Saturday, July 30

Flip Flop Captured


Ok it is a rather distant shot, but here is a pic of flip flops in the capital.
Click to enlarge

Friday, July 29

Pope Foes Killing Thru AIDS in Africa

I think the inverse of this equation is also true:

A letter by Australian bioethicist Dr. Amin Abboud published in the July 30 edition of the British Medical Journal notes that "A regression analysis done on the HIV situation in Africa indicates that the greater the percentage of Catholics in any country, the lower the level of HIV."

Dr. Abboud's letter comes in response to an article published in the journal's June 4 issue which wonders if newly elected Pope Benedict XVI will alter the Church's teaching on condoms in light of the burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic. Abboud asserts that "On the basis of statistical evidence it would seem detrimental to the HIV situation in Africa if he did authorise such a change."

"On the basis of data from the World Health Organization," reports Abboud, "in Swaziland where 42.6% have HIV, only 5% of the population is Catholic. In Botswana, where 37% of the adult population is HIV infected, only 4% of the population is Catholic. In South Africa, 22% of the population is HIV infected, and only 6% is Catholic. In Uganda, with 43% of the population Catholic, the proportion of HIV infected adults is 4%."

The bioethicist notes that "A concerted campaign, also in medical journals, has been under way after the death of John Paul II to attribute responsibility to him for the death of many Africans." Adding that "Such accusations must always be supported by solid data. None has been presented so far."

Abboud concludes his letter stating, "The causes of the HIV crisis in Africa need to be found elsewhere. The solutions must go beyond latex. If anything, the holistic approach to sexuality that Catholicism advocates, based on the evidence at hand, seems to save lives. I would welcome an editorial on that or, as a minimum, some evidence based advice on HIV."

The Ultimate Sport and No Sport at All

Often these days sports have lost their worth. They have become professional jobs played by millionaires who lose their temper, provide poor role models, and are payed for by the coach potatoes who have forgotten that greatest value in sports is not entertainment but the interpersonal relationships that are formed. That can be through the team spirit of playing or by those who watch and encourage their close friends and family play.

Of course any sport can provide this sort of value, but some are prone to it than others. Ultimate Frisbee is one of them. It is a sport easily played together with both guys and gals, and younger and older easily can play along in the game as well. I'm free for most of the day tomorrow. Any one in the Madison area up to a game? ;)

No Home or Private School

Let's just hope this guys idea about forced public education in Australia goes nowhere.

Frist and Stem Cells

As Hugh Hewitt says, First gives up much of his chances of ever getting the endorsement of Christian voters over his new support of government funding of embryonic stem cell research.

This bill is wrong at many different levels and terribly clouded over by emotional dreams, and research lobbying.

First, I have in no way been convinced that the embryo is not a human. All the genetic blueprint that makes you a person is present and growing: all you need is nourishment, and nine months to have a newborn.

Second, why do tax payers have to be funding the research? Did the government fund Henry Ford to invent the Model T? Wasn't that a great contribution to Americans? If this promises so much, why aren't their private biz investment out there instead of always looking to the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Is Peg genuine about this?

-- Late yesterday afternoon, Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager filed motions in Dane County Circuit Court asking Judge David Flanagan to dismiss a suit seeking benefits for domestic partners of state workers. From Wispolitics.

How the Governor Vetoes

It is really incredible to take a look at how the guv can use his veto pen to change the whole concept of the budget. For example, as shown here, in a over a page of legislation about passenger rail service, safety improvement study for a road, etc. the governor finds these words: the department of transportation shall...transfer...to the...general...fund...from...the transportation fund...In the 2005-07 fiscal biennium...$4...7...0...0...0,000... Is that crazy or what?

No Home or Private School

Let's just hope this guys idea about forced public education in Australia go nowhere.

Thursday, July 28

Around the Web: Memeorandum

If you want to keep up on all the latest MSM news that the blogs think are important this is the site for you. Memeorandum combs thru both liberal and conservative blogs to find the hottest linked news articles on the web. A short snippet and link to the piece as well as a snippet and link to the big name blogs that are covering the meme is included in the scoop. Great stop for those who want to stay in the loop but can't run around to 100 different sites. Also linked in my news roll.

Example:

U.S. Muslims issue anti-terrorism 'fatwa'
By Romney Willson / Reuters — Posted 5 hours ago — Permalink
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top U.S. Muslim scholars issued a "fatwa," or religious edict, against terrorism on Thursday and called on Muslims to help authorities fight the scourge of militant violence.

Joe Gandelman: U.S. Muslims Blast Terrorism In Fatwa — A group of U.S. Muslims have taken an unequivocable stand against terrorism by...

Justin Gardner:
Top Muslim Leaders Say "Not In Our Name" — I love to read news like this.

McQ: American Muslims Condemn Terrorism — You ask for it, you've got it: [snipped quote] I've called for this as have many of you.

Edward _: US Muslims Make it Clear by Edward we interrupt our self-imposed hiatus to bring you the following rant: Despite the...

Gary Farber:
DO FATWAS EVER DIET? Terrorism is haram, sez Muslim scholars. [snipped quote] Will this change anyone's mind about anything?

