April 15, 2006

A blog in Kenosha?

Perish the thought. Many people have asked me if there were any good bloggers in Kenosha.

My response was always a shrug of the shoulders.

Well as of April 9 there is a new blogger in Kenosha, Stepping Right Up!

Nice blog really, I only have one issue with it. (they put the link to McBride ahead of the link to RDW ;} )

Welcome to the ever-growing RDW blogroll.

April 14, 2006

Someone is Googling Rosa.

Last 10 Keywords:
04/14/06 08:49:18
Real Debate Wisconsin (Yahoo)
04/14/06 08:46:31
rosa salinas hultman (Yahoo) (I did not do it)
04/14/06 07:36:55
limbaugh's laws (Google)
04/14/06 07:32:15
what is an improper ballot in wisconsin (MSN) (That one is interesting)
04/14/06 07:25:24
can someone sue for rudeness (Google) (Don't you think the courts are screwed up enough?)
04/14/06 07:22:53
limbaugh's immigration laws (Google)
04/14/06 06:37:25
Rush Proposal... The Limbaugh Laws (Yahoo)
04/14/06 05:53:25
limbaugh laws (Yahoo)
04/14/06 01:22:17
limbaugh laws (AOL)
04/13/06 21:53:48
Mexican immigration laws rush limbaugh (Google)

A follow up to the Stepp call for audit.

The Racine Journal Fishwrap covered the Cathy Stepp call for an audit of RUSD.

The most interesting side of their coverage, by RUSD Cheermiester Brent Killackey of course, were the usual quotes from Spokes-mouth Linda Flashinski.

We are very disappointed in this action by Senator Stepp who is well-aware that we have an annual audit which is held in compliance with State of Wisconsin standards and that our budget is printed annually and is available to anyone who requests a copy.

Stepp calls for an independent audit, and she is disappointed? Oh and Linda, I'll be by Central Office on Monday afternoon to pick up my copy of the budget.

Flashinski continues:

Finally, Senator Stepp is very aware that the reason that the district must continue to go to referendum year after year is that for 12 years we have been placed by the State of Wisconsin under revenue caps which do not keep pace with the increasing costs of education, Flashinski said. During that time, the district has cut over $41 million dollars from our budget in this district which serves such a diversity of students including many low-income and high needs students. Sen. Stepp represents Racine Unified as well as her other constituencies, and school district officials would be more than pleased to meet with her to explain how state of Wisconsin funding has been so detrimental to the diverse students we serve.

Typical Unified double speak. It ain't our fault those lousy people in Madison do not give us enough money to run the second worst school system in the state. We simply can not give a proper education for $11,000 per student yadda yadda yadda.


In a communication with Senator Stepp she was pleased about the willingness to share information by Flashinski and had the following to say, "How about these contracts that will be shoved down the throats of the taxpayer?"

I can answer that for you Senator, after they are signed then you can have input.

Can you hear her now?

Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the 3rd circuit court of appeals is out with some rather harsh criticism of US Immigration laws today. For those with short memories The Judge is a 1999 appointee of President Clinton.

I want you all to see how the Democratic Senators cling to her criticism and quote her words.

Then turn and compare their activity on this issue to the majority of them ignoring her testimony during the Alito confirmation hearings.

April 13, 2006

'Scuse Me?

A better idea for David Blaine.

So David Blaine is out with his next magic trick/publicity stunt.

He is going to live in a giant fish tank in front of the Lincoln Center in New York for a week.

Somehow this just does not impress me.

If Mr. Blaine really wants to do something impressive I suggest he walk the streets of Milwaukee's North-West side with a T-shirt that says I Love to Snitch on it.

If he can make it a week doing that, now that would be impressive.

Senator Stepp Calls for Audit of RUSD.

The Good News. State Senator Cathy Stepp is calling for an audit of the Racine Unified School District. Stepp has called for the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau to audit the district due to yet another $6.45 million referendum.

