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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

Thanks Coach!

People Making A Difference, Quality of Life, Germantown

I have been hesitant to write anything about the Germantown Varsity Boy’s hoops team for fear of jinxing them, but this team is too good to ignore any longer.  I’ll avoid using player’s names because this is really a TEAM, not just an assemblage of star players.

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New Year's Resolutions

Quality of Life, Potpourri

The promises we make to ourselves on New Year’s Eve are among the promises that are forgotten soonest.  We promise to take weight off; we promise to exercise more; we promise to change this bad habit and that bad habit.  I wonder what the average life span of a New Year’s Eve self-promise is.

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Iowa Takeaway?

Political, People Making A Difference

What is the take-away from Iowa’s Republican caucus result yesterday? 

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Village Buzz - January 5th

Village Buzz, Police, Fire Department, Germantown

The Germantown Police Department has completed the process of developing its “Carry Concealed Weapon Training” program and now has the registration form available.  That can be obtained by e-mailing the Department at gtpd@germantownpolice.org or by calling the administrative number at 262-253-7780.

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Walker Is Guilty?

Wisconsin, Political, Quality of Life

I found the now-standard approach used in the lead story as I read the headlines and lead-off segments of news stories this morning.  The lead story in our world was the announcement yesterday that several people had been charged by the Milwaukee District Attorney based on a John Doe investigation that has been in the news for some time.

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New Laptops Are Fun

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I bit the bullet and replaced my old laptop.  I am now working on a super-duper HP 17.3" unit running Windows 7 and Office 2010.  I am working to acclimate myself to Windows 7 from the old Windows XP Pro operating system.

Things aren't always where I think they'll be and probably won't be for a while, but I get fouled up much more quickly with the new machine, if that is any solace.

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More Drug Shortages Ahead

Quality of Life, U.S., Healthcare

You may've read or heard reports of a shortage of drugs that has gotten worse this past year.  This has largely been created through unintended consequences, I hope, of government's actions.

There were shortages in 267 different drugs in 2011; that number was up from 211 drugs in 2010 and up from 56 drugs in 2004.  These shortages have disrupted some chemotherapy, surgery and care for patients with infections and pain.

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Iran & U.S. in 2012

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

We have, in case you've not noticed, a Presidential election brewing throughout most of 2012.  (It already seems this has gone on way too long.)

Iran continues to make itself more and more likely to experience some kind of action being taken against it.  The way in which Iran's leaders are behaving, it seems they wish for such action to be taken against them.  If it isn't threatening the U.S. Navy so far as passing through the Strait of Hormuz, it is the announcement that full scale uranium enrichment is going on under a mountain in southern Iran.  If it isn't testing a new missile that can reach Israel or U.S. military installations, it is finding an American citizen guilty of spying without benefit of anything approaching an open trial as we know open trials.

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Newt Used to be Appealing

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

I was always something of a Newt Gingrich fan BUT that has come to a screeching halt.  He has always been very bright, with innumerable ideas on virtually any subject...some he probably doesn't know enough about to make his pontificate.

He has also been a meteoric personality.  People have discussed that it is always difficult to predict which Newt we'll see on any given day.  There is the thoughful Newt, the seemingly wise Newt, the playful Newt, the sober all business Newt...and then there is the vindictive Newt.

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GAB Will Review Names

Wisconsin, Political, Quality of Life

So the GAB (Government Accountability Board), in response to the decision by the Waukesha county judge saying that it needed to be more proactive in reviewing recall campaign signatures, has decided that it can create spread sheets.  Instead of sixty days to review the signatures collected as it said it would need before the decision, the GAB says it will need more time and it will seek that permission from a judge.  That has been granted in each case I can recall.

It appears that the GAB will look for obvious names like Mickey Mouse.  I hope that there will be a credible effort to create spread sheets that will be searchable so repeat names/addresses can be ferreted out and flagged.  There are other groups that have indicated they are going to work diligently to create spread sheets once the documents are released to the public.  Maybe between the dual efforts we can actually have some confidence that a vetting procedure has occurred.

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Orange Trucks Everywhere

People Making A Difference, Quality of Life, Potpourri

I was saddened yesterday to learn that Don Schneider of Green Bay had passed away.  I was not aware that he suffered from Alzheimer's Disease but I was very much aware of what he had managed to build after taking over the company that his dad had started.