John @PowerLine: American Muslims Condemn Terrorism — This seems like really, really good news: "Top U.S. Muslim scholars issued a...

Disclaimer, Disclosure, and Discourse

I want to be upfront with my readers just as I expect my readers to be upfront and civil on this site. Thus, I have taken this opportunity to lay down my expectation and what others can expect back in clear form. This post will be linked on the edge of my web page and will be updated as need be.

Disclaimer: The content on this site is my opinion only and should not be taken as the words, feelings, or opinion of my respective employers, family or associates. Any comments posted on this blog are the opinions of their respective authors and the content of them is not endorsed by me. Any questions regarding content, postings or comments should promptly referred to me via email.

Disclosure: I have interned in the office of state Sen. Tom Reynolds, and have been involved with local campaigns for Sheila Harsdorf and Andy Lamb. Oh yeah, and I am related to all family members so I'm biased in their favor too.

Discourse: Comments are welcome on this blog. All commenters are encouraged to post under their real first name and provide a link to either their email address or, preferably, a web site. All forms of profanity are prohibited and will be deleted as will solicitation unrelated to this blog. Those who comment are also encouraged to refrain from attacking people and address instead the issue at hand. Any questions or infractions should be reported to me via email. I often respond to comments but don't commit myself to answering all question, and any time I don't answer a comment should not be taken as a position on any subject.

Wednesday, July 27

Flip Flop III

I found three more formally dressed people at the Capital today wearing flip flops. There is a possibility it will even show up in a picture.

Tuesday, July 26

Intent and Elastics

As you may have noticed I've been having some discussion with Ben over at badger blues as well as here.

Here is my
response to his view of an elastic understanding of the Constitution as well as other things.

First off, I agree that the application of the Constitution must take into affect technological advances. Like, ya know, the second amendment right to "have and bare arms" probably means that we should be ableto have missile launchers in our back yards if we want them. (Oops just opened another can of worms.)

Your continued emphasis on "An appeal to modern sensibility..." continues to demonstrate to me that you accept no fixed law or standard embodied in the Constitution. Words have no weight or holding power except in the meaning we give them. Interpret words according to the way those who passed the Amendments interpreted them and (hopefully) we have enduring protection against gov't encroachment on personal rights. If we interpretthem according to personal whims or even democratic norms we have trouble in the making. Even Stalin could have lived under our Constitution if he could have defined the terms.

Wider latitude in the wording of the Constitution meant broader application to many different circumstances, but I would challenge you Ben, to demonstrate that the Founders saw the Constitution they were forming was meant tocomply with evolving moral standards.

As far as the Lawrence v. Texas (called Texass anti-sodomy law unconstitutional) decision...it's a perfect example of the problem. Can I accept the penumbra (shadow of a shadow) right to privacy fabricated in Griswold? No. The court does not even pretend that the right to privacy as they understand that term to mean comes from the Constitution. Theyjust explain it as being apart of the general feeling of various Amendments. Fourth Amendment privacy? Sure. But penumbra privacy? No. Secondly, to get to Lawrence we must accept that when they put "Due Process" into the 14th Amendment they were incorporating the other amendments into the 14 and thus certain earlier amendments applied to the states. Further more, the court had to interpret "Due Process" to mean rights "implicit in ordered liberty". (Is that a stretch or what?) What those right areonly the justices really seem to know. Sure if I could really swallow all that I would be happy to accept Lawrence. (Sorry sarcasm creeping in again!)

I also want to make clear that I do not think it is unconstitutional that the states legalize sodomy or even sodomite marriages (unless it is prohibited in their state constitutions). Hence this just goes to prove that even tho I disagree with a position I don't think it is the courts place to deal with it if the Constitution does not cover the area. This differs from most liberals who see no limits to the courts power to enact their views.


Sigh. And now I just read over at his site that he believes that since in the Dred Scott decision they said they followed original intent that means that they actually did. On the bright side, I can at least suggest his site as a thinking liberal instead of the all too common Dean scream style liberal.

Flop Flip, Flip Flop Report

I took a look at the visitor's toes, or who at least by their bewildered expressions did not seem comfortable in the Capital maze today. For the first half of my stares it appeared that up to half had on those oh so comfy flip flops. But I will flip flop on that that last statement. It was probably closer to around 1/3. It would be fun post some pictures, but would it really be polite to try to go around snapping pictures of peoples feet?

Monday, July 25

Lamb: tighten the belt; tighten my pay

Or at least don't raise it. Instead of accepting his raise in pay Andy Lamb has said he will contribute it to the rainy day fund in Wisconsin. Now I've gotta compliment the guy for this one. When was the last time you didn't accept a raise for some greater cause?

First-term Republican Andy Lamb, Menomonie, says that he will reject any pay increase until Wisconsin recovers from the economic downturn.

"When I'm asking several units of government to tighten their belts giving myself a pay increase sends the wrong message. It's only fair if I'm willing to tighten my belt first," said Lamb.

Lamb said he will contribute his pay increase to the State of Wisconsin Rainy Day Fund which helps to pay off the state budget deficit which is currently $1.6 billion. He selected the Rainy Day Fund because it will provide a degree of relief to Wisconsin taxpayers.

"For me this job was never about the money," said Lamb.

