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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

Happy "New Tax" Day

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Wisconsin

Welcome to September 1st and two new taxes in Wisconsin.

We now have the privilege of paying an additional $0.75 per month for each telephone line and each cellular "line" we have.  That is ostensibly to fund police and safety needs but we all know it will get buried in the general fund and our police and safety needs will get none of it.  This is estimated to bring in additional hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

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President Obama's Address to Students

Education, U.S., Quality of Life

President Obama will address the pre-K to 6th grade students all across America on Tuesday, September 8th.  On the one hand, that sounds like a neat idea.  On the other, it sounds somehow Orwellian.

I downloaded the "Menu of Classroom Activities" and found the following:

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Village Buzz - September 3rd...

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

More Than Meets The Eye...

The unfolding saga of Jim Blackburn's move from the high school principal's position to a newly created position appears to have some legs.  He has, obviously, filed an age discrimination action against the system, and has made some public statements in support of his position that this was unwarranted and against his wishes.

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Miscellany...

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

There are simply too many items to sort down to one, so...

Germantown has been invaded...by the Red Swamp Crayfish, and this little thing is quick, nasty and prolific.  We began seeing this crayfish a month or so ago and thought it had probably been with us for years and simply had gone unnoticed.  These are very aggressive creatures, that are prized for many recipes down New Orleans way, but that are feared by the DNR given their propensity to disrupt non-native habitats.  They look like small lobsters with one claw larger than the other, a fan-shaped tail and legs along their bodies, small beady eyes and long antennae/feelers

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Post-Labor Day Thoughts...

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

Another Labor Day has come and gone, and we are back in the work-a-day world, if we're fortunate enough to have jobs.

The "August Recess" of Congress is over.  The "debate" over health care will re-heat very quickly.  Our president will speak to us on Wednesday.  He'll probably give us a more definitive view of what he thinks health care reform is, or ought to be.  Had he done that early-on, he might've already been in position to sign a bill, or several bills.  We must become very careful listeners at this point because this promises to be a rapidly changing political arena.

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Public Funding Of Elections?

Political, Quality of Life, Wisconsin

A Journal Sentinel editorial today raised the question of public funding of elections.  The editorial related directly to the accusations of private influence on public officials; Jim Doyle was the official in this instance which certainly comes as a surprise to us all, I'm sure.

I haven't thought too much of such an approach until recently.  As I reflect, it does seem that the major races in our state have gotten to the multi-million dollar level over the past decade or so.  Much of the money is contributed by organizations indirectly.  The balance is contributed by individuals, many of whom are associated with the same organizations that have already "ponied up".

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Prime-time President

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

President Obama once again rose to the podium in prime time and delivered the speech that was expected to clarify and add substance to his thoughts on health care reform.  The expectations created were probably too high; he didn't succeed in adding substance as I viewed the speech.  Maybe I expected too much since I am close to the health care delivery system, and since I've spent untold hours scouring the various bills and papers that have been created by sundry people in Washington, D.C.

The late roll-out of Sen. Edward (Teddy) Kennedy was, in my opinion, the height of tackiness and smacked of the Sen. Paul Wellstone funeral debacle of some years ago.  He just couldn't help himself, I guess.

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The Uproar Swells

Healthcare, Political, U.S.

Rep. Wilson (R-SC) called out during President Obama's speech on Wednesday evening, "You Lie".  The uproar began shortly after the end of the session and was, of course, tailor-made for the Democrats to pump life into and to sustain that life for so long as possible.  This is effective in re-directing any issues to the congressman and keeps them away from the President.  And, true to recent form, the Republicans proceeded to shoot themselves in both feet simultaneously.

This is not the first time sitting presidents have been booed or that raucous laughter has been heard during a speech.  It is the first time that a black president has been called out specifically by a single member.  There is, as we've all probably gotten so tired of, a certain 'order' that is observed by politicians.  Each refers to "my good friend" before excoriating that person in front of the press.  It is something that seems required of this 'club' we call congress.  This rule doesn't apply too often at the state level and is virtually unheard of at the county or local levels of politics.

