27 December 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong for cutting off pre-schoolers at the knees.

Hi folks,

Glenn's been busy while I was grading final exams the past few weeks. First he goes on record in favor of making it easier for rapists to impregnate their victims and now he's going after pre-schoolers.

How are these kids supposed to run the economy when they got no knees?

All this looks like a tea cup only when you don't think about the economic implications of doing nothing.

But first, this:

From The Sheboygan Press:

Pre-kindergarten gains strong support
One state senator says it's just baby-sitting

By Doug Carroll
Sheboygan Press staff


Proponents say that 4K builds an important foundation for learning.

"The benefits are indisputable," said Elizabeth Burmaster, state superintendent of public instruction. "Early learning experiences through quality 4K programs are among the best steps schools and communities can take in formal education.

"Our goal is to provide quality 4K access for every child."

However, not everyone sees it that way. Last week in Plymouth, about 150 residents packed a school-board meeting to which State Sen. Glenn Grothman, an outspoken critic of 4K, had been invited by two board members. Grothman, a West Bend Republican whose district covers southern Sheboygan County, and some others insist that 4K is little more than a state-subsidized baby-sitting service and that any academic advantages fade by the time children are 7 or 8 years old.

It always helps when you know what you're talking about.

I just Googled up a swamp full of data and longitudinal studies by universities and the Federal Government Accounting Office.

The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University has been keeping track of 5 states worth of pre-K education. They've noted good results.

The state of Tennessee thinks it's a great idea and the GAO's data from Oklahoma and Georgia suggest we might think about ramping up as well.

Maybe Glenn doesn't want our pre-schooler students to be as well prepared as they are in Tennessee, Oklahoma, or Georgia.

Maybe he wants us to be the new Oakies, migrating with our cows across the dustbowl of Midwestern manufacturing, hoping for a better life in Georgia.

His voting record demonstrates he sure doesn't want our university students to be prepared for the future -- or the growing tsunami of Wisconsin's returning adult students who have to head back to school to pick up the education they'll need to compete in a global economy.

By the way, why is it that so many of his constituents, and my neighbors, keep voting against their own economic self-interest by voting for Glenn?


Glenn Grothman: wrong for sticking taxpayers with security for political speakers.

Hi folks,

The College Republicans at Madison invited a speaker on campus and were charged for on-site security.

They don't think they should pay for that security. Glenn doesn't think they should either. He thinks we should.

Security bills rile UW GOP group
by Pedro Oliveira
Tuesday, December 11, 2007


State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, criticized UW’s security fees policy and asked the Board of Regents to “take immediate action forbidding its campuses from charging security fees for on-campus speakers.”

Grothman said he intends to introduce legislation preventing the university from charging these fees, if UW does not act on the matter.

“It is clear the UW is using ‘security fees’ to try to silence any voices which may be out of step with the hardcore left-wing orthodoxy found in so many liberal arts classrooms,” Grothman wrote in a statement. “The UW has been unable to name any similar fees charged for left-of-center speakers.”

More of the usual conceptual dissonance from Glenn.

Glenn is typically adamant about people paying their own way and, in this case, should be in favor of political groups at the Madison campus taking responsibility for the speakers they hire. I'm shocked, shocked, to discover he thinks the tax payer should pick up this tab.

Mr. Horowitz, for whom the security was required, is a former left winger who had second thoughts about his youthful commitment to social justice and has found a better paying gig attacking the notions of social justice he and his parents, famously, fought for.

Maybe it's only speakers like this who need security in Madison?

Anyway, maybe this means Glenn would be as glad to have the taxpayers pay for security for Angela Davis?

That'd be a sign of Federalist maturity.


17 December 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong for putting Christmas back in Christmans trees?!

Hi folks,

My Google Alerts picked off a nice letter from one of our neighbors up in Oostburg, a constituent of Glenn's. Strangely, it appeared in the Tomah Journal rather than one of our own, local, news outlets. I'm startled that Mr. Flatoff had to go all the way to Tomah to be heard.

From Sunday, 16 December. Here's some of it:

Letter: Bring Christmas tree bill to vote

Thank you, Wisconsin assembly, for voting to bring back the "Christmas Tree" to our state capital. Opponents of the bill tried to make fun of it, minimize it, or say they didn't want to offend anyone. But the people’s voice won’t be muzzled by the PC bully brigade anymore. The silent majority who DO care are waking up and speaking up.

The tree issue has captured people’s passions because, obviously, the principle behind it goes well beyond simply what we call the tree. Me, my family, friends and people in my community and the majority of our elected state assembly care because we are tired of quietly allowing nasty, mean-spirited groups like “Freedom From Religion” to erode our freedom OF religion. And we are tired of being offended by those who claim to not want to offend.


My senator, Glenn Grothman, personally called last night to say he would vote FOR the bill, representing the voice of the tens of thousands in his district. But he may not even get to express our opinion for us, simply because Russ Decker doesn’t want it to be expressed.

Senator Decker, let the people speak!

Brad Flatoff, Oostburg

I love the idea of there being a PC Bully Brigade -- although I admit to having as much trouble with knee jerk liberals as I do with knee jerk conservatives... except that the knee jerk liberals tend to spend my tax money on me, and knee jerk conservatives spend my tax money on themselves.

