UWEC Staff Bites Hand That Feeds Them

The more your boss succeeds, the greater chance you have of succeeding, right?  Seems like a simple concept, but it’s clear that some faculty and staff of (my alma mater) the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire don’t get it.

A strong business climate results in more tax collection, which shores up more money for government.  I would assume then that even those who oppose “evil” business owners and corporations would want their community’s private sector to succeed, if for nothing more than the tax collection to provide the government jobs and services they adore.

But maybe it’s more fun just getting “even?”

UWEC faculty and staff were sent an email March 18th by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, chastising them for political activism while on the job.  (Fellow taxpayers, that’s our time and dime.)

“While I understand these are difficult times and that passions continue to run high, I urge you to review and follow all guidelines pertaining to campaign activities associated with the use of state time or resources.

You also should refrain from using your title or affiliation with the University in a way that suggests your private political campaign activity is somehow officially related to, or sanctioned by, the University.

Finally, I want to state in the strongest possible terms that, as taxpaying citizens of Wisconsin, you are in no way prohibited from exercising your constitutional rights, and I encourage you to do so in a way that complies with all applicable state law and policies.”

In other words, keep up the good work.  Just don’t get caught doing it during work hours.

The list compiled by UWEC staff contains some of the largest and most respected businesses in the Chippewa Valley.  It’s surprising to me that these supposedly intelligent professionals can’t understand that socking it to these companies could hurt the jobs of their neighbors, who pay their salary and benefits!

Further confusing is the presence on the boycott list of businesses that have given to both parties, and those who haven’t donated money to Walker at all.

It’s their right to boycott.  In a legal, non-threatening way.  And it’s also our right to know where to spend money.  So, here you go (list published here as I received it, with no edits).

Pro-Walker Businesses  – “ Local”      (researched and complied by UWEC Staff)

Kwik Trip     (Moveon)

Oakleaf Surgical Hospital, Eau Claire    (Huff. Post: lg. Republican donations…Kapanke)

County Concrete   (Moveon)

M&I Bank   (Moveon)

Menard’s    (Moveon)

Wal-Mart    (Moveon)

John Markquart   (Huff. Post: lg. Republican donations…Kapanke)

Dave Markquart   (admission in letter)

Market & Johnson

Stella Blues    (WRA Dining Guide)

Mogie’s   ( “ )

Mona Lisa’s      ( “ )

Livery (all WRA Dining Guide, all John Moganson)

The Coffee Grounds    (thinks provisions in the bill would be “good for business”)

Gordon Schafer of Gordy’s Markets

Rick Lambrecht of Mega Foods gave money to both parties

Skogen Family and other officials of Festival Foods

Reit’s Garden Center

Wipfli LLP

J&D Manufacturing

Lebakken Rent to Own

Fantastic Sam’s

Ayres and Associates

Royal construction

Lorman Education Services  $10,000

Stucky Chiropractic

Stender Chiropractic

Optima Health and Vitality

Herrick and Hart

Weld, Riley, et al.  (the EC School District’s retained Law Firm!)

Park Ridge Distributing

Tri-Mart Corp

Larson Companies (over $6,000)

Prudential Benrud Realty

Elk Lake Tavern

William Rauckman   (chief exec of Professional Hair Design Academy)

Peter Farrow (chief exec of Group Health)    (the EC School District’s health provider!)

Discover Wisconsin

Burger King


Ken Vance

Mouldy’s Archery

PAC Groups:

Concerned Realtors Committee $43,000

Realtors PAC $43,000

Koch PAC $43,000

Wisconsin Dental PAC $43,000

WI Builders Association $18,000

Associated Builders and Contractors PAC $15,000

WAL PAC Walmart $15,000

Tavern Industry PAC $13,500

Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm  Comments (4)  

We’re Broke!

The world’s watching as our brand new governor begins to follow through on his campaign promise to get Wisconsin working again. 