The pay raises will boost the annual salaries of legislators by nearly $2,000 to a total of $47,413. The 4% salary increase will also affect the attorney general, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and treasurer. Lawmakers will not receive the raise until January of 2007 after the next election cycle.


Addition: Not to limit this to the state or Republican circle, I think Sen. Feingold does a similar thing. I say good for him too...at least on that issue.

Bloggers Libel?

It's hitting closer to home.

Barring a late settlement, talk-radio host Charlie Sykes faces a court date as a defendant in a libel suit this week.


The plaintiff, Spanish Journal editor Robert Miranda, sued Sykes in January over a November post on Sykes' Weblog on the WTMJ-AM (620) site that alleged Miranda had helped foment a protest at a 1991 pro-Gulf War event in which several speakers were pelted with small objects. Miranda wasn't in Wisconsin at the time of that protest, which Sykes described in his essay as an "an example of the assaults on free speech on university campuses."

Although Miranda's original requests for a court order mandating Sykes publicly apologize, undergo sensitivity training sessions and make diversity presentations to middle and high school students are no longer in play - a small-claims court doesn't have that authority, it turns out - Miranda said the suit, which now requests the small-claims maximum of $5,000 in damages, will serve as a forum in which Sykes' "journalistic integrity will be questioned," among other matters.


As Owen from Boots and Sabers explains:

This should worry any blogger. In the age of Google, web pages can be cached and made available to the public even if it was only up for seconds. The only way to guarantee that incorrect information is never left on the web is to never post at all. Accidents happen and incorrect information is occasionally posted. The duty of any good blogger is to correct that information in a public way as soon as he or she knows that it is false. But even if the information is corrected, the original incorrect information can remain on the web forever.


Google is a good reminder that our tongue (and typings) can never fully be taken back once they are spilled. Watch what you say.

Flip-Flops at the Capital

After the recent flap (or was it flop?) about sandals at the White House, I couldn't help but listen carefully as I trotted around the Capital today. Sure enough, going into Judy Robson's (flip, flop, flip, flop) office was a formally dressed young girl...in (flip, flop, flip flop...)

(Sorry no pic!)

If you think about it, making a distinction between airy sandals that have several straps (OK for the gals) and ones that have a strap that slip between the big toe and his neighbor (disgraceful) makes for pure silliness. But people seem to be pushing the cultural change just a tad bit too fast to change that silliness

Alas, I didn't even bring my flip-flops along to help the cultural movement if I wanted to. My Wally World specials just break too much.

Let 'em Build

More on Souter's Hotel and restaurant (Just desserts.

People from across the country are getting behind a campaign to seize Supreme Court Justice David Souter's farmhouse to build a luxury hotel, according to the man who came up with the idea following a Supreme Court decision favoring government seizure of private property.

"We would act just as these cities have been acting in seizing properties. We would give Souter the same sort of deal," said Logan Darrow Clements, of Los Angeles.

Town Clerk Evelyn Connor has had to return checks from people wishing to donate to a hotel construction fund. A rival proposal from townspeople would turn Souter's land into a park commemorating the U.S. Constitution.

Past Basics

Warner made a pitch for expanding the Democratic electoral map. He said, "I am here today to tell you how important the heartland strategy is for the Democratic Party and the future of the country. ... We as Democrats neglect the heartland at our own peril."


Well at least they see what their problem is: lack of focus on heartland values. Will it get beyond that? Don't jump to conclusions. The key speaker at the same event was Hillary Clinton. If Democrats really want to give a hand to heartland American values the first thing they will do is keep that women from her Prez. ambitions. Not to say that she is the only Hollywood style liberal, but pick a Roemer or a Casey and we can advance past the basics of keeping kid alive and Mom and Dad a family.

Guv: Slashes Help to Educational alternatives

I'm not shocked, but it was disappointing to see that the guv continued in his tunnel vision view of how to help education when he ran around touting his grand protection of WEAC's objectives well at the same time striking out the educational tax credits in the budget. What a special interest replay machine!

And then there was the cut of the adoption tax credit. Anything that promotes a stable family environment vs. state control must get under Doyle's skin. Help parents educate their kids as home? SLASH! Help parents adopt kids so the state doesn't have to play nanny? SLASH! And even when it could save the state millions and millions of dollars.

And he said that his whole veto was about the kids. Who is he kidding? It's all about the state/WEAC/taxpayer binding control cycle.

Saturday, July 23

To Question A Supreme Court Nominee

What should a Supreme Court nominee answer in his interviews by the president and in the Senate Judicial hearings? Three things the nominee must prove, and in laying out these three things I hope to demonstrate a nonpartisan opinion on the matter. This applies to any nominee, appointed by any president and confirmed by any senate. Anything more than what is laid out below is pure politicizing of the court. I know for the most part the court have done it themselves, but no need to help them out.

1. Integrity.
2. Professional qualifications.
3. Adherence to the constitution.

1. By integrity I'm talking about scandals. There should be none. A qualification may be in order here: some scandalsare nothing more than manufactures of the opposition. These should be carefully avoided as being found to be a genuine lack of integrity.Ask those who are close to the nominee. Do they find following the law both in their professional and personal life an ingrained habit? It should be.