Of the tens of thousands of us who live in the Kettle Moraine, most have a favorite Oostburg story. Mine is about some friends of friends who moved up there, bought an old house and got busy fixing it up: painting, mowing, sweeping -- until, one Sunday, one of their neighbors stopped their car in the middle of the street and shouted at them to stop working on the Sabbath.

Not an orthodox Jew in the bunch, apparently.

Note to Glenn -- if we spend taxpayers money on religious symbols for Christians, eventually you'll have to spend taxpayers money on religious symbols for people you *don't* like as well. Fair's fair. There's that whole "sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander business." What makes that so hard to figure out?

Tax money for religious education sounds great, so long as its for Christians. What if people wanted to start Wahabist education camps in, say, Oostburg.

I'm not sure I'm ready for a Festivus Tree yet, but maybe it'd be a better compromise.


14 December 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong for supporting rapists.

Hi folks,


In the "you-just-can't-make-this-stuff-up" category of the Grothmanesque, Glenn just voted against requiring hospitals to offer rape victims emergency contraception to prevent their getting pregnant from the rape.

No, I didn't make that up. Glenn voted against requiring hospitals to offer a way for women who've been raped to avoid getting pregnant.

Admittedly, sometimes ethical calculus can be a bit tricky, so here's a little quiz.

See how you do.


When a woman is raped, which one of the following is, ethically, the best course of action?

  • A) Force her to conceive and become pregnant?
  • B) Put her in the position of having to decide between an having abortion and having the rapist's baby?
  • C) Prevent the pregnancy in the first place?

Did everyone get "C"?

Not Glenn.

An update from our colleague Clyde Winter next door in Cedarburg.

Wisconsin Legislature Votes to Protect Rights of Victims of Violent Crime
Wednesday the Wisconsin Assembly voted 56 to 41 in favor of the Compassionate Care for Victims of Rape bill, without amendments. Since that bill was overwhelmingly approved last spring by strong majorities of both parties in the State Senate 27 to 6, it will finally become law after a final reading in the Assembly and the Governor signs it, following five years of obstruction by a small but powerful faction. Thanks to all of you in the grassroots who persisted in struggling uphill for years, and to you who contacted your legislative representatives, your media, and your family, friends, and neighbors and urged them to support this bill.

Over 80 percent of Wisconsin residents approve this bill, so it is about time. Learn more about the issue, and the opposition to this law, here. This crime victims issue and initiative is a national one, and other states besides Wisconsin have either passed this law, or are considering it. Where do YOUR state legislators stand on this bill?

Thank you Clyde.

Glenn was in a minority of six members of the Senate who thought women should be forced to conceive and get pregnant as a result of rape -- or maybe, on a more positive spin, they believed it was some kind of evil social engineering for the government to require hospitals to offer compassionate care to rape victims.

Difficult and terrible dimensions surround the topic of abortion but, ethically speaking, allowing rape victims to avoid pregnancy is neither difficult nor terrible.

NOT allowing them to avoid such a pregnancy is both terrible and... well, insane.

Glenn's position boils down to helping the rapist finish the job.

Those opposed to this bill sometimes use slick logical fallacies to persuade people that "emergency contraception" is the same thing as an "abortion" but you can't terminate a pregnancy if you prevent it from happening in the first place.

Glenn's ideological commitments have once again overcome good sense and simple decency.

I suspect I'm not going to change his mind, so let's have a contest.

Please submit your suggestions for which circle of Dante's Inferno Glenn will have to suffer in the afterlife for this kind of behavior. I promise to post all results and then we'll vote.

I'll cast the first vote: I'm going with Hypocrites and the Fraudulent down in Malebolge [Circle 8].

In the meantime, Wisconsin's women are safe from Glenn's idea of family values.

And so it goes.

Pat Strachota, from whom I'm still waiting to hear, also voted against the Assembly version of this bill.

I note it in passing.


Glenn Grothman: wrong for cutting corners of fairness to save a buck.

Hi folks,

A few Glenn items this week. Something easy first. Wisconsin's police chiefs are opposed to legislation that would require arbitration for fired officers.

WBAY-TV Green Bay-Fox Cities-Northeast Wisconsin News: Chiefs: Budget veto could allow rogue cops:

Police union officials say the budget provision gives police officers the same rights as any other municipal worker.

Republican Senator Glenn Grothman says arbitration will cost taxpayers more and promises to introduce legislation to restore the status quo.

We want to get rid of bad cops, sure. But don't we want to get rid of them fairly?

Fairness doesn't matter if it costs us money, says Glenn.

And so on.

Ah, Glenn's support for rapists -- again -- coming up next.

08 December 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on privatizing the supreme court elections.

Hi folks,

You know... the fact that Judge Ziegler will not be able to hear a single case from Wisconsin Manufacturers from now until she retires, or is thrown off the court by her colleagues, without everyone checking their wallets makes me think we might want to take the jokers out of the Supreme Court's electoral deck.

