In the previous post I marveled at the UW-Madison's ability to find jobs for out-of-work liberals. I noted that Louis Butler, twice unseated by the voters of Wisconsin after two gubernatorial appointments to the Supreme Court, got a nice gig at the Law School. Time to mention that Paul Soglin also sinks his jowls into the UW's feed trough.
If there is sifting and winnowing in Wisconsin, it will have to be done off campus.
Havana Paul, like most wobblies, is a practitioner of situational ethics, whereby the supposed strong-armed tactics of WMC may be loathed but the smash-mouth tactics of WEAC, the state teachers union, are lauded. (WEAC, btw, got there first.)
When Judith Faulkner, the Big Sister of Epic in Verona, threatens a secondary boycott of all vendors who might support WMC, Soglin revs up the spin machine in support.
Now it appears that Havana Paul was a mentor to John Wiley when, as UW-Madison chancellor, Wiley penned his turgid screed for the September Madison Magazine castigating WMC. The article, From Crossroads to Crisis, came out in late August while Wiley, inconveniently, was still chancellor. (The poor fellow had no concept of magazine publishing conventions.)
Wiley accused the 4,000-member WMC of being a partisan political lobbying organization. [BlaskaNote: shudder!]
This, combined with WMC's wealth and undeniable political influence and effectiveness, has made WMC the single biggest driver of our toxic political environment and, thus, the single biggest obstacle to the recovery of Wisconsin's economy.
The conservative Club For Growth, exercised numerous open records requests for relevant e-mail in order to get into the mind of the errant chancellor. It finds:
Wiley e-mailing Judith Faulkner of Epic, claming WMC is "killing public education (at all levels) in Wisconsin." Then he tells Faulkner to enjoy her trip to Ireland. Oddly, Wiley was responding to a request from Faulkner to provide specific examples of how WMC is "bad for education." In his response, he provides none.
Don't it seem like if there is a victim there ought to be a body?
Wiley also runs a draft of his column by the formerly relevant Paul Soglin, who put down his bong just long enough to respond with a meaningless story about how his father enjoyed the work of Bertrand Russell. Soglin then suggests some media outlets Wiley could send his column to in order to get better coverage. Not surprisingly, Soglin also works for the UW.
About finding a job for "Loophole Louie" (as Butler once described himself) shortly after Butler lost his seat to Mike Gableman ...
Wiley put the ball in motion before they even had a position for Butler. An e-mail on May 21st from Kenneth Davis of the UW-Madison Law School says:
"In trying to come up with a portfolio of responsibilities for Louis that would support a full-time salary, I thought …"
The Club for Growth deduces:
What you have here is two high-ranking officials essentially creating a position for Butler before any official duties actually exist. It's a "let's hire him, then figure out what he's going to do" situation.
Let's Examine the Record
Let us exhume Wiley's claim that the university has been laid low by the state's business organization [with a spoonful of reality inserted into brackets like this]:
For the last fifteen years of Wisconsin's declining fortunes, the candidates [WMC] has supported for elective office have been the very ones who, when elected, have concentrated their efforts on opposing stem cell research
[Yet, pioneer gene splitter Professor James Thompson remains a star faculty member at the University.]
and domestic partner benefits,
[Yet Biddy Martin, a professional feminist and acknowledged lesbian, came from Cornell University to take Wiley's job.]
... fussing over the definition of "marriage,"
[The number of states defining marriage as being between one man and one woman now totals 30 after the success of referenda in California, Arizona, and Florida. Wisconsin passed it two years ago with 60 percent of the vote.]
hauling universities before staged hearings to defend our efforts to prepare ethnic minority students for the workforce
[Wiley can't bring himself to use the term "affirmative action quotas."]
railing against the personal views of otherwise obscure instructors,
[Hey, you hired people like Kevin Barrett, the conspiracy nut who claims the United States attacked itself on 9/11. The university itself chose not to renew his teaching assignment after Barrett used his University of Wisconsin faculty standing to give credence to his unusual views. Or perhaps he was thinking of the speaking invitation UW-Whitewater extended to Ward Churchill, the faux native American who said America had it coming. The University of Colorado eventually cashiered this imposter for shoddy research.]
resisting any form of gun control
["any form?" We already have gun control. Even Barack Obama, supposedly, supports the right to bear arms and not just hunting rifles.]
proposing mandatory arming of teachers,
[Alright, a little extreme but a school district in - where else? - Texas does this. As U.S. News & World Report notes, "Since the shootings at Virginia Tech (not to mention Northern Illinois U. more recently), there has been a growing push to allow teachers and students on college campuses to carry firearms for protection."]
demanding the illegal summary firing of named state employees and proposing the elimination of the state's only public law school."
