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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Exposed?

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

This video collage is most informative as to the sub-prime problems we are dealing with today. 

It seems that there were attempts to rein these two quasi public/private entities in over the years but one party seemed to stand in the way.

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Who Is Gwen Ifill & Is She Biased?

Political, U.S.

The debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin on Thursday evening is scheduled to be hosted by Public Television's Gwen Ifill.

It has just been disclosed that Ms. Ifill is a supporter of Barack Obama and has a new book titled "The Breakthrough" scheduled to be released in January, 2009 at about the time our new President will be sworn in to his position.  The book promotes Barack Obama and other black politicians who have benefited from the civil rights movement.  It contends that the civil rights movement, and the black political structure that resulted, has cleared the way to permit an Obama to ascend to the presidency.

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Shocking Experience...

Germantown, Police

I had a shocking experience last evening courtesy of the Germantown Police Department.  I have been, along with several other citizens, participating in the current Citizen's Police Academy offered by the department as a means of informing more people about the department, its duties, its tools and so on.

One of the tools available to our officers is that 'gadget' called a Taser.  I'm not certain what the verb form of that word ought to be, but it will be "tazed" with a long "a" for my purposes this morning.

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An Oldie But Goodie...


Computers...Male or Female?

An English teacher was explaining to his students the concept of gender association in the English language.  He stated how hurricanes at one time were given feminine names and how ships and planes were usually referred to as "she".

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Final Vote Cost Tally - Assembly District 24 Primary...

Political, Wisconsin

My Blog on September 10th portrayed the amounts of money raised and spent as reported through that date for each candidate.  The additional reports have been made to the state and we can now show the final tallies for each candidate.

This is certainly among the most expensive races, and may go down as the most expensive primary race, for the 24th Assembly seat ever; the total amount reported as being spent was $74,250 by the six candidates in the race.  A total of 8,178 votes were cast with each vote carrying a price tag of $9.10.

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Police Department Budget Issues...

Germantown, Police, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board

This Blog promises to be too long...and I apologize up front.  BUT, this topic is critical, in my estimation, to the safety of our citizens and our property.  While we're getting everything on the table, you should know by now that "I am in the tank" for our Police Department; I make no bones about it and I am unapologetic for that!


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Carbon Footprint? All The Buzz!

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

The Wall Street Journal published a special section on the environment today and the primary effort was to help us understand the concept of a carbon footprint.

I need the help!  I had no ability to visualize what a pound of carbon dioxide would look like.  I am a bit of a skeptic about carbon footprints since we're still here and the natural forms of introducing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere have been going on forever.  I am a bit of a skeptic because this wasn't talked about until Al Gore began his 'environmental religion'.  I am a bit of a skeptic because what started as a 'global warming' crisis has been altered to a 'climate change' crisis.  I am a bit of a skeptic since I've yet to be convinced that science supports the broad contentions made by the proponents of 'climate change'.

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Village Buzz (Corrected)- October 6th...

Fire Department, Germantown, Police, Quality of Life, Village Buzz

Lilac Lane Closed Again...

I had mentioned that the new bridge was open and looked great last week.  Soon after, Trustee Wolter e-mailed to advise that this was only temporary since there was some road re-construction happening very soon on Maple Road west of the bridge over Hwy 41. on Lilac Lane from the new bridge to Maple Road.

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Mortgage-Based Investments...Local Impact

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

The story of five school districts that invested borrowed money in an attempt to earn larger returns is back in the news as the result of their court case against the two organizations that sold them the deal.

This is an up close and personal portrayal of the rather esoteric things referred to as CDOs...Collateralized Debt Obligations.  The CDOs that were purchased contained some of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac garbage that blew up a short time ago.  So, bad mortgage deals that some politicians wanted made so that their constituency would continue to vote for them have come home to roost in five school districts in Wisconsin.

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Village Buzz - October 7th...

Fire Department, Germantown, Quality of Life, Village Board, Village Buzz

Becca Murray Proclamation...

