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Going Through the Valley

God, Hope, Psalm 23, valley

Hope is necessary in every condition.  Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)I have been through turmoil lately.  It was caused by external forces at work.   The result is that my work position was deleted, erased, blown away, restructured out of existence.  So I am in limbo land.  The best way I can describe it is this:  My character in the soap opera was written out of the script, killed off, by those that write the soap opera.  So now I am an out-of-work actress (spiritual person) in search of another soap opera (work place).    Am I down for the count?  No way! This is the way I see my situation:  I am in God’s capable hands.  God created the world and created me.  God cares about me because I am His daughter.  God has promised to take care of me, and God keeps His promises.  That’s all I need right now to keep my chin up and stay positive and focused on my future, not wallowing in the past.   We all go through valleys in our lives.  You know what I am talking about—the valley of the shadow of death from Psalm 23.  Things are not always peachy keen, are they?  At least they have not been in my life, but I am the eternal optimist, because God is in my heart.  You notice David (writer of many psalms) wrote, “I walk THROUGH the valley . . . .”  David did not say, “When I am stuck in the valley or dead in the valley,” or anything else, but “walk through” the valley of the shadow of death.  We walk through the valley, as sheep, following our Shepherd, our Lord God. In the valley we are fearful; inexplicable things happen to us and around us.  Yet our Shepherd sees us THROUGH the valley.  It is not a permanent situation but a temporary one, as long as we stay focused on our Shepherd, our Lord.  We are as silly sheep and will not go through anything, much less a valley, without following our Shepherd. Praise God; He is there!  And God knows what’s on the other side of the valley! I have every reason to be optimistic about tomorrow.  I know that God wastes nothing in our lives.  We go through experience after experience and meet person after person.  Why?  Why does all this happen?  What does it all mean?  Notice that we are moving forward, every day in every way.  We must notice this because the clock is ticking, and time marches on for us.  At some point we need sleep to refresh and rejuvenate.  So we rest and wake refreshed.  It is another day, another period of time to explore our world, have more experiences, make choices, meet people, and build on what happened yesterday.  Yes, we BUILD ON what happened before.  As individuals, we build on our education, work and life experiences, relationships, and the like.  It is important to pay attention to our own history, study it, and ruminate over it from time to time.  Any teacher would tell you that history is important to study to learn the lessons of the past so we can make better decisions for the future.  It is the same for us as individuals; our history is a base for building on the future as long as we do not ignore the lessons we learned from our past.   As in all situations (yes, all) we have choices to make.  We can decide to accept the situation, come to terms with it, and move beyond it  with more knowledge (knowledge is power), or we can stay stuck in the situation, eek out of it any and all pain possible, make others miserable (misery does like company), and  ruin our chances at a more pleasing and productive  future.  Yes, attitude is everything in every situation.  We can wake up each morning and say, “Lord, thanks for another day of life!” Or we can wake up each morning and say, “Oh, no.  I have to get up and do it all over again. No!”  Yes, attitude is everything, and it boils down to our spirituality, doesn’t it?  By spirituality, I mean our relationship with the Holy Spirit, the Divine.  Are we connected enough with God to know we are important to Him and to the world, His world that He created? God wastes nothing in us, not our joys or sadness, our positive or negative experiences.  Nothing is swept under the carpet.  It is true that what does not kill us, while painful to experience, can make us stronger.  Indeed, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says:  “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.”   God has something great in store for us.  Believe it!  God holds the future for us.  Although none of us knows what the future holds, we do know who holds the future.   God is already there!  We have nothing to fear!   God is continuing to transform us through it all.  God never fails us.  God can turn something negative into a positive; God can take a sad situation and turn it into something good for us and those around us.  God does move in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.  Isaiah 41:10 says:   “So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
 God promises us that He will be with us and God keeps His promises.   Yes, something sad has happened to me.  People have let me down and perhaps I let them down.  Perhaps this is all part of God’s design for my life.  Maybe my time with that group of people was at an end and God needs to move me elsewhere to continue my ministry, my work for Him.  I move forward then, and realize that God has only good things in store for me.  I look forward with anticipation knowing that whatever happens, God is with me every step of the way.  I live for Him. 

 

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2008: Would Jesus be a Christian?

"I consider Christian theology to be one of the great disasters of the human race ... it would be impossible to imagine anything more un-Christlike than theology.  Christ probably couldn't have understood it." -Alfred North Whitehead

"The memory of my own suffering has prevented me from ever shadowing one young soul with the superstitions of the Christian religion." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Politics of Race on the Milwaukee County Board

It’s a sad commentary but the current County Board Chairman, Lee Holloway, won re-election from his collegues on the County Board largely based on the politics of race.

