FightingBob.com readers talk back
Letter on: Running on empty
“Dustin's thoughtful article sent me searching on the internet to see where Wisconsin ranks in the
tax rate marathon. We're in 19th place: we pay 7.4% of our income, per capita, on state taxes of various types.
That's interesting. We're not the highest [Alaska at 12.66%] or the lowest [New Hampshire at 4%], but somewhere in the middle, despite what certain noisy legislators claim. You've all heard that cry of "Wisconsin is a tax hell!"
Most of the states that are doing better than we are at educating their kids and creating new businesses have higher tax rates, both individual and business. Isn't there a message there?
-John Smart | Park Falls, WI | May 31, 2009
Letter on: Spare our schools
“As a teacher with 30 years experience, which means more than half my career has been under the QEO, I'd be glad to see it go, BUT Mr. Smart is correct when he argues that alternative funding sources are crucial so property taxes don't go through the roof. The 1% sales tax hike would hardly be noticed by most, much like a long overdue increase in the beer tax(and I like to drink a beer as much as the next guy) would go a long way toward addressing the budget problems we face in our state!”
-Bob Franze | Waukesha, WI (Beloiter, by birth!) | May 30, 2009
Letter on: Hello Bishop Morlino. Can you hear?
“Unfortunately the Church is popularly defined by its hierarchy, an all-male good old boys club with more interest in controlling the faithful and in transferring funds from smaller pockets to the coffers controlled exclusively by and at the whim of local bishops.
Bishops often forget that they are mere priests who through an arcane political process have been appointed bishops and cardinals. Unfortunately the appointments are lifetime instead of limited term.
The hierarchy has forgotten that its purpose is not to control but to lead the faithful on a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual adventure. Serving the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the troubled, etc, are all part of this adventure.
Bishop Morlino blew into Dane county amid controversy. He quickly established himself as controversy incarnate. He continues to bully the faithful with his pomposity and empty words. To say he is vindictive is to be all too kind.
If Bishop Morlino were truly the spiritual leader is was deigned to be, he would take on the role of servant giving the people of the Madison area the leadership, the guidance, the hope we all need.
For now, does anyone take Morlino seriously? Better yet, can we?”
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton, WI | May 30, 2009
Letter on: Newspapers: a good death?
“As a former daily newspaper reporter (most of that time spent at the Milwaukee Sentinel) I concur. The greater context here is worth considering.
What's happening to daily newspapers has happened to the entire culture, economy and politics of this country: They've gone discount.
Widely reported exceptions notwithstanding, very few troubled dailies are actually losing money. Rather, they are, by Wall Street standards, simply not making enough of it. Of course in that respect newspapers only mirror the nation's overriding tendency: We know, as the saying goes, the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Journal Communications (publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) used to be an employee-owned company. Current management broke the long-standing employee trust in a misguided effort to grow into a multimedia powerhouse. Indeed, the company is still buying up far-flung TV stations (themselves an endangered species) while cutting news staff and watching the publicly traded stock price swoon to new lows.
In cutting news staff, the dailies are hollowing themselves out in the very same way big-box retailers hollowed out the greater consumer market. But cheap prices drive social rot that includes many hidden costs and the not-so-hidden truth that goods too often are only of unsatisying quality. We gorge, soon we're again hungry.
Our politics, too, are now discount. Politicians increasingly sell the sizzle and ignore the meat of issues, thanks to short attention span marketing and public relations sleights of hand, and a media corps often too establishment-entangled and weary to unearth the truth.
Discounted, too, is the nation's corporate environment: More and more firms -- media firms among them -- talk a good game while failing to deliver. And so Gresham's Law is affecting media publishers of all kinds, electronic and mechanical.
In media, this most damages daily newspapers, which had the most substance and thus the most to lose.
The other impact of this trend is that shrinking news organizations tend to become less local, or at best more superficially local. Localization is good journalism but requires even more, not fewer, reporting resources.
