Magnum deserves to go to Washington

Dave Magnum picked up a huge endorsement this weekend from the Wisconsin State Journal.

The reason this is such a big deal is that two years ago, Magnum lost by a large margin to Baldwin in the general election. Given that, and the overall "anti-Republican" sentiment of this election, why would the State Journal bother to endorse Magnum? Why not just endorse and Tammy and be done with it?

The answer is simple: Tammy doesn't live in the real world, Dave Magnum does.

The problem is that Tammy Baldwin is too far outside the mainstream to be of any use in Congress. The editorial board realized that our district deserves someone who can go to Congress to actually make a difference on issues that matter to all people. Magnum's real world experience on the issue of healthcare will help him make real progress on the issue, as opposed to Tammy's insistence on the idea of universal healthcare.

Magnum has been a proven job creator who knows what it takes to keep good jobs here in the state. Instead, Baldwin has said that Congress simply can't trust businesses to do right by their employees.

Magnum must meet a payroll every week and has never failed to do so; he understands what it means to make priorities and tough decisions to balance budgets. What has Baldwin done?

This endorsement also shows that Magnum has quite a bit of momentum going into Election Day. Contrary to popular belief, Republicans can win in the 2nd Congressional District. It's time that we had a real representative in Congress and not just a placeholder who attends ribbon-cutting ceremonies.


Stem Cell debate deserves better...

The issue of stem cell research has gotten ugly lately. Michael J. Fox has now done an ad for the Doyle campaign about the importance of stem cell research for Parkinson's Disease. Rush Limbaugh has accused Fox of exaggerating his condition for sympathy and lost in all the rhetorical noise is the debate we should be having.

I have no problem with Michael J. Fox using his celebrity for a cause he believes in. He has done incredible charitable work through his foundation and should be praised as a fine human being for it. I watched my great-Uncle suffer through Parkinson's Disease for 20 years and it was hard enough to watch him suffer, let alone imagine what it was like to live with the disease.

Still, the debate over stem cell research has been so politicized that it is no longer an issue of what is best for the science and the research, but rather this has devolved into partisan bickering. Unfortunately, both Fox and Limbaugh have done nothing but make it worse. As I said, and I mean this with complete sincerity, Fox deserves all the credit in the world for raising awareness for Parkinson's and raising money for research into a cure for it. However, his celebrity does not excuse him from criticism. He has done interviews and appearances where his tremors are almost undetectable thanks to the medication he takes, yet in the commercial they are almost a distraction. Still, this for me is not an issue. I watched my Uncle have good days and bad for years, even on treatment.

This is where Limbaugh crossed the line. By accusing Fox of acting to exaggerate his tremors, Limbaugh made the issue the big bad Republican attacking a sick man. Not to mention the fact that it is inappropriate to accuse someone of exaggerating their condition to help their cause. Fox has done a lot of good, so to question his motives I think is wrong.

That said, the larger problem, and the reason that I think Fox shares some blame in this dust-up, are the claims made by Fox and others about the potential of stem cell research. What happens with these types of ads is that they create a false sense of hope. They create the sense that if only we have this research, there will be miracle cures for all of our worst afflictions. While there is some potential in stem cell research, most of the successful tests have actually come from adult and umbilical chord cells. No one in either party, to my knowledge, has suggested banning that research. Instead all stem cell research is lumped together as embryonic, and that is wrong because it obscures the debate we should be having.

There are moral and ethical questions surrounding embryonic stem cell research. Instead of grouping all stem cells together, we should be separating the embryonic research from the adult and umbilical chord research. We should continue the research on the other stem cells and try to find cures for Parkinson's and diabetes and Alzheimer's. But we must have a serious and honest debate on the potential and the implications of embryonic stem cell research.

We are talking about life and death with these issues, it is not something to be tossed around or diminished like we would a tax cut or a spending bill.


Keep them in mind...

Taking a break from doing math I remembered that Veterans Day is coming up rather shortly... One thing leads to another and I was reading Medal of Honor citations. Some of them are just incredible. !S to the fallen and to those who have served (I'm looking at you Mike)...

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad InternationalAirport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.

Master Sergeant Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Master Sergeant Gordon's sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When Master Sergeant Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, Master Sergeant Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Master Sergeant Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Master Sergeant Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Master Sergeant Gordon used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. Master Sergeant Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew's weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition, he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. Master Sergeant Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, Master Sergeant Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, "good luck." Then, armed only with his pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life. Master Sergeant Gordon's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.