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Where We Stand...

Quality of Life

I read an old saying earlier today and thought it would be a good base for today's blog.  Paraphrased, it goes, "Where you stand depends upon where you sit."

Each of us brings a certain totality to our positions on any subject.  That totality is dependent upon the sum total of all we are, all we have experienced and all we have learned.  It depends upon what we do to earn a living if we are working, our spiritual beliefs, our educations, our family histories.  It depends on things that we aren't even aware are involved.  We have self-interests that exist whether or not we admit to them.

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Why Should We Believe You This Time?

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

This was originally published in the Martinsville Daily Press on August 29, 2009:

~~~~~~

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Village Buzz - September 15th...

County Board, Education, Political, School Board, Village Board, Village Buzz, Police

Mel Ewert Recovering From Surgery...

According to Village President Tom Kempinski, who last evening said he wasn't supposed to mention this, Mel Ewert is recovering from surgery in Community Memorial Hospital.  Kempinski described the surgery as "open heart" although that can mean many different things since it has become a common descriptor for any heart-related surgery.

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Will Baucus Health Plan Be The Solution?

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

The Baucus health plan has been released, and I will be reading it today and tonight, if necessary.  It is the long-awaited "solution" that has been in the process as the "gang of six" met over the past weeks and months to hammer out a deal that could pass in the Senate.  (If you want to read it, simply 'Google' Baucus Health Plan).

The longer this goes, the more it becomes nearly a toss-up as to whether or not something will pass this year.  The politicians are, of course, seemingly more concerned with face than with substance.  They want to pass something just so they can say they did.  We aren't supposed to be too concerned about what is in this package; we are supposed to want it for the good of the country.

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Si vis pacem, para bellum...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

This phrase in Latin translates to:  If you wish for peace, prepare for war.

Our current Administration is in the process of changing programs and policies to more clearly represent its positions.  That happens when new administrations are promoted to office in our country.  This was to be expected, and yet it is troublesome for me, and I suspect for tens of millions of others here and abroad.

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Lake Geneva May Have An Idea...

Potpourri

I don't know if you've been following the issues that have beset Lake Geneva over the past several years.

The citizens have probably had their fill of local politics given recall elections, suspensions of alderpersons, etc.  In the latest episode, the mayor suspended four alderpersons.

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From Little ACORNs...

Political, Quality of Life

From little ACORNs, big problems grow.

It remains to be seen, of course, but the ACORN debacle, that seems to be the gift that keeps on giving, holds the potential for becoming a very large embarrassment for the Obama Administration.

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Networks In The Bag...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

I have been a viewer of the Fox cable network for some time, which likely comes as no surprise to regular readers of this blog.  I had come to find that there was no difference between CBS and NBC and ABC other than the names and sex of the anchors.  What passed for news had been homogenized and sanitized to apparently enable me, an ignorant member of society since I am a conservative, to comprehend the world around me. It was and is pablum for the mind.

Had I any doubts, the week-end's news cycle would've been sufficient to convince me all over again.  President Obama was everywhere and what passed for tough questioning was pathetic.  When the anchors and other talking heads are more concerned with maintaining their favored status than with what passes for news, we might as well curl up in the corner and snooze.  The fact that President Obama stiffed Fox said much about the media today.

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Heavy Hand of Government

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

We have a good example of what we may experience as we move down the path of government-run health care.  Part of Medicare is called Medicare Advantage and it consists of Medicare sending the amount that would've been spent on the beneficiary to an insurer that then provides enhanced coverage to the beneficiary.  I belong to a Medicare Advantage program as do some 25% of all Medicare recipients today.

Democrats have had a less-than-favorable opinion of Medicare Advantage plans and, as such, they have threatened funding cuts (that is the $500 billion they talk about) in Medicare Advantage programs in order to find "savings" to get the CBO "score" down under $1 trillion over ten years for health care.