2. Although I think John Roberts is a great guy and doing a great job in his capacity, he does not qualifyfor the Supreme Court. Why? Simple. He doesn't have the legal background or experience. I would vote against him. Just being involved in government (i.e. politician) is not enough. We don't need any more Earl Warrens on the high court. You need legal experience and legal respect.

3. This is the big one these days. Do you stick to the Constitution more than changing cultural views? What about precedent? Would you overturn a decision even though it had been around since, say...1973 if you could find no basis for that decision in Constitutional law? What about your own personal views? Say you are conservative. You want lower blood alcohol levels for drunk drivers. But if you can find no place in the Constitution that gives the federal government jurisdiction over this area would you strike down a federal law that lowers the blood alcohol level? Just how strong is your commitment to the Constitution? If after thoroughlyunderstanding the intent of the framers on the 14th Amendment you think they got it all wrong, would you still support that intent, rule in favor of what you think is Constitution, and wait for an Amendment? It's a tall order, but that is a judges job. Rule not legislate. Blind except to the law. Question the nominee. Does he stand up?

Ditto Sen. Coburn: Who is Roberts?

It is really quite stunning the universal conservative support for John Roberts absent any concrete evidence of his judicial philosophy. Is he a conservative? No doubt. But we tend to be left to trust those who know him to vouch for his judicial philosophy. I highly trust people like Hugh Hewitt and Jay Sekulow (as well as the President) in their choice/assessment, and until proven otherwise I lend my support to John Roberts. But it leaves me all the more wanting to "know" him myself thru his own words.


Just like Coburn:

Still, he has to prove himself to several conservative Republican senators worried about a repeat of Souter. "I just don't know him," says Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. "I don't have any enthusiasm until I know someone. Personal integrity is the most important issue. If they don't have that, what they say doesn't matter."
?

Wednesday, July 20

Wisconsin Senators: Vote Yes for John Roberts

At least last time they did. Both on the Senate Judiciary Committee and when he came to a floor vote they voted to confirm him the D.C. appeals court. So it should be an easy choice for them again. Unless they want to vote for him before they vote against him.

And no wonder the courts have gone so far over the cliff when the Senator's who are to advise and consent to the President's nominees think this is the job of the courts:

Kohl:

We hope that he is someone who will represent the views of people all across America, someone who will respect the Constitution and, ultimately, someone I will be able to support.


I hope this was a slip of the tongue. It should say respect the views of the people, and represent the Constitution. I've noticed that judges may sometimes act more like legislative representatives who never face the voters rather than upholders first and foremost of the Constitution regardless of what people think, but when our own representative doesn't even know the place of the court, now I know why this is so.

Monday, July 18

1/2 of Rain Last Night

PTL.

Friday, July 15

Corn: "I'm Thirsty!"

The long hot dry spell has created a real stress on the crops. When I checked on my corn this evening I have thankfully been spared so far from any noticeable damage (heavy soil) but other have not been as fortunate. Doyle has issued an executive order that allows water from the rivers to be used for the crops.

The Executive Order will allow the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to expedite farmers’ requests for temporary irrigation permits to divert stream or lake water to irrigate their parched crops, while assuring that fish and other aquatic life and water users aren’t hurt by the requested diversions. Under the Executive Order, the temporary irrigation permits would be in effect until August 14, 2005. In addition, the DNR is required to conduct a field inspection of the stream or lake proposed for diversion within 72 hours of receiving the request...."Wisconsin’s drought conditions are stressing crops at a critical point in the growing season, and continued lack of rain could result in significant damage to our crops and severe economic losses for our farmers," Governor Doyle said. "This Executive Order will allow our farmers to access the water they need to irrigate their parched crops and ensure a plentiful harvest."



So long as it is true that the right precautions are being made to protect the fish in the rivers this is a great initiative on the part of the governor. Now I don't know if this will keep the state from playing insurance agent if they loose their crop completely but at least the state is finding one proper way to help out in the midst of disasters.

Thursday, July 14

Justice throws up it's cap

Judges strike down med. non economic malpractice caps.

The coverage of this decision shows just how far we have come; to kneel in absolute homage to the black robed gods. In the MJS article it was not "how does this line up with or violate the constitution" rather it was "who will benefit," heart string jerking stories about the injured, and political type descriptions about why Porsser did or did not recluse himself from this case. No law professor or other legal professional opinion on either side. No taking apart of the decision.

"Tis so!" they cry. Now tis only for you young lemmings to follow!

Here is the opinion.

Wednesday, July 13

To help the law abiding from being run over

Another great law from the Reynolds place. And no, its not just because I intern at the office that I always think the best new ideas these days come from his office. Frequent readers of my blog will remember that I have long been disgusted at crawling down the highway and being run over when you try and obey the law.

Senator Tom Reynolds drives from his home in West Allis outside Milwaukee to the Capitol everyday. So he knows a 65 mile an hour speed limit is a joke.

Reynolds said, "65 is an artificially low limit. When I'm on the interstate the vast majority of people are traveling at close to 75 mph."

"I usually set my cruise on 72, and everybody always passes," agrees motorist Kelly Oheron.

That's why Reynolds is proposing a bill that would raise the speed limit on Wisconsin's interstate's to 75.