Localism on the cheap often becomes in exercise in finding easy reporting opportunities. Readers often claim news media are too negative, yet studies show that a happy-meal news diet is ultimately unsatisfying. Sensationalist investigative reporting (i.e., the kind that avoids complex issues) seems on the rise, but, like a sugar high, fails to satisfy. This brand of investigative reporting often fails to point to underlying causes which, if corrected, might actually result in long-term change.
Bottom line: Journalism, like democracy at large, is not only messy and difficult, it's expensive. Increasingly, however, we've been encouraged by our institutions and leaders to think that freedom is cheap if not free, and that we need never invest, personally or collectively, in maintaining the quality and integrity of all our institutions, public and private.”
-Ron Legro | Milwaukee, Wisconsin | May 29, 2009
Letter on: Keeping up with the GOPies
“This seems to be somewhat one-sided to me! Guess what if you think the democrats are the perfect party then I say you are the one who is sticking your head into the sand! Both parties need to be thrown out and/or a third more reasonable and honest one started based on our constitution as it was written my our forefathers and not as history has written it now (untrue). Now that would be radical to some and a real change in fact! I am waiting for that party to come along myself!”
-Lynn McGlenn | Port St. Lucie, Fl. | May 29, 2009
Letter on: Keeping up with the GOPies
“Ah yes, the GOP ties itself in knots and engages in race baiting. Fine for them, if that is how they want to play this. But..., the liberals are just as stupid in their own way.
The "liberals" are so stuck in the race issues of the 60's that they just can't move on either. The Supreme Court has always been a litmus test of where we are as a country, be it geograpically, in religious demographics, race, or now gender and ethnicity. But the if the liberals think that just because "Maria" is Hispanic that this is progress or change to their benefit think again.
"Maria" may have empathy but, like Obama, she has shown herself to be a suck up to the coporatists. Don't get too excited. She is just the flip side of the status quo coin. The coin of the realm for that disease is very inclusive and the infection is caused by having a law degree, MBA, etc. no matter what your race, gender, or how you "came up". The point is that you are now "up".”
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Egg Harbor, WI. | May 28, 2009
Letter on: Spare our schools
“As a basis of citizen understanding of what our responsibilities to one another are as citizens in a democracy or republic, we need to have a literate, broadly educated population that at least compares favorably to that of the populations of other nations who are our peers in the international community. We are failing at this. We have been failing at this for at least two decades. Now at the point where parents are failing to nurture their children for school readiness, we need to educate expecting parents on how to parent, not just to concern ourselves with how schools are performing. Schools can't help students who are already several years behind their peers in vocabulary, socialization, attitude towards what school can mean to them, and are distracted by the crises in their fragile lives, and teachers are overwhelmed with the need to 're-nurture' children who are already affected by this sad syndrome. Children who reach middle school, still in failure mode, are almost impossible to 'reach' and need massive remedial help, as well as parental 'retraining' so they understand the ways they can support their children's educational needs. Parents who have lacked the role-modeling to provide them a template in how to do this are difficult to engage in this process. Our schools, therefore, are facing a crisis of immense proportion across the nation since the population of students with these unfortunate social and educational deficiencies is growing steadily. Teachers and schools are faced with climbing the 'Mount Everest' of educational challenges on a daily basis. Wisconsin needs to be able to preserve its educational funding just as a starting point for treading water in a tsunami of challenges. The funding will not erase the crushing issues the district faces, but it will face worse issues if it is economically ham-strung. We also need to incorporate the ideas of Geoffrey Canada's successful Harlem Children's Zone system into the most challenging of our school systems. Please take a look at the information about this and realize Dr. Canada has his finger on the pulse of what our kids (in general) need in today's educational climate.”
-Marcia Riquelme | De Forest, WI | May 28, 2009
Letter on: Newspapers: a good death?
“You're zeroing in well on the problems inherent in losing our newspapers, Dustin, and I thank you for that. It bothers me too - a lot.
I agree that websites like Fighting Bob and many others are good sources for commentary and opinion, but they are lacking when it comes to basic reporting, to the day-to-day work of journalism. Journalists need to be paid, and websites don't make any money. [I'm sure you know that!]
