Friday, August 29, 2008

A Brilliant Choice

By now everyone knows that Republican presumptive nominee for president, John McCain, has tabbed Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Kudos!

For those, like me, not thrilled with the choices we have, this is a breath of fresh air. Ms. Palin has a history of cleaning up corruption. Even among members of her own party! Can you say "No more business as usual."

There i also a chess game going on here. This game is made possible because Barak Obama, for all the spit and polish of his charisma and rhetorical skills, is a weak candidate. He will find it harder to attack Mr. McCain. Seven house hath McCain? Oops, seems he might have received a beneficial "loan" from a now-convicted felon. Hillary made shards of the glass ceiling; Sarah broke through. While Mr. Obama waffles and hems and haws on abortion and whether determining the start of life is at his pay grade, Ms. Palin is steadfastly pro-life. And this isn't a belief made in the abstract. WIthin the last year she gave birth to a son with Down syndrome. Isn't this a reason liberals tell us abortion should remain legal.

Now, this Iraq war, which we're winning, by the way. So, you want Republican leaders to put their sons and daughters on the line? Ms. Palin's son just enlisted in the Army. Soon he'll be Baghdad-bound--maybe. We'll see if he might now be re-directed (a la Prince Andrew of Britian).

Ms. Palin also come from the state that contains ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge). See, that didn't get past me. I recognized there was something similar to this Alaska business. Anyway Ms.Palin lives in Alaska and agrees with "drill here, drill now, pay less."

It was also amazing that Democrats (especially among the Obama camp) come out and say that Sarah Palin is too raw for the job should, heaven forbid, something happen to John McCain. Oops, problem. Obama has even less experience that Palin. In fact, Sarah Palin headed Alaska the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, was mayor of Wasilla, AK (so it has less than 9000 people. Has Obama led any entity that large?), and governor of Alaska. And she was a reformer. She also ran a commercial fishing operation. Come to think of it, has Obama run a business of any kind? Any?

I am reminded of another crusading and reforming politician at the turn of the last century. Teddy Roosevelt was a young, crusading governor of New York. He was so effective the New York machine pushed for him to be the lesser of the Republican ticket. Problem. McKinley was killed by an assassin in Buffalo, NY (only a coincidence) and Teddy became the youngest president. Seems he did a good job, no? Fit as a bull moose. I'm sure Sarah Palin is as fit as the caribou she hunts.

Oh, yes, she embraces the Second Amendment as it was meant by the authors of the Constitution.

I believe John McCann made a wise choice for vice president. The GOP ticket is stronger. Wasn't this suppose to be the year the Dems retook the White House? Maybe next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is Wal*Mart (Walmart*?) Evil?

You may have noticed that Wal*Mart--or Walmart*--has changed its logo. Not a bad logo.

I’m not sure about the hatred against Wal*Mart. Often Wal*Mart is the only company to take a blighted property and clean it up. Sounds good for the tax base and the environment.

If local shops close because of Wal*Mart, likely the shops were struggling before Wal*Mart came. In Mukwonago, Wisconsin, the Wal*Mart SuperCenter (WMSC) is blamed for the closing of a local grocer. But I was in that grocery store months before the WMSC opened and walking through the produce section I was mortified to find browning and wilting produce. Hey, that store didn’t take care of its business when it had a chance.

The Pick ‘N Save in Burlington, Wisconsin, went on the attack. The owner would buy produce at the WMSC in Burlington and display it next to his produce to show his customers the higher quality he had. Makes sense. If Wal*Mart dictates what it pays for your produce, you’ll keep the best for a better price you can get for it. (Most farmers bring produce in when its ordered, so Wal*Mart or Pick ‘N Save, et. al., aren’t in the fields or farms actually choosing.)

The Chicago Tribune has been reporting that Chicago city politicians are likewise against Wal*Mart—to the detriment of the poor! In fact the Trib has a term, “food desert,” I believe, to describe areas where people have to travel more than an hour to get fresh produce and other staples in life. It is, in the Trib’s eyes, a public health issue. Wal*Mart would serve those blighted areas—if the politicians didn’t have their noses out of joint. (,0,3508291.story)

I think it’s ludicrous for Cudahy, Wisconsin, especially the mayor, to oppose Wal*Mart given the entirety of the development proposed. I guess they would rather have an empty field to serve as a reminder of their failure with a failed project called the IcePort.