That has the support of many area drivers. "It's probably a good idea because most people are going 75–80 on the interstate either way," says Ryan Polster.


The big question seems to be safety. Police say that they don't want it because it will make roads less safe. Reynolds counters by saying that "the drivers at 65 can create problems for others driving faster."

HT: Article notice from Boots and Sabers

Storm the Guv

HSLDA had this great message:

Please call Governor Doyle and give him this message:

"Please sign the $100 tax credit for homeschool families in the budget bill. It will empower parents to choose the best education for their children."

Governor Doyle can be reached by phone at: (608) 266-1212 or email at: http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/contact.asp. You can send letters to:

Office of Governor Doyle
State Capitol
115 East
Madison, WI 53702


Let him hear it.

Tuesday, July 12

PHC in the news

PHC got in the New Yorker. The standard infatuations with guy/girl relationships and all those people that drop out because they don't like something are there (the reporter must always relate best to these people) but it has enough length that they had to treat some more substantive things like their debate team and rigorous studies at least in passing.

In the last days before the 2004 Presidential election, Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville, Virginia, excused all its students from classes, because so many of them were working on campaigns or wanted to go to the swing states to get out the vote for George W. Bush. Elisa Muench, a junior, was interning in the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives, which is overseen by Karl Rove.


Ah yes, and here is some lefty blogger's characterization of us PHCers as communist cadres and Nazi Reich formers in relation to the article in one smooth breath: "The Christo-Republican cadres are here to found the new Reich, and they have the training, skills and discipline to do it."

I've heard it so often now it's like water off a duck's back. Speaking of "back," I've got to get back to those books again.

Ed Tax Credits: Who's for and not

Homeschool legal defense fund not surprisingly is for. Wisconsin Parent's Association is against. Sad. Both below the fold

HSLDA:

How would you like to pay $100 less to the Wisconsin State Government in your next income tax filing? We are one step away since the Wisconsin legislature has passed a $100 tax credit for homeschool families that is awaiting the Governor's signature.

If the tax credit becomes law you will be able to check the tax
credit
box on your next income tax statement and pay $100 less in the taxes
you owe. This is $100 that will enable you to be a better steward of
your money.

Illinois has a $500 tax credit and Minnesota has a $1,000 tax credit;
in both states, homeschoolers have benefited tremendously.
Unfortunately, various forms of tax credits for education expenses
have been challenged in both the state and federal courts. However,
all the courts agree that a tax credit is NOT government funds. This
is not a "hand-out" from the government. It is simply recognition by
the government, that you deserve a tax break, since you are already
paying double for your schooling: you pay both for the public
schools,
which you don't use, and your home education.

Therefore, your calls are needed now to convince Governor Doyle to
allow the $100 tax credit for homeschoolers to pass into law. Senator
Tom Reynolds, a homeschooler himself, is the author of this amendment
allowing the $100 tax credit. We are very thankful for his hard work
and success in passing the credit.

Please call the Governor as soon as possible since he will be
reviewing the budget passed by the Wisconsin legislature over the next
few weeks. If he hears from enough homeschool families appreciative of
this tax break, he may let it pass into law.


Action Requested:

Please call Governor Doyle and give him this message:

"Please sign the $100 tax credit for homeschool families in the budget
bill. It will empower parents to choose the best education for their
children."

Governor Doyle can be reached by phone at: (608) 266-1212 or email
at:
http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/contact.asp. You can send letters to:

Office of Governor Doyle
State Capitol
115 East
Madison, WI 53702


Background:

Homeschoolers currently pay for the public education system, while
they privately educate their own children. This double taxation is
unfair. While almost all homeschoolers would like to be free of the
tax burden of public schools, they do not use themselves some are
concerned about any effort to obtain benefits from the government.
Everyone agrees that vouchers (direct payments from the government to
private or homeschools) are unacceptable because of the controls and
loss of freedom that come with the money.

As an alternative, HSLDA recommends another vehicle: educational tax
credits. Parents and individuals who provide their child's education
should be allowed to keep some of their tax money that would
otherwise
have been used to fund public education. This goal can be
accomplished
through a tax credit.

Click on the link below for more information on HSLDA's view
regarding
tax credits:
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/E/EducationTaxCredit_State.asp

Some are concerned that this $100 tax credit will be required of all.
This is not the case. It is a voluntary tax credit. If a family wants
to save $100, they can. If they don't want to, they can still pay
their $100 tax to the government. In addition, no changes can be made
to the homeschool notice of intent form, unless a separate
legislative
act is passed.

Like the homeschool law in Wisconsin, the $100 tax credit, will
require constant monitoring to make sure no conditions are added in
the future. HSLDA carefully watches the current homeschool laws
across
the nation to make sure legislatures do not add regulatory burdens to
homeschool families.

Thank you for your support.


Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka, Esq.
HSLDA Senior Counsel


WPA

Dear Homeschool Leaders,
Please share this urgent message with as many homeschoolers
as you can. Thank you!