Holloway managed to get all African-American supervisors as well as the one Latino supervisor to vote for him lock-step. It took over 30 rounds of voting from the 10 member board to wear out his opponents but Holloway was victorious in the end. In his last two elections to the leadership position, Holloway pledged to take more of a hands-on approach to governing. Unfortunately Holloway did not live up to his hands-on promise for much of his last term and when it comes to standing up against neo-conservative County Executive Scott Walker, Holloway has been meek.

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Cleanup

Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation

After seeing no story about Whitefish Bay's "Green Day in the Bay" in the NOW paper.. I contacted Julie Erickson, the event's coordinator for a report on this great happening.

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Noise Noise from all these Toys

climate change, County Government, Government, News, Politics, Religion, taxes

Several years ago I attended a meeting of a local government.  As an open offer to all the citizens, they would start out each meeting by opening the floor to any in attendance who could speak on any subject.  Although open ended, I think he would have steered it to subjects of local interest for which the governmental body could address.  At this particular meeting, a citizens stood up and voiced his concern over the amount of noise in his neighborhood, which bothered him.  He told of many Sunday afternoon's he would be relaxing in his hammock taking a nap in his beautifully landscaped backyard.  Then, uninvitedly a group of motorcycles came off the street and drove back and forth quite loudly, past his house repeatedly.  This bothered him so much that he has to have a noise ordinance put in place to prevent such an interruption in the future.

Well, the chair of the meeting said that there was a noise ordinance already in place, but could not do too much about the motorcycles.  At this, the citizen stated that he did not like all of this motorcycle noise, reiterating his concern.  And again the chair of the meeting, almost began to laugh at the citizen at such a ridiculous request.  After all, they were probably Harley-Davidson's and seeing that Milwaukee is the headquarters of Harley-Davidson, not too much could be done.  In fact, nothing would be done.

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HEY! Another restaurant on Silver Spring!

Redevelopment, Silver Spring

Just read the May 20th WFB Plan Commission agenda.  There's one item of interest:

* Ryan and Marija Whitman (Gracious Events Corp), 342 E. Silver Spring Dr., (Full service restaurant and café, name TBD). 

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Psst: many innocent people are in prison

 Long ago I came to realize there were many, many people incarcerated who were innocent.  And many more who were sentenced incorrectly and counterproductively.  It was not because of the rantings of some prisoners constantly screaming about their innocence, though some of those also were innocent.  It was because I had come to see the corrections systems in the U.S. and the way "justice" was pronounced from the inside and from an informed perspective.

Through the years I have been the member of the board of directors and president of the board in Washington, DC and in Milwaukee, WI of residential centers for offenders.   It may surprise you to learn that both prison systems were horribly administered and by the time we received these offenders we had to undo some of the damage that the prisons inflicted through mismanagement and incompetent staffs.  The prisoners were serving time in both state and federal prisons.  Sure, many of the offenders deserved to be found guilty and held to account.  But the prisons in both areas left much to be desired, and actually were the worst places offenders could be sent.  Recidivism rates were high, and the more draconian the system was administered to satisfy the American public who loves to say, "lock 'em up and throw away the key," the more prisoners who returned to incarceration after their release.  The American public promotes a way of handling offenders that is counterproductive at best, and an example of Middle Ages mentality at worst.

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Tax Holiday Vacation

climate change, County Government, Government, Politics, Smoking, taxes

In a recent effort to pander to voters of both parties, two of the presidential candidates offered a plan to suspend collecting the federal gas tax during the summer months.  Whether you think this is a good idea or not, it probably is not going to happen.  Will it not happen because of inaction due to Congress?  Will the senators quit pushing for this idea, if people lose interest in it?  Or is this such a bad idea on its own that it will die on the vine?

About a year ago after recent surges in the price of gasoline, some states offered to suspend the state excise tax on gasoline.  Wisconsin was not one of them.  This of course is because Governor Jim Doyle will not put any effort into lowering taxes in Wisconsin.  Even if the states stopped collecting the tax, I believe people would be shocked by the amount that they would no longer be paying.  Even if it were for a short time.  But Wisconsin film never offer a tax holiday.  There are probably some tax-and-spend liberals will believe that we are currently in a tax holiday, because we did not raise taxes when we had the opportunities every time.  We could be paying a high hospital tax.  We could be paying higher excise taxes on liquor and cigarettes.  The sales tax would also be higher if some of the election results had been different in the past few local elections.