What if we had public funding of Supreme Court justices? They wouldn't need to advertise, there could be plenty of information distributed using pre-existing state budget lines, and private groups could still advertise on behalf of candidates at their own expense and peril.

We wouldn't have to spend a new dime in tax money: a month of conversations on PBS stations across the state or run through UW Extension should provide plenty of info to let voters make good decisions. Extension has the electronic outreach capabilities already available.

And then those bringing cases before the courts wouldn't have to wade through the judge's income statements to be comfortable about their fairness.

I know. It's too crazy to work. From GMToday.

Area’s state legislators question governor’s push:

"The Senate will not take up the trio of issues Gov. Jim Doyle called on to vote on next week. A special committee that sets the Senate’s calendar left those off the table for its one-day meeting.

One of the biggest impediments to compromise is the public financing of state Supreme Court races, which Doyle and Democrats have promoted. Doyle wants state Supreme Court candidates to be held to spending a maximum of $400,000, which would be publicly funded.

'We just got done with an irresponsible budget,' said Sen. Glenn Grothman. 'I don’t think the taxpayers should have to pay for ads for Supreme Court candidates.'"

A usual, Glenn misspeaks. Had it been impossible, they wouldn't have finished it. We're already paying his, now higher, salary. We're already paying for all the infrastructure needed to make all the relevant information available to voters -- all we'd need to do is channel the campaigns away from the questionable motives of profit driven industry and into the hands of citizens driven by a need for fair judges.

I'm just thinking out loud.


06 December 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong for denying workers' civil rights.

Hi folks,

In the wake of our meager pay raises, Glenn has weighed in on the pro-American right to unionize. Senator Hansen and Rep Richards sponsored a bill to authorize UW faculty to unionize, something currently forbidden -- yes, really -- under state law.

The Badger Herald reports:

by Cara Harshman
Wednesday, December 5, 2007


According to Hansen, 29 other states give university employees the right to form a union. UW, the University of Indiana and Northwestern University are the only Big Ten schools that do not let professors unionize.

However, in Wisconsin, he added technical college faculty and staff are allowed to collectively bargain and unionize.

With experience in teaching and union contracting, Hansen said, “forming a union is a universal human right. It is part of a democratic society.”

But Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said the proposed bill is “a horrible idea.”

“I might be missing something, but I cannot find one first-class university that unionizes its faculty,” Grothman said. “It is a quick route to making UW-Madison a second-rate university.”

But Richards hopes recruiting and retaining top quality teachers will be an outcome of the proposed bill.

“We are competing with universities around the country and around the world,” Richards said. “We lose people when we don’t treat them right. We can at least give [UW employees] the option to unionize.”

I'd note in passing, as I have before, that technical school faculty salaries run 20-30 thousand dollars more a year than ours. Now, it could be that property tax payers simply believe that machine shop is worth $30,000 more a year than engineering or molecular biology, or it could be that our hard working colleagues at the tech schools have better representation in wage negotiations.

-- oh, wait... that's right. We don't have representation -- or negotiations -- when it comes to wages.

But, as usual, if you look for more than a moment or two you'll find a foot in Glenn's mouth. Sometimes two.

He puffs himself up over the UW-System being "a first-class university" when he is personally responsible for slashing its funding, eviscerating health care benefits for its staff, and cuts in funding to make sure that todays students pick up 75% of their tuition costs when, back in the day, he only had to pick up 25% of his.

Good deal for Glenn. A lousy deal for Wisconsin and the rights of its citizens.


Glenn Grothman: Wronger about raises than originally thought.

Hi folks,


Some stray optimism overwhelmed and then suspended my usual, healthy, oracular, cynicism.

When I first heard about our whopping 5% pay increase, I assumed it would take place in the current budget year.

I was wrong.

That 5% is actually spread out over 3 years: 2% this year, 2% next year, and 1% in the third year.

This goes some distance to explain the flight of faculty from the UW-System to states that pay university faculty more than tech school instructors.

I guess the real question is the one I keep asking Senator Grothman and Rep Strachota: where is the money going?


29 November 2007

Glenn Grothman: getting a bigger raise this year.

Hi folks,

Okay, what I mean is, Glenn is getting a bigger raise this year than I am. Our raises went through the joint committee last week. I'm going to get about 5% this year spread out over the next 7 months -- which is darned nice and nearly catches me (and my several thousand colleagues) up with cost of living increases over the last few years. Nearly. Even though they keep cutting our health benefits. Still, it turns out that we're the low Bubba's on the state totem pole:

From the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign:

Pay raises are on the way for elected state officials, and it didn't require a vote of the full Legislature or the governor's signature. Raises of 6.3% for legislators and 7.4% for the governor were approved unanimously by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Employment Relations, and that committee's OK is all that's required to hike salaries.

Judging from the latest polling by the St. Norbert College Survey Center, the public doesn't think state politicians deserve a raise. The number of state residents who disapprove of the Legislature's job performance increased by an eye-popping 18% just since the spring of this year.

That means Glenn and his colleagues believe he's worth 1.3% a year more to the state than I am. The Gov is worth 2.4% a year more.

Tricky call.


27 November 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong for worrying about the trees

In order to avoid thinking about the forest.