If aesthetics were an issue, check out the Wal*Mart in Pewaukee on Capitol Drive. One would never know that there is a Wal*Mart there as it blends in architecturally with the development on the east side of Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Obama sure walks the talk",0,4769571.column

On a somewhat weekly basis, Garrison Keillor writes a column in the Chicago Tribune. Personally, I prefer his columns that speak on cultural and social issues or that poke at human foibles such as he does on his Prairie Home Companion radio show. When he writes on politics, often his views comes through not as an uninvolved bystander but he gets involved with his subject. I doubt he recognizes the legitimacy of the George W. Bush presidency as he refers to the “Current Occupant.”

In the column linked to above he contrasts W. with Barack Obama. Basically, he likes how Obama speaks. He is less than impressed with the speaking of “the Current Occupant.” Of course this neglects the fact that President Bush has been elected president twice and his speaking wasn’t an issue. Nor does it recognize that Al Gore and John Kerry are not exactly rhetorical wizards, either. I actually keep tapes of speeches by Mssrs. Gore and Kerry for those evenings I suffer from insomnia.

Now, the style of speaking is one thing. But what about substance? In Mr. Keillor’s column you will notice praise for Obama’s speaking style. There is no mention of Obama’s actual message, which is, what, exactly? “Change.” OK, what will he change and how will he change it? What is the substance of change? A new “Occupant” in the White House? Well, that will happen regardless. A person can only serve two terms. Beyond that, no one knows what change Obama has in mind.

Let’s put it another way. If a pastor has outstanding rhetorical skills, but the members of that church go home and beat their wives and children, cheat from the poor, steal from the neighbors, and cheat on their spouses, then that pastor is not an effective preacher. He is just a good speaker.

What many also forget is that Adolph Hitler was likewise a spellbinding speaker. Mr. Keillor, are you sure you still want to place that great an emphasis on speaking skills?

Speaking is something the president does. But it is not the only thing. A president needs to see the big picture, to see how things work and interact, to recognize the dynamism of life and not get caught up in details assuming a static picture. Events change. A president needs to have a compass to guide his or her decisions and the courage to stick with those decisions. A little humility and flexibility to change if things don’t work out helps as well.

Finally, who does Mr. Keillor see on the Fall ballot? He contrasts Obama with the “Current Occupant.” The problem is, the “Current Occupant” is not on the ballot. Obama is running against Senator McCain. Perhaps Senator Obama’s path to glorious history is made more certain if he could run against George W. Bush, but Mr. Bush will not and cannot be on the ballot.

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's so Unfair?

The above link is to an AP piece, published in Monday, May 12 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, entitled “Rebate excludes many taxpayers with foreign spouses.” Of course the refrain “It’s not fair” rings out. I suppose it’s a good story to highlight the meanness and viciousness of American immigration policies. Or that some deserving people aren’t getting “rebates” because of a technicality.

Well, here are some other things “unfair” about the economic stimulus checks:
1. Anyone making TOO much gets smaller checks—or no check at all. That’s not fair!
2. Anyone without any tax liability (i.e., did not have to pay in or received all withholding back) DO get a check.

Not sure then that we can call these “rebates” when those who pay the most get nothing and those who pay nothing get the most. That’s also unfair.

But the AP article does not highlight these other inequities.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting out the Vote?

The following was a “Letter to the Editor” in the 7 March 2000 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:


Is the goal to keep people from voting?

I get really upset when I read about how we need to tighten laws concerning voting. So many people seem to want to make it more difficult to vote. They feel that people could be voting more than once or that someone is voting who shouldn't be. So what?

We need to worry about the 65% - or more - of our population that isn't voting. We need to make it easier to vote: Same-day registration is a must. We need to allow more than one day for voting and perhaps consider voting by phone or computer. If we get 80% or more voting, one or two voting in error are inconsequential.

