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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

Has Our Country's Mood Changed?

Quality of Life, U.S., Political

There are election races today in New York state, New Jersey and Virginia that may provide an answer to the question of the country's mood.  Polls seem to indicate that there is a growing feeling amongst people that the hoped for "change" is simply more of the same.

This isn't an anti-Democrat rant; the Republicans, when they had "absolute" control, did much the same thing that the Democrats are engaged in today.  I don't recall that the stakes then were as big as they are today, but the politicians were just the same; drunk with power may be an accurate description.

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Political Landscape Alters A Bit

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

The elections of yesterday carried some unlikely results given the past several years.  The Democrats won the congressional seat in New York state.  Beyond that, the Republicans appear to have been the bigger winners.  Does that suggest that the Republicans are back on top?  That is doubtful.  It does suggest, though, that the political landscape has shifted a bit.

The biggest race, so far as outcomes, was for the governor's office in New Jersey.  New Jersey has been a solid Democrat state for so long as I can remember.  It has been very liberal for so long as I can remember.  The win by Republican Chris Christie is a very big win no matter how you view it.  Gov. Corzine spent gobs of money and had three visits by President Obama in his quest to retain the seat, but lost.

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The Health Care Debacle...

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

The coming vote on the health care reform bills of both the House and the Senate continue to cause a lot of "ink" to be spent; and rightfully so.  This issue carries with it significant issues that will exacerbate our problems rather than resolve our problems with health care and health care financing.

A commenter calling him or herself "TaxPro" delivered the following comment on The Hill Blog on this subject, and it echoes many of my sentiments so I'll not waste time trying to improve upon the message:

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Nearing The House Health Care Vote...

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

Her Highness, Nancy Pelosi, feels that she has sufficient votes to get the House wrangled together on Saturday for the final vote on her health bill.  This vote is scheduled for Saturday for several reasons.  Among those is the lesser scrutiny that she expects from the press, the fact that the members would've otherwise been home and are anxious to leave town, and the fact that she buys a bit more time, can make a few more promises and hoodwink/threaten the last one or two into a yes vote.

The new "usual suspects" have emerged. 

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Village Buzz - November 7th...

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

Public Forum - Germantown Public Library, November 9th...

Jodi Kessel Lyon, a Germantown resident, has organized a public forum that will be held at the Germantown Public Library on Monday, November 9th at 6:30PM in the larger public meeting room.  This is intended to be a question and answer session with no predetermined outcome, nor any particular political goals.

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Damn The Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead...

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

That memorable phrase could aptly be used to describe what happened in the U.S. House of Representatives late Saturday evening.  Commander Pelosi essentially forced the Democrats to forget about the potential damage they would do to both the country as well as to themselves, and she ultimately got the outcome she desired.

The final vote was 220-215 with 39 Democrats refusing to vote yes and 1 Republican agreeing to vote yes after the outcome had already been decided at 218 votes in favor.  He had a deal with President Obama that is supposed to see more money sent to New Orleans, his home district, for continued transportation funding after Katrina.  So his vote was non-essential but most symbolic nonetheless.  He, alone, gives the Democrats the ability to talk about a "bipartisan" victory.

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Village Buzz - November 10th...

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

Citizens Meeting Report....

The meeting, conceived and run by Jodi Kessel Lyon, was brought to order last evening precisely at 6:30PM and ran until about 8:10PM.  There were some 40 residents and village officials/department heads present at the start of the meeting; 50 or more were present at the end of the meeting.  Trustee Al Vanderheiden was the sole trustee present at the start of the meeting.  One or two others had other commitments, and there was a scheduled Plan Commission meeting at the Village Hall.  By the end of the meeting, Trustees Baum, Zabel and Ewert had come into the room and stood at the side or rear as the meeting concluded.

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All Gave Some, Some Gave All...

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

The song title says it well so far as our veterans; all gave some and some gave all.