Germantown's own Gold Medal Olympian, Becca Murray was honored by the Village Board last evening with a Proclamation lauding her accomplishments.  Unfortunately, she was back on campus at Whitewater to get re-oriented and back in that swing after her globe-trotting, but she will cherish this I'm sure.

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Village Buzz - October 9th...

Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, Village Board, Village Buzz


JSOnline today carries an article by Tom Kertscher that begins, at least, to answer some questions that have been swirling in my mind for several weeks.  Rumors have been 'on the streets' since early-September to the effect that there had been turmoil within Village Hall.  This article points to a memorandum, written by Village Administrator Dave Schornack, that points to allegations by a village employee concerning sexual harassment supposedly involving Village President Tom Kempinski.

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Obama's Magic...

Economy, Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal has done a good job with her Obama's Magic opinion piece in today's Journal.

There will be a lot of "magic" required to accomplish all that he has promised us, but we're accustomed to 'rude awakenings' following  Presidential campaigns.

In A Lighter Vein...


A friend, who shall mercifully go unnamed, has sent along some of the product of his over-active mind in light of the recent spate of mergers and take-overs.  He advised that he wanted me to be able to invest in these new entities so that I could reap a fortune:

The coming together of...

    • Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush and the W.R. Grace Company would result in: Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.
    • Polygram Records, Warner Bros. and Zesta Crackers would yield: Poly, Warner Cracker
    • 3M merging with Goodyear results in:  MMMGood
    • Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco and Dakota Mining will bring us: ZipAudiDoDa
    • FedEx being expected to join with its competitor UPS would bring this:  FedUP
    • Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become: PouponPants
    • and, Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women would produce: Knott NOW!

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Big Oaks (or Big Votes) from Little ACORNS Grow?

Political, Quality of Life, U.S., Wisconsin

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has been in the news for several of the past election cycles and finds itself there again.  Is this simply a politically-driven campaign or does ACORN merit this attention?  How does ACORN influence elections, if it does?

The Journal Sentinel editorialized yesterday on this subject, and essentially took the position that this is much ado over nothing.  The editorial staff cites the recent revelation that ACORN hired seven felons to serve as 'deputy registrars' and justifies this with its further discussion about how the registration cards are subjected to review before being handed over to the election officials, etc.

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Slippery Slopes...

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

As the recent chain of events concerning our country's economy has unfolded, I found myself thinking about 'slippery slopes' and just how easy it would be for us to begin a slide that we'd be unable to overcome.

We have just partially nationalized our major banking entities.  We have effectively nationalized the AIG insurance giant.

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Village Buzz - October 15th...

Education, Germantown, Political, School Board, Taxes, U.S., Village Board, Village Buzz, Wisconsin

I had intended to scan a copy of the sample ballot for Germantown however that wasn't sufficiently legible.  So, we'll list the offices for which there are candidate selections to be made by all of us who are registered to vote in the village.

You may elect to vote a straight ticket including, in the order found on the ballot:

  • Democratic
  • Republican
  • Wisconsin Green
  • Libertarian

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Politics 2.0?

Economy, Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

There is a very real sense that we have been placed in a new world of politics.  I'll call it Politics 2.0 signifying the coming of a new genre.

As I watched the debate last evening involving Barack Obama and John McCain, it was as if I was witnessing a battle between the old and the new politics.  And, that is exactly what we've been hearing during this twenty-month plus campaign.  Obama has been pointedly making himself the leader of Politics 2.0 so far as the race for the presidency.

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Village Buzz - October 16th...

Germantown, Potpourri, Quality of Life, Village Buzz

Guest Blog - Pete Hoell, Vice President, Germantown Kiwanis

"I am currently a member of the Germantown Kiwanis group and we are in the process of investigating a community project.  As a Kiwanis organization, our primary goal is to support children through grants for activities and projects, scholarships, donations for children's programs and other miscellaneous children's activities.