I’ve neglected blogging, as I’ve moved action mainly to Facebook these days, but realized I’m missing out on a chance to pass along some first-hand reporting I’ve been doing through this “crisis.” 

If you don’t know what’s happening in the Badger state, you can catch up here.

(Potential R rated content in many videos linked here, due to the unhinged vulgarity of the “peaceful” protesters.)

I have a hunch (based on some good tips and also intuition) that at least some of the Gang of 14 senate Dems will be returning soon.   

Last night it was reported by @Liberty_Chick on Twitter, that Democrat Sen. Tim Cullen was seen driving across the state line into WI last night.  She won’t give away her sources and no one was confirming the story this morning, so I (did the obvious, and) called Cullen’s office around 9:00am.  His aide told me that the story was a “rumor” and that Cullen was not in WI.  She said “he will not return without all the others.” 

 “No one wants to be the 20th vote,” she said.   I asked if the senator had any plans to return soon and she reiterated, “Not without the others.”

I contacted Liberty_Chick, who responded and stands by her report that Sen. Cullen WAS in WI last night. 

So if Cullen was back in WI, why was he here and then why did he leave?   Change of heart?  Union threats?  Or, as a friend of mine suggested, did he just need a new shirt?

Of course, many sources have also reported that he was in Kenosha on Monday to meet with Republican Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

They’re starting to crack.

Somebody keep an eye on I-90.  

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 9:17 pm  Comments (2)  

We the People


Angry constituents speaking out during the Independence Day congressional recess helped put the brakes on Cap and Trade legislation in the Senate.

We can do the same for  Health Care “reform” legislation by taking advantage of town hall meetings, parades, forums, and district office hours with our Representatives during their August break.

Saturday, August 22nd at noon will mark a nationwide “Recess Rally” at every local congressional office in the country.  Visit the Recess Rally website here for more info.

Government-controlled health care is not better for America.

And, as this soldier bravely articulated, completely outside of the realm of congressional powers granted by the Constitution.

And Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R) on MSNBC,

Common Sense Returning to Midwest?


Saw this and couldn’t really believe it.  Still not sure I do.  Perhaps because I live in a liberal part of Wisconsin.

Still, I do notice a more vocal and determined opposition among my conservative friends.  It’s like a hive of bees who were minding their own business, until someone came along and poked it with a stick.

But are we fighting mad enough?

Via Hot Air,

Conservatism on the Upswing in…Midwest?

My friend Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota has been parsing 160 polls taken recently in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, and found a surprising resultDespite having elected Barack Obama by wide margins in most of the states, voters in the region have become more conservative over the past two years.  Self-identifying conservatives have reached their highest levels in at least four years (via Mitch Berg):

In 2006, the percentage of Minnesotans identifying as conservatives plunged 5.3 points (15.9 percent) to just 28.1 percent of Gopher State residents. Self-identified conservatives in Iowa also declined by 5.1 points (13.9 percent) to 31.5 percent that year, with the largest drop occurring in Wisconsin, with a 6.1-point decline (16.9 percent) to 29.9 percent. In that November’s election cycle, Republicans lost control of the Minnesota House, the Iowa House, the Wisconsin Senate, as well as three U.S. House seats (MN-01, IA-01, WI-08).

The percentage of residents identifying as conservatives declined again in 2007, by 1.6 points in Minnesota (to 26.5 percent), by 3.0 points in Iowa (to 28.5 percent), and by 2.2 points in Wisconsin (to 27.7 percent).

However, during the last two years, conservatism seems to be mounting a comeback in the Upper Midwest, even though the 2008 election cycle saw Republicans lose control of the Wisconsin Assembly, and lose additional seats in the Minnesota House, Minnesota Senate, Iowa House, and Iowa Senate.

In Minnesota, those Gopher State residents identifying as conservative increased by 1.3 points in 2008 (to 27.8 percent) and by another 1.2 points to 29.0 percent in an aggregation of polling data through the first five months of 2009. This marks the largest percentage of Minnesotans viewing themselves as conservative since 2005.

