Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
In 2009, the median salary for barbers in the U.S. was $24,160, only about 30.4 percent more than 1999's $18,530 (in nominal dollars), according to BLS data.
That, my friends, is some funny math. The article states that the median hair cut price is $13.18. So, if you assume that barbers work 50 weeks a year (2 weeks for vacation) and take about 10 holiday days, that means your average barber works 240 days a year. For that math to work out, it would mean that your average barber only does 7.63 haircuts a day. The three men who have cut my hair the most in my life all averaged their 8th haircut by about 1o am.
So what does that mean? Well, it means that your barber is paying taxes on all of those cash haircuts before noon. After that, Uncle Sam ceases to exist. And most seem to get away with this. More power to 'em.
Obama introduced Clinton lightly as "the other guy" and recalled how Clinton has overseen heady economic times. Obama warned that he wouldn't be staying long -- another White House Christmas party was waiting, as was his wife, Michelle.
And so it became clear pretty quickly that this was Clinton's show.
"I feel awkward being here, and now you're going to leave me all by myself," Clinton said from the stage of the White House briefing room.
Not that awkward.
Clinton comfortably outlined how the pending package of tax cuts, business incentives and unemployment benefits would boost the economy -- even though it included tax help for the wealthy that Obama had to swallow.
"There's never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of a partisan," Clinton said. "But I really believe this will be a significant net-plus for the country."
Bill Clinton may have been a scuzz ball, but I'll give him this much: He was Presidential. That's more than I can say for The One.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
The frustration with President Barack Obama over his tax cut compromise was palpable and even profane at Thursday’s House Democratic Caucus meeting.
One unidentified lawmaker went so far as to mutter “f— the president” while Rep. Shelley Berkley was defending the package the president negotiated with Republicans. Berkley confirmed the incident, although she declined to name the specific lawmaker.
Tee hee. Keep thinking your far left base is representative of the "real America" kiddos. That election that just happened was just an anomaly...
Monday, December 06, 2010
DHS announced Monday that they've partnered up with Wal-Mart to push their "If you See Something, Say Something" campaign. More than 230 stores started playing cautionary videos on monitors in check-out lines Monday, reminding Wal-Mart "shoppers to contact local law enforcement to report suspicious activity." Another 588 stores in 27 states will join the program in the next few weeks. According to DHS, the "partnership between DHS and Walmart to help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation."Really? When did Wal-Marts become seething cauldron's of terrorism? Did the underwear bomber get his Fruit of the Looms from a Wally World?
I'm a bit alarmed by the directions DHS has headed under Big Sis. From the new TSA policies at the airports that respond not to future threats but the last failed one, to frothing up paranoia amongst Americans towards one another at the discount store, DHS is more than a little out of control. Maybe Saint Russ, opponent of the Patriot Act, could take his last stand for civil liberties here. But don't count on it.
First, they let TSA ogle the sexy people at airports, and I said nothing. Next, they let TSA feel up and grope your mom, and I said nothing. And then when the old lady greeter at Wal-Mart snapped on a dirty latex glove and ordered me to spread 'em, sonny, there was nobody left. :p
Sunday, December 05, 2010
- Doc Holliday: Way ahead of yourselves, aren't you, boys? This is just another mining camp.
- Behan: Have you seen how everyone dresses? Awful tony for a mining camp. No, sir, the die is cast. We are growing. Be as big as San Francisco in a few years and just as sophisticated-
- [He's interrupted by gunshots, men yelling, and a brief, but fatal, gunfight in the street mere feet from where they stand]
- Doc Holliday: [smirking] Very cosmopolitan.
- [Behan glares at him]
This isn't literal, and I'm not comparing Wisconsin to a boom-bust mining town. But often we are over optimistic about our home towns, out home states, and our home regions. I think that editorial is clear evidence of that.
What I found in the editorial was disappointing. It wasn't grounded in reality, and it was desperate. I'm going to leave the first half of the story alone as it uses Wisconsin's history of investing in cutting edge transportation as a mechanism to make the reader assume that a not so very high speed train is cut of the same cloth. I'd like to dig into those last several paragraphs a little, though.
The idea seems oddly nostalgic at first - why build passenger trains in the 21st century? - but it actually fits an emerging settlement pattern. Not in my lifetime but perhaps in my grandchildren's, and for better or worse, an interconnected megalopolis will sprawl from Benton Harbor, Mich., to Minneapolis-St. Paul. As the empty spaces fill in, there will be a demand for some form of transport that's faster than cars but has more frequent stops (and fewer exasperating waits) than airplanes.
Indeed, why? The arguments from supporters have been far from compelling. The "cool kids are doing it" argument doesn't cut it. The facts on the ground are that the demographics of the entire line, whether it be from Milwaukee to Madison or Milwaukee to Minneapolis, in no way support a train. So a vision is painted for us of a megalopolis from Michigan to Minnesota that is just a couple of generations away. I'm sorry, but that should set off any reasonable person's BS meter.