We also need to be assured that our votes are being accurately counted - having a paper trail and uniform voting practices. A democracy requires trust in our elective processes.

A democracy requires no fear or confusion about voting. The alternative? The fear of someone voting who "shouldn't"? Perhaps those who want to make it harder to vote fear someone who is homeless voting. Or someone who has less education. Maybe we should only allow college graduates to vote. Maybe if people earn more than $100,000, they should be able to vote twice.

To have a democracy, we need to encourage all to vote and to feel a part of this country, not a forgotten disenfranchised minority.

Kathleen Ulbricht, Franklin

I wonder if this wasn't a high school student writing this letter. It reads like a piece cobbled together with "talking points" against Voter ID, which when put together reveals either the hypocrisy or naivete of the opponents of voter ID. There are also inconsistencies and contradictions.

Kathleen writes:

We need to make it easier to vote: Same-day registration is a must. We need to allow more than one day for voting and perhaps consider voting by phone or computer.
Then later says:

We also need to be assured that our votes are being accurately counted - having a paper trail and uniform voting practices.
Pray tell, how do we get a "paper trail" from voting on the phone or on-line? How do we ensure people don't vote TWICE on-line? Oh, wait, that's "inconsequential." Better to get the numbers up than to have a valid, fair, and responsible voting process.

Oh, wait, the goal is to get that percentage of voters voting up? Well, how about if I come back just before the polls close, look up which of my neighbors haven't voted, and vote for them? Doesn't matter, right? I'm sure my neighbor is all for me voting for a Republican on his/her behalf.

Kathleen, here's a thought. Why didn't Al Gore want the military vote counted in 2000? The goal is that everyone gets a vote, right? Of course liberals like "do-overs"--Floridians claim they mistakenly voted for a candidate other than Al Gore so we study all those chads to divine "intent." The Democratic Party warned states they would lose delegates if they didn't adhere to the primary schedule--but now they want a "do-over" of the Michigan and Florida primaries (at tax-payer expense, no less).

And why is the "anti-tobacco" party passing out cigarettes for votes anyway?

But we know liberal Democrats do not want fair and free elections and honest voting. They want votes that go their way. Notice how Hillary is trying the rig the system? And what is all that "super-delegate" garbage anyway? And how does an undergraduate at Marquette become a super-delegate?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dumbing of America?

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post a co-worker forwarded to me. It makes the argument that Americans are losing out by not reading more.

Of course the Washington Post being a print media the author looks at the decline of reading printed materials as a sign of declining intellectualism. But if reading as measured by books, newspapers, and magazines is an indication of such an erosion, why are there still a plethora of books being published? Someone has time to research and write these things even if publishing books and selling books are two separate matters.

The author did offer this “nugget:”

This is the last subject that any candidate would dare raise on the long and
winding road to the White
. It is almost impossible to talk about the manner in which public
ignorance contributes to grave national problems without being labeled an
"elitist," one of the most powerful pejoratives that can be applied to anyone
aspiring to high office. Instead, our politicians repeatedly assure Americans
that they are just "folks," a patronizing term that you will search for in vain
in important presidential speeches before 1980. (Just imagine: "We here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain . . . and that government of
the folks, by the folks, for the folks, shall not perish from the earth.") Such
exaltations of ordinariness are among the distinguishing traits of
anti-intellectualism in any era.

I wonder why the year 1980 was chosen? Seems somewhat arbitrary. I scanned the article again, thinking maybe the author contrasted 1980 with 2000 to get a 20-year gauge. Nope, the author contrasts 1982 with “two decades later” (can I assume 2002? Or are the figures more recent than that?).

I might have chosen 1976 for a president that sought to be “one” with the common people. President Carter often wore sweaters sans tie in radio and informal TV talks (he sought to recreate the “fireside chats” on TV as FDR did on radio). He sought to portray himself and his presidency as folksy, homey, and down-to-earth.

President Reagan, meanwhile, elected in 1980, sought to elevate the office once again. He dress up for formal dinners and sought to bring dignity and class back to the Executive Mansion.