Urgent! Your phone calls are needed NOW to prevent increased
opportunity for state regulation of homeschooling. Oppose the
surprise amendment that the Wisconsin Senate added to the state
budget bill at 5:05 AM on July 1 that would give homeschoolers (and
other private school students) a tax credit of $100 per child per
year. If the Assembly approves this amendment in the vote scheduled
for this week, or if the budget bill goes to a conference committee
which adopts this amendment, it will be included in the final bill.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. Education tax credits
for homeschoolers would lead to increased pressure for more
information on our PI-1206 forms (such as children's names, birth
dates, and social security numbers), review of our homeschools by
school officials, and state-mandated tests (so homeschoolers would
need to adopt the principles and beliefs of public schools). Such
requirements would apply to all homeschoolers; families could not
refuse the tax credit and avoid the increased requirements. Tax
credits would also increase resentment of and opposition to
homeschooling, especially from special interest groups whose funds
are being cut in the state budget squeeze. (For more information, see
recent WPA newsletters and the handbook, p. 192.)
Your phone calls will (1) help prevent this tax credit for
homeschoolers from becoming law, (2) educate legislators and help
prevent future legislation, and (3) maintain our reputation in the
Legislature as educated, committed, responsible families who take
action.
Call as many of the legislators listed below (or their aides)
as you can. (If it's easier for you to email than call, do so, making
sure that you include your full name and street address. However,
calls are more effective.) Identify yourself as a homeschooler. Ask
them to vote against the Senate amendment to the budget bill that
would give homeschoolers $100 in tax credits per child per year.
Explain that homeschoolers oppose education tax credits because they
will inevitably lead to increased regulation of homeschooling. They
are also an added expense to taxpayers.
o Assembly Speaker, John Gard (608) 266-3387, email:
rep.gard@legis.state.wi.us

o Assembly Minority Leader, James Kreuser (608) 266-5504, email:
rep.kreuser@legis.state.wi.us

o Senate Leader, Dale Schultz (608) 266-0703, email:
sen.schultz@legis.state.wi.us

o Senate Minority Leader Judith Robson (608) 266-2253, email:
sen.robson@legis.state.wi.us

o Your assembly representative and senator (For names and phone
numbers, go to http://165.189.139.210/WAML/ or call your library or
the Legislative Hotline: 800-362-9472.)

Inform other homeschoolers, your support group, and anyone
else you know. We need as many calls as possible; your calls matter.
Thank you for your work to maintain our homeschooling freedoms!

Another Comment: Supreme Questions

From some more thoughtful comments. (These great cordial disagreeing comments are the best. Thanks guys!)

Speaking as a liberal here.... Justice O'Connor made rulings that I agree with, and she made rulings that I disagree with. The same can be said of the other eight justices. But "high-fiving success"? It's not even clear how one would define success in this case.


I first of all assume (as most people do) that there are two quite decidedly different and distinct judicial philosophies, and that O'Connor was the swing vote between these two. From a liberal's perspective, an "undecided" vote could easily be considered a success instead of a Scalia or Thomas type vote.

"Faithfully uphold the law", of course, is entirely distinct from what some conservatives call the Constitution in exile, which, while it has huge ramifications for labor law, environmental regulation, and civil rights....


I don't really get what you are saying here. I want the Supreme Court justices to apply the Constitution with the original intent the founders in mind (incorrectly sometimes called "Constitution in exile"). "Huge ramifications"?????? Is this saying that if we actually followed the Constitution we would have to change poll accepted positions? If so, I say "lets". I agree that such a position might be earthshaking in consequence but the Constitution can't be changed by popular opinion.


Nor does "faithfully uphold the law" require a given position on abortion. Should early-term abortion rights be protected under the privacy guarantees and the 9th Amendment, as settled by Roe and Casey? Or should they be devolved to the states under the 10th Amendment?


I really am a bit confused again but by actually debating the merits of the Supreme Courts application of the Constitution we are really takin' on the right track. The penumbra rights to privacy as found by the courts in Roe and Casey creates some of the most shaky judicial opinion in American history. I truly believe that it is the Supreme Court's job to faithfully uphold the law by ruling according to the Constitution and that the Roe decision is as close to constitutionality as India is from the US. And as Plassey taught us, following precedent doesn't always mean "faithfully upholding the law".

On Breyer and Ginsberg...Sen. Hatches recommendation of these two justices as consensus nominees was because he knew there was no personal animosity or ethical problems. He knew they were liberal as they have constantly proven themselves; they were serious suggestions to then Prez. Clinton. On Breyer's 10 Command. vote: although it did surprise me his position was nothing to look up to. As Scalia points out in his dissent, the only reason he keeps up the one set of stones is only because no one has made issue about it yet. A classic case of strained logic to create an "accent" that will be interpreted by lower courts into a "dissent".

Oh yes, and I'm still open for questions if you've got more of the same.

Home/Private Ed Double Tax

I had such excellent questions in the comments section on my post about educational tax credits that I thought I would post my response here.

I am honored to respond to such thoughtful and content based questions.

"A Reader" said:

Everyone in this state that pays taxes can choose not to partake of some of the benefits provided by those taxes. We as a society decided that public education is a good thing - a separate debate. If you choose not to participate, that's your choice. But you don't deserve any kind of special tax refund for making that choice.