Chicago to Milwaukee is a major metropolitan entity right now, but it is far from a megalopolis. Now I agree with some of the studies/papers out there that say a megalopolis will form along the coast of Lake Michigan over multiple, multiple generations. But we are no where close to that. And the idea of a Benton Harbor to Minneapolis megalopolis is absurd. If you've been to the Northeastern corridor in this country, you know what makes a megalopolis. If you've driven the vast rural expanses along I-90 and I-94 to Minneapolis, you know that there is no way this corridor can build up to that extent in the next 100 years. There may be no reason for that corridor to ever become that urban, but even if it eventually did, high speed rail would be a quaint, antique technology by then.
Don't believe it's happening? Consider the city of Jefferson, just south of I-94, which has gained population in recent years despite a steady loss of jobs. Once the trading center for a prosperous farm region, Jefferson has increasingly become a bedroom community for white-collar workers commuting to Madison or Milwaukee. We can expect more of the same in years to come.
What?! Has the author ever been to Jefferson? Ever? I've absolutely zero evidence of Jefferson drawing white collar residents. Where are they living, next to the closed golf course? There are three towns of similar size in the postage stamp sized corner of the world: Jefferson, Whitewater, and Fort Atkinson. I don't see any of the three cities becoming bedroom communities for the white collar workers of Madison and Milwaukee. When we bought our home, I hoped that the housing boom would last long enough for Fort Atkinson to become a bedroom community of Madison, but it did not happen. And I assure you, in this market, Jefferson isn't, either.
Not that this matters, because this entire corridor would need to be drawing new citizens from out of state for new white collar jobs that are sprouting across Madison and Milwaukee. That isn't happening. Even my hopes of this area becoming a bedroom community weren't pinned on the type of new growth that would be required to support this train line. It was built on the fact that the price of real estate and the high taxes of Milwaukee and Madison were driving people out of those counties in search of homes. Population redistribution in a region does not make a train more viable.
As the price of gasoline reaches European levels, climbing to $4, then $5, then $6 a gallon; as our freeways creep closer to gridlock without exorbitant public subsidies (think $810 million for the Marquette Interchange, the exact cost of the entire Milwaukee-Madison rail project); and as the economic linkages between Midwestern cities become more apparent - doesn't high-speed rail begin to make sense?
Trains do not exist in a vacuum. They are also not an energy neutral. The rise in petroleum prices push those with any kind of energy flexibility to other sources, thus pushing up the costs of those energies. In this case, most likely coal power, which the Obama administration would already like to make more expensive for you. Those increased costs must either be shoulder by riders, who would already be paying a princely sum to ride the train, or by the government, i.e., government subsidies in perpetuity.
I wouldn't expect the system to have much impact on the poverty of Milwaukee's central city, and it's no substitute for a sound county transit system, but there's no doubt that starting the high-speed line today would help to meet future regional needs.
Again, I point out that this is a generation M solution for a problem that will not likely be evident until generation R, S, T, or even later. And by that time, it will almost certainly be a technology that is hopelessly behind the times.
An earlier generation of Wisconsinites did precisely the same thing. When our ancestors committed themselves to railroads, they were taking a chance, but the gamble paid off handsomely. In 1883, Alexander Mitchell, Wisconsin's railroad king, spoke plainly about what would have happened to Milwaukee without first-rate rail connections: "If it had not been for the enterprise and public spirit and liberality of the citizens of Milwaukee, both individually and collectively, Milwaukee today might have been no larger than Manitowoc or Sheboygan."
They were taking personal financial risk, first of all, although governments mitigated that somewhat. And the riskiness of the bets didn't lay in the mode of transportation, it was in particular lines. That is a huge difference. There were riches to be had if you bet on the right line. In this case, there is no promise of the sort. In fact, the history of Amtrak would indicate that this would be a vortex of cash with very little tangible or intangible benefit.
It's not the money; it's the connections. If the $810 million allocated to Wisconsin goes elsewhere, if high-speed rail never becomes a reality in our state, if the main line passes us by to the south and west, might not future generations condemn our own lack of "enterprise and public spirit"? Can we afford not to take the chance? Is that a bet Scott Walker really wants to make?
It certainly could go south and west, but it makes the line even less viable. Do you know how long it would take a not so very high speed train to travel from Chicago to Rockford to Iowa and up to Minneapolis, with all of the attendant stops in between? If you don't, try to brush up on your Pythagorean theorem. The mini legs between Town X, IL, and Chicago and Town Y, MN, and Minneapolis would make sense, but the much larger rider potential between the people of the Chicago Metro and the Twin Cities Metro would not because both air travel and automobile travel would be more efficient. Plus the line would bypass the two largest metros along the way, ceding valuable ridership. This train has to travel through Wisconsin to make any sense, and we can afford to wait for several generations. In fact, doing so might reward us with even better technology if and when the time comes that it does make sense. And with all the growth, assuming it actually occurs, the country would be much more able to afford it.
(Update 11:27: Now with linky goodness.)
Saturday, December 04, 2010
"I want a train set. Trains are cool."
"Really? A train set? I think your grandpa wanted one once upon a time, too. Even got me one for Christmas once. It was kinda cool, I guess, but you realize it just goes over the same path over and over and over again, right?"