In Iowa and Wisconsin, the conservative resurgence has been even more pronounced.

Obviously, that didn’t help much in 2008, but part of the answer for that may be in the candidates fielded by the Republicans.  John McCain did not identify with the conservative wing of the party at all until he needed them in 2008, for instance, although McCain has been a fiscal conservative during his Senate career.  The GOP for the most part moved away from conservative principles in order to seem more moderate to voters, and got rewarded with a shellacking.

This could also explain one Congressional victory for MN Republicans.  We heard a great deal about how MN-03 was a transitional district, and that Eric Paulsen was too conservative to win with its voters.  Instead, Paulsen cruised to an easy victory despite his unapologetic embrace of conservative principles, especially on fiscal policy.

Barack Obama’s aggressively statist policies will likely accelerate this reaction, especially if the American economy continues to shrink.  Ostermeier’s data suggests that the way forward for Republicans isn’t to find people who will meekly acquiesce to Obama’s fiscal policies, but to find candidates willing and able to express and defend conservative principles. If every action produces an equal and opposite reaction, Obama’s radical restructuring of the American economy gives conservatives a great opportunity to take seats in Congress at the midterms.

Published in: on May 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Politicians Crash Madison, WI Tea Party

Michelle Malkin has an update on an official Republican Party sponsorship of the Madison, WI, Tea Party.  What!?

Republicans have been part of the problem!

From Michelle Malkin,

Let me add one more example of Tea Party protesters upset with the Beltway GOP. Reader Ryan e-mails:

I doubt you’ll even get this with how busy you must be, but I am so disheartened I had to write the only person I really respect as always sticking to her conservative principles. My wife and I are signed up to go to the tea party in Madison, WI on April 15. I was very excited to finally get off the couch and make my voice heard. Then last week, I got an email from www.fightbackwisconsin.com saying that the Republican Party of Wisconsin had decided to sponsor the event by providing free parking and shuttle service. In addition (and probably as a condition of the free parking), Rep. Paul Ryan would be speaking. This, the same Paul Ryan that voted yes on the 700 billion dollar tarp bill. I like Paul Ryan and I think he’s a decent representative, but he is part of the problem. How can somebody who voted to spend 700 billion be addressing an anti-tax tea party?

In addition to voting for TARP, GOP Rep. Ryan — billed as a Republican rising star– voted for the auto bailout and the AIG 90 percent confiscatory bonus tax. Crikey. How many strikes do “Republican rising stars” get?

Another Wisconsin voter here highlights Paul Ryan’s troubling votes and flip-flopping:

So now all of a sudden, picking winners and losers in the market is bad policy? But a couple month ago, when Paul Ryan was arguing to give funds to the failing auto companies, that somehow wasn’t “neo-industrial policy” and wasn’t “picking winners and losers”? We weren’t taxing Toyota to save GM then? And now Paul is suddenly concerned about executive control over funding, when he said not one word after President Bush unilaterally, and illegally used TARP funds to bail out the auto industry? He’s concerned about keeping the Fed focused on the financial industry, but he had no problem with the car czar that he proposed in his earlier legislation?

Look, I’m all for cutting off these funds, and perhaps I’m being stupid to continue to go after Paul Ryan like this. But when reading these releases, you’d think that he was against these things the entire time! But only now that a Democratic President is in office, is he all of a sudden for a more reasonable fiscal policy that didn’t bailout industrial concerns.

Well you know what, that’s what a straight partisan hack does. He ought to be apologizing for his previous votes, not pretending he was being responsible the entire time, but I don’t see one bit of regret for what he did previously. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him get away with it.

If you have a GOP representative attending your tea party, be sure to look up his/her record on these and other key fiscal votes before you get to the event. Did the congressional reps speaking at your tea party vote for the $6 billion GIVE/SERVE national service boondoggle?

