Thursday, July 23, 2009

An Update on the Journey

Before I start on today's extended topic, I have to issue a My Two Cents correction. Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris--a regular follower of the My Two Cents blog apparently--called to correct my math yesterday. Harris pointed out, correctly, that if the School Board voted to raise my taxes by 12-percent--and the other taxing entities raised theirs as well--the percentage of increase would not be the sum of the percentages--but rather their average. So my predictions of a 20-percent tax hike was not mathmatically correct. I apologize for the error. That does not however make it any easier to accept double digit increases in the total tax bills this winter.

We now return to our regularly scheduled rant........

If you listen to or read My Two Cents on a regular basis, you know that my wife and I are looking to adopt a child. Yesterday, we spent nearly all day in our first Adoption Education Class. This is where the case workers prepare you for the adoption process--and all of the challenges associated with it. In our class are six other couples from throughout Northeast Wisconsin who are working with the same agency. Some already have placement of children--thanks to connections to birth mothers who knew those couples were the ones she wanted to raise her child. Cover your ears those of you on the Religious Right!!! One of the couples is gay.

We also talked about the feelings that each person involved in the adoption process goes through--not just at the time the child is turned over--but before and after that as well. It really makes you think about the difficult choices women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies face--and how those around them should be as supportive as possible--rather than ostracizing the women or making them feel like they have done something wrong.

One of our homework assignments is to fill out a daily "clock" breaking down the amount of time we spend on each activity. I already know that my clocks will have too much "work time", too much "golf time" and not enough "sleep time". I should probably work on more "wife time" as well.

We go back for another class next Wednesday--which means I will miss at day at EAA for the first time in nine years. But believe me, in the long run it will be worth it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step...

Today marks the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon--the greatest single achievement in the history of mankind. Although I tend to agree with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin that the greatest achievement was bringing them back again.

I turn 37 this month--so I was not around for the moon landing. And I fear that my generation will never be able to match that accomplishment. Sure the internet is nice--and has done more for our lives than a couple of guys walking on the moon ever did--but the sheer audacity of going to another world that has absolutely no way to support life captures the exploring spirit of humans even more than Columbus heading west to find India or Amundson making it to the South Pole.

I wonder if we could even pull off something like the first moon landing today? The sheer cost alone would make most lawmakers choke. We need to pay for health care now you know. And every aspect of the project would undergo an environmental study--important to know if the rocket noise will adversely affect nesting habits of shorebirds in the area. And the entire project will have to be "carbon neutral"--don't want to heat up the environment trying to get out of it. Better make sure that Tang is vegan friendly as well.

And forget about sending three white guys to the moon. The Lunar Modual of today would have to hold about ten people so we can make sure to have a woman, an African-American, a Wise Latina, a gay or lesbian astronaut, a senior citizen to make sure we "properly represent" America. We'd better have plenty of exits as well--since everyone will have to step off the LEM at the same time--so no one can claim to be the "first". Wouldn't want anyone to feel bad being the "second" or the "third".

And don't even think about planting a US flag on the moon now. We don't want anyone else in the world to think that the United States is better than where they live. We don't even have health care coverage for everyone! Better to put a United Nations flag up there--or better still, one of those "O's" with the red, white and blue stripes inside of it and our new national motto "Hope and Change".

Today's first moon landing wouldn't include Neil Armstrong's inspirational first words "That's one small step for (a) man....." Today we would have an on-line poll to choose the first words on the moon--with something stupid like "Whoooomp there it is!!" winning. Of course, the astronauts probably wouldn't even bother saying anything after that first step. Today they would "tweet" on Twitter. "just stepped on the moon--thinking about how great it would be to have an iced cappaccino right now. I need to get some "moon" songs on my IPod."

To pay for the moonshot, NASA would likely have to sell corporate sponsorship like NASCAR--so "The Eagle has landed" would have to be "The Ford Motorcraft Little Debbie Snake Cakes Lunar Modual has landed. I would also like to thank the folks at Hooters and Quaker State for making this possible." Selling patches on spacesuits, stickers on the spacecraft and superimposing a corporate logo on the moon's surface as the astronauts walk around on TV would also be a great way to make some cash.

