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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

Walker Recall

Wisconsin, Political, Quality of Life

It was interesting to hear what one of the independent groups has found in its review of the 152,508 pages of signatures submitted to recall Governor Walker.

Interesting point #1:  There were only 819,233 signatures contrary to the Democrat party's ballyhooing about "over a million".  Obviously that number is a large number but far short of what was claimed in the media blitz.  The requirement is that some 540,000+ signatures must be filed (25% of the total vote in the preceeding gubernatorial election).

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Qur'an Incident Apologies

U.S., Political, Quality of Life

The incident of the burning of two copies of the Qur'an has resulted in the killing of several U.S. military personnel and has also resulted in the masking of what happened originally.  The Qur'ans in question were being used by captives to communicate with their fellow captives against the rules of which they were aware.  Those captives had defaced their own holy books.  I suspect most of us would agree that the act of burning was wrong and that those who did it need to be properly reprimanded for the act.  That can quite easily be handled, and should be handled, within the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which is the governing document applying to all members of the United States military branches.

Our government has permitted this incident to become the out-of-control situation we see today.  We quickly "fall on our sword" in such situations and should know, by now, that this posture only exacerbates the problem.  The idea that we are always wrong and the Muslims are always right is something we feed by the actions we take.  We will never make everyone love us in these kinds of situations.  But we have senior members of our government who appear to be only too happy to feed the hate directed at us.  We are not engaged in religious persecution, contrary to what our press seems to want us all to believe.

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Volt Jolt

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

General Electric announced a tough new program that required its employees with company vehicles to use Chevrolet Volts or lose their company auto privilege.  This involved GE buying tens of millions of dollars worth of these electric vehicles.

That GE's chairman is solidly in President Obama's camp is no secret.  That the President's decisions favoring GE have made all this psychic largess possible is no secret.  Many thought this was GE's contribution to the President's ability to brag about his wisdom in pushing us toward using no fossil fuels to power our vehicles even as gasoline prices continue their upward tick.

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Village Buzz - March 5th

Germantown, Village Board, Political, Quality of Life

Blackstone Creek/MMSD/Village Proposed Deal:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel carries a story today about a potentially major deal involving the owners of the Blackstone Creek Golf Course, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District and The Village of Germantown.

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Iran, Israel & Us

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

The latest step in the dance that has been ongoing for a long time took place yesterday in the Whitehouse when President Obama met with Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu.

This seems to have been a repeat of the last meeting possibly with a bit stronger talking line from our President.  He had earlier this week told us and the world that he "doesn't bluff" and that he "had Israel's back".  That 'bravado' didn't appear to impress Netanyahu who stood his ground by repeating that Israel reserved its right to defend itself as it saw fit.

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Rant Time...Again

Quality of Life, People Making A Difference, Political, Wisconsin, U.S.

I awakened this morning to newspaper stories telling me that a Dane County Judge who signed a Walker recall petition has declared the voter ID law is likely costing some 220,000 people to lose their right to vote because they do not have ID cards and therefore has ruled that it cannot be enforced in the coming April elections.  I also read of the decision by Democrat Senators in conjunction with one Republican "moderate" Senator who have decided many people in Northern Wisconsin will continue to hover near poverty.  I read that Gogebic will withdraw from its efforts to develop mining operations that would employ several hundreds of Northern Wisconsin folks and uncounted hundreds more in Southeastern Wisconsin who would've built the mining equipment.

Where to begin?

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The Newest Republican Senate Candidate

Wisconsin, Political, People Making A Difference, Economy, Taxes

Eric Hovde is officially in the race to replace Sen. Herb Kohl (D) who is not running for re-election.  Hovde has a lot of competition and will take his lumps as the long-time politicians who are his opponents in the Republican primary work him over.  Hovde has made a lot of money, so he is similar to our other Senator, Ron Johnson (R), in that he can provide a lot of funding from his own bank account if need be, and that is likely to be needed given the number of hands already reaching out for contributions.

Hovde was interviewed this morning by Jay Weber (WISN) and reminded me of Sen. Ron Johnson as I listened to his answers to Jay's questions.  He is very concerned about the state of our country's finances.  He is articulate in his responses to questions on that subject.  He seems able to provide answers that are understandable to those of us who are not involved in high finance. There is not the too often heard sound of political-speak when he answers questions.

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Lipstick On A Pig

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

Private sector adds 233,000 jobs was the headline on the story in the morning Journal Sentinel.  Then followed the statement: Unemployment rate unchanged at 8.3% after 3 strong months.

The unpleasant fact underlying this article is that the rate isn't even reflective of those who have recently left the ranks of people who seek the jobs that are available.  The government has conveniently forgotten about enough people to get the rate down from the more-nearly accurate 10.8% to the current ballyhooed rate of 8.3% which it admits hasn't changed even with the hiring of 233,000 people.  Add to that the people who have simply tired of searching for jobs or who are classified as 'under-employed' and the rate climbs to nearly 15%.  We must be nearing a presidential election or something.