What is interesting is a contrast in presidencies in World War II and today. Franklin Roosevelt in his fire side chats urged Americans to get out their maps as he traced the battle plans and supply lines in the Pacific. He felt if the American people understood the enormity of the scope of battle, they would be willing to accept bad news.

I doubt that would happen today. Reagan often bypassed the media and spoke in such terms to the American people. But few other presidents have.

And many Democrats today offer sound bites and fan the flames of bad news to stoke the American people to hate the Iraq War, maybe even Afghanistan (but not a peep about Bill Clinton’s war still going on in Kosovo). And herein lies a dilemma. If Americans actually did read at the rate they allegedly did in 1982, the Democrats lose in a landslide.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I was wondering...

If healthcare is nationalized, will the medical professionals be considered government employees and the hospitals government entities? Can the government be sued? In essence, will lawyers be able to sue doctors and hospitals? If not, why would a lawyer like Hillary (or John "Breck-girl" Edwards) want to support such a measure?

I was struck by the Obama ad I heard recently--he turned down a Wall Street job to work with laid-off workers? I'm sorry, but wouldn't a Wall Street job have helped him understand basic business and commerce and how things works and capital is used to create jobs? Bad choice, in my book.

Last week in interviews Barack and Hillary both spoke of "green collar" jobs to help the inner city. Say what? Sounds like an expansion of the shell game we have now, where any public project must employ a certain number of contracts with women- and minority-owned firms. Has THAT policy had any effect on inner city unemployment? Let the free market work out the energy and ecological policies. We see even GE has jumped into the "green" movement because of popular opinion absent any government program (well, US gov't program anyway). It was the free market that chose gasoline engines over electric and steam in the early 1900's.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Daytona win for Dodge

In fact, six of the top eight finishers drove a Dodge.

The other two? Joe Gibbs Toyotas.

A changing of the NASCAR guard? And if I drive a Jeep instead of a Dodge now, can I still cheer for Dodges?

Sadly, Rockwell Automation won't sponsor a Nationwide (nee Busch) series car. My son will miss watching for "grandpa's car" on Saturdays. Grandpa Al worked at Rockwell (nee Allen-Bradley) before he retired.

Spring Training starts....

Catchers and pitchers report, then the regular players. Soon, Spring training games, then the regular season.

Summer must be coming soon! Not too soon here in Milwaukee...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

About Corporate Profits...

The debate on corporate profits needs another angle.

Check your 401(k). What investments does it have? It will likely take some digging because of mutual funds and what-not that make it difficult to determine what exactly you have invested potential retirement monies in.

But I'm guessing stocks are a part of the mix.

And stocks benefit us with dividends (when the company is profitable and they offer dividends), higher stock prices (which helps the value of our 401(k)'s go up), and jobs if there is enough profit and volume to take that risk.

Taxing profits of a corporation affects workers, 401(k) plans, mutual funds, and stock investors. That's you and me, buddy. Nancy Pelosi is in effect taking money away from you and I and gussying it up with flowery class-envy/class-warfare rhetoric.

And she must be stopped.

Besides, on a gallon of gas, the federal government and the state government "profit" more than the oil companies do. In Wiscoinsin right now is a bill pending that would mandate ethanol use in our gasoline--beginning at 10% and going up to 25% over the years. Now, should the ethanol companies start making obsene profits (per mandate if the ethanol bill goes through) and we pay higher fuel prices, will the government turn on the ethanol makers as well?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Well, today the Potomac River area primaries for Democrats are being staged. This appelation comes because the three areas holding primaries are Maryland, Virginia, and DC--all sharing the Potomac River. Thus they are being called the "Potomac primaries." I prefer to call the area "Potomia."

Let's hope the results don't make this the "ptomaine primaries"...

Evolution, Christianity, and Islam

A reader early in this blog's history posted this intriguing thought:

Have enjoyed your posts on Liftalk. Now your blog promises to be a good read also. Not directly related to the Ten Commandment issue but just today I was reading about the continuing debate over whether to teach evolution or not. The author (Chuck Colson?) pointed out that Muslims would wish to teach a creation. People wanting to teach evolution were careful not to offend Muslims but if it was a Christian that wanted to teach creation then it doesn't matter what is said about them.
I wonder, since Christians are left with few rights in this nation, what would the government do if Muslims protested and insisted that their children be taught only creationism in the public schools? Our government seems to bend over backward for any other minority, as well as capitulate when Muslims protest anything in this country. This would make an interesting debate if it ever came up.

