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."