This reader then went on to use the state park system as an example of a public service that you can either use or not use but you shouldn't get a refund if you don't use it. The same should apply to education he said, and defining it as a double tax is not correct.

There are several problem with this analogy which I will demonstrate by using a second analogy. Let's say that the state decides to mandate that every home must have a skylight--not just any skylight though, it has to be a state factory built "Socialism" brand skylight. Now nobody has to directly pay for these skylights since the state also creates a $100 tax on every house that is bought or sold. This revenue is then used to supply each house that needs one with "Socialism" brand skylights. Now let's say that I don't like "Socialism" brand skylights. They're just too shady. Now I can go out and by my own "Capitalism" brand skylights but in doing so I am slapped with a double tax. The first tax comes from the $100 dollar tax on my home when I buy it: the money that is suppose to be used to supply me with my "Socialism" skylight. The second tax comes when I buy my "Capitalism" skylight.

Now, there would only be a single tax if I could just not install the "Socialism" skylight. (Just like there is only a single tax when you can not visit the state parks or any private park if you so wish.) BUT..... since there is also a mandate that requires me to have a skylight, that mandate creates mandatory cost or tax for me. The same is true in education. If families are just required to pay taxes that supported education that would be a single tax for home and private educators. But when the state requires that we educate our kids, that becomes a second or double tax. A parent is required to pay both for public education AND for their own child's education if they choose not to educate their children with public education.

If the state is really wanting to honestly promote education of kids and not the special interest groups surrounding them, educational tax credits make absolutely the best sense. Parents are given public, sociatal, monetary tax credit recognition for teaching their children the way they see is best. Educational tax credits are not stealing money from the public schools but just granting parents a fraction of the same tax to benefit correlation that every publicly educated student and family receives.

And yes, home and public families are double taxed.

Saturday, July 9

Quick Fix to the Critics

Well this should silence the critics cries. Sen. Reynolds will not take a tax credit for the children he schools at home privately. Well this shows great statesmanship on his part I don't think it was really necessary. If a Senator votes for a property tax freeze does he have to exempt himself from the freeze? (Full disclosure: I have in the past and will intern again soon in Sen. Reynolds' office.)

His full statement:

State Senator Tom Reynolds (R-West Allis) says he proudly supports the Education Tax Credit included in the state budget benefiting over 145,000 private and home-based pupils and their families. If signed into law, 1 in 7 of Wisconsin’s children will benefit from the $100 Education Tax Credit that offsets educational expenses for private and home-based students. Senator Reynolds, who has children in public, private and home-based schools, says he won’t accept the tax credit if it becomes law.

“Those cynics who claim I support the Education Tax Credit out of my own self-interest should do their math,” stated Reynolds. “I played an integral part in including a budget amendment that requires state legislators to pay a portion of their gross salaries towards their retirement. If enacted, this would cost me over $600 that the taxpayers would otherwise be paying for. The critics don’t want to mention how I kept my campaign pledge to make elected officials pay their fair share. Nor do they mention that I voluntarily accept only half the $88 per diem the state pays to senators.” “The full truth is that I actually stand to lose rather than gain from these amendments. Nonetheless, I want the focus to be on the good the Education Tax Credit will bring to thousands of families. Therefore, I will not to accept any Educational Tax Credit to which I may be entitled,” Reynolds said.

Well the Dems continue the old line of attack.

I just want to say it again--thanks for all your work Sen. Reynolds!

Friday, July 8

Clinton Kerry and O'Connor

Right now there is heaps of praise being thrown around by the MSM for O'Connor. Well I respect and honor her for her role of leadership in our country, her decisions on the court were often contradictory, confusing, and a slap in the face to the Constitution the founders thought they were creating. Why all the laud and worship? Because it was a high-fiving success for the liberals that they hope to repeat. A conservative president nominates a swish-wish, flip-flop justice instead of a Scalia or Thomas.

What if O'Connor had been nominated by Clinton? Would the left have praised her as well for slipping away a bit from their narrow-minded liberal beliefs? Quite likely not. Taking this presumption even one step further, nor would they have wanted Prez. Kerry to nominate another O'Connor. No, only the most radical, dividing, and out of the mainstream candidate would have suited the left's tastes if this hypothetical event were true.

WEAC believes every home/private school is special interest

From the greatest special interest group there ever was in the state--WEAC:

To entice the votes of two holdout senators, the Republican leadership took a bad budget from the Assembly and made it even worse by bowing to those senators' favored special interests," he said. "The result is a rollback to 1981 in terms of school funding adjustment levels and a bizarre tax break available only to parents whose children do not attend public schools. While public school children stare at a bleak future, special interests see a blank check.


Well home and private education is shamelessly presented as only a special interest, supporting WEAC's hard lobbied bloated budget splurge is said to be an "invest[ment] in the state's great schools while protecting taxpayers."

Or take this quote: "The Legislature should invest taxpayer money into proven programs, not unaccountable ones." Well let's see...proven programs? That would be home schooling at least since they have been proven to do very well on standardize test. Unaccountable programs? What can be more unaccountable then schools that are run in direct contradiction to the values parents want to teach their kids--the very reason most people private or home school their kids.

