board "continues to believe the standard for Alachlor-ESA is needed and appropriate."

"We are also concerned that the option presented by the committee will not allow a standard to be set, and needlessly leaves families and their children who get their drinking water from a well with no allowable groundwater standard for a chemical byproduct that has been shown to have adverse health impacts in lab rats," O'Brien wrote. "We already have wells that exceed the standard the board proposed."

05 September 2006

Glenn Grothman throws the first stone.

Hi folks,

Wow, I'll tell you what, it must be good to be without sin -- and Glenn knows how it feels.

Glenn's little column in the West Bend Express News this weekend (2 September 06) went after opponents of the ban-on-civil-unions-amendment that'll be on the ballot in November. The column was the kind of political "discussion" that gives professional logicians like me a migraine. You look for order and coherence and it feels like walking barefoot over broken glass.

Anyway, their arguments about marriage are like broken glass wrapped in the creamy frosting of fear (eg. homosexuals are trying to take over America) and the morphine of righteous indignation (eg. there's nothing wrong with my marriage).

So, let's try this again:

1) Marriage is a religious institution and therefore should lie safely outside legislative whim.

2) Voting to protect marriage is like voting from a lifeboat to patch the Titanic. Half of all marriages fail these days -- an amendment cementing the present form of marriage into law will simply perpetuate a 50% failure rate. And again, this isn't the state's business.

3) The amendment doesn't simply restrict 'marriage' but locks out any 'civil union' that even looks like marriage. Senior citizens who want to move in together and still preserve their pensions and benefits are going to be cut out of legal protection.

From here Glenn launches into an argument that gay people don't have to be gay. This appeared as a kind of "Bat-turn" in the middle of his article and made me raise both eyebrows -- you know that creepy feeling you get when people change the topic a bit too suddenly? It makes you wonder what their real agenda is.

Was Glenn really writing about marriage or about trying to justify his politically test-marketed conviction that homosexuality is a sinful practice?

I assume it must be political and not religious, since no truly religious person would ever be this comfortable throwing the first stone.

So which is it Glenn?


02 September 2006

Glenn Grothman: wrong on environmental conservation.

Another Glenn sighting last week -- this time at the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.

I'm starting to freak out a little bit with all these sightings: can Glenn continue to frequent these enemy gathering and maintain his street cred as the most right-wing right-winger in the state? Or maybe I was right about that whole 'prodigal son' thing? Could Glenn really believe in helping the downtrodden and in protecting nature from wildcat greed-sotted developers? (except for garter snakes, of course -- see below)

I mean, seriously: first the NAACP and now the OWLT.

At first I suspected he was simply trying to scoot over a little bit to make room out there on the fringes for Rep. Green, but when I mentioned all this to folks in the area, many of them Republicans I'm gratified to say, their guesses for his behavior were uniform:

"They probably had food out."

I suppose there is some rational ground lurking in here, however. Maybe Glenn thinks we could privatize Nature and that the OWLT is the fine edge of the wedge. That would be in keeping with his need to keep government from collecting any taxes whatsoever.

That's probably the reason. You know you can always trust business to be unselfishly moral despite all that claptrap from Milton Friedman.

And think where this could lead:

  • The Interstate Highways, privatized.
  • The Milwaukee River: privatized with user fees.
  • Lake Michigan: privatized.
-- oh, and best of all:
  • The Government of the United States: privatized.
I guess we could outsource running the country to a big corporation. I understand that Glenn's party knows a LOT of people who run big corporations.