The orange trucks of Schneider National are everywhere.  It is nearly impossible to travel any distance on a state highway and not see a Schneider truck.  The same is true if you find yourself in a different state, too.  The present Schneider CEO was reported to have indicated that if every truck and trailer and cargo container were placed end-to-end there would be a solid wall from Green Bay, WI to Columbus, OH. 

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Well, That's That

Wisconsin, Quality of Life, People Making A Difference

Our Packer season is over.  Wow! That came too soon and it was sort of ugly as those kinds of things tend to be.

The Giants came prepared to beat us and they did that.  Was this something that was going to happen sooner or later?  Could a team with a defense that looked and acted like a sieve continue to live off its offense?  Was there a limit to the "we can put up more points so don't worry" approach to football?

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She Was So Pretty

Wisconsin, Potpourri

She was a real pretty little thing.  Big brown eyes.  Lovely light brown hair.  Slender legs. Probably about 150 lbs.

And then she ran right into my vehicle after running down a slope next to a railroad overpass so that I couldn't see her until it was too late.  She managed to crunch into the right front fender and then she flew off and ended up in the ditch with her neck broken never to run again.  I don't think she suffered from all appearances, but she was a pretty animal.

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Brewers' Signing

People Making A Difference, Quality of Life, Potpourri, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Brewers made a great signing yesterday and it was a former player.  Craig Counsell joined the front office staff under GM Doug Melvin having decided that it was time to hang up his spikes.

Counsell's dad served with the Brewers front office for several years some time ago.

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Republican Field Smaller

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

Rick Perry left the field of Republican candidates this morning.  He asked his supporters to back Newt Gingrich.  Given Perry's showing, his tossing his support to Gingrich will do very little to help Gingrich.  One of Newt's former wives, Marianne, will speak tonight on national television, and that won't help Newt either. 

Santorum may pick up a few more points but probably not enough to remain viable through to the end.  Money becomes more and more important at this point.

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Interesting Twist in Manitowoc

Wisconsin, Employment, Economy, People Making A Difference

The union workers (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 516) at the Manitowoc Company have been fighting with the company for the past two months to get a new contract.  There have been at least three votes of which I am aware.  Each time the proposed deal was voted down, the union and company went back to the table and came up with a revised contract proposal.  In the meantime, the company hired temporary replacement workers.

I was surprised to read of the vote of 112 - 59 to accept a new four-year contract especially when I read that the new contract makes union membership OPTIONAL.  The returning workers will have seven days in which to make their decision about remaining a member of the union or opting out of the union.

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Haves vs. Have Nots

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

We are witnessing one of the worst types of political campaigns this year.  We are watching as politicians try to convince one group that it is being intentionally victimized by the other group, and that it would really be part of the "Haves" if it weren't for the political tricks being played on it.  Class warfare, pure and simple.

We have seen the 99% group railing against the 1% group.  Same thing...pitting one group against another group.  Class warfare, pure and simple.  Some of those who are trying to convince people they ought to have more than they currently have are very simply playing to the element of greed and distrust.  Not many people are able to withstand the siren's song that they really ought to have more and that it is not their fault for having 'so little'.  They are easily victimized, and that happens both when they become convinced that they have to vote a particular way to change their plight, as well as when they continue not to get all the wonderful things they thought they were going to get even though they voted the way they were told they needed to vote. 

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Random Political Thoughts

Political, U.S., Wisconsin, Economy, Employment, Healthcare, Quality of Life

As I read the morning Journal Sentinel today, I was struck by the political inferences across the main section even though this publication claims to be unbiased.  (1) Dan Bice continues on the 'expose Walker' bent that he has made standard fare of late.  His "sources say" that charges will be issued in the coming days and that they likely will involve Walker operatives.  He mentions that "at least eight" of Walker's "former aides and associates have hired criminal defense lawyers".  "Insiders" have told Bice that the "next phase is focusing on the role of some of Walker's closest associates". (2) There is now an 'issue' over whether or not Wisconsin is in a deficit or not in a deficit.  The gap of some $3.6 Billion that Walker encountered when he took office was closed by the Walker government but that was on a cash basis.  So now we are exposed to the fact that under GAAP accounting there is still a deficit and that this fact was used recently in a petition to the federal government to gain its permission to cut some 50,000+ people from a state health plan if necessary.  I don't recall the continuing series of articles during the former government's time in office that traced the ever-increasing budget deficit or that condemned the use of various 'funds' (transportation and patient compensation, for example) to make possible increased state spending.  (3) A story on the national 'health care overhaul' from the Associated Press states that Wisconsin is among the states "lagging" in implementation of the wonderful new PPACA legislation that has yet to withstand U.S. Supreme Court scrutiny.  This story mentions some 500,000 Wisconsinites who have no health insurance but does not indicate that this state is among those with the lowest uninsured population in the nation.  Nor does it bother to mention that each of these 500,000 people have access to health care under federal laws that have been in force for years.  Maybe this was simply accidental story selection.  Maybe not. 