A Toast with Champaigne

I'm sure several football journalist/pundits and a bulk of New England might get mad at me.

But I'm raising a glass of champaigne in honor of the one and only perfect season in NFL history. Yes, my beloved Marine Mammals from Miami, the Aquamarine & Tangerine. You earned the right to be proud, '72 Dolphins!

OK, so they didn't play a "tough" schedule. A team still has to play the teams on the schedule. The fact remains, NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER ACCOMPLISHED THIS FEAT!

Miami also performed this feat with the starting quarterback injured for two-thirds of the year. Yes, that's right, the starting QB was out for most of the year. No other team has gone unbeaten even with a starting QB starting every game.

Plus they played the conference championship game in Pittsburgh, NOT Miami. Funny rule about the playoffs and hosting back then.

The Pimping of Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton: Funny how when Bill was in office the Clintons said she was off-limits to the press. Try getting the same treatment for the Bush girls. But now mommy is in trouble and suddenly they pimp Chelsea to help her old lady (and not very well, I might add. It seems like she's reciting a script and lacks emotion and/or enthusiasm). Then Hill gets mad when allegedly someone from MSNBC calls her out on it. Yes, this is a HilBilly campaign!

Funny thing about ethanol ...

Funny thing about ethanol is that it wrecks outboard motors, snowmobiles, chainsaws, snowblowers, lawn mowers, et. al.

Then I remembered that it is the liberals who want ethanol. And liberals don't care about motor boats, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, and snowblowers. To them these are playthings of "the rich" who need to have compassion on "the poor" and besides "the rich" shouldn't be harming our environment with these things anyway.

And the Wisconsin ethanol mandate would help the "poor" farmers. Anyone ever thought they'd see the day Archer-Daniels-Midland would be considered a "poor" farmer?

Michelle Barack Visits Ma Ficher's in BrewTown

TUESDAY, Feb. 12, 2008, 3:24 p.m.By Erica Perez
Michelle Obama talks on work-life balance
Michelle Obama chatted this afternoon with a handful of women about the work-life balance at the east side diner Ma Fischer's, emphasizing her husband's focus on closing the gap between the "lucky few" and "ordinary people."Her stop was one of a round of visits here today with one week left until Wisconsin's presidential primaries. She will head to Sheboygan and De Pere later this afternoon.Obama spent an hour listening to stories at a table with six hand-picked women. Most were active supporters of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, but one was undecided until today. They are all working women with families who are friends and family members of campaign volunteers, spokeswoman Katherine Lyons said.Obama shared her own struggles with balancing children and work and, now, campaigning."I can barely sleep at night," she said. "I'm still worrying about whether I'm doing it right."Laura Manriquez, a local community organizer, told Obama how she had once been on welfare but had since managed to become a nurse at an assisted-living facility, all while raising six children between the ages of 11 and 23 on her own. "As a single mom, I can appreciate everything you're saying," Manriquez said.The women talked about how tough it is to strike a balance between work and family, including the difficulty of affording quality child care, the high cost of feeding kids healthy foods and the challenge of being a single mom and sole provider.Obama, in turn, talked about personal financial difficulties, saying it would be interesting to see a president who finally paid off his educational debt in the past three years because he worked in community organizing. "Our (combined student) loan payments were more than our mortgage on our first condominium," Obama said. "We were paying that debt off until Barack wrote two bestselling books..."It was like, how are you going to run for president? We're broke!" she said, getting a laugh from the women at the table.Heidi Maistelman, who lives in Glendale and is a music teacher at Milwaukee Jewish Day School, said she was chosen for the panel because she was undecided. Now, though, "I think the scale has been tipped," she said."I love the idea of a woman being in a position of power, but I think we need a fresh face, a fresh vision," she said. Barack Obama is scheduled to hold a rally tonight at the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. On Wednesday, he has plans to visit Janesville, Waukesha and Racine.

