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What is Wrong with Milwaukee Leaders?

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Leadership used to be about serving others. But in Milwaukee, leadership is all about serving yourself. Lena Taylor, a state senator who had run for Milwaukee County executive last year, seems to think that laws do not need to apply to her. She thinks having a conversation is all about talking over somebody else's words and not letting them get a word in edgewise. Therefore, if you can talk louder than the person you are talking to, you win the argument. But does that make you right?

It should be an embarrassment for a state senator to drive in such a fashion that would draw the attention of police and then argue with them and use your position to get out of the ticket. She certainly does not know the meaning of lead by example.

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RELIGION & MORALS: OXYMORON?

It is fascinating to me to watch Congressman Barney Frank, a gay man, and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, openly gay also, introduce and support legislation that has a moral and social conscience.  And to then watch the self-proclaimed legislative Christians vote against it.  It has always been so.  There is little or no correlation between morals and religion.  Watching Jews and Moslems fight over land that they proclaim God or Allah gave to them is a current case in point.  Who is there to represent the people who occupied the Israel-Palestinian area BEFORE the Moslems and Jews came?  In the U.S. we pound our chest about our democratic ways, even as our nation's history and current developments are horrible in the treatment of the people who occupied this land before the coming of Europeans.

Recently the current Pope venerated bishops who deny that the Holocaust took place.  That is especially disturbing inasmuch as the Vatican did so little to defend Jews during the 1930s and 1940s.  In fact, a case has been made that the Pope actually was in concert in some of this persecution.  Morals?

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Streetcars Named Desirous

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Economic stimulus. Liberal agenda. A needed bill. Wasteful spending. Another bailout. These are only a few of the terms that can be used to describe the latest spending bill by Congress. The Democrats want it passed immediately. The Republicans are trying to slow it down. Because of the lack of impact that the first bailout had, this one should be slowed down more. It was only three months ago when we elected Barack Obama president because he seemed to be more fiscally responsible with the federal budget. Compare to John McCain, Obama was to add a lot less to the debt of the United States over his term. Obama said that he would go through the federal budget line by line cutting wasteful spending. Now, he is front and center pushing for the largest spending bill ever put through Congress. Obama wants it passed before he would even have time to go through two pages line by line. Some fiscal responsibility.

The federal stimulus bill is somehow supposed to make everything a reality. Economic growth, balanced budgets, increased jobs, they're all supposed to be in there. State and local governments across the nation are making wish lists that will make all of this spending a reality. We were promised infrastructure and we will get a little bit of that along with just about everything else. Wisconsin is no different. Local governments along with the governor are making wish lists that will spur the economy here and plug that he would hold that's in Wisconsin's budget. If there were only enough money to go around.

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"No New Taxes!"..."I Hope He Fails"

Don't kid yourself, it is not just Neanderthal Rush Limbaugh and other obvious anti-intellectuals who explicitly express hope President Obama fails; every Republican dinosaur secretly hopes the same.  The last election scared Republicans because it gave a large majority of votes to Democrats.  Personally, I don't give two cents for either party.  But to "hope he fails" is literally unpatriotic, to use the phrase Republicans like to throw around.  The neocon criticisms and use of "unpatriotic" has our new president wearing an American flag in his lapel, much like the swastika was required to be displayed there during Hitler's regime.  It is scary.  Right-wingers act out more like fascists all the time.

Now let me see if I have this right.  The right-wingers, who like to parade around as "family" folks, seem to think that it is OK to unite in keeping progressive legislation from being passed that will help our kids and grandkids financially, with health care, etc.  Oh, that's right, they may not be among the rich, so they don't get tax breaks while the economic future of the U.S. goes in the tank.  Patriotism means tax breaks for the rich, no restrictions on big corporations, spend like there is no tomorrow on the military [much goes into the sewer], and for goodness sake, don't fix our crumbling infrastructure because that will just give work to the poor and middle class.   Meanwhile, like Bush, veto help for veterans.  OK, so we need a socialistic bail-out from time to time to help our major corporations overcome their mismanagement and lousy, greedy direction.  Bush and the Republicans championed this socialistic bail-out when they were in power.  Now it stinks.  They didn't cut anything during the last 8 years except veterans benefits.