Her release said the following, I especially want the Audit Bureau to investigate the true current and future costs of retiree benefits, said Stepp. I want to stress that I have no interest in trying to take away existing retiree benefits. However, reasonable-sounding promises made today may be financially-backbreaking tomorrow. I think teaching professionals and taxpayers alike need to know what RUSD can sustain in the years to come.

She further called for a detailed accounting of costs of personnel, books, buildings, maintenance, etc.

The idea of the audit came out of a recent meeting Stepp attended of the Conservation Congress. Person after person wanted to talk about the referendum (this was before the actual referendum details were announced) with the Senator.

The Bad News. While this is a fabulous idea, the audit has several problems. Getting Stepp's request through the audit committee will be a trick all on its own as the committee usually looks at more statewide issues. Stepp can and will make the argument that this is a large district and as these issues will crop up all over the state they may as well start in Racine.

Also the odds of getting this approved, completed and the results out before the June 6 referendum are approximately 0%.

And one more little thing. Senator Stepp is not running for re-election so her request may not carry as much weight.

The Impact. It is a good thing people are moving beyond the rhetoric and pointing to specific examples of RUSD's recklessness with the taxpayers dollar. RDW has pointed out many examples of RUSD spending problems and will continue to tie in spending, results and leadership from now through the June 6 election.

April 12, 2006

Someone help me understand the Racine Journal Fishwrap

Ok kids so here is the deal. After much public debate, discussion and speculation Monday night the Racine Unified School Board decided to do the same thing again.

Yet another 6.45 million dollar one-year referendum. This time they are skipping right by the pretense of having this with anything else on the ballot and putting this up for vote on June 6.

Amazingly the Racine Journal Fishwrap which currently has posts up for discussion on diaper dumping and many other issues has not seen the need to put up for discussion a topic dealing with the proposed June 6 referendum.

The big topic now is, should the discussions between the teachers union and the district in regard to the teachers' contracts be made public?

This is a question they need to ask? We the taxpayers are stuck with this bill. Should we have to take whatever they decide upon and pay the bill regardless of cost????? That is what we are hearing. And the Racine Journal Fishwrap through Racine Unified Cheermeister Brent Killackey is doing whatever the district wants as usual.

Last year we heard time and again how we could not do anything with the various collective bargaining units as the contracts were all done and could not be changed. Well here we are in the middle of the next referendum push and these idiots at Racine Unified and the teachers union are trying their best to keep the latest sweetheart deal for teachers completely quiet.

This seems to be in direct opposition to the excuses they were giving us last year. This is exactly the time to discuss this in the public and this should been an issue in the recently decided school board elections. (more on those in future posts)

I call on the community to rise up and call for open negotiations with community input.

I call on the community to get to the polls on June 6 and vote down this latest referendum.

I call on the School Board to have the guts to hire a new Superintendent who will offer results instead of excuses and 10 year timelines.

I call on the Racine Journal Times (fishwrap) to start doing some hard reporting and looking back at what happened last year and compare it to our current situation.

Cox & Forkum.... Genius

Returning the favor.

We got a nice mention today from The Blogging Journalist website out of Chicago.

It is an interesting place and a must read in my opinion for bloggers.

If you want to find it in the future a link to The Blogging Journalist is in the RDW blogroll.

April 11, 2006

Unfortunately, I didn't write this

I received this little ditty in my e-mail earlier this week. I couldn't stop laughing and thought I'd pass the fun along:

Dear President Bush:

I'm about to plan a little trip with my family and extended family, and I would like to ask you to assist me. I'm going to walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and I need to make a few arrangements. I know you can help with this. I plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here.

So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Vicente Fox, that I'm on my way over? Please let him know that I will be
expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.

2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. All government forms need to be printed in English.

4. I want my kids to be taught by English-speaking teachers.

5. Schools need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. I want my kids to see the American flag flying on the top of the flag pole at their school with the Mexican flag flying lower down.