Most people, I believe, get their news from television, and TV networks and cable news sources make extensive use of print journalists to provide the news they report. Watch CNN or MSNBC, or even Fox News [no, I don't watch Fox News either, but you know what I mean], and you'll see that most of their "experts" are reporters and columnists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, sometimes the Christian Science Monitor, etc. Where will they get their experts when those papers are gone?
I also miss the international coverage we had back when all of our major papers had bureaus in capitals around the world. I believe we actually had a sense of things when the reportage from Paris or Moscow or Hong Kong actually came from reporters based in Paris, Moscow and Hong Kong!
And where will the new journalism graduates go to earn their stripes? How long will there even be journalism graduates without jobs to go to? What does that mean for the education of the great American citizenry? If Mencken worried about the "booboisie" back in his day, just wait!
-John Smart | Park Falls WI | May 27, 2009
Letter on: Court appointments round two
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
Plato Greek Philosopher 427-347 BC”
-Richard Kanak | Cherry Valley, Illinois | May 26, 2009
Letter on: FDR got it right
“As a badger born and bred, now residing in Colorado Springs (few liberals or progressives here), I am an avid reader of FB. FDR is a hero of mine but I doubt that FDR made the statement you attributed to him "during a August 13, 1945 radio address." Reason: FDR departed this vale of tears on April 12, 1945. Maybe he made the statement before he died, maybe he should have made the statement while he was alive and maybe harry truman (president in August 1945) made the statement. Regardless of the identity of authors or dates of the various quotations in your article, the sentiments are valid.”
-jack loomis | Colorado Springs, CO | May 26, 2009
Letter on: Obstacles to health care reform
“Thanks for the excellent article, Bill. As you know I have been a proponent of a single-payer Medicare-for-all system, which if passed and Medicare is left in its current "reasonable" state, will serve the public well.
But I also worry. As long as our crooks (politicians) take money from their crooks (the insurance industry), even a single payer system can be so watered down as to require additional insurance. Already there is Gap insurance to cover the 20% co-pay, but that may not be enough to satisfy the for-profit insurance industry and they'll convince their conflicted congress members to cut back on coverage.
Remember Canada? Unless the law is changed to also require that politicians and other government employees be limited to the same system they install for the public, that will happen here. And as in Canada today they'll keep lobbying against a good coverage.
In America they lobby with cash in hand, thus I'd feel a lot better if they first passed the Durbin-Specter campaign reform bill. Isn't it great having your Board of Directors on the take?
We can only hope that the business community gets educated fast enough. See http://tinyurl.com/phsltx”
-Jack Lohman | Colgate, WI | May 26, 2009
Letter on: Obstacles to health care reform
“From the perspective of one of the great unwashed, why not relegate the insurance industry to that. Be an "Insurance Industry". That is, a risk underwriter, the institutionalized gambler. We can certainly pay our own medical bills for our routine (and certainly some non-routine) services. This train really got off the track somewhere back there when someone was coerced into believing there was a free lunch to be had. Where are the "free marketeers" and the libertarians in health care consumption? Perhaps a little reality check will also establish a "standard" fee for services rather than the "gouge the unsuspecting" pricing policies ascribed to by so many providers.”
-Calvin Rinkel | Brookfield, WI | May 25, 2009
Letter on: FDR got it right
“Forgetting Iraq for now (I might even agree with you on that), and since you brought up WWII and seem to think they are no "good wars," how would you have responded to the Japanese attack? How do you deal with crazies like North Korean leaders if they refuse to pay attention?”
-Dean Mundy | Waukesha, WI | May 25, 2009
Letter on: Is there a difference?
“A difference between the two parties? C'mon Ed, you know better by now. The evidence is in. From Pelosi/Ried/Obama right on down to Oily Doyle this is a 1.1 party system. Differences on the margin all dressed up in talking points for the Kabuki play posing as politics. That is all it is and the public keeps taking it. What a farce this has all become.”
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Egg Harbor, WI | May 22, 2009
Letter on: Less than stimulating
“Dear Roger: I am an old friend and former journalist from Kenosha who isn't really free to share his name because of my position. I, too, was unexpectedly down-sized ... but from the world of newspapers.