Newt Gingrich has thrown the Republican Party into the proverbial 'cocked hat' with his decisive victory in South Carolina.  Mitt Romney has not demonstrated his ability to excite the Republican masses; at best he seems to be an 'okay' candidate but not one whom people can really get pumped about.  Romney has been on the campaign trail for years and still can't light it up.  Gingrich has a lot of baggage and that will be in all the news over and over again if he emerges as the Republican candidate.  Ron Paul is a spoiler and I have no idea where his votes will go once he is out.  Santorum might be able to get moving upward but that remains to be seen.  He needs to do very well in Florida.  Some Republicans are now thinking about the dreaded "brokered" convention where a candidate suitable to the majority emerges whether or not he or she was vetted on the long campaign trail.  We might hear about another Bush, Jeb, or some teaming of Paul Ryan as the VP candidate, etc.

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Jim Irwin Memories

People Making A Difference, Potpourri, Quality of Life

Jim Irwin seemed almost like a member of the family every time his voice came from the radio speaker during a game.  He had the ability to create mental images for us as we listened to his description of the games.

I had the habit of occasionally, or even often, turning the sound down on the television and listening to Irwin on the radio when the assigned TV crew was simply not up to the standards he had caused me to set for such things.  He was describing the game for people who couldn't see it, but I benefitted from the little nuances he brought up that I hadn't noticed during the play even though I was watching.

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In The Eye Of The Beholder

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

The phrase "in the eye of the beholder" seems particularly appropriate for today.  I watched only part of the State of the Union address last evening.  That was a blessing for which I am most thankful, so I doubt that I'll watch the recording that I made.

I am always amazed that one person can glean an entirely different message from such a performance as did another person.  That is the essence of politics, I guess.  Those from the party in power, whether or not they really believe in their heart of hearts, always pose for the pictures and make the statements that are expected.

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Citizen Soldiers

Wisconsin, People Making A Difference, Quality of Life

I served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard during the Berlin crisis that saw the 32nd Division activated and sent to then Ft. Lewis, Washington.  We trained for possible deployment involving what was then called the "Cuban Missile" crisis.  That never occurred and we were released from active duty some ten months later.  Then that was quite the big deal; today that is little more than an extended summer camp at Ft. McCoy.

As I read this morning of the Army's need to go through a significant force reduction given budget restraints, I was reminded of how much our world has changed, and of just how much that has forced a change for those who serve us as today's citizen soldiers.

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A Bit of Humor, or A Glimpse of Your Future

Potpourri

An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's house and, after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.  The two gentlemen were talking and one said, "Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great...I would recommend it highly." 

The other man said, "What was the name of the restaurant?"  The first man thought and thought and finally said, "What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love?  You know...the one that's red and has thorns."  The second man said, "Do you mean a 'rose'?"  "Yes, that's the one", said the first man.  Then he turned towards the kitchen and yelled, "Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?"

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Bits & Pieces - January 30th

Potpourri, Healthcare, Quality of Life, Germantown

Concealed Carry Classes

The first two Germantown Police Department-conducted Concealed Carry classes were held this past Saturday.  Since I drive past the parking lot area going to and from my home, I couldn't help but notice the number of vehicles present.

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GAB Makes News Again

Political, Quality of Life, Wisconsin

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) finds itself in the news again this morning with its decision to withhold the signature petitions involved in the Walker recall effort.  Supposedly this is for a brief period during which the GAB will ponder the request of some signers that their signatures and address information be kept from public view.  One of the examples mentioned involves a person who was a stalking victim.

This sort of flies in the face of the fact that these are public documents.  Any person who signs a public document has to understand that their signature and related information is going to be public.

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