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Functioning With Technology...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I had a conversation earlier today with an associate on the subject of secure e-mails.  As we digressed he opined that he believes people born after a certain time have actually evolved to the point that they are more capable of absorbing technology.  I'm a bit of a skeptic on that count...but I can't quite put it out of my mind entirely.

I've been blessed with grandkids and marvel at their nearly immediate grasp of new technology.  And, they could do this even before they had the ability to read instructions.  It is as if they simply continue with a variety of key strokes and suddenly have learned how to navigate as they desire.  They have an uncanny ability to instantly recall these links even after they have not used this information for weeks and weeks.

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More Friday Stuff...

Germantown, Political, Potpourri, Quality of Life

I have long enjoyed my copy of a book called The Portable Curmudgeon and use its 'modern' definition in my Blog overview.  The book was compiled by a fellow by the name of Jon Winokur and is published by the New American Library.  Following are some curmudgeonly comments that struck me over the past few days:

On Politics and Politicians:

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Apologies To Shakespeare...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

Et Tu Brute?

Or should I have said Et Tu Peggy?  The Latin sentence above means "Even you, Brutus?" according to my teacher of Latin, Mrs. Chase.  She had to bear up under the strain of me in two years of her classes.  I'm sure you would send her your condolences just having read this Blog and without knowing how I struggled in her classes.

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Too Many Joes...

Political, U.S.

Barack Obama could be suffering from too many Joes.

We have become very much aware of "Joe the plumber" who posed a question to Obama and received an honest answer.  Of course, we've become ever more familiar with that Joe since as the result of the 'excavation' of his history including the tax lien, the fact that he is a not a 'licensed' plumber and the fact that he drove without a valid drivers license in Arizona a decade or more ago.

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Powerful Words...Powerful Thoughts

Economy, Political, Potpourri, Quality of Life, U.S.

The following words are variously attributed to both Abraham Lincoln and to Rev. Wm. J.H. Boetcker (circa 1916).  Without debating from whom they flowed, I thought it very important that these be shared during this particularly important election season.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

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Village Buzz - October 23rd...

Germantown, Quality of Life, Village Board, Village Buzz

Perplexing Situation...

I have been struggling over the issues involved in the case of the alleged sexual harassment that was reported by Tom Kertscher, the resolution passed by the Village Board in unanimous support of Village President Kempinski, the budgeting process and the general cloud that hovers over some village workers.

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Sustenance For Conservatives...

Political, Potpourri, U.S.

Conservatives are accustomed to being involved in 'come from behind' situations and many of those, I submit, are created by the media.

For those of you seeking a decent piece on media double standards, I invite you to read the Human Events opinion piece by Patrick J. Buchanan titled Camp Followers.

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Village Buzz - October 25th...

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, U.S., Village Buzz

Main Street & The World...

It wasn't all that long ago that I wrote about the St. Francis Bank being acquired by a northern Illinois banking company called Mid-America followed by the take-over of Mid-America by Cleveland-based National City Bank.

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Village Buzz - October 26th...

Germantown, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Remodeled & Expanded Senior Center...

I had the opportunity to visit the newly completed Senior Center yesterday and was very impressed with the facility and the people involved.  The Open House ran from 1:00PM to 4:00PM and we arrived at about 3:20PM and were met with a very full parking lot and with parking available only on the street.  I don't have any idea of the actual number of folks who were present but I'd suspect it was somewhere in the 200+ range.

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Village Buzz - October 27th...

County Board, Political, Quality of Life, Village Buzz, Wisconsin

Assembly Race Questions...

The Ozaukee County District Attorney, Sandy Williams, filed charges against Dan Knodl in Washington County for making false statements on campaign literature on Friday, October 24th.  This stems from his use of various names stating these people were "Friends and Supporters".  Some of those that were identified have indicated the they are not supporters of Knodl or didn't give him permission to use their names in that manner.  Knodl has offered up different reasons for this having happened although that hasn't satisfied critics.  One of those named on the Knodl list was Washington County DA, Todd Martens, who therefore named Sandy Williams to be the special prosecutor in the case.