"I don't care. They're cool."
"They're pretty expensive, too. And daddy lost his job this year. This would be very difficult for us to pull off, son. Are you sure you want a toy that doesn't really do much outside of speed along the same track over and over again? "
"Daddy! Trains are cool. I WANT ONE!!!"
"Okay, bud. I get that. But why?"
"Because trains are cool, dad."
"Wouldn't you want something that you can be really flexible when playing with? Maybe a really nice Hot Wheels set? Or even a video game?"
"No, daddy! I want a train!"
"But why, son?"
"Because they are cool. Billy has one. And so does Sam."
"But son, will you actually play with it?"
"Umm, who said anything about playing with it, daddy? I want one because the cool kids have 'em."
"You aren't going to play with it if we sacrifice and maybe dip into your college fund to buy it, are you?"
"Daddy! Of course I will. But what's really important is that I can brag to Jimmy and Joe that I'm just like Billy and Sam."
"Son, I think that's good enough for me. You're getting a Hot Wheels set for Christmas."
For eight years, each man was the other's main political foil.
But in a joint interview, Milwaukee County Executive and Governor-elect Scott Walker and County Board Chairman Lee Holloway sound more like old buddies than frequent adversaries.
Their differences have been overblown, says Walker, who tells Holloway they accomplished a lot and that at least when Holloway disagreed he would come right out with his criticism.
If I remember, I'm going to be listening to this Sunday night because I am baffled. While it might make sense when it comes to future votes to make friends with Lee Holloway, on a moral plane I don't think I could personally have a buddy-buddy with a slumlord, no matter how much power he wields in Milwaukee.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I hope they hold true to their poll, because "give birth" is running away with things right now. But I hope they give the child up for adoption. He or she deserves parents that want it and not parents that are willing to offer up his or her life to the whims of total strangers on the internet. This is truly the most awful thing I've seen in my lifetime, and these two people are terrible human beings; not because they are willing to consider abortion, but because they are so cowardly that they are willing to forfeit the decision to a mass of strangers. It has taken a long time for the internet to truly revolt me, but finally it has.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Does that mean that your rum & Coke, Jack & Coke are next? What about all of those Red Bull mixers?
Is this really something the FDA needs to wade into?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I still think that it was the best choice he had, but as we've seen, even a little identity politics wasn't enough to vault his moribund candidacy into an actual competition with Barack Obama.
Now the right is stuck with a person who has ample supporters but who has absolutely no chance of unseating President Obama. And rightfully so. As dreadful as Obama is, even I think his 4 miserable years of experience in the office would put him head and shoulders above Palin. IF she were the Republican nominee, I would have to seriously, seriously contemplate my vote in 2012. I'm not sure I can vote for her.
There is no gender bias in my opinion on this. I hope for a female or a minority star to emerge with 'presidential stuff' from the right. She isn't it. I'll give her credit, I think she has really worked hard towards that end in the past 2 years. But even with hard work in the next 2 years, I can't see it. If she keeps working, there is a chance that I'd see her as presidential in 2016 0r 2020. Maybe, if she really works on that resume. At the current time, no way. And I really don't want to see the right carrying that albatross around its neck going into 2012.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Isn't that kind of like trying to get yourself out of an active heart attack by eating a Triple Baconator?
Today, via his investigative column, Captain Obvious shines the bright light on ... Wisconsin Governor Elect Scott Walker. Captain Obvious tells us that the universally hated road builders, when given a choice between a candidate that supports spending $800 million in federal money on not-so-very-fast train, and a candidate that wants to try to get that money converted for use on crumbling road infrastructure in the state, chose the candidate that wants the money used for roads!
Great job, Captain Obvious! Your crack reporting shows us what we could have already guessed yet again!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The people in these communities? They aren't making fun of Native Americans. They aren't even ambivalent about them. They are fiercely proud of their association with them. And that gets lost in these debates. Opponents (and sorry, more often they are bleeding heart whites than actual Native Americans) often immediately tar supporters as racists, but it just isn't the case. Sometimes people are misguided and cartoonish in their portrayals, and that's wrong. But it doesn't change the pride people have in their communities' ties to Native America. You don't see American communities calling their schools the 'Brown Shirts' or the 'Grand Wizards'.
By scouring Native American references from our high schools and colleges, what we might be effectively doing is scouring Native America itself from the day to day conscience of most Americans. Face it, for most people, an encounter with an actual Native American is an extreme rarity. By removing their reference from daily life, we might be further removing any curiosity about the harsh realities of modern Native American life and increasing the likelihood that the stereotypes will win over.
Much of the American public used to gather before the electronic hearth every evening, separate but together, while Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Frank Reynolds and Howard K. Smith offered relatively unbiased accounts of information that their respective news organizations believed the public needed to know.
Please. Walter Cronkite? This is the man who broke the bonds of objectivity for the news media when he decided to editorialize on the Vietnam War. I don't care if you think he was right or wrong in doing so; you cannot argue that he made a giant leap into the subjective when he did.
