23 January 2008

Glenn Grothman: wrong on sex, again.

Hi folks,

I guess now that Colorado has tossed TABOR into the dustbin of history, Glenn is having to make do with harangues about sexual immorality. Here's this week's "Press Release" playing up his latest nonsense: that good counseling and a common sense approach to birth control in young people encourage sexual predators.

This is like saying "giving people flotation devices encourages predators to drown them."

Anyway, the headline:

Grothman Attempts to Stop State From Encouraging Sexual Predators
Time to End Family Planning Waiver Program for 15, 16, and 17 Year Olds
His argument reminds me of that coffee can down in the basement filled with a useless collection of rusty nuts and bolts and parts from vacuum cleaners they stopped making in the 50's. I'll be using this jumble in Logic next semester to demonstrate the fallacies of complex question, hasty generalization, and appeal to ignorance. Here's a convenient list of logical fallacies and their definitions. See how many you can find.

Here's the crux of the matter: Glenn's point seems to be that using birth control causes adolescents to have sex. This is just stupid -- as anyone who has ever been an adolescent knows.

Biology causes adolescents to have sex, not birth control. We have to deal with that biology, not stick our heads in the sand and wish for Ward Cleaver to deliver us. Besides, biology caused kids in the 1950's to have sex too.


14 January 2008

Glenn Grothman: American Mullah?

Hi folks,

Glenn's off on another one of his social engineering projects and, once again, it's about sex. First he votes against emergency contraception for rape victims, and now he wants to stop waivers that help to prevent unwanted pregnancies in teenagers.

Have you noticed that for Glenn it's always either about sex or taxes?

Glenn is becoming the sort of character you'd invent in an end-of -the-world scifi novel -- the lunatic who'd plunge us into a new Dark Ages because he'd appealed to everyone's worst instincts and greatest fears.

Listen -- American mullahs aren't any better than Iranian ones.

Here's his latest tirade.

Wisconsin Radio Network: Grothman tries again to eliminate free birth control to teens

Grothman tries again to eliminate free birth control to teens

A state lawmaker tries again to get rid of a program that gives young teens birth control.

Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) is once again introducing legislation that would end Wisconsin's Family Planning Waiver program for 15, 16, and 17 year old girls.

"It seems absurd that the state of Wisconsin is paying Planned Parenthood to put 15-year old girls on the pill and then turning around and charging 17-year old boys with sexual assault and making them sex offenders for life when they have sex with these girls."

The Medicaid program that provides health care services to low-income Wisconsin women also provides free birth control for these high school girls without parental knowledge. Grothman cites several recent cases in which young adult males were charged with felony assault after having sex with their younger girlfriends. He wants to terminate this program.

"Not only is it sending a mixed message but it's also offensive to parental rights because these counselors are meeting with these girls without their parents knowing about it."

Grothman points to the contradiction of laws that prevent sexual abuse of kids, while this program allows the Health Department to give young girls birth control, sending a message that encourages premarital sex among teens. Advocates of the program had said if youngsters don't have access to family planning services, then sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and abortions will increase. The supporters claim, birth-related costs will increase the burden on Medicaid. Lawmakers were one vote short of passing Grothman's measure through the state Senate last session.

Whew. Okay, in order:

  1. Glenn hates Planned Parenthood the same way 'the terrorists' hate our freedom. We know that. But here he's using Planned Parenthood as a red herring. Wake up. No one is paying Planned Parenthood to "put 15 year old girls on the pill." Planned Parenthood is simply one of the "qualified providers" the law specifies. "Qualified provider" includes means your own doctor.
  2. Planned Parenthood never (and cannot) "put" anyone on the pill. Those girls make the decision to put themselves on the pill.
  3. The weirdest, most dishonest, thing he does is to tie this into a conundrum in the law -- that 17 year old boys can be convicted of felony sexual assault for having consensual sex with their 16 year old girl friends. That may be something the legislature needs to address but Glenn makes it sound as if 16-year-old-girls-on-the-pill are the cause of 17 year old boys committing felony sexual assault. Right. Young women only want to have sex when they're on the pill and young men only want to have sex because their girlfriends are on the pill. Notice that neither of those options are true.

The real reason Glenn worries about birth control is his belief -- accompanied by a Mullah-like certainty -- that letting girls protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy simply encourages them to have sex in the first place. He has this backwards. Girls who aren't having sex aren't likely to want birth control. Girls who are already having sex are the ones who most need to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

For more info on our, terrifying, third-world levels of teenage pregnancy, follow the link to the Guttmacher Institute.