7. Please plan to feed my kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

9. I do not plan to have any car insurance, and I won't make any effort to learn local traffic laws.

10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from Pres. Fox to leave me alone, please be sure that all police officers speak English.

11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, and dont enforce any labor laws or tax laws.

13. Please tell all the people in the country to be extremely nice and never say a critical word about me, or about the strain I might place on the economy.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all the people who come to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that Pres. Fox won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

However, if he gives you any trouble, just invite him to go quail hunting with your V.P.

Thank you so much for your kind help.


RUSD Referendum

Racine's Report Card has the details on the June 6 Referendum.

An open note to Tim Daley.

No Tim, I was not at the meeting tonight.

I decided I would rather see a drama, 24, than a comedy, Rosa's unwanted coronation.

Sounds like tonight's meeting was a triumph for free speech.

April 10, 2006

Who spent this?

  • Nearly $1.5 million spent on golf.
  • $52,879 on a new Cadillac for a retiree.
  • $7.9 million to resort expenditures.
  • Between 6 people, over $50,000 spent at a single D.C. steakhouse.
  • $8,800 on Christmas gifts at Wal-Mart

Want the answer? Click here.

Point Counter Point: Immigration Policy.

I challenged Belle to a PCP on immigration policy, and to do it in 50 words or less.

Ladies first.

Persons wishing to immigrate into the United States should do one or more of the following:
  1. Legally obtain a visa and/or other official document
  2. Learn enough of the language to function in everyday life
  3. Marry a U.S. citizen
  4. Display an active effort to become a U.S. citizen

(48 words)

My Take.

  1. Use the National Guard to provide security and build a fence along the Mexican border.
  2. Enforce existing employment law. Prosecute fully employers who are found to have knowingly hired illegal aliens.
  3. Deport persons found to be here illegally immediately.
  4. No social services for illegal immigrants.
  5. Embrace legal immigration.

(48 words)

New Blogger in the Kringlesphere.

Welcome Brenda of Racine's Report Card to the Kringlesphere folks.

Brenda emailed me a few months ago with a bunch of questions and concerns. I suggested she start her own blog.

She thought it over and now we have another branch to the RealDebateWisconsin family. Brenda is passionate about education and that will be the primary focus of her blog.

Welcome Brenda.

The RDW Attorney General Candidates Debate

I was asked about a month ago if I would be interested in doing a sit down interview with Attorney General Candidate JB Van Hollen. I declined due to time restraints but made a counter offer.

I offered to submit a list of questions for the candidate and post them without edit or comment, the offer was accepted. It then occurred to me that I should open this up to all of the candidates, Paul Bucher quickly accepted. I made two attempts each to invite the Falk and Lautenschlager campaigns, all of which were ignored.

I am viewed as a rightie so I could see where they would be scared to answer some questions, but at a minimum I expected a polite refusal. Getting no response was disappointing.

I will list each question then each candidate's response, Bucher responses will be in Red, Van Hollen in Blue.

(In reference to question #9, these questions were submitted before Scott Walker dropped out of the race, it should of been such a good question!)

And now, onto the debate!

1. Many people are confused as to what exactly the role of Attorney General is. Briefly describe your vision of the job you are running for.

Van Hollen: As Attorney General I will fight crime and restore integrity to the Department of Justice. I will respect life and reflect the values of Wisconsin. Unlike how the DOJ operates today, I will not pass issues of ethics and public integrity off to district attorneys. I will be proactive in our fight against Methamphetamine and other drugs. I'll also crack down on those who prey on our children and all those who use the internet for illegal activity. I'll use my experience in deterring terrorism to take a lead role with the federal government, governor's office and the legislature in keeping Wisconsin families safe.

Bucher: The chief law enforcement officer of the state. As such, the individual is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that our laws are fairly and evenly enforced by law enforcement in every corner of the State, and that issues that affect the entire State are addressed effectively, such as methamphetamine, violent crime with gangsters using handguns, the crime lab, pornography, election integrity, and public corruption. In addition, the Attorney General is charged with defending the State when it is sued and ensuring our law enforcement officers have adequate training.