This has been one of my long standing criticisms of journalism. Pure objectivity is impossible. You cannot report a news story in a way that anyone will pay attention by just stating the facts. Some, a rare few, make an admirable attempt at objectivity, but subjectivity always creeps into marketable news. Always. I prefer an open honesty about that subjectivity over trying to pretend to the objective while winning the public over to your side. Open subjectivity is not without its flaws, but I'll take it over converting from the shadows.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Pardon me, but I detect a foul marine odor.
A train line between two metropolitan areas that aren't what one would call major should not be enough to make a manufacturing site viable or not viable. Even if that location services the trains, that would not be enough to support 125 employees.
Frankly, and I had this suspicion from early on, I don't think that Talgo's Milwaukee presence was ever meant to be long term.
Governor Doyle went to Spain. Shortly after, we learn that Talgo has the contract for this line. And Talgo announces plans for Milwaukee. In the world of scummy politicians like Jim Doyle, it translated like this to me: We (Wisconsin) give you the contract for these trains. You scratch our (democrats, specifically, Jim Doyle's) back by building those trains in Milwaukee so we have added leverage. Afterward, stay or go, it doesn't matter because we will have our choo choo and you will have your money.
Am I speculating? Certainly. But nothing about this meets a basic logic sniff test. Nothing.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Disclaimer: Jib and his family will not actually be printing off additional paychecks. That would be stupid. Kind of like printing a bunch of money would be.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Sometime in the last 6 months, the simpleton, sheep American voter was infected with a form of crazy that gestated yesterday. These drones, even more mindless than they were before, who just 2 years ago were Einsteins, each of them, voted for Republicans. They may have eaten some babies and kicked some puppies along the way because they are uncaring beasts. Anyway, they gave one chamber of congress back to Republicans, and tipped power in some states, which is further proof that they can't be trusted to look after their own interests and need Democrats in power to do that for them.
In some places, the sun actually did not rise this morning for the first time in human history as the drones roamed the hillsides, hungry for the sweet-meated hearts of Democrats. The next two years portend much misery. Women will be reverted to the 19th century, their vote taken away while they are confined to home to make babies and cook. The very large national gay community will be rounded up and placed on deserted islands to live or die. And if you are racial minority, woe is you. Because they all hate you and see no redeemable qualities in you.
The economy will collapse for all but the richest one percent of us or those who make over $100,000 (whichever, the selfish bastards). While everyone else is forced to fight for scraps to eat and are over taken by plagues, the richest one percent or those who make over $100,000 (whichever, the selfish bastards) will get even richer in a closed economy purged of the other 99% or those who make under $100,000. Some may actually leave the country, unlike the other times they've said that, because the utopias of Canada and Mexico are the only safe havens left.
The only hope is that in 2 years, the one and his disciples will rise again as the crazy starts to wear off from the drones. Then the world will be redeemed from the 6 or 7 hate filled old white men who have wreaked such devastation on us all.
The left in this country sure can be melodramatic and apoplectic. If we collected the vision of all them, it would make for one hell of a horror story.
* I know this won't please many people, but this isn't the 2 year election cycle for ideological purity, I'm afraid. If things aren't better in two years, 2012 could be a blood bath. Republicans must be able to show that they accomplished some important things.
* Stow away there word "mandate." This isn't one. It was more like a repudiation.
* There is no way government healthcare gets overturned. The numbers aren't there for it. Voters gave Republicans one bullet by giving them the House. Battles that can be won will reside largely in the budget.
* As for Wisconsin, Governor Doyle pulled the ultimate screw job on the state with his secret deal with the Feds to get the kind-of-but-not-really high speed train contracts signed. Scott Walker and Republicans may have to bog the entire project down in environmental studies and red tape in order to kill it.
* If there isn't concealed carry and voter ID in 2 years, then I may vote to toss the bums out. At the state level, it is time for Republicans to get some things done.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
1) The other party isn't your mortal enemy. Seriously. Many of you caricature them in horrible ways, though. But remember, neither party is interested in driving the nation off a cliff, no matter what you think. The other side just thinks it has a much better path to a mostly common goal.
2) You shouldn't treat politics as a team sport. If you want to talk poop with rivals, maybe you should invest yourself in sports a little more. For all of its flaws, politics is more serious than sport. But that doesn't mean that you hate the other side the way Packers and Bears fans might hate each other.
3) Your side ain't all that, believe it or not. It is just as flawed as the other side, and it is wrong just as often as the other side. Some humility is in order when the American public rejects you for being wrong.
4) Pissing and moaning about the voters isn't constructive. They aren't dumb, and they aren't "re-tarded". They aren't always right, but they often move together for very specific reasons. Some reflection might be in order.
5) If you are fully invested in your party's propaganda, you should probably give up politics for a while. There is no sacred constituency a given politician won't screw if it means re-election. No, not even yours.
6) Mandates are over rated. So is political capital. When either legitimately occurs, their existence is fleeting. When it comes time to vote, it will always come down to "am I (or are we) better off now than we were last time we did this." Your elected official's job, regardless of party, is to make sure you say yes.
7) All those "unpopular" things elected officials do? Yeah, they do them because of #6. They legitimately think they are doing what will make you feel better off come the next election. Sometimes instead of blaming the politician, we should be blaming ourselves a little more.
