Friday, October 31, 2014

The All Blacks Are Coming To Town!!

On Saturday we get to enjoy an very rare treat.  The greatest Rugby Union team in the world is playing here in the United States--almost in our own backyard.  The New Zealand All Blacks (don't worry liberals, the team is named for its all black jerseys--or "kits"--not for the color of its players.  Think of the Cincinnati Reds or the Stanford Cardinal) will be taking on the United States Eagles in an international "friendly" Saturday afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago.

For those of us who love international rugby, this is a HUGE deal.  The All Blacks have not played in the United States since 1980.  They are on an international tour this year to promote the upcoming 2015 Rugby World Cup--which will be played in England--but would desperately love to get into US markets in the future.  New Zealand is to rugby what Brazil is to soccer or the United States is to basketball--they are far and away the best at the sport and they are the most passionate about it as well.  And they have a large following around the globe--including here in the US.

The All Blacks also bring with them one of the oldest and most beloved traditions in sports: The pre-match Haka--a mix of dance, chant, threat and challenge to their opponents at mid-field that pays tribute to the county's Maori native population:

Here in the United States, a team doing that would be penalized to start the game and players would likely be suspended. 

Team USA is likely going to get smoked in this game.  Like in soccer, the US in rugby is seen as a potential powerhouse--but the sport just can't gain any traction--since those who would be unstoppable view football as the better alternative because it can get you into college for free and get you paid big bucks in the NFL.  But imagine little English guys or Aussies trying to tackle JJ Watt or Melvin Gordon or Percy Harvin on a larger field and with no pads or helmets on.

I would love to be there in person for the game--but I can't (stupid household chores I promised I would do before winter!!).  However, NBC will have televise the game live!! (I need to take a break for a few minutes here, Honey).  It kicks off at 2:30--right after the Badgers wrap up their butt kicking of Rutgers.  I hope you can check it out.  I think you'll enjoy what you see.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Greatness....And Not Greatness

In the 1964 World Series, the great Bob Gibson of the Saint Louis Cardinals pitched a complete game in Game 7 against the New York Yankees two days after pitching 10-innings in a complete game win--which was three days after pitching a complete game in a Game 2 loss to the Yankess.  Although he was shaky at times, Gibson gutted it out and finished what he started that day.  When asked if he had ever considered taking Gibson out in Game 7, Cardinals Manager Johnny Keane had one of my all time favorite sports quotes. "No, I had a commitment to his heart".

Last night, in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy showed a commitment to the heart of his 25-year old ace Madison Bumgarner, bringing him out of the bullpen just two days following a complete game victory in Game 5--and six days after an 8-inning victory in Game 1 in the 5th inning of a one-run game to finish the contest and seal the Giants' third World Series title in the past five years.  The biggest difference between Gibson's accomplishments and Bumgarner's is the culture of baseball in the modern game--where pitchers throwing no-hitters have been lifted in the 7th inning because they had "reached their pitch count".  But just like Johnny Keane likely would have had to wrestle and subdue Bob Gibson to take him out of Game 7 in '64, Bruce Bochy likely would have needed everybody else on the bench to carry MadBum off the mound before last night's game was over.

Unfortunately, Bumgarner's excellence is not what everyone will be talking about today.  Instead, Game 7 was hijacked last night by the worst, most awkward intrusion of sponsorship placement in the history of televised sports.  I'm talking about what is known now as "Chevy Guy".  In case you didn't stay up to watch the post-game, Chevy (the Official Truck of Major League Baseball) brought in Regional Zone Manager Rikk Wilde (WOW! THE REGIONAL ZONE MANAGER!! WHAT AN HONOR!!) to present Madison with his new truck for being World Series MVP

Just as entertaining, were the expressions of Finally-Former Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on stage--as Regional Zone Manager Wilde is dying in front of a national TV audience.  No doubt the "commish" was wondering "What the hell is this guy doing up here ruining our moment?"  Well Bud, this is the situation you (and your other league leaders) have created.  And like you shrugging your shoulders at the "Tie Game" All-Star Game at Miller Park, it will be another lasting image of your tenure.

Maybe Chevy will just hire Super Creepy Rob Lowe to hand out the MVP Truck next year--and make awkward passes at Erin Andrews.  That actually would be entertaining.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Managing the People's Money

Being a "wonk" this is one of my favorite times of the year, as school boards, city councils and county boards review and finalize their new budgets.  I enjoy the line-by-line review of every expenditure as fiscally-responsible elected officials look to save taxpayers every dollar they can.  That is why I was so dismayed with yesterday's budget debate involving the Winnebago County Board.