Hi folks,

The Senate Committee on Education held hearings this week on Senate Joint Resolution 27, an effort to start thinking about ways to fund education that would be more efficient than the property tax burden we're currently carrying.

John Smart, writing in the Capital Times, notes:

The purpose of the hearing was to examine Senate Joint Resolution 27, co-sponsored by Assembly Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts, D-Verona, Sen. Roger Breske, D-Eland, 14 other senators and 43 other Assembly representatives. All but one of the people testifying supported the resolution.

The resolution calls for the Legislature to recognize that the system we're using to pay for our schools is not fair and equitable and simply does not work -- that it underfunds our schools while throwing too much of the burden on the backs of property taxpayers, who are understandably rebelling. The resolution refers to a number of new funding formulas that all deserve consideration, and it sets a deadline for the Legislature to examine these, and any others, and pass a new compromise plan for school funding by July 1, 2009.

Several members of the committee, notably Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, and Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, insisted on attempting to debate the merits of one or another of the plans, asking how much they would cost and where the money was going to come from. They had to be reminded repeatedly that this resolution only sets a deadline and doesn't endorse any specific plan.

I'm not surprised that Glenn wanted to debate the merits of plans that don't exist yet and which weren't included in the resolution. When you don't want to think about a serious problem -- especially when you're in the political minority -- you pick away at the edges, like sparrows picking around under a bird feeder. Arguing about irrelevant details, while the main issue -- finding a better way to fund education -- gets pushed out of sight, is an often-used and well understood strategy to make sure those main issues are never dealt with.

Based on Glenn's past performance, it's pretty clear he's opposed to funding education effectively, and this still mystifies me. I keep imagining that Glenn is, at least, ideologically driven to be efficient, like anyone suffering from business-paradigm paralysis. -- but he isn't.

For all his puffery about cutting taxes, Glenn has never offered us a more efficient way to address the things we actually need to spend money on. What's conservative about cutting taxes while leaving unfairness and inefficiency in place? You need to address both ends of the spreadsheet.

Simply saying "no" to everything is not the same thing as creating a better Wisconsin.


03 November 2007

Glenn Grothman: taxes okay when you don't notice them??

Hi folks,

Not a lot on Sen. Grothman in the news these days, apart from his minority vote on the budget and making sure illegal immigrants will never find sanctuary in the United States.

Just a few thoughts:

1) Both Sen. Grothman and Rep Strachota voted against the current budget primarily, as Rep Strachota noted to the West Bend ExpressNews, because spending will increase by 6.6 percent over the next two years. Nice, nice, very nice.

What I'd like to know is why our representatives are worried about this now, but not when property tax spending on the tech schools increased by 6.6 percent per year in each of the last 9 years? Why was that okay, but spending on our health and college education, isn't? I'm still troubled by the fact that our tax-avoidance crusaders could have missed billions of dollars in tax increases so completely.

2) Why is Glenn making such hay about illegal immigrants? I suspect it's because immigration is a perfectly safe issue for him. He should be worried about the millions of non-immigrants now working happily away at jobs in China, 1000's of which used to be in Washington County. You don't level the global playing field by making a good education even tougher for the next generation of American entrepreneurs to get -- even though that's pretty much what he does during every session in the Senate.

And so it goes.

21 October 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong budget priorities, again.

Hi folks,

Glenn's been busy winging it on the budget allocations for the next biennium. As usual we've heard lot's of "we don't need ...." from him and, as always, nothing about what we might want or what we could afford that would make Wisconsin an even nicer place to live.

Anyway, a picture is worth 1000 words, so here's my cat's reaction to the budget.


07 October 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on the Apocalypse of immigration.

Hi folks,

Curiouser and curiouser. First, compassion from Senator Grothman for the unemployed and now, despite his recent anti-sanctuary tub-thumping, could we be seeing something like compassion for illegal immigrants? Another sign, surely, of the end times. Maybe Mark Belling is right; Glenn has gone soft.

Here's what's confused me.

From The Badger Herald - Trafficking legislation comes up:

“The district attorneys feel we have to clarify current law with regards to penalties in this area, as well as provide some shelter to people who are not citizens of this country,” said bill co-sponsor Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend." [my italics.]
The law he's talking about covers human trafficking. Since legal aliens typically are not trafficked into the US, this must mean that Glenn wants to protect illegal aliens.


I'm also completely out of order with the Apocalyptic references here, since the second horseman, this one, typically represents War while the third horseman represents injustice to the poor along with Famine. Maybe I missed a press release.


26 September 2007

Towns Rethink Laws Against Illegal Immigrants - New York Times

Hi folks,

More grist for the mill. It's expensive to throw out illegal aliens. Again, everybody complains, but nobody wants to pay full price for lettuce, or sirloin or chicken. Or a manicure, apparently. From the NY Times.

Towns Rethink Laws Against Illegal Immigrants - New York Times


23 September 2007

Glenn Grothman: no real budget priorities -- again.

Hi folks,

This from our own Zak Masur reporting from West Bend.