Realizing that there was no time to throw the grenade out of his position, he retrieved the grenade, tucked it in to his stomach and, turning away from his comrades, absorbed the full impact of the blast. Sp4c. Santiago-Colón distinguished himself at the cost of his life while serving as a gunner in the mortar platoon of Company B. While serving as a perimeter sentry, Sp4c. Santiago-Colón heard distinct movement in the heavily wooded area to his front and flanks. He alerted his fellow sentries in the area to move to their foxholes and remain alert for any enemy probing forces. From the wooded area around his position heavy enemy automatic weapons and small arms fire suddenly broke out, but extreme darkness rendered difficult the precise location and identification of the hostile force. Only the muzzle flashes from enemy weapons indicated their position. Sp4c. Santiago-Colón and the other members of his position immediately began to repel the attackers, utilizing hand grenades, antipersonnel mines and small-arms fire. Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire and exploding grenades around them, a North Vietnamese soldier was able to crawl, undetected, to their position. Suddenly, the enemy soldier lobbed a hand grenade into Sp4c. Santiago-Colón's foxhole. Realizing that there was no time to throw the grenade out of his position, Sp4c. Santiago-Colón retrieved the grenade, tucked it in to his stomach and, turning away from his comrades, absorbed the full impact of the blast. Heroic self-sacrifice saved the lives of those who occupied the foxhole with him, and provided them with the inspiration to continue fighting until they had forced the enemy to retreat from the perimeter. By his gallantry at the cost of his life and in the highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c. Santiago-Colón has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8 th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit's line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin's gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation when his platoon was held up by a sudden barrage of hostile grenades while advancing toward the high ground northeast of Airfield Number One, Sergeant Gray promptly organized the withdrawal of his men from enemy grenade range, quickly moved forward alone to reconnoiter and discovered a heavily mined area extending along the front of a strong network of emplacements joined by covered communication trenches. Although assailed by furious gunfire, he cleared a path leading through the mine field to one of the fortifications then returned to the platoon position and, informing his leader of the serious situation, volunteered to initiate an attack while being covered by three fellow Marines. Alone and unarmed but carrying a twenty-four pound satchel charge, he crept up the Japanese emplacement, boldly hurled the short-fused explosive and sealed the entrance. Instantly taken under machine-gun fire from a second entrance to the same position, he unhesitatingly braved the increasingly vicious fusillades to crawl back for another charge, returned to his objective and blasted the second opening, thereby demolishing the position. Repeatedly covering the ground between the savagely defended enemy fortifications and his platoon area, he systematically approached, attacked and withdrew under blanketing fire to destroy a total of six Japanese positions, more than twenty-five of the enemy and a quantity of vital ordnance gear and ammunition. Stouthearted and indomitable, Sergeant Gray had single-handedly overcome a strong enemy garrison and had completely disarmed a large mine field before finally rejoining his unit and, by his great personal valor, daring tactics and tenacious perseverance in the face of extreme peril, had contributed materially to the fulfillment of his company's mission. His gallant conduct throughout enhanced and sustained the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Why don't you answer the charge, Tammy?

Congresswoman Baldwin is mad. She is mad because someone had the audacity to call her out on her record.

The Magnum Campaign's newest commercial takes Baldwin to task about her vote against a mandatory minimum for child sex predators. Her response isn't about why she voted against the 5 year minimum; instead she blames a national effort to attack those who voted against it. Why not answer the charge Congresswoman? You obviously believe that you were right to vote against a mandatory minimum sentence for child sex predators, so why not trust the people of your district and explain your vote?

The answer is simple: Baldwin cannot explain away her vote. True, she voted for final passage of the larger bill, but she did vote against the harsher punishments for convicted child predators that have failed to fulfill their legal obligations. I think it is a very reasonable thing to point that out. Why would Baldwin believe that Judges are so much more qualified to hand out sentences than simply require a 5 year sentence to a convicted child molester?

We have all heard the stories of Judges in Vermont and Ohio handing down sentences of mere months for repeat child predators. If that is what some Judges believe is fair sentencing, I think that Congress has an obligation to step in and set down tough minimum sentences. Baldwin, however, thinks that only Judges are capable of making those decisions.

Instead of avoiding the charge, and claiming that she is victim of some sort of witch hunt, Baldwin should directly answer the question and explain her vote. However she won't because voters might actually say that her vote wasn't good enough.