2. Vote fraud is an area of concern for many Wisconsin citizens. How will you attempt to balance fraud concerns without creating a climate where it is too hard to vote?

Bucher: I strongly support photo ID. The AG’s goal would be to enforce violations aggressively on a Statewide basis, either when those violations are brought to the AG office or are uncovered by the AG’s office when an investigation is launched. It’s all a matter of balance. Putting reasonable requirements in is commonplace. It’s a balancing act. That’s really the role of the Legislature, not the AG’s office. But a photo ID card is not an impediment, it’s just a function of life today. When I think of an impediment, I think of something that is not effective or necessary. It’s something you put in someone else’s way when there is no need for it. Just by definition, voter ID is not an impediment. Photo ID would make it harder to commit voter fraud. You’d bring integrity to the election process. Individuals still can commit voter fraud, but it’s a step in the right direction and it’s just common sense.

Van Hollen: As Attorney General I'll use the office to ensure Wisconsin's elections are clean and fair. I support photo ID for voters. One of my first acts as Attorney General is to establish a new unit to focus on voter fraud. There is nothing more sacred in our democracy than the tradition of one person, one vote. Voter irregularity is undermining the validity of our elections. As the chief law enforcement officer for the state of Wisconsin, it is the duty of the attorney general to ensure that we conduct elections that are above board. Department of Justice staff should be used to help validate the election process, not help open the door to possible misconduct.

3. Like it or not there are feelings among the citizens of Wisconsin that many county District Attorneys selectively prosecute for political reasons. Should there be audit controls put in place to see these types of prosecutions are not occurring? In addition, what influence does the State Attorney General have over local District Attorneys?

Van Hollen: I believe in local control. As a former United States Attorney, I have a successful track record of fostering good working relationships with local District Attorneys and I don't anticipate this would be a problem. No local official has a free hand to abuse the law, however. Because DOJ has the resources, I would not defer the prosecution of political corruption to local DA's. Under my administration of the Department of Justice, the public integrity unit would take the lead. The DAs are the local prosecutors, but the AG is the top cop.

Bucher: They already have controls on the local District Attorney. It’s called the election process. There are checks and balances in the system. The FBI, office of lawyer regulation, the voters themselves, and the AG can already examine whether or not a District Attorney is abusing the power of his or her office. In addition, the judiciary is there to ensure there aren’t cases of selective prosecution. Selective prosecution is a legal term that has legal significance and can be challenged by any defendant in a court of law. I don’t believe we need to create an oversight committee or another bureaucracy when we already have the tools. That’s for the electors to decide, not an audit board. They could also do a recall. The state Attorney General has oversight and can investigate. They have a great deal of oversight when there is a rogue District Attorney already.

4. Many critics say Wisconsin's high tax base, several recent decisions by the State Supreme Court, and the current Attorney General suing businesses have contributed to making Wisconsin's business climate for attracting new businesses less than friendly. Are those critics right, or wrong?

Bucher: They are absolutely correct. We have an activist court that has embraced new federalism. This court is making the law not just enforcing it. This Attorney General is extremely anti business. The anti business animus she has displayed indicates she has a personal agenda. She is furthering her personal agenda by using the resources of the Department of Justice. Her attack on the bipartisan Job Creation Act. Her filing of lawsuits against law abiding business owners like the cranberry growers. The utilization of the powers of the Department of Justice under the guise of open records and meetings to attack the business community like her recent lawsuit and now she’s appealing it against the Beaver Dam Economic Development Corporation. That’s a private entity she felt should have fallen under the open records law. Suing utility companies to see if they can do more with global warming. Putting additional regulations on businesses rather than letting the free marketplace work. That’s not her role; it’s the role of the Legislature or Congress.