It's always nice to see your town as the epicenter of a presidential race. Well, in this case it's the Democratic primary. Add to that the fact I've eaten a dozen or so meals at Ma Fisher's, well, you know how that goes.

It seems Mrs. Obama energized the "hand-picked" group of six. How convenient!

She also spoke of paying off school debt because Barack was in "community organizing." I'll take that to mean he worked mainly volunteer or low-paying beauracratic positions. Many of us don't have that luxury.

ANother luxury many of us don't have is the bail-out from a best-selling book. In America once you are a celebrity you can get your work published much easier than if you are an unknown writer. It doesn't matter how good a writer you are. Again, as a writer it's a craft I work at but I cannot pay off my student loans with the good graces Barack received.

Is that why Barack believes the "haves" should be robbed to give to "have-nots?"

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Do We REALLY Want Change?

A new AP/Yahoo poll found Americans want change.

Really? You must be joking.

Pert constitutional amendment the occupant of the White House will change. So, change is inevitable.

But as of now the front-runners are senators, who have been part and parcel of the scene in Washington for some time now.

Meanwhile, former governors are lagging or have dropped out. Even Mayor Rudy Guiliani is dropping out.

Maybe the "change" is to elect a senator rather than a governor this time around.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Go ahead, root for the Patriots...

But I want to defend my SoFla team (even though I'm from deep in Packer country--born and raised in Appleton, WI, which used to grow baby White Sox and the city which bears a suburb named Green Bay).

First off, no one really heard anyone from the 1972 team talk that publicly about their feat, until this year. Yes, there were reports of a botle of champaign being opened when the last unbeaten each year lost (although there is some fuzziness if this happened in 1984 when the Dolphins were the last team to lose its first game that year).

Now, down to brass tacks.

If Tom Brady goes out for, say, 3-4 games, would the Pats be unbeaten?

In 1972 Miami's starting QB missed 2/3 of the season and the Dolphins were led by the aging Earl Morrall. Didn't miss a beat. Stayed unbeaten.

The Patriots also get to play their conference championship game at home. The 1972 Dolphins? Well, the NFL had this silly rule that divisions rotated hosting the conference championship back then. So, despite have the best record in the NFL that year the Dolphins played the conference championship--in Pittsburgh! Stayed unbeaten.

It could be argued the '72 Dolphins were one-dimensional. They were the first team to have 2 1000 yard rushers (a third had almost 700 yards for the year). I may be mistaken, but they may still have the league record for team rushing yards. And was it SBVII (SB7) where QB Bob Griese threw only 7 passes? Well, he was just getting back from that broken ankle suffered in game 5....

Yep, stayed unbeaten.

By the way, a #13 for Miami was Super Bowl MVP--Safety Jake Scott in SB7.

As the NFL has shown so many times, it is hard to stay unbeaten for a whole season. New England should be commended But if they don't finish with the Lombardi, well, all good and well but I believe the Chicago Bears twice went undefeated but lost the championship game. Funny, no one ever mentions those two teams in the same breath as the 1972 Dolphins. Which should make this Super Bowl interesting as it appears it may be the Packers and the Patriots.

It might be a rare time I actually cheer for the team in my backyard!
As of 14 January 2008

Magic Number: 1,191

Romney: 30

Huckabee: 21

McCain: 10

Thompson: 6

Paul: 2

Giuliani: 1

Hunter: 1

Total Delegates*

Today's Republican delegate count

Magic Number







Total Delegates*

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Explain this to me...

I keep hearing on the news that Mitt Romney is losing, that he needs to win Michigan or drop out of the race, yada, yada, yada...

Then the newspaper runs a graphic of delegate counts. One would assume ol' Mitt would be waaaaaay down in the count. He lost the caucus in Iowa and the primary in NH, right?

But the list has Romney in the LEAD for Republican delegates!
So the guy currently with the most delegates is in danger and should drop out soon if he doesn't win a primary?

Go figure.

Must be the same geniuses who predicted Obama would thump Hillary in New Hampshire.