8) I know many people segregate themselves socially based on party affiliation/political beliefs. You really shouldn't, because you are all missing out on a lot of terrific people.
9) Don't waste your breath/ink/pixels saying that you are going to leave (location x) or move to (location y). It shows a lack of fortitude. The next power shift is as soon as two years away. Spend your energies there if you believe so strongly.
10) If you think your political opponents are stupid, you are wrong and you should probably invest some effort in getting to know why, or you'll start finding yourself on the losing end quite often.
Just days before an election that could decide the fate of a planned high-speed rail line, state and federal administrators quietly signed a deal to commit the state to spending all $810 million of the federal stimulus cash allocated to the Milwaukee-to-Madison route, transportation officials confirmed Monday.
The unannounced weekend agreement frees outgoing Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration to sign contracts for much if not all of the work. That could hamstring efforts by Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans to kill the project and spend the money on something else if they take control of the governor's office and either or both chambers of the state Legislature and Congress on Tuesday.
You just lost any hope you had outstate, Democrats. Well done.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Ron Johnson is well on his way to getting the job done, and you can count the Jib of last February very surprised. Few people outside of his local business environment knew who the guy was, and we'd already seen that act in Tim Michels. But Johnson has capitalized on the political environment and run a solid, if not overly spectacular, campaign. I didn't think he could do it, and I was wrong. We won't know if he got the job done until 24 hours-plus from now. But I will admit, he was the best candidate to kick Feingold out on his ass.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Given all of this, I think we can safely say that Obama will seal the deal with an intern and not only be impeached but tossed out of office in his second term ;-).
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Ryan Grant. Morgan Burnett. Nick Barnett. All carved up in plastic bags like a truck stop lizard.
Yet given the chance to start filling in gaps like the 1996 Packers did en route to the Super Bowl, the current Packers' brass is confident in their depth.
"I was just telling the team on Monday, 'Get your heads up, boys. We just beat one of the most pathetic teams in the history of the game. By the skin of our teeth. Thanks to one future Hall of Famer stepping up and single handedly saving our asses. Be proud. Yeah, we sucked. And part of our game plan was atrocious. But we could actually be better, and that's something to take pride in," said head coach Mike McCarthy.
When asked why his team has not taken the season by the horns and not covered glaring injury holes via trade, GM Ted Thompson was adamant that this team was still the team to beat.
"I am confident in this team. We believe in the guys on this roster or they wouldn't be hear. We lose Ryan Grant? We fully believe that the Easter Bunny will step in and pick up the slack. No Nick Barnett? Ernie is a hungry and angry inside backer, especially when we run our 'Burt' defensive package, and we are completely confident that his puppet like dedication to his coaching will fill the gap. We are a little worried about Charlie Peprah at safety, though. Peprah is a damn fictional character."
The coach and GM have the full confidence of the team President, Mark Murphy.
"Huh, what, there's a season going on? Wait, I thought we started the lock out already? Ziggy Wilf told me that we were going to break those bastard players that I helped make so rich in my playing days this season. That son of a ..."
But even if their season goes to hell in a hand basket, Packer Hall of Famer and Milwaukee area sports commentator Mark Chmura sees a silver lining in this year.
"No matter what happens, that turn coat, fair weather friend turned asshole Brett Favre is going to get his comeuppance in a purple uniform."
This article was satire. Don't like it? Take it up with older twin of Jenn Sterger, Deanna Favre.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
The strippers, fueled by Cheetos and nicotine, are protesting a fundamentalist Christian church whose Bible-brandishing congregants have picketed the club where they work. The dancers roll up with signs carrying messages adapted from Scripture, such as "Do unto others as you would have done unto you," to counter church members who for four years have photographed license plates of patrons and asked them if their mothers and wives know their whereabouts.
There is a "He is risen. He is risen indeed" joke in here somewhere, but I'm too damn classy to make it.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
1. Mr. Average, unaffiliated voter is sharper than I'd have given him credit for, but he still doesn't know how he'll vote on election day.
2. In Wisconsin, the accusations that Gubernatorial candidate Tom Barret has done nothing to fix MMSD despite his mayoral campaign promises has gained traction. Examples of promises with no action does not play well this election cycle.
3. People in certain parts of the state know businessman and Gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann ... for building "crummy houses."
4. Candidates cannot run on the spirit of '94. Voters are wise to the fact that getting an elective body to agree to things like term limits is a pipe dream.
5. Obama is still poisonous politically.
Oh, and one more:
6. Much like voters are wise to the dubious spirit of '94, they are also wise to the homespun candidacy of Russ Feingold.
It never fails. Every summer, the bean ball becomes the talk of the nation. Some will argue that the league should do more to punish and prevent pitchers from hitting batters. Others will argue that pitcher has a right to the inside corner of the plate, and that they have the right to move hitters who crowd the plate off of it. Finally, there is a solution: Deregulate the Hit By Pitch!