Republicans ready to budge a bit on budget:

Surprisingly, Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) agrees, but with a caveat. 'It can be wrapped up immediately if the Republicans agreed to one and a half billion dollars of new taxes - but why would they do that?'
What if he and his pals simply agreed to budget enough to pay for the things we need "to live well in Wisconsin?"

We don't hear much from Glenn about what it means to "live well in Wisconsin" -- only the endless list of things he thinks we don't need to live well in Wisconsin.

If he told us what he believes we need to live well in Wisconsin, we'd be able to figure out how much it'd cost and budget accordingly.

Sounds good but, unfortunately, if he did that, he wouldn't have anything to talk about. 90% of his press time is spent criticizing everybody else. He'd vanish from the news, and from government, and then we could elect Pat Strachota to his Senate seat.


I'm just thinking out loud.


Glenn Grothman: wrong on citizenship checks.

Hi folks,

Um, illegal immigrants are already... well, illegal. Some cities have decided not to ask those applying for public services whether they are illegal aliens or not. But wait, here's Glenn:

From The Badger Herald:
by Christie Taylor
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"State Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday restricting local governments from offering sanctuary to illegal immigrants throughout Wisconsin.

Under the new bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, and Rep. Roger Roth, R-Grand Chute, cities and counties would be unable to pass laws prohibiting government employees from demanding proof of immigration status or notifying the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens.

Currently, Dane County has an ordinance blocking government workers from asking for proof of citizenship."

Now, think this through with me: if government workers ask illegal immigrants if they are illegal, what will the illegal immigrants say?

Too easy?

Okay, let's spin this the other way: if you were an illegal immigrant who wanted to expose yourself to local government, would you figure out a way to get fake identity papers?

I know, still too easy.

And finally, in the sauce-for-the-goose-is-sauce-for-the-gander category, imagine the following scenario:

Glenn Grothman goes in to have his drivers license renewed. The DVM clerk asks him to provide proof that he's an American.

Does Glenn:

a) good naturedly reach into his pocket and produce passport, birth certificate, and social security card.

b) suddenly realize we have no national identity card and vow to introduce legislation to establish a national identity program, maybe including 'chipping' for kids under 4.

c) become indignant and loudly blame government for excessive bureaucracy and a frivolous waste of the taxpayers money.

Did everyone else get C ?

Me too.

Glenn, like a lot of politicians, seems to be avoiding the elephant in the deportation lounge.

Think carefully: do you want to pay the real price for lettuce or apples that have been picked by American workers making American wages? I suspect not. If you want to pay what you're paying now, then, by implication, you want illegal immigrants working illegally in America.

Either way, Glenn's bill is nothing but grandstanding.

Glenn, cut it out. Get back to figuring out how to fix the health care system.


13 September 2007

Glenn Grothman: Helps unemployed, initiates Apocalyse.

Hi folks,

Well, this is where you start scratching your head and looking for locusts.

From The Badger Herald - Committee passes bill to benefit unemployed:

"The Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs passed a bipartisan bill Tuesday granting tax exemptions on unemployment benefits from the state. The bill was co-authored by Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, and Rep. Jim Soletski, D-Green Bay. Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, and Sen. Alan Lasee, R-De Pere, also approved the bill that would aid the roughly 4.5 percent of Wisconsin residents who are currently unemployed." [my italics]

I'd love to believe that eliminating taxation on unemployment benefits represents some kind of sudden good sense, but it is such a departure from the rest of Glenn's career that this happy interpretation is unimaginable -- especially when weighed against the degree to which this seemingly compassionate action fits his darker, Guiding Meme: Taxes are evil because they take money away from good people and give it to bad people who don't deserve it.

As sinful and undeserving as the unemployed are in the neo-con universe, I suspect Glenn believes taxation is still worse than they are.

I'm guessing, of course.


12 September 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on denying workers rights to professionals

Hi folks,

Glenn thinks it's a bad idea to let UW faculty unionize.

Proposal allowing UW faculty to unionize draws fierce criticism - The Daily Cardinal

Republicans in the state Legislature have recently called on Democrats to remove a budget proposal that would give UW System faculty members the right to vote on collective bargaining.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, asked Democrats in the state Senate to eliminate the provision from its proposed budget.

Grothman said if UW professors unionize, it could make them “bitter, more expensive and monolithic.” He also said that professors’ unions could hold too much political sway.

“I think unions are more likely to give money to political candidates … they’d rather turn the university into a hotbed of partisan political activity,” Grothman said.


Josh Wescott, spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson, D-Beloit, said he did not express concern about any of the demands that the proposed union could make.

“This is about making sure we have the best and brightest minds here [in Wisconsin],” Westcott said, referring to the ability of the state to recruit and retain faculty.

Wescott also added that the proposals by Grothman are akin to slamming the doors on higher education and wrapping them in “barbed wire and electric fencing.”

The university administration is not taking a stance on the issue.

UW System spokesperson David Giroux said that the collective bargaining provision is an issue for faculty and staff to decide on, not administrators.

“They are all capable of being independent thinkers,” Giroux said. “They are capable of making the decision on their own.”

One thing Glenn got wrong here was about giving money to political candidates. Since he has conscientiously cut faculty benefits over the years while avoiding anything like a cost of living adjustment, none of us really has any money to give to political candidates in the first place.

