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?