Here's how it will work. First, Major League Baseball will ammend one of the most basic rules of the game. When a batter gets hit by a pitch, they will no longer be awarded first base. Instead, the pitch will be called a ball and the ball will remain live, meaning that runners may advance at their own will/peril if a pitch that hits a batter gets by the catcher. Pitchers may not be thrown out of a game for hitting a batter.
This is only half of the deregulation, however. After being beaned, a hitter may charge the mound without being thrown out of the game as long as he does not bring any weapons with him (ie, the bat). Teammates may not join the mano-y-mano duel, however, or they will risk being thrown out of the game and/or suspended. Strategically, however, this does not mean that a hitter can charge the mound with impunity. Leaving the batting area will result in a dead ball that will prevent runners from advancing.
Other current rules will remain in place. A hitter must make some attempt to avoid being hit, or at least not actively attempt to be hit, by a pitch. Any pitch that hits a part of the batter's body that is in the shall be called a strike and the at bat will continue.
Instead of teams and players only worrying about suspensions, the onus would now be on the individuals and their concern for their own well being. Hit , and you may get beaten to a pulp with no help from teammates to get you out of it. Crowd the plate and anticipate a fastball in the ribs with no real reward. Once there are immediate and painful repercussions for the individual, the beanball wars will aleviate.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I think most people mistake this as some sort of race/national identity issue. It isn't. Most Americans today are proud that this country is a destination, and most are proud that they themselves are a product of immigration. But they do want our citizens to prove they really want to be here. In the 1800's, being willing to risk disease or death over a long trans-oceanic journey was pretty good proof. Today, standing in line to earn citizenship is a much safer stand in for most Americans. If you opened up immigration for unskilled labor and fast tracked the citizenship process, this would barely be an issue because most Americans would find this abundantly fair. What most Americans DON'T want is for this country to be an escape hatch for another country's undesireables, and I find that to be abundantly fair.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Nothing quite like an oldie but a goody. Next year, how you are going to die from leprosy. Natch, medicine-resistant leprosy!
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
The legislation would grant the president emergency powers to seize control of or even shut down portions of the Internet during times of national emergency.
It's been dubbed as an Internet "kill switch" the president could flip. However, the idea behind it is not new. A draft Senate proposal that CNET obtained in August allowed the White House to "declare a cybersecurity emergency," and another from Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would have explicitly given the government the power to "order the disconnection" of certain networks or Web sites.
This is too much power in the hands of people that cannot be trusted with it.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Never trust a so-called expert until you know what his/her retirement is banked on.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Wall Street overhaul might not prevent next financial crisis
Good call, rocket scientists. Because all regulations like this do is prevent the last crisis from exactly repeating itself, which is unlikely, anyway, since major players learn from the previous crisis what pot holes to avoid. The next crisis will be based on something very much unlike the circumstances that led to the last one.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
I'm all for the use of this dispersant. Anything to try to mitigate the environmental damage is worth trying in my opinion. However, I am not naive. If the dispersant proves harmful itself, environmentalists will be crawling out of the woodwork to criticize it (or rather, BP, although they will leave the Obama administration blameless).
I have news for those environmentalists who have 20/20 hindsight: Now is the time to criticize. If you do not criticize the use of dispersants now, you do not have any standing to criticize it later. You have just as little information on the effects of these chemicals as anyone else right now. In an effort to stem damage to the environment of the Gulf Coast, this product is being used, even though the information is incomplete. If you are silent now, you are complicit in its use and nobody really wants to hear from your cowardly butts later.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I'm not sure who is in charge of the Leinenkugel campaign, but they had better do a hell of a lot better job of crafting a story for their candidate or he is going to avoid getting his butt kicked in the Republican primary. And it has to start by openly repudiating his old boss, Jim Doyle.
At this juncture, I'm not sure who I'd vote for in the primary, but Leinenkugel did not acquit himself particularly well out of the gates. If I had no knowledge of the family, I'd probably be on the popular band wagon on this side of the aisle that is constantly repudiating him. But I remained bothered by the fact that if Feingold does not lose in this year of vulnerability for all Dems, I am convinced he will own his seat until he chooses to leave the Senate. Yet this crew is the best the Republican party can muster.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Schedule M is the big tax credit of 2009 that's really easy to miss.
After figuring deductions, calculating taxes, and recording estimated tax payments, the exhausted taxpayer will come to line 63 of IRS Form 1040. It has an innocuous description – "Making work pay and government retiree credits" – but potentially a big payout: $400 ($800 if married filing jointly).
Most taxpayers will be able to claim it.
Last year, in an attempt to reinvigorate the economy, the White House cut the amount of withholding for workers and sent out a onetime $250 payment to retirees?
That's money already in Americans' pockets. But unless they fill out Schedule M, they'll pay it back in taxes (at least initially).About 4 percent of tax filers so far failed to send along the new schedule.
C'mon. Really, Obama administration? Is it that embarrassing to Democrats to let people keep some more of their own money that you can't blare out to them that you let them keep more of their own money? Is it because you are too embarrassed to tell people you are taking a little less of their money while spending much, much more, or is it because you are that incompetent?
Monday, April 05, 2010
Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.
Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.
It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.