Did they fall for the Chicken Little scenarios plied by Paulson et al.? Ryan did. If so, the first words out of their mouths at the Tea Party protests should be:

I’m sorry.

Now is not the time to sing kumbaya with the GOP or indulge in celebrity worship. This is the chance to hold your politicians accountable for engaging in legislation without deliberation, for “sacrificing the free market to save it” to paraphrase George the pre-socializer Bush, and for abandoning their fiscal conservative principles in the mad rush to “Do something.” (Quoting Rep. Ryan from last fall: “Doing nothing is the worst thing we could do!”)

I hope someone in Madison will ask why Tea Party activists should trust him not to crumble the next time the big government juggernaut yells “emergency!”

Promoting his tea party appearance, Ryan told a local radio station:

“I think the message is people are fed up with this notion of chasing ever-higher spending with ever-higher taxes. There’s a limit to how much you can soak the taxpayer.”

Message to GOP opportunists hitching their wagons to the Tea Party movement:

Practice what you preach when it matters. Not after the fact.

(And that goes for retired politicians and presidential hopefuls who flip-flopped on TARP and bailoutpalooza, too.)

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

West WI Tea Partying


April 15th is quickly approaching.  Time for Tea!

Taxdayteaparty.com is the clearinghouse for information about the nationwide tea party movement.

In western Wisconsin, Tea Parties are planned for Eau Claire and LaCrosse.

Eau Claire City Hall, South Farwell St

12:00 noon

Contact: Paul Stark, eauclaireteaparty@yahoo.com  or (715) 271-6987

La Crosse Post Office, State St

12:00 noon

Contact: Shan Green, sjteetime@aol.com or (608) 738-1286

Other Wisconsin cities planning tea parties: Appleton, Ft Atkinson, Madison, and more are in the works.

More info about the Madison event here.

Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The DREAM Act- Making In-State Tuition for Illegals Reality

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle’s 2009-2011 budget includes his 4th try at passing in-state college tuition for illegal aliens.  Background here.

The way it stands, the provision would be in violation of federal law.

But here it comes- again- to save the day!

The DREAM Act.

Sound familiar?  That’s because last year’s version of the Dream Act fell a few votes short in the Senate.

This bi-partisan bill would give states the rights to extend tuition benefits to illegals.

This would remove Gov. Doyle’s pesky barricade to putting the screws to the Badger state once again.

Michelle Malkin has more on the Dream Act here.

Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

In-State Tuition for Illegals, Take 4

From the Wisconsin State Journal (which shockingly uses the term “illegal” in its story),

“For the fourth straight budget, Gov. Jim Doyle has included a provision that would allow illegal immigrants who graduate from Wisconsin high schools to pay in-state tuition at University of Wisconsin institutions.

The state Legislature has stripped the item out of each budget in the past, but with a Democratic majority in both houses, advocates are hopeful it will be successful this time.”

Just one, tiny hitch.

“…even some Democrats say the measure faces serious problems, including the potential to conflict with a 1996 federal law. That law prohibits states from providing any higher education benefit based on residency to illegal immigrants unless they provide the same benefit to other U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live.

Rep. Kim Hixson, D-Whitewater, indicates she has a tighter grasp on reality than the governor.

“We can’t go against what is federal law,” Hixson said. “We certainly could not afford to let anyone in the U.S. outside of Wisconsin … come to school here (and pay in-state tuition).  I think as long as that’s out there, we just have to do what federal law says.”

Of course, there are lawyers “working on” the situation who don’t think it’ll be a problem to get around the federal law.

A gift of more than $13,000 in taxpayer-subsidized tuition payments per year, on top of the free public school tuition we’ve provided.

So, someone here illegally could not only be taking your kid’s spot at a state university, but you’d be on the hook to pay the bill, too.

Call Gov. Doyle and tell him what you think.   608-266-1212

Contact your state legislator here.

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 2:23 pm  Comments (1)  

“Hedonism is Okay” in Wisconsin

“Live Like You Mean It.”