The Greater Irony here is that Glenn's own votes are causing this drive toward unionization. Faculty don't care too much for the idea of a union. We like to think of ourselves as professionals and above the fray of money -- but when it happens, it'll happen for the same reason any other group unionizes: the failure of government to represent its interests.

It is easy to see that now-Senator Grothman has failed to represent the needs of UW faculty -- that's not a surprise. What is worse, but more telling, is that by continually gutting the university budgets he has shortsightedly failed to represent the long term interests of the people of Wisconsin who the university serves.


08 September 2007

Glenn Grothman: lights up while Madison burns.

Hi folks,

There's a lot going on in Madison lately... budget budget budget.

Instead of attending to the serious business of why America should be the only industrialized country in the world without responsible health care, Glenn lights up a doobie with the money we're spending to keep kids from smoking. This piece of opinion showed up in our local advertising rag a week or so ago as well.

This time, in the Tomah Journal's - Opinion section. One comment grabbed my attention:

Cigarette smoking in this country has been declining for the last 40 years. Oddly, smoking among high school kids went up until dropping the last few years. There’s no mystery as to the reasons for the decline -- studies in the 1960s confirmed smoking was bad for your health, the military stopped handing out free cigarettes, and cigarette taxes went up.

In reality, almost no one starts smoking after about age 18. Almost no one. And no 12 year old who starts smoking pays a damn bit of attention to the warning labels, scientific studies, or receives free cigarettes from the military. Well, not yet anyway.

Couldn't the legislature start thinking about net, instead of gross? If we spend the money when they're young, we save a ton of money (in our taxes and insurance premiums) fixing their heart disease, emphysema, and lung cancer later. We might also remember that in a billion dollar budget, 10 million is 1% of the budget.

Personally, I'm sick and tired of seeing the words "conservative" or "Republican" being used to camouflage a philosophy of "penny wise and pound foolish."


16 August 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong for not investing in the future of Wisconsin.

Hi folks,

In the "there he goes again" category:

On Thursday AUGUST 16, 2007 the Chipppewa Herald reported that Glenn once again found himself in the minority on the position of university tuition.

From the Chippewa Herald online

Wisconsin lawmakers approve tuition reciprocity deal

MADISON, Wis. - A tuition reciprocity deal between Minnesota and Wisconsin won approval Thursday from Wisconsin's budget-writing committee, sealing the deal that had been worked out between the two states.

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee approved the deal 15-1, with Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend voting against it. He expressed concern that the deal encourages Wisconsin students to choose Minnesota schools over ones in their home state because there's no higher cost to go there.

I'm surprised Glenn worries about students leaving Wisconsin. Every time he's voted on a budget, he's increased the cost of education for Wisconsin residents.

Glenn had it a lot easier when he was at Madison.

As recently as 15 years ago, the state invested nearly 75% of the tuition costs for each student attending the UW -- but during the last 15 years, the state legislature blindly cut the state's share to about 25%.

The people of Wisconsin covered 75% of Glenn's tuition back in the 70's. He paid about 25%.

For students today, it's the other way around -- they now pay 75% of the cost and precisely because legislators like Glenn believe education is not a good investment of our tax dollars.

You don't improve economy by making it harder for people to go to college.


21 July 2007

Glenn Grothman: Taxcutter as Deadbeat Dad.

Hi folks,

In an opinion piece for the Journal-Sentinel last week, Glenn complains that funding 4 year old kindergartens is a bad way to improve educational performance.

From the Journal-Sentinel: "Be leery of government 'helping' your children"
Glenn begins this way,

The most important function of a society is raising its children. And with American high school students doing poorly on international tests, it's tempting to accept any new suggestion to improve our educational system.
I'm startled, frankly, that Glenn believes society should have any hand at all in raising children, but, now that he's said it in print, I'm more hopeful.

American high school kids are performing horribly on international tests. Glenn finally looked at the reports showing -- ready? -- that by the 12th grade, US students only outscore "Cyprus, Lithuania and South Africa in math."

This scares the hell out of me, but Glenn doesn't seem too worried about it. He's repeatedly slashed away at the kind of responsible funding for education that would have invested in our economic future by keeping our kids competitive with the rest of the industrially developed world.

Even more glaring is this comment at the end about working mothers:
It is easy to forget that, while most mothers with preschool children now work, only a minority of them work full time and leave their children with strangers. For the rest of our lifetimes, the left will continually say that the more the government cares for the children, the better off the children will be. I doubt that the founders of this country would have believed that.
Funny he should mention The Founders of this county. My particular favorite had a comment about this:

“I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.” Thomas Jefferson, 9/28/1820

We do that by making sure each child gets a great education. We have to educate each child as if they might become President -- or a State Senator. Because, they might.

Otherwise we'll get the leaders we deserve.


While it's obvious that throwing money at a problem doesn't solve it, cutting off most of its funding doesn't fix it either. Glenn's entire life, etched boldly on his vanity license plates, is about cutting off funding to 'wasteful' programs like -- apparently -- education.

That's why this "opinion" piece was soaked through with enough hypocrisy to give me a migraine.