Or how about this quote: "This budget does not reflect the priorities of Wisconsin's citizens, who want quality education and property tax relief..." Which part of the budget that touches on education did you read? Well I can agree that much of the rest of the budget is full of pork, the education part and especially the tax credit parts help in a small way give parents the choice in the quality of their children's education AND does so thru a tax relief measure. In contrast, special interest WEAC's foggy ideas steals more from taxpayers while trying to help education out by throwing money at schools.

Go figure.

Thursday, July 7

Like Public Education Isn't

Spivak and Bice at the MJS came out whining big time that Sen. Reynolds will benefit from the $100 tax credit for homeschoolers.

How silly can they be?

Ok, think with me for a bit boys.

Pick any random Democratic Senator who has school age children. If they vote in such a way that they increase public school in the state won't they (thru their children) be personally benefiting from that increase that they voted for? Or in Cary and Dan's words "Isn't that self-serving?" Or better yet, what happens if a legislator or his wife were a teacher? Does that mean they couldn't vote for more school spending that would increase teacher's salaries?

Cary and Dan try and dismiss the obvious way in which almost every action by a legislator affects themselves by trying to say that homeschooling is not widespread, or does not affect the general public. Get serious. Lots of times legislators help out small minorities and it doesn't mean that they can't vote for something just because they as a taxpayer might benefit from it.

Frankly, this is a personal attack that fails to engage seriously with what this provision tries to do.

You have to love the way they call it "a perk [that] would cost the state about $14.6 million a year." And also that part about the "small minority" who will be benefiting. Oh no, no bias. Just the facts Sir.

No serious reporting like finding some other home schooler and seeing how this will effect them.

Of course once again, they fail to tell you that home schoolers and private schoolers pay the same amount of taxes as everyone else does to feed the public school system, and then pay out of their pockets to teach their own kids. It's a double tax. Like paying the tax in gas and then paying a toll to ride on every road.

They fail to tell you the steal the state gets every time a parent home or privately educates their kids. Plus, to boot, they get great educated kids.

And after all this they complain about $100 dollars per kid. Remember it cost, what, around $10,000 to educate a kid normally. This $100 dollar tax credit is pocket change, and really should be much higher.

More to come.


HT: Boots and Sabers

Bombs Again in London

A sad day for London, yet even in the midst of the sorrow it is great to see our brothers in arms across the sea stand strong against their foe just as they did against the Nazis. They still chant "never, never, never"

A round up of blog reaction is found at the WSJ. They link to some interesting pictures at Flickr taken from the cellphone camera.

HT: Instapundit.com

Monday, July 4

ALERT! The Impossible? Educational Tax Credits!

It's called when great legislation passes when you're not looking, or even hardly hoping it will pass. It's seems to be below the radar screen of even the people who will benefit. It's what I consider one of the most brilliant concepts in the education debate. It's called tax credits for private and home schools. It's found in this year's budget.

When the late night revisions to the budget were offered, out of the blue, a $100 per student tax credit for home and private educators showed up. That means that if you educate your child at home, or send them to a private school you can take $100 off of your income taxes. It also appears to be refundable meaning that if you don't even pay $100 in income taxes in the first place, you will get a check from the government for $100 (per child).

(Past post on this issue here)

Read here about it in the budget (page 19,20).

And does Doyle like it? Take a guess. From Wispolitics Budget Blog

He [Doyle] singled out one of the amendment provisions, providing tax breaks for home school parents, for derision. "Tax breaks for home schoolers while cutting education in this state by $400 million, that's not very good public policy," he said.


Notice the contradiction. Tax breaks for home schoolers IS funding education not cutting it. And as I've always pointed out before it is a VERY effective way to do so. For every family you pursued to go to a private school or home school their kids with this tax credit you are helping fund a parents prefered choice for the education of their child AND saving the state approximately $9,900! You can say "wow" again.

And the MJS? Notice how much it costs the state.

Giving parents who home-school their children, or who send them to private schools, a new $100-per-child income tax credit, which would cost a total of $14.6 million. Parents whose children are enrolled in Milwaukee's Choice program, which allows low-income students to attend private schools at state expense, would not qualify for the credit.


At least this story got it more straight:
A new tax credit for parents who home school their children or send them to private school, saving those parents $14.6 million per year.

If Doyle vetoes this he should be pounded with every cannon on board ship for not only NOT funding education but for NOT saving tax payers as well. Load. Aim. .....

SCOTUS Scout: Emilio Garza

Read this article if you want some more information on Emilio Garza one of the names that has been often floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee to replace O'Conner.

Some things I liked: He has an impeccable record on court proprieties. There is no chance this man has any legitimate scandals in the closet. Two, by all appearance he stands solid on the Constitution's guarantee to life (anit-Roe) and on establishment/free exercise of religion. If NARAL already has him in their targets its a good sign.

Concerns: It is really two bad that his enthincity is said to increase his chances. Well I am all for people of different race on the SC, and I think it would be a marvelous thing politically for Bush and the Republicans, I smell affirmative action in the deal. They also quote Emilio as being shy as a person (although not in his judicial capacity). The nominee will need every last strand of determination to weather the hurricane, tornado, and hail storm the left will send his way. Does he have the gumption to stick it out?

HT: Confirm them

But so far I give Garza gets a green light from my point of view.