[I think the former is a reference to Kevin Barrett but it may have been a vice chancellor who was paid for doing nothing. Rep. Frank Lasee did propose yanking the taxpayer subsidy for the Law School. Given the state's current budget dilemma, is that such a bad idea? Why must you and I subsidize the teaching of lawyers who, by and large, earn a pretty good paycheck?]
WMC routinely opposes most measures favored by labor unions.
[Management and labor disagree? Gadzooks! And since when is Big Labor infallible?]
A bunch of bupkis
So, UW-Madison has been ground down by WMC and its Republican allies? Where is the evidence? I've already noted that stem cell guru James Thompson remains a luminary and that Biddy Martin crossed our threshold despite the lack of a gay marriage statute.
Now let's go to some dispassionate sources:
Business magazine Kiplinger's Personal Finance just this fall ranked the University of Wisconsin-Madison No. 14 out of 120 universities in a national ranking of the best values in American public universities.
Kiplinger.com analyzed records for over 120 universities while focusing on academic quality, overall cost and financial aid availability. The results showed UW-Madison ranked 14th in affordability for in-state students and 15th overall for non-resident students. UW-Madison is the highest-ranked Big Ten campus, followed by Michigan 26, Ohio State 27, and Indiana 40. (It was a helluva football game!)
The gold standard of college surveys remains U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges 2009, which ranks UW 35th out of 1,400 analyzed. That compares to Illinois at 40, Penn State 47, Ohio State 56, Minnesota 61, Iowa and Purdue 66, Indiana 71 and Michigan State 71. Only Northwestern at 12 and Michigan at 26 rank higher.
Is UW-Madison slipping? Not appreciably. In 2001, the campus ranked 32nd.
Think about it:
"Oddly, WMC has damaged the University of Wisconsin so much that they can hire former Supreme Court justices and pay them a large salary, without even giving him any real duties," the Club for Growth marvels.
Running from Healthy Wisconsin is healthy politics
In a previous blog I also queried why no outrage at the prior restraint of free speech by Judge Tom Lister who, at the behest of the Democrat(ic) Party of Wisconsin, blocked political advertising four days before an election that accused a Democrat of supporting the Senate Democrats' $15 billion Healthy Wisconsin socialized health care plan.
A UW Law student shows why he is an incipient success story:
the irony of the Democratic Party's course of action is splendid. The party is encouraging the state to take legal action to protect the reputations of its candidates - even though the only thing the candidates stand accused of is supporting the party's official policy platform!
On her website, (47th District Democratic candidate Trish) O'Neil adamantly denies support for the Healthy Wisconsin plan. Yet an ad run on her behalf by the Wisconsin Education Association Council criticizes Assembly Republicans for, among other things, striking down Healthy Wisconsin!
Did you see any commentary like this in the Wisconsin State Journal? (Certainly not The Capital Times blog.) The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, while decrying the assault on political speech, which should be the most protected speech of all, wondered where anyone got the idea that Healthy Wisconsin would serve illegal aliens. From the Legislature's own Legislative Council, is who.
- Hey, Soglin? Zweifel! Brenda? Nichols! Garvey? Lueders! Basford? Herr R-M! Franklyn Pangborn? Liberals! Do you still oppose corporate welfare? Then why aren't you speaking out against the bailout of General Motors? (So far, Garvey wants the bailout and Soglin would support it if the Big Three were run by Judith Faulker, John Wiley, or Louis Butler.)
- Marc Pocan, Assembly chair of the Joint Finance Committee, gets to wrestle with a $5 billion biennial deficit. As Mr. Burns would say, "Ex-cellent!"
- The Kathleen has lost Ellen Foley, her protector at the Wisconsin State Journal who left as editor to care for a desperately ill husband. (Good luck and wishes, there.) Saturday morning's editorial is evidence that their patience is exhausted. One courageous nonentity has declared his candidacy. See, it isn't so hard.