Thank you for the cover story exposing Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce as the state's No. 1 threat to democratic principles ("Bad for Business?," 5/23/08). WMC also has the dubious distinction of being the No. 1 threat to the mental health of many of our citizens.
For years, WMC has been the roadblock to insurance fairness for people with serious and persistent mental health issues. The lobby group, a major donor to election campaigns, has consistently convinced a majority of Republicans in the Legislature to vote against insurance parity for mental illness, the only biological illness discriminated against for insurance purposes.
Once-progressive Wisconsin is now one of only eight states without such insurance help for its citizens. Many thousands of Wisconsinites have been hurt gravely by WMC. And in many cases, the public ends up having to pay for such mental health care through their taxes.
One in five Wisconsin families is affected by mental health issues. It's a pressing public health problem, and WMC and the legislators it influences aren't helping the situation.
Maybe it's time to start a boycott action against the business members who fund WMC.
Frank Ryan, former president, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - Wisconsin, Middleton
Erik Gunn's article on WMC notes: "Soglin believes much of the money comes from shadowy national groups seeking to remake the nation's courts along right-wing lines."
Anyone who doubts Soglin's take should read John Grisham's most recent book, The Appeal. The real-life strategy to achieve this right-wing realignment is vividly portrayed in this fictionalized account of a state's Supreme Court race. As Jeffrey Toobin has pointed out in his book The Nine, if the right wing can't change the legislated, court-tested issues, "change the judges!"
WMC is succeeding in doing just that.
Richard L. Wiringa, Middleton
WMC has its priorities mixed up. The group cares more about the conservative agenda than the state's best interests. By buying elections and flouting campaign finance laws, it helped Michael Gableman get elected to the state Supreme Court.
I wish to thank Isthmus for the excellent article on WMC and how destructive this group is to efforts to promote Wisconsin as a good place to do business. My own experiences date back to the early '80s, when we were trying to restart the New Glarus Industrial Development Corporation, a nonprofit set up to attract new businesses to New Glarus. The economy was in the crapper (the good old days of Reagan), and our single biggest problem was WMC's constant screaming about how bad a place Wisconsin was to do business. Hardly a week went by when there wasn't yet another let's-beat-the-snot-out-of-Wisconsin diatribe by then-WMC director Paul Hassett. As detrimental to Wisconsin as WMC was over two decades ago, today's WMC is much worse.
Kim Tschudy, New Glarus
I enjoyed Rick Berg's column on Robert Kennedy; he came close to expressing how I've felt for 40 years ("Remembering RFK," 5/30/08).
I was only 15 in 1968 but that was the year I lost my innocence. I was the only one in my circle of friends who understood what we lost when Bobby was assassinated. I have wondered ever since what our county would have become if only Bobby and Martin had lived.
So, thank you, Rick, for your eloquent column.
Mary Robbins, Cottage Grove