  • You can't slash the number of employees in your business to save money and then complain that service isn't as good as it should be.
  • You can't cut the number of doctors in a hospital to save money and then complain that the care isn't as good as it should be.
  • And you cannot cut school system funding and then complain that they are doing a bad job.
But here's what else I know:

1) Slashing funding to the high schools, whether in MPS or elsewhere, punishes children who don't deserve to be punished. You don't make students smarter by stuffing more students into a classroom. Trying to punish the teachers who refuse to vote for him, only hurts the children.


2) Slashing funding to students you are obligated to help, is equivalent to abandoning your family.

Thinking like this makes Glenn the deadbeat dad of tax cutter, refusing to keep up child support.


18 July 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on clubbing his alma mater to death?

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" says Rep. Frank Lasee, R-Green Bay ...

-- whoops, I mean William Shakespeare in Henry VI Act IV, Scene II.

Or, since they won't let him do that, how about this?

The Janesville Gazette reports

Tired of lawyers, lawmaker wants to cut law school's funding

MADISON, Wis. - A lawmaker who persuaded the Assembly to eliminate all state funding for the University of Wisconsin law school says his reasoning is simple: There's too many lawyers in Wisconsin.

That and soon to be ex-Rep. Lassee might have thought to consider that the UW law school is the only state university law school in Wisconsin. Well, here:

More than 14,000 Wisconsin residents are practicing lawyers, according to the American Bar Association, which puts the state in the middle of the pack nationally for its overall number of attorneys.

Davis said the law school has educated many political and business leaders and was proud of its record.

Its alumni include former Gov. Tommy Thompson, six out of seven state Supreme Court justices and several of Lasee's colleagues. Two of them - Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, and Rep. Sheryl Albers, R-Reedsburg - voted for the budget that slashed their alma mater's funding.

And, I put this up in here because Sen. Grothman is also a product of tax-payer subsidized education at the UW Law school.

Does Glenn believe that future students should have to pay a massively larger share of their education than he did? That it was okay for us to subsidize his education, but not future students?

Just checking. I guess we'll find out.


22 June 2007

Glenn sighting: now at Wikipedia.

Hi folks,

Discovered Glenn's entry at Wikipedia.

Sic transit gloria.


21 June 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on the ethics of birth control.

Hi folks,

Back after a break and catching up.

Back on May 16th the Wisconsin Radio Network reported that Glenn had voted against some emergency contraception legislation. I'm still astonished by Glenn's vote.

They reported:

No one spoke against the bill, which passed 27-to-6. Juneau Republican Scott Fitzgerald was among the "no" votes. "Ultimately, it's still a question of conception and life," said Fitzgerald. Also voting against the bill were Republican Senators Glenn Grothman, Dan Kapanke, Neal Kedzie, Mary Lazich and Joe Liebham.

Middleton Democrat John Erpenbach chaired a committee which heard testimony on the bill. He noted only one group opposed the it. Pro Life Wisconsin, said Erpenbach, is "against . . . all forms of contraception." Fitzgerald cited the group's stance in explaining his vote. "Pro Life Wisconsin had a little bit different take on it than Right to Life and the Catholic Conference and certainly Planned Parenthood," said Fitzgerald. The bill requires hospitals inform rape victims of emergency contraceptives and make the morning after pill available to them. Prospects are unclear in the Republican controlled state Assembly.

I assume that Glenn agrees with the position of Pro Life Wisconsin, one of his biggest supporters. If I'm wrong about that, let me know!

Here's the problem: Pro Life Wisconsin believes that any kind of birth control -- anything that prevents conception -- is a kind of before-the-fact abortion and cannot be ethically sustained. The principle here is that anything which prevents a human being, even a potential one, from becoming an actual human being, is immoral. This includes abortion, clearly, but also emergency contraception and even condoms. Ironically, if you accept the idea that preventing conception is always wrong, the same logic would hold that even abstinence is immoral since it too prevents the conception and creation of an actual human being.

Maybe this is why people like Leah Vukmir and Glenn keep voting to guarantee the rights of rapists to force their victims to conceive.

When you start getting screwy answers like this, it's time to go back and recheck your original principles for cracks. They're usually the problem.

Your mileage may vary.


19 May 2007

Glenn Grothman: still wrong for helping rapists.

Hi folks,

Ah, the end of another semester ate the last few weeks, and Glenn has been relatively quiet, but here is the latest: a NO vote for providing rape victims with emergency contraception. [I actually feel a little bad about taking him to task this way since we had a nice phone conversation last week -- but I'd feel worse about letting him get away with it. ;^)]

Here are some of the details:

Posted at the Cheese-O-Sphere:

But originally from
Associated Press Writer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Hospitals would be required to provide the so-called morning after pill to rape victims under a measure that passed the state Senate on Wednesday and has the backing of Gov. Jim Doyle.


Those voting against the proposal Wednesday in the Senate were Republicans Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Glenn Grothman of West Bend, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Neal Kedzie of Elkhorn, Mary Lazich of New Berlin and Joe Leibham of Sheboygan.

Preventing pregnancy in the case of rape seems obvious to me. Voting against this idea, and I've said this before, seems to be helping the rapist finish the job. Those who believe that emergency contraception is a kind of abortion simply haven't considered the question of human life carefully enough to speak intelligently about it.


