22 October 2006

Will Glenn Grothman take Tom Reynold's spot in the Republican beastiary?

Hi folks,

The Journal-Sentinel threw its support to Jim Sullivan yesterday. It was an easy call. Jim's a great guy and will make a great Senator.

Still, it set me to thinking about Glenn's future.

With Tom Reynolds gone, who in the Senate will make legislative suggestions stranger than Glenn's? Who will stake out ethical and environmental positions stranger than Glenn's? Who will take the public's attention away from Glenn? Of whom will we chant "T'was brillig?"

While Reynold's departure means one less migraine for me, there is a downside -- it also means one fewer well spring of toxic and fallacious argumentation for use on my logic midterms.

I guess nothing is perfect.


05 October 2006

Glenn Grothman: wrong for putting $700 million at risk.

Hi folks,

Glenn just can't take yes for an answer if it conflicts with his ideologically tastes.

State committee eyes affirmative action

By Tom Sheehan | Tribune Capitol bureau

Committee chairman Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, questioned state administration and university officials about hiring and admissions policies, which he said seem highly subjective. He asked UW System officials to provide a list of items that give applicants a chance to “jump up in the queue” in admissions.

UW System schools don’t assign “points” for race, although race is one factor among many considered in admissions, said Margaret Lewis, System associate vice president for state relations. Admission standards vary by campus, but academic performance is paramount in all cases, Lewis said.

The UW System is obligated by state and federal law to encourage diversity, and $700 million in federal grants could be at risk if federal standards are not met, said UW System General Counsel Patricia Brady, who testified before the committee.

Actually, I'm mostly amazed that Glenn used the word "queue."

Here's my take on diversity. I'm pretty sure I'm right about this too. Y'all will let me know.

1) Education is primarily about discovering the gaps in what you know (since the stuff you do know already is, well, already known to you).

2) You can't figure out by yourself what it is you don't know -- if you knew what it is you don't know, then you'd know what that is (you might want to reread that again, slowly) :^)

-- so you need other people to help you find those gaps in your education of which you remain unaware. In other words, to flesh out your own education, you have to get a handle on the "unknown unknowns." The Sec of Defense, when he made this quip about Iraq, was actually paraphrasing Socrates, so it's been the sort of thing my discipline has been thinking about for some time now. :^)

3) Since you cannot know by yourself what it is you don't know, you have to have people around you with different backgrounds to help you do that -- since people with the same backgrounds will tend, as a rule, to not-know the same stuff you don't know either.

and so 4) to be well educated, students need to be around a lot of other students from diverse backgrounds. This helps everyone locate the gaps in their own experience and knowledge base and, in this way, fill in those gaps and become... tada... better educated.

So it serves everyone if the UW system figures out a way to make sure it has a diverse student/faculty mix.

It seems ironic to me, just now rereading all that, to think that this little logical exercise might be too complicated for Glenn -- who is , remember, a LAWYER and a politician by trade.

Just musing.


03 October 2006

GG continues to embarrass Washington County.

Hey folks,

Here's the crux of Bill Berry's editorial in The Capital Times. Glenn is now bounded in a nutshell with bad dreams, inbound. Here's the nut.

But some in the Wisconsin Legislature have decided they're smarter that the professionals. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules killed the proposed health standard this month. Since the state's ground water law was passed in 1984, health standards have been set for 130 chemicals, but this marked the first time the Legislature has killed a regulation on an agricultural chemical sought by state health and environmental agencies.

At the forefront of efforts to kill the regulation was Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, co-chairman of the rules committee. This is the same legislator who claims expertise in endangered species issues, fighting with the DNR to de-list the Butler garter snake from the state's list of threatened species so that development might proceed in the Milwaukee suburbs.

Grothman, an attorney, offered his own scientific appraisal of Lasso, saying he believes there is little danger from the chemical at the levels it is found in most wells. He added that few wells tested in the state actually exceeded the proposed standard of 20 parts per billion.

Going back to the old well of anti-DNR sentiment, Grothman took a whack at the department, saying among other things that "they just don't like people or what people do." With Lasso showing up in 28 percent of state private wells and 40 percent of the wells in southern agricultural areas, one is left to wonder whether it's Grothman who doesn't like people.

I never used to wonder about this back before Glenn beat Mary Panzer. He was approachable and conversant and hadn't had his wardrobe rearranged and colors done by some media consulting group. Since then it's been nothing but stranger every week.



Glenn Grothman: would probably be wrong about the Ivory Coast too.

Hi folks,

Forwarded from one of the blog's correspondents. Here's why we don't let companies test their own chemicals for public safety -- their task is to make money, not to make things safe for people.

Here's a New York Times story about some toxic sludge dumped in the Ivory Coast.

You could say it's not quite in the same league as Monsanto and Glenn Grothman but now, as Bernard Shaw noted, we're just arguing over the price.


01 October 2006

Glenn Grothman: embarrassing Washington County in the national press.

Hi folks,

Well, he wasn't satisfied embarrassing us in front of the rest of the state, so Glenn is now embarrassing us in front of the whole country. We've been put on display in the Washington Post.


State Sen. Glenn Grothman wants to see the snake removed from the state's register of threatened species, because, he says, the snakes are plentiful and their protected status has cramped economic development and community projects such as a high school sports field and an aquatic complex in Milwaukee suburbs.
"The snake is everywhere. There are probably as many snakes as people," he said.

One simple question: "How do you know that, Glenn?"

Ironically, even the business sector agrees with the DNR and has been working through a plan to provide protection for this species:
Developer Craig Donze, chief operating officer of Simon Group Ltd., hopes the process will result in compromises short of ending the species's protected status.

"There's nothing to benefit either side with a delisting," he said, adding that other options being considered include tax credits and stipends to help owners of snake habitat.

"This [delisting a species without scientific evidence] sets a slippery-slope precedent," said Natural Resources spokeswoman Erin Celello. "If they can delist the garter snake, they can delist other species. It's pretty clear this is politically motivated and not in the interest of good science."
It's not in the interest of good civics either.

We'll probably be on 60 Minutes next.