Ok, talk about whatever you want.

It’s a snow day for Elmbrook. Imagine that. A whole day decided all at once. (The youngest is reportedly not pleased as she’s studied up for three tests that will now be taken the day after the return from Christmas break.)

I won’t rub it it, but I’m not participating in today’s snow festivities.

Happy Friday everyone. Make hot chocolate, wrap those gifts, enjoy an extra day with your kids. (Hug ’em if you’ve got ’em.)

Special message to one Brookfield woman – if you make it in for chemo today, I hope it’s an easy session. I keep praying.



  1. No snow here either! Had coffee and breakfast on our balcony… heading to the patio of the brewpub for lunch in a little bit… not looking forward to the flight back to MKE on Tuesday!

  2. Thank you.

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    In Ohio, Helen Jones-Kelley has resigned her State position. She is the person who looked into the records of Joe the Plumber and passed them on resulting in their being made public. Two other employees were fired. Apparently they allowed Jones-Kelley to quit.
    How can what she did not be a crime?

  4. I haven’t heard what she did. In Wisconsin, things like licenses and taxes (some kinds anyway) are public records. Anybody with the inclination can look them up. That doesn’t mean public officials should be looking to ‘out’ private citizens. Getting fired sounds appropriate.

  5. I personally do not understand why her accessing the records was wrong. As Kathryn indicates, much of that information is available in Wisconsin to the general public. What concerns me, and is more wrong, is the fact that Ms. Jones-Kelley used her work e-mail for supporting the President-Elect. That is wrong, and she should have known better.

  6. Yes and no. We’d have to see the details, but if I remember correctly, there were some records that were not public. For instance, I can’t get to Wisconsin DMV details.

    Yet again, details count.

  7. I remember a bunch of people who snooped into Obama’s Passport records etc.

    Where was the outcry then?

    Heck ya this lady should have gotten fired–but I wonder if she wasn’t acting as a sort of public whistleblower.

  8. Randy in Richmond says:

    What she did was search public and criminal computer files on Joe the Plumber. When it was traced to her she said it was her Department’s policy to check the files of people in the news to see if they owed any child support. When pressed to name any other similar searches she was unable to provide any. While looking into this allegation it was found she had apparently used State computers and email accounts to raise political funds for Barack Obama–which is illegal (As RWC points out). The Governor of Ohio suspended her and she subsequently resigned.
    So some of you think it’s okay for a partisan Department Head (she had already donated the max to Obama) to sit in her state office and search the public computers on state time to try and find dirt on someone who simply asked a candidate a question. I find that quite scary, not politically, but as an American citizen. But you in Wisconsin allow much more ‘daylight’ into your lives then we do in Virginia, as with only your name or your address I can determine what elections you voted in, where you voted, when you registered, and more.
    As to the passport snooping there was a considerable outcry at the time–but it quickly dissipated when it was discovered that Senators McCain and Clinton had experienced the same searches.

  9. “…to sit in her state office and search the public computers on state time to try and find dirt on someone who simply asked a candidate a question.”

    Read it again, please, Randy. No one said that was ok. I think everyone basically agrees with you on this one. The question of criminality is, as Cindy noted, in the details.

  10. I’m going to generally echo everyone’s comments here. The details, which we don’t know, would clearly address the extent to which what she did was wrong.

    Everyone seems to agree that the campaigning on government e-mail is prohibited. (We’ve had more than our share of news features about that here in Wisconsin.)

    On accessing the information, we don’t know, and that is what I question. As an FYI, one can get DOT information for anyone in the USA, provided you subscribe to a service offering such information.

    As for a government employee using government computers to research personal information about a private individual for the government employee’s personal use, we would need to know more before forming an opinion. The question that I don’t know, and that I have not seen anyone answer is: (1) what is the employer’s policy for accessing the information that she accessed, and (2) what is the penalty if that policy was broken?

    Again, my position is that the e-mails were wrong. I just don’t know how wrong her accessing of the information was, nor do I know how her punishment fit with that which the traditional person who would access this information without authorization would receive.

    I am off to go Christmas shopping. Arrrr.

  11. Randy in Richmond says:

    My problem with this story has always been motive and in a situation like this it is difficult to ascertain. If one uses the explanation given by Jones-Kelley herself it sounds somewhat believable until you look deeper. Many of you say the records are public but from what I can find child support payments and their history are a private court matter yet this is one of the primary reasons given by Jones-Kelley for accessing Joe’s records. A newspaper article quotes the state as saying Joe’s information was “confidential”. I suspect Plumber Joe will take civil action against the state and this process will reveal much more detail-if the state doesn’t settle. Also I believe that is why Jones-Kelley was asked to resign. It will not surprise me if she doesn’t end up with a federal job in the future.
    Here is the story in the Columbus Dispatch. It is enlighting.


  12. My question isn’t motive–to me it’s clear she was trying to find out if Joe the Plumber was ‘dirty.’ Now i’m not saying that is justifiable or correct.

    Also, is this the same lady who outed his back taxes etc? Or was that someone else?