The midterm election has finally arrived. It may be the one time, every couple of years, when the voice of the citizen, the voice of the voter is finally heard. If it counts, well, that's another story.
The midterm election is generally a referendum on the first half of a presidential term. And, although the Obama administration would like to think all supplies, this year it's also true. What is the message being sent?
Once again the system of political change functioned properly in the United States without a shot being fired. This is the third President in a row who experienced a political upheaval from the other party on a mid-term election. But this one was truly major. I liked the observation made in the conservative "National Review" in which this election summary was presented as the proverbial dog that caught the automobile ...now what? Indeed, now what?
The President will now focus more on foreign policy where he will have more of his own authority in tact. The Republicans in the House of Representatives, especially the Speaker, will claim each time they do not get carte blanche that we must remember that it is the President who sets the agenda. Early on, there will be the usual calls for cooperation "by the other side." The Senate will develop its own atmosphere where some old hands prevailed, the tea party has not been as successful, and there will remain more experiece among the membership.
In view of the long mid-term election cycle we just suffered through, perhaps this would be a good time to reflect on what it is, what we call American democracy. Both sides of the American political spectrum claim to hold the true democracy ideals in their camp. After seeing what has happened in politics in recent years, we have lost something. We have lost our way. Here are some views on what Ameican democracy is or what it should be from a variety of people...
"The legitimate object of government is to do for the community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all in their separate and individual capacities." -Abraham Lincoln
About a year ago, WFB's Village Manager, Jim Grassman discussed whether or not to retire in 2009. For a variety of retirement reasons, economic and personal, he chose to stay at Village Hall. He's now turned in his notice of retirement, aiming for the end of 2010.
He's been grooming Assistant VM Matt Schuenke for the past year to take over as interim Village Manager, so the Village won't skip a beat during the transition. Indeed, with the loss of former Clerk/Treasurer Barb Patin six months ago to retirement, the Village will lose a significant chunk of its leadership in 2010.
I can only imagine that on election night when Scott Walker realized he had won the WI governorship he was elated............. who wouldn't be.
On the other hand, when he realized that the Republicans were making a Clean Sweep and winning both houses of the Legislature --- he may have realized the meaning of "getting what you want -- hard and fast".
It is interesting to watch and listen to all the pundits from the left and the right interpreting the results of the recent election. I often wonder how can these people be paid such big money for missing the point, not knowing history, or feeling they MUST give a specific political point of view. Whatever happened to objective and professional journalism?
When I listen to the BBC it is as though I am hearing the news from another planet. Thank goodness for the BBC! To be restricted to the unscholarly and slanted news in the U.S. is like living at the bottom of a barrel. Occasionally NPR offers some journalistic perspective, but they do not have either the staff nor the resources to cover the world the way the BBC does. I try to supplement my broadcast news with periodicals from England also. But it is still difficult to get the straight news from real journalists. The broadcast news networks think they are being principled when they put on a viewpoint from the right and one from the left. Hint: the news should not be presented as "from the left or the right." There is plenty of room for slanted, ignorant, ranting from both political perspectives. And ratings will not always be captured by loud, unprincipled shouting and distortion. Today's broadcast ratings are a little like early TV wrestling matches. Some people believed those wrestling matches were honest. Some people believe that broadcasts by Obermann, Rush, Glenn, etc. are real news, real journalism. It scares me that this is how politics is being played out in America.
There is little Governor Jim Doyle needs to do from now until January to further his assurance that he is the worst governor in Wisconsin history. There is no better example of this than the half fast train that he wants to build between Milwaukee and Madison. In an 11th move, the governor realized that Tom Barrett was not going to win the election for governor. And being the shyster that he is, Governor Doyle decided to seal the deal with contractors to spend the money and start construction before anyone could stop it. Hopefully it would get to a point where it would cost about $100 million from the state taxpayers to pay it back if construction was stopped. So why did we elect this guy twice? He clearly does not have the best interest of the citizens of Wisconsin in mind. Like any real Democrat, he's only concerned about himself.
There can be no better example of what's wrong with government today than taking a look at this half fast train between Milwaukee and Madison. How many people commute from Milwaukee to Madison or the other way around on a daily basis? There seems to be no hard numbers. Even the people who support this train, cannot come up with some numbers of harmony cars that will take off the road. They cannot come up with any numbers on how many people will ride the train. Yet we're supposed to want this thinking that it is progress for the 21st century.
Anytime of the year you can serve American military veterans. I remember driving past a huge veterans' cemetery and seeing a young mother lying face down on a grave. She was sobbing uncontrolably. A baby was sitting in a stroller next to her. Imagine the grief and sadness accompanying that picture. I felt guilty that I had not done enough to help. I pulled up my car near the grave and waited for a more appropriate time to talk with her. Finally she got up, I walked toward her and asked if I could help n any way. She again began sobbing. I thought I had made a mistake and only made things worse. But we did talk, and we went to a nearby fast food restaurant and had lunch. I kept in contact with her for a couple of years until I moved to another state. I think of her often. How many stories there are of veterans and their families.