I want to send you my appreciation for your efforts to keep this issue in front of the public eye (including your appreance on WHAD Tuesday). As a long-time Newspaper Guiold member and leader, I know the importance of unions in all professions and credit you for your work, brother.”
-Dennis | Kenosha, Wisconsin | May 19, 2009
Letter on: Old thinking in a new economy
“This is indeed a truth that can not be seen by those who have a vested interest from the inside. The economy is not in a recession, it is amidst a fundamental restructuring of all industries. In my few years in Dane county, I have seen no new way of thinking, let alone innovative leadership. The truth is that Wisconsin has two(2) remaining mass production industries. Processing inmates, and processing students. The tax base of the future will indeed be much smaller than current services can sustain.”
-LaFay | Belleville, WI | May 18, 2009
Letter on: Trotting it out
“If Rush and others did not talk so stupid, to where would all the uninformed and unmotivated turn for information and brainpower?
A perilous scenario in any society is misinformation in the hands of the ignorant. Catastrophe occurs when the ignorant make it into public office.”
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton, WI | May 17, 2009
Letter on: What's going on?
“I've know for a long time that you and I had much in common, Ed, but I didn't know about the Jerry Brown campaign. Me too! At noon, on October 21, 1991, I was standing on the platform with Jerry in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia when he made his speech announcing his candidacy. His words then still echo. I was living in Philly, and worked on Jerry's campaign alongside Eddie Rendell, who was then our mayor. We were foolish idealists, or so we were told...heady days...”
-John Smart | Park Falls, WI | May 16, 2009
Letter on: Did she or didn't she?
“When Bill Clinton stated adamantly that he "did not have sex with THAT woman!", his Oval Office romp never went away. When Jesse Jackson got caught with his pants down, Jackson admitted his straying and the issue went away as quickly as it surfaced. Now Pelosi appears to have been caught in a half-truth which will haunt her until she leaves office and fades away.
We've seen our own state legislators get into similar predicaments.
Why does the electorate vote into office people who have such difficulty with truth and truthfulness? Are the errant politicians the culprits or are we the voters?
Perhaps we should believe nothing of what we hear and only half of what we read. Seems to cover modern policymaking.”
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton, WI | May 16, 2009
Letter on: Shared sacrifice? Not so much.
“How much more of my money do you need before your appetite for higher taxes is quenched? Every household in WI is faced with cash flow issues in this economy. If you raise taxes, then WI citizens (who pay taxes) need to either cut their spending or get another job to replace the money that has been stolen as "shared sacrifice". Last time I checked, the number of jobs available is decreasing, not increasing. Why is it so hard for State government to look at cutting spending before it raises taxes? Yeah, it hurts to cut spending, but why does the "shared sacrifice" need to come out of the wallets of WI taxpayers?”
-Bill | Brookfield, WI | May 13, 2009
Letter on: Easier being green
“When making your report later in the summer I hope you will mention the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. My union now teaches and upgrades, on almost a daily basis all of our journeyman and apprentices. We feel we are on the point of the spear on green technology and fund out of our dues money 114,000 square feet of training facilities with an annual budget of about six million dollars to keep abreast of all new technology. My brothers and sisters do this out of a sense of honor and duty unknown to the likes of a non-union Joe the Plumber.”
-Brody Granberg Business Agent UA Loc.434 | Eau Claire Wisconsin | May 12, 2009
Letter on: Public financing of campaigns
“Why should Bob Habush be prevented from giving to campaigns. Clean Gene ran for president against LBJ with money form 12 people. Take him out of the equation? These nirvana proposals just restrict freedom of speech. Why don't we just eliminate elections and have a committee appoint all of the legislators. No corruption then? Ha.”
-Dohnal | Milwaukee, WI | May 12, 2009
Letter on: Specter of disappointment
I totally agree with your thoughts on Arlen Specter and I also hope the candidate running against Specter would be the Right Choice for the People of Penn. And You ARE right Specter is only looking out for number 1. He would probably be elected as a Democrat and then switch back to a Republican once back in office. It is time for a Change in Penn. Vote Specter OUT. Who needs another Flip-Flopper? A "SNAKE NEVER CHANGES ITS PATH"!!!”