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Musings For The Day...

Here are a few things that have been on my mind as of late..Let me hear your thoughts.

 

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Its not only conservatives vs. liberals

 The U.S. is now straddled with a lazy, shallow print and broadcast media.  They think that "balanced" news reporting is to simply have conservative and liberal "suits" debate an issue.  What has happened to a once-proud journalism profession in America?  What we have now is intellectual emptiness coupled with manipulated capitalism masquerading as journalism.  This is now lack of back story wedded to advertising.  

Like America's reputation generally and America's journalism specifically, we have fallen a long way from distinction and quality.  Graduates from our schools of journalism have no clue what it means to be a professional journalist.  Getting the background story and historical backdrop are absent.  We still have a cadre of older men and women who know what a professional journalist is, but they are limited in what they can do and say.  Their experience is harnessed to get a quick, often fictionalized, story.  It is not the deadlines that cause this, it is the laziness or advertising requirements by today's reporters and editors.  Sad. 

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Democratic Do-Over

Government, News, Politics, taxes

It seems like the Democrats want it both ways this year.  At first they wanted a well contested primary season.  Now they have a new slogan: Hillary get out!  At first he wanted all the votes counted, just like they did in 2000.  Now they want to forget about Florida and Michigan.  At first they wanted their delegates to the proportionally assigned.  Now, because Barack Obama does not have enough delegates to secure the nomination as of today, winner take all may not have been a bad idea.  However, if the delegates were a signed on the winner take all basis, the nomination would have been secured by Clinton.  Not even the Democrats want that.

What happened to Barack Obama?  Six months ago, he was the eloquent speaker.  His audiences lapped it up like a hungry cat at a saucer of milk.  America was hungry for the message of optimism.  It's what we wanted.  It's what we need.  We want to be inspired.  We want to be told by our leaders that better days lie ahead.

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Sal's Pizza, we hardly knew ye.

Deadpool, Redevelopment, Silver Spring

I was forwarded an email from a loyal reader with news from Eric Bahr, the manager of Sal's Pizza in Cedarburg. 

Sal's Pizza will not be opening a new restaurant on Silver Spring, nor anywhere else.

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Bush conservatives leave USA in a scrap heap

Just when you think the neocons have done all the damage to the U.S. that could possibly be done, Bush goes to the Middle East and screws things up even more.  His comments about Arab nations made him even more of a pariah than he already had been.  It is Bush and the neocons who are recruitment godsends to terrorists.   And traveling as a head of state he should know that you keep your own national politics out of bounds.  Yet he couldn't contain himself, or the horrid neocons that surround him, and openly criticized Obama.  Imagine, George W. Bush criticizing an intelligent politician about the Middle East.  Bush has screwed up the Middle East [and everything else he has touched] beyond belief.  The president of the U.S. is hated and has become the laughing stock around the world.

The legacy of this president is so horrible that it will take at least several presidential administrations to get things back on an even keel, if it can be done at all.  The dollar is now a questionable currency of exchange in more and more nations.  Our national debt is at levels that could not be imagined heretofore.  We are bogged down in a war that continues to claim lives and is bankrupting the U.S. economy.  And it was all done with lies as the vehicle of delivery.

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Make it happen, State Reps.

I think all of us were outraged at the deaths of Jennifer Bukosky and her daughter at the hands of a drunk/drugged Mark Benson, when he crashed his Escalade into their vehicle, killing them, and leaving a bereaving son, husband, grandparents and friends behind.

Wisconsin has some of the weakest laws against drunk drivers in the country. 

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GOP Radio Talker on AM620 Mocks Ted Kennedy After Cancer Diagnosis

Republican Tactics, Senator, Talk Radio

Offensive.  Outrageous.  Inexcusable.

That was my reaction when WTMJ AM620 talk radio host Michael Savage decided to play a "Dead Kennedys" song when he announced that Ted Kennedy had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

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The Do-Nothing Legislature

County Government, Government, News, Politics, taxes

In the early 1950s, President Harry Truman, regularly complained about not being able to pass the legislation through Congress that he thought would be better for America.  He blamed the 'do-nothing Congress.'  It seems like we're having a similar situation with the state legislature.  They can't get anything effective completed.

