Friday, November 30, 2007
LSJ Q&A With Walberg
Bumped back to the top... Today's your last chance to get questions in! -- Fitzy
The Lansing State Journal's blog Capital Journal will be having a question-and-answer session with Congressman Tim Walberg. Says blogger and journalist Derek Wallbank:
I hope Walberg Watch readers will head on over and ask some good questions. I'll probably be asking one or two myself.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Schwarz Stem Cells Event
This has been reported elsewhere, but is worth mentioning here. Former Congressman and Doctor Joe Schwarz will be a guest speaker tomorrow, November 27th, on the topic of embryonic stem cell research.
The event will be hosted by the Livingston County Democratic Party.
Michigan’s restrictive laws block:Schwarz doing an event with Democrats? Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to his future electoral plans. As of an October interview with Jack Lessenberry on WGTE's "Deadline Now," he said he was still undecided.
For those that have forgotten, Congressman Tim Walberg is against embryonic stem cell research, which Dr. Schwarz supports.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Walberg's Staff and Gender Inequality
Over the next few days, I'd like to take a look at Congressman Walberg's staff. Thanks to an anonymous tip, I think there are some things worth looking at.
Before I begin, I just want to say I have nothing but respect and admiration for the people who work in a congressional office. Obviously, given their employer, Tim Walberg, I don't agree with their ideology, but these are hard-working people. They're being asked by us to help educate the congressman, solve all of our constituent problems, navigate the mess that is the federal bureaucracy, walk the fine line between politics and good government, and maintain high ethical standards. And, on top of all that, they've got to deal with phone calls from people who may seem a little bit crazy.
In other words, the staffers who work in Congressman Walberg's office really do a lot of hard work.
But what's it like to work in his office? Is it worth it? Are his staffers happy? You'd have to ask them. Are they fairly compensated? Well, that's actually something we can look at. As has been noted by others, staffers are probably underpaid, but in Walberg's office, some people are paid better than others.
As one more way that we can ensure openness in government, members of Congress report what they pay their staffers. I'm not interested in publicizing the financial data of ordinary folks trying to do their jobs, so I've removed names from the data I'm going to share. Instead, I'll give you only their pay level, job title, and gender.
Here's how Congressman Walberg's staff was paid during the first quarter of 2007, from January 01, 2007 to March 31, 2007.
(Female staffers, for further emphasis, are in bold, and the three leadership positions-- chief of staff, legislative director, and district director-- are in italics. "Shared Employees," who work for more than one member of Congress, have been removed.)
So, what does all of this mean? Here are the averages:
But that includes the three leadership positions I named above, all of whom make significantly more than the rest of the staff. With them removed, it looks more like this:
In other words, the ordinary male Walberg staffer made $1,693.23 more than the average female Walberg staffer.
In the second quarter, from April 01, 2007 to June 30, 2007, there were no personnel changes, but pay did change. Here's what it looked like:
And, the averages:
That's right, the gender gap got bigger. A male Walberg staffer (not including the chief of staff, legislative director, and district director) would have made $2,973.04 more than a female staffer in the second quarter, up from the $1,700 gap in the first quarter.
So does this mean Tim Walberg just likes to hire male staffers for the important and higher-paying positions? If so, that seems bad enough, but let's look at his Field Representatives.
So, the one male Field Representative who was making less than a female counterpart got a big bump in his pay during the second quarter, leaving the one female staffer making the least of all four.
UPDATE: In the comments, Jay pointed out something that I missed. On the website that I got this information from, the male Field Representative who got the big increase from the first quarter to the second quarter is listed as receiving that amount between March 01 and June 30, unlike everyone else, who's listed as April 01 to June 30. Obviously, this affects the averages and it's tough to say exactly how much he was paid for the second quarter only (not including March).
Still, I feel like the broader point remains: women in Walberg's office are generally doing the lower-paid jobs.
What does all of this mean? There really isn't enough data to do a serious statistical analysis (though, if someone wants to do a comparison to the House as a whole, that might be interesting), so I'm not going to claim there's a clear gender discrimination case here.
Here's what I can say:
I can't answer any of those questions. But you could ask Congressman Walberg.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Walberg and Fraudulent Lending
Our Congressman is featured in an Article at Time.com.
Walberg lived up to his conservative ideals — voting against a bill in the House that tightens restrictions against predatory lending. The measure, which garnered the support of 64 Republicans in passing 291-127The best part is this quote from Walberg.
When you make a law like this — politically posturing on the basis of probably no more than the 10 or 15% of the loans that were made were fraudulent and took advantage of people, and the rest were good — it moves away from necessity to pure political gotcha."The Congressman agrees that about 1 in 7 loans was fraudulent and took advantage of people. The amazing thing is that he does not seem to care about these people. How many are in the 7th district? Classic, when you don't have an argument just say the other side is politically posturing. If Walberg wont even stand up for those he admits were taken advantage of, what will he stand up for?
Even Joe Knollenberg voted for this bill.
I think that there are some things that could be done to further enhance and help these people.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Coming Up on Walberg Watch...
There has been a lot of Walberg-related news lately, and, sadly, I've covered none of it. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Congressman Walberg. Unfortunately, when my "real life" starts to get busier, blogging has to take a back seat to everything else.
I can't promise any updates this weekend, but hopefully, when I get a little time off around Thanksgiving, I can throw a few things together. Either that, or I'll fill up that time with relatives and catching up on some sleep. We shall see.