Van Hollen: They are right. The anti-business track records of Lautenschlager, Falk and Doyle are more than troubling. They are potentially devastating to the state's economy and could lead to huge tax increases for the individuals and business that chose to remain here in Wisconsin. Instead of looking for ways to score political points by suing businesses and other government entities, I'll work with businesses to ensure compliance and I'll focus DOJ's resources on fighting crime here in Wisconsin.

5. What can you do from the Attorney General's office to help bring new business into our state and improve the economy?

Van Hollen: I can create a climate where people know that if they follow the law, they have nothing to fear from their government. I can run a Department of Justice that enforces the law, not one that serves as a center for social activism and misinterpretation of state law suited to fit a specific political ideology.

Bucher: There are things I can do to make sure the anti business signal coming out from this Attorney General’s office stops. Ceases. The dismissal of the cranberry lawsuit. Working with the business community to make our communities safer. Removing the criminal element from the neighborhoods. She has harassed the business community. That adds to the negative business climate that is perceived by businesses thinking of moving here. Not just her - the governor and Supreme Court too. She’s definitely a cog in that wheel.

6. Illegal immigration is becoming a serious problem in our state. Are you aware of the practice of the Mexican Consulate in Chicago coming into our state and handing out Mexican Consular ID cards which can then be turned into a valid Wisconsin driver's license? If so are you concerned about this issue and what would you do bring it to a halt?

Bucher: Illegal immigrants should not be given valid Wisconsin driver’s licenses until they are legal.

Van Hollen: As US Attorney, I dealt with immigration issues and issues of national security, which I believe go hand-in-hand in many instances. I am aware of illegal aliens using false IDs to gain access to employment and government documents. The example you refer to is troubling and as attorney general I would immediately pick up the phone to my former counterpart, US Attorney Steve Biskupic, to launch a joint investigation to immediately halt this abuse of our immigration system.

7. What is your opinion of blogs? Do you think they interfere with the political process?

Van Hollen: Interfere? Bloggers are an important part of the political process. I have enough faith in Wisconsin voters that they can sort through a wide variety of information available on the blogs and elsewhere. Oftentimes, like you did in Racine, Blogs cover political issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed by the mainstream media. On my blog jbforag.blogspot.com , we hope to have an ongoing conversation with those who have an interest in the race.

Bucher: They don’t interfere with the political process; they enhance the political process and the discussion of the political process. A blogger is someone who is willing to put time and energy and insight into analysis of contemporary issues. Clearly the cream has risen to the top and we do have some very thoughtful political bloggers out there, who set the stage or the table if you will for the mainstream media. Intellectual political discourse benefits everybody, not just Republicans or Democrats. Clearly, the mainstream media does not give a voice to conservatives and bloggers are giving conservative voices a place.

8. In performing your job as Attorney General, what do you believe should be your primary focus: dealing with crime or consumer protection? Why?

Bucher: Crime. Consumer protection is dealt with effectively by the Department of Agriculture. What’s necessary is referred over to the Attorney General’s office. The AG can certainly assist in consumer education. Things need to be prioritized. While consumer education is certainly important, especially for elderly and the young, the AG’s office is the only office that can deal with crime effectively on a statewide level. Violent crime, street crime, pornographers, sexual predators, all those other issues trump consumer protection.

Van Hollen: Fighting crime is job number one. However, this also includes enforcing existing consumer protection statutes. I recognize that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection does have the primary regulatory role there. DOJ becomes involved when enforcement actions are necessary.

9. Of the three candidates running for Governor, which would you prefer to work with?

Van Hollen: I am friends with both Scott Walker and Mark Green, but now that Scott has dropped out of the race I am fully supportive of Congressman Green.

Bucher: Well, since there are now only two running, this question is easy to answer. Mark Green. He is more reasonable and has a common sense agenda that is right for Wisconsin. He has in my opinion a better grasp of running this state and being efficient in his spending and dealing with the issues that mean the most.