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State Democratic Party Has A Winner...

Political, Quality of Life, Wisconsin

Mike Tate, a 30-something liberal, who ran the state campaign for then-presidential candidate Howard Dean, was elected Chairman of the Democratic Party during its last state convention.  Mr. Tate has since persisted in bombastic tirades directed, of course, at any and all who do not follow President Obama in lock-step.  All this done, by the way, in the form of raising money to support Democrat candidates.

If you listen to talk radio at all, I'm sure you've probably heard some of his most recent statements from a fund-raising letter that was sent following the Milwaukee Tea Party held last Saturday on the lakefront.

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Another 'Bright' Idea For Wisconsin...

Wisconsin, Taxes, Quality of Life, Political

We saw the governor add mandatory auto insurance and saw him raise the minimum coverage limits just a few months ago.  Mandatory auto insurance has not worked in any state that has adopted it to this point; there is nothing to suggest that we'll figure out how to make it work.  The sole way this could work, and this is debatable, is for a penalty several times higher than the cost of the insurance for those caught without satisfactory insurance.  That 'ain't gonna happen'.

The increase in mandatory minimums will increase the cost of automobile insurance for everyone in Wisconsin by tens of percentage points.  American Family has already sent mailings to its policyholders to let them know what they are forced to do, and to try to prepare people for the 'sticker shock' that is about to hit.

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You Can Have It Both Ways...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

You can have it both ways IF you are a Democrat and you live in Massachusetts.

I'm sure you recall that when there was some thought that a Republican governor might get to appoint a replacement for Sen. Kerry if he were to be elected president, the Democrats pushed through an amendment that said that could only be done through a special election thus assuring that then-governor Romney wouldn't be able to put another Republican in the U.S. Senate.

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Devil In The Details?

Political, Healthcare, U.S.

Most all of us have heard the phrase, the devil is in the details.  It is regularly used in business and in politics.

The Republicans have been trying to cause the details to be disclosed so far as the health reform legislation that is currently being 'built' in Washington, D.C.  They have asked that the final legislation be posted on the Internet for consumption by the people at least 72 hours prior to a vote being taken.

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Overwhelmed?

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

I was AWOL (absent without leave) over the week-end given family demands.  I tuned back into the world this morning and was reminded of the bromide about trying to drink from a firehose.  The array of news items was very nearly overwhelming, and I tend to be a bit of a "news junkie", as my family will certainly attest.

That made me think about "normal" Americans who might try, occasionally, to tune in for an update only to be overwhelmed at the pure array of initiatives that have been launched by the Obama Administration.  The only thing that seems certain today is that there must be another major initiative just around the corner.

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Negotiating Our Way To Armageddon?

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

Iran represents what is probably the most dangerous situation existing in our world today.  North Korea is in a not-too-distant second position in this regard but that country isn't run by the regime that runs Iran.  North Korea is run by a ruthless dictator.  Iran is run by religious zealots who happen to be ruthless, as well.

This is a problem that has been with most of our modern day presidents; it just happens to be President Obama's problem today.

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Elitist Justice?

Quality of Life, U.S.

Roman Polansky is accused of raping a thirteen year-old girl some 31 years ago and became a fugitive from U.S. justice almost immediately after the alleged act.  The testimony of this young lady before a Grand Jury described the most depraved and disgusting actions that she said were committed against her person and her psyche.  He has avoided coming onto U.S. soil since that time.  His unwillingness to face justice would seem an indictment of him that speaks very loudly.

This former Hollywood director seemed not to suffer at all as the result of this alleged transgression and continues to be the darling of those whom we are to worship if we are at all 'normal' people.  After all, if Whoopi thinks they're great people, who are we to think otherwise.  Apparently the elite have already convicted him since Whoopi said this "wasn't really a rape rape" as she held sway on television yesterday.  That was apparently her way of justifying his absence in a court of law for the past 31 years.

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