This is the day that has been set aside so that we might remember those who fought, and those who both fought and died for our freedoms.  Had those brave souls not ventured forth when called upon, we might well not know the country that we live in, love in and debate in today. 

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Wisconsin's Latest "Honor"

Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Wisconsin

The Pew organization has bestowed an "honor", one which many of us recognize is very well deserved, on our home state of Wisconsin.  We are now ranked as being among the ten worst states, from a fiscal viewpoint, in the country.

We have, for a long time, spent more than we have taken in, and we've borrowed to cover those shortfalls.  So, the walls we thought were solid as brick, have now been declared made of tissue paper,  We are ranked right up there with New York and California.

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FDIC Makes Banks Pay For Congress' Folly

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

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is in a deficit position since it has bailed out something in the range of 120 banks so far this year.  As the result of that extreme level of cost, the FDIC needs to replenish its coffers which are created by fees charged to banks for the "protection" to depositors that now totals as much as $250,000 for an account, up from the historic $100,000 protection.

The FDIC is after all banks to make their contributions to its coffers three years in advance; it wants the contributions for 2010, 2011 and 2012 and its wants that now.  This is placing a strain on some banks since they are facing the problems created by the folly of Congress.

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Things Pervasive...

Quality of Life

The word pervade came to mind several times this morning as I looked through the news items in the newspaper and on the television screen.  Things pervasive are, to my mind, often lurking just beneath the surface of our consciousness; we know they're out there but we don't focus on them individually or for any length of time.  Things pervasive, due to their subtlety, can be dangerous in that they are upon us in forms that are not easily done away with, and, therefore, tend to make long-term changes in our environment, in our world, without much hue and cry having ever been witnessed.

Among things pervasive on my mind today are these:

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Glimpse Into Our Future?

Economy, Taxes, Wisconsin, Germantown, School Board, County Board

Following up on the blog I wrote last week based on the Pew Center on the States' press release, there is further information to consider.

The finance directors of two of the other "top ten" states (remember that Wisconsin made that list), so far as likely future financial problems, California and Michigan, have discussed the future as they see it today.  Both states closed their budget gaps using one-time federal "stimulus" monies, and will be hard-pressed to find the money necessary in the future without such federal doles.

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Mammogram Screening Changes?

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

What am I doing blogging about such a subject?  It impacts all of us whether or not we understand that at the moment.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has decided that mammograms aren't needed for women in their forties on a routine basis.  This task force has decided that mammograms aren't necessary on an annual basis for women age 50 and over; they should schedule a mammogram only on an every other year basis.  And, finally, women over 74 shouldn't be receiving mammograms at all.  Apparently that just isn't cost effective.

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Just Another Sunday Afternoon...

Quality of Life

It was, we thought, just another Sunday afternoon.  Football, relaxation, finish the outdoor clean-up, and prepare for the new week ahead.

We were wrong.  It was anything but another Sunday afternoon; it was the last day in the life of a 14 year-old young man who lived in Grafton and who would be murdered in Germantown; in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart broad the back of a van with heavily darkened windows.

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Is The Civil Court System The Right Venue?

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced the Obama Administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) in New York for his role in the Trade Towers terrorist strike on 9/11.  This marks the decision to criminalize what the Bush Administration had chosen to keep in the world of a military tribunal.

Is this the right place to bring this action?  Is there a risk that KSM will walk?  Has this sent a message to terrorists about the resolve of Americans?

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Deer In The Headlights?

Economy, Political, U.S.

Is it just me, or does Timothy Geithner personify the phrase, "Deer in the Headlights"?

He has struck me that way since he was nominated for the Treasury Secretary position by President Obama.  As he approaches the microphone, there is that boyish look of uncertainty that we typically do not equate to the power exuded by those in such a political position.  He simply does not, so far as I can determine, display the aura of confidence one would expect from such a high ranking official...whether real or fabricated confidence.

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The Republican Party Wonders Why?

Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

The Republican party wonders why conservatives are so disappointed with it?

Another glowing example of the problems confronting the Republican party occurred yesterday.  The Senate Republicans had the opportunity to force a full reading of the Senate's proposed health care bill so that every bit of the 2,200 pages would be made public by the reading, and so the people could become much better informed about its contents before it is passed...if it is passed.  It had the opportunity to really hold the Democrats' feet to the fire over this abominable excuse for legislation that is being crammed down the throats of a majority of Americans who want no part of it.  if nothing else, this delaying tactic would've served to cause more focus on those who were about to vote "Yes" to move this bill from Committee.

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Palin Paradox

Political, U.S.

Sarah Palin is traveling across America by plane and bus to promote her book, "Going Rogue".  That has rekindled both the admiration and the anger that surround her.  The paradox that is Palin appears to be alive and well following the McCain campaign loss.

The tour of middle America's towns and cities is drawing the same large crowds of people that Palin drew in the few weeks that she was part of the McCain campaign.  People are standing in long lines for many hours just for the 'right' to spend their money on Palin's book and to be able to be in her presence for that fleeting minute or two as she autographs the book.

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Global Warming Suspicions

Economy, Political, Quality of Life

Could it be that those of us who have had strong suspicions about the validity of the concept of global warming actually had science on our side?

Maybe the recent 'hacking' of e-mails and reports by what appears to be someone or several someones in Russia will ultimately prove to be the thread that unravels the myth.  The reports coming out about the content of those e-mails is disconcerting as to the validity of the "science".  The reports seem to point to behind-the-scenes maneuvering on the part of some to cast the results in a certain preordained light.  It appears that global warming 'science' has been more based on the suppression of unpleasant theories and fact sets than it has been based on truth and rigorous scientific debate.  It seems that the hypothesis was determined regardless of what the facts might have suggested; facts be damned seems to have been a possible battle cry if the preliminary reports are further supported as time passes and more details emerge.

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Louisiana Purchase

Economy, Healthcare, Political, Taxes, U.S., Wisconsin

If you recall your history lessons, the Louisiana Purchase was made by Thomas Jefferson in December, 1803.  That covered some 800,000 square miles of territory that is now the mid-section of our country from north to south.  It cost $15 Million dollars at the time.

Another Louisiana Purchase, as the pundits have labeled it, occurred just the other day when the Obama Administration promised that it would move $300 Million dollars to Louisiana in return for the vote of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in favor of bringing the Senate health reform bill to the floor for debate.  She was one of the three hold-outs that finally changed their minds and voted to commence the debate.  This was seen as helping her defend the Senate seat she occupies since she'll be seen as having brought home some Federal money for her constituents.

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Black Friday...From The Inside

Economy, Germantown, Police

I had the privilege to awaken at 3:30AM this morning, dress and present myself to CPO Ray Borden at the Germantown Police Department.  Once there, I joined with a group of four other Citizen Police Academy graduates and a member of the Police Explorer post.  Our reason? We were going to provide a "presence" at the local Wal-Mart Super Center from slightly before 5:00AM until the crowds had subsided as most of the specials were sold to the bare walls.

This has been going on for some time and is an indication of the roles that the police department plays in the community beyond arrests and traffic citations.  Wal-Mart is pleased with this assistance and includes the department in its community grants program.

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Climate Research Unit E-Mails

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

The hackers who penetrated the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) have done quite a service, or so it would seem.

The e-mails that have now been available for some two weeks show a select group of researchers who appear to have rigged the data they used to create the impression that global climate change is man-made and can, therefore, be controlled by man. 

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Climate Change Data Gone

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

The London Times printed a follow-up story on Sunday that simply adds insult to injury so far as the CRU group at the University of East Anglia in the week-end blog.

It seems that a Freedom of Information request for the raw data collected from weather stations worldwide by this unit cannot be honored.  They claim that they destroyed the raw data prior to moving from one building to another.

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