As I cast my vote against the ban...

There are plenty of good religious arguments supporting bans on gay marriage, but they fall on deaf ears to those who are not of certain religious sentiments. The same goes for bans on civil unions that might enable homosexuals to obtain the legal equivalent of marriage, and the benefits as such, but under a different more neutral name.

From my standpoint, however, I am perfectly fine with both gay marriage and civil unions, since for me the religious arguments are not convincing. After all, my philosophy of life, for better or worse is not informed by religion whatsoever. If it was I might have a very different perspective.

At the same time there are additional reasons why I am a supporter of civil unions. In short they are a very useful method to extend legal privileges to non-heterosexual couples that better ensure the individual's ability to discover their philosophical preferences and act upon them within a homosexual relationship and/or as a homosexual foster parent.

All this is not to say that I don't see where the more radical points of view, points of view that I disagree with, on both sides of the debate are coming from. There are definitely well intentioned arguments for a federal amendment legalizing gay marriage and equalizing civil unions just as there are well intentioned religious arguments for banning gay marriage through the same means (note for me the religious arguments are ones informed by religion, and religion only, not pseudo-sociology, psycology, and anthropology studies that proclaim emancipated gays make bad parents, will cause incest and bestiality, and are more likely to molest kids).

Where I must strongly criticize the radicals in this debate is in their partisanship... While politicians and advocacy groups in DC, Madison, and across the country spend great time and energy (at a great opportunity cost) pushing no and yes stances for gay marriage and civil union bans year after year, much like Abortion, this "social values issue" easily distracts the political discourse from finding solutions to the very issues that allow us the opportunity to passionately discuss such "social values" at all i.e. economics, foreign policy, national security, fiscal policy, civil liberties, etc.

While I applaud standing up for what myself and others may see as a sensible policy (allowing gay marriage and civil unions) do not let issues like this make you lose site of what in the big picture matters most, unless you want to become yet another reason why the American political discourse has become so repetitive and futile at solving for issues that allow us the luxury of focusing on partisan social issues in the first place.

…And as I cast my vote against the ban this November I will keep this reservation in mind...

Election not as bad as some think

The Republicans will lose some seats this year in the House of Representatives, but they will not lose the House. The Senate is not even in play.

Despite all the scandals and controversies plaguing Congress there is no way the Democrats will take control of the House. Unlike 1994, the Democrats do not have a coherent message that effectively nationalizes the congressional campaign. The only issue that they have found to run is hatred of President Bush and the Republicans and that is not an issue that will resonate beyond their base.

Most voters need something more than hate to vote for a candidate or party. Most voters need a reason to vote for, not against, someone. What have the Democrats offered voters in terms of hope or direction? The answer is nothing. Nothing but investigations and show trials against the Bush administration.

There may be some districts in the nation where Republicans do not intend to vote, but that does not translate into a national trend. Wisconsin is a perfect example. Here we have a governor who has sold our state to the highest bidder, chased jobs away at an alarming rate (1,000 in the last month), and done nothing to fix our budget deficit. Republicans in this state are energized and ready to elect a Republican governor and attorney general.

All politics is local, and the Democrats have done nothing to nationalize the election or even make an effective case for what they will do better or different if elected.


St. Norbert's Poll Way Off

St. Norbert's should really stop conducting polls. For at least the last 3 election cycles, their polls have been consistently off. Not by 3-5 points, but by much, much more.

The most recent poll by St. Norbert's was released on the heels of several others. The widest margin by any of the other polls was 6%, that was a Research 2000 poll. The latest Rasmussen and Zogby polls, both of which are nationally respected firms that are usually quite accurate, place the race much tighter.

The Zogby poll shows a margin of only 2%.

The point behind all this is that Mark Green is gaining momentum. Despite them constant smear campaign by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Governor Doyle's campaign Wisconsin voters are growing tired of life with Doyle in the Governor's office.

Maybe it is the case that the voters are more intelligent than the Democrats give them credit for, and understand that a change is needed.


How out of touch is Tammy Baldwin?

Our government is designed as a representative democracy. Our representatives and senators are supposed to be in touch with the district that they represent. Unfortunately, our congresswoman is drastically out of touch.

