Thursday, December 15, 2005

The State Journal - Wasting Everyone's Time

Special thanks to Xoff for reminding me what nauseating dreck the most recent editorial by Wisconsin State Journal publisher James Hopson is. Apparently you have to go pretty high up on the food chain over there to get truly awful editorials.

Hopson lazily argues that the Legislature is wasting their time by bringing up bills like the same sex marriage amendment and concealed carry. This is a common complaint by editorialists that simply don't agree with the subject matter of these bills. That would be the intellectually honest thing to say - explain why you oppose the legislation, rather than just accusing the Legislature of wasting their time. In fact, Hopson could have just saved his own time and just printed any one of the hundred Dave Zweifel columns from the Capital Times that say the exact same thing.

Truth is, the Legislature has passed 329 bills this session, but Hopson's newspaper has only seen fit to cover a few. Maybe if he were actually paying attention, he would realize the Assembly and Senate do more than just pass the bills he reads about over coffee in the morning. No bill takes more legislative time than the budget, but I don't hear him complaining about that one. The Assembly spent an entire day caucusing on the bill to require ethanol in gas sold in Wisconsin - I guess that wasn't a waste of time, seeing as how the State Journal has editorialized in favor of that specific bill. The Assembly and Senate spent a good couple of days on the gas tax indexing repeal - was that a waste of time?

Hopson may remember my post from October 31st (I'm sure he's a regular reader) where I talked about a bill in the Legislature to allow tax credits to businesses that employ the disabled. This is a groundbreaking bill that has inspired other states to try the same thing. Apparently, he thinks the Legislature doesn't have the time for such bills because they are all so focused on making the state's gays a little less fabulous.

Certainly Hopson remembers September 22nd, when the Assembly was scheduled to bring up a number of bills and veto overrides. The previous evening, Representative Pedro Colon failed to vote on a veto override that would have provided more funding for nursing homes. So he spent the entire next day on the floor pissing and moaning about missing the vote, holding up deliberations on the other bills Hopson thinks are so important. It got so bad that Assembly leadership had to cancel the whole day of work, as Colon and his cohorts were determined to pout about his missed vote. I would think that would be the ultimate waste of Legislative time, but somehow that little charade failed to make it into Hopson's article.

No, the only things that waste time for Hopson are bills that he disagrees with. Apparently he is unaware that the specific bills he targets are, in fact, important to some people - people that he sees on television, but would never have over to the Hopson estate for dinner. If you have ever laughed at a Jeff Foxworthy joke, you likely haven't been invited to a Hopson dinner party.

And the things he ridicules? Let's take a look:

He believes there should be no limits on stem cell research (which includes reproductive cloning), and that injecting ethics into the debate is tantamount to strangling a newborn.

He apparently thinks UW students shouldn't even have to consider having to pay for their own contraceptives, if they want to do the "bone dance" with Kurt in Daytona.

He thinks that there's nothing to see at the UW, everything's just fine. Please keep moving. Taxpayers are paying for the UW president's maid to have a lifetime backup job. Nothing to see here. Keep moving.

And what does he think the Legislature should be working on? School funding? Please, spare me. School funding has been studied time and time and time and time again by committee after worthless committee. It is addressed in each and every budget. Wisconsin has two options - spend more state money at the expense of things like medical assistance, or increase property taxes. Which does he favor? I'm sure he'd be thrilled with the Legislature's good use of time if they spent the next year on school funding and decided to cut aid by 20%. I'm positive he would think that was a good use of time.

His point about corrections says it all. He believes Wisconsin is too "enlightened" to have people in jail. Just wait for one of these felons to break into his house and "enlighten" him upside the head on the value of a good corrections system.

It's a sad state of affairs when the publisher of a newspaper has to come out of his cocoon to write such a putrid column. He owes everyone that read his column 3 minutes and 26 seconds of their lives back.

As a public service, I have provided a list of the 329 bills Hopson's paper can start covering if he thinks people are wasting too much time on the ones he doesn't like.

UPDATE: Future ex-State Senate candidate Pat Kreitlow takes exception to this post on his blog here. A couple of observations:

1. Still waiting on the Kreitlow school finance plan. Can't wait for his "creative" ways for you to pay more in taxes. I anxiously await the details. Maybe he can get some ideas from the governor's recent school financing study group that made virtually no recommendation other than to raise the sales tax. I guess Kreitlow thinks we need a new governor, since he doesn't seem to have any new ideas, either.

2. I assume his ridiculing of one minor bill means he is willing to make a pledge that he won't offer any of the crappy little local bills that you have to do to get re-elected? I look forward to drilling him anytime he introduces a bill that doesn't deal overhauling school funding.

3. If Kreitlow thinks I'm a mouthpiece for Republicans, he obviously doesn't read my blog very often. But if a state senate candidate in Eau Claire has enough time to mix it up with an anonymous blogger in Madison, good for him and the 40% of people that will vote for him.

4. Nice of him not to allow comments on his blog. Shows real guts. I hope that's not a harbinger of how he views constituent input.

DOUBLE SECRET UPDATE: Hopson's paper, the Wisconsin State Journal - and I'm not kidding - devotes a front page to discussing who would play Barry Alvarez in a movie version of his life. Waste of time, indeed.