Supervisors took all of ten minutes to review the county Human Services department budget--which at about $43-MILLION dollars is the largest spending area.  The only serious question came from a supervisor who wanted to know if a "Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist" is really necessary--since the county has a number of other "Specialists" already on-staff dealing with things like childhood immunization, communicable disease prevention, childhood learning, etc, etc, etc.

The rest of the discussion time was spent having several supervisors ask leading questions about their favorite human services program--like Music and Memory (which helps old people remember things by listening to music and singing) or free health clinics (which I thought we didn't need anymore because everyone is required by law to have health insurance and is guaranteed access to "affordable health care")

Later in the day, that same county board spent nearly an hour breaking down the 200-thousand dollars spent by Wittman Regional Airport on advertising and promotion.  A group of supervisors took turns bashing the airport (an annual Budget Sessions tradition on the Winnebago County Board) and questioned every avenue the airport has tried to promote itself.  As much as I appreciate getting out the fine-toothed comb on things, I had to wonder where was that same "attention to detail" on the $43-MILLION that was presented to them an hour ago--and was moved along with a shrug and a yawn?

Considering the average age of Winnebago County Board Supervisors, I guess the answer lies in their likely need for all of those Human Services programs before they ever fly out of the airport in Oshkosh.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Couple of Things....

Whenever a college student wants to have sex, the school provides them with free condoms.  Whenever a student's parents didn't bother to save for their college education, the school offers taxpayer-funded grants and government-backed student loans.  When a student of minority status struggles in class, entire systems are developed within the program and a special curriculum is developed to keep them from failing.  When a transgender student wants to shower or change into gym clothes the school provides special facilities for them.  When kids want to get around without having to walk or bike, the public transit system provides them with special buses and routes.  Colleges--and by extension Government--bends over backwards to make sure that a student's "every need" is met--no matter what the cost.

But, when students want personal protection while walking around campus--the school is not so accommodating.  In fact, schools go out of their way to make it as difficult as possible for students to assure their own safety.  There are bans on guns, stun guns, knives, pepper spray and mace.  Possession of such items are treated as a crime--and students face expulsion for "creating a dangerous atmosphere" on campus.  Perhaps that is why students are seen as such easy marks for petty thieves and thugs in college towns.  You know the kid walking back from the library or the commons at night poses little to no threat of self-defense or retaliation.  All they are going to do is "walk in groups!" or "use the special blue light phone".

Switching gears....

Did you see who the biggest spender is in the race for Governor this year?  No, it's not the Koch Brothers.  It's not Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.  It's not Wisconsin Club for Growth, or AFSCME or WEAC.  It's Democratic candidate Mary Burke.  The latest finance reports show that Burke spent $5-MILLION of her own cash to nearly self-fund her campaign.  Could you imagine the howls of protest if the Kochs, or the unions had spent that much?  The self-appointed "political watchdogs" would be claiming that those parties are "trying to buy" the election.  But like Senator Herb Kohl before her, Burke will likely be hailed by those groups as "being independent and not beholden to special interests" because she can afford to bankroll her pursuit of the position.

I would point out that the Governor's job pays $144,423 a year.  So I would question the "financial sense" of someone who would spend nearly 35 TIMES that amount to get hired.  At least the third parties that contribute the other millions that have been spent on the race actually receive (or avoid paying for) the $70-BILLION dollars the state spends every two years.  That would be considered a "smart investment" given the return.  The opposite would just be a "foolish waste of money".

Monday, October 27, 2014

Candidate Not Scott Walker

If the polls are to be believed, about two-thirds of the people who are going to vote for Mary Burke next week are doing so not because they agree with her platform or principals--but rather because she is not Scott Walker.  Given that Burke is polling about about 47% of likely voters, that means 32% of people in Wisconsin wouldn't even need a name at all in the Democratic column to check that box.  They don't care about cut-and-paste jobs plans, Trek Bicycle outsourcing, property tax increase votes on the Madison School Board or being called a "disaster" by her predecessor at the Department of Commerce.  Those 32% would see Stalin as a better alternative for Wisconsin than Scott Walker--but Mary Burke is on the ballot instead--so she will get their vote.

While she will gladly take that "hate support", you would think that Burke would at least want those people to care about what she is saying on the campaign trail--or to have at least a favorable opinion of her.  It's just human nature to want people to like you--as opposed to "dislike you less than that other guy" or to have no opinion of you whatsoever. 