When you think about it, the 1960's were the perfect time for the the first moon landing. The Baby Boomers providing the youthful exuberance for the mission--and the Greatest Generation providing the work ethic and the know-how to get it done. Today, we'd rather just have a Nintendo Wii game that makes it feel like all of us are "walking" on the moon. Why put in all that hard work to actually go there?

Friday, July 17, 2009


My latest idea for becomming a billionaire has hit a major roadblock. I thought that I could develop the hot new internet site it turns out that the domain name is already being used. It's not even an interesting site--just someone advertising wedding services. I don't even know why they would have selected for the site. would have become the exclusive source of "news" that generates plenty of coverage on the 24-hour channels--but really has no impact on the average American's life at all. For instance, need to know the latest on what happened to Michael Jackson's body after his memorial service last week? Go to Want to watch live coverage of said memorial service?

When Brett Favre announces that he will make his announcement soon on whether he will play for Minnesota this season, will be your exclusive source. Madonna trying to steal another baby from Africa? is all over that one. would also become the only portal to celebrity Twitter accounts. Make that all Twitter accounts. We should probably look at taking over MySpace and Facebook as well--both perfect candidates for would have an entire page dedicated exclusively to televised police chases. Another page would be dedicated to local bowling scores--rolled a 200-game last night? Send your two friends to to check it out!!

By making the outlet for all things non-important, the rest of the media can focus on the really important things--like the Congressional Budget Office's report on the "real" cost of the new health care bill. In case you didn't hear about that one--and it would be easy to miss since it wasn't the top story on any nightly newscast this week--the report finds the House Democrat's plan would not cut what the government spends on health care--which is what we were promised--or even equal what is currently being spent. Instead, it would add half a trillion dollars in federal spending over the next decade.

That's the kind of news you would never see on

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Save the GMO

If you have a few extra million dollars lying around right now, would you please consider sponsoring the PGA Golf tournament in Milwaukee? The US Bank Championship tees off today--for the final year. There is no corporate sponsor in place for next year--and without one, the PGA could pull the event from Milwaukee.

I know that you are shedding crocodile tears for the plight of what used to be the Greater Milwaukee Open. It's just a golf tournament, Jonathan--we will get along fine without it. But keep in mind that the event has generated five million dollars for charity over the past ten years. This year's main beneficiary will be the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee. If your newborn was one of those treated with new equipment or procedures deveoped with the money generated by the PGA Tour stop--I would bet you would think it's important to keep the tournament in Milwaukee.

The GMO has been hurt by a couple of things over the past few years. Being moved to an "alternate field" status opposite the British Open was the biggest blow. That all but guaranteed that marquee players will not be paying a visit to Milwaukee. But there is hope that could change. Wisconsin natives Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker are proposing the event move to August--replacing the Buick Open in Michigan (seeing as how Government Motors won't be "wasting" money anymore advertising through sports sponsorships). Being just two weeks before the final major of the year--the PGA Championship--Milwaukee could become a draw again for the world's best. Remember, Milwaukee is where Tiger Woods began his pro career back in 1997. Of course, he hasn't been back since--but the new date might bring him (and the huge crowd he draws) back.

If you are going to drop the millions to sponsor the tournament, can I ask one favor? Please put "Milwaukee" back in the title. If you stopped 100-people on the street today, how many could tell you where the US Bank Championship is played? Maybe three or four hard-core golf fans at the most? But if you ask those same 100-people where is the Greater Milwaukee Open played--I'm guessing at least 90-percent of them would guess Milwaukee. I realize the idea is to get the corporate sponsor in the name (and therefore on the TV screen) as much as possible--but a little love for the Beer City would be nice.

If the Quad Cities of Iowa can support a PGA Tour stop--can't a "Major League" city like Milwaukee?