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OCTUPLETS! JUDGEMENTS BY "PROPER" PEOPLE

Yes, the young woman probably should have been given better counseling before doctors surgically inseminated her.  Yes, the woman probably has no idea what lies ahead of her with 14 kids.  Yes, she has no visible means to support all those kids.  Yes, this will be a burden beyond her comprehension.  Yes, octuplets means she faces tons of health care issues with all those kids.  Yes, we do not see a father in the picture.  Yes, tax  money will have to be spent.

HOWEVER, the reactions by all the goody-two-shoes have been astounding.  Many of the judgments against her in our holier-than-thou society have indicated that she should be shunned or turned over to a battery of psychiatrists.  Lands sakes, what kind of woman is she?  Imagine, the right-wingers and fundamentalists who parade around against abortion and stem-cell research, now acting as though God has selected them to stand in and reject the woman's decision to keep her embryos to term.   Oh, they will cover their self-piety by stating someone is to blame for not advising her correctly.  Perhaps, but what do we now do with the children?  Should we make them to suffer for our secret desire to shun her?  And how much of our pious harrumph is tied to her being in need of tax-supported welfare?  How much is tied to our yelling, "No more taxes!" and now being faced with a woman with 14 kids?  And did you notice, she doesn't even look Caucasian?

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A Deficiency of Fear

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

It looks like Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail again. Instead of trying to get elected, is trying to sell us what is becoming known as the spendulous bill. If we do not buy what is being sold, it will be shoved down our throats anyway. This is in stark contrast to how he campaigned when he was seeking election to the office of the presidency. He promised time and again to go through every spending bill line by line and ensure the American people that what was being spent was going to work. Now he wants a bill passed with so much spending in it that we will not know what is in there for years to come. It is supposed to be a stimulus package to get the time he rolling immediately. However, from what we are told from the people who have looked at it, is that a lot of this will not be spent for 2 to 3 years. Are we still going to be in a recession in that amount of time? If this type of spending goes through, I imagine we would be.

If we are in this unprecedented time, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we only know what doesn't work in stead of knowing what will work, that should certainly be the case to slow things down a little bit. Recessions normally last about 18 months. And from all the backdating that has been done to when we originally got into this recession, we should be hitting rock bottom and beginning the long climb up. Instead, we're growing the government and unprecedented rate to an unprecedented size. And from what we know from history, government does not contract. Even the presidents who promised smaller government could barely slow down the growth of government.

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REAGAN-BUSH HORROR REPEATED BY GOP

"Bravely" standing in the way of a greatly needed stimulus-employment package, the Republicans scream that they will block any new taxes or major involvement by the federal government.  Meanwhile economists of the right-wing and the left-wing keep telling us that the federal government is the only entity large enough to rescue our nation's deteriorating economy.  And this means taxes.  Everybody knows that unless the federal government steps in, private enterprise is going down the tubes effecting every American.  Just like stubborn George W. Bush, the Republicans will never admit their mistakes and will stick to their guns even if it means the collapse of the U.S. economy.  Some patriots.

Oh, some corporations will survive.  The Bush administration saw to that.  Bush-Cheney protected the Halliburtons, the petroleum companies, the pharmaceuticals, and other personal friends.  But their protection of greedy businesses, notably banks and financial institutions, have caused them to fall flat on their face.  The stupidity and greed of corporate CEOs is absolutely amazing.  Insight and intelligence left the corporate culture during the Reagan years and became fully atrocious during the Bush administration.  All the while, Bush lauded the corporations just like he bragged about the excellent job being done by his administration after Katrina, and how he strutted on an aircraft carrier announcing "mission accomplished."  Reagan-Bush years were abominable.

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Is There a Change Coming to TV?

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

I cannot think of a better example of how society has to dumb things down for the slowest person in the country than what is happening with the conversion to digital TV. Sure the government screwed it up by confusing people as to who would need a converter box. The coupon program could have been depleted by people who did not need them yet applied for them because they thought that something free was coming to them. Having them expire was also not a brilliant move. But because there are so many people who have procrastinated and did not want to spend an extra $40 for a converter, the conversion date is now being delayed.

As a cable subscriber, the moving of the conversion date does not impact me, except for those annoying public service announcements and crawls on just about every local station program has been very annoying. Even in this tough economic times, if you have saved money by not paying the satellite companies or the cable company, you should have 40 bucks to spend on a digital converter. If you don't, TV must not be that important to you. Even people who are upset and cannot understand why the government is making the change, many have been able to get a converter box even with a coupon. Remember, this is the same government that is forcing you to buy a new TV or a new TV converter box is the same one that will be spending $1 trillion to jump start the economy. The kindly old government that is assisting citizens in buying these converter boxes are made where?

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REPUBLICAN PARTY PARIOTISM: GET OBAMA TO FAIL

Yes, the Republican Party, you know, the one that loves to strut its patriotism and family values, is embarked on a "gotcha" campaign to see that Obama fails, no matter how much it hurts America and Americans.  The simplest and most cruel policy now is to stop any attempt at helping people in the U.S. and turning around the economy.  Though it was the Republican Party that got us into this mess, they now want to sabotage any try at solving the dumpster economy they created.  Solving this monumental problem would be tough enough if both major parties worked together, but it is much, much more difficult when one is hell-bent on practicing economic terrorism simply to make a selfish point.  Yuck!

Let's make one thing clear: the economic morass we are now in began with President Ronald Reagan, and was amplified in destruction by ignorant and selfish President George W. Bush.  Neither of those men had the aptitude or principles to sit in the White House.  Favors were doled out to corporations.  Financial institutions went off on a tangent as regulations were lessened.  Hundreds of billions of dollars have been simply thrown away, first to support the illegal Contras, and then to support an illegal war in Iraq.  We have no idea where all the weaponry used in these two wars went.  Much of it went to supply terrorists.  Our troops in Iraq and Afghanstan continue to be killed with weapons made in the U.S. 

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Happy Birthday Abe!

At this historic time in our nation, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect upon the accomplishments of the 16th President of these United States.  The words of few men are as resonant as those of our slain President. 

Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. Navy General Order No. 4 of 14 January 1863

GENERAL ORDER, No. 4

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WHEN DOES ENLIGHTENMENT FIND AMERICA?

In many ways we are still in the era of alchemy and witch hunts.  Unless you believe that the Bible is the actual word of God, many so-called Christians will defile you and think you horrid.  These people know better than science, better than your strange religious beliefs, better than history, better than logic, better than anything.  If you point out that what they are saying is totally against any insightful or intellectual premise, they will tell you, as they are painted into a corner, that they KNOW they are right and take in on "faith."  How's that for a glorious cop-out?

"Scriptures, n.  The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based."  -Ambrose Bierce

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Do the Wrong Thing

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Several years ago, I saw television program featuring Lee Iacocca. He was promoting his new book; Where Have All the Leaders Gone? When asked about how he thought George Bush was doing as president, he replied, "they're in over their heads." After that, I never really had a great deal of confidence in Bush anymore. This past week, watching President Obama and his economic team fuddling through passing in stimulus plan and mumbling through a new wave of TARP money, I realized too that Barack Obama is in over his head.

As a candidate, Obama proved that he will say anything to get elected. He promised to control spending and to eliminate waste from the federal budget. In his first major piece of legislation, he demonstrated that the liberal agenda is far more important to being passed than sticking to principles that people believed he would have. The stimulus plan is about $1 trillion of pork project shifting the direction of the country toward socialism. Apparently the Democrats are interested in revenge for not getting through the programs that they wish they had gotten through in the past eight years and are going to enact them all in one day. Tuesday. As families and businesses shift their focus to cutting costs and making hard choices limiting their growth which may further deepen the current recession, the federal government has pulled out all the stops giving us unprecedented growth and undoubtedly wasteful spending. Is this enough? Of course not. The money that was supposed to be spent quickly, is being spread out over three years. At least. This way, the Democrats can lower our expectations for a fast recovery while setting themselves up for taking all the credit if the economy turns around either this year or next.

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Concealed Weapons: Bear Essentials?

Sigh, that wacky Alaskan governor just doesn't go away.  Now she's written a memo to President Obama in support of President Bush's last-minute administrative rule in favor of allowing concealed weapons in national parks.

 

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WHAT LURKS BEYOND GREED-CAPITALISM?

If the federal government helping people in danger of losing their homes is socialism...

If a progressive income tax in which wealthier people pay a greater percentage of their income is socialism...

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Making Wisconsin Worse

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Things must be going pretty well here in Wisconsin as far as the economy goes. The budget woes are just about over. Wisconsin is going to get about $9 billion in stimulus money from the federal government. Is this the fix we need? Will it prevent taxes from going up? Of course not.

It seems too bad that the two senators from Wisconsin have not done anything in almost 20 years in order to bring some federal money into this state. Our two Democratic senators and Democratic Governor have never been on the same page in order to get effective programs funded in this state. The amount of money that we get from the federal government is pathetic compared to what is being sent. Wisconsin is clearly a donor state.

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Green Technology Advice for Replacement Windows

Environment, Green Technologies

There's plenty of companies willing to sell you windows.  They open, close, tip in for easy cleaning and that's about all you need to know, right?  Wrong.

Fall into that trap and you'll quickly find yourself purchasing low quality junk for what is an inflated price.

Working in the home improvement industry, I have seen carpenters suggest junk windows with a short term life to customers.  I have demoed high quality windows to homeowners with million dollar houses on the northshore only to see a sign out in front of their house weeks later from the lowest price seller in our market.  That's a bit like putting ketchup on your porterhouse while wearing a robe and big fluffy slippers at a high end steak house.  I've often wondered who the dimwit yokels are inside and what they do for living-- thinking to myself, that's a doctor or an attorney I would never want to hire.

Some homeowners who know nothing about windows think they're going to learn by sitting through 6 demos.  Usually after 3 presentations your brain starts to rot and all the facts from the presentations you've sat through have blended together, leaving you to decide on the one fact you do recall -- price.  That's a recipe for an incompetent purchase.

So if you want to make an educated decision here's the scoop:

You need to know about 3 agencies to make a decision on what you want.  NFRC, (nfrc.org) AAMA and Energy Star. 

NFRC, also known as the National Fenestrations Rating Council, measures heat transferrance and reports their findings in u-factors.

AAMA measures air infiltration.

Energy Star doesn't measure anything.  Energy Star is a government agency that uses ratings primarily from NFRC to decide whether a window is energy efficient.

The better the window the lower the u-factor.  Most companies will try to sell you a low-e and argon window.  Unfortunately the best u-factor you're going to get with a double pane plus low-e and argon window will be a u-factor right around .29.

Your really superior windows are going to be in the .17 to .19.  These windows generally pay for themselves with energy savings in 5 to 10 years.

AAMA has a rating you should pay attention to.  AAMA Gold Label certification is a distinction that only 10% of all windows qualify for.  If a window bears the AAMA Gold Label, it means that window leaks less than .30 CFM (cubic feet per minute) when there is a 25 mile per hour wind.   There are some windows that leak as little as .02 cfm.  Less air leakage is better.  Some windows to bear an AAMA label but not the Gold label.  This means that AAMA has not tested those windows because the window company has chosen not to submit their window to AAMA for testing.  If it bears a non-gold AAMA label, that window was tested by a private lab of the manufacturers choosing under that manufacturer chose; meaning the manufacturer could have added clips, screws and caulk to seal a window which had air infiltration problems.

All the same, u-factor is King in the window industry.  Make your decision based upon u-factor or don't bother replacing your windows.

The new Obama stimulus plan gives homeowners a tax credit of up to $1500 to help pay for new energy efficient windows.  To qualify the windows have to have an NFRC u-factor of .30 or less.  You can get 30% of the cost of the new windows, up to $1500.  The savvy homeowner won't settle for a u-factor as high as .30 but that is a personal choice.  My recommendation is to not even bother replacing your windows if the u-factor is higher than .31.

All windows to not qualify for this tax credit.  When your windows are installed they should have an NFRC sticker on them.  That sticker should tell you whether they have less than .30 and therefore qualify.

"SOCIALISM" OK WITH BUSH, NOT OBAMA

It was George W. Bush who proposed, and obligingly received from a Republican Congress, a federal government bail-out of banks, financial institutions, etc.  It is Barack Obama who is called a Marxist and Socialist when trying to do the same.  The big difference: Democrats crossed the aisle to help Bush, the Republicans won't do anything to help Obama.  The other BIG difference: it was the Bush administration that caused this financial melt-down.  Greed-capitalism has failed us.  And Obama has been stuck with the bill; and with Republicans in Congress who show their cooperation and patriotism by voting in unison against whatever Obama proposes.  Republican agenda: do not allow President Obama to succeed.  Republican agenda item #2: take the easy route and predict failure about everything...and then ensure that happens.

The Bush administration inherited a federal budget surplus when it took office.  Think how far we have spiraled downward since then.  And all the financial failure was done in secret.  Calling bank bail-outs in 2009 an act of socialism is amazing, considering that there were over 400 bank failures and bail-outs during the Bush administration!  Where was the cry from the conservatives then?  What is further amazing is that the Bush administration [and a prior Reagan administration] gave huge corporations like banks and financial companies the most favorable federal playing field imaginable and they still could not succeed over the graft and greed.  What kind of financial CEOs are capable of this much failure?

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Obama Doubles Chances of Getting Things Right

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

In the past we have heard politicians talk aboard corners of their mouth. They will say one thing and do another. Some people call this hypocrisy. However today, there is a new spin on this label formerly called hypocrisy. Now, when you say one thing and do another, you are doubling your chances of being right. There can be no better example of this in the Obama administration.

I'm getting sick and tired of hearing Obama blame Bush for all the ills in the world. Or at least all of the ills in today's economy. Whether or not Bush is the origin of today's economic problems is becoming more and more irrelevant. It's time to stop pointing fingers and work on the solutions. It doesn't matter who caused the problems, Americans are looking for solutions. Results. Pointing fingers is not going to bring prosperity. Obama is the president and this is going to be known as Obama's recession. After all, he campaigned for the job and now he's got it.

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WOW, DID WE CHOOSE THE RIGHT PREZ!

 Watching President Barack Obama addressing Congress clearly indicated to me how long it has been since we had a president adequately equipped to handle the office.  The current debacle in the U.S. developed over several previous administrations.  It did not happen overnight.  And with each man addressing the nation, Congress, or a large gathering, I have always been amazed how limited and sometimes outright inadequate have been our presidents.

Moreover, it has been apparent for a long time, perhaps even going back to the McCarthy fascist scares, perhaps even back farther with American industrialists supporting Adolf Hitler, that we have had a president not beholden to big business and corporate behemoths.  Yes, since FDR and Truman the pickings have been slim.

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Cole's Cold One

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

I was watching a rerun of the old M*A*S*H program the other day. In this episode Charles Winchester was having a euphoric experience while talking about his cognac. This reminded me of someone else who has more than just a passing fancy with cognac-Darnell Cole. Darnell Cole, former president of MATC, recently drink eight cognacs and then when driving. This according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Nothing wrong with that, or is there?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently did a 72 part story about 72 people whose lives were affected by the consequences of drinking and driving. Sometimes do to themselves, sometimes due to others. In each case at least one life was destroyed or ended early due to the decision of thinking and driving. In the state assembly, some representatives and senators were introducing legislation that would affect how drinking and driving would be handled if you got caught. Yet for all the publicity that this issue has gotten, little will change. In Wisconsin, people like to drink and drive. It gets condoned.

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