Take for instance:
  • While the rest of us were struggling with $3+ gas prices, Baldwin voted herself a raise - to $168,500. Wisconsin Democrats Dave Obey and Ron Kind didn't do it. Baldwin did.
  • Despite the continued violence directed at the new government in Iraq, Baldwin insists that the military mission in Iraq is over. That's right, according to Tammy Baldwin, there is no function our military can serve in Iraq.
  • Baldwin insists that she has broad support for her healthcare initiatives, yet her definition of that broad bipartisan support is the help of only two Republicans for her latest attempt at universal healthcare.
  • Baldwin was one of only 22 members of the House of Representatives to vote against commemorating the observance of the 5 year anniversary of September 11.
  • Baldwin is so completely ineffective in Congress that she ranks 424 out of 438 members of Congress for power and effectiveness. Dave Obey ranks 9th. There is no partisanship there.
  • She voted against a bill requiring mandatory minimum sentences for child sexual predators, stating that instead judges are more competent to administer sentences. The same judges that in Vermont and Ohio gave sentences of less than 2 or 3 months for repeat child molesters.

Tammy Baldwin does not understand life in the real world. While you and I struggle with increased tuition and rent payments, she votes herself a raise. She brags about the money she has returned to this district yet Wisconsin ranks 47 out of 50 in federal money returned to the state. I don't think that I would brag about that if I were a congressman.


The Dishonesty of the Left

This election year has been filled with more mud-slinging and dishonesty than I have ever seen before. Not surprisingly, most of it comes from the left.

First and foremost, look at what the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Gov. Doyle's campaign have done to Mark Green's record. Every day they portray Green as an extreme member of the Republican Party and a dangerous choice for Wisconsin. The Left's main charges are grossly exaggerated.

Take the charge we here on Campus that Green has cut financial aid. The truth is that federal financial aid has increased significantly during the time Green has been in Congress. Those cuts people are talking about is the difference between Democratic and Republican increases in the programs. What about Green increasing tuition? Well, Green is in Congress and cannot raise tuition, the final say on tuition increases actually comes from the Board of Regents and the Governor's office, and we know that Governor Doyle is the one who has allowed tuition to rise over 50% in the last four years.

The other major charge, that Green has "dirty" money is absurd. Green legally raised all of his money, followed a quarter of a century of precedent and transferred money from a federal to a state campaign. It is the same thing Mayor Barrett did 4 years ago. The State Elections Board was lobbied by a Doyle Campaign lawyer about the PR implications and did not have a rule prohibiting the transfer until after the transfer took place.

The distortion and desperation has gotten so bad that DPW even tried to link Green to the Mark Foley scandal.

The dishonesty, however, is not just in how the Left portrays its opponents' records, but also their own record.

Gov. Doyle's assertion that he has balanced the budget is ridiculous. He played a shell game of postponing payments and shifting budgets to "balance" this year's budget, but we still face a deficit of over $1 billion at the end of the 2-year budget cycle. The Gov. talks about all the "tough choices" he has made to cut spending in the state. If that is true, how come overall state spending has increased in the neighborhood of 20% during his term in office? The truth is, one of the only places he actually cut is the UW System budget to the tune of $250 million. The Gov. trumpets his signing of the first state-wide property-tax "freeze." The truth behind that statement is he vetoed a tighter property-tax freeze twice before finally signing a very weak and watered down version.

The Left, as usual, is ready and willing to say and do anything to get elected here in Wisconsin. Think about why Gov. Doyle and the DPW are focusing so much on painting Green as an extreme guy. The reason is that Gov. Doyle has not led our state well and we are not better off for it.


Tammy Baldwin: What have you done for us lately?

Over the last few weeks I have seen a lot of commercials for 2nd Congressional District candidate Dave Magnum. He has visited Campus 3 times already this semester, including a 90 minute open forum where students asked him all sorts of questions about his positions.

But where is his opponent, our Congresswoman, Tammy Baldwin? Has she even visited Campus yet, or run a single commercial? Has she allowed herself to be extensively questioned by students, even her supporters? Not that I know of, but hey, I could be wrong.

I went to Baldwin's website earlier today just to see what was going on with her campaign, and saw a section on her accomplishments. Being a curious person, I checked out her "accomplishments," and I found nothing. That's right, nothing. Aside from securing $150 million dollars over 8 years for the district, she has no real accomplishments. There are no bills signed into law, no reform initiatives, nothing. Sure, she has a list of endorsements, but show me one Democrat in the State of Wisconsin that doesn't have every union endorsing them. Baldwin's endorsements are standard for virtually any liberal running for federal office.