30 March 2007

Glenn Grothman: can't win.

Hi folks,

I nearly fell over when I read March 24th's West Bend Express News. The "From the Hill" column -- where our local politicos say what's on their minds -- included an article from Glenn Grothman with the headline: Reviewing the tech schools.

Apparently the recent Legislative Audit Bureau report showed that:

[During] the past nine years, their (sic) property tax levy for technical schools has gone up an average of 6.6 percent per year -- well above the rest of your property tax bill.
And, therefore, Glenn concludes:
It's no wonder your tech school property tax bill is going through the roof.

The Technical colleges provide Wisconsin citizens with the kind of instruction that improves their lives, and provides Wisconsin manufacturers with the skilled labor force that helped us hold on to jobs here decades after the rust belt swallowed Detroit and Gary and Ohio.

We may need to "review" funding levels as the state undergoes a conversion to a knowledge-based economy. We'll have to figure that one out.... but ...

But what I'm really wondering is how someone with the word "tax cutter" abbreviated on his license plate missed roughly $783,000,000 (783 million dollars) a year in state income tax, sales tax, and property taxes?? Did $783 million just fly under his taxcutting radar?

During all the years of his Taxpayer's Bill of Rights shenanigans, how did he manage to miss it??

Inquiring minds want to know.


22 March 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on educational budgeting.

Okay, so I'm really harping on this wage thing.... but we've all been really really good sports about this for some years while Sen Grothman -- allegedly our representative -- has had a field day ragging on us.

From Milwaukee Magazine:

The study found the average base salaries of technical college teachers in Wisconsin are “among the highest reported nationally.” It also found average annual earnings of the technical college teachers exceeded those of full-time faculty at two-year University of Wisconsin Colleges by a jaw-dropping $22,000.


But Milwaukee has turned things completely upside down: Average faculty earn more ($89,850) than administrators ($86,556) at MATC.
I've been working here for the UW Colleges for 15 years, I have a PhD from one of the better universities on the planet, I love my job, get good student evaluations and, most importantly, provide a great deal in higher ed for the taxpayers, my real bosses.... and these tech school faculty earn on average $39,000 more a year than I do?

Doesn't that seem like a lot?

I note it in passing.

Okay, I think I'm done now.


20 March 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on education, again.

Hi folks,

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


04 March 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on Tommy Thompson??

Hi folks,

Another installment of "When ideological purity trumps common sense."

Here's what Glenn said this week -- about Tommy Thompson this time.

[The former Governor was missing from last week's Conservative Political Action Conference beauty contest for the Republican presidential candidates.]

Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online writes:

"I think it's a great year for a dark horse," said Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman, referring to the "question marks" conservatives have about the frontrunners.

Asked whether Thompson could be his conservative "dark horse," the West Bend lawmaker said, "I'm looking for a conservative. . . . Tommy's not a conservative."

Tommy's not a conservative?

I'd love to try, but there's no way I can top this.


18 February 2007

Glenn "Jethro" Grothman: wrong on Hispanic history.

Hi folks,

Real life and work caught up with me during most of January and February but Glenn, as always, is still busy embarrassing Washington County.

There is a back(b)log [a blogjam? :^)] of nonsense , but here's the latest -- you've probably already seen it.

In an interview with WKOW TV Glenn managed to get a headline that reads: Grothman: ''Why in the world would we give preferences to Hispanics?

"I think our society is used to giving preference to African Americans," Grothman told 27 News. "But why in the world would we give preferences to Hispanics, who've just come here? Perhaps we could remove preferences for those people."

The Capital Times replied with West Bend should be ashamed of Sen. Grothman's views. Here's part of that reply:
One can read into these idiotic words in many ways. Clearly, however, the words are xenophobic and to some degree reflect the views and opinions of some, if not most, of the people in West Bend he is, after all, their representative. [...]

The senator from West Bend joined in the debate sounding like Jethro from "The Beverly Hillbillies." To amplify his backwoods knowledge, West Bend's gifted son stated that "historical, racial prejudices have declined, obviating the need" for any policy aimed at helping disadvantaged minorities in the state. Wow! According to state Sen. Grothman, Wisconsin has achieved a colorblind society.

Is there no shame in West Bend? [Robert Miranda]

We should remember that lies never hurt nearly so much as the truth. Does this sting because it's a lie, or because it's the truth? I worry that Mr. Miranda nailed it. [For more, thoughtful response, see Caffeinated Politics.]

Apparently, Glenn never figured out why we (all of us, not just some disembodied evil guv'rmnt) why we might want to make getting into college more than a matter of whether you went to a properly funded high school.

That's ashame. There are perfectly good reasons.

On the other hand, this is just another example of the same mentality that thought it was a good idea to put millions of federal dollars at stake by de-listing that damned garter snake -- just so one of his friends could put up a fence.

Still, he flip-flopped on that vote. Maybe he'll flip-flop on Hispanic history too.

But wait, does this mean that he's flip-flopped on African-American history? It looks like he's no longer opposed to MLK day -- at least, not in public.