This is a President who does not understand the times in which we live. There are many nations who will gladly turn a blind eye to their nationals planning a massively deadly attack against the United States if they know the nuclear option is off the table. Additionally, Pandora is out of her box. There is no making nuclear weapons obsolete. Small nations are not pursuing nuclear weapons out of fear of the United States...they are pursuing them for regional dominance and as a hedge against outside, particularly American, interference in their plans. This is not a time to sing Kumbaya and expect states to willingly give up their nuclear ambitions. Instead, it is a time to send the message that the nuclear ambitions of non-nuclear states is clearly unacceptable.
May God help us all.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
White House officials tell ABC News that in his remarks tomorrow President Obama will indicate a willingness to work with Republicans on some issue to get a health care reform bill passed but will suggest that if it is necessary, Democrats will use the controversial "reconciliation" rules requiring only 51 Senate votes to pass the "fix" to the Senate bill, as opposed to the 60 votes to stop a filibuster and proceed to a vote on a bill.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been awaiting the president’s remarks direction on how health care reform will proceed.
If the Democrats pursue this in the face of strong public opposition, and then it turns out to be the mess that some of us anticipate, this could cost them electorally for several election cycles, if not a generation. I've never seen a political party so flippant in the face of a self imposed disaster.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Congrats, voters. The Obama administration just tried to pull a ruse on you with its "Health Care Summit":
Giving no ground, President Barack Obama and Republican leaders fought forcefully for their competing visions of historic health care reform Thursday in an exhausting, often-testy live-on-TV debate. Far from any accord, Obama signaled the Democrats were prepared to push ahead for an all-or-nothing congressional vote.
Look, this was all a big trick to convince you that bipartisanship isn't possible and that the Democrats have no choice but to force health care through because of those evil, combative, partisan Republicans. Now is the time to let this administration know that you are on to their tricks.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
"I feel sorry for the sponsor," said Els. "Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament."
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh Ernie, you so don't have a career in politics in your future. While I'm not defending Tiger, his problems ARE bigger than just you silly tournament. His PR folks know that you dump this sort of a thing on a Friday because the weekend mutes it. Like you say, Ernie, Tiger is selfish, but so are you to think that he should have made this statement after your tournament, which few people care about since he isn't in it.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sen. Evan Bayh, a centrist Democrat from Indiana, is ready to announce he won't seek a third term in Congress, giving Republicans a chance to pick up a Senate seat.
Am I the only one getting nervous about seeing all the rats scurrying for the emergency exit? At first, I thought it was just Democrats who saw the writing on the wall. Now I'm wondering, what do they know that we don't?
Saturday, February 13, 2010
One method of forest management is to clear the forest floor of dead vegetation, to clear out old growth, and thin out the forest in general. Another approach is to allow the forest to be natural, to accumulate an abundance of vegetation old, young, and dead. In either, forest fires are inevitable. But in the cleaned up forests, the fires tend to be less severe and more manageable, whereas in the forests with a lot of dead vegetation and old growth, the fires are more severe and less manageable.
So, what does this have to with the economy. Well, start by forgetting the use of the word "managed." Because we actually manage this economy too much by trying to preserve its old growth and nearly dead vegetation. Every time we have even a minor economic downturn, we are doing everything in our power to pull ourselves out of it. As someone who needs my job, I get why that is our first instinct. But in doing so, we prop up a lot of bad businesses and business practices and we allow a lot of debts that should be cleared of the books to build up. And it results in a severe economic contraction at some point down the road. Perhaps we should start looking at protecting the tinder in our economy less during downturns and instead start looking encouraging areas of new growth that will be less vulnerable.
Then came health care reform.
Democrats wanted it shoved through quickly because they knew that once the people began to look at it closely, they wouldn't like what they saw. Unfortunately, the people figured it out quicker than the Democrats anticipated they would. The quagmire that has been health care reform has devoured much of the Obama Administration's socializing momentum and finally allowed the electorate to take a step back and really look at what they elected.
If Obama is as politically astute as Bill Clinton, he may still bounce back from this. But he will never accomplish the things he had hoped to prior to tilting at this windmill.
But the International Luge Federation and Vancouver Olympic officials said their investigation showed that the crash was the result of human error and that “there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.”
Well worded, because the accident was a result of human error. But the death was the result of an awful track deficiency-exposed metal beams along the straightaway coming out of that last turn. Any track, not just one as hellaciously fast as that one, should not have any exposed areas that could bring an out of control, 90 mph body to a sudden and deadly stop.
And as long as I'm at it, all of the media outlets that were showing that video yesterday should be ashamed of themselves. Who needs Faces of Death when you have the major media?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
+ This may seem counter intuitive, but it is time to start rebuilding the secondary. Depth is a concern, Charles Woodson is at his peak, and Al Harris is a question mark at his age.
+ Donald Driver must be relegated to a number three receiver. The drop off in his performance this year has been significant. He is no longer Mr. YAC, he drops a lot of balls, and he is prone to fumble.
+ Unless Ted Thompson re-evaluates and modifies his approach to building an offensive line, the Packers' future, Aaron Rodgers, will continually be at risk of having his career shortened by either devastating injury or death by a thousand sacks. They were lucky this year Tauscher needed a job and Clifton got healthy.