Baldwin lists health care as first and foremost of her issues, and not just health care but health care for all. She cites the millions of uninsured Americans and talks about the importance of making sure that everyone has adequate health care. That's all well and good, but what has Baldwin done about it? Why isn't there a bullet point under her accomplishments that mentions her work on this issue? Could it be the fact that she has done nothing to actually fix the problem?

Baldwin has had 8 years in the House to do something about these issues that she says are so important to her, yet she has not delivered.

I think that raises some serious questions. She is going to be on Campus tonight for a concert in her honor, does anyone think she would answer some of the questions I have asked here?

She is our representative in Congress, and that means she works for us. Shouldn't we ask her what she has actually done, instead of just talking about the problems?


Keep the Foley Scandal in Context

Recent press releases by Governor Doyle's campaign and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin have been attacking Congressman Green over the Foley/Page scandal. Although what Foley did was inexcusable and despicable, the idea of blaming Green and Speaker Hastert for what he did is absolutely pathetic.

First, the Democrats wanted to lay blame on Green because he is part of the House leadership. However, that doesn't stick because no one has ever mentioned Green as one of the House Republicans who new about the e-mails between Foley and the page. These e-mails were not only known by Hastert, but by newspapers in Foley's home state of Florida. Although the e-mails were considered overly friendly, neither the papers, Hastert, or the page's family saw any need to pursue the situation, other than to ask Foley not to contact the page any more. It was not until after an ABC news story that the more explicit and vulgar Instant Messages came to light.

Now, it seems that because Hastert knew the e-mails existed, Green must return any and all money he received from the Speaker because it is now "tainted."

Let's look at that money for a second; the last time Green accepted PAC money from Hastert was in 2001, well before he ever learned of the e-mails between Foley and the page. So money that Green received long before anything bad or improper even could have happened must now be returned. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

To the larger point though, why should Hastert resign? So far, what he has admitted knowing about, the e-mails not the IMs, was not enough for him to move to have Foley expelled from Congress. Newspapers in Florida knew of the same e-mails that the Speaker did, and they too concluded that there wasn't enough there to do anything with.

Also, this notion that Green donated Foley PAC money to charity only after "mounting criticism" is absurd. Green announced he would divest the money yesterday. Foley only resigned on Friday of last week. If you ask me that is fairly fast in the political world.

So, why pin all this on Mark Green's shoulders? Simple really. Governor Doyle is not interested in a debate about taxes, jobs, tuition, health care or anything else that actually matters in a Governor's race. No, instead Doyle is trying to run against the failings of others in Congress or the White House in the hopes that he can tie Green to them.

In this most recent attempt, let's all remember who the villain is: Mark Foley. Not Mark Green.

The Problem with Seg Fees

ASM, like any government, taxes its constituents (that's us, the students). What is different is that our taxes come in the form of segregated fees that are included in our tuition statements, not taken out in our paychecks.

True, like most taxes our fees do go towards things like health care and transportation. By and large, I have no problem with funding the UW Health Clinics because they allow students to receive basic health care without buying high-priced insurance. Our bus passes are also good for students so that they need not walk alone at night or long distances in the cold winters.

However, there are many other things our taxes pay for that are not good.

Imagine, if you will, that the State of Wisconsin decided that taxes it collected from all citizens in the State were going to fund advocacy groups. Starting in the next fiscal year groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life, the Wisconsin ACLU, Citizens for Responsible Government, Fair Wisconsin, and any other organization you can think of, are now eligible to receive funding from the State. Your hard earned money is now going to groups that you may not agree with, or in some cases vehemently oppose.

Is that fair?

Should any group get funding simply because they do not discriminate in their membership?

The answer is no. We have groups that advocate sex, safe sex to be sure, but in essence they advocate have sex. Should we allow funding to a group that advocates abstinence?

We have many, many groups whose expressed purpose are to promote equality and diversity. Yet those groups divide themselves along racial and ethnic lines. Why is this? If the goal is to promote and encourage diversity of all kinds then why do they insist on segregating themselves?

The solution to this problem is either do away with funding altogether, except of course the Health Clinics, Bus passes, Student Unions, and similar services, or provide an opt-out system.

The opt-out system is the best way, allow the taxpayers (in this case, students) to decide which groups, if any, are important enough to receive their funding. Of course the response is that this would destroy the Student Orgs, but if the groups are not providing services that students believe are worth funding, should the groups deserve the funding in the first place?

This is an issue that is going to come to the surface soon, and we need to be ready to have a serious debate about these issues.