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Tommy Leads

Wisconsin, Political, People Making A Difference

The "Energizer bunny" of Wisconsin politics just keeps on running.  Tommy Thompson has been out of office for 13 years according to an article yesterday, but leads the field of candidates running to replace Sen. Kohl (D).

Tommy has been spending a lot of time in recent years making a lot of money for self and family, and he has been quite successful in that endeavor.  He is now 70 years old but appears to have just as much 'vim and vigor' as was always the case.

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Another Judge Heard From...

Wisconsin, Political, Quality of Life

Circuit Judge Richard Niess of Dane County ruled yesterday on another challenge to the Voter ID law.  He didn't mess around with a 'temporary' restraining order; he issued a 'permanent' injunction.

Before going further, Judge Niess wrote a very well drafted opinion unlike the first Dane County Circuit Judge to render an opinion.

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Good Ole Joe...

Political, People Making A Difference, U.S.

You just have to love our Vice President, Joe Biden (D).  He seldom passes up an opportunity to mis-speak in one or another forum.  The latest is priceless, from my perspective.

VP Biden was the featured speaker to a group of very well-heeled liberals that were gathered in the D.C. mansion of Theresa Heinz-Kerry, the ketsup heiress who took pity on Sen. Kerry and adopted him so she could stay connected.

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Pink Slime...

U.S., Quality of Life, Political

I heard a commentary by Jay Weber (WISN radio) last week on the topic of Pink Slime.  Obviously, the name caught my attention and the subject made me wonder to what level we had devolved as a society.

Pink Slime is a gelatin-like substance made from beef byproducts.  These 'byproducts' include the trimmings that stuck to the bone, the product of boiling those left-over bones, etc.  This cooked substance had received approval from the U.S. FDA as a food additive.  This changed the useage pattern significantly since to that point Pink Slime had only been authorized for use in things such as dog food and by cooking oil manufacturers. 

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Can You Even Begin to Imagine?

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

"Can you even begin to imagine the size of the crowd cramming itself into Erin on this St. Patty's Day?"

That was what my wife asked me a few minutes ago.  I said that I hadn't even thought about it since I never have been in attendance at that event, but she reminded me of this:

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Prosser Farce Continues

Wisconsin, Political, Quality of Life

Ethics allegations against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser were unveiled yesterday in a continuation of what, to me, is among the more farcical things to come out of Madison.  Admittedly, there is a wide selection of things farcial that eminate in Madison from which to choose, but at least for now...this takes the Most Farcical award.

That Justice Ann Walsh Bradley made threatening physical moves toward Prosser causing him to raise his hands in defense seems to matter not.  That he didn't apply a "choke hold" as she originally claimed seems to matter not.  That this has been among the more dysfunctional state bodies for some time seems to matter not.

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Village Buzz - March 19th (Updated)

Village Buzz, Germantown, People Making A Difference, Education

WHAT A  RUN!!!

The Wisconsin Boys Division 1 High School Basketball Title resides in Germantown and most deservedly so!

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The Cost of Uncertainty

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

Uncertainty is at the root of much of the disruption we face today in the various markets that exist in our economy.  When that is coupled with energy costs, we have the makings of a tough summer and fall right when we will elect or re-elect a president.

Employers are uncertain about many things but a major uncertainty is that concerning health care and whether or not PPACA (a/k/a ObamaCare) will survive the coming U.S. Supreme Court case hearing arguments for and against that law.  The two sides see victory but it seems that one will be disappointed, unless there is some "wisdom of Soloman" thing that comes from this decision.  In that case, both sides might be disappointed.

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Village Buzz - March 21st

Village Buzz, Police, Fire Department, Germantown

St. Patrick's Day resulted in less-than-expected incidents from the Germantown Police Department's perspective according to Chief Hoell.  He described the activity level as "manageable but steady" throughout the day, but the department did have extra staff on duty using state grant traffic enforcement funding.  There were officers held over from the second shift to the third shift given the number and magnitude of incidents escalating that night as could be expected.

I was returning home from a private gathering in the range of 11:30PM and saw two different sets of red/blue flashing lights.  One of those was north of Holy Hill road in the median of Hwy. 41-45 north bound just before the split.  The other was south of Lannon road in the northbound median of Hwy. 41-45.

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Justice's Recusal?

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

We hear much about the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the prospect of one Justice or another recusing himself or herself...BUT...

There is a glaring case for recusal at the United States Supreme Court level.  The Justice's name is Elena Kagan.  She is, as you may recall, the former Solicitor General for President Obama's administration.  He appointed her to the Court.

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What Was He Thinking?