-Herman D. Lawson | Howard Township, Niles, Michigan | May 12, 2009
Letter on: P.T. Barnum & Chrysler
“I think Chrysler should change it's name to A.I.G. By the double standard of the Washington elite they would then be entitled to 185 billion dollars and our government would not be demanding Chrysler screw 92,416 U.A.W. retirees out of the medical insurance they were promised and worked a lifetime to earn.”
-Rudy Kuzel, retired President U.A.W. local 72 | Racine, WI | May 10, 2009
Letter on: Show time!
“We recently had to put my 84 yr.old father under the sod. He was part of that fast fading "Greatest Generation." While going through his possesions I happened to come across a party registration card for the Farm-Labor Progressive Alliance for 1937-38. It was for his father, my grand-father.
My grand-father walked the picket lines during the depression. His wife used to send him out the door with a clean cloth and a pint of vinegar so he could stand the tear gas dished out by the National Guard.
My father's generation was able to prosper because his father made those efforts so people could have a decent and fair chance on the job.
When you forget history you get the shaft. I have often wondered who is more at fault in all of this. Is it the greedy, nasty, blood sucking capitalists (who, after all, are just doing what they always do) or, is the complacent workers who cannot seem to find the anger, indignation, and just plain guts to fight for what is right?
The beatings will continue until morale improves seems to the order of the day.”
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Egg Harbor WI | May 6, 2009
Letter on: America's Sludgeland
“After reading your article I realized what I was thinking was not far fetched, I own property near one of these sites, and have noticed a number of deaths and illnesses in the area. I have contacted the State and the EPA. When I talk to people in the area about possible hazards they look at me like I have two heads,no wonder they have gotten away with inproper safty standards for so long, people would rather deny than educate themselves. A gentleman told me about the potential for arsenic in the area, and I happened to know a few people that passed away and more that are sick, it was beyond coincidence. Thank you for all the hard work you do informing the public.”
-Catherine Schnur | Sheboygan wisconsin | May 5, 2009
Letter on: Help Fiat?
“Show me a company that values workers as assets and I'll show you a successful company. When businesses see their employees as liabilities, is there any wonder why these business fail?
Workers are the foundation of the economy and the reason why economies flourish. Isn't it time the workers take back their workplace? Obviously those running business know not what they are doing.”
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton, | May 5, 2009
Letter on: One-way negotiating
“While I'm not looking forward to the predictable jeering and finger-pointing that has become the MO of the right wing every time something concerning government comes up, it's pretty hard to cry over the teachers.
We've corrected the clear problem of teacher pay - when I go to visit the public school, my car is generally the oldest one in the lot. The UW has graduated far more teachers than the state needs for at least the last twenty years. I can't imagine that, outside of specialties like special education and ESL and certain challenges locales, there's any real problem with supply.
I'm OK with the teachers going back to proper bargaining in the absence of the QEO, so long as they are also put in the same class as most of the rest of government employees when it comes to the ability to strike.”
-Jeff | Madison | May 5, 2009
Letter on: Help Fiat?
“Here's my solution: The state exercises its powers of eminent domain to seize the factories and we start manufacturing trains and buses in Kenosha and Janesville for the state-run heavy manufacturing company. Those trains and buses make our RTA work and we start selling them to Chicago and the Twin Cities too.
The workers keep their jobs. The UAW keeps the union. The communities stay whole. The state saves money.
Next plant to close gets to be taken over for wind turbine manufacture.”
-Peter Rickman | Madison, WI | May 5, 2009
Letter on: Show time!
“It's outrageous that our government proposes to spend 10 billion taxpayer dollars to support Chryslers fatally flawed business plan that closes 5 U.S. U.A.W. auto plants, eliminates 4,000 American jobs and preserves the slave labor production of 1,500,000 engines per year in Chryslers Saltillo Mexico engine plant!
What will Chrysler demand in its next bankruptcy?”
-Rudy Kuzel | Racine, WI | May 2, 2009