I wonder if Mary Burke has ever been tempted to slip in something completely off the wall into one of her carefully-crafted campaign speeches like "I will require that all cows in Wisconsin wear special methane-absorbing diapers to minimize Wisconsin's production of greenhouse gases" just to see if anyone is actually paying attention.  Or maybe she could do a speech in Klingon sometime and see if there is any less applause every time she says "Scott Walker".  I'm actually shocked that her bumper stickers and yard signs didn't just say "Mary Burke--she's not Scott Walker".

And should Governor Walker win next week--and still be around to run for re-election in 2018--Democrats will be looking for the next Not Scott Walker to run against him again.  Maybe that's why Russ Feingold didn't want to get in this time around--he kind of likes things to be all about him.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Death and Taxes

The Baby Boomers have accumulated the greatest sum of wealth in American history.  Their generation is the richest we have ever seen--thanks to a series of economic booms, favorable tax policies and more widespread investment of wealth.  But those Boomers are aging and soon--unfortunately--they will begin passing away.  And that will result in the greatest transfer of wealth ever--from them to those of us in Generations X and Y--through inheritance. 

But like chum in the water draws sharks, the likelihood of that much money changing hands over the next few decades is also drawing liberals sniffing around looking for any way they can to get some, most or even all of it.  Under the guise of "wealth redistribution", the push will be made over the next few years to increase--substantially--the inheritance tax here in the US.  The terms "birth lottery" and "economic parasites" are already being thrown around to portray those that stand to collect something after their parents pass away (like we are all waiting with bated breath for our Moms and Dads to kick the bucket so we can "Party like it's 1999" right after the funerals).

In an ironic twist, it is the Baby Boomers themselves that got the inheritance tax all but eliminated (it doesn't kick in until the amount exceeds $5.4-Million) as they used their considerable political clout to craft policy that all but exempted the wealth being transferred to them from their parents--The Greatest Generation.  Now their grandchildren--the Millenials--are going to try and usurp that next transfer through a huge Government money grab.

In his new book The Legacy Journey, Dave Ramsey (heard 2:00 to 5:00 weekdays here on WOSH) promotes a retirement marked by comfortable living, charitable giving and planning to leave something to your children when you die.  With the upcoming battle over "redistributing" that hard-earned wealth and the Government inserting itself between generations, I wonder if Dave will change a few chapters.  Perhaps the new goal should just be to die without a single penny left to your name.  Live a real-life Brewster's Millions where there is absolutely nothing left for your kids--or Uncle Sam--to fight over.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The "Real Horror" of Halloween

An alert WOSH listener made me aware of a forum at UW Oshkosh tonight that should help everyone decide what they want to wear as a costume on Halloween.  The forum is titled: "Why You Should Never, Ever Dress Up As An Indian".  I'm assuming that the forum on "How To Prepare a Resume That Does Not Include Spelling and Grammatical Errors" and the discussion on "Why You Shouldn't Use 'Like' and "Ya Know' Every Four Words in Professional Conversations" are being held on other nights--so students at UWO can swing by to learn this "valuable information".

In promoting her forum, the advisor says:

So-called "Pocahottie" and Indian warrior costumes are popular in college, including here at UWO, but they do hidden damage.  The call to stop wearing them is not simply about political correctness--it is about Native women being depicted as sexual objects, which may seem harmless as a sexy costume on Halloween, but is part of a stereotype that contributes to a very high rate of sexual assault for Native women.  It is about the image of the Native man as a warrior--the same image we see in sports mascots (had to get that in there too)--which dehumanizes Native men and correlates to a high rate of violent victimization as well as a high incarceration rate.  Come here about these connections and more, and why you should never, ever dress up like an Indian.

So the reason there are such high rates of crime among Native American populations is not because of high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, poverty and high school dropouts--it's because white college kids wear Indian costumes on Halloween.  I look forward to the first criminal trial where a defense attorney for a person of Native heritage uses that as a defense.

What I don't understand is the part about wearing the "Pocahottie" costume makes Native women "sex objects" and contributes to sexual assaults is coming from the very same people who tell us all the time that what a woman wears on every other day but Halloween should not make her a sex object or "partly to blame" for sexual assault.  In fact, the derogatory term of "slut-shaming" is used to describe that very practice--and men are told to keep their thoughts clean no matter how short the skirt or low-cut the shirt.  So how can dressing like a Kardashian Sister or Katie Perry not sexually objectify women--but dressing like "Pocahottie" does?  Perhaps the Thought Police should use the meeting room for a few hours before tonight's forum to straighten that out--so we can all be in lockstep with them on Halloween night.

In the meantime, you can go back to working on your Sexy Nun, or Sexy Teacher, or Sexy Schoolgirl, or Sexy Nurse, or Sexy Disney Princess (but not Pocahontas!!!!), or Sexy Zombie costumes.  They appear to be safe--for now.