However, I can promise upcoming posts... eventually... on the following:
UPDATE: I thought I'd also mention: I've gotten a lot of e-mails from people over the last couple of weeks. I've read them all, honest, and am planning to respond, but if you're worried that I may have forgotten you, feel free to e-mail me again and again and again until I actually do respond.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Walberg: "Citizens of Maine should rise up against it"
Here's the quote:
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich) agreed, adding: "I think the freedom-minded, common sense-minded citizens of Maine should rise up against it."(Emphasis added.)
That's all I saw of the article when I did a Google News search on Congressman Walberg, and, needless to say, I was confused. Why does our representative want to start a revolt in Maine?
Sadly, it's not as exciting as it sounds, but it's still worth mentioning.
Remember the sudden controversy about the middle school in Portland, Maine that decided to add the birth control pill to the items which could be dispensed at the school health center? It sparked a debate over when it's appropriate to give birth control to minors, whether parents should be notified, and whether students engaging in consensual, under-age sex should be prosecuted.
The controversy seems to have died down a bit, though it's interesting to see that 67 percent of Americans polled support the concept of schools providing birth control, with differences among that 67 percent over parental notification. Still, this isn't a national issue, it was one school board in Maine, and, for the most part, it seems to have faded from the headlines.
That hasn't stopped the conservative CNSNews.com from trying to keep the issue alive, however, with their latest article about the controversy being published today. That's where I saw the Walberg quote, though the quote actually came from a previous article, published on October 19.
So, why, exactly, did Congressman Walberg say that Maine ought to "rise up against" birth control?
CNSNews.com asked several federal lawmakers (seven members of the Senate and one member of the House, Walberg) what they thought of the issue. Those that answered said, basically, "I don't know, why are you asking me? It's a local issue!" and some didn't bother to respond. Here are the other responses that they got:
Sen. Tom Coburn: (R-Okla.): "I think all of that should be decided in the states." (Listen to audio)Needless to say, Congressman Walberg had more to say. Here's the full quote that the "rise up against it" bit came from:
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich): "I hate to comment on other states, but the issue, I think it's inappropriate. I think that it steps in the way of parental responsibility and I think it also gives up - gives up in the sense that we've lost the battle for kids, following a plan that won't affect their lives in a negative way. And when you say you're going to be this way, so we're going to give you birth control and condoms and we're not going to talk about abstinence, it just doesn't work, we've given up. I think the freedom-minded, common sense-minded citizens of Maine, should rise up against it." (Listen to audio)So, he hates to comment on local issues which are really out of his control, but... he'll do it anyway.
I had a little trouble at first figuring out exactly what he was trying to say, but I think I've got it now. To Congressman Walberg, giving sexually-active teenagers birth control and condoms is "giving up" on them. We should be telling them that abstinence is the only way, rather than giving them the things that could make the lifestyle they've already chosen safer.
Really, from what I can get out of Walberg's comments, it's a moral issue, not a public health issue. It's a battle between morally superior men like Walberg and heathens like myself, who recognize that abstinence-only education doesn't work (here, here, and here, to give you a few of the many articles available).
When forming public health policy, who should we be listening to-- Tim Walberg, or doctors and people who actually know what they're talking about?
Of course, on another level, all of this is beside the point. Should Tim Walberg really be telling the people of Maine anything, let alone to "rise up against" smarter health policies? He's always reminding us about how terrible things are in Michigan, thanks to that "Democrat Governor" and the state legislature. You'd think he'd be spending less time worrying about Maine, and more time working for us.
But that's just me.
(UPDATE: Oops. I made a misquoted Walberg in the title at first, but have now fixed it.)
Monday, November 05, 2007
Roll Call: MI-07 Is A Toss-Up
I can't find a link (if anyone else can, let me know), but I got this in an e-mail today. From the newspaper Roll Call's rankings of congressional races:
A year out from the election, it's already listed as a toss-up. That's extraordinary. Schauer's strength in fundraising and Walberg's apparent weakness has already caught the attention of the national press.
The article then brings up something that's on everyone's mind:
And one other wild card still remains: Will Schwarz and Walberg face each other in a third Republican primary? Schwarz hasn’t ruled out running again just yet, though some close to him say he likely won’t go for it.Or will Schwarz run as an independent or a Democrat? So many possibilities!
Once again, it's going to be an exciting year!
"The Walberg Brigade"?
Every so often, I feel compelled to mention the blogging of Joe Sylvester at the "Michigan Conservative Dossier." I really don't know why...
But the latest may lead to some extra pro-Walberg comments at websites like this one. Apparently, Joe is upset that a lot of folks that post on the internet criticize Congressman Tim Walberg, and wants to do something about it.
Every single day I get Google alerts with blogs and media outlets savaging Congressman Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) and I have decided enough is enough. The conservative voice needs to be heard!Joe wants to call his volunteers "the Walberg Brigade." To pro-Walberg volunteers coming here, I say, welcome! Before you comment, please try to be civil. I don't engage in vulgar personal attacks here against Congressman Walberg or other Republicans, and I hope you'll be kind enough to show Democrats the same respect.
That said, I don't moderate or delete comments except under extreme circumstances (unlike certain conservative blogs, where comments have to be pre-approved), so feel free to say whatever you'd like.
Walberg Brigade, welcome to Walberg Watch!
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