13 January 2008

Glenn Grothman: wrong for cutting off cops from arbitration?

Hi folks,

It's always interesting to me to see stories about Glenn's latest antics picked up by strangely distant, out of town newspapers -- almost more often than he's mentioned here at home.

Why is that?

Anyway, the latest from Winona, Minnesota, carrying an AP story:

Winona Daily News - 6.0

Police chiefs: Arbitration in new budget could foster rogue cops

TODD RICHMOND | Associated Press Writer
MADISON — Wisconsin’s police chiefs want lawmakers to block a provision in the new state budget that allows arbitration for fired officers.

The change could allow bad officers to bypass local police and fire commissions’ discipline and win back their jobs as well as drive up the proceedings’ cost, said Doug Pettit, police chief in Oregon and the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association’s legislative chairman. The association wants legislators to put a moratorium on the provision pending more study.

Police union officials called the complaints a smoke screen. The change gives police officers the same rights as other municipal workers, said James Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, called the change “an outrage.” Pounding his fists on a Capitol railing during an interview, he said arbitration will cost taxpayers more and promised to introduce legislation that would restore the status quo.

Glenn makes it sound like arbitration was made available to dismissed officers simply to spend more of our taxes. That doesn't seem likely, does it?

It seems more likely it'd be a way of evening out disparities in how certain public employees are treated. Other municipal employees have recourse to arbitration -- why not the police? Anyway, as I said, I don't know the reason. Glenn?

In fact it's be worth noting that when State Representative Garey Bies, a Republican, introduced the Assembly Bill (57) to allow for these appeals to arbitration, they had in mind only those cases in which ... well, here:
...if an accused officer is subject to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement that provides an alternative to the appeal process to a circuit court, the appeal process in the collective bargaining agreement applies to the accused officer and not the current law process that involves an appeal to a circuit court, unless the officer chooses to appeal the tribunal’s decision to a circuit court.
So I imagine some further set of shenanigans must be in play. Aren't you guys on the same page?

Regardless, this stands as yet another symptom of what John Dean and other traditional conservatives now understand to be symptoms of neo-con psychosis -- the belief that money is more important than fairness to people.

Glenn is perfectly correct, as always, when he asserts that spending tax-money stupidly is bad -- but he is also perfectly wrong, as always, for putting money ahead of good old fairness.


03 January 2008

Glenn Grothman: wrong for raising fees by cutting taxes.

Hi folks,

Glenn's irritable about the recent increases in fees for vehicle registration, titling, and driver's license renewal and yet, it's his fault.

JS Online: "State drivers must dig deeper"
Increase in fees will fund transportation projects
Posted: Jan. 1, 2008

Madison - Driving a vehicle just got a lot more expensive.

Registering a car will now cost $20 more, titling it will cost $24.50 more and getting or renewing a driver's license will cost $10 more. The new fees kicked in Tuesday under provisions in the state budget passed in October.

Together, the increases will generate $217.3 million over the next 18 months, most of which will be used for road work. Another $56.9 million will be raised from a 30% boost in registration fees for heavy trucks.

The state Department of Transportation will spend more than $2.5 billion, including federal aid, this fiscal year.

Lawmakers were nearly four months late in passing the state budget because of partisan differences, but Republicans and Democrats agreed from the outset to hefty transportation increases. They argued that the fees were needed because road projects are essential to the state's economy.

'To fund the transportation system, we're going to need that additional cash plus more down the road,' said Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston). 'The cost of maintaining highways and building new highways continues to go up because, mainly, the cost of gasoline prices and oil that's used in asphalt continues to go up very fast."

The higher fees came with some dissent, however.

"I don't think these fee increases would be necessary if we would just use transportation funds for transportation projects, stop building outstate projects of questionable necessity and not spend so much on underutilized mass transit," said state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), who voted against the budget."

We wouldn't have to pay for things with fees -- a hidden and regressive kind of taxation -- if Glenn didn't keep cutting the taxes that would pay for all of this fairly and progressively.

Why shouldn't middle class people in Wisconsin expect the state to bring us services we can't afford on our own? You know, like education, safe water -- and sanitation! -- and decent highways? Why shouldn't we expect the cost for services like that to be spread out fairly among all the residents who use them?

Shoot, that's just civilization.

But every time Glenn cuts taxes to satisfy his ideological crack-addiction, fees have to go up -- just like tuition has at the UW universities and, now, like the registration fees.

I know I keep asking this, but why would middle class voters keep electing someone who continually and proudly votes against their economic interests?