How may you help to serve veterans? There are untold ways. If you want some suggestions, contact a local VFW or American Legion post. If you live in the Milwaukee area, contact Woods, Wisconsin's veterans facility. It was one of the first in the nation and is huge. They have many suggestions for you. Or call and visit the Zablocki Veterans Hospital adjacent to the campus of Woods in West Milwaukee. Talk to a voluteer coordinator or social worker. Perhaps just visiting with a lonely vet. Or a walk around the grounds. Or other little gestures of kindness and appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
In the age of information, 24-hour news, the Internet, instant messages, and even tweaks, how can we be certain that the information then we are getting is reliable? Is to turn to newspapers and TV for truth. Nowadays, we're getting opinions at best. But what about the information that the government is giving us? As much speed like to trust our government, we know we are being lied to. Even if we aren't able to call them direct lies, we know we are being persuaded to think in a particular direction. We should be persuaded to think.
Have you ever thought about the economic numbers but the federal government is giving us? What do they mean? What are they telling us? How reliable are they?
When Scott Walker was elected governor earlier this month, it was a sign that the majority of the electorate would be looking forward to a new era of fiscal responsibility the government.
On the other hand, it leaves a void in the leadership of Milwaukee County government. Walker came into Milwaukee County government after Tom Ament and his gang of thieves decided to use the county treasury as her own piggy bank. And no matter how much money was in there, they would take out $1 million each. After this plan was approved by a majority of very stupid and very selfish supervisors would also benefit from this plan, it was exposed to the general public. And years before the tea party was even thought of, taxpayers were faulted by removing these very stupid and very selfish supervisors from office and Tom Ament resigned.
OK, I accept the results of the recent election. A Republican landslide? Yep. Now what?
Getting elected was the easy part. Now comes legislating and fulfilling all those promises made. Using amazing amounts of money to run a campaign, using huge amounts of money to advertise, and making promises akin to motherhood and apple pie, Republicans are now given the legislative reins to work for the common good. That is the tough part.
I had a wonderful October in 2010, first with my participation in Food and Dine Wisconsin Event in our beautiful city of Milwaukee, followed by my participation in the Annual Kohler Food and Wine Experience in beautiful Kohler, WI. Both events were so memorable. Meeting people from the community in the first event and then meeting people from Illinois, Minneapolis, New York, California in the Kohler event was an exhilarating experience for me.
My cooking presentations at both events were well attended and people were very excited to learn about healthful Indian flavors. The marketing team at the Journal-Sentinel did a fantastic job in celebrating and recognizing our own talents here in Milwaukee. Chefs, authors, wine and cheese experts were all featured in this amazing two day event at the Frontier Airlines Center. Thanks to David Wise and Becky Steimle of the Journal-Sentinel for organizing such an event celebrating Milwaukee. It was a demonstration of great community spirit.
What is your plan for maintaining and not gaining weight over the next few months? If you are like the rest of us, you will probably put on a few pounds from all the holiday festivities and feasts. And, unfortunately, those few pounds will probably stick with us until the next holidays when we add a couple more. Thus begins the self-destructive cycle.
But, guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way. Make a personal pledge now to “Maintain Don’t Gain” during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. That’s only six short weeks and something we can all do if we set our minds to it.
Now that the election is over, we can move onto another issue that is going to be as polarizing and divisive as anything that has come up prior to November-a high-speed train in Madison.
Just about everybody that you want to bring up the subject with has an opinion on this -- which is good. And many people that you don't want to bring up the subject with also have an opinion-which is crazy. So who's right and who's wrong? That depends.
Thanks for the comments to my last blog. Thanks especially to progressives for yielding the floor.
In the midst of a very confused and muddled political climate, I came across a remarkably intelligent essay. Whether you agree or disagree, methinks it is worthy of reading. If is titled "Gone Missing: The country's conscience, brain and heart" by Hal Crowther, and appeared in the November 17th issue of INDEPENDENT, a weekly periodical published in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Excerpts...
Consider this a WFB Holiday gift suggestion, or shameless plug .. I care not. I think this is awesome.
Whitefish Bay now has its very own history book. Tom Fehring, rock-star Trustee and Historic Preservation Commission member .. is now an author.
Right or left, conservative or progressive, Republican or Democrat, one thing we can all agree on: this is a horrible attempt at humor. As your family and friends gather around you this Thanksgiving, don't allow your little differences to overwhelm what you have in common. Throw in an occasional zinger that is more or less appropriate for this specific holiday. Here are some very poor suggestions...
Your goose is cooked ... I yam what I yam ... your ideas are like the mashed potatos ... you're full of beans ... are you giving me the bird? ... what a turkey you are! ... shut up and pass the pumpkin pie ... he wants all the gravy ... you get the last part of the bird over the fence ... let's make a wish ...
I am not prone to read the comments following my blog posts, but occasionally I will check and see what is there and if I have been misunderstood about anything. I continue to be dismayed at the uncivil comments that appear from the left and the right. And what happened to the intelligent and educated "middle"?
I've given speeches throughout Europe and North America. Sometimes the audiences are primarily made up of people who have right and left political perspectives. But the questions and comments, even from those who may disagree with me, are respectful, civilized, and well thought-through. I've addressed audiences as large as 10,000 people, but never have had comments at the low level of those here. That is sad. Blogs are new. This specific blog site is new to me, and when I was asked to consider starting a blog at this site, I refused. But I was pressed and the request was offered again. I accepted. Little did I know I would run into this kind of anti-intellectual commentary. It is loaded with negativity, hate, racism, etc. When I read the comments here I feel like I want to take a bath. Those commenting are not even aware of the utter nonsense they present as truth and facts. The level of comments belongs in the gutter.
Over the past few presidential election cycles, candidates have claimed that they would be the ones to restore the honor and reverence for the office of the presidency that it deserves. Yet time and again we have fallen short either on electing someone who would do it, or allowing the person vowing to do it, let their promise fade away.