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Clean Sweeps On November 4th?

Economy, Education, Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S., Wisconsin

There is more and more speculation as to the potential that we'll see a 'clean sweep' by Democratic candidates on Tuesday, November 4th at both the state and federal levels.  I hope that isn't the way it turns out, but I'm tiring of being beaten about the head and shoulders every time I read a newspaper article or watch the bulk of the television news items.  Maybe that is the intent.  If us conservatives can be sufficiently demoralized, maybe we'll just stay home.  Not this conservative!

What do I mean by 'clean sweep'?  I refer to the potential that both the Assembly and the Senate in Wisconsin will see a sufficient Democratic majority that will be able to pass anything they wish in spite of the number of Republican votes that could be massed, with assurances on most such items that those will be signed into law by the Democratic Governor Doyle.

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Food For Thought...

Economy, Political, Potpourri, Quality of Life, U.S.

I received an e-mail containing the following quotations and thought it simply had to be in front of as many readers as possible as we approach perhaps the most important election in my lifetime.  Much food for thought follows:

      • Suppose you were an idiot.  And suppose you were a member of Congress, but then I repeat myself.---Mark Twain
      • I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.---Winston Churchill
      • A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.---George Bernard Shaw
      • Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.---James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)
      • Foreign aid must be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.---Douglas Casey, classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown
      • Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.---P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian
      • Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.---Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)
      • Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And, if it stops moving, subsidize it.---Ronald Reagan (1986)
      • I don't make jokes.  I just watch the government and report the facts!---Will Rogers, Humorist (1879-1935)
      • If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it is free.---P.J. O'Rourke
      • In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.---Voltaire (1764)
      • The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings.  The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.---Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
      • What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.---Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
      • A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.---Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Patriot (1743-1826)

 Some things, it seems, never change.

Constitutional Protections...

Political, Potpourri, Quality of Life, U.S.

If you've watched the Fox News Channel chances are good that you've seen Judge Andrew Napolitano, the dapper and perpetually happy senior judicial analyst for Fox News.  He has written a piece titled "Most Presidents Ignore The Constitution" that appears on the Opinion page of today's Wall Street Journal.

He writes about the 2001 Public Radio interview of Barack Obama where Obama was lamenting that the civil rights movement had become too 'court centered' and therefore failed to cause 'reparations' for past abuses.  That, of course, serves as quite a bombshell so far as future implications if he is elected and presuming he has the same thoughts today that he held then.

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Village Buzz - October 29th...

Germantown, Potpourri, Village Buzz

Germantown Firm Featured...

Creative Lighting Design & Engineering has a string of important projects going.  The most recent project was done for Milwaukee County in the rehabilitation of the Domes.  The newly installed lighting will be unveiled in early-November when the Domes are rededicated.  Marty Peck is the force behind the firm that has also done recent work for Potawatomi Bingo Casino and the Wisconsin Club.

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Print Newspapers Continue Decline...

Economy, Potpourri, Quality of Life, U.S.

The Journal Sentinel released its report for the latest period and the news was a continuation of the trend that has been apparent for many newspapers nationwide.

The Sunday edition dropped 3.8% and the weekday edition dropped 3.9%.  My family has become one of those that dropped the weekday edition at our renewal a week or so ago.  I now find my daily news using JSOnline during the day and settle in with a lap full of newspaper on Sundays.  I have had the tactile sensation of a newspaper in my hands for nearly so long as I can remember, and I confess that I miss that experience.  As stated in a much earlier Blog, I delivered the La Crosse Tribune for several years while growing up near that city so I'm accustomed to having smudged fingertips from the newsprint.

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Village Buzz - October 31st...

Education, Germantown, MATC, Political, School Board, Village Board, Village Buzz

Trick or Treat from 5:30PM to 7:30PM...

Please remember that the little witches, ghosts and goblins will be out and about throughout the village tonight and that they cannot always see well through their masks or costumes.

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