U.S., Political, People Making A Difference

Rick Santorum appears to have reached a point in his quest for the Republican nomination that suggests he should simply hang it up and go home.  At the very least, he needs to take a time-out, gather himself, make some apologetic statement and try to resurrect what looks to be very much a lost political opportunity, not that there was much hope prior to this gaffe of major proportions.

To make the utterance that we should simply re-elect President Obama if Republicans are not smart enough to make Santorum their candidate, while obviously intended to belittle Romney's creds as a conservative, paints a picture of a desparate man who will say anything to get one more vote.

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Re-Districting Map Decision

Wisconsin, Political, People Making A Difference

The every-decade experience of redrawing the maps that determine where each of us votes is nearly finished.  For all the machinations by the opposition that virtually every decision taken by the Republicans was taken in error (with malice aforethought likely), it appears that only two districts were determined in need of change by the federal judges hearing the case.  The judges also were not kind to the Republicans so far as the manner in which the maps were created with oaths of secrecy signed.  No mention was made, interestingly, about the complaint by one of the plaintiffs being filed before the new lines were made public; this complaint apparently supposed the new lines would be a violation of their rights even before they knew what they were to be, and these were the two districts cited by the judges.

Those two districts (#8 & #9) on the south side of Milwaukee are the ones where the lines need to be redrawn according to the decision.  We obviously now have a state Senate that is equal in Democrats and Republicans, so a political fix is not likely to occur any time soon.  Given that, the federal judges are being implored to do the work they decided needed to be done.  This is not anything new since judges have drawn these lines often before when the politics of the situation got in the way.  This is among the reasons that our judiciary is to be apolitical, something that seems to escape most Dane County judges.

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God Lives Under The Bed....

People Making A Difference, Quality of Life, Potpourri

This came to me from a fellow Bible study member and seemed to call out to be further communicated:

God Lives Under The Bed ~

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The Health Care Debate

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

The U.S. Supreme Court enters its second day of hearings concerning PPACA (a/k/a ObamaCare) and will decide the various questions that have been raised.  There are, as is usual in matters of this nature, many nuances that are often difficult to fathom.  Among the issues is whether or not we can be compelled to take an action, buy health insurance coverage, and whether or not the fine for not doing so would be a tax or a penalty, and so on.  Underlying much of this is the fact that the government intentionally eliminated the "severability clause" which is present in most contracts.  That clause basically says that even if part of the contract is struck down, the rest survives.

There are strange bedfellows at work in this case.  Health insurers were quite pleased with the idea that everyone would be required to buy insurance even though they would be held to new loss ratio rules (which most in the group health arena were already observing to stay competitive).  Hospitals were quite pleased with the idea that they would not be required to give away treatment to those without insurance since everyone would have insurance, even though they would operate under whole new rule sets and reimbursement schedules.  Those who had been unable to find insurance were quite pleased that they now could not be turned down.  And on and on and on.  Doctors were not all pleased since they would be subject to more and more fee controls that would shrink their income, and would be subject to more practice directives that would limit their freedom of choice so far as treatments used.

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Crazy Days...

U.S., Wisconsin, Political, Quality of Life, People Making A Difference

The flyer from Menard's this morning announcing another 'Crazy Days' sale made me think of the current climate in our Badger state and in our country.  We are in the midst of what is becoming perpetual 'Crazy Days' in all things political.

The classic U.S. Supreme Court ObamaCare battle in its final day prior to deliberations is a case caused by politics.  The elections in our state are into what I'd have to call hyper-political mode and show little sign of abating.  The race for the presidency is already growing old and it has only really begun; we are exposed to bold statements that are erroneous or plain false and we wait for the press to expose those errors or falsehoods...to no avail.

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Courts Supreme

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

Our two Supreme Courts, one in Madison and one in Washington,D.C., are showing how important this third branch of government truly can be.

The most glaring example is the current review of PPACA (ObamaCare) that has been witnessed over the past three days in Washington, D.C.  Many have opined as to the prospective outcome; I won't do that since I am not at all qualified to do so.  The court will now go through the process of reviewing the testimony, reviewing appropriate case law, engaging in whatever internal discussion seems appropriate and rendering a decision.  That decision will range from doing nothing to alter PPACA to rendering part or all of it invalid.  This is a potentially huge decision that we'll likely see by late-June.

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Ryan 'likes' Romney

U.S., Wisconsin, Political, Economy

Paul Ryan, as you already know, made Mitt Romney his selection in the race for the Republican nomination.  That may be enough of a push to assure a significant victory for Romney in our election. 

If Romney wins resoundingly, that will add more weight to the anchor around Rick Santorum's ankle and may cause him to seriously rethink his position in the interests of his party.  Newt has lost his primary benefactor who basically said that Newt was finished.  Newt has been dropping staff and otherwise cutting expenses by scaling back on travel, etc..

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