10. Obviously you have a well-qualified primary opponent. What sets you apart from that opponent?

Bucher: Experience. Accomplishments. Track record. My vast experience running one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state for almost 20 years sets me apart. And all of my extensive work on the state level. Being president of the DA’s association twice. I’ve worked with every prosecutor, sheriff, and police chief, as part of Gov. Thompson’s crime commission. My vast array of experience, for as long as I’ve done it, as efficiently as I’ve done it, and the programs I’ve created and brought to bear. Secondly, I’m the only candidate who can win. My primary opponent doesn’t have the wherewithal or strength to beat either Peg Lautenschlager or Kathleen Falk. You need a base or the money to buy the name recognition, but in addition, my opponent is virtually broke. He’s a Madison insider. I’m not and I don’t believe the general public wants a Madison insider. He’s a person who goes along to get along. That’s not me. I’ll bring a fresh perspective from the outside.

Van Hollen: I believe my experience and my statewide perspective are key distinguishing factors. Moving up from District Attorney to United States Attorney was more than just an honor. It allowed me to fight crime in 44 counties – versus one county – which was roughly two-thirds of the state.

I was able to prosecute a wider variety and complexity of cases, and I developed a track record of being able to work together with local law enforcement to fight crime in Wisconsin. In short, I believe I am better prepared to serve as attorney general. My campaign has been endorsed by the most county prosecutors, local sheriffs, and Republican state legislators because they recognize that my experience and my statewide perspective puts me in a position to get the job done as attorney general from day one.

I also have experience in combating terrorism at home, which my primary opponent does not. This is a critical role for the attorney general as the federal government assigned the state Attorney’s General with specific tasks to coordinate efforts on the state level.

I thank Mr. Bucher and Mr. Van Hollen for their participation.

PCP: Sound Immigration Policy

In 50 words or less Belle and I will present our version of sound immigration policy.


April 9, 2006

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Yesterday & Today

Talking about me yesterday: In that second realm he wielded enough power this week, he says, to bring down a top Racine County Democratic Party official. How did he do it? He used unnamed sources....

In Spivak and Bice today: It's never too early to start planning, particularly for what is sure be a high-profile and expensive campaign. Or at least to send up a trial balloon for just such a contest.
Sources tell us that Ald. Mike D'Amato has begun exploring a bid to challenge County Executive Scott Walker, who recently dropped out of the governor's race....

Those would be unnamed sources.

It seems the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has changed their policy in regards to going to print with stories from unnamed sources.

United 93 II

I wrote a post earlier this week on the hub-bub over the United 93 trailer that got a lot of feedback.

My premise was that this was mostly a bunch of ultra left wingers making noise as they did not want reminders of 9-11 so close to an election.

I have considered this position and I still believe there is a lot of that going on and it will only escalate up to the release of the movie.

However.... I think I discounted something upon further reflection.

Think about this, you take your sweetie or your kids (or both) to the movies. You pay your $8, the $273 for the large popcorn and you settle into your seat ready to escape reality for a couple of hours.

Then the previews start. As you are prepared to leave reality behind the United 93 trailer starts and a reality you may not be prepared to re-live is thrust into your face.

I could easily see how that could be upsetting to a huge number of people by possibly ruining their entertainment escape with a reality slap. And I can see why they would complain. Nothing to do about politics, but everything to do with expectation.

Now we can argue as to the need for a reality slap, but upon reflection it was not responsible of me not to consider this side of the complaints in my earlier post. That being said, as this film approaches release the political side of this will increase and be a topic worthy of analysis.

Sports Nuggets

Congratulations to the UW Madison hockey program. National Champions on the men's and women's side. A tremendous accomplishment!

The Milwaukee Brewers have the best record in the Major Leagues! (You need to say these things when you have the opportunity)

It looks like the Milwaukee Bucks will make the playoffs! Keep it up Bango!

And then we have Brett Favre...

Brett, please make a decision and make it soon. No matter what it is Cheeseheads everywhere will support you. But this hanging in the wind is making us crazy.

It looks like Tiger is imploding at the Masters.

Have a great day!