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism rolled out a new slogan, with accompanying cartwheel logo, to promote living, working, and playing in Wisconsin.  The slogan replaces the one that’s been used since 2005:  “Life’s So Good.”

Apparently, life’s not so good in Wisconsin.  State marketing officials must have noticed Wisconsin ranked a dismal 37th in the “Freedom in the 50 States” study.

According to the Eau Claire Leader Telegram,

UW-Madison marketing professor Thomas O’Guinn said the new slogan is a major improvement over the old “Life’s So Good,” which he found bland and lame.

“We’re not going to stand in the way of you having fun.  It signals, come up here, have a great time, we’re not going to bother you a whole lot.  Hedonism is okay.  Fun is okay.  As these slogans go, I think it’s pretty good.”

Have the state’s police been warned that we’re now promoting a devotion to pleasure?  To satisfying the desires of the senses?  Have they been alerted not “to bother you a whole lot?”

Maybe we shouldn’t tell people, then, that Governor Doyle’s new budget includes money to install surveillance cameras all over the state?

That’d sure get in the way of the hedonism.

If the state really wants to create magic to attract new business, new residents, and more tourists, it doesn’t need a lame new slogan.

It needs to lower taxes!

The Badger State has been securely fixed in the top 10 highest taxed states in the nation for the past 30 years.  Mixing in a little “hedonism” doesn’t change that fact.

Provide actual, real incentives for people to move here, spend their money here, and move their business here.

A new slogan is just putting fresh lipstick on the same old pig.

Published in: on March 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Your Child’s DNA Up For Grabs

dna_500Remember when your child was born and the nurse or midwife pricked his heal and squeezed blood samples onto a test card?  Maybe not.  A lot happens at the birth of a baby.

The “PKU” testing, which screens for genetic disorders, has been common practice for nearly a decade and is now “required” in all 50 states.

You probably never thought about it after the fact because the tests were negative and you were never notified of a problem.

But there might be a problem after all.

Nine families in Minnesota have sued the state’s health department for potentially giving away their babies’ DNA and violating their genetic privacy.

According to WorldNetDaily,

“Agency spokesman John Stine…confirmed the department takes the blood samples from about 70,000 infants annually, and unless the parents specifically choose to opt out of the program, their children’s DNA is saved.”

According to Stine, it’s up to nurses and lab technicians to notify parents of their right to opt out of the screening or require their samples to be destroyed upon completion of the test.

While the DNA is being “saved” by the state lab, independent researchers can request samples of the blood for other testing purposes.  Parents aren’t asked or notified if and when their child’s DNA is released to a third party.

Twila Brase, President of the Citizens’ Council on Health Care, said,

“None of these activities is authorized by law, and all of them violate the Minnesota genetic privacy law.”

Wondering  if my children’s’ DNA has potentially been shared without my knowledge or consent, I called the Wisconsin Newborn Screening Lab.

Lab Manager Gary Hoffman said he was aware of the lawsuit filed in Minnesota, but I was the first person in Wisconsin to bring up the issue.

Hoffman said there are “no significant differences” between Wisconsin and Minnesota as it relates to newborn screen testing and storage.

Wisconsin also has a law protecting genetic privacy, which the cataloging and experimenting of DNA samples without my permission, would appear (at least to me) to violate.

According to Hoffman, the DNA is saved for one year at the state lab and then destroyed.  In the meantime, researchers are allowed to request samples of baby’s DNA to be used as they see fit.  Samples are obtained anonymously at first, and if identification is desired by the researchers, parents must first consent.

While you may not care if your child’s DNA is being stored, what if it’s being used for research for which you’d be morally opposed?

After all, who owns your DNA?  And who do you want using your child’s DNA?

For more information on DNA privacy issues, check out Citizens’ Council on Health Care here.

To know your rights regarding newborn genetic screening, go here.  You can alter this form with appropriate statutes for your state.