It seems most journalists and political operatives have not been able to understand the concern of many citizens about the behavior of Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler ("In Defense of Annette Ziegler," 1/4/08).
There is no excuse for her not understanding the importance of the perception of impartiality in justice. She was trained as a lawyer, practiced law and sat on the bench. She is not a neophyte who can claim ignorance. This is what makes her behavior unacceptable. This is what makes her tardy admissions of improper behavior lame.
As a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, she has agreed to sit on a case in which Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which campaigned for her election, is a party. It matters not whether there is a conflict of interest in the legal sense. It only matters that there is a perception of a favor due from Ziegler to the WMC. She should not participate in this case.
Bill Lueders' "In Defense of Annette Ziegler" was really no defense whatsoever. What is most regrettable is Lueders' decision to minimize such unethical behavior as being due more to a societal flaw than to a personality flaw in Judge Ziegler. Simply by conceding Ziegler's attitude as being "a tad imperious" in no way sufficiently describes the serious nature of her misconduct.
William R. Benedict
Bill Lueders: As a lawyer with 25 years of experience, I write to thank you for your restrained viewpoint. I did not vote for Justice Ziegler, but I've been dismayed by the clamor for her resignation and punishment.
It is profoundly undemocratic to demand the resignation of a person who was overwhelmingly elected by the voters. They knew about the conflict-of-interest allegations made against her, but decided to elect her anyway. I'm willing to accept the will of the majority, even though it is contrary to my own choice.
Awww, c'mon, Bill! Ziegler's not corrupt? Her behavior suggests the old Ronald Reagan conundrum: Is he evil or just stupid? Either one disqualified him to be president.
It's the same with Ziegler. Is she corrupt or just ignorant of everything they taught her in first-year law school? Either answer disqualifies her from sitting on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
You seem to argue that she's not corrupt because she's part of a political system that requires candidates to have gobs of money to be elected. If that's the case, then no politician is ever guilty of anything in a system where the norm is for everything to be bought and sold.
Forty-five years ago when I moved here from Oklahoma by way of Mississippi, liberal types in my family still looked up to Wisconsin as a model of clean progressive politics.
Wisconsin was still a model state in those days.
Ted Voth Jr.
I suppose that end-of-the-year "cheap shots" and editorials have become accepted - perhaps even expected - as a societal norm. I must take exception, however, to your naming of Jim Woodward as "Self-Aggrandizer of the Year" ("The End of Optimism," 12/28/07).
Your conclusion is both unwarranted and erroneous. Meriter is a community-based hospital that provides excellent service to Madison. Mr. Woodward is indeed its CEO and a critical component of its operation.
For me, the Meriter commercials convey a very clear message: Meriter is here to provide the Madison community with proficient and professional health care. And Jim Woodward is here to make Meriter the best it can be.
David Brandner, RN Meriter Hospital
Frank Ryan's writes (Letters, 12/28/07) that your use of the word "psycho" in your Ed Gein story ("Our Psycho," 11/30/07) "doesn't describe serious mental illness accurately or fairly." That's sort of the point, isn't it? Maybe he's forgetting that the movie Psycho was based loosely on Gein.
The word "psycho" is not a slur or even a description. It is the title of a movie based on a man who was psychotic.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder or other brain disorders aren't the ones being called psychos, so let's just tuck our emotions back in and realize that sometimes a word is just a word, or in this case the title of a movie.
Leigh Pierce, Edgerton