+ They cannot go into next season with Kapinos as their punter. Mason is more of a question mark at kicker as I'm positive they were tinkering with his mechanics during training camp and the pre-season.
+ The pundits will laud Rodgers (deservingly so) and name the Packers a Super Bowl contender in the pre-season publications next year. But they will remain as unpredictable as they have been ever since the Thompson/McCarthy era began.
+ Donald Lee is no longer deserving of a spot on this roster, but it is doubtful they will bring in someone better at TE 2.
+ They cannot afford to have Jordy Nelson returning kicks any longer. Jordy is a very good receiver, but he is not a good returner.
+ Until they make Lambeau a terrifying place to play again, it is hard to consider them a Super Bowl favorite. They are closer, but still not quite there.
+ Get used to pulling your hair out about Dom Capers. On the whole, his defenses will make you happy. But when it counts, they'll let you down. Or, I should say, his game plans will let you down.
+ This was a nice bounce back year, but every fan should have a lot of questions about next year because this was not a convincing show that "The Pack is Back."
Many mothers have found that cosleeping has many benefits for their families.
According to Dr James McKenna,
"Studies have shown that co-sleeping with a breastfeeding infant promotes bonding, regulates the mother and baby's sleep patterns, plays a role in helping the mother to become more responsive to her baby's cues, and gives both the mother and baby needed rest. The co-sleeping environment also assists mothers in the continuation of breastfeeding on demand, an important step in maintaining the mother's milk supply. " http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/faq.html
Contrary to popular opinion, cosleeping actually helps babies become independent. Meredith Small, anthropologist and author of Our Babies Ourselves, says,
"For millions of years, the normal sleeping position of human infants has been on their backs nestled next to mother. Only in western cultures do we force babies to sleep alone, thinking they are more safe and independent placed in a crib with no contact. But history, and how most babies sleep in other cultures, suggests that the West is out of step with what is best physically and emotionally for our children."
I was more than a bit independent minded about the topic of breast feeding as we had our first, but I know that our small town hospital had plenty of La Leche League literature lying around, so I imagine they are influential in urban Milwaukee as well. They offer safety tips, but those are clearly being ignored. Perhaps Milwaukee should be cause enough for La Leche to rethink their position on co-sleeping.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
In that regard, the Focus is Ford’s first big bet that it can effectively sell a single, largely uniform car — with variations to come later — in several global markets.
It is very idealistic of Mr. Mulally to think that, at their core, all humans want the same things. And to a certain extent, that is true. But his Boeing experience of one world airplane ignores something. The world of automotive travel is not standardized in the same ways that air travel is. Different regions of the world have evolved different automotive needs. While Ford (and all of the "Big Three") needed to capitalize on their global economies of scale, Ford is at risk of producing vehicles that are mearly considered okay in all markets, hardly a formula for success.
+ I've heard a lot of "It will be interesting to see how Aaron Rodgers does in his first playoff start." Well, let's remember a few things. He isn't a rookie or a second year player. He's a veteran who just happens to be a second year starter. He's been in the playoffs before and should understand the intangibles that go with it. Additionally, he's had a few small flaws, but one thing he's not been is a quarterback who self destructs. This is a non-story.
+ One sub-story of this week has been that the Cardinals were upset that the Packers kept the throttle down into the third quarter. To that, I say this to the Cardinals: Nobody forced you to roll over in a REGULAR SEASON GAME. On top of that, the Packers should have learned from the pre-season that they're subs are not appreciably better than those of the Cardinals, so getting the lead over 30 before pulling starter was not unreasonable for a team that wanted to win.
+ This team reminds me of the 2007 team in that I still can't believe they are this good. I can see this team tanking in the first round or going all the way to the Super Bowl. I guess that's just the way of the NFL for all but a couple of teams these days.
+ The defense will continue to be vulnerable to teams with explosive passing attacks, which is nearly everyone in the playoffs. But they are also one of the very few teams that overcome having their secondary lit up.
+ We will see just how unimportant a good running game is this week. The Cardinals are the perfect lab test. Their running game is so-so, and will not likely gain traction against the Packer run defense.
+ I think the Packers need to vanquish the Vikings to be seriously considered a Super Bowl contender. Unfortunately, as it looks as of this writing, that match up will not even be possible until the NFC Championship game.
+ The Packers really need to take advantage of this opportunity. Health and luck make the difference between an average team and a Super Bowl team in today's NFL. They've had both for the second time in three years.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
White House he never really escaped. Obama and his family took an overnight flight from Hawaii, capping an 11-day holiday vacation sure to be remembered more for the botched attempt to blow up a Christmas Day flight than the hours spent on golf courses or at luaus. The failed terror attack refocused the president's trip from R&R on the island of Oahu to a river of memos from aides.returned Monday to the
Guess what? No president escapes the White House. Ever. There is no vacation when you are president. There is just time spent away from the White House and foreign dignataries. But when the Democrat media needed something to bash Bush with, they overlooked it. And now that their chosen one Obama is in the Oval Office, that fact is a cause for pity stories.