The budget deficit has become a perennial mess.  Drunk drivers and inattentive people on cell phones pack the streets and highways.  There is still an outrageously high gasoline markup law that has been declared unconstitutional.  Yet is still in force.  Entitlements like badger care and enrollment numbers that have far exceeded the estimates when the law was passed.  This sounds a lot like the retirement scam at Milwaukee County passed just under 10 years ago.  Yet time and again, there are press releases that members of the state legislature are introducing bills to become laws as if things were actually be accomplished.  Tax-and-spend liberals are always trying to pass new, higher taxes.  At least there are enough people in the Legislature that have stopped huge tax increases.  I will acknowledge that.  How many times does it take to get the drunk driving laws straightened out?  Drunk drivers have been around since automobiles began being popular.  Yet every time that there is a death by a drunk driver, at least three legislators offer new bills that will get tough.  I guess they all were pretty weak.

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Alternatives to corporate-controlled media...

We are bombarded with commercial media that totes the magnificence of capitalism, and in essence presents a right-wing story that it announces as "news."  Network TV has short-changed us, and has cut back on its formerly respected journalism.  The same goes for right-wing shlock on radio, and corporate-serving print media.  All these sources have become standard presentations in what passes for news these days.   It is anti-intellectual to the max, and would rather tell you hyped stories about corporate messiahship than present news.  Younger people have no idea what real journalism is, and certainly know nothing about objective and responsible reporting.  Nothing is done in depth anymore.  And progressive ideas are totally unknown.  Here are some other voices...

The BBC radio and television still maintain reporters worldwide, and give about the most balanced news reporting that is now available in major media.  It is not as good as it might be, but it is the best for now.  The same goes for the New York Times and the Washington Post daily newspapers: good for now, but could be much, much better. 

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Gas Price to Increase

climate change, County Government, Energy, Government, News, Politics, taxes

Over 30 years now, that I know of, people have been complaining about the price of gas, no matter what it is. I'm getting mighty tired of all the news about high gas prices. Back around 1974, the price of gas inched its way up to 34 cents per gallon.  People were so outraged over this high price that they decided to get out of their cars and pumped their own gas in order to save two cents per gallon.  It may seem foolish when we think back on that situation in today's context, but it was a real problem back then.  We were mad, and we weren't going to take it anymore. Yet the price increased again.

I would agree that today's situation seems even more dire.  Even adjusted for inflation, today's situation is worse.  Should we be looking to the government for a solution?  I'm not really sure if this is a governmental problem.  It is a free market problem.  And how is it explained today?  Many armchair economists attempt to explain us in the knowledge that they gained in Econ 101.  Yes, supply and demand seems to be the solution that people will dole out to you.  It may be only part of the answer that people try to explain it fully using this one lesson.  It's not entirely their fault, because Econ 101 is one of those classes that is taught at eight o'clock in the morning no matter what college or university you may have attended.  And how much could you really learn looking out of one bloodshot eye?

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Why should judges be elected?

I write this entry after pondering a few recent tidbits.  The first is the formal reprimand of Justice Annette Ziegler by the State of Wisconsin Supreme Court for her -ahem- lapses in judgment.  More pointedly, however, is the recent spate of coverage regarding the Gableman election, including his on-the-job politicking.  That election, so contentious, was even covered in a recent New York Times article, also arguing for the appointment, rather than election, of judges. 

 As for the Gableman affair, I'll recite what we already know.  The state's first and only African American Supreme Court Justice lost his election--the first time in decades that happened, if ever

Bush lied about Iraq? I'm shocked...shocked!

If you had to hear it from Scott McClellan, you simply haven't been paying attention.  Regarding Iraq, we were lied to by Bush and his henchmen, we were grossly shortchanged by the Democrats, the media had its head in the sand, the military leadership failed us, and American democracy was handed over to corporate factions who have made a profiting bonanza out of Iraq and this administration.  But the passive, quiet Democrats were shameful beyond belief.

When you have to be most cautious and questioning of the government is when there is a patriotic furor.  Nazi Germany is the best example in recent history.  The terrorists did everything but phone-in their plans.  And people around the U.S. questioned the pilot training of some of the terror planners. But the Bush insiders covered their mistakes and oversights by whipping up a war frenzy, and they picked a horrible nation to invade under the circumstances.  Iraq was not a nation, it was a boundary of at least three very different factions and cultures, cobbled together by the British early in the 20th century.  We went into Iraq like a bull in a China shop.   The Bush-Cheney team was intellectually inept, and were too busy handing out favors to grandfather Bush and papa Bush's  old pals, the Saudi family; and Cheney gave many billